Montreal 1886

28th August 1886

 

Mgr. O’Bryen is the type of the Roman prelate, tall, distinguished in manner, with fine intellectual head, He wears gold glasses and was arrayed in the magnificent silk scarlet habit with a folded cloaking over the left shoulder, which is worn by the supernumeray chamberlains of the Court of Rome on occasion of state. After the decree was read the Ablegate stepped forward again and read a triple address to his Eminence. The Latin address was delivered with a thorough Italian accent and pronunciation, so much so that one might have fancied he heard the reading of an indult [a licence granted by the Pope authorizing an act that the common law of the Church does not sanction.] in the Sistine chapel. The French was well read, but with a slight English accent. The English address made an eloquent allusion to the union of French and Irish in the cultivation of their faith in Canada.

The Julian Watts-Russell monument, Rome, April 1894

San Tommaso Canterbury, Via di Monserrato, Roma,

I stumbled across this recently, and it is one of those nice curiosities that happen from time to time. The initial interest was sparked by the fact that two of the contributors to the monument are Mgr O’Bryen, and the then Rev. Manuel Bidwell.  Almost thirty years later Manuel, by then the rather grand sounding Bishop of Miletopolis, married the O’Bryen great-grandparents [his first cousin (once removed) and Uncle Henry’s nephew.]

The two churchmen were at either end of their church careers, and at least a generation apart in age.  Henry was fifty nine at the time, having spent almost twenty years as a papal diplomat, and would be dead eighteen months later. Manuel was only twenty two, and had just started studying in Rome at the French Seminary, and the Academy of Noble Ecclesiastics, having already gained a B.Sc. in Paris, and then studied Applied Science, at King’s College, London.  He was ordained in Rome four years later in 1898, where the assistant priest at his first mass was Mgr, and later Cardinal, Merry del Val.

So the initial spark was the curiosity of a great great uncle, and a first cousin three times removed both having been connected together, but the more one looks at the list of donors to the memorial, the grander they become, and the more it shines alight at the still glittering peaks at the top of the church. I’ll come back to that in another post. But for now, a simple explanation of who Julian Watts-Russell was.

He was a Pontifical Zouave, who was killed in the battle of Mentana, Nov. 3, 1867. The Papal Zouaves  were an infantry force formed for the defence of the Papal States in 1860. The battle of Mentana was “the last victory of the Church in arms,”  [ a interesting choice of words from the Tablet in 1967]  three years before the capture of Rome by the Italian army ending eleven hundred years of temporal papal rule. Julian Watts-Russell aged seventeen, was the youngest casualty of the battle,  “one who may be called the last of the English martyrs” [ The Tablet 1894]

THE JULIAN WATTS-RUSSELL MONUMENT.

The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :

HEIC AD MARTYRUM CRYPTAS

DORMIT IN PACE

JULIANUS WATTS-RUSSELL MICHAELIS F.

ANGLUS CLARO GENERE

PRO PETRI SEDE STRENUE DIMICANS

IN ACIE AD NOMENTUM OCCUBUIT

III. NON. NOVEMB.   AN. MDCCCLXVII.

AN. N. XVII. MENS. X.

ADOLESCENS CHRISTI MILES

VIVE IN DEO.

The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

” The Julian Watts-Russell monument is now completed. The expenses have been defrayed  by the contributions of the following persons,  chiefly members of the English-speaking colony in Rome : His Grace the Archbishop of Trebizond [the Hon. and Rt. Rev. Mgr. Stonor,],  Monsignori Merry del Val, Stanley, Giles, and O’Bryen ; the Very Rev. Joseph Bannin, S.M., the Rev. John L. Prior, D.D. (Vice-Rector of the English College), the Rev. Michael Watts-Russell, C.P. ; the Rev. G. Phillips and the Rev. Dr. Preston, of Ushaw College ; the Rev. C. R. Lindsay, the Rev. Manuel Bidwell, the Rev. Students of the English College, Alderman Sir Stuart Knill, Mr. E. Granville Ward, Miss Watts-Russell, Mr. C. W. Worlledge, Dr. J. J. Eyre, Mr. C. Spedding, Mr. C. Astor Bristead, and Mr. W. Cagger.

The Mentana monument, which has been already described, has been erected upon a base of white Carrara marble and surmounted with a Mentana medal-cross in exact imitation of that which it replaces. The whole has been placed in the Church of St. Thomas, in the corner of the Gospel side of the altar, near the memorial slabs of distinguished modern English Catholics buried in the church. The inscription on the base succinctly recalls the history of the monument:

THIS MONUMENT ERECTED AT MENTANA IN 1868 OUTRAGED AND THROWN DOWN IN 1870 BROUGHT TO THIS CHURCH AND RESTORED IN 1894 COMMEMORATES THE FAITH AND COURAGE OF JULIAN WATTS-RUSSELL WHO SHED HIS BLOOD FOR THE HOLY SEE NOVEMBER  3 1867.

The letters of the original inscription, which were badly damaged, have been restored and made legible even from a distance. The restoration of the monument has cost 300 francs, and it is proposed to apply the remainder of the money contributed to restoring his grave.”

The above text was found on p.17, 12th May 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

 

THE JULIAN WATTS-RUSSELL MONUMENT.

The monument is now finished, with the  exception of the Mentana medal-cross, and will be placed in the English College Church  during the coming week. By a singular coincidence, Captain Shee has recently come to Rome. He is a hero of Mentana, and received nine wounds in 1870, and is one of those who buried the body of Julian Watts-Russell after his death, and exhumed it when brought to Rome. In connection with present events, it may be well to record the inscription on Julian’s tomb in the Campo Verano :

HEIC AD MARTYRUM CRYPTAS

DORMIT IN PACE

JULIANUS WATTS-RUSSELL MICHAELIS F.

ANGLUS CLARO GENERE

PRO PETRI SEDE STRENUE DIMICANS

IN ACIE AD NOMENTUM OCCUBUIT

III. NON. NOVEMB.   AN. MDCCCLXVII.

AN. N. XVII. MENS. X.

ADOLESCENS CHRISTI MILES

VIVE IN DEO.

The above text was found on p.17, 7th April 1894 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The Annual Dinner Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor 1883

Albion Tavern, 172 & 173 Aldersgate Street, Aldersgate EC1

I wasn’t going to do any more of these for a while. There are relatively few members of the family there. Uncle Edmund (Bellord), and cousin John, as well as Frank Harwood Lescher, who is a first cousin by marriage (to Mary Grehan – Paddy Grehan III’s daughter), he’s also the nephew of Harriet Grehan (neé Lescher) who is also Mary Grehan’s step-grandmother. herman Lescher is his brother.

The main reason for posting this one is the absolutely extraordinary speech by the chairman. I can’t quite work out if he’s scolding them, teasing them, speaking more bluntly than he intended it to sound, or whether the “highly felicitous terms” and “equally happy manner” are just euphemisms for a bit pissed.

