Saturday, July 31, 2010

1892 - 1915 The New York Times

A curious development of the concept of 'the news fit to print'

The Political Tendencies of his Successor

The Cardinal who would probably win the prize- his Polish supporter – affairs in France and Germany – Spurgeon’s Return – Lord Lorne’s Appointment

By the commercial cable from our own correspondent

Copyrighted 1892 by the New York Times

LONDON, Jan. 23- This evil Winter of fogs, plagues and famine bids fair to be long remembered. We are being passed from funeral to funeral about as it were a time of war. While the effects of the general mourning and idleness during the young Duke’s burial on Wednesday and the solemnly ornate obsequies of the old Cardinal through the darkened noonday streets on Thursday are still resting like a pall on Thursday are still resting like a pall on the public spirits, Rome sends out tidings which read like a summons to the deathbed of the Pope. At this hour it is difficult to get at the exact truth in the conflicting dispatches received, but it is at least not re-assuring to learn that the Italian government has established a rigorous telegraphic censorship over all of the messages about the Pope’s condition.

Republics never get to realize by their own experiences that curious phase of Europe’s condition, where all sorts of changes in the political, social, and commercial life of nations are continually hanging contingent upon the death of some very old man. Republics use up their public men more rapidly, and those who survive are relegated to private life at an age when in England they would have arrived at a reasonable expectation of getting into the Ministry.

In Europe old men hang on till they die. The new generations wait with more or less politeness and patience for their departure and then rush in forcibly to drag everything forward to date. Four years ago it was old William whose remarkable longevity was keeping the whole Empire back in the reactionary shadows of Metternich’s time. Since then it has been Mr. Gladstone’s amazing strength and virility which have bodily held back the swelling tide of Radicalism from bursting forth and overwhelmingly the old Liberal party organization. Watching him has become such a hopelessly stale story, however, that it needs only a hint to divert the general attention of the Vatican, where untold things depend on the waning life of another aged man.

The Papacy since 1870 has been in a position where practically everything turns upon the personality of the Pontiff and his choice of advisers. There can be no more mediocre Popes under whose nominal guidance matters can go on in commonplace routine. Every successor of Peter now must make a big mark in the history of the Church, for good or bad. If he is not very strong, he will be found lamentably weak. There is no longer any middle course.

Leo has been one of the strong kind. His fourteen years of reign have been devoted to building a new sort of Papacy beside rather than upon the ruins of the old structure. Considering the great difficulties and obstacles in the way of his task, proceeding even more from within then without, the result is exceptionally successful. Perhaps the outcome of his labors is best defined by saying that he has shown
those who thought the Papacy need no longer be taken into account in the world’s affairs because Rome has been wrestled from it that they were profoundly mistaken. The Vatican to-day wields far greater influence in Europe than it has done since the French Revolution.

But it is a peculiarly personal influence. The next Pope will inherit only the opportunities of securing it for himself and failing to improve these will be vastly easier than success.

It seems to be taken for granted that Cardinal Raphael Monaco la Valetta will secure the succession. He is the doyen of the Sacred College and Secretary of the Inquisition - an amiable, unambitious priest of sixty-five, who has the very slenderest notions of or interest in the general European situation. He is extremely simple in his tastes, is not in the least stirred by all the great outside social and political problems with which Leo has striven to grapple with as a sacerdotal Tory. By temperament he always belonged to the conservative wing of the college. He will assume the tiara, if elected, as its representative and as opposed to the small liberal group headed by Cardinal Parocchi. If he stood by himself there would be no risk in predicting that his would be a reign under which the papacy would lose more prestige than Leo had gained for it.

It is very well understood, however, that Monaco is entirely under the control of Ledochowski, that proud, imperious, and able Pole who made Bismarck such worlds of trouble in the old Kulturkampf day and who has been able to impose his will very often upon even the present Pope. This powerful man was in a German prison when Pius IX created him a Cardinal in 1875.

Next year he was released and banished, and he has since lived in Rome, devoting his great wealth and talents to building up a militant Ultramontagne party about him. His wrath at the treatment he received at the hands of Bismarck has colored all his political views. He has hated both Germany and Italy and has looked un ceasingly forward to the time when French bayonets should restore the temporal power of the Vatican in the old Roman States.

If we assume that this spirited and resolute prelate will shortly be ruling the Church through its nominal head, it becomes a most anxious question how he will accept the existing political conditions of Europe which have so radically changed since 1875. The new rulers of the Germans have been at pains to show their desire to abolish the last traces of the Kulturkampf. When the pending Prussian Education bill is passed, the German Catholics will be actually stronger than they were before the May laws. During the last half year these dispatches have frequently reflected the new interest which William and his immediate entourage are displaying in the Polish question. Of course a good deal of this has arisen naturally from the contemplation of the necessity of sooner or later fighting Russia: but even more it represents the effort to allure Ledochowski into friendship with Germany by an appeal to his national sentiment. How far this has successor will be, as has been said, a most anxious question.

In any event under this new regime there would be an abrupt cessation of pastorals on Socialistic and labor problems and of poems about St. Thomas Aquinas. We should instead see the Vatican boldly embark upon the troubled waters of European diplomacy, seeking alliances and taking desperate risks upon the fortune in the next war. The outcome of this altered policy it is wholly impossible to foretell, but at least it does not bid fair to lie in the direction of an increased spirituality.

