Republished and formatted for internet at The Watchmen Gazette by Editor-in-Chief, Gunston Nutbush Hall March 1, 2017
FOREIGN CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE LIBERTIES OF THE UNITED STATES
THE NUMBERS UNDER THE SIGNATURE OF, BRUTUS, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE NEW-YORK OBSERVER.
REVISED AND CORRECTED, WITH NOTES, BY THE AUTHOR,
SAMUEL F.B. MORSE, A.M.Prof. in the University of the City of New-York
——Oft fire is without smoke,
And peril without show.
H.A. CHAPIN & Co.
No. 138 Fulton-street
THE NUMBERS UNDER THE SIGNATURE OF,
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE NEW-YORK OBSERVER.
REVISED AND CORRECTED, WITH NOTES, BY THE AUTHOR,
SAMUEL F.B. MORSE, A.M.
Prof. in the University of the City of New-York
——Oft fire is without smoke,
And peril without show.
H.A. CHAPIN & Co.
No. 138 Fulton-street
According to Act of Congress, in the year 1835, In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the southern district of NEW-YORK.
R.J. RICHARDS, PRINTER
No. 28 Ann-street.
NEW YORK, Jan. 1, 1835.
Gentlemen,—Learning that you are about to publish in a small volume, the articles signed Brutus, (which recently appeared in the New York Observer, showing that a conspiracy is formed against the United States by the Papal Powers of Europe,) the undersigned, who read those articles with interest, have great satisfaction in expressing their approbation of your undertaking. These articles are written by a gentlemen of intelligence and candor, who has resided in the south of Europe, and enjoyed the best opportunities for acquaintance with the topics of which he writes.
While we disapprove of harsh, denunciatory language toward Roman Catholics, their past history, and the fact that they everywhere act together, as if guided by one mind, admonish use to be jealous of their influence, and to watch with unremitted care all their movements in relation to our free institutions. As this work is now to be published in portable form, and with additional notes by the author, we hope it may obtain an extensive circulation and and a careful preusal.
Yours, with friendly regard,
JAMES MILNOR, N. BANGS,
THOMAS DE WITT, JONATHAN GOING.
* * The gentlemen who have signed the above letter, represent four Protestant denominations, viz., the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist.
Extract from Zion’s Herald, a Methodist paper, published in Boston, Mass.
“FOREIGN CONSPIRACY.–We commence to-day publishing this interesting series. The author is an American, who has resided for a long time in Italy and Austria. The same day that we had decided to publish them, we received a note, signed by Rev. Messrs. Lindsey, Fillmore, Kent, and Stevens, recommending and requesting that they should appear in the Herald.”
Recommendations since the Publication of the First Edition
The author of a little volume just published in this city, entitled “Foreign Conspiracy against the Liberties of the United States,” is a gentlemen personally known to us, and universally esteemed. We commend this volume to the serious attention to all Americans who love liberty, and mean to maintain it. The author undertakes to show that a conspiracy against the liberties of the this Republic is now in full action, under the direction of the wily Prince Metternich of Austria, who, knowing the impossibility of obliterating this troublesome example of a great and free nation by force of arms, is attempting to accomplish his object through the agency of an army of Jesuits. The array of facts and arguments going to prove the existence of such a conspiracy, will astonish any man who opens the book with the same incredulity as we did. The author has travelled extensively in Europe–has resided many months, if not many years, in Italy–and understands full well the kind of machinery which the politico-religious despots of the Old World would be likely to put in motion for the subversion of our liberties. He has taken hold of the subject with a strong hand, and if he has not proved the existence of a conspiracy, he has certainly proved an immense accumulation of foreign despotic influence among us, particularly in the West, by means of priests and money sent here from foreign despotic countries. As he has further proved, that the personal influence and pecuniary aid of the Emperor of Austria and his principal Minister, as well as many of his subjects, is directed with unceasing assiduity to maintain the foothold they have gained, and to spread the contagion of their doctrines throughout this fair Republic. We ask again, that if any are disposed to regard this subject as of little importance, they will give to the “Foreign Conspiracy” a serious and attentive perusal.—N.Y. Journal of Commerce.
“The author, well and alike known to us as an accomplished scholar and artist, has recently returned from an European residence of several years, during which period he became in various ways possessed of facts and circumstances including him to believe in the real and substantial existence of a conspiracy, which he has attempted to expose. When he commenced his labors, we frankly told him, in repeated conversations, that we were incredulous of the fact he was maintaining it; but we are free to confess that, in the course of his labors has brought forward a mass of direct and circumstantial testimony, documentary and otherwise, which has left a strong impression upon our minds, that after all, the alarm may not have been sounded without cause. Events have also transpired in our own country, which, in connection with the suspicious movements of exotic prelates, have imparted still greater importance to the writings of Brutus.”–N.Y. Commercial Advertiser.
One excellence of the publication before us, almost peculiar to this writer, when compared to others who have written upon this subject in our country, is, that it handles the matter of discussion with calmness, the writer not suffering himself to indite his letters under the influence of exacerbated feelings, but wisely avoids those harsh and blackening epithets which do more to irritate the passions than to convince and enlighten the judgment. On this account the book may be read with profit by all.–N.Y. Christian Advocate. (Methodist.)
“We would briefly observe that the work, as it is now revised and corrected by the author, and illustrated by him with an Appendix of valuable notes, seems to be something almost altogether new, if not as to the substance, at least as it respects its adventitious embellishments and illustrations. The notes of the Appendix may be truly considered as so many rich pearls, which set off a figure already and altogether prepossessing, to the best advantage.
“The author manifests the spirit of a Christian on every page; and although he develops a conspiracy the most formidable against our liberties, both civil and religious, not a vindictive breath ruffles the serenity of his mind. He steps forward, conscious of the rectitude of his motives, not to excite a false alarm, but coolly and deliberately to present facts to our view. This work, in regard to its classical merits, is an honor to American genius. The style is smooth, flowing, and mellifluous. It is like a garden whose walks are lined with flowers, where those who would imitate the industry of the bee, may find a rich profusion of varied sweets.
“On reading the last chapter of this valuable work, we are struck with the contrast between the pacific disposition of the author, and the ruthless spirit which characterizes the insidious enemy, whose machinations he exposes.”–N.Y. Downfall of Babylon. (Presbyt.)
The letters of Brutus deserve an extensive circulation. —Missouri, St. Louis Observer. (Presbyterian.)
“From what I have seen and know, the fears entertained by the writer in the New York Observer, under the caption of ‘Foreign Conspiracy,’ &c., are not without foundation, especially in the West.” –Letter of a Traveller in the West. (Maryland) Methodist Protestant.
The author maintains, that what is called the Roman Catholic Religion is in reality a political despotism, disguised under a religious name. We think he proves it; and also that the leading enemies of free institutions in Europe are engaged in organized efforts to give that despotism prevalence in the United States. The author has not given his name; but it may not be amiss to state that he has been intimately acquainted with Popery in Europe.
We do not believe that that progress of Popery in this country can be checked effectually in any way but by the conversion of its votaries. The Gospel must be preached to the Catholic emigrant, and by its influence he must be brought to repent and believe. And it seems evident to us, that the political argument is, from its very nature, incapable of exciting men to the effort by which this can be accomplished. Preaching the Gospel from political considerations will not convert men. We think that writers on Popery have been too unmindful of this truth. Yet the political argument, like all truth, has its value, and ought not to be neglected. In this work it is admirably presented. We hope that it will be widely circulated and attentively read.–Massachusetts, Boston Recorder. (Congregational.)
“Brutus has published his ‘Conspiracy,’ &c., in a small volume, accompanied with notes. They are elaborate and eloquent articles. I hope it will be scattered over the whole country. He is a distinguished scholar and artist of this city, and has his information from personal observation, while in Europe a few years since.”–Letter to the Editor of the Mass. Zion’s Herald. (Methodist.)
The numbers of Brutus–“Our readers are already acquainted with their contents. The object is to awaken the attention of the American public to a design, supposed to be entertained by the despotic governments of Europe, particularly of Austria, in conjunction with his Holiness the Pope, to undermine gradually our free institutions by the promotion of the Catholic religion in America. The letters are interesting from the numerous facts which they disclose; and are deserving the careful attention of the citizens of these United States, who should guard with vigilance the sacred trust which has been confided to us by our fathers.”–N.Y. Weekly Mess.
“Brutus–The able pieces over this signature, relative to the designs of Catholicity in our highly favored land, originally published in the New York Observer, it is now ascertained were written, not by an individual who was barely indulging in conjectures, but by one who has witnessed the Papacy in all its deformity. One who has, not long since, traveled extensively in the Romish countries, and has spent much time in the Italian States, where the seat of the Beast is. Rome is familiar to him, and he has watched the movements there with great particularity. We may, therefore, yield a good degree of credence to what Brutus has told us. His numbers are now published in a Pamphlet, and the fact which has come out in regard to his peculiar qualification to write on this great subject, will give them extensive circulation.”–Utica Baptist Register.
The work embodies a mass of facts, collected from authentic sources, of the deepest interest to every friend of civil liberty and Protestant Christianity. The efforts of despotic European sovereigns, to inoculate our country with the religion of Rome, are fully proved. Could they succeed in these efforts, and annihilate the spirit of liberty on our shores, the march of free principles in our own dominions would cease. They could then sit securely on their thrones, and rule with a rod of iron over their abject vassals.–Ohio, Cincinnati Journal. (Presbyterian.)