The annual dinner of the Benevolent Society took place on Monday at the Albion, Aldersgate-street, and was presided over by the Hon. Mr. Justice Day, supported by the Bishop of Emmaus. Among those present were Mgr. Goddard, Canons Gilbert, D.D., V.G., Wenham, Moore, O’Halloran, McGrath, and Murnane; Very Revv. P. Fenton, President of St. Edmund’s College, Stephen Chaurain, S.M.,Vincent Grogan, Michael Kelly, D.D., and Michael Watts Russell ; Revv. W. E. Addis, J. J. Brenan, D. Canty, G. Carter, C. Conway, D.D., C. A. Cox, J. E. Crook, G. S. Delaney, E. English, M. Fanning, W. Fleming, J. Hussey, C. Harington Moore, E. F. Murnane, T. F. Norris, P. O’Callaghan, M. O’Connell, D. O’Sullivan, E. Pennington, Leo Thomas, D. Toomey-Vincent, C.P., T. Walsh, and J. Wright ; the Abbé Toursel, and the Abbé Richard ; Sir James Marshall and Judge Stonor ; Drs. Carré, Hewitt, and McDonell ; Messrs. J. Bans, W. Barrett, C. J. Standon Batt, E. J. Bellord, J. G. Bellord, A. J. Blount, George Blount, James Brand, Arthur Butler, George Butler, George Butler, junior, John Christie, H. A de Colyar, E de V. Corcoran, J. Conway, E. Curties;, Samuel H. Day, W. H. Dunn, V. J. Eldred, A. Guy Ellis, R. M. Flood, E. J. Fooks, J. Fox, Garret French, J. B. Gallini, W. O. Garstin, Dickson Gray, E. Hackney, W. B. Hallett, J. S. Hansom, A. Hargrave, W. D. Harrod, A. Hawkins, A. Hernu, H. Hildreth, Thomas Hussey, Thomas Hussey, junior, J. J. Keily, K.S.G., Stuart Knill, K.S.G., G. P. Kynaston, Denis Lane, F. D. Lane, C. Temple Layton, F. Harwood Lescher, Herman Lescher, Sidney Lickorish, W. H. Lyall, G. S. Lynch, J. P. McAdam, Francis McCarthy, M. McSheehan, James Mann, J. J. Merritt, Wilfrid Oates, T. O’Neil, Bernard Parker, F. R. Wegg-Prosser, L. J. Ratton, Eugene Rimmel, E. W. Roberts, G. St. Aubyn, M. A. Santley, Joseph Scoles, A. W. C. Shean, Charles Spurgeon, C.C., Philip Thornton, M. E. Toomey, G. A. Trapp, E. F. Devenish Walshe, John Wareing, Thomas Welch, and Stephen White.

After the concluding grace had been said by the Bishop of Emmaus, Mr. Justice Day in giving the health of the Pope, said he really did not know how to deal with his Holiness without incurring ecclesiastical censure. If he wished him a long life, he might be accused of desiring to keep him out of heaven, if a short one he would be denounced as a traitor. But of this thing he was sure he could leave the toast of the Pope to the good wishes of such an assembly as he had the honour to preside over.

“The Queen, “The Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family,” were the next toasts.

Mr. Justice Day then rose to propose ” Success to the Benevolent Society.” He found it was usual to make an appeal for the charity, and if he did not make one it would be no fault of their excellent secretary (Mr. A. Butler, whose name was received with loud cheers), who had filled his (the chairman’s) pockets with details and statistics of the society. But the more he respected their secretary the more he resisted him. He was not going to make an appeal, He was afraid he could not make use of the stock excuse of want of custom of public speaking, nor could he say he was a man that knew nothing about charity, for he was a most charitable man (and he could lay his hand on his heart when he said so). He had been engaged all his life in getting for others what they could not get for themselves. He had had to appeal to juries for justice which judges denied. What would be the good of any appeal from him ? He saw before him a number of well-known charitable gentlemen who came there full of interest in the Benevolent Society and determined to support it to the best of their means. What more could they desire? He had no faith in after dinner speeches. If he attempted to rise into the higher regions of oratory, he would be sure to break down and fall into weariness and dulness. He saw on the title page of their report that this was stated to be ” the oldest Catholic charity in the metropolis,” he presumed that meant the oldest charity in the hands of Catholics, for it was a very long way off from being the oldest, Catholic charity in London was well known by its ancient charitable endowments. This charity was established at a time of hardship, penalty, and trials of our ancestors, and they naturally sought a way of supplying the wants of the old and infirm of their community and founded this charity, and he called on them to support it by their generous contributions this day. He was glad to see the merchants and bankers of the City of London contributed to this excellent work, which was entirely carried out by unpaid officials. He saw they gave gave 150 pensioners what ?—three and four shillings a week !  Not enough for the comforts, barely enough for the necessaries of life !  Let them think of that and of the many applicants who were eagerly waiting to get even this small pittance to eke out their subsistence for the few remaining years of their life.

[According to “The Art of Dining; or, gastronomy and gastronomers”  by Abraham Hayward. pub. John Murray, London 1852,  the ordinary price for the best dinner at this house [The Albion] (including wine) is three guineas. If the prices were still about the same in 1883, the dinner cost the equivalent of one month’s pension for each of the 150 pensioners.]

The collection was then made, which amounted to £1,040.

The Chairman afterwards proposed, in highly flattering terms, the health of his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, for whom the Bishop of Emmaus replied, in eulogistic expressions, of the great charity of his Eminence to all men.

Sir James Murshall proposed, and the Very Rev. Canon Murnare replied for, the ” Bishop of Southwark.”

The Bishop of Emmaus, in highly felicitous terms, proposed the health of the Hon. Justice Day, who replied in an equally happy manner.

Then followed the healths of the “Bishop of Emmaus,”  “The Clergy of Westminster and Southwark,”  “The Stewards,” given by the hon. chairman, and replied to by Judge Stonor, after which the proceedings terminated.

1st December 1883, Page 34

The Annual Dinner Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor 1901

The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. was the oldest Catholic charity in London  founded in 1761 It’s a nice worthy Catholic, and City cause, and it’s good to see members of the family there. This year there weren’t that many, but at least Great Grandpa was there, even if he was the only O’Bryen that year. Also present were Uncle Wilfrid (Parker) his brother-in-law, his cousin Frank Harwood Lescher, and Frank’s cousin Joseph S. Lescher [by then a papal Count]. The only surprise is that John Roper Parkington wasn’t there, but maybe he had a cold.

 

The annual dinner of the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor was held at the Albion, Aldersgate-street, on Monday evening. The Hon. Mr. Justice Walton presided, and there were also present the Bishop of Emmaus, the Bishop of Southwark, Sir Westby Perceval, K.C.M.G., Colonel Maguire, Major J. H. White, V.D. ; the Very Revv. Provost Moore, Canon Johnston, D.D., V.G., Canon Keatinge, Canon McGrath, Canon Murnane, Canon Pycke, Canon White ; Commendatore Hicks, K.C.S.G. ; Captain Shean ; the Revv. W. V. Allanson, D.3., Thomas Carey, Alexander Charnley, S.J., George Cologan, W. J. Condon, C. A. Cox, G. B. Cox, J. Crowley, George Curtis, E. du Plerny, J. Egan, Edmund English, E. Escarguel, M. Fanning, Dean Fleming, Roderick Grant, James Hayes, W. J. Hogan, D. Holland, S. E. Jarvis, 1.C., William L. Keatinge, Hugh Kelly, Michael Kelly, O.S.A., D.D., P. McKenna, E. B. Mostyn, E. F. Murnane, Edward Murphy, J. M. Musgrave, Francis J. Sheehan, Edward Smith, Francis Stanfield, J. S. Tasker, G. B. Tatum, Lea Thomas, S.M., Louis Toursel, Felix J. Watters, S.M., D.D., A. E. Whereat, D.D. ; and Messrs. Frank Beer, J. Nugent Burke, John Carnegie, John Christie, A. K. Connolly, James Connolly, John J. Connolly, J. A. Connolly, S, Frederick Connolly, John Conway, James Donovan, P. F. Dorte, LL.B., Cecil Dwyer, Reginald B. Fellows, M.A., H. M. Fisher, R. M. Flood, P. J. Foley, Francis T. Giles, Anthony Hasslacher, Charles Hasslacher, J. E. Hill, James D. Hodgson, S. Taprell Holland (hon. treasurer), Thomas Holland, Henry J. Hudson, John Hussey, William Hussey, J. Virtue Kelly, Joseph F. Lescher, J.P., D.L., F. Harwood Lescher, Austin Lickorish, Bernard McAdam, James P. McAdam (hon. secretary), J. M. McGrath, Ernest A. O’Bryen, Wilfrid W. Parker, R. J. Phillips, Herbert Plater, B. Rooney, L.L. Schiller, E. Simone, Joseph Sperati, Paul Strickland, Francis P. Towsey, Joseph S. R. Towsey, William Towsey, John M. Tucker, George Walton, J. Arthur Walton, George Wesley, A. E. White, Basil J. White, C. B. Wildsmith, M. J. Wildsmith, &c.

