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Views and Reviews.
SOME RELIGIOUS STATISTICS AND THEIR IMPORT. The most recent census returns of Germany reveal a condition of things religious interesting to the student of social movements. The census tables of the German Empire, like those issued to ourselves, set forth the religious profession of the inhabitants registered. The revelations of the census tables in this respect have taken most people by surprise. The German newspaper editors are surprised, and endeavour to explain the strange state of facts.
We in Ireland are accustomed to regard the German Empire as overwhelmingly Protestant. Germany is, in our eyes, the great Protestant Power, and our sympathies frequently are guided by this belief. It would probably modify our prejudices to know that in the German Empire there are not twice as many Protestants as Catholics, and the modification would be all the greater if we were satisfied that in the Empire the Catholic population is increasing more rapidly than the Protestant. On both points the census returns recently issued give us adequate
Let us examine the figures. East Prussia, Hanover, Saxony, and many of the minor States are no doubt, Protestant, by large majorities; but in West Prussia, Bavaria, and Baden, the Catholics form much the larger part of the population. Taking the population of the Empire as a whole, we find that of every 1,000 persons, 625 are Protestant, and 361 Catholic. The most Protestant of the important States of the Empire are Prussia, where the Protestants are 633 per thousand, Hessen, where they are 666, Wurtemberg, 690, Schleswig-Holstein, 972. The important States in which the Catholics are in the majority are Alsace-Lorraine, where they
thousand of the population ; Bavaria, where they are 706; and Baden, where they are 606. Curiously enough, the most Catholic of all the States of the Empire is that from which the Imperial House takes its family title—Hohen-Zollern. Here the Catholics are 949 per thousand of the population.
Let us now observe how the two principal churches of the Empire have increased with the increase which has steadily taken place in the population since the Empire was founded in 1871. In the following table the numbers for each quinquennial term of the whole period are set forth. Year. Protestant.
16 232 671
20,327,913 During the twenty-nine years following the establishment of the Empire, the Protestant population of Germany is seen to have increased
by 9,649,419; the Catholic by 5,458,621. The increase of the Catholic population has been, for the whole period in question, an increase of 36.7 per cent., that of the Protestant population, 37.7 per cent. Taking the whole 29 years, we find that the increase on the Protestant side has been slightly over that on the Catholic. But if we confine our attention to the last ten years we find that the increase on the Catholic side has been very much the more rapid. The Protestants have, indeed, added over four million to their numbers, the Catholics a little under 23 millions ; but the percentage of increase has been, on the Catholic side, 15.01 per cent., as compared with 13.55 on the other.
The recent progress has, however, done little more than restore things to the proportion in which they stood in 1871. The figures show that in that year the Catholics were 362 per thousand of the population. With all the ground gained in the last decennium, they are now only 361, that is, they are proportionately where they were thirty years ago.
The newspapers have, with their usual acuteness, investigated the causes of the increasing proportion of Catholics in recent years. One of the most important organs of Protestant opinion attributes it to the fact that among the wealthier classes, which are predominantly Protestant, the practice of limiting the number of children in a family is growing more and more general. And, again, the same journal will have it that the political action of the Catholic Parliamentary Party (the Centre), so carefully devised and so perseveringly carried out, has made the Catholic Church an iinposing power in Germany, and there is an attraction for many people in a religion which is “ so powerful in Church and State.”
The newspaper writer, whose explanation we have cited, is surprised that “at the moment when the ‘Los von Rom' movement has made such progress in Austria, in Germany itself the Evangelical Church should begin to give way before the Catholic." The point of this observation will be lost on many of our readers without a few words of explanation.
Among the political parties whieh have turned the Austro-Hungarian Empire into a field of continuous and embittered strife, the German National Party (Deutsch-National) is conspicuous. The aim of its policy is to bring ahout a union of the German States of Austria with the German Empire; to make the German Empire and the German people conterminous. From the point of view of material self-interest the German subject of Austria can urge many reasons in favour of this scheme. If carried out it would not increase his burdens, and it would add largely to his industrial opportunities. Germany has made rapid progress in the industrial and commercial arts since the war with France--what development she has reached is shown by the industrial exhibition now open at Dusseldorf—and for men who are bent on making money she offers facilities much more favourable than can be found in Austria. Besides, there is the never-ending strife of races and languages in the Southern empire, which practically renders progressive legislation impossible, and which maintains a condition of social and economic unrest from which traders and manufacturers would be glad to escape. For all these reasons many hard-headed practical men among the German population of Austria-Hungary would
welcome the incorporation of the German territory of that empire with Northern Germany. Nor is the feeling confined to the representatives of industry and commerce. Thoughtful men, who have no personal interest in manufacture or trade, who are concerned only for the general well-being of the people, are to be found holding strongly to the same view.
But how, it may be asked, do the Northern Germans regard this scheme? Are they attracted by the increase of power which it would give to their empire ? Are they, too, enamoured of a Pan-Germanic state? That the increase of power has its attractions for them we may take without question, and a Pan-Germanic empire they would not object to. But these results would have to be bought at a price which they are not quite ready to pay. As these figures quoted above have shown, the existing German Empire is Protestant by a large majority. A brief experience of the administrative system of the country will satisfy the observer that the majority use their advantage to keep to themselves something more than their due share of the positions of honour and profit. The admission of the German population of Austria into the Northern empire would destroy the Protestant ascendancy there. Political supremacy would no longer be the undisputed possession of the “ Evangelical ” body. As things stand, the Catholics have only fifteen millions to make up in order to be on a level with the
Evangelicals.” This deficit would be speedily supplied by the accessions from the dual empire. The prospect of such an accession is not therefore regarded with special favour by the members of the communion actually dominant in the German Empire at the moment.
