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can to reject the law of 1905 so far as it related to the regulation of the property interests of the church and public worship. It pointed out that the Vatican could avoid friction by availing itself or permitting the French Catholics to avail themselves of an earlier and general law in regard to public meetings. By the terms of that law, two citizens, lay or clerical, might apply for permission to use the churches for religious services, and such application was sufficient for a year. The government made it clear that it had no intention of making war on religion or interfering with free worship. It did not wish to close the churches.
But the Vatican promptly vetoed even this modus vivendi. Neither priests nor laymen, it said, could be permitted to make humiliating applications under a law dealing with ordinary public meetings. This made the situation serious, and threatened to precipitate disorder and violence. The government could not tolerate defiance of law at the command of “a foreign power,” yet, on the other hand, it was unwilling to act the part of a persecutor of devout men and women. New legislation was necessary to meet the unforeseen developments.
A bill amending the separation law has since been passed by Parliament. It is no more satisfactory to the Vatican than the other statutes, and the dead-lock has not been relieved.
How the great controversy will finally be adjusted it is impossible to foretell. The Pope is ready to accept the “American" policy of "a free church in a free state." To disestablishment he is no longer opposed in principle. What he continues to oppose is lay supremacy in church matters, nonrecognition of the church hierarchy, and the imposition by the state of certain restrictions upon the use of the property that has belonged to the church. The government, on its part, fully accepts the principle of freedom of conscience and worship, but it insists that Church property should be held and used in strict conformity to French law.
Many of the Catholics sympathize with the government
and believe that the Vatican has gone too far and taken an untenable position. In England, Italy, Germany and the United States the feeling among impartial observers is that the French government has acted with moderation and prudence. In all probability, however, certain further concessions will be found necessary, and the American treatment of church property offers an example that may eventually be followed in France. At present, unfortunately, the reactionary parties identify the policy of the Vatican with hostility to the principle of Republicanism.
The Jamaica Earthquake and Anglo-American
Relations It is unfortunate that the calamity which overwhelmed Kingston and brought so much suffering, loss and misery should have threatened, even for a brief space of time, to cause misunderstanding between the British and the American peoples. That the misunderstanding has been averted is one of the clearest and strongest proofs of the radical improvements which have taken place, in a decade or so, in the relations between these two great nations, bound together by so many moral, social and historic ties.
It is not difficult to imagine the strain, the caustic remarks, the angry and bitter comments, that such an incident as the Swettenham-Davis exchange of notes would have provoked a dozen years ago. Today public opinion in both countries is anxious to obliterate the unpleasant impression of the "closed episode.” Indeed, there is abundant cause for congratulation in the sanity, good sense and good humor which the press and the leaders of public opinion so naturally and spontaneously displayed.
The facts admitted of little doubt or controversy. The need for relief was so great in stricken Kingston after the earthquake that Rear-Admiral Davis, with no other thought than humanity, hastened to land American marines for the purpose of protecting life and property, preventing looting
and crime, and relieving distress. The form and ceremonial preliminaries of ordinary diplomatic intercourse could not be vigorously observed. But Governor Swettenham of Jamaica saw fit to resent the prompt action of the American admiral and requested him to re-embark his marines. The letter in which this singular request was made was flippant and offensive; but the British government and press were the first to deplore the Governor's blunder, apologize for it and assure the United States that Swettenham misrepresented the feelings of the British people.
In continental Europe some injudicious newspapers indulged in foolish quasi-humorous references to American "arrogance,” to Admiral Davis' alleged attempt to apply the Monroe Doctrine to Jamaica under the guise of humanitarian service. These far-fetched observations were treated in England with the contempt they merited.
On the whole, therefore, the regrettable incident served to emphasize the mutual confidence, sympathy and respect which the two nations feel. The Kingston disaster continues to appeal to American sympathy, and the narrowmindedness of a few persons in office temporarily has not checked the generous response of our people to the great need of the victims of nature's disturbances.