Today William has been receiving the new King and Queen of Wurtemberg at Berlin with ceremonial pomp equal to that bestowed upon the most important of foreign monarchs. In this characteristically exuberant fashion he marks the fact that the old King Charles hated Prussia, whereas the present ruler admires it. With this demonstration particularism may be said to have been buried in Germany. Wurtemberg’s soldiers are to abandon the old double-breasted coat for the Prussian government, and in the coming maneuvers the Bavarian and Wurtemberg corps are to work side by side for the first time in the empire with Prussian troops. Even Posen is being coaxed and conciliated into harmony with the rest of Prussia and furtively excited by rumors of a restored Poland being set up on her borders.

Poland itself is likely to furnish food for a sensation before the year closes. Her patriots have been for months planning to commemorate this hundredth anniversary of the great partition by wearing mourning and abstaining from all festivities during twelve months. Gen. Gourko, the brutal Satrap of Poland, got the leading Polish nobles together at his New Year’s reception and brusquely advised them to give up their intentions of not dancing this year, “it would be better,” he said, “for you to dance of your own free will than that I should make you dance.”

The Poles are however, obstinately wearing black and avoiding social services, and as a consequence the stories of persecution, arrests and a wholesale reign of terror which cross the border are more distressing than ever.

Russia is at last reluctantly recognizing her powerlessness this year to do anything but fight the famine. Alll projected measures against the Jews and foreigners and what little remains of the Liberator Czar’s reformed institutions have been in definitely postponed, and by all officialdom has been set at work to keep the demon of starvation at bay. No news comes out save of hunger and pestilence punctuated with official piracy and emphasized by grave popular turbulence.

In France, accordingly, one hears very little now about Russian friendship, and nobody feels impelled to sing a Russian hymn. Paris has suddenly discovered that foreign politics are uninteresting and has concentrated her attention upon an amusing blackguard Deputy named Laur, who serves as the exiled Rochefort’s mouthpiece in the campaign of revolting defamation against Minister Constans. The whole episode is distinctly of an Elysee-Montmartre oder- that is to say, it couldn’t happen anywhere else than in Paris. It is only there that one has journals daily charging a Minister with unmentionable crimes and the Minister publicly thumping the head of the Deputy while he reiterates these charges in the Tribune. But perhaps even this is better business than subscribing to Russian loans.

Poor little Portugal, after prolonged wriggles and wry faces, has at last swallowed an ugly dose, and is openly discussing the necessity of selling some of her colonies. The fateful proposition has been made in the Cortes, and the newspapers are approving it. What makes this final sacrifice of dignity still more terrible to national contemplation is the abiding fear that it will be made in vain and that no buyers will appear. Unhappily, it seems rather more probable that the big States will now take what they want without mooting the question of payment at all.

The epidemic called influenza shows no signs of abating, either here or on the Continent, one day this week the London Time’s advertising columns recording this unprecedented number of 157 deaths. Of these the age was given in over 100 cases and the average of these was sixty-two years. Everywhere it is noted that the mortality among aged people is phenomenal.

One other curious fact common to England, France and Germany is the special severity of the epidemic at the seaside. All the North Sea and Channel towns, from Konigsberg to Havre, have suffered much more than the inland places. Portsmouth and Brighton have led the English death rate lists. Outlying islands like man and the Scillies have been literally ravaged by the disease.

Perhaps there is a hint in this for scientists.

Mr. Spurgeon is recovering his health in the south so rapidly that he is expected now soon to return. The thanks offering of his parishioners will take the curios form of a thirty five hundred dollar hydraulic elevator from the floor of his church up to the pulpit, which is now being put in. No other gift would have been so accept able to the pastor, for he is increasingly fat and short of breath, and the exertion of climbing the pulpit stairs used often to induce faintness and vertigo.

Not all of the pathos of the recent royal bereavement was concentrated on the person of the young Princess May.

Her father must feel convinced at last that he was born to bad luck. He poor man has been entangled in a fringe of bankruptcy for twenty years and bullied by Parlia mentary reformers whenever royal grants came up, and sarcastically alluded to in the flippant papers as the Duke of Tick. Finally, when the gates of fortune opened and a golden vista dazzled his vision, he could have had hardly time to borrow interest on his debts before they were shut again with a slam. To make matters worse, he was to receive the fat sinecure of Governor of Windsor Castle, but now, so completely is his nose out of joint that the berth has been given to the Marquis of Lorne, who is not in the least need of it.

This probably marks Lord Lorne’s apogee in the official position. He is not likely to get into the House of Commons and will carry no weight when he succeeds his father in the Lords. His attempts to secure distinction as an author have been sad failures. His last look on Viecount Palmerston took him an unconscionable while to do, and then was so badly written that the publishers had to have it done over again by a hack, although Lord Lorne’s name alone appears.

The Spectator gives a long critical notice of the warm praise to the two latest volumes of Henry Adams “United States.”


Contrast that 1892 article with that in 1915 essentially announcing the February 11, 1915 election of the 26th Jesuit Order Superior General, Wlodimir Ledochowski.

The New York Times, February 14, 1915

Calls “Black Pope” Kaiser’s Tool
Special cable to The New York Times
[no author given]

PARIS, Feb. 13 -- The Laterne, which is generally considered to represent the views of the Socialist section of the Cabinet, alludes to the election of a new General of the Jesuits, saying, “It is ridiculous to try as has been attempted by certain Catholic newspapers to persuade the public that the Jesuits are Francophile. Father Ledochowski’s election shows clearly that their efforts, as they always have been, are in opposition to French liberalism. We predict the ‘New Black Pope’s” policy in one phrase: he will act according to the Kaisers [sic] orders.

History since demonstrates this was a freudian slip of deliberate disinformation over a very critical point- the view of the Kaiser, and by extension the Kaiser Reich.

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