The first impression of the improbability of foreign conspiracy considered–Present political condition of Europe favors an enterprise against our institutions—The war of opinions commenced–Despotism against Liberty—The vicissitudes of this war—The official declaration of the despotic party against all liberty–Necessity to the triumph of despotism, that American Liberty should be destroyed–The kind of attack upon us most likely to be adopted from the nature of the contest–Particular reasons why our institutions are obnoxious to the European governments–Has the attack commenced? Yes ! by Austria—through a Society called the St. Leopold Foundation–Ostensibly religious in its designs…………………………………………………………33
Political character of the Austrian government, the power attacking us–The old avowed enemy of Protestant liberty—Character of the people of Austria–Slaves–Character of Prince Metternich, the arch-contriver of plans to stifle liberty–These ENEMIES of all liberty suddenly anxious for the civil and religious of the United States—The absurdity of their ostensible designs exposed–The avowed objects of Austria in the Leopold Foundation–Popery the instrument to act upon our institutions…………………………………………………….42
Popery, in its political, not its religious character, the object of the present examination–The fitness of the instrument to accomplish the political designs of despotism considered–The principles of a despotic and free government briefly contrasted–Despotic principles fundamental to Popery—Proved by infallible testimony–Papal claims of divine right and plenitude of power–Abject principles of Popery illustrated from the Russian catechism–Protestantism from its birth in favor of liberty–Luther on the 4th of July attacked the presumptuous claim of claim divine right–Despotism and Popery hand in hand against the liberty of conscience, liberty of opinion, and the liberty of the press–The anti-republican declarations of the present Pope Gregory XVI………………………..49
The cause of Popery and despotism identical–Striking difference between Popery and Protestantism as they exist in this country–American Protestantism not controlled by Foreign Protestantism–American Popery entirely under foreign control–Jesuits, the Foreign agents of Austria, bound by the strongest ties of interest to Austrian policy, not to American–Their dangerous power–unparalleled in any Protestant sect–our free institutions opposed in their nature to the arbitrary claims of Popery–Duplicity to be expected–Political dangers to be apprehended from Roman Catholic organization–American Roman Catholic ecclesiastical matters uncontrolled by Americans or in America–managed in a foreign country, by a foreign power, for political purposes–Consequences that may easily result from such a state of things……………………………………….59
Points in our political system which favor this foreign attack–Our toleration of all religious systems–Popery opposed to all toleration–Charge of intolerance substantiated–The organization of Popery in America connected with, and strengthened by foreign organization–Without a parallel among Protestant sects–Great preponderance of Popish strengthen in consequence–The divisions among Protestant sects nullifies their attempts at combination–Taken advantage of by Jesuits–Popish duplicity illustrated in its opposite alliances in Europe with despotism, and in America with democracy–The laws relating to emigration and naturalization favor foreign attack–Emigrants being mostly Catholic, and in entire subjection to their priests–No remedy provided by our laws for this alarming evil……………………………………………………64
The evil from emigration further considered–Its political bearings–The influence of emigrants at the elections–This influence concentrated in the priests–The priests must be propitiated–By what means–This influence easily purchased by the demagogue–The unprincipled character of many of our politicians favor this foreign attack–Their bargain for the suffrages of this priest-led band–A church and state party–The Protestant sects obnoxious to no such bargaining–The newspaper press favors this foreign attack–From its want of independence and its timidity–An anti-republican fondness for titles favors this foreign attack–Cautious attempts of Popery to dignify its emissaries, and to accustom us to their high-sounding titles–A mistaken notion on the subject of discussing religious opinion in the secular journals favors this foreign attack–Political designs not to be shielded from attack because cloaked by religion………………………………………………………..71
The political character of this ostensibly religious enterprise proved from the letters of the Jesuits now in this country–Their antipathy to private judgment–Their anticipations of a change in our form of government–Our government declared too free for the exercise of their divine rights–Their political partialities–their cold acknowledgment of the generosity, and liberality, and hospitality of our government–Their estimate of our condition contrasted with their estimate of that of Austria–Their acknowledged allegiance and servility to a foreign master–Their sympathies with the oppressor, and not with the oppressed–Their direct avowal of political intention………………………………………………81
Some of the means by which Jesuits can already operate politically in the country–by mob discipline–By priest police–Their great danger–Already established–Proofs–Priests already rule the mob–Nothing in the principles of Popery to prevent its interference in our elections–Popery interferes at the present day in the politics of other countries–Popery the same in our country–It interferes in our elections–In Michigan–In Charleston, S.C.–In New York–Popery a political despotism cloaked under the name of Religion–It is Church and State imbodied–Its character at head-quarters, in Italy–Its political character stripped of its religious cloak………………………………………………………….89
Evidence enough of conspiracy adduced to create great alarm–The cause of liberty universally demands that we should awake to a sense of danger–An attack is made which is to try the moral strength of the republic–The mode of defence that might be consistently recommended by Austrian Popery–A mode now in actual operation in Europe–Contrary to the entire spirit of American Protestantism–True mode of defence–Popery must be opposed by antagonist institutions–Ignorance must be dispelled–Popular ignorance of all Papal countries–Popery the natural enemy of general education–Popish efforts to spread education in the United States delusive…………….99
All classes of citizens interested in resisting the efforts of Popery–The unnatural alliance of Popery and Democracy exposed–Religious Liberty in danger–Specially in the keeping of the Christian community–They must rally for its defence–The secular press has no sympathy with them in this struggle, it is opposed to them–The Political character of Popery ever to be kept in mind, and opposed–It is for the Papist, not the Protestant, to separate his religion from his political creed–Papists ought to be required publicly, and formally, and officially to renounce foreign allegiance, and anti-republican customs………………………………………………………..107
The question, what is the duty of the Protestant community, considered–Shall there be an Anti-Popery Union?–The strong manifesto that might be put forth by such a union–Such a political union discarded as impolitic and degrading to a Protestant community–Golden opportunity for showing the moral energy of the Republic—The lawful, efficient weapons of this contrast–To be used without delay………………………………………………………….114
The political duty of American citizens at this crisis…………………………………………………………123
LIBERTIES OF THE UNITED STATES
Preface to the Second Edition.
THE great and increasing attention to the subject of which these chapters treat, has given them an extensive circulation. A large edition with notes has been rapidly sold, and two editions of the numbers, as they originally appeared in the New-York Observer, have been printed in the Valley of the Mississippi, at the expense of patriotic Associations, and distributed throughout the western country. A larger and cheaper edition is now demanded, for general distribution, by numerous citizens belonging to various religious and opposite political sects.
The author has watched with more than ordinary solicitude, the movements throughout the country, in relation to this exciting subject, and has anxiously hoped that facts would transpire, which would prove that the charge of Conspiracy against the Liberties of the United States, conducted by the agents and funds of foreign powers, was groundless. Gladly would he make any personal sacrifice of feeling, and endure the stigma of being accounted a visionary or an alarmist, if satisfactory counter-testimony could be adduced that might safely allay the fears that have been generally excited, and which every one must allow are at least plausibly grounded. On the contrary, he is compelled to say, that the course of events, and further investigation, have brought full confirmation to the truth of the charge.
No one who has turned his attention to the subject can fail to have observed that the Roman Catholic journals preserve a rigid silence on the subject of the Austrian St. Leopold Foundation, and the alleged conspiracy against our civil institutions, through the instrumentality of the Catholic religion. Would an accusation that was groundless, so seriously implicating any Protestant sect with foreign political movements, be suffered to agitate the whole country for five or six months, without producing from the sect thus accused a prompt and satisfactory explanation? No publication of the Roman Catholics attempting to refute this charge has, to the author’s knowledge, been put forth, nor has there been, (with a single exception, which he will presently examine,) any disclaimer of principles hostile to our free institutions. Silence, it would seem, has been the word of command on this subject, from head-quarters; and from Maine to Louisiana, throughout the Roman Catholic ranks, with that perfectness of discipline for which this despotic sect is famous, the word of command is strictly obeyed. Neither in the daily political journals under their influence ( and there are many that are evidently in their interest) has there appeared anything in the way of refutation of the charge of conspiracy, except a sneer at its improbability, or a gratuitous imputation of bigotry and intolerance, against the writer.
Many who think, with the author, that there is imminent danger to our free institutions from the increase of foreign Catholics, and from their despotic organization throughout these States, are yet unwilling to believe that Austria and other foreign despotic powers can have any settled design to subvert, through the instrumentality of the Catholic Religion, the Democratic institutions of this country. Had any thing more than mere dissent on this charge been hazarded, the author could better strengthen any assailed point. He is not aware of any weak spot in the chain of argument, or in the evidence by which he sustains his own belief, and he therefore must have recourse to conjecture for possible objections to its general credence.
What concurrence of circumstances, aside from confession of the plot, is it sufficient to prove the conspiracy?
Is not the case proved if it can be shown;
1st. That there exists an adequate motive to conspire?
2d. That there exists ample means wherewith to conspire?
And 3d. That means capable of accomplishing the object of conspiracy are actually employed by those whose interest it is to conspire? No one in the case before use can expect a confession from the conspirators; let us have recourse then to the test proposed.
1. Have Austria and the Holy Alliance an adequate motive for conspiring against the liberties of the United States? Can there be a stronger motive than that of self-preservation? So certain as this country exists in prosperity under its present democratic form of government, just so certain will its example operate on the People of Europe, as it has for two centuries operated, and is now in an accelerated degree operating, to subvert the ancient oppressive systems of government of the old world. The strongest motive, therefore, that can influence governments as well as individuals, that of self-preservation, impels Austria and other despots of Europe to seek, by any means in their power, the subversion of this government.
2. Have they the means to conspire? No one can doubt that the usual means of conspiracy, money, and intriguing agents, are perfectly at the command of those governments who can lavish their millions for the sole purpose of protecting their thrones, who keep in their pay for this vital object, standing armies, and a police of tens of thousands of spies.
3. Have they employed, or are they actually employing means capable of accomplishing their object in this country? Austria, in a combination with other powers, called the St. Leopold Foundation, has sent, and is still sending both money and agents to this country; the former comes in the shape of religious contributions to this St. Leopold Foundation, the Society in Vienna, established with express reference to the operations in the United States; the latter come from the same quarter, in the shape of hundreds of Jesuits and priests; a class of men notorious for their intrigue and political arts, and who have a complete military organization through the United States. The Catholic religion is the cloak which covers the design.