England and a Channel Tunnel A bill has been introduced in the British Parliament authorizing the construction of a "channel tunnel,” or a submarine passage connecting Calais and Dover. The project is a magnificent one, and revives one that was discussed in the years 1882-3 of the last century. At that time military opinion in England was a unit in opposition to the scheme. A tunnel, it was held, would destroy the "insularity" of Great Britain and expose her to the risks and dangers of invasion by French troops, or by the troops of other nations who might conquer France and plan a like conquest of England. This opinion prevailed, and the project was abandoned.
Today the situation from a military point of view is different from what it was in 1882. France and England are no longer "traditional enemies," but good friends. The relations between them are excellent, and many believe that England would support France in a war of the latter with Germany. The danger of invasion is admitted to be purely theoretical and remote.
Yet the project is even now encountering vigorous opposition in the military circles and in the press. It is argued that the advantages of a tunnel would not be great enough to outweigh its risks, small as they seem to be at present. Commerce and trade might be stimulated by a tunnel; there would undoubtedly be a gain in tourist and other passenger traffic, since the expense would be reduced, time saved and the comfort of travel increased by the elmination of seasickness. It is admitted further that international intercourse, a liberalizing and cultural influence is promoted by everything that facilitates travel and communication. But national security, the objectors say, is paramount, and a country which has no great standing army and depends entirely upon her navy, should not, for the sake of material gain or comfort, weaken her defensive power in any degree whatever.
There are, however, military men of high rank who, while agreeing with this view, contend that a channel tunnel—a narrow passage, artificially ventilated and twenty-six miles long-cannot be considered as any possible factor in
There would be fortifications at each end; the destruction of either terminal would be an easy matter; the tunnel could be flooded “by the pressing of a button," or deprived of ventilation. For these reasons these authorities are disposed to support the scheme as a great technical and commercial undertaking and a credit to the age. Financial and industrial interests are backing it strongly, and it has many champions in Parliament. The outcome of the debate, however, is uncertain. Defeat for the scheme seems probable, but success is by no means impossible.
News Notes from Abroad The income for 1905-6 of charitable institutions with headquarters in London is estimated at £7,533,252.
The Lord Mayor recently entertained 1,400 poor children in the Guildhall.
Teaching of Welsh.-In respect of the controversy as to whether teaching of Welsh should be made compulsory in the public schools of Cardiff, a plebiscite of the ratepayers of the city was taken recently, when there voted-Against compulsory teaching, 7,187; for, 3,776. The counting of the votes was conducted by representatives of the Cardiff Cymmrodorion Society and the British League of Cardiff, who hold antagonistic views on the subject. Fewer than two-fifths of the ratepayers voted, and in not a single ward was there a majority for compulsory Welsh.
Saturday, December 29, was the anniversary of the birth of the late Mr. W. E. Gladstone and the statue in the Strand was decorated with floral tributes.
The Anglo-American Executive Committee for the KeatsShelley memorial recently purchased the house in Piazza di Spagna, Rome, where Keats died. The price paid was £2,400, besides £240 already paid for the purchase option. A further sum of £1,600 must be raised in order to free the house from mortgage. King Edward, the King of Italy, and President Roosevelt heartily supported the scheme. It is hoped that within six months the books, manuscripts, portraits, and all mementoes of Keats and Shelley will be lodged in the house. The committee has also undertaken the perpetual care of the graves of the poets.
Some Curious Information Desired by the English Courts.The relations are wanted of Edith Goddard, who married in 1722; of Ann Mason, wife of James Mason, who died in 1776, and of Joseph Mason who is said to have been in London in 1751; while information is sought as to the death of Matthew Gibson, of London, in 1792, and who was interested under the will of John Croger. Marian E. Dennis can hear of a bequest to her by a deceased friend and inquiry is made for Frances H. Fausset, who left her home twenty years ago.
The descendants are wanted of Sarah Geary, or Geery, wife of Simon Bateman, who died in 1809;
and 50,000 Austrian crowns are due to the descendants of G. C. Reithammer, who left Austria for England in 1839.
The Salvation Army and Emigration.—The annual gathering in connection with the Salvation Army's Emigration Department was held recently at the Memorial Hall, Farringdon