CARDINAL Newman died in August, 1890, and a few weeks before that event, the subject of this sketch left the Oratory School, Birmingham, and, after taking his degree in London University, went up to Christ Church, Oxford. He is now 76 and still active; he has devoted his life to the service of Catholic Ireland in his Parliamentary days, and later to the service of Catholic literature and the unrivalled propaganda of the C.T.S.
As a young man, Mr. Boland distinguished himself as a cricketer and only missed a chance of playing for the Varsity in a county match because the Schools demanded his presence; but as some compensation, he won the Singles and Doubles at Lawn Tennis in the finals of the Olympic games at Athens.
MR. Boland spent eighteen years in Parliament as M.P. for South Kerry, 1900-1918. In his book, Irishman's Day, he has written what may be called the perfect guide for Parliament. As a nation, we know little of Parliamentary history, still less of its procedure, but here indeed we can find enlightenment. The author takes us hack to that vivid period when the old Irish Party, led by John Redmond, learnt all the rules of the House by breaking them. The main cause at stake was that of Irish Home Rule, a subject, however, with many subdivisions, and Mr. Boland, whom Redmond selected as a Whip of the Irish Party, specialised in cultural matters such as Irish University education (his maiden speech), the Irish language and Irish industries. In close co-operation with the present Bishop of Pella, Mr. Boland secured valuable amendments in the Scottie's Education Act of 1918, and at one time stood up to the formidable Joseph Chamberlain and compelled the withdrawal of a proclamation in the Maltese language question. The long fight for Home Rule taxed the patience and ingenuity of the Party in the House and also brought Nil-. Boland on speaking campaigns in numerous English cities and towns. Those were the days of all-night sittings. and in the book mentioned, by clever use of film technique, the author compresses 18 years into a single day. the climax being reached in an exciting scene wherein Lloyd George is the protagonist. Another admirable scene concerns Lord Rosebery and the Parliament Bill; it was carried In the Lords finally by 17 votes; but the inner history of this epoch still makes fascinating reading.
Shortly after the close of his political career, he attached himself to the C.T.S. and for three years was Hon. Librarian of its library. For a year, too. he was a member of the General Committee, and then became C.T.S. General Secretary in May, 1926—the post in which he has now become most familiar to us.
THE inception of the C.T.S. dates back to 1884 when James Britten noticed in Paternoster Row the publication of various Protestant tracts. At once he resolved to initiate the movement known as the C.T.S. —an endeavour at first to dispel the dense fog of ignorance and prejudice that concealed Catholic truth and Catholic claims from the eyes and hearts of English people. Till 1921, James Britten was the main-spring of thin great endeavour—himself a convert from the Anglican Church; such was the task Mr. Boland inherited in 1926. He will tell you that he has been exceptionally fortunate in having as chairmen of committee, first, Bishop Bidwell and, for the past 16 years, Bishop Myers. The peak year of publication was in 1943—a sale of one-and-three-quarter million tracts in 12 months. Membership had now increased from 13,000 to 19,000. In a busy year, three pamphlets (new or reprints) were issued weekly. None the less, the war and the paper shortage took their toll and 600 pamphlets had to go out of print. If sufficient paper were now procurable, Mr. Boland considers that his sales might well reach two-and-a-half million annually.
Mr. Boland considers that one of the most important developments of the work has been the translation of Papal encyclicals and broadcasts by Canon G. D. Smith and Mgr. Ronald Knox. It will be realised that while it takes time to bring out accurate translations of these Romeo texts, it is essential that readers in this country should have before then, faithful editions and commentaries, for instance, about the Apostolicae Curae of 1896 (on the subject of Anglican Orders) or Cash Connubii Christian Marriage). The C.T.S. movement has now spread to many lands and its future is bright.
Such, in briefest Outline, is a sketch of Mr. Boland's activities. It will be the wish of every reader that he should be congratulated on his 20 years of continuous service—to his cause and to ours.