The Chairman, in proposing the first toast of the evening, ” His Holiness the Pope and his Majesty the King,” said : Through the world his Holiness is looked upon as the principal authority in spiritual matters, as his Majesty the King personifies the principal authority in temporal matters. Not many days since I had the honour of dining with the Goldsmiths’ Company, and the first toast, according to the ancient custom of the Company, was the Church and King. We translate that toast in the same spirit of loyalty. (Hear, hear.) I ask you to drink to the health of our Holy Father Leo XIII., to his health and his well-being. May that venerable life, which has been so fruitful of blessing to the Church and mankind, be still further prolonged to be a guidance to his children throughout the world. (Loud cheers.) One cannot forget that this is the first time for more than sixty years that the toast of the King has been proposed at the annual dinner of the Benevolent Society. The occasion carries our minds back to the number of years which that great Sovereign—the late Queen Victoria—ruled over this great realm with such magnificent results, and at the same time carries our minds forward with great expectations and great hopes. (Cheers.)

The toast was acknowledged with musical honours.

The next toast was that of ” Queen Alexandra, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the other members of the Royal Family,” a toast which the Chairman remarked would arouse the same feelings of personal devotion as the previous toast.

The toast was received with enthusiasm.

THE SOCIETY.,
The Chairman rose and said : Gentlemen, I have now to ask you to drink to the success of the Benevolent Society. The Society has appealed to me very warmly and sincerely ever since I first knew it. In the first place it is a benevolent society in a very special sense. 1 think it is a most useful thing, a most excellent thing, that it should bring us together in pursuit of a charitable object, and I think it is also a good thing that it should bring us together in a friendly and social gathering. (Hear, hear.)

I am sure it is very true, as I have often heard it said by one whom we have lost, and for whom I shall always have the greatest possible reverence and affection—the late Lord Russell of Killowen—(cheers)—that if we are to succeed as we ought to do in this city one thing is wanted amongst Catholics, and that is greater unity. (Cheers.) The more we can see of each other, the more the laity can see of the clergy at gatherings like this the better it is for us and the stronger will be our position in this city, and the greater will be the success which we shall attain in every undertaking we have in hand. (Hear, hear.) The history of the Benevolent Society, although, as far as I can see, its records are not very voluminous, is very interesting. It was founded in 1761, and this takes our minds back to the time when to be a Catholic was to be a criminal, for a priest to say Mass was a capital offence, and for a Catholic to send a child to a Catholic school was an offence which might entail forfeiture of all he possessed. The Society couples us up and links us with the Catholics of old days, those who before the time of the establishment of the hierarchy and before Catholic Emancipation struggled and fought priests and laity for the faith. We are proud to know that we are now carrying on a work which was begun in the old days by the ” heroes “ who kept alive the faith. From the year 1761 we go to 1788 and ten years later, during which the Penal Laws had been repealed, at least to a very large extent. At the first annual gathering the amount subscribed was £ 53 Later on the Society met at ” The Five Bells,” Moorfields, and the annual gathering took place in “The Three Mariners,” Fore-street. Later on the meeting took place in Moorfields Chapel. In 1849 the amount subscribed at the annual dinner was £ 349. In 1857 the name of Canon Gilbert—(cheers)—who was so much revered not only by the Society, but by Catholics in all parts of the country, joined the Committee, and the name of the Rev. James Laid Patterson, now the Right Rev. Bishop of Emmaus, was included in the list. (Cheers.) Passing to 1861 we find the amount subscribed was £ 574.

ITS WORK.

And now I turn to more recent days, and I find that the amount spent and distributed during the last year was £1,484 13s. 61, besides some money for coals distributed at Christmas. I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves upon the success of this venerable and most useful Society. (Hear, hear.) It seems to me that there are two forms of benevolence to which objection cannot possibly be taken. One is the good work of assisting children in their education, and especially the poor children of the Catholic poor. (Hear, hear.) It is necessary that all Catholic children should have an efficient education in order to prepare them for the battle of life. (Hear, hear.) That is one form of good work which has been done in the past and in the way of building our poor schools. I am glad to see a spirit arising—it is a resurrection, it is a revival—of realising the importance of doing something for the education of our boys in our higher schools in the way of establishing exhibitions and scholarships which may assist a boy whose parents may not be in position to afford it, so that these Catholic boys may take their proper place in life. The other kind of work to which I allude is rendering assistance to those who have fought the battle and have failed. (Hear, hear.) That is a work which the Society undertakes. One of the saddest features of modern life is the necessity for something in the nature of old age pensions. Amongst Catholics in London this Society endeavours to give that assistance, and to do that most excellent work, of coming to the rescue of those who in their old age, by sickness, by misfortune, need the assistance of some charity. I know I shall not appeal to you in vain for subscriptions. We have 190 pensioners, we want to increase that number to 200. (Cheers.) I ask you to-night to support, as indeed you always do, but even more so this most deserving charity, and speaking personally it is a great pleasure to me to preside at the gathering. (Cheers.)

BISHOPS AND CLERGY.

Sir Westby Perceval proposed the health of “The Cardinal Archbishop, the Bishops, and the Clergy of the two Metropolitan Dioceses.” The speaker said : A note has been struck by our chairman as to the value of these gatherings from a social point of view, which appeals to us very forcibly. It is a sad want in Catholic London that so few opportunities are afforded Catholics to meet each other and to meet their clergy, and it is their health I submit to you this evening in the toast which I propose. (Cheers.) It is a very comprehensive toast, and when I was asked to propose it the first thought that entered my mind was the excellent opportunity for retaliation. (Laughter.) Most of us have sat at the feet of the clergy and had our little weaknesses exposed, but I have not been very successful in discovering the weaknesses of the clergy. (Laughter). There was a certain prophet of old who was told to curse and ended by blessing, and that is the position in which I find myself this evening. (Laughter.) We as ” Britons “ take a deep and practical pleasure in our bishops and our clergy, and we cannot show our love in a better way than by fostering and maintaining that spirit of loyalty. (Loud cheers.)

SPEECH BY THE BISHOP OF EMMAUS.

The Bishop of Emmaus in a humorous speech responded. He had long, he said, been a member of the Benevolent Society. In addition to carrying on the very praiseworthy work of assisting the poor, the Society had promoted a cordial feeling between clergy and laity which was, he thought, a distinguishing mark of English Catholicity. (Cheers.)