All the circumstances, therefore, necessary to prove conspiracy, concur in fixing this charge upon Austria, and her associates in that Union of Christian Princes, combined in the St. Leopold Foundation. Is there any defect in the test I have applied, or in its application? Will it be said, that by this rule the United States can be proved to have politically conspired against India; because Protestant American Missionaries have been sent to India, to convert the people to Christianity? Let us apply the test, and see if conspiracy can be proved. Aside from the fact that the United States as a government, cannot, as do other governments, engage in a religious enterprise, the peculiarity in its principles of the the separation of Church and State, making it unconstitutional, and therefore impossible, I ask what adequate motive exists here for such a crusade? what have the United States to fear politically from India? It is scarcely necessary to answer, nothing. The proof fails, therefore, in the first rule, in regard to conspiracy by the United States.
But some may say, although we can easily perceive that the Austrian system and our own are diametrically opposed, and that it may be, therefore, in a general sense, for the interest of Austria to extinguish the liberties of this country, yet where is your proof that she ever so far interested herself in the political character of this country, or considered the example of this government in so alarming a light, as to make it a serious object to destroy its influence on Europe? Can you prove that she has ever considered American institutions so dangerous to the existence of her own, as to authorize you to use so strong terms as self-preservation, in relation to the degree of interest she has in the event expected, and conspiracy in relation to measures she is using, in this country? These are important points, and I will examine them. As to the use of the term self-preservation, it might be sufficient justification to refer generally to the Austrian policy, in regard to all countries, over, an in which she can exercise any control. Her interference in Saxony, (see page 48,) to control the press, on the principle of self-preservation, is a case in point; but her interference at this moment to resist the progress of democratic opinions in Switzerland on the same principle, fully proves that she is sensibly alive to every movement in the political world which tends to the slightest degree to weaken the structure of her arbitrary system.
As to the other term, conspiracy, if any still think it too strong in relation to the operations of Austria in this country, I trust her opinion will be changed by considering the follow facts:–
In the year 1828, the celebrated Frederick Schlegel, one of the most distinguished literary men of Europe, delivered lectures at Vienna, on the Philosophy of History, (which have not been translated into English,) a great object of which is to show the mutual support which Popery and Monarchy derive from each other. He commends the two systems in connexion, as deserving of universal reception. He attempts to prove that sciences, and arts, and all the pursuits of man as an intellectual being, are best promoted under this perfect system of church and state; a Pope at the head of the former; an Emperor at the head of the latter. He contrasts with this, the system of Protestantism; represents Protestantism as the enemy of good government, as the all of Republicanism, as the parent of the distresses of Europe, as the cause of all disorders with which legitimate government are afflicted. In the close of lecture 17th, vol. ii. p.286, he thus speaks of this country:–“The TRUE NURSERY of all these destructive principles, the REVOLUTIONARY SCHOOL for France and the rest of Europe, has been NORTH AMERICA. Thence the evil has spread over many other lands, either by natural contagion, or by arbitrary communication.”
Let it be remembered that it was in Vienna, in 1828, where opinions so flattering to the pride of legitimacy were publicly preached by one of the first scholars of the age, where the United States was held up to the execration of his Austrian auditors as the “nursery of destructive principles,” as the “revolutionary school for Europe,” as, in truth, the great central fire which threatened the rest of the world, and which must be put out, ere European governments could rest in safety. Let it then also be borne in mind that it was in Vienna, in 1829, immediately after these opinions were promulgated, while the influence of Schlegel’s eloquents appeals was still fresh, that the St. Leopold Foundation was set on foot for the purpose [to use the language of its own reports] “of promoting the greater activity of Catholic missions in the United States.”
Here, then, we have doctrines advanced in Austria, that Monarchy and Popery mutually sustain each other, that Republicanism and Protestantism also mutually sustain each other, and that the great nursery of this hated Republicanism is these United States; and immediately consequent on the promulgation of these opinions, a great Society is formed, with the Emperor of Austria for its partron, the counsellor of State, Prince Metternich, its grand manager, and all the officers of State the zealous promoters of the design, and engaged in the instant vigorous diffusion of Popery in this country. Now what is the intention of Austria in spreading in this country Popery, the natural ally of Monarchial government? With the facts of the case before them, the people will not be slow in forming their judgment of the nature of this ostensibly religious enterprise, and whether the term conspiracy is too strong to apply to this insidious attempt.
But who, after all, is Federick Schlegel? He may be a great scholar, but what is his situation that so much weight is to be attached to his opinions? I will give my readers a brief account of him, abridged from the Encyclopedia Americana, (edited by a German,) sufficient to enable them to judge if too much stress is laid upon his opinions. “Frederick Schlegel, (one of the great literary stars of Germany,) went over to the Catholic faith, at Cologne, and in the year 1800 repaied to Vienna. In 1809, he received an appointment at the head-quarters of the Archduke Charles, where he drew up several powerful proclamations. When peace was concluded, he again delivered lectures in Vienna on modern history and the literature of all nations. In 1812, he published the German Museum, and gained the confidence of Prince Metternich by various diplomatic papers,
in consequence of which he was appointed Austrian counsellor of legation at the Diet in Frankfort. In 1818, he returned to Vienna, where he lived as SECRETARY OF THE COURT, and COUNSELLOR OF LEGATION, and published a view of the Present Political Relations [of Austria,] and his complete works.” In 1828, he delivered his lectures on the Philosophy of History, in which his views as I have stated them are fully developed.
This is the man whose opinions on the relation of Popery and Monarchy, and of Protestantism and Republicanism, and the influence of the United States, have been followed by the action of the Austrians, in the formation of the St. Leopold Foundation. He was part and parcel of the government, he was ONE OF THE AUSTRIAN CABINET, THE CONFIDENTIAL COUNSELLOR OF PRINCE METTERNICH!
Let me now examine matters nearer to home. How far are the Roman Catholics of this country to be considered as implicated in this Conspiracy? This is indeed a grave question, and one which demands serious attention, lest we should be, on the one hand, too regardless of danger from them, and on the other, unjust to those who are innocent. We are told that they disclaim hostility to our free government, that they profess the warmest friendship to our democratic institutions. I readily concede that there has been, and are now, many true patriots among this sect, many estimable men of sound political views, sincere in supporting the democratic institutions of the country; but making the most ample allowance, they are but exceptions to the rule. The sect, as a sect, is still justly chargeable with the tendency of its acknowledged principles. If a Roman Catholic in the United States is a Democratic Republican, he is so in spite of, and in opposition to, the system of his church, and not in accordance with it. To the truth of this fact, the arguments of Schlegel, a Catholic, and the profoundest investigator of the subject in the present age, are unanswerably conclusive. From their principles of passive obedience, and the denial of the right of private judgment alone, Roman Catholics, as a sect, must be ignorant and willing slaves to the schemes of any despotic ecclesiastic that a foreign power may see fit to send to this country to rule over them. The secret plans, the real designs of the Jesuits may be confined to few bosoms, it is by no means necessary that the mass of the sect should have any knowledge of the plot; for from the nature of their system they may be blind instruments of the few.
Popery and despotism are notoriously united in the Austrian government, and Protestantism and Republicanism in that of the United States. At the time I adduced arguments to prove the truth of these two categories, I was wholly unapprized that so distinguished a political writer as Schlegel had taken the same views of these opposite systems, to rouse Austrians to the defence of their own category. A powerful argument is derived from this corroboration of an important political truth, by Schlegel, who writes in the interest of absolutism, to urge all true friends of liberty on this side of the water, to the vigorous maintenance of the American category. It is a truth now no longer to be questioned, that Popery is so naturally the ally of Absolute government, that the diffusion of the former will result in producing the latter, and it is equally true, that the diffusion of Protestantism will result in the production of liberal institutions. What, then, is the duty of Americans, all who really love their own free system of government? There can be but one answer. They must unite in giving every facility to the spread of Protestant principles. Patriotism demands that every Protestant religious sect be encouraged to promote its own views, each according to the dictates of conscience; and patriotism equally demands the discouragement, in every lawful way, of the further introduction of Popery and Popish influence into the country. Popery is the antagonist to our free system. No one can doubt the unusual efforts of despotic foreign governments to spread Popery in the United States, has for its principal design the subversion of our republican institutions. Ought a vaunted but spurious charity be allowed to blind the eyes of Americans to evidence of the attack made upon them? ought they aid these foreign conspirators, by adding their own contributions to the means of spreading Popery? ought they to encourage the schools of Jesuit agents; their immoral nunnery systems; their slave-making seminaries, by placing American children within the pale of their discipline? ought they court Jesuit influence in our politics, and screen their political principles from examination, on the plea that this is merely a religious controversy? Let patriotism answer these questions.
I will now examine the disclaimer of hostility to our republican institutions, (to which I have alluded,) made in behalf of Catholics in this country, by a Catholic journal. As a Unitarian paper in Boston has quoted it with satisfaction, I give it here, with the Unitarian editor’s remarks prefixed:–
“We have no doubt that the Roman Catholics have their due share of proselyting spirit. Some of our good people, clergy and laity, would have a poor opinion of their sincerity if they were destitute of that spirit. But the cry is—“Conspiracy against the Liberties of the United States,’ Let the following confession of political faith pass for what it is worth. There is nothing in it which sounds like what we call by the odious epithet Jesuitical; and we do not ourselves question the sincerity of the avowal with which it closes; an avowal similar to one which Catholics in England have made on like occasions.”–Christian Register.
“It was the duty of the Catholic Church to perform the funderal offices for the latest representative (Carroll) of those who signed the charter of our liberties, and struggled to raise them, on their present basis of equal rights for all. The same republican opinions which he held, the Catholics of this country now hold. They deem the constitution as sacred, and the laws as obligatory in the spirit and in the letter, as any portion of this public; and were an effort now made to consolidate religious with national government, though they should be the ruling party, as Americans, as freemen, they would be found first in the ranks to oppose such an alliance.”–Catholic [Cincinnati] Telegraph.”
