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was fortunately saved from any act of participation in to the sympathies of Archbishop Croke. The Land for the revolutionary movement. He became a leading the People was a watchword which roused his enthusiasm, member of the party of organised opposition, a party while the spectacle of the people rising in their thousands which in some sense may be regarded as the progenitor of from Donegal to the Cove of Cork to assert their right to the Irish Parliamentary party which we have to-day. the land could not fail to have his enthusiastic support. That party limited its programme to the “ three Fs" Mr. Parnell was some time before he followed where Michael fair rent, free sale, and fixity of tenure. When Sir Davitt had led. At last the evidence was too strong to Charles Gavan Duffy left Ireland in 1856, it seemed to be resisted that the Irish people had at last roused themDr. Croke that the last hope of obtaining anything for selves from the lethargy into which they had fallen since the Irish people had been dashed to the earth. He 1848, and then Mr. Parnell made his plunge. Mr. Parnell washed his hands of politics and stood aloof, doing his was a Protestant-a cool, somewhat cynical, iron-handed ecclesiastical work, caring not how the factions might man; but he understood Ireland, and had the initiative brawl, and disdaining to waste any strength of body or of genius. The moment, therefore, that he decided to of mind upon work which seemed to him to be as useless throw in his lot with the Land Leaguers, he hurried over as the ploughing of the sands of the sea shore. This to Thurles and implored the Archbishop to join the cause. mood of apathetic indifference, not unmixed with a But Dr. Croke was loath to resume the position which he certain scornful laughter at the vanity of human had abandoned long before, and hung back for a time. expectations and the fatuity of the Irish Nationalist The more he hesitated, the more vehement Mr. Parnell aspirations, did not last long after his return from the pleaded for his support, until at last, Charles Stuart Antipodes.
Parnell, the cool, unimpassioned Protestant landlord, The diocese of Cashel fell vacant, and Cardinal Cullen, actually flung himself upon his knees before the Archwho loved the stalwart Croke as if he had been his own bishop of Cashel, and implored him to give his countenson, coveted for the Church the appointment of such a ance to the cause of the Land League. " It is going to man for such a central see. The clergy, as is their wont be a big thing,” he added, “and I must have the clergy according to Catholic usage, met and selected three men, in it.” It was a great scene which Thurles Palace whose names they submitted to the Pope as eligible witnessed that day, and one which perhaps an Irish candidates for the vacant see. The first was dignissimus, Nationalist painter will commemorate some day. Mr. the second dignior, and the third dignus, and none of Parnell, a politician and leader of the Irish race, faling, them were selected to occupy the archiepiscopal throne of Protestant though he was, at the feet of the Archbishop Casitel. The new cathedral was approaching completion of Cashel, would make a very effective subject for a and the diocese was one of the most famous, if not the fresco on the walls of the Parliament House on College most famous, in Ireland. Close to the cathedral were Green in which the first Home Rule Parliament assembled. conventual and mopastic establishments and the famous The moment Dr. Croke decided to support the Land College of St. Patrick, one of the missionary colleges of League, he flung himself heart and soul into the the Irish race from whose halls have gone forth priests agitation. equipped for waging the war of the cross in the utter. During the next two or three years he was one of the most parts of the earth. It was at Thurles, where, for most conspicuous figures, if not the most conspicuous, in the first time in the history of the Irish Church since Ireland. Mr. Forster stood out, of course, rugged and the days of the Reformation, the Catholic synod had stern, as the representative of the English garrison at the assembled. Alike from its geographical position, its Castle. Mr. Parnell and his henchmen laboured indepolitical importance and its traditional associations, it fatigably, now in Ireland, and then at Westminster; but was necessary that the holder of the archiepiscopal see at the heroic figure on Irish soil was the Archbishop of Cashel, Cashel should in every respect be a man, a strong man who made Thurles the central citadel of the Irish Land who would be capable of reviving the discipline and League. At one time Mr. Forster, impatient at the failure restoring the efficiency of the Catholic Church in the of one of his schemes, wished to arrest Father Cantwell, somewhat stubborn and difficult county of Tipperary. the administrator of the diocese, who throughout these When Cardinal Cullen received the names of the three, troubles had acted as Archbishop Croke's right-hand he, by a bold stroke of the authority with which he was man and chief-of-staff in the national movement. Mr. invested, venturel to blot out all three recommendations Forster's fingers itched to clap Father Cantwell into and to nominate Dr. Croke. There was some murmuring Kilmainham; but he desisted, knowing full well that on the part of the clergy who found themselves so the arrest of the administrator would have to be followed summarily set on one side; but in those days Cardinal by that of Archbishop Croke. From that even Mr. Forster Cullen was a kind of vice-Pope, and no one in Ireland recoiled. Therein he was wise; nor had he long to wait ventured to dispute his imperious will.