REPLY BY THE BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK, The Bishop of Southwark also responded. He said : The thought I am sure that must be uppermost in the minds of all present must surely be an expression of love for his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop and of a desire that he may be long spared. (Hear, hear.) I certainly know of no life more precious to the Catholic Church in England at the present day than that of his Eminence Cardinal Vaughan. (Hear, hear.) He has given to us, as I often tell him, a marvellous example of courage in works he has undertaken, and particularly in the undertaking of the building of his magnificent cathedral. (Hear, hear.) He had not much encouragement at the beginning, but he has faced that burden and he has carried it on nobly, and the wish of everyone to-night is that he may be spared to see the cathedral opened. (Cheers.) Speaking for the diocese of Southwark, I think it is not badly represented this evening. (Hear, hear.) As I look round the room I think I can say that we of Southwark are trying to do our duty to the Society. (Hear, hear.) I hope the opportunity we get year by year to meet together—the clergy and the laity—may always be maintained to the very full, and may always promote those cordial relations which do exist between the clergy and the laity of this country. (Cheers.) As we look around upon this city—as I look myself upon the rapidly developing suburbs of South London, in which there has been an increase during the past year of 230,000 souls—we are able to realise what a great mission we Catholics, clergy and laity, have before us, if the work is to be well done and if we are to produce upon this city, and to carry it into action, the influence which we ought to have. (Loud cheers.) One great element in our work will be the clergy and laity more closely united together. (Hear, hear.) I do not know what the future is to bring forth, whether the laity are to be called upon to take a more active part in the temporal administration of our missions—(laughter)—but I am sure whatever call is made upon them they will respond generously. (Hear, hear.) Of this I am certain, that as we live we must inevitably see an enormous increase in the influence of the Catholic Church throughout the cities of London and Westminster, and throughout the Borough of Southwark. (Cheers.)

THE CHAIRMAN.

Mr. Joseph Francis Lescher proposed the health of the Chairman. He said : When the elevation of Mr. Walton was announced the Catholic world was exceedingly gratified. (Cheers.) The men of Stonyhurst rejoiced exceedingly, and the commercial community of this great city were immensely pleased—(hear, hear.)—because they knew it was a recognition of a most honourable and straightforward career. I speak as only one of the commercial community of this city, and I say it was a distinct gain to us that Mr. Justice Walton should have this dignity and honour conferred upon him. (Hear, hear.) I say that the high esteem of the Bench will lose nothing of that grand record which has been handed down for generations. Looking abroad and at home, we may be sure that that high standard of excellence, which has been the one great feature of the courts of England, will continue to remain so long as such appointments are made. (Cheers.)

The Chairman thanked the last speaker for the kind—the too flattering—words which he used in proposing the toast. I am glad, indeed, to see here to-night not only my old friend, Mr. Lescher, but also my old master, Father Charnley. (Cheers.) It carries me back to my old days at Stonyhurst, and I shall always, and indeed we all should, remember the debt we owe to Stonyhurst, and certainly if I can ever do anything to assist and promote the high standard of education not only in my own school but in all our higher grade schools, I shall be most happy to do so. (Cheers.) Mr. Lescher has said a number of kind things about me, but I would remind him of the old proverb, ” It only takes six months to turn a good barrister into a bad judge “—(laughter)—and I am often inclined to say ” wait.” I cannot feel ashamed of the work I did at the Bar —(loud cheers)—and I sincerely and honestly felt a great deal of regret in saying good-bye to my old life, and I still hope I may be of some use to my old friends and to Catholics. (Cheers.) have now the pleasure of announcing the result of the collection which amounts to £1,031. (Cheers.)

Mr. Paul Strickland proposed the toast of “The Stewards.:” He said : Some years ago I had the privilege of being a pupil of Mr. Justice Walton, and I am glad to be able to give expression to the profound joy and rejoicing of Catholics that be should have been promoted to the Bench. If I may be allowed I should like to make an addition to the proverb quoted by the hon. chairman, and it is that after a few years a judge has been in the past promoted to be Lord Chief Justice. (Cheers.)

Mr. W. Towsey briefly responded for the stewards. He remarked that the stewards would always endeavour in the future as they had in the past to make these gatherings attractive to the general body of Catholics and the more there were of them the better. (Hear, hear.)

The above text was found on p.20, 30th November 1901 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

The Annual Dinner of the Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. 1904

The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor. was the oldest Catholic charity in London  founded in 1761 by Richard Challoner, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District [ the forerunner of the Archbishop of Westminster] between 1758 and 1781. It’s a nice worthy Catholic, and City cause, and it’s nice seeing eight members of the family all there. Having said that, only five were related at the time, another two came from a marriage twenty years later, and the final connection from a marriage fifty two years later.

At least at this one, Lieut.-General Sir William Butler’s speech is rather better than John Roper Parkington’s the following year.

ANNUAL DINNER.

The Annual Dinner in aid of the funds of this excellent charity was held on Monday last, and brought together a large number of the friends and supporters of the society.

Lieut.-General Sir William Butler, K.C.B., presided, and among the company present were the Hon. Charles Russell, Colonel Sir Roper Parkington, Colonel Maguire, Major J. H. White, V.D., Commendatore Hicks, C.C.S.G. ; the Very Revv. Canon Fleming, Canon Keatinge, Canon Murnane, Canon Pycke ; the Very Revv. J. P. Bannin, P.S.M., M. Kelly, O.S.A., D.D., P. J. Murphy, S.M. ; the Revv. Manuel J.Bidwell, D.D., Robert Bracey, 0.P., T. Carey, H. W. Casserly, Alexander Charnley, S.J., W. J. Condon, D. Corkery, G. B. Cox, J. Crowley, E. du Plerny, J. Egan, W. J. Hogan, S. E. Jarvis, I.C., W. Lewis Keatinge, Hugh Kelly, Mark A. Kelly, A. Muller, D.D., J. Musgrave T. F. Norris, J. O’Doherty, M. O’Sullivan, T. J. Ring, P. Riordan, C. A. Shepherd, E. Smith, C. J. Moncrieff Smyth, Francis Stanfield, J. G. Storey, W. 0. Sutcliffe, M.A., J. S. Tasker, E. A. P. Theed, Leo Thomas, S.M., A. E. Whereat, D.D. ; and Messrs. P. M. Albrecht, Frank Beer, Edmund J. Bellord, John G. Bellord, Harry Booth, James Carroll, J. H. Caudell, John Christie, A. K. Connolly, James W. Connolly, John A. Connolly, S. F. Connolly, P. F. Dorte, LL.B., Victor I. Feeny, H. Malins Fisher, A. C. Fowler, W. B. Hallett, Anthony Hasslacher,Charles Hasslacher, Jerome S. Hegarty, J. D. Hodgson, . Skelton Hodgson, S. Taprell Holland (Hon. Treasurer), J. M. Hopewell, John Hurst, John Hussey, R. H. N. Johnson, J. Virtue Kelly, C. Temple Layton, C.C., Charles E. Lewis, Bernard J. McAdam, James P. McAdam (Hon. Secretary), J. M. McGrath, C. A. Mackenzie, Herbert J. T. Measures, E. H. Meyer, A. C. O’Bryen, M.I.E.E., Ernest A. O’Bryen, Wilfrid W. Parker, Louis Perry, Joseph J. Perry, R. J. Phillips, Henry Schiller, J. H. Sherwin, Robert Shield, Eugene Simona, Joseph Simona, Joseph Sperati, James Stone, J. S. R. Towsey, William Towsey, C. H. Walker, Augustine E. White, Basil J. White, C. B. Wildsmith, P. G. Winter, H. Witte, C. J. Woollett, M.D., &c., &c.

