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any compromise of the action, or of the cause of complaint, because they felt that he had not been guilty of that of which Baron Platt coarsely and cruelly accused him, of publishing a false and malicious libel. False it was not, except in particulars as to which, either it had been published in a form in which he had not written it, or in an immaterial point in which he had been misled by his assailant; and malicious it was not at all, as it was written for the purpose of a just and necessary vindication. His advisers, therefore, declined to accede to any verdict for any damages, however small,
not even forty shillings, or a farthing. They also declined to adopt any kind of apology or retractation. It was pressed upon them that the plaintiff had by his three failures been put to enormous expense, and although there had been a subscription amongst some zealous Protestants, yet it may be assumed that the funds had proved insufficient, and that as the chance of success diminished, the subscribers were less disposed to contribute. It was represented to the Cardinal's advisers, that though he did not write the libel as printed, and had actually directed a correction of the only error of importance, yet that it had been published, and was in one respect—that referred to-untrue; and it was urged that he might, at all events, pay a portion of the costs. This was assented to. And the consequence was, that when for the last time a Protestant jury were about to be empannelled to try the case of Wiseman v. Boyle, they were doomed to be utterly disappointed; without a word being said, the record was withdrawn, and they were sworn in the next case ; with looks of blank surprise and baffled spite. Such was the “lame and impotent conclusion” of the cause in a legal point of view. Practically, as the Cardinal of course will have to pay his own costs, in addition to that portion of the plaintiff's which his advisers had engaged to pay, the probability is that the champions of moderate Catholicism, aided by Protestant zeal, will have succeeded in inflicting upon the Cardinal Archbishop, in addition to a twelvemonth's annoyance, a fine not far short of the sum for which the impartial Surrey jury returned their verdict. The money may be replaced; the wear and tear of mind, the worry of spirit, and the keen sense of unkindness, injustice, and wrong, are not so easily compensated. Nor
will any who heard ever forget the speeches of the plaintiff's counsel, nor the contumely and obloquy
VOL. XXXIX.-NO. LXXVII.
which the advocate of a Catholic Priest was instructed to heap upon an illustrious Catholic Prelate. But morally what is the result and aspect of the case ? Setting aside its exposure of the infirmity of English Judges, the partiality of English juries, and the iniquity of English Law, what does the issue of the case show? The plaintiff's counsel represented the client as the champion of the moderate English Catholics, suffering for their opposition to the extreme views of the “ ultramontane” party, headed by the Cardinal. Well, this was the battle field of that moderate party, if there is such a party, which the plaintiff instructed his counsel to make. The assailants chose the field; they selected the weapons ; they entrapped the Cardinal by a newspaper attack into a newspaper defence. And then they challenged him in an action for libel, mainly upon the strength of a mistake for which he was not responsible, and which he had promptly corrected. They narrowed their cause to a miserably small issue. They made in each successive encounter a miserably small muster, they met ultimately with a miserable discomfiture. They snatched a verdict for once by evidence
a which was contradicted by numerous affidavits. They had declared that the clergy of England disapproved of the Hierarchy, and were not friendly to its head: but only three clerical assailants came forward-the plaintiff, and his two witnesses, Mr. Ivers, and one other priest from a different diocese. The question in substance was whether these priests and the letters in the Ami represented the Catholic clergy of England: and the history and issue of the cause showed clearly that they did not. This was the question which the Cardinal originally came forward to settle. Like all men who have the courage to stand forth in defence of a great cause he has suffered, but he has succeeded.
Moreover, it has been made manifest that the real cause of the action was the removal from Islington. That was what the plaintiff's counsel harped upon in his truculent speeches at Guildford and at Kingston. That was what the calm one-sided Baron Platt dwelt upon with so much bitterness, until reminded that it had nothing to do with the case. That was what the jury gave damages for; the libel was so unsubstantial that it could only call for nominal damages. So well was this understood, that the moment the court of Exchequer declared that damages could on no
account be given for the removal, the plaintiff's counsel prepared to relinquish the action. Then it was not really an action for libel. Practically it was an action for the removal ; and it is in this point of view that the action is of the deepest moral and historical interest. In ecclesiastical history it will have a melancholy distinction. It is, we believe, as the Editor of the Weekly Register remarked, the first instance of an action by a priest against his Bishop, for an act in the discharge of his spiritual and pastoral duty. That the removal from Islington was such an act who can question? Rightly or wrongly, it was done by the then Vicar Apostolic, as the Pastor and Bishop of the Diocese, and it was an act which related to the pastorship of a particular parish or chapel. Then the action was brought against the Bishop for a letter in which he had explained and vindicated the reasons for the removal. It is immaterial whose was the attack upon him which called for the explanation. It is enough that it was called for. It was given, and justly given. It was made the technical ground of an action for libel ; in which the real complaint was as to the removal. This was then an action by an assistant-Priest or Curate, who could not possibly have canonical rights (even had canon law been established) against his Bishop, for removing him from a mission from which the senior priest had already been removed, for reasons he had well and wisely acqniesced in. Whatever the merits of the action, however, it was the first of its kind, and we hope it will be the last. The long annals of the Church present, we believe, no instance of such an action as the suit of a priest against his bishop for removing him from a mission, more especially after a submission and professed reconciliation. Is a secular tribunal under any circumstances to be resorted to by a priest in such a case? This is a grave question, to which, surely, there can be but one answer. There can be little doubt that the action would never have been brought, but under Protestant persuasions.