for his reward.
After the Land Act was passed, and it was evident IV.—THE PATRIOT LAND-LEAGUER.
that it would be suppressed and its leaders clapped The times were at hand when the world had need of into gaol, Mr. Parnell, Mr. Dillon, and others prepared such a man. The failure of the crops in 1879, and the a No Rent manifesto, which was to be launched prospect of privation, not to say starvation, which this as their reply to the administrative decree which brought upon the Irish peasant, thrilled as a trumpet landed them in Kilmainham. It was a policy of despair, call to the manhood of Ireland. At first Archbishop and a policy, moreover, which had not the justification Croke, who for twenty-three years had preserved an of being politic as a set-off against its immorality. attitude of indifference to the struggles of Irish parties, Against the No Rent manifesto Archbishop Croke set found himself strongly attracted to a movement which his face as a flint. It seemed to tho Archbishop, as to had as its objective the assertion of the right of the Irish many others, that the No Rent manifesto was illogical. people to the Irish land. Michael Davitt first raised the The true reply to the action of the Government was to tiery cross and traversed the country from end to end, have refused to have paid taxes rather than to repudiate prvaching the doctrines on which the Land League was the debts which were owed to a number of individuals founded. Nothing could have appealed more forcibly who were in no way responsible for the action of the Government, with which, indeed, they had been almost one time were summoned to Rome. They sat in council openly at war.
under the presidency of a cardinal, and endeavoured to Notwithstanding all these considerations, no sooner the best of their poor ability to afford good guidance to had Mr. Parnell been placed in Kilmainham Gaol than the Pope and his entourage. They found, however, that the No Rent manifesto appeared. Father Cantwell their efforts were in vain. The mists which Newman presided over the last meeting of the Land League before declared in a well-known passage lurked round the its suppression. Father Ryan, now Canon Ryan, one of basis of the rock on which St. Peter had founded his the Archbishop's most devoted priests, attended at the throne defeated all their efforts. Limbs of Satar in the last meeting in Dublin, and declared in words not less person of Under Secretaries of State, to whom the Irish true than eloquent that Governments might crush the were merely rebels, blocktd up all avenues through which Land League and suppress every political organisation words of wisdom might have penetrated to the pontifical that the Irish people might improvise, but that behind ear. As a result, when the Archbishop of Cashel found all these secular associations stood eternal and indes himself face to face with the Pope, there was a fine to-do. tructible the great ecclesiastical organisation of the On the ono side a cultured and aged Italian full of patriot bishops and clergy of Ireland. The Irish finesse, subtle sword play, and courtly diplomacy, and on National Movement was founded, as it were, upon the the other, a sturdy, resolute, typical representative of the bed-rock of St. Peter, and against it all the force of Irish race. English fury would be spent in vain. Hurrying back to Archbishop Croke was no courtier. On one occasion he Thurles, Father Cantwell and
scandalised the Court chamberFather Ryan found the Arch
lains almost out of their wits bishop ill in bed. Hearing what
hy accepting the twice le peated had happened, he asked for pen
invitation of Cardinal Antonelli and writing materials, and there
to take a seat on the couch, leaving from his sick bed he issued his
to the Cardinal the chair. This famous manifesto denouncing the
was a fearful breach of etiquette, policy of No Rent, and shattering,
which provides that the sofa shall as it were, by an ecclesiastical
be occupied by the superior and thunderbolt, the immoral and
the chair by the inferior. On unjustifiable policy against which
another occasion, when the Archhe had protested in vain. He
bishop was to have an audience felt when he had signed the mani..