This is the disclaimer, the only one I have yet seen, and which seems so far satisfactory to the Editor of the Register, that he sees nothing in it which “sounds Jesuitical.” To me, Jesuitism was never more evident. It is permitted to scrutinize with more than common care, a Jesuit document; but in the present case there needs no scrutiny. The trick is so on the surface, that I am surprised at the blindness of any one who professes not to see it. “The same republican opinions which he (Carroll) held, the Catholics of this country now hold,” and “were an effort now made to consolidate religious with national government,” &c. What is there in this disclaimer which could be brought in proof of breach of faith, or even of inconsistency, if to-mor-row, or at any future period, the Roman Catholics should think it politic to hold, that ” a system of government” (like the United States.) “may be very fine in theory, very fit for imitation on the part of those who seek the power of the mob, in contradistinction to justice and the public interest; but it is not of a nature to invite the reflecting part of the world, and shows, at least, that it has evils?”
It was politic, be it remarked, but yesterday, (before this subject had created so much excitement,) for this same Catholic Telegraph to hold this identical anti-republican, anti-American language, with the addition of his opinion, that “the system of American Institutions was condemned by numerous other proofs.” To-day, however, the Catholic leaders find it politic to play republican; because the people are waking to a sense of danger to their liberties, and the artifices of the Jesuits through the land are no longer regarded with indifference.
A disclaimer on the part of the Roman Catholics, of hostility to republican institutions, is a matter of too serious importance, just now, to be left to be inferred from ambiguous expressions; it must come in a more formal and responsible shape, than that of a paragraph in a journal, of such contradictory views. A disclaimer of anti-republican principles, of principles in direct and dangerous opposition to those of this government, with which the Papal system is directly and distinctly charged, must be a frank, unambiguous manifesto, that will bear scrutiny, issuing from an authority unquestioned. It must embrace a disclaimer of foreign allegiance, of hostility to freedom of the press, to liberty of opinion, to liberty of conscience. It must contain satisfactory evidence that these Anti-American principles are expunged, and expunged for ever, from the Roman Catholic system. These are some of the essential points to be met, and they must be met without evasion. And until this is done, the people of this country are fairly borne out in regarding Roman Catholics essentially and necessarily, enemies to her free government, and most especially to the democratic republican institutions of this country; nor will they be blinded to this truth by the representation industriously pressed upon them, that the Catholic population of this country, are now, (whether truly or feignedly, it matters not,) in favor of republican institutions, or that the foreigners among them, are now heard more vociferous than native citizens, in there huzzas, on all patriotic occasions, and in praises of civil and religious liberty.
The course of many of our daily journals, on this subject, is one demanding severe reprehension from the American people. They are conspicuously busy in making the impression, that the excitement now general through the country respecting Popery, is the result of a sudden disposition to persecute the Catholics; that it is a secretarian and proscriptive war upon them, the fruits of an intolerant, bigoted, fanatical spirit, and the revival of ancient prejudices. These are accusations daily reiterated. We have fallen on strange times, indeed, when subjects of the deepest political importance to the country may not be mooted in the political journals of the day without meeting the indiscriminating hostility and denunciations of such journals; without hints and even threats of popular vengeance, unless we abstain from discussing exciting subjects; as if all great questions touching our liberties could be otherwise than exciting. One, would have all debating societies suppressed, even by mobs. Others liberally charge illiberality, bigotry, and intolerance on all who venture publicly to write against Popery, and little conscious of their own sins of the same character, are bigoted against bigotry, and intolerant against intolerance. Denunciations like these, be it remarked, are made against any and all Protestant sects, while Popery claims with them an exclusive privilege of exemption from attack. Protestant American Christianity all over the land may be gratuitously charged with the local sins of an irreligious, intemperate mob, as at Charlestown; American citizens may be subjected to the grossest indignity by Roman Catholics for not conforming to Popish customs, as at Cincinnati; they may be threatened with the vengeance of a band of foreigners, as by the Superior of the Ursuline convent; they may be disturbed at religious meetings, and forcibly driven into the streets by Roman Catholic rioters, as in New-York; or prevented from peaceably assembling to discuss the political question of Popery, by threats of outrage, as at Philadelphia; and in these cases, where are the sympathies of the press? Does it not raise the cry of illiberality, and intolerance, and persecution, and bigotry against the Roman Catholic aggressors; does it defend the sacred right of freedom of discussion thus alarmingly invaded. No! its terms of reproach are exclusively reserved for those who venture to publish these acts. These are epithets suited only to those Protestants who have the hardihood to maintain that American necks are not yet prepared to wear the Popish yoke, the despotic chain offered by Austria, and commended to them by the royal devotees of the “the blessed St. Leopold.” But, say some, this is a religious controversy, and it is wrong to discuss it in daily journals. Is Popery a religious controversy? Let us see. The St. Leopold Foundation is asserted to be a political combination of foreign powers, founded with a view to the overthrow of our republican government. If despotism approaches us in the garb of religion, is it the less to be resisted? Have we no political interest in the truth or falsity of this fact? Is this a religious or a political question? The agents of this society are asserted to be political agents sent to this country in the disguise of religious missionaries. Is this a religious or political question? The present Pope asserts his claim to temporal, as well as spiritual jurisdiction over his subjects; this jurisdiction he now exercises in other countries. Are not the Catholics of this country the subjects of the Pope; do they not owe him an allegiance superior to any due to our laws? And is this a religious or a political question? Schools are establishing in all parts of the country, colleges, convents, and seminaries, by means of Austrian money in the hands of Jesuits. In these schools a system of education is devised altogether different from our own school system. What is the nature of this foreign system? Is it favorable or adverse to liberty? And are these religious or political questions? Foreign emigrants are flocking to our shores in increased numbers, two thirds at least are Roman Catholics, and of the most ignorant classes, and thus pauperism and crime are alarmingly increased. The Irish Catholics in an especial manner clan together, keep themselves distinct from the American family, exercise the political privileges granted to them by our hospitality, not as Americans, but as Irishmen, keep alive their foreign feelings, their foreign associations, habits, and manners. Is this mixture and these doings favorable or unfavorable to American character, and national independence? and is this a religious or political question? It would be easy to add to this of questions purely political, which are involved in the mixed system of Popery; and are editors who cry out against the Popish controversy so ill-informed of the character of this Church and State sect, that they are unable to distinguish the political from the religious questions? Has Popery cloaked itself in sacredness, has this political engine of foreign despotism so sanctified its very name, that our press is awe-struck at its movements, and cries sacrilege of its political claims to our reception be in the slightest degree disputed? Whence come all the sorrows and regrets about controversy, and lamentations and whinings about intolerance, because freemen are jealous of the meddling of foreigners in our concerns? Is this discussion of the political principles of Popery really ill-timed and gratuitous? Who has provoked it? What! shall foreign powers combine together, secretly and openly send their money and their agents, to spread a great political and religious system over the country; a system notorious for enslaving, impoverishing, and degrading people; shall they build their means of attack within our borders, and American freemen be rebuked into silence, when they venture to examine the character of this foreigner enterprise, and to question the purely benevolent nature of their imperial majesties’ love for our souls? It is a subject of deep interest indeed, to the community, to know how far our press is inoculated with this no-controversy spirit; this truly papal spirit; this emphatically anti-American spirit. How is it that our free principles of government have been brought out, and set before the world, but by free, unembarrassed discussion; by controversy, by sharp controversy, by the collision of intellect with intellect. It is in the skilful conflict of mind with mind, that truth is elicited; it is by the friction of keen debate, that the rust of error is kept from gathering over, and corroding away vital truths. Better, far better, occasionally to endure even the excess of the storm, so necessary to scatter the noxious vapors of the atmosphere, than to purchase a fatal repose by dwelling in the quiet but pestilential atmosphere of a tomb.
Is it the spirit of liberty or despotism, that now frowns upon free inquiry, that would shut out debate from the secular press, by the deceptive cry of religious controversy? Who are they that are dreading and shrinking from examination? Who that caution all those over whom they have power, “against attending upon, or taking part in, or noticing meetings,” for the discussion of the political question of Popery? Ah! is this the tender point? Is it when the political question is proposed for public debate, that Popish Bishops, first take the alarm, and the spiritual jurisdiction is paraded forth, and the spiritual power exercises, to prevent their subjects from exercising their political privileges?*
May the religious question (that alone with which Bishops have any thing to do) be freely debated, without their interference. And is it only when the political question is started, with which as Bishops they have nothing to do, that they fulminate their spiritual thunders against those who agitate the subject? And is it in such intermeddling with politics, that they are upheld by the Protestant press? Is our press indeed in awe of Popish bishops? Does it fear to touch the civil character of Popery, for fear giving offence to Popish bishops? Truth has nothing to fear from the severest scrutiny. It is error that loves mystery; that seeks concealment; that shrouds itself in secrecy, and cries out persecution! Yes, persecution, forsooth, if any one attempts to drag it into the light. It was error that the poet aptly described as
________________seeing one in mail,
Armed to point, sought back to turn again;
For light she hated as the deadly bale,
Aye, wont in desert darkness to remain,
Where plain, none might her see, nor she see any plain.
*Both Bishop Fenwick of Philadelphia, and Bishop Dubois of New-York, have just issued orders, in ecclesiastical form, to those under their jurisdiction! to refrain from attending discussions where Popery is the subject of debate. These documents are worthy of notice. They will illustrate several despotic principles inherent in the Popish system: How would these orders be read by any Protestant sect, as coming from their own clergy?
This is a matter not to be covered up by silence. The political press has a fearful responsibility now resting upon it; it has a sacred duty to the country to perform, from which it cannot, must not shrink. It should be known, that there is a wider desire for knowledge on Popery, in its multifarious bearings upon society, than some seem to be aware of, and especially in its effect upon our civil institutions; a desire, which, having been created by the necessity of the times, (by the fact of unusual efforts made by foreigner governments, hostile to our institutions, to spread throughout the country, Popery) must be satisfied.