To allay their prejudices, and to prepare them to accept a consummation which many observers think inevitable, a movement has been begun to Protestantize the Catholic population of Austria. It is known as the “ Los von Rom” movement--a movement for separation from Rome. At bottom, it is wholly and essentially political. The“ professors ” who have been enlisted in its service put forward, no doubt, reasons for their propaganda, which are not distinctly and avowedly political. But the theological and other theoretic arguments of the
professors" have in them nothing specially new; their opportuneness comes wholly from the political circumstances in which they are employed. The movement has, so far, had only a partial success. Some 30,000 or 40,000 Catholics have joined the new party. They belong, for the most part, to the upper “bourgeoisie ;” they are men whose industrial or commercial interests would be favourably affected by a union with Germany.
Another development of the policy of Protestantizing Austria is to be found in the action of the Protestant Alliance, a body which has undertaken to establish a Protestant parish, with a resident Protestant clergyman, in every considerable town of German Austria. The project has been carried out with much energy and at much expense. The circumstances of the new pastors” remind one of the days when an Irish Protestant rector held a handsome church and rectory, and drew a handsome salary, in a parish where he had no congregation beyond his own family and some elect members of the local police force. But in spite of such discouragement the policy is maintained, and funds are found to apply it. It may eventually be found to yield results worth the expenditure which it now demands. Should the time come when the question of an union with Germany took practical shape, and the issue had to be put to the people themselves, the presence in every considerable parish of a Protestant clergyman who could be trusted to organise the opinion of his flock in a favourable sense would count for much. And further, the existence of a Protestant community-its proportions would not need to be specified-in a parish would justify the appointment to local posts of importance of Protestant officials ; and the possibility of such appointments on a large scale would do much to reconcile German opinion to the extension of the German empire to the borders of Hungary and Italy.
In the light of these considerations the alarm manifested by the German newspaper from which we quoted in the beginning becomes intelligible. If while money is being spent, and labour bestowed in Austria to extend Protestantism, and so prepare the way for the establishment of a Pan-Germanic empire, which shall be Protestant, by an adequate majority, it is discovered that the work done in Austria is being neutralized by the gains of Catholicism in Germany, is it a wonder that the authors and supporters of:the plan of union should be surprised and pained by the discovery?
The Story of Inis Cathaigh (Scattery Island). By DANIEL MESCAL,
LL.D. Dublin : O'Donoghue and Co. PROBABLY the most interesting part of this little volume is that treating of the memorials of St. Senan, which are still left on Inis Cathaigh and in the neighbourhood. We also have an account of some miracles worked by the saint, and of many devout practises which are still in vogue
Clare in his honour. The account of the saint himself is rather fragmentary, and gives the reader very little idea of his personality. We merely learn his birthplace, where he studied, and how he founded a monastery in Inis Cathaigh. The author does, how. ever, seem to have taken great trouble to ascertain the truth of these facts.
He makes use of the book to inveigh against the present National School system as affording no opportunity for the study of Irish history, and of the lives of the great men of bygone times, who won for our land its renown as the home of holiness and of learning, when all Europe was plunged in darkness and ignorance.
Votre Dame de Paris. Par VICTOR Hugo. Abridged and edited, with
Introduction and Notes, by John R. WRIGHTMAN, Ph. D.,
Co., London and Boston.
both masters and pupils. The former will find the book extremely useful as an illustration of the principal characteristics of the great Romantic Revival of 1830, and of its chief begetter, and also as a text for translation. The latter cannot but be pleased at having put into their hands a book which they can really enjoy, and in which they can take a genuine interest. They will find their dictionary work considerably lightened by the Notes, in which all the more difficult words and phrases are translated, and the allusions clearly and concisely explained. We think, however, that students who can read Victor Hugo with any degree of ease ought to have a sufficient knowledge of French to enable them to translate such familiar idioms as prendre son parti, ce fut à qui, force lui fut, and the like.
The introduction contains a scholarly account of Victor Hugo and his works. Some omissions have necessarily been made in the text to make the book fit for educational purposes. Of Book VI., for instance, we only get a synopsis. The abridgments are, however, rather a gain to the work, as the chapters which have been left out are mostly descriptive, or taken up with digressions. A short account of each is given, so that the thread of the story is preserved unbroken, and the work is, in its abbreviated form, quite long enough for a class book.
Selections from De Quincey. Edited with an Introduction and Notes
by Milton Haight Turk, Ph. D., Professor of the English Language and Literature in Hobart College. Athenæum Press Series. GINN
and Co.: London and Boston. The selections from De Quincey in the little volume before us have been chosen with taste and judgment, and are calculated to give the reader as good an idea of so voluminous and varied a writer as can be formed from any book of extracts. We have some interesting autobiographical memoirs from the “ Confessions" and the “Suspiria,” and some reminiscences of the author's intercourse with his great contemporaries, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Lambe. The remaining extracts are old, familiar friends—“Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts," of Arc,” “The English Mail Coach” and the like. It would be superfluous to point out the different styles in which these pieces are written.
In the Introduction, the Editor gives a very full account of the author and his works. His critical remarks are suggestive, and deal with many disputed points. The intelligent student will find the notes very useful, as they explain all the allusions in the text, and give a great deal of information. The book is all that can be desired from an educational point of view.