THE LOYAL TOASTS.

The Chairman, in proposing the toast “The Pope and the King,” said : Catholics need no explanation of the toast I have now the high honour of proposing. By coupling together the name of Pope and King we reaffirm and maintain and continue that old tradition of Church and State which has existed in all civilised Christian communities for so many hundreds of years. I give you the healths of his Holiness the Pope and of his Majesty the King, and when we drink this toast with all loyalty and all honour, it would be well to remember the words of the old cavalier. Speaking to his son in the days of the Civil War, he said : “Son, if the crown should come so low that thou seest it hanging upon a bush, still stick to it.” (Loud cheers.)

The Chairman : The next toast I have to propose is that of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family. This toast meets with an enthusiastic greeting wherever it is proposed, but I venture to think there is no place where it can strike a deeper and truer note of harmony and devotion than when it is proposed at the gathering of a Society which has for its object the relief of the poor and the suffering. (Cheers.) The prerogatives of the Crown and the privileges of Parliament have oftentimes been the cause of civil disturbances in this country, but to-day the prerogative of Royalty is to lessen in every possible way the sufferings of the poor and of those who toil and labour for a livelihood. (Hear, hear.) Into the privileges of Parliament I will not enter, but it is our special privilege to-night to recognise in a special manner all that we owe to the Queen, to the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal Family.

SIR W. BUTLER AND THE SOCIETY.

After these two toasts had been acknowledged with musical honours, the Chairman proposed the toast of the evening, ” The Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor.” He said : I have now to propose to you a toast which brings very vividly before my mind the fact of my own un-worthiness in being the medium through which this toast is to be offered to the gathering tonight. (No, no.) And when I look back to the names of those who in former years fulfilled this duty, my feelings approach those of absolute dismay, because I find the toast has been submitted by some of the most revered, the most honoured amongst the Catholic body of this country, both clerical and lay. I can only plead for myself and ask you to accept the fact of my unworthiness as an excuse for being unable to do adequate justice to my task. (No, no.) This charity goes back a long way. It suggests many thoughts to even the most superficial amongst us. It has had, I believe, now well-nigh I50 years of existence. (Hear, hear.) The people who founded it were very different to what we are to-day. They had a great deal more of the world’s kicks and a great deal less of the world’s happiness. One hundred and fifty years ago the clouds of the penal laws hung darkly over the country. I will not refer to them further beyond saying that the remembrance of that period should deepen and intensify our desire to do good to the poor, to those whom the abrogation or even the existence of penal laws matters little, and whose social life is set so far below those of happier circumstances. We take a great interest in politics, but how little we would care for the most sensational paragraph in The Daily Mail if we had no breakfast-table to spread it upon, and more, if we had no breakfast to enable us to digest its amazing contents. (Loud laughter.) I see in the newspapers a great deal about free food, the big loaf and the little loaf. I wonder what our poorer brethren think of all these things—the big loaf, the little loaf, and the three acres and a cow. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I can fancy some of these poor people, who have waited many years for the fulfilment of some of these marvellous promises, exclaiming ” If you cannot give us three acres, give us at least the cow.” (Cheers.) If we cannot give them the cow we can at least put some milk into their tea. (Loud and continued cheers.) They have claims upon us,.these old veterans of the poor. We may ask ourselves who are they ? I think I am right in saying they are the survivors, the few survivors, of a great army. (Hear, hear.) They are the scattered survivors of tens of thousands of a great army of workpeople out of whose sweat we are living. (Hear, hear.) These old veterans become eligible as candidates for this Society only when they have reached the ripe old age of 60 years. Think for a moment how many of their comrades must have fallen on that long road which they have travelled for half a century, or even longer. I look at the list of pensioners and I see their ages reach from 60 to 90. Two facts come home to me when I read the report of the Society. The first is the liberal gifts and benefactions of many of the large merchant princes of this city. (Cheers.) The second fact is that so many who respond to the appeal of the Society are from my own country—Ireland. (Loud cheers.) You remember the story of the boat’s-crew cast adrift on the ocean. Believing their last hour had come they thought they should do something appropriate to the occasion. Unfortunately there was no one amongst them who remembered the prayers of their youth, so they decided upon making a collection. (Loud laughter.) I do not for a moment suppose that any of my brethren who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar position would have to resort to making a contribution to the seals and the seagulls, but I do venture to say that the most prayerful man amongst us could not offer any truer praise to his Creator, or do a more charitable act to his fellow creature than to contribute generously and unstintingly to a Society such as that which we have met to honour this evening. (Cheers.) There are few names come down from the remote past more identified with this great city of London than the name of Martin the apostle, the Roman soldier before he was Roman Bishop. The speaker, after relating the story of Martin dividing his coat to protect a poor beggar from the ravages of the weather, and the vision which he afterwards saw, said London was still, outwardly at least, largely Martin. Perhaps some portion of his mantle, said the speaker in conclusion, has descended upon this great city, still keeping alive his name and the spirit of charity to the poor. (Cheers.)  3rd December 1904, Page 23

Bidwell – Roper Parkington 1896

 

 

A marriage has been arranged, and will shortly take place, between MR. LEONARD ARTHUR BIDWELL, F.R.C.S., 59, Wimpole-street, and DOROTHEA MARIE LOUISE, eldest daughter of Major J. Roper Parkington, 6, Devonshire-place.

The above text was found on p.30, 4th July 1896 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

MARRIAGE.

BIDWELL—PARKINGTON.—On October 28, at St. James’, Spanish place, by the Very Rev. Canon Barry, assisted by the Very Rev. Provost Moore and the Rev. Herbert Laughton, Leonard Arthur Bidwell, F.R.C.S., of 59, Wimpole-street, W., to Dorothea Marie Louise, eldest daughter of Major Roper Parkington, J.P., of 6, Devonshire-place, W.

The above text was found on p.13, 14th November 1896 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .

St. Anselm’s Society For The Diffusion Of Good Books 1885

At first sight this seems to be rather dull, but worthy.  The more one reads on however some of the wording weaves between barking mad and rather sinister  “selecting such books as were free from danger to faith and morals”,…..  “their suitability to different kinds of readers”… “all would agree with him that the increase of infidel and harmful literature was unprecedented.”.. “Such literature was abhorrent to every Christian soul”…  Still at least it gave great great granny something to do.

 

The General Meeting of this Society was held on Wednesday afternoon, at Archbishop’s House, Westminster. His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop presided, and amongst those present were the Bishop of Emmaus, the Marquis of Ripon, Lord Herries, the Very Rev. W. Lockhart, Inst. Char., the Revv. J. Bagshawe, D.D., G. Akers, H. Bittleston, J. Biemans, E. Lescher, S. McDaniel, H. Arden, Sir John and Lady Marshall, Colonel Prendergast, Mrs. Roper Parkington, Mrs. and Miss Clerke, Mr. Wegg-Prosser, Mr. Allies, Mr. Lyall, Miss Pownall, Mr. Bell, Mr. Britten, Mr. George Blount, Dr. Laing, Mr. Bellasis, &c.

The REV. CANON WENHAM, the Hon. Secretary, read the Report.