The political character of Popery is a legitimate subject of discussion in the secular press, and we believe that when the intelligent conductors of our journals shall have justly apprehended that part of the mixed system of Popery which belongs to it as a political system, they will no longer be deterred by the senseless cry of religous controversy, from lending their columns and their pens for its fearless discussion. They will see that the religious question of Popery is a separate affair, and with discrimination that should belong to them in their responsible situations, will be able to keep the distinct religious and political character of the controversy, each within its respective limits.
The public mind is awake far and wide to the fact, that Popery is a political as well as religious system, nor will freemen be lulled to sleep by the Popish anodyne of no controversy; they will not rest till these more than suspicious manoeuvrings of Jesuit intriguers; of Austrian conspirators against their liberties, shall have been searched to the bottom.
The following Numbers, written for the New-York Observer in the beginning of the year 1834, and during several weeks of confinement by indisposition, have been, perhaps, more extensively copied into the religious journals of the different Christian denominations, than any communications, (with, perhaps, a single exception,) of the same extent, since the establishment of religious newspapers; and although the subject matter is almost altogether political, giving proofs of a serious foreign conspiracy against the government, yet the writer is not aware that a single secular journal in the United States has taken the pains to investigate the matter, or even ask if indeed there may not be good grounds for believing it true. The silence of the secular press on a subject which has roused the attention of so large a body of the Protestant community, may indeed be accounted for in part, perhaps altogether, from the all-engrossing election contests which have agitated the country from one extremity of the land to the other; for the writer would certainly be very reluctant to adopt the belief which has repeatedly been urged upon him by many, that the secular journals dare not attack Popery; he will not believe that dare not ever stood in the way of the duty of any patriotic, independent conductor of the American press.*
At the solicitation of many citizens, without distinction of religious denomination or of political party, the writer has consented to collect the numbers into a pamphlet, adding notes illustrative of many matters which could not so well have been introduced into the columns of a newspaper.
That a vigorous and unexampled effort is making by the despotic governments of Europe to cause Popery to overspread this country, is a fact too palpable to be contradicted. Did not official documents lately published put this fact beyond dispute, yet the writer had personal evidence sufficient to convince him of the fact, and of the political object of the enterprise, while residing in Italy in the years 1830-31, from conversations with nobles and gentlemen of different countries, with the officers of various foreigner governments, visiting and resident in the Roman and Austrian states,
* A friend, to whom this part was read, smiled, and said, “You are sufficiently guarded into your language, but how many patriotic, independent conductors of the American press are there? Can you name one?”
and with priests and other ecclesiastics of the Roman faith. Sometimes it was hinted to him as a check to too sanguine anticipations of the triumph of the experiment of our democratic republican government; sometimes it was told him by the former class, in a tone of exultation, that a cause was in operation which would surely overthrow our institutions and gradually bring us under a form of government less obnoxious to the pride, and less dangerous to the existence of the antiquated despotic systems of Europe. In addition to these hints to the writer concerning the efforts making by the governments of Europe to carry Popery through all our borders, other American travellers will testify to similar hints made to them. By one, I am permitted to say, that the celebrated naturalist, the late Baron Cuvier, known also as a zealous Protestant, inquired of him with marks of concern, if it were indeed true that Popery had made such progress in the United States as to cause the exultation (which, it seems, was no secret,) among the legitimates of Europe. And again, that a distinguished member of one of the Protestant German embassies in Rome also made similar inquiries of him, having heard much boasting of the progress of Popery in the United States, adding this pertinent remark,– “they will be hammer or nails, sir; they will persecute or be persecuted.” These facts may be of so much importance in aid of the other proofs of a conspiracy which these numbers unfold, as to show that among the various higher classes of Europe the enterprise of a Popish crusade in this country is not only a subject of notoriety, but is viewed with great interest, and is considered as having a most important political bearing.
In the following numbers, the writer has chosen to rest the evidence of conspiracy mainly on official documents published in Vienna, because they have been translated and published,* and are within the reach of any citizen of the country who chooses more closely to examine them. He has also availed himself of facts in the operations of Popish agents in this country, so far as their workings have been occasionally revealed.
The writer will add in conclusion, that he writes not in the interest of a sect or a party, for the question of Popery is not identified with either political party. He has lived too long in foreign countries to be able to identify himself with the local interests of mere party at home, whether in religion or politics. The great democratic features of his country’s institutions, as contradistinguished from the despotic, monarchial, and aristocratic systems of Europe, were admired by him as they appeared more boldly relieved, viewed from abroad in such striking contrast to all around him; and he is thoroughly persuaded that these democratic institutions, if suffered to have their unobstructed course, unobstructed except by the natural checks of education and religion, actively and universally diffused and sustained, are more favorable to civil liberty and to the final triumph of truth, and consequently to human happiness, than any other civil institutions in the world. The writer entertaining these views, has deemed it
* In the New-York Observer, of the months of January and February, 1834.
an imperative duty, at any sacrifice, to warn his countrymen of a subtle enemy to the democracy of the country, and to conjure them, as they value their civil and religious institutions, to watch the Protean shapes of Popery, to suspect and fear it most when it allies itself to our interests in the guise of a friend. Mistrust of all that Popery does, or affects to do, whether as a friend or foe, in any part of the country, is the only feeling that true charity, universal charity, allows us to indulge.
NEW-YORK, January, 1835.
LIBERTIES OF THE UNITED STATES
The first impression of the improbability of foreign conspiracy considered–Present political condition of Europe favors an enterprise against our institutions—The war of opinions commenced–Despotism against Liberty—The vicissitudes of this war—The official declaration of the despotic party against all liberty–Necessity to the triumph of despotism, that American Liberty should be destroyed–The kind of attack upon us most likely to be adopted from the nature of the contest–Particular reasons why our institutions are obnoxious to the European governments–Has the attack commenced? Yes ! by Austria—through a Society called the St. Leopold Foundation–Ostensibly religious in its designs.
Does this heading seem singular? What, it will be said, is it at all probable that any nation, or combination of nations, can entertain designs against us, a people so peaceable, and at the same time so distant? Knowing the daily increasing resources of this country in all the means of defence against foreign aggression, how absurd in the nations abroad to dream of a conquest on this soil! Let me, nevertheless, ask attention, while I humbly offer my reasons for believing that a conspiracy exists, that its plans are already in operation, and that we are attacked in a vunerable quarter, which cannot be defended by our ships, our forts, or our armies.
Who among us is not aware that a mighty struggle of opinion is in our days agitating all the nations of Europe; that there is a war going on between despotism on one side, and liberty on the other.* And with what deep anxiety should Americans watch the vicissitudes of the conflict! Having long since achieved our own victory in the great strife between arbitrary power and freedom; having demonstrated, by successful experiment before the world, the safety, the happiness, the superior excellence of a republican government, a government proceeding from the people as the true source of power; enjoying in overflowing abundance the rich blessings of such a government, must we not regard with more than common interest the efforts of mighty nations to break away from the prejudices and habits, and sophistical opinions of ages of darkness,
* See note A, Appendix
and struggling to attain the same glorious privileges of rational freedom? But there are other motives than that of curiosity, or of mere sympathy with foreign trouble, that should arouse our solicitude in the fearful crisis which has at length arrived, a crisis which the prophetic tongue of a great British statesman long since foretold, the war of opinion, threatening the world with a more frightful sacrifice of human life than history in any of its bloodstained pages records. Happily separated by an ocean-barrier from the great arena where the physical action of this bloody drama is to be performed, we are secure from the immediate physical effects of this strife; but we cannot remain unaffected by the result.
Of European wars arising from the cravings of personal ambition, from thirst for national glory, from desire of territorial increase, or from other local causes, we might safely be ignorant both of cause and result. No armed bands of a conqueror flushed with victory could give us a moment’s alarm. But in a war of opinions, in a war of principles, in which the very foundations of government are subverted, and the whole social fabric upturned, we cannot, if we would, be uninterested in the result. Principles are not bounded by geographical limits. Oceans present to them no barriers. All of principle that belongs to despotism throughout the world, whether in the iron systems of Russia and Austria, or the scarcely less civilized system of China, and all of principle that belongs to pure American freedom in the United States, or in the mixed systems of Britain, France, and some other European states, are in this great contest arrayed in opposition. The triumph of the one or the other principle, whether in the field of battle, or in the secret councils of the cabinet, or the congress of ministers, or the open debate, produces effects wherever society exists. The recent convulsions in Europe should not pass unheeded by Americans. The three days’ revolution of France; the reform in Britain on the side of liberty; the suppressed revolutions of Italy and Poland on the side of despotism; the yet doubtful victory of the two principles now in contest in Portugal and Spain;* the crooked diplomacy, the contradictory measures, the faithless promises of the despotic cabinets, all show that the war of principles has indeed commenced, and that Europe is agitated to its very centre with the anxieties of the contest.
No open annual message reveals frankly to all the world the true internal condition of the oppressed nations of Europe. From the well guarded walls of the secret council-chamber of the imperial power, documents seldom escape to show us the strength of the opposing principle. Despotism glosses over all its oppressions. The people are always happy under the paternal sway. They that plead for liberty are always enemies of public order. “Order reigns in Warsaw,” was the proclamation that told the world that despotism had triumphed over Poland, and none now may know the number of her sons of freedom still at large, still unexiled to the mines of Siberia: yet it is great; for Russia, and Prussia, and Austria have leagued anew against unconquerable Poland;
* These numbers were written in January and February, 1834.
and the agony of determination, the desperate resolution which the Russian Autocrat has just uttered, tells the secret of the yet unvanquished spirit of Polish partriots, and at the same time discloses the plot of mighty efforts, of united efforts, of perserving efforts, utterly to extinguish liberty.