with the Pope, the carriage which festo that he had definitely effaced
had been ordered did not arrive; himself from the Irish National
nothing loath, he clambered into Movement; but in this he was
an ordinary hackney coach in all mistaken. Impulsive and passion.
his episcopal magnificence, and ate, and sorely tried as were the
was driven through the streets Irishmen at that time, there are
of Rome, to the no small scandal few who do not to-day recognise
of the clergy and the amusement that Archbishop Croke, in de
of the populace. nouncing the No Rent manifesto,
No report has ever been pubwas more true to the best inte
lished of the conversation - the rests of his country than were the
fierce debate it would perhaps be desperate men who in the hour of
better to call it - which took place frenzy raised the cry of No Rent.
between the Pope and the ArchHis next appearance in the
bishop. Here at least they were political arena was much more
on an equal footing, for whaterer congenial. Recognising the im
advantage the Pope might claim mense services which Mr. Parnell
by his ecclesiastical position was had rendered to the Irish peasants
more than overbalanced by the and to the Irish nation, Archbishop
Archbishop's superiority of local Croke wrote a letter in which he
knowledge and the absolute cersuggested the raising of a fund as
tainty with which he was able to a testimonial to the young Irish
speak on many questions which leader as a tribute from a grateful
to the Pope were vague anıl dim. nation to its heroic chief. The
Neither Pope nor Archbishop proposal was warmly taken up.
would yield one inch. Froin But by this time the mind of the
beginning to end the Irish prelate Pope had been pretty well poisoned
held his ground, dealing many a against the National Movement in
weighty blow at his formidable Ireland. From his palace-prison
antagonist, who at last closed the of the Vatican Pope Leo endeavours
interview by saying testily that it to the best of his ability to survey
was no use talking; he had issued the distant lands which form part
his orders-& remark which could of the patrimony of St. Peter.
only have one meaning. The Unfortunately Pope Leo found,
(Photograph by Lawrence, Dublin.)
Archbishop was quick to recognise like many of his predecessors, that
that the bolt was launched. “When it was impossible for him to see the land of St. Patrick the Pope of Rome issues his orders, the Archbishop of excepting through spectacles manufactured on this side Cashel will be the first to obey;" and so saying he left of St. George's Channel. Sixteen Bishops from Ireland at the audience chamber, after an interview in which
he had done his best to save the Pope from a blunder which the Holy Father was soon bitterly to repent. Next morning there appeared the Papal letter condemning the Parnell tribute. Great was the jubilation of the enemies of Ireland, but it was shortlived. The bishops and clergy were of course tied hand and foot, in the face of the Papal orders; and although they did not venture to disobey those orders, they did little to conceal their delight when the faithful laity expressed their determination to follow the line of their priests, rather than that of the Pope, by subscribing twice as much to the Parnell tribute as what Dr. Croke had ventured to hope in his most sanguine moments.
The first Home Rule Bill was rejected on the second reading, and the country was handed over to the Tories. For a time there was peace; but the neglect of Parliament to pass a Bill providing for the readjustment of rents in view of the great fall in prices and the failure of the crops, led to renewed agitation, which culminated in the adoption of the Plan of Campaign. The Plan of Campaign was a desperate remedy adopted for a desperate disease. Dr. Croke had not direct part or lot in the adoption of this policy. Archbishop Walsh was supposed to be much more closely concerned in what is now known as Mr. Tim Harrington's plan. But even Archbishop Walsh had little responsibility in the matter. Dr. Croke doubted the policy of the plan, and gravely questioned the advisability of putting it into operation on estates whose owners were wealthy enough to be able to face the loss of the whole of their rent rather than to give in to what they believed to be an unwarrantable demand. Nevertheless, although he did not approve of the plan, he had great sympathy with the campaigners. I was shown in the hall of the Palace of Thurles an old waterproof coat known as the Patriot's, a mantle which Mr. William O'Brien used to wear in the stormy days when he was flitting from estate to estate, avoiding arrest as long as possible.