Its First Establishment.—St. Anselm’s Society was first set up in the year 1860. The original design of it was mainly due to the late Father Formby, who did not, however, continue long in connection with it, but left it to others to carry the design into execution. Those who were most instrumental in this were the late Lord Petre and the late Father Knox, of the Oratory, the present Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, with the Very Rev. Father Morris, the Very Rev. Father William Eyre, Mr. Lloyd, the secretary, and the present secretary. The Society continued for several years in its work, collecting subscriptions and making grants of good books free, or at half price, and was in this way the means of putting several thousands of pounds’ worth of such books into circulation. But after a time the support given to it fell off, and the applications made to it became fewer and fewer. One cause of this was that the Society was expected to make a reduction to subscribers on all its books to an extent which, especially under the altered conditions of the book trade, it was not possible to make. That it did not entirely fall to the ground has been due to the support given to it by the President of the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, Mr. Blount, who undertook the office of secretary, and kept it going during many years of discouragement.

A Fresh Start.—It may be well to explain briefly the circumstances that have led to its making a fresh start. It was partly because during the last two or three years the mischief done by indiscriminate reading of the books of the day has become more apparent and more frightful. Those who watch over us, as they that must give account of our souls, do not cease in pastorals and sermons and synodical letters to insist and enlarge on this danger. And the Holy See has repeatedly spoken on this subject in the strongest terms. With this conviction on their minds, the spirit of some who were well acquainted with our schools and colleges was stirred within them on seeing how little was being done to form in our young people a taste for wholesome literature and a conscience about indiscriminate reading, and that even the few books that were lent to the pupils to read or given them as prizes were often not of the kind that would be likely to cultivate their taste or excite their intelligence. It appeared on investigation that those who had to select the books oftentimes did not know what to order. They could not tell the character of books from their titles, and were at the mercy of booksellers and publishers, who, if not without knowledge of the books, were without knowledge of their suitability to the classes for whom they were ordered, and who were under special temptations to supply their own books, whether suitable or not. Here, then, it was thought, was a useful work for a Society like that of St. Anselm. If it could do little with the world at large to check unwholesome literature, yet at least it might give a helping hand to the hundreds and hundreds of our own convent schools and colleges throughout the country, that the money they laid out—and it must amount to a large sum each year —in books for prizes and school libraries, might be well laid out in books of the best sort for each class of readers It might be useful not only in selecting such books as were free from danger to faith and morals, but were the best of their kind, the most elevating and invigorating. And further, it might classify them according to their subject and character, and their suitability to different kinds of readers. With this view, then, the Council of St. Anselm’s Society set to work about a year ago to make a fresh start. It began by seeking for a local habitation in a central position, and had the good fortune to find, after some little search, its present premises, which, though not large, are sufficient for the purpose, and are in the neighbourhood of nearly all the similar institutions of London, and only five doors from the Strand at Charing Cross. And it has also been fortunate in finding a competent person, and experienced in bookselling, in the present manager. Busi; ness was thus commenced in a quiet way last June. The premises were fitted up sufficiently to make a beginning, and the Depository furnished with the books set down on its first lists.

Lists of Books.—These lists consist of the names of books selected from the catalogues of different publishers for their suitability to particular classes of readers. Nine such lists have now been issued ; the first was a list marked (C), of books suitable for libraries in elementary schools, with a second part (D), for the more advanced classes. For now that the education department recommends the establishment of such libraries, and takes them into account in awarding the mark of merit to the school, it seemed important to furnish lists of books that could be recommended for such libraries in Catholic schools. The next lists were (K), prize books for colleges, and (L), for convent schools, for it seemed deplorable that the large sums of money that are spent in this way should be laid out in books taken by chance or as the interest of the bookseller might direct, and not rather books such as we should really desire the pupils to make a study of. Two more lists (E and F), were next got out, the first for parochial libraries, and the second for more general and advanced readers. A short list (H) was printed of the best books of spiritual reading, with a supplement (G) of books of religious ‘instruction. But this last, at the suggestion of a high authority, has been expanded into a list of books of doctrine and controversy on the subjects of the day. This list is intended to answer, as far as may be, the questions so often asked as to what book is the best to explain particular doctrines and difficulties, to answer particular questions on religion, or to lend to people in particular states of mind or stages of advance towards faith and submission to the Church. The last list just published (M) requires a little special notice, as it differs from all the others in consisting, not of books selected and recommended as good books, but of books that may he read. People, it was urged, do not now buy the books they read, but hire them. If you wish, it was said, to direct their reading, you must look over the lists of books in the subscription libraries and tell them which they may read, and you must remember that if you attempt to restrain their reading too much about the subjects of the day, because these are dangerous, the most weak and least virtuous will only seek to emancipate themselves from a control which leaves them, as they think, behind the rest of the world. This was the argument, and the Society thought that at all events it would be doing a good work in forming a list selected from the subscription libraries of books which were the most safe and the least objectionable, while of course there are a large number of these books which are not only unexceptionable, but excellent.

Advantages.—The question is sometimes put to us, What advantage do we get by going to St. Anselm’s Society for books? Do you give a greater reduction than we can get elsewhere ? The answer is that we do not want to oppose or undersell the trade, but help to encourage it by making known the best works of all publishers. Nor could we undersell booksellers if we would, for the reduction made on cash sales is already as large as can be borne. While, therefore, St. Anselm’s Society invites readers to come to it for knowledge and choice of books, it does not ask that other booksellers should be left, and all orders should be sent to itself. Yet while it makes no profession—as at the time of its first establishment— of reducing the price of books below that of the trade, yet it is quite ready to reduce it as much, and in fact it makes a reduction of 25 per cent. all round, including those hooks which are dealt with exceptionally by the trade. Any one may take one of St. Anselm’s lists of selected books and tick off those he desires to have, and may send the list and a cheque for three-fourths of the whole sum to which the marked prices amount, and the Manager will send him the books, carriage free. There are publishers who will do as much with regard to their own books ; but St. Anselm’s Society will do this about the books of other publishers—about all good books—taking upon itself all the incidental expenses that may be the result of so doing. So far as this, then, the Society does offer some special advantages to those who order parcels of selected books.

Reprinting and Publishing,.—Lastly, the Society is ready to under-take the publication of books. There are not a few very good works which are out of print and cannot be obtained, and there are books indifferently translated and edited of which new editions are much wanted. The Society will readily enter into terms for reprinting such books, or publishing new works, so long as they are of a kind that falls within its scope, And as its great aim and end is not to make money, but to encourage and spread good books, it can afford perhaps more than others to be ” sweetly reasonable “ in dealing with editors and authors.

Officers and Associates.—Since the re-establishment of the Society it has had the misfortune to lose its President, Lord Petre. The members of the Society have reason to cherish his memory, of one who always endeavoured to attend its meetings, and showed great interest in its work, which he did his best to promote. The Council at their last meeting in January elected Lord Herries to fill his place, which he has kindly consented to do. At the same time the Council elected as permanent members of i is body a number of distinguished literary men, in order that it may have the benefit of their guidance, as well as their support, in any important questions of their. policy or work. The Council also elected eight members to manage the ordinary business of the Society, half of whom are to retire each year by rotation and their places to be filled up by election. Besides the permanent Council of authors, the Society has been able to obtain a valuable addition to its influence and working power in its Associates. When it began its fresh start a certain number of ladies, who felt the great importance of its work, engaged to give it their help, and united in an Association for Promoting the Reading of Good Books in Mission and School Libraries and Charitable Institutions. The Society now numbers forty of such associates, and is grateful to them for the valuable assistance they have given, especially in the selection of books. It has no better hope of success in its work than through the co-operation of these ladies, who will use their personal influence in their own localities to prevail on those about them to feed on good and wholesome literature, instead of what is poisonous.