“As long as I live,” says the Emperor, “I will oppose a will of iron to the progress of liberal opinions. The present generation is lost, but we must labor with zeal and earnestness to improve the spirit of that to come. It may require a hundred years; I am not unreasonable, I give you a whole age, but you must work without relaxation.”
This is language without ambiguity, bold, undisguised; it is clear and official disclosure of the determination of the Holy Alliance against liberty. It proclaims unextinguishable hatred, a will of iron. There is no compromise with liberty, a hundred years of efforts unrelaxed, if necessary, shall be put forth to crush it for ever. its very name must be blotted from the earth. What! and is there a Holy Alliance, a “union of Christian princes,” leagued to extinguish the kindling sparks of liberty in Europe? and will they make no effort to quench the great alter-fires that blaze in their strength in the temples of this land of liberty? An oversight like this would seem to be too palpable for the wisdom of the despotic cabinets to commit. This conquest must be achived, or liberty will never die in Europe.
With declarations before us, thus officially put forth by despotism, of such exterminating hostility to liberty, is it not possible that an attack on us may be made from a quarter and in a shape little expected? Should we not at least look about us? Nations may be attacked, and conquered too, with other weapons than the sword. The diplomatic pen, as England can testify, has often wrested from her that territory which her sword had won. We need not look, therefore, to the ports of Europe to see if fleets are gathering. We are safe enough from ships. Nor need we fear diplomacy, for we have “entangling alliances with none.” Where, then, shall we look? What shape would attack be likely to assume? Let the nature of the contest aid us in the inquiry. It is the war of opinion; the war of antagonist principles; the war of despotism against liberty. But how can this contest be carried on in this country? We have not the warring opinions to set in array against each other. One principle is certainly absent. We have no party in favor of despotism. This party is to be created. If then a scheme can be devised for sowing the seeds and rearing the plants of depotism, that is the scheme which would find favor with the Holy Alliance, to subserve its designs against American liberty.
It is asked, Why sould the Holy Alliance feel interested in the destruction of transtatlantic liberty? I answer, the silent but powerful and increasing influence of our institutions on Europe, is reason enough. The example alone of prosperity, which we exhibit in such strong contrast to the enslaved, priest-ridden, tax burdened despotisms of the old world, is sufficient to keep those countries in perpetual agitation. How can it be otherwise? Will a sick man, long despairing of cure, learn that there is a remedy for him, and not desire to procure it? Will one born to think a dungeon his natural home, learn through his grated bars that man may be free, and not struggle to obtain his liberty? And what do the people of Europe behold in this country? They witness the successful experiment of a free government; a government of the people, without rulers de jure divino (by divine right;) having no hereditary privileged classes; a government exhibiting good order and obedience to law, without an armed police and secret tribunals; a government out of debt; a people industrious, enterprising, thriving in all their interests; without monopolies; a people religious without an establishment; moral and honest without the terrors of the confessional or the inquisition; a people not harmed by the uncontrolled liberty of the press and freedom of opinion; a people that read what they please, and thin, and judge, and act for themselves; a people enjoying the most unbounded security of person and property; among whom domestic conspiracies are unknown; where the poor and rich have equal justice; a people social and hospitable, exerting all their energies in schemes of public and private benefit, without other control than mutual forbearance. A government so contrasted in all points with absolute governments, must, and does engage the intense solicitude both the rulers and people of the old world. Every revolution that has occured in Europe for the last half century has been, in a greater or less degree, the consequence of our own glorious revolution. The great political truths there promulgated to the world, are the seed of the disorders, an conspiracies, and revolutions of Europe, from the first French revolution down to the present time. These revolutions are the throes of the internal life, breaking the bands of darkness with which superstition and despotism have hitherto bound the nations, struggling into the light of a new age. Can despotism know all this, and not feel it necessary to do something to counteract the evil.
Let us look around us. Is despotism doing anything in this country? It becomes us to be jealous. We have cause to expect an attack, and that it will be of a kind suited to the character of the contest, the war of opinion. Yes! despotism is doing something. Austria is now acting in this country. She has devised a grand scheme. She has organized a great plan for doing something here, which she, at least, deems important. She has her Jesuit missionaries travelling through the land; she has supplied them with money, and has furnished a fountain for a regular supply. She had expanded a year ago more than seventy-four thousand dollars in furtherance of her design!* These are not surmises. They are facts. Some official documents, giving the constitution and doings of this Foreign Society, have lately made their appearance in the New York Observer, and have been copied extensively into other journals of the country. This society having ostensibly a religious object, has been for nearly four years at work in the United States, without attracting, out of the religious world, much attention to its operations. The great partron of this apparently religious scheme is no less a personage than the Emperor of Austria. The Society is called the St. Leopold Foundation. It is organized in Austria. The field of its operations is these United States. It meets and forms its plans in Vienna. Prince Metternich has it under his watchful care.
*From the best authority, I have just learned, (Dec. 1834,) that $100,000 have been received from Austria within two years!
The Pope has given it his apostolic benediction, and “His Royal Highness, Fedinand V. King of Hungary, and Crown Prince of the other hereditary states, has been most graciously pleased, prompted by a piety worthy the exalted title of an apostolic king, to accept the office of Protector of the Leopold Foundation.” Now in present state of war of principles in Europe, is not a society formed avowed to act upon this country, originating in the dominions of a despot, and holding its secret councils in his capital, calculated to excite suspicion? Is it credible that a society got up under the auspices of the Austrian government, under the superintendence of its chief officers of state, supplying with funds a numerous body of Jesuitical emissaries who are organizing themselves in all our borders, actively passing and re-passing between Europe and America; is it credible, I say, that such a society has for its object purely a religious reform? Is it credible that the manufacturers of chains for binding liberty in Europe, have suddenly become benevolently concerned only for the religious welfare of this republican people? If this Society be solely for the propagation of the Catholic faith, one would think that Rome, and not Vienna, should be its head-quarters! that the Pope, not the Emperor of Austria, should be its grand patron! It must be allowed that this should be a subject of general and absorbing interest. If despotism has devised a scheme for operating against its antagonist principle in this country, the strong-hold, the very citadel of freedom, it becomes us to look about us. It is high time that we awake to the apprehension of danger. I propose to show why I believe this ostensibly religious society covers other designs than religious.
Political character of the Austrian government, the power attacking us–The old avowed enemy of Protestant liberty—Character of the people of Austria–Slaves–Character of Prince Metternich, the arch-contriver of plans to stifle liberty–These ENEMIES of all liberty suddenly anxious for the civil and religious of the United States—The absurdity of their ostensible designs exposed–The avowed objects of Austria in the Leopold Foundation–Popery the instrument to act upon our institutions.
THE documents to which I have alluded, exhibit so much correspondence of the “St. Leopold Foundation,” as it was deemed advisable to publish in Vienna. They consist of letters and statements from Jesuits, bishops and priests, residing or intinerating in this country, and whose resources are chiefly derived from the Society in Austria. In documents thus prepared by Jesuits, (the most wary order of ecclesiastics,) to draw froth more liberal supplies from abroad, and then submitted to the revision of the most cautious cabinet of Europe, that so much only may be published as will attain their object in the Austrian dominions, while all that might excite suspicion in the United States is concealed, we must expect to find great care to avoid any unnecessary exposure of covert political designs. The evidence therefore of a concerted political attack upon our institutions, which I conceive to lurk under the sudden and extraordinary zeal of Austria for the religious welfare of the United States, will not depend altogether on the information derived from these documents. Such an attack is what might be expected from the present political attitude of the European nations, in regard to the principles of despotism and liberty, from the powerful and unavoidable effect which our institutions exert in favour of the popular principle; and also from the known political character of Austria.
Who, and what is Austria, the government that is so benevolently concerned for our religious welfare? Austria is one of that Holy Alliance of despotic governments, one of the “union of Christian princes,” leagued against the liberties of the people of Europe. Austria is one of the partitioners of Poland; the enslaver and despot of Italy. Her government is the most thorough military despotism in the world. She is the declared and consistent enemy of civil and religious liberty, of the freedom of the press; in short, of every great principle in those free institutions which it is our glory and privilege to inherit from our fathers. Austria, from the commencement of the Reformation to the present time, has been the bitter enemy of Protestantism. The famous thirty years’ war, marked by every kind of brutal excess, was waged to extirpate those very principles of civil and religious liberty which lie at the foundation of our government; and had Austria then triumphed, this republic would never have been founded.
And what are the people of Austria? They are slaves, slaves in body and mind, whipped and disciplined by priests to have no opinions of their own, and taught to consider their Emperor their God. They are the jest and byword of the Northern Germans, who never speak of Austrians but with a sneer, and “as slaves unworthy the name of Germans; as slaves both mentally and physically,” [Dwight.]
And who is Prince Metternich, whose letter of approval, in the name of his master the Emperor, is among the documents? He is the master of his Master, the arch-contriver of the plans for stifling liberty in Europe and throughout the world. “Metternich, says Dwight, in his Travels in Germany, “by his wonderful talent in exciting fear, has thus far controlled the cabinets of Europe, and has exerted an influence over the destinies of nations, little, if any inferior to that of Napoleon.” He persuaded the Emperor of Austria and King of Prussia not to fulfil the promise they so solemnly made to their German subjects, of giving them free constitutions. It was the influence of Metternich that prevented Alexander from assisting Greece in her struggles for liberty. He lent Austrian vessels to assist the Turks in the subjugation of the Greeks. Metternich crushed the liberities of Spain by inducing Louis XVIII. against his wishes, to send 100,000 men thither under the Duke d’ Angouleme to restore public order! When Sicily, Naples, and Genoa, in 1820-21, threw off the galling yoke of slavery, Metternich sent his 30,000 Austrian bayonets into Italy, and re-established depostism. And when in 1831, (as the writer can testify from personal observation,) goaded to desperation by the extortion, and tryanny, and bad faith of the Papal government, the Italian patriots made a noble and successful effort to remedy their political evils by a revolution firm, yet temporate, founded in the most tolerant principles, marked by no excess, and hailed by the legations with universal joy, again did this arch-enemy of human happiness let loose his myrmidons, overwhelming the cities, dragging the patriots, Italy’s first citizens, to the scaffold, or incarcerating them in the dungeons of Venice, filling whole provinces with mourning, and bringing back upon the wretchedly oppressed population the midnight darkness which the dawn of liberty had begun to dispel. “Prince Metternich,” says Dwight, “is regarded by the liberals of Europe as the greatest enemy of the human race who has lived for ages. You rarely hear his name mentioned without exciting indignation, not only in speaker but in the auditors. Metternich has not been attacking MEN but PRINCIPLES, and has done so much towards destroying on the continent those great political truths which nations have acquired through ages of effort and suffering, that there is reason to fear, should his system continue for half a century, liberty will forsake the continent to revisit it no more. The Saxons liberally abhor this Prince. The German word mitternacht means midnight. From the resemblance of the word to Metternich, as well as from his efforts to cover Europe with political darkness, the Saxons call him Prince Mitternacht–Prince Midnight.”