V.—THE FALL OF UR. PARNELL. Still, notwithstanding the storm and stress of Coercion. Dr. Croke continued to hope for the success of the Nationalist cause. Unfortunately, towards the close of the Coercion régime, the cause of Home Rule suffered a damaging eclipse at the hands of its own leader. It is difficult even at this distance to understand the motives which actuated Mr. Parnell in the lunatic moments which preceded his downfall. I say lunatic moments advisedly. Every one knows of the two hours' interview with Mr. Michael Davitt, in which Mr. Parnell, on the very eve of the divorce case, took elaborate pains to convince his old ally and faithful follower that the whole of the case against him was the product of the machinations of the Times, and that the only result of the case would be to inflict a damaging blow upon the enemies of Home Rule-a blow even more damaging than the exposure of the Pigott forgeries.
I learned when I was in Ireland that Mr. Parnell had indulged in similar extraordinary stories at the Palace of Thurles. He stayed two or three days with the Archbishop, and on leaving the hospitable roof of Dr. Croke, he is said to have declared, “I suppose it is very happy in heaven, but as for me, I can wish for no greater happiness than what I have had in these last few days which I have spent with the Archbishop." It was the last time that he was to cross the threshold. He was in excellent spirits, and treated the case as a miserable conspiracy of the Unionists against the cause of Irish Nationality, and laughed to scorn the idea that it could have any other
result than the confounding of his adversaries and the vindication of his own complete innocence. Dr. Croke believed him as implicitly as did Michael Davitt. Thus lulled into false security, the leaders of the Irish nation awaited the result of the trial with composure. Every one knows how it ended, but no one outside of Ireland can realise the absolute dismay and blank amazement with which the decision of the Divorce Court was received in that country.
I remember, as if it were yesterday, in the autumn of 1886 Mr. Tim Harrington abjured me never to breathe a word about Mrs. O'Shea in Ireland. Mr. Harrington's testimony is very striking, because he is not only a Parnellite, but the ablest member of the party-the man who has control of the party organ. “But Mr. Tim Harrington as far back as 1886 was under no illusions as to the impossibility of maintaining the unity of the party under the leadership of a co-respondent in a divorce case. I had asked him if there was any truth in the rumours which were even then current as to the relationship which existed between Mr. Parnell and Mrs. O'Shea. “For God's sake," said Mr. Harrington, with great emphasis—"for God's sake don't ever mention that woman's name in Ireland! If ever it should be proved that what we suspect is true, no power on earth can save Parnell. No matter how devoted we may be to him, it will be impossible for him to continue in the leadership of the Irish party. There is nothing," continued Mr. Harrington, “ upon which the bishops and clergy of our Church are more emphatic than in their condemnation of all irregularities in these matters, and we are all so dependent upon the clergy that we could not possibly maintain ourselves against them." That was Mr. Harrington's opinion, deliberately expressed as counsel to me at a time when there seemed no prospect of the scandal ever coming to a head. Such a declaration from such a man helped among other things to leave no manner of doubt on my mind as to what would be the result of the O'Shea divorce.
For a moment Archbishop Croke and the rest of the hierarchy held their breath. After the positive and precise assurances which Mr. Parnell had given them as to the confusion with which he was going to overwhelm the hosts of his traducers, they waited, to quote their owu picturesque phrase, believing that he had a stone up his sleeve. Archbishop Croke telegraphed to Mr. Parnell in the vain hope that even at the eleventh hour there might be some explanation or some answer to the reproaches which so flagrant a falsification of all his assurances certainly seemed to demand. But no explanation was forthcoming, and the public was left face to face with the fact that Captain O'Shea had obtained his divorce, and that in the opinion of the judge and jury in the Divorce Court, Mr. Parnell had been proved to have committed adultery with Mrs. O'Shea.
