Page 8, 17th January 1936

17th January 1936
Page 8
Page 8, 17th January 1936 — NOTES & COMMENTS

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-Red Paint And Whitewash"

In the current issue of G.K's. Weekly, Mr. Chesterton does us the honour of discussing a note that appeared in this column a few weeks back wherein, writing of Italy, Abyssinia and England, we used the figure of the innocent son of a guilty father.

His article makes it clear that there is very little difference of view between us, and what difference there is could be more suitably discussed over a pint of bitter than through a pound of printing-ink. We wish to encourage British imperialism no more than he does. We have never said —because we do not believe—that everything England has stolen is sacred, "that everything she has done in the way of crime is condoned, that anything of that sort is forgotten and forgiven" But we do say that these things have absolutely nothing to do with the case of Italy's guilt and the recognition of that guilt.

Certainly British imperialists are hypocrites if they cloak imperialistic ambitions and fears under the guise of righteous anger, and that's what they are doing. But British imperialists are not England. We feel sure that if we had the leisure to re-read all G.K.Ces written works (we wish we had) we should find that he himself had called them a gang— large and very powerful, but a gang. No doubt they are trying to keep the imperialist end up among the people of England by making the most of the iniquities of Mussolini and his fascists, and clamouring for punishment. But that game must not be met in such a way that the impression gets around (however unintendedly) that Mussolini deserves no censure; or that, if he does. nothing can be said about it because of the activities, past and present, of those imperialists of our own whom so many English people repudiate.

"Italy's War-Mindedness "

On page 12 we print a letter from Miss Barbara Barclay Carter in reply to her critics, and with it the correspondence provoked by her article on " Italy's WarMindedness. " is closed—until it breaks out again in some other form!

An outstanding feature of this correspondence has been the tolerant attitude of so many Christian people to war, a tolerance so unreasoned and emotional that, were we to regard it with a like unreason and emotion, we should despair of Christianity making any effective contribution towards peace.

I.arge numbers of sincere Christians still allow the fact that war is not always and in itself unjustifiable to betray them into regarding war with equanimity, as a weapon of principle or policy like any other, sometimes as a rather fine thing, even as a vehicle of civilisation and true religion; and we are invited to take a romahtic and sentimental view not merely of the Crusades but even of the " white man's burden "—bombing-officers and gas-sections decked out as red-cross knights.

War is never a fine thing, however just the cause: it is permitted to us only because of the hardness of men's hearts.

From the first this newspaper has maintained (while allowing the free expression of other views by its contributors) that the Italian dictator is waging an unjust war, but that a general war at this moment would be an even greater calamity. We have therefore been, and are. unenthusiastic about the application of sanctions.

We are still less enthusiastic when we See sanctions used for imperialistic ends, or supported in order that " Mussolini may be punished" or "Abyssinia avenged." League of Nations sanctions were instituted with the object of preventing a war of aggression, or ending one already begun, and they may be rightly used for no other purpose whatever. Nor is their use justifiable if there is likelihood of their making matters worse rather than mending them.

Secondary Education In Ireland

Though the Gaelic League has ever avowed a non-partisan. non-political spirit it has at all times given its support to any popular movement that could be called patriotic, and many of those who took part in the fight for Irish independence for the past thirty years have been enthusiastic Gaelic-leaguers. Those engaged in education also, elementary as well as secondary, have for the most part given

their support to this movement. It is, therefore, not at all surprising that when Fianna Fail came into power a strong impetus should be given to the study of the Irish language, and that it should be made compulsory. There were many who strenuously opposed compulsory Irish on educational grounds, and advised a policy of making haste slowly, but the enthusiasts Won the day—and now they are facing the consequence. Recently a number of teachers, meeting in Dublin, lamented the teaching of many subjects through the medium of Irish; it was, they said, a case of teaching the unknown through the unknown.

Not only have attempts been made with such subjects as mathematics, but Irish is employed as the medium of instruction in the classics, and Latin texts are being translated into Irish with a view to study. How, for example, the eEncid or Cicero's speeches would appeal in Gaelic is rather difficult to imagine; but it does not require a great acquaintance with Irish to realise that an Irish Odyssey would be as impracticable as an Irish Divine Comedy. Ireland used to have a deserved name for cLassics, and we sincerely hope thee this tradition will -noi he broken.

