June 6, 1936


A Weekly Newspaper and Review

Vol. 167 . N o . 5013 .

L ondon, June 6, 1936 Registered at the General P ost Office as a Newspaper.



P age


709 712 713

( B y C h r i s t o p h e r H o l l i s )

THE FAME OF ST. COLUMBA ............. 715 DE V A LERA ’S AIMS ................................. 718

P age

PARIS LETTER ........................................... 719 THE POPE ON CATHOLIC ACTION ... 719 LETTERS TO THE E D I T O R ....................... 722 I THE NEW B O O K S ........................................... 726

( S t . Joan, E nglish M e s s ia h s , etc.) APOSTOLATE OF THE COUNTRYSIDE 734



The ex-king o f Siam, who had the forethought to take out an insurance policy against the loss o f his throne, has begun to draw a substantial income from the French and British companies with whom he insured himself. There has just arrived in this country another ex-monarch, Haile Selassie, who is also, in his own way, naturally anxious to recover what may still be salvaged o f his lost position. The British Government could not very well forbid him to come to England, and now that he has come it is to be hoped that he will go on to Geneva and conduct his campaign from there. The device o f holding in reserve deposed monarchs or other claimants to political authority is as old as human history, and we do not want to give the impression to the rest o f the world that the Emperor is here by covert invitation, because the British may find him useful in the future. Haile Selassie has been the victim o f the unreality o f Geneva. He has a very real grievance in the arms embargo, which was imposed last year, equally on Abyssinia and Italy, though it was very much more serious for Abyssinia. The arms embargo might reasonably be construed as a promise by the League that those who were prevented from fighting for themselves were only so prevented because stronger hands had taken charge o f the dispute. The crowds, estimated at twenty thousand in the more enthusiastic sanctionist newspapers and at two thousand in other newspapers, contained many people who turned out to cheer the smaller and the defeated party as a sporting gesture. But it was also a political demonstration. Adversity makes strange bedfellows, and no one would have imagined, a year or two ago, that circumstances would ever arise which would makes the Nezvs Chronicle and the Daily Herald put the best complexion they could upon Haile Selassie’s rule in Abyssinia.

N ew S eries. Vol. CXXXV. No. 4412.

Haile Selassie is indeed a capital instance o f the way in which the legal phrases o f the League o f Nations Constitution may mask the realities o f the situation. He belongs to the distinguished com pany o f men who have waded through slaughter to a throne. He did not succeed his father in the gentle care o f a pastoral people. He won the supreme position by fighting in a war that lasted over five years, from 1916 to 1921. That war took place through the mistakes and weakness o f L ij Yasu, the grandson o f Menelik the Second. The whole story reads to us like a tale o f the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Abyssinia is a feudal country ruled by great chiefs o f wdiom Haile Selassie, then knowm as Ras Tafari, the ruler o f Harrar, was one. He was related to the royal house, but he was in no near succession to the throne. Lij Yasu joined the Turks in the Great War, became a Mohommedan, and was excommunicated by the Abyssinian Church, which released his feudal subjects from their obedience. They chose an aunt o f L ij Yasu for Empress and Ras Tafari became her champion and Regent. The Mahommedan portions o f Abyssinia naturally would not accept the deposition o f L ij Yasu, and civil war resulted. Ras Tafari was victorious and L ij Yasu, until his death last year, was kept a close prisoner. Ras Tafari had been educated by French missionaries and was full o f ideas for developing the country, but his authority rested on his control o f an army. He was not willingly obeyed by the Rases, and the main reason fo r the extent o f the Italian military success was the refusal o f these chieftains to fight fo r Haile Selassie. Thus the Ras o f Tigre, the province bordering Italian Eritrea, had never been reconciled to Flaile Selassie’s ascendancy, and quickly joined the Italians, and the practice o f making private bargains spread rapidly when it was obvious that the Italians were likely to win.

Haile Selassie only became Emperor six years ago, when the Empress in whose name he ruled died. Flis coronation then, his previous tour o f