Finance.—And now, in conclusion, something must be said as to the condition of the Society’s finances. And here we regret to have to make an admission which will have the tendency to set every right-minded Englishman against us. But the truth must be told—we have no balance at our bankers. The Society’s expenditure, indeed, during the past year, has, notwithstanding great economy, been fairly respectable. It has had the rent of the depository to pay for, to fit it up and furnish it with a decent amount of books ; it has had to pay for the printing of lists and circulars; to keep a manager and his assistant; to meet the expenses of advertising, petty cash, and sundries. We fear to injure our character in the world’s estimation by saying for how little all this was done. But it has not been done fur nothing; and—this is the disgraceful part of the story—it has not been done on our income. Our income is not respectable. We are surrounded by Societies like the Christian Knowledge Society, the Pure Literature Society, and others, whose income is counted by thousands. But St. Anselm’s Society set out last year with the modest sum of £86 13s. 8d., handed over by the late secretary. It has now about one hundred subscribers. Its total receipts from them during the past year and a quarter have amounted to £300. If St. Anselm in those old days, when he used to come to Mortlake to keep the feast of Easter, could have had a vision of the financial position which the Society bearing his name would hold in comparison with the non-Catholic Societies, he might have perhaps prophesied worse days for the Church in England than even those of William Rufus.

And now what is to be said in extenuation of the offence of having allowed expenditure to outrun income? This much. First, that no one need be under any apprehension for the Society, as care has been taken that the liability for this extra expenditure should fall entirely on those that are responsible for it. Secondly, a large portion of the expenses are incidental to the setting up of the Society’s business, and will not recur. Like every business it has to make a venture, but a reasonable venture, in order to get into working order and make itself known. Thirdly, the standing expense of the Depository is ono that may be expected to be met by the business done, and this though small as yet is increasing, and has begun to contribute towards current expenses. There is no reason why the business of St. Anselm’s Society in bookselling should not pay its expenses as well as any other bookselling business if it succeeds ; and it is beginning to succeed. But no doubt it must, at least in the first instance, depend on the support it receives from subscriptions. At the outset it must appeal for help towards its working expenses. And it appeals earnestly also for assistance to furnish the Depository with specimen copies of books, to make grants of books to charitable institutions, and to enable it to reprint and publish books that are called for. Other institutions of this kind are liberally supported by their own adherents, and the Society of St. Anselm appeals to the Catholic body to give it liberal aid for one or more of these objects, that it may be able worthily to represent Catholic interests in the literary world.

The MARQUIS OF RIPON, in moving the adoption of the Report, said his task was a very easy one, because he was sure that those who had listened to it while it was being read—giving as it did so clear a history of the objects and proceedings of this Society—would feel that the Society was well worthy of the support of English Catholics. The main object of the Society, as set forth in the Report was this : ” If it could do little with the world at large to check unwholesome literature, yet at least it might give a helping hand to the hundreds and hundreds of our own convent schools and colleges throughout the country, that the money they laid out—and it must amount to a large sum each year—in books for prizes and school libraries, might be well laid out in books of the best sort for each class of readers.” Any one who had had to select prizes for schools and colleges, especially in the country, must have felt the difficulty of making anything like a good selection. What happened generally was this—they went to the nearest bookseller, and chose those books which were nicely bound, and at the same time within the amount they had to spend. Generally there was very considerable difficulty, and the result was that the prizes were not always of the character they ought to be. The selection depended upon the extent of the bookseller’s stock, and this was particularly the case when they wanted books suitable to Catholic societies. Not only was the value of the prizes diminished, but there was the risk that no small amount of mischief might be done. It must always be remembered that prize books were not only to be admired for their bindings, but they were to be read and studied, and they came into the hands of the students with all the authority of the school to recommend them.

It seemed to him, therefore, that the work this Society was doing in issuing the lists of which the Report spoke, was very useful and valuable work indeed. It performed for Catholics a work which was done for Anglicans by the wealthy societies like the Christian Know-ledge Society and others. It was most important that those who have the management of the education of the young, should have a ready means of obtaining suitable books for children. Another important branch of the work was the list of books in circulating libraries  and looking over that list, he could not help remarking that it was drawn up in no narrow or restricted spirit. He did not think he need detain them any longer. He moved the adoption of the Report, and in doing so he commended St. Anselm’s Society to the continued support of its friends and of Catholics at large, confident that it was doing a very valuable work, while the state of its funds was not creditable to those who ought to sustain it with liberality.

The REV. G. AKERS, in seconding the motion, said : No one could mix as the clergy and many of the laity did with the people, and especially with the poor, without seeing the taint cast into their lives and their faith by reading books, not actually bad, but which contained the suggestion of what was evil. Many books were based upon false principles, and, although admired by all for their artistic merit, yet were as a snake in the grass. Who was to help them in the selection of books ? To make a right selection one had to look into the books, and for each of them to do that separately for themselves was rather a waste of good labour, while the result was, after all, unsatisfactory. That being so, these lists became very valuable to those who felt keenly the curse of this bad literature, and yet who found the work of selection a great difficulty. They wanted some one to help them in that matter, and to tell them which books were safe from the insidious danger of hidden wrong. The British spirit was inclined to resent any interference in matters of this kind, so that this work must be done very gently. It was impossible to have it done more gently than it was by this Society. They had to protect their people and children in their words as well as in their acts, and he did not see how any one could find fault with so excellent a Society as this. He hoped that they would not forget that the work of the St. Anselm’s Society was not merely the keeping of a store—its aim and ends was the diffusion of good books. They had to make a new start, and new work must be carried out. He hoped that fresh ways would be found by which good books might he diffused amongst the people, and he was certain that the work would grow immensely. They must take it up in a solid and earnest way worthy of the Church, and so check the spreading of the curse and poison of bad literature. The motion to was then agreed to nem. con.

LORD HERRIES, in moving the second resolution, said he must preface the few remarks he was about to make by saying how honoured he felt some months ago when he was elected President of this Society. He had taken great interest in the Society, and was attracted to it at first by the name of St. Anselm. He thought he ought, as President, to tender his thanks to his Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop for allowing them to come there for the meeting, and for his kindness in taking the chair on this occasion. The resolution he had to propose was really one to inform the public what the Society was. He proposed : ” That while the diffusion of good books is at all times a useful_and desirable object, it becomes especially important at the present time when immoral, heretical, and infidel publications are circulated to an unprecedented extent amongst all classes.” When the Society was founded some twenty years ago, the circumstances were not so bad as they were at present, and all would agree with him that the increase of infidel and harmful literature was unprecedented. Such literature was abhorrent to every Christian soul, and it was time for a Society like this to spread in Catholic society books which had a healthy tone ; the spread of healthy literature not only would prevent people reading bad books, but it would have a still greater effect in keeping the seeds of faith in the minds of our countrymen. They wanted the support of the clergy in this matter, and he believed that if the clergy took an interest in the formation of parish libraries they would be doing a great deal of good. In Yorkshire there was a mechanics’ union of village libraries, including 180 villages with 200, ow books. He did not see why they should not have Catholic village libraries, with this Society as the headquarters of such a movement.

The REV. DR. BAGSHAWE seconded the resolution. There was, he said, no doubt about the increased power of the press in these days, but while its power was increasing its tone was growing worse. The only way to meet this state of things was to descend into the field, and by producing and circulating good books use the same weapons as their enemies, provide good sound literature for the poor, not only for their own people, but for the masses of the population generally.

The motion was agreed to.