This is the government and the people which have all at once manifested so deep an interest in the spiritual condition of this heretic land. It is this nation of slaves, this remnant of the superstition, and vassalage, and degradation of the dark ages, from whom the light of the ninetenth century has been so carefully shut out, that it fondly conceits its own darkness to be light, its death-like torpor, order–it is this nation, not yet disenthralled from the chains of superstition, that is anxious to enlighten us, in the United States, in the principles of civil and religious liberty. Civil and religious liberty!
words that may not be uttered in Austria but at the risk of the dungeon; words that would carry such shrieks of dismay through the ranks of Prince Metternich’s vassals, as the flash of a torch would bring forth from a cavern of owls.
And can it be believed that such a government, the determined, consistent enemy of liberty, has no interested motive, no political design, no other than sentiments of Christian benevolence in her operations in this country?
Is it likely that we, Protestant republicans of the United States, have won the kind regards of the Austrian Government, which has been the perservering foe of the Reformation and its republican fruits since the days of Luther? Has not Austria had vexation, and anxiety, and trouble enough for fifty years past, in stopping up the opening crevices of the European dungeon through which the unwelcome light of American liberty has so often broken, to be perfectly apprized of the hated source of that light? Yes, she cannot but now perceive that those Protestant principles which she has been incessantly engaged in endeavoring to suppress, drive by the winds of persecution from Europe, have been taking root, and strengthening in a congenial soil, and are here bearing their genuine fruits, liberty and happiness, and all the religious and social virtues. She cannot view this Protestant nation growing to gigantic dimensions, a living proof of the truth and salutary influence of the principles of darkness are in danger. And well may she be dismayed. Yes, Austria has turned her eyes towards us, and she loves us as the owl loves the sun. Can any one doubt that she would extinguish every spark of liberty in this country if she had the power? Can any one believe that she would make no attempt to abate an evil which daily threatens more and more the very existence of her throne? We may be told by some, perhaps, that her designs are purely of a religious character. Who can believe it? No one who has been in Austria. Every intelligent
man who has resided even for a short time in the Austrian dominions, must have seen enough of the craft, both of the government and the priests, to make him suspicious of all their doings, and most so, when they are most lavish of their professions of kindness and benevolence. “Timeo. Danaos et dona ferentes.”
But let us see what Austria avows as her design in the formation of the Leopold Foundation.* The first great object is “to promote the greater activity of Catholic missions in America.” She may be, and doubtless is, perfectly sincere in this design, for it is only necessary that she should succeed in her avowed object to have her utmost wishes accomplished. She need avow no other aim. If she gains this, she gains all. If she succeeds in fastening upon us the chains of Papal bondage, she has a people as fit for any yoke she pleases to grace our necks withal, as any slaves over whom she now holds her despotic rod. She has selected a fitting instrument for her purpose.
*Some may be inclined to ask, is not this society a private assocation, merely chartered by the government, not differing materially from the religious societies in our country? I answer that, were the Leopold Foundation an assocation of private individuals ( which it is not,) yet got up in the Austrian dominons, it would still be a government affair. For we must not confound the practices of two governments, so totally opposite in the administration of all their affairs as the Austrian and our own. From the happy separation of church and state in our own country, religious societies, of whatever character, have no connexion with the government. They move in a separate sphere of action, yet in perfect harmony with it. But in Austria, no plan, no society of any kind is private, the government interferes in every thing, is all in all. Even the persecuted Maroncelli, confined in the dungeons of Spielberg for the crime of loving the political principles of this country, must wait a week, at the risk of his life, for a gracious permission from the Paternal government to have his leg amputated. Yes, a private matter like this is a government affair; how much more then a grand society, with the Emperor its patron, the crown prince and heir to the imperial throne its protector, and Prince Metternich, and all the dignitaries of the empire, temporal and ecclesiastical, engaged in its operations? It is the Austrian government that is engaged in this plan of an ostensibly religious character.
Her armies can avail her nothing against us, for the ocean intervenes. Her diplomacy gives her no hold, for there are scarcely any political relations between us. The only instrument by which she can gain the least influence in these States, is that precisely which she has chosen. Its perfect fitness to accomplish any political design against the liberties of this country and of the world, I shall next consider.
Popery, in its political, not its religious character, the object of the present examination–The fitness of the instrument to accomplish the political designs of despotism considered–The principles of a despotic and free government briefly contrasted–Despotic principles fundamental to Popery—Proved by infallible testimony–Papal claims of divine right and plenitude of power–Abject principles of Popery illustrated from the Russian catechism–Protestantism from its birth in favor of liberty–Luther on the 4th of July attacked the presumptuous claim of claim divine right–Despotism and Popery hand in hand against the liberty of conscience, liberty of opinion, and the liberty of the press–The anti-republican declarations of the present Pope Gregory XVI.
BEFORE commencing the examination of the perfect fitness of the instrument, Catholic missions, to accomplish the political designs, upon this country, of Austria and her despotic allies, I would premise, that I have nothing to do in these remarks with the purely religious character of the tenets of the Roman Catholic sect. They are not in discussion. If any wish to resolve their doubts in the religious controversy, the acute pens of the polemic writers of the day will furnish them abundant means of deciding for themselves. But every religious sect has certain principles of government growing out of its particular religious belief, and which will be found to agree or disagree with the principles of any given form of civil government.* It is my design, therefore, briefly to consider some of the antagonist principles of the government of Austria and of the United States, and compare them with the principles of government of the Catholic and Protestant sects. By this method we shall be able to judge of their bearing on the permanency of our present civil institutions.
Let us first present to view the fundamental principle of government, that principle which, according to its agreement with one or the other of the two opposite opinions that divide the world, decides entirely the character of the government in every part of the body politic.
* See Note B.
From whom authority to govern derived? Austria and the United States will agree in answering–from God. The opposition of opinion occurs in the anwer to the next question.
To whom on earth is this authority delegated? Austria answers, To the EMPEROR, who is the source of all authority–“I, the Emperor, do ordain,” &c. The United States answers, To the PEOPLE, in whom resides the sovereign power–“We, the People, do ordain, establish, grant,” &c. In one principle is recognised the necessity of the servitude of the people, the absolute dependence of the subject, unqualified submission to the commands of the rulers without question or examination. The Ruler is Master, the People are Slaves. In the other is recognised the supremacy of the people, the equality of rights and powers of the citizen, submissi alone to laws emanating from themselves; the Ruler is a public servant, receiving wages from the people to perform services agreeable to their pleasure; amenable in all things to them, and holding office at their will. The Ruler is Servant, the People are Master. The fact and important nature of the difference in these antagonist doctrines, leading, as is perceived, to diametrically opposite results, are all that is needful to state in order to proceed at once to the inquiry, Which position does the Catholic sect and the Protestant sects severally favor? The Pope, the supreme head of the Catholic church, claims to be the “Vicegerent of God,” “supreme over all mortals,” “over all Emperors, Kings, Princes, Potentates, and People;” “King of kings and Lord of lords,” He styles himself, “the divinely apppointed dispenser of spiritual and temporal punishments;” “armed with power to depose Emperors and Kings, and absolve subjects from their oath of allegiance;” “from him lies no appeal;” “he is responsible to no one on earth;” “he is judged of no one but God.” But not to go back to former ages to prove the fact of the Pope’s claiming divine right, let the present Pontiff Gregory XVI. testify. He claims, and attempts to exercise of this plenitude of power, and asserts his divine right. The document I quote is fresh from the Vatican, scarce four months old, a document in which the Pope interfers directly in the political affairs of Portugal against Don Pedro. “How can there be unity in the body,” says the Pope, “when the members are not united to the head, and do not obey it? And how can this union and obedience be maintained in a country where they drive from their sees the bishops, legitimately instituted by Him to whom it appertains to assign pastors to all the vacant churches, because the DIVINE RIGHT grants to Him alone the primacy of jurisdiction and the plenitude of power.” The Catholic cathechism now taught by Catholic priests to the Poles in all schools of Poland, and published by special order at Wilna, 1832, is very conclusive of the character of Catholic doctrine. The following questions and answers are propounded:
“Quest. 1. How is the authority of the Emperor to be considered in reference to the spirit of Christianity? Ans. As proceeding immediately from God.
“Quest. 2. How is this substantiated by the nature of things? Ans. It is by the will of God that men live in society; hence the various relations which constitute society, which for its more complete security is divided into parts called nations; the government of which is intrusted to a Prince, King, or Emperor, or in other words, to a supreme ruler; we see, then, that as man exists in conformity to the will of God, society emanates from the same divine will, and more especially the supreme power and authority of our lord and master, the Czar.
“Quest. 3. What duties does religion teach us, the humble subjects of his Majesty the Emperor of Russia, to practise towards him? Ans. Worship, obedience, fidelity, the payment of taxes, service, love and prayer, the whole being comprised in the words worship and fidelity.