That the removal was rightful the plaintiff had already acknowledged by his submission. If it were not so, or if the Cardinal's letter were wrongful, there was an appeal open to the Holy See. And as regards the letter, the fair and proper course even for a man indisposed to abide by a spiritual tribunal's decision was—to reply to the letter in the press. But no: an action was brought, of which of course the result could
not be otherwise than vexation and expense.—Was it brought for that? If so, it has certainly succeeded; and the Protestant subscribers and Catholic sympathizers have had something for their money. They have inflicted great annoyance and a heavy fine upon a Catholic Prelate. But there are successes which bring no consolation, and win no honour.
For a Priest to have resisted removal on the score of claims for " compensation, which he refused to refer to the arbitrament of brother-priests, and then to have sued his Bishop, and made the gist of his complaint that removal, is surely something not to be recalled by any priest without regret; while as to the Bishop, it certainly may be regarded, with or without reference to the merits of the case, as more or less a case of suffering_for the integrity and sanctity of his high office. If Bishops are to be assailed with virulent attacks for removing priests, or by expensive law-suits for answering such attacks by explanations of the grounds of removal the Pastoral office will be exercised under terror of the secular law, and their priests regarded as their future prosecutors. Is this a state of things which any Catholic can contemplate without pain? Yet that was the state of things to which this action tended to conduct us, had it not been manfully and successfully resisted. For that resistance, surely the Cardinal Archbishop will receive, among good Catholics, loyal and dutiful sympathy.
Art. VI.-- Allocuzione della Sanctita di Nostro Signore Pio PP. IX.
Al sacro Collegio vel Consistoro Segreto dci 22. Gennago 1855. Seguita da una Esposizione Corredata di documenti sulle incessanti Cure della Stessa Santita Sua a Riparo dei Gravi mali da cui e afflitta la Chiesa Cattolica nel Regno di Sardegna. Roma, 1855.
system, based on the principles of our own, has stood the shock of those convulsions which have proved fatal to other polities of like nature in our time, and is now being worked with at least some outward show of success. This view is perfectly natural in a country like ours which takes great pride in its national institutions, and boasts that they are the envy of surrounding nations. We do not wish to interfere with feelings so patriotic and gratifying with reference to Sardinia. But at the same time we ask our readers to take a nearer and a more practical view of men and affairs in that country in order to see what is the real working of that piece of political machinery which shows so fair in the columns of newspapers, and in the speeches of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell. And, as the entire subject would exceed our limits, we will confine ourselves to the ecclesiastical affairs of the States of the House of Savoy, and their relation with the Holy See. This branch of Sardinian politics will give a solution to several difficult questions and illustrate divers interesting matters regarding the working of constitutional governments ;-and its investigation will place in a true light affairs and events of the highest religious and political importance, which prejudice and falsehood have distorted and misrepresented.
We must in the first place advert to two notions rooted in public opinion here, and supported even by statesmen in both Houses of Parliament. The first is, that in the Sardinian States a “Protestant Reformation” is going on, and that that country is becoming Protestant: and the second is that the body of the nation, headed by its king and its parliament, are engaged in a struggle for independence against the Holy See, and against the clergy of the Catholic Church. Both these propositions are totally false.
With regard to the first,-any one acquainted with the country must know that the mass of the nation is thoroughly Catholic, and that Protestantism is contrary to the spirit and disposition of the people. Much has no doubt been done by the government to shake their religious sentiments, and to detach the rising generation from the Church of their fathers. The present prime minister, Count de Cavour, is naturally favourable to a Protestant propagandism, because his mother was a Genevese Calvinist. He has moreover imbibed the English notion that