The most marked and decidedly the worst feature of the
new Government is the appointment of M. Bert, an unusually cruel -vivisectionist, and an atheist of the most violently aggressive type, as Minister not only of Instruction, but Public Worship. His selection for the latter office was, moreover, deliberately accentuated in every possible way. The post had been separated from the Ministry of Instruction, because M. Jules Ferry con- sidered that, as an avowed agnostic, who had refused to be married with religious rites, he himself was not the proper person to fill such a post ; but though M. Bert is to M. Ferry as brandy to water, M. Gambetta's first decree reunited the Departments. The selection is, in fact, intended as an open defiance to the Churches and the remaining religious feeling of France. The permanent head of the Medical School at once resigned, as did M. de St. Vallier, Ambassador at Berlin, and it is stated that the Prefects report consternation in all the pro- vinces at the choice. It is impossible to believe it a wise one, even in the strictly political sense. It is conceivable, or even probable, as we have stated elsewhere, that the peasantry are in a mood of anger with the priests, but they are not hostile to the Church ; and M. Bert's furious antipathies will drive him far beyond the limits of opinion, while they will rouse the hostility of distrust of Christians throughout the world. It is folly, however, to dis-
guise that M. Gambetta, who knows France, made this nomi- nation after months of reflection—he almost openly promised it in August—and believes that it will bring him power.