As considerable capital has been attempted to be made out of the relation between the action of Mr. Gladstone and the Irish hierarchy, it may be well to set forth one or two salient facts. The first move which was made was an emphatic declaration of continued allegiance to Mr. Parnell, made at a large meeting in the Leinster Hall, a meeting at which Mr. Tim Healy was one of the leading speakers. It happened, fortunately, that within two or three days of the conclusion of the trial, the Committee of the Irish hierarchy held its usual meeting. Before this Committee, Dr, Croke brought the case of Mr. Parnell, and proposed that a manifesto should be drawn up and signed by all the Irish bishops and archbishops, declaring that Mr. Parnell was not a fit man to be leader of the Irish people. This declaration was unanimously accepted by the Committee, and at once sent round the country to all the bishops for the purpose of obtaining their signatures. Oue bishop alone objected, declaring that he had already pledged himself in the opposite sense; but seeing that he would be leftina minority of one, he capitulated and signed the declaration along with the rest. But a score or more of elderly prelates scattered all over the island could not be communicated with in a moment, and as a result the manifesto was not published until a similar train of causes had forced the hands of Mr. Gladstone. There is very little doubt that immediately following the divorce
gentleman, and hence when the episcopal manifesto appeared with all the signatures attached, it was issued in order of time after Mr. Gladstone's letter. Hence an occasion was given to the Parnellites to say that the Irish bishops had only said amen to Mr. Gladstone, and had danced to the tune of the English piper. This was utterly untrue and cruelly unjust. From the first it was obvious that the Irish bishops, who are responsible for discipline and for the punisbment of scandal in their owr. diocese, could not possibly have acquiesced without a protest in the continuance of Mr. Parnell as the leader of the Irish party. Their manifesto was firm, dignified,
of Mrs. O'Shea, Mr. Gladstone took very much the same view of the situation as was loudly expressed by Mr. Tim Healy at the meeting in Leinster Hall. There was no intention on the part of the Liberal leaders to interfere in the matter. It was not until the Nonconformist conscience began to move very vigorously in this country, and found expression in the press and especially at the Sheffield caucus, that Mr. Gladstone suddenly woke up to the fact that something ought to be done, and as a result we had the famous letter from Hawarden excommunicating Mr. Parnell.
Before Mr. Gladstone's letter was written the declaration drawn up by Archbishop Croke was in circulation throughout the Irish episcopate; but the hierarchy cannot move with the rapidity of a single energetic old
and moderate. If Mr. Parnell had followed his own. instincts, and paid homage to the moral sentiments of his own countrymen, especially those of the Catholic communion, he would inevitably have regained his ascendency over his followers. Nor would his return have been complicated by any of the moral difficulties which have sealed the political fate of Sir Charles Dilke. Unfortunately, however, Mr. Parnell was unable to act upon his own judgment. Under the influence of the woman whom he preferred to his country and his cause, he rejected with indignant scorn the protests of his English allies and of the Irish bishops. At the same time he exposed himself recklessly, disregarded all the laws of health, strained a physique by no means over robust by long journeys and speeches, and in the endeavour to be bail-fellow-well-met with every corner boy who cared to give him a'hand. The Parnell of other days indeeil seemed to have departed, leaving a changeling with the features of the Irish leader, but without any of his reserve, his dignity, or his political insight.
This went on for a time, and then came the news of his sudden death. Archbishop Croke heard of it when he was on the Continent, and at first refused to believe it. A telegram removed all doubts, but only to suggest a suspicion, which has deepened in many minds to almost a conviction, that it was not quite in the ordinary course of nature that Mr. Parnell passed away. In these last and bitter days of Mr. Parnell he succeeded in udoing much of the work which had been his crowning glory to have accomplished in his younger days. He had sowed the seeds of strife in the central citadel of national union, and when he passed away he left behind him two embittered factions struggling together within the Home Rule fold and uniting all their energy in order to render impossible the attempt of the more moderate majority to secure union on the basis of a Parliamentary pledge.
VI.—HIS OUTLOOK TO-DAY. With the shattering of the Irish Parliamentary party, Archbishop Croke once more turned away from all active participation in Irish politics. There seemed to him no hope of anything being done for Ireland while Irishmen themselves were so hopelessly disunited. To all suggestions of a modus vivendi between the two extreme wings, ied on the one side by Mr. Healy, and on the other by Mr. Redmond, with a view to union at the coming General Election, he turned a deaf ear. "No," he said, "they will fight until a common enemy appears whom they hate more than they hate each other. Then they will reunite, I have seen it many a time in the old days when faction fights were rife in the land. Bands of two-year-olds and three-year-olds, as they were called, would fight furiously with each other with their blackthorns until the police appeared on the scene, then in a moment the two-yearolds and the three-year-olds would cease belabouring each other and make a firm fighting alliance against the detested police. Who kuows but that in the new Unionist administration the Irish faction may not find a substitute for the police, whose advent caused even the ferocious two-year-old and three-year-old factions to unite, if only for a time.”