Queen Catharine Of Aragon

Four hundred years ago, just after the midnight of January 6, died that very noble lady of Spain, Catharine of Aragon. Queen Catharine. Henry might deny her the title and proclaim her daughter— and his—a bastard, but never would Catharine agree that her marriage was null. Bishops and abbots, parliament men in Lords and Commons truckled to the king's humour; not so Queen Catharine, For the honour of her husband no less than for her own she held firmly to the marriage that Henry said was no marriage. Faithful, always faithful, to the faith of the Holy Roman Church—was not Isabella the Catholic her mother? —faithful to the principles that ruled her life, faithful to her daughter, Mary Tudor, faithful to the king, her husband, faithful to death, she died in charity; and they who were present said that the prayer the dying queen made for her servants " would have broken any heart."

It was her own heart that was worn out, though the queen was but 51. Twentyseven years before, when she had married Henry, happiness seemed assured. Never was king more attractive than this gifted, lovable prince at his coronation. To Catharine, as to all who crossed his will, Henry's affection turned to bitter enmity. Two years of solitude in that single room at Kimbolton Castle preceded the death that brought release. A few months later and Anne Boleyn, who had supplanted ter, would die on the scaffold at the Tower.

James Watt

Although the bicentenary of the birth of James Watt • does not occur till Sunday celebrations have been going on throughout the week at Greenock, his native town. Greenock was also the scene of his father's many activities, as joiner, builder, merchant and scientific instrument maker, while his grandfather had taught mathematics in the neighbouring village of Crawfor&dyke. Watt had no cause to love Greenock, for he lost his father, mother, brother and sisters by death there, while recollections of his school-days were chiefly of being bullied at Mr. McAdam's school and at the grammar school inst because he was retiring and delicate. Nevertheless, he presented the town with a library, in which his statue stands to-day.

Though Watt is credited with the invention of the steam-engine, Solomon de Caus, Samuel Morland, and the second Marquess of Worcester are among the half-dozen of his predecessors who laid claim to the same achievement. Watt made their inventions practical. in the same way that Marconi gave the first wireless discoveries a practical value. The bicentenary is being celebrated in Birmingham, Glasgow and Paris, and London also has its connection with Watt, for it was in Cornhill that he was apprenticed lo a " philosophical instrument maker."

Progress Proceeding

Writing in the January issue of Ddraig Gorh Mr. Saunders Lewis, leader of the Welsh National party, asks:

"Shall the Welsh life of the Lleyn peninsula be allowed to become practice ground for hellish bombs? Shall Whitehall officials be allowed to grin blankly when we accuse them of rank injustice to Welsh life and traditions?"

We do not believe that the passive resistance methods, which Mr. Lewis goes on to advocate, towards the projected airbase at Perth Neigwl, would be either expedient or even partially successful— but how we sympathise with the indignation behind his protest!

We are not concerned about beautyspots or other (esthetic stuff. What is so damnable is the ruin of the decency of the surroundings in which people live, the filching of good country for the purposes of death and destruction or the extension of our present industrial system, and the urbanisation of its inhabitants. We know that the life of the people of Lleyn to-day is woefully insuflicient (though less so thatin corresponding districts of England), hut it is more human and therefore better

than what may follow it. The general life of the shepherds, peasants and tradesmen of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cwm Rhondda may not have been very good— but that of theteeming populations of Cardiff and Merthyr is far worse.

"The Harp That Once...."

It appears discordant that, While much effort is being bestowed on various new industries and manufactures in Ireland, little or no attention is being given to the manufacture of the Irish national musical instrument—the Harp, which in the words of Tom Moore " hangs mute on Tara's walls." It is strange and rather ironic, too, that the harp is more often

heard in London broadcasts than in those from Athlone, and a harp-making industry in Ireland is said to be out of the question because of the small number of harpers. The last Irish maker of harps was Egan. of Dublin, who on a harp made for thr Belfast Harp Society described himself aharp-maker to his Majesty King Georg Iv and Royal Family:" 0 temporal. 0 mores!

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