COLONEL PRENDERGAST next moved : ” That since the tendency of the popular literature of the day has become a subject of earnest solicitude to the Holy See ; and since the Bishops of England, in a Synodical Letter, have called on the Catholic laity to aid in counteracting the evil agencies at work through the medium of cheap publications, it becomes an urgent duty on the part of the faithful at large to take measures for responding to their appeal.” He confessed that he had been very much struck by the Report that had been read to the meeting, and he congratulated the Secretary, Canon Wenham, upon its production. It opened up so large a scope for this Society, that he could only venture to make a few remarks upon one or two points in it. He could not conceive how any class could be excluded from the operations of the Society, and he would therefore put in a claim for young persons of the higher classes. In middle and higher class schools there was a great disposition to reading, such as hardly existed some years ago. He remembered the formation of a school library at Eton, which at the time was regarded as an extraordinary thing, but now all large schools had their libraries. They were creating amongst the youth of the country a great appetite for reading, and with that came a certain responsibility upon those interested in young people to see that when they left school they would know how to choose the good and leave the evil books. He thought the circulating library list was especially valuable, and he said that more particularly as the father of a family.

In this country they had a wonderfully good literature, they had a mass of good books, and he was delighted to find that Canon Wenham had been at the trouble of preparing these useful lists. They wanted to know in some accessible way what to order from the circulating libraries which in modern days were powerful organisations. He believed that Mudie’s Library first came into existence to supply a clientele of evangelical proclivities, and that that was the making of that celebrated library. He was not sure that they could not get some lending libraries to order books to suit Catholics. He was delighted to find that general literature was not to be discouraged, because every now and then a book would appear—a book perhaps trifling apparently, but which would effect a revolution. They all knew that some years ago the places of worship in the Established Church were not what they ought to be, but now it was frequently difficult to know at once whether they were in a Catholic or an Anglican Church. He believed that the change was to be attributed, in a great measure, to a little book published some years ago called St. Autholicus. It was not, he thought, beyond the scope of this Society to encourage some kinds of ephemeral literature which would have a powerful effect for good. One word more : there was a slight note of despondency which perhaps was not to be wondered at, in the concluding sentences of the Report, but he did not think that they could always judge of the work of a Society, or of its true value, by the state of its funds. The officials no doubt were apt to take that view, but work like that of this Society had means of touching people of which the Society itself had no conception. A general effect was produced even by small means. He could only hope that the words of his resolution would find a response in the hearts of Catholics, and that the laity of the Church would rouse themselves and put themselves in contact with this Society to their own advantage and for the promotion of education in this country.

The VERY REV. W. LOCKHART, in seconding the motion, said he should confine his remarks for the most part to cheap literature. Colonel Prendergast very properly pointed out the importance of wholesome literature for the educated classes, but there was one thing which must be weighing on every Catholic who comes into contact with the masses of the people. He was sure it weighed on the heart of his Eminence and on the hearts of many priests who have to do with the people. That was that they were being ruined in thousands by cheap and bad literature. It was clearly one of the objects of this Society to do what could be done for all classes. It was the one Society they had for promoting Christian knowledge—the one Society which had the right to that high title. They had heard what it had been able to do in the course of its twenty years’ existence, and while they gave all credit and praise to those who had been foremost in the work of the Society, yet he thought they must all feel a tingling of shame when they considered that it bad done no more. Twenty years or more of life and that was all that it had been able to do. How was it that Catholics could do no more ? He spoke of the laity, for the clergy were so full of work. The Church of England and the dissenting bodies were examples in this respect which they ought to imitate. They were put to shame by what the Protestants—the Samaritans—were doing. He heard it said by Mr. Spurgeon that when a man went to him reproach-ing himself with his wasted life and neglected opportunities, that eloquent preacher would say : ” What are you going to do for other people, if you turn to God you must love your neighbour, for how can you love God, whom you have not seen, if you love not your neighbour whom you have seen.” Mr. Spurgeon puts his people into harness, and those who knew what was being done at Newington amongst a debased population, know the immense amount of good that was being done by the laity—both men and women—gathered round that preacher. There were many other instances to be found to show what the Samaritans were doing to shame the true Church. The country was being ruined and souls were being destroyed in thousands by bad literature. What were the Catholics doing to prevent this circulation of garbage, and to give better books in its stead ? His experience was this, that the laity did not sufficiently co-operate with the clergy. The Church of England laity and others supported their large societies for promoting Christian knowledge, &c., by large subscriptions and donations. He would be pleased if this meeting put into their hearts a practical and persevering zeal to imitate what was being done by others outside the true Church.

The resolution was agreed to unanimously.

The CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP said be had listened with great interest to the Report of this Society, which was founded nearly twenty-five years ago. There was, however, one great omission in the Report, and that was the name of Canon Wenham amongst those who have been associated with the Society from the beginning. The importance of this Society was immense, and he felt that to be so when twenty-five years ago he was asked to support it. He was very glad to be reminded of a fact he had quite forgotten. Four years after the foundation of this Society—in 1864—it fell to his lot to obtain the sanction of the Holy Father Pope Pius IX. to this Society. He had forgotten the fact. He was afraid that he had done very little but sympathise with this work. Lord Herries had been kind enough to thank him for receiving them that day and for presiding. He hoped that this Society from this day would meet there—this house would always be open to It seemed to him that a Society of this sort could not be under a better roof than his house. So many things had been touched upon that he would confine what he had to say to the importance of a society for the dissemination of good books. He was very often asked questions which perplexed him as to whether this or that book would be on the Index or not. He could not answer such questions, but it was perfectly certain that in this country all they could do was to sail at the Index without any hope of ever reaching it, just as a sailor sailed for the North Pole. Although it was impossible to lay down definite rules in this matter, yet they should keep the rules of the Index before their minds, and that was what this Society had done. He was glad to find that there was a large amount, of innocent and instructive literature before them, and Canon Wenham had exercised a wise discretion in issuing these lists of books. He could recollect the history of the Christian Knowledge Society. It was originally in the hands of a Protestant firm, but it was found that that firm were deriving a very large profit. It was determined to take it out of their hands, and to create a Society to carry on the whole machinery of a large trade. The effect of that was to enormously increase the circulation of the books, and good authors were attracted to the Society. The books the Christian Knowledge Society published were most beautiful and instructive, and they were written by some of the best men of the day. Books they could get for eightpence were valuable beyond anything they possessed in other ways. It fell to his lot to go into this subject, and he had received a proposal upon this subject which possibly might be accepted with advantage. When he saw that the St. Anselm Society had discernment and discretion in the selection of books—when he saw that they lacked nothing but capital, it struck him that the Society might make terms with some large firm of publishers, and so enormously increase the operations of the Society. They did not want to make a profit, but only to multiply good books. The proposal before him which he thought the Society would accept, might enable them to begin a Catholic Literary Society something like the Christian Knowledge Society. He would ask Canon Wenham to confer with him on the subject.

The BISHOP OF EMMAUS in moving a vote of thanks to the Cardinal Archbishop, said that the meeting had gladdened his heart. The work of the Society might have been a small work, but it was good work. The work of selecting books was indeed most important. With regard to the Christian Evidence Society, when he recently went into that Society’s shop he was amazed with what he saw. He had noticed with regret the death of Mrs. Ewing, whose little book called Jack-a-Napes, he regarded as an admirable work, and he had recently given no fewer than twenty copies of it away.

The vote of thanks having been seconded by CANON WENHAM, it was briefly acknowledged by his Eminence, and the proceedings then terminated.

The above text was found on p.26, 23rd May 1885 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at http://www.thetablet.co.uk .