It was in rain that I tried to rouse the Archbishop to a more hopeful estimate of the situation. “Time," he said, “alone will do any good. It is no use fretting, no use striving against the force of circumstances and the self-interest of those who are keeping the fires of faction alight. We must wait. It is deplorable, no doubt, that Irishmen should be pasting their force in internecine strife, instead of rallying round a leader who would fight against the enemies of their country. But the leader has not yet appeared, and the factions will go on tighting. I take little interest in it now," ho said, " for I do not s'e how things are likely to mend in the direction of Home Rule. Look at our situation. The Irish question is at bottom a land question, and the result of the agitation of the last fifteen years has been undoubtedly to give our people a firm grip of their holdings. If the Land Bill could be passed into law, I think you would find that the farmers would have obtained all that they want, and as soon as that point is reached you will fird that the farmers, especially the large farmers, will develop a very Conservative sentiment. We can sce it already in many parts of the country."
“Looking at Ireland,” said I, “as it is to-day and as it was when you were a boy; how do you think it has changed ?
“ For the better," said the Archbishop unhesitatingly. “Very much for the better. Education is very much more widely diffused, the people are better clothed, better shod and better fed,:)
“What about drunkenness?''
“If it were not for drunkenness there would be no crime in Ireland at all. As it is, there is no crime which does not arise out of that evil. There is indeed a great deal too much drinking in the country. We are contending against it in every way we can. I will never confirm any boy or girl before they have taken a pledge never to touch any alcoholic drink before twenty-one years of age. But there is a great and wonderful change in the habits of the better-to-do people. The quantity of punch which was drunk fifty years ago or even thirty years ago was enormously greater than that which is drunk to-day. People thought nothing of drinking then to an extent which to-day would be thought quite disgraceful. The improvement which has been wrought among the gentry is spreading to the townspeople, and from them I hope will descend to the mass of the people. As for the number of houses licensed for the sale of drink, that need not concern you. I do not think that the number of licensed houses stands in any relation whatever to the quantity of drink consumed. Our places are very simple; they have no fascinations to lure the people into them, and à man can get drunk in one place as soon as he can in half-adozen.”
“And what about religion?" I asked.
“Religion," said the Archbishop, " is the most satisfactory record of all. I do not believe that from the days of St. Patrick down till now has there ever been a time when the Irish people were so devoted to their religion, practising their religion as they are to-day. That is a great comfort in the midst of all adversity and disappointments."
“How has the character of the people been affected by the troubles of late years?'
“I would not care to say that it has been improred. There has been a development of suspicion, covetousness, and distrust, which was foreign to our people before. This, of course, is by no ineans universal ; but it exists, and is giving rise to grave searchings of hcart among many of the clergy."
From this it was an easy transition to discuss the political situation. Lord Houghton had been at Thurles immediately before my visit, and the keen interest and reverent attitude of the late Viceroy was remarked with pleasure. Archbishop Riordan, of San Francisco, talking with one of the priests of the diocese, said that he was much impressed as to what he heard about L'rd Houghton, a nobleman of great wealth and leisure, devoting himself sedulously to the arduous and somewhat thankless task of Viceroy. Archbishop Riordan frankly declared that he did not know of a similar case in the whole of the United States where one so young, so highly cultured, and so lavishly provided with everything that he could need, should nevertheless devote himself to the cause of his country. An American millionaire is the last man in the world to wear himself out in the service of the State.
Of what is now the late Liberal Administration, Archibishop Croke spoke with friendly respect somewhat dashed with disappointment. “There have been three blunders which have somewhat prejudiced the Administration in the eyes of the Irish. These are, I do not