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support themselves, either as cultivators of flowers, as dealers, or in positions where the care of conservatories was required.
With the establishment of homes or training institutions might easily be connected an organization by which reports as to the orphans, or many of them, could be regularly obtained, so that the necessary aid or protection could be extended to them in case of necessity.
In some of the present asylums, not only orphans, properly so called, that is, children deprived by death of both parents, are received, but also children who have one parent living. There are cases where a man losing his wife and compelled to go out to his work cannot possibly look after his children, and must place them in an asylum ; as there are widows who cannot carry their children to the place where they work, nor leave them safely. Yet there are cases where the parent will struggle on bravely rather than be separated from the children. Such parents should always be encouraged and aided; for all conversant with the management of asylums know that in a large number of applications by young widows, there is really a lack of parental affection, and that they wish to rid themselves of a burden in order to marry again. They contribute a little for a time and then cease all payment, often disappearing entirely. To receive the children of such heartless mothers is really aiding them to extinguish all maternal instincts and all Christian principles in their hearts. There are cases given where the fact of one parent surviving is concealed and a child placed by misrepresentation in an asylum as an orphan.
The whole subject of half orphans deserves a special study and treatment; but though objects of charity, their condition differs so essentially from that of orphans, that they ought never be allowed to exclude the latter from an asylum, or be received when real orphans are applicants. In their case the closest relations should be kept up between the surviving parent and the child, so as to keep alive the natural bond of attachment; and as soon as the parent can take the child back and give it a home, the parent should be urged to do so. This duty should be constantly kept before the mind of the widowed parent.
The increase in the cost of maintaining orphans in asylums in or near large cities is such that their removal will soon apparently become a necessity, only employment homes being maintained there. This may arise in part from the wish to give these establishments all the modern improvements, and abandon the simpler ways of former days. But in that case we fall into the error of State governments which spend millions on a lunatic asylum, and erect a palace, men being lunatic enough to make such a refuge, though many of those who are to enter it will be farm laborers. The orphans pass to the asylum from an atmosphere of privation and want, to which they
must eventually return, and the asylum life should not be such as to make them on leaving its walls look even to vice as a means of escaping their old surroundings. In 1843 St. Mary's Female Orphan Asylum, Baltimore, maintained 55 orphans at a cost of $1784.37, or $32.44 each ; in 1884 St. Vincent's Male Orphan Asylum, in that city, maintained 42 orphans, at a cost of $3373.96, or $80.33 each. In 1843 the asylum at Mobile maintained its orphans at a cost of $39.85 for each one; in 1884 the cost of maintaining an orphan in New York city averaged $84.37. The cost of supporting orphans has thus, it would seem, doubled in forty years. The cost of an establishment is, in addition, all the greater as the number of inmates is smaller. Hence it may soon be a question whether an experiment in some of the rising Western States, on the plan of that made by Cardinal Lavigerie in Algeria, may not be wisely undertaken by several dioceses in concert, and the orphans transferred from the overcrowded East to the labordemanding West, where, as soon as these wards of the Church are prepared spiritually, mentally, and physically for their life work, they will find a ready field for their exertion. The money contributed by the charity of the faithful will benefit a greater number, the children will gain in strength and in being isolated from the dangers and temptations of large cities, and the asylum from which they emanate will be always nearer to them than now, when many are sent thousands of miles away from the institutions where they have been nurtured. The asylum then would be a refuge or home in case of need.
We have nowhere spoken of orphans as a burthen on the Catholic community. That they must never be regarded; whether they are children of the poor and ignorant, or the children of those who possessed greater culture and moved in a higher sphere of life, where they appeal to us, it is as the wards of the Church, the special trust confided to us by God, to whom we are to minister of the goods whereof He has made us stewards. Perhaps of the two classes, the children of those whose lives have always been a struggle, a precarious battle for livelihood, is less touching than that of the genteel orphans, who shrink from the idea of an asylum, who seem entitled to retain the social place of their lost parents, but who are too sensitive to make known their condition, who tremble at the harsh repulse they fear they may experience from some one silly enough to regard the money in his hands as really his own and not God's, to be used as God wills. Even while writing these lines our interest has been awakened in such a case, two bright, talented girls, daughters of parents both of whom made a name in the field of literature, grandchildren of one whose name was a power. A convent opens its doors to them, as convents often do in similar cases. Catholic charity will, we trust, do the rest.
THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE IRISH
HE result of the late elections for the British Parliament has
fully justified the policy of the Irish National Party since the beginning of Mr. Parnell's leadership. It is little over ten years since the present leader of the Irish people first appeared on the scene of politics, and enunciated the line of action on which he held the long struggle of his country for self-government could be brought to a successful issue. The Home Rule party, under the guidance of the late Isaac Butt, had already taken up the task of agitating in Parliament in favor of the universal demand of the Irish people for the management of their own affairs, but to Mr. Parnell and his colleague, Mr. Biggar, must be really ascribed the system of active and fearless parliamentary warfare for that end. With a lawyer's instinct, Mr. Butt dreaded the power of Parliament, while he hoped to awaken its sympathies by respectful pleas for his downtrodden race, and he sharply condemned the rashness of his young follower who threw himself into open hostility with both English parties. Charles Stewart Parnell realized that it was only by a desperate struggle, and at the risk of life and liberty to its champions, that Ireland could win back the self-government which had been wrested from her by force and fraud, and he also realized that such a struggle could be made as well in the halls of a legislature as on the field of battle. Simple as that fact may now appear, it was scarcely apprehended either in Ireland or in England ten years ago. The more enthusiastic and passionate part of the Irish population, especially the young men, could see no salvation for their country save in an appeal to arms, which reflection showed to be, for the time, utterly hopeless on the part of an unorganized and divided population, almost wholly deprived of the use of arms common to every other nation of the civilized world. The more timid part of the population, realizing the latter fact, saw no hope of terminating the system of rule which was rapidly turning their country to a desert, and were ready to despair of the future. The famous obstruction policy of Parnell and his few colleagues, during the debates on the seizure of the Transvaal, first brought home to both the English and Irish people that, in parliamentary as in military operations, a guerilla warfare may break down an enemy of far superior strength. The Irish people began to realize that a minority need not accept the verdict of a hostile majority in meek silence, and that courage, discipline, in
telligence and hard work on the part of its representatives had a fair chance of winning the object of their desires even against seemingly overwhelming odds in point of numbers. A majority of Home Rule members was elected in 1880, but more than a third of them lacked either courage or honesty to carry out the programme of Mr. Parnell, and thus, for five long years, he was left to carry on the struggle, with little over thirty followers, against the two great English parties, backed by the whole force of public opinion in Great Britain. How effectually he fought it out, the overthrow of the Gladstone government, with its solid majority of over a hundred, is the best proof, and to-day he is about to open a new campaign, with the full force of an almost solid Irish representation, against two parties so balanced that neither can hold the reins of government in the British Empire against his will.
It would be folly to assume that what has been already done means the immediate concession of Irish self-government. That will have to be fought for through many a weary day, in all human likelihood, but it is much that the Irish forces are actually engaged in a campaign for national independence, with a fair prospect of success. The public opinion of the English people is strongly opposed to any concession of self-government to Ireland, and it is only by the most consummate skill that a minority of eighty-six, in an assembly of six hundred and seventy, can hope to make an unpopular cause victorious. Could it be carried out, the suggestion recently made by the London Times for settling the Irish difficulty by expelling all Nationalist members of Parliament and putting Ireland under martial law, would be readily adopted by the majority of the English voters of both parties. The utterances of Mr. Chamberlain, the leader of the English Radicals, and those of Lord Salisbury, the Conservative Prime Minister, prove that the feeling against Irish self-government is equally distasteful to Englishmen of the most opposite shades of opinion. To place confidence in the sympathies of any English party would be worse than childish on the part of an Irish statesman. Their fears and interests may bring them to consent to the emancipation of Ireland, but not their sentiments or sympathies. The title of “the huckster nation,” applied by Napoleon to the English people, is essentially correct as applied to their public policy to-day. It is only by long and patient efforts that any important concession can be wrung from the British Government. Any concession will be made in the smallest proportions possible to attain its end, and the Irish people must be prepared for a long and bitter struggle during the coming year, before an Irish Parliament can be seen again in Dublin.
Before predicting the probable result of the contest which is sure
to occupy the British Parliament during its pending session, it is allimportant to form an accurate idea of what amount of national independence is necessarily included in the idea of Irish Home Rule. With consummate skill, the leader of the Irish people has declined to present any detailed statement of the Irish requirements to the English people. To do so, at the present moment, would simply be to afford an opportunity for English prejudice to commit itself to a determined opposition, before the numerous questions involved can be tried on their merits in Parliament. It would be easy to raise a general cry in England sufficiently loud to scare both parties on the question of Irish independence, while, on the other hand, the various powers, which would make Ireland a self-governing nation, may be, each, accepted in detail. The Irish question, to-day, is a difficulty for English politicians which may, at any moment, become a serious danger, and it is for their interest, not less than Ireland's, to solve it satisfactorily. The Irish people have, again and again, brought forward plans for its solution. O'Connell's Repeal of the Union and Butt's Home Rule programme were both contemptuously rejected, and Mr. Parnell has no mind to undertake the task tried unsuccessfully by his predecessors. He prefers to leave to English ministers to find for themselves what is the nature of the self-government that will satisfy the Irish people, and when they have formed their plan, he will be ready to amend it. The aspiration of the overwhelming mass of the Irish people for emancipation from the form of government now imposed on them is notorious. To get rid of it, they would willingly overthrow the British Empire, if they had the power, and, in the vicissitudes of human affairs, the power may come to them.
“ The patient watch and vigil long
Of him who treasures up a wrong,"
are as dangerous to States as to individuals, and the rulers of the British Empire have good reason, in the present state of the empire, to remove the active feeling of hostility, on the part of the whole Irish race, which now exists. But according to the usual course of English policy, the smallest possible amount of concession will at first be proposed, and in haggling over its terms an immense amount of time will inevitably be consumed. The amount of selfgovernment which alone can satisfy the Irish people is really fixed by the nature of things itself, but it will need long debate to convince the majority of Englishmen that it is not solely dependent on their own good pleasure.
It must be borne in mind, also, that English opinion is not the only factor that requires conciliation in settling the relations between England and Ireland on an amicable basis without a com