“Quest. 4. Wherein does this worship consist, and how should it be manifested? Ans. By the most unqualified reverence in words, gestures, demeanor, thoughts and actions.
“Quest. 5. What kind of obedience do we owe him? Ans. An entire, passive, and unbounded obedience in every point of view.
“Quest. 6. In what consists the fidelity we owe to the Emperor? Ans. In executing his commands most rigorously, without examination, in performing the duties he requires from us, and in doing every thing willingly without murmuring.
“Quest. 8. Is the service of his Majesty the Emperor obligatory on us? Ans. Absolutely so; we should, if required, sacrifice ourselves in compliance with his will, both in a civil and military capacity, and in whatever manner he deems expedient.
“Quest. 9. What benevolent sentiments and love are due to the Emperor? Ans. We should manifest our good will and affection, according to our station, in endeavoring to promote the prosperity of our native land, Russia, (not Poland,) as well as that of the Emperor, our father, and of his august family.* * *
“Quest. 13. Does religion forbid us to rebel, and overthrow the government of the Emperor? Ans. We are interdicted from doing so, at all times, and under any circumstances.
“Quest. 14. Independently of the worship we owe to the Emperor, are we called upon to respect the public authorities emanating from him? Ans. Yes; because they emanate from him, represent him, and act as his substitute, so that the Emperor is everywhere.
“Quest. 15. What motives have we to fulfil the duties above enumerated? Ans. The motives are two-fold–some natural, others revealed.
“Quest. 16. What are the natural motives? Ans. Besides the motives adduced, there are the following: The Emperor, being the head of the nation, the father of all his subjects who constitute one and the same country, is thereby alone worthy of reverence, gratitude, and obedience: for both the public welfare and individual security depend on submissiveness to his commands.
“Quest. 17. What are the supernatural revealed motives for this worship? Ans. The supernatural revealed motives are, that the Emperor is the vicegerent and minister of God to execute the divine commands; and consequently, disobedience to the Emperor is identified with disobedience to God himself; that God will reward us in the world to come for the worship and obedience we render the Emperor, and punish us severely to all eternity, should we disobey and neglect to worship him. Moreover, God commands us to love and obey, from the inmost recesses of the heart, every authority, and particularly the Emperor, not from worldly considerations, but from apprehension of the final judgement. * *
“Quest. 19. What examples confirm this doctrine? Ans. The example of Jesus Christ himself, who live and died in allegiance to the Emperor of Rome, and respectfully submitted to the judgement which condemned him to death. We have, moreoever, the example of the Apostles, who both loved and respected them; they suffered meekly in dungeons, conformably to the will of Emperors, and did not revolt like malefactors and traitors. We must, therefore, in imitation of these examples, suffer and be silent.”
This is slavish doctrine taught to the Catholics of Poland. The people, instead of having power or rights, are, according to this catechism, mere passive slaves, born for their masters; taught, by a perversion of the threatenings of religion, to obey without murmuring, or questioning, or examination, the mandates of their human deity, bid to cringe and fawn, and kiss the very feet of majesty, and deem themselves happy to be whipped, to be kicked, or to die in his service. Is it not necessary to say that there is not a Protestant sect in this country that holds such abject sentiments, or whose creed inculcates such barefaced idolatry of a human being? Protestantism, on the contrary, at its birth, while yet bound with many of the shackles of Popery, attacked, in its earlies lispings of freedom, this very doctrine of divine right. It was Luther, and by a singular coincidence of day too, on the fourth of July, who first, in a public disputation at Leipsic with his Popish antagonist, called in question the divine right of the Pope.
Let us now examine in contrast other political rights, liberty of conscience, liberty of opinion, and liberty of the press. Austria and the United States differ on these points as widely as on the fundamental question. Austria not only has the press in her own territory under censorship, but intermeddles to control the press in the neighboring states on the principle of self-preservation. “In Saxony,” says Dwight, “the press is fettered by Austria and Prussia, who alleged this reason, ‘that all works published in Saxony, which are not on the proscribed list, are freely admitted into our dominions. For our happiness, therefore, and the stability of our thrones, it is necessary that the press should be fettered!!'” As to liberty of opinion, political or religious, in Austria, no one dreams of the existence of such a thing; the dungeon is a summary mode thereof obtaining a most happy uniformity of opinion throughout all the imperial dominions. It is our glory, on the contrary, that all these rights are secured to us by our institutions, and freely enjoyed, not only without the least danger to the peace of the state, but from the very genius of our government, they are esteemed among its most precious safeguards. What are the Catholic tenets on these points? Shall I go back some three or four hundred years, and quote the pontifical law, which says, [Art. 9,] “The Pope has the power to interpret Scripture and to teach as he pleases, and no person is allowed to teach in a different way?” Or to the forth Council of Lateran in 1215, which decrees “That all heretics, (that is, all who have an opinion of their own,) shall be delivered over to the civil magistrates to be burned?” Or shall I refer to the Catholic Index Expurgatorious, to the list of forbidden books, to show how the press is still fettered? No! it is unnecessary to go farther than the present day. The reigning pontiff, Gregory XVI., shall again answer the question. He has most opportunely furnished us with the present sentiments of the Catholic church on these very points. In his encyclical letter, dated Sept. 1832, the Pope, lamenting the disorders and infidelity of the times, says–
“From this polluted fountain in ‘indeference’ flows that absurd and erroneous doctrine, or rather raving, in favor and defence of ‘liberty of conscience,’ for which most pestilential error the course is opened to that entire and wild liberty of opinion which is everywhere attempting the overthrow of religious and civil institutions, and which the unblushing impudence of some has held forth as an advantage to religion. Hence that pest, of all others most to be dreaded in a state, unbridled liberty of opinion, licentiousness of speech, and a lust of novelty, which, according to the experience of all all ages, protend the downfall of the most powerful and flourishing empires.”
“Hither tends that worst and never sufficiently to be execrated and detested LIBERTY OF THE PRESS, for the diffusion of all manner of writings, which some so loudly contend for, and so actively promote.”
He complains, too, of the dissemination of unlicensed books.
“No means must be omitted, says Clement XIII., our predecessor of happy memory, in the Encyclical Letter on the proscription of bad books–no means must be here omitted, as the extremity of the case calls for all our exertions, to exterminate the fatal pest which spreads through so many works, nor can the materials of error be otherwise destroyed than by the flames, which consume the depraved elements of the evil.”
Now all this is explicit enough, here is no ambiguity. We see clearly, from infallible authority, that the Catholic of the present day, wherever he may be, if he is true to the principles of his sect, cannot consistently tolerate liberty of conscience, or liberty of the press. Is there any sect of protestants in this country, from whose religious tenets doctrines so subversive of civil and religious liberty can be even inferred? If there be, I am ignorant of its name. The subject will be pursued in the next chapter.
The cause of Popery and despotism identical–Striking difference between Popery and Protestantism as they exist in this country–American Protestantism not controlled by Foreign Protestantism–American Popery entirely under foreign control–Jesuits, the Foreign agents of Austria, bound by the strongest ties of interest to Austrian policy, not to American–Their dangerous power–unparalleled in any Protestant sect–our free institutions opposed in their nature to the arbitrary claims of Popery–Duplicity to be expected–Political dangers to be apprehended from Roman Catholic organization–American Roman Catholic ecclesiastical matters uncontrolled by Americans or in America–managed in a foreign country, by a foreign power, for political purposes–Consequences that may easily result from such a state of things.
I EXPOSED, in my last chapter, the remarkable coincidence of the tenets of Popery with the principles of despotic government, in this respect so opposite the tenets of Protestantism; Popery, from its very nature, favoring despotism, and Protestantism, from its very nature, favoring liberty. Is it not then perfectly natural that the Austrian government should be active in supporting Catholic missions in this country? Is it not clear that the cause of Popery is the cause of depotism?
But there is another most striking and important difference between Popery and Protestantism, in their bearing upon the liberties of the country. No one of the Protestant sects owns any head out of this country, or is governed in any of its concerns by any men, or set of men, in a foreign land. All ecclesiastical officers are nominated and appointed, or removed by the people of the United States. No foreign body has any such union with any sect of Protestants in the United States, as even to advise, much less to control any of its measures. Our Episcopalians appoint their own bishops without consulting the church of England; our Presbyterians are entirely independent of the church of Scotland; and our Wesleyan Methodists have no ecclesiastical connexion with the disciples of Wesley in the old world. But how is it in these respects with the Catholics? The right of appointing to all ecclesiastical offices in this country, as everywhere else, is in the Pope, (now a mere creature of Austria.) He claims the power, as we have seen, by divine right. All the bishops, and all the ecclesiastics down to the most insignificant officer in the churc, are, from the genius of the system, entirely under his control. As he, of course, will appoint none to office but those who will favor the views of Austria. He will require all whom he appoints, to support the agents whom Austria is sending to this country for the accomplishment of her own purposes.
And who are these agents? They are, for the most part, Jesuits, an ecclesiastical order proverbial through the world for cunning, duplicity, and total want of moral principle; an order so skilled in all the arts of deception, that even in Catholic countries, in Italy itsefl, it became intolerable, and the people required its suppression. They are Jesuits in the pay and employ of a despotic government, who are at work on the ignorance and passions of our community; they are foreigners, who have been schooled in foreign seminaries in the doctrine of passive obedience; they are foreigners under vows of perpetual celibacy, and having, therefore, no deep and permanent interest in this country; they are foreigners, bound by the strong ties of pecuniary interest and ambition to the service of a foreign despot.* Is there no danger to our free institutions from a host commanded by such men, whose numbers are constantly increasing by the machinations and funds of Austria?
Consider, too, the power which these Jesuits and other Catholic priests posses through the confessional, of knowing the private characters and affairs of all the leading men in the community; the power arising from their right to prescribe the kinds and degrees of penance, and the power arising from the right to refuse absolution to those who do not comply with their commands. Suppose such powers were exercised by the ministers of any other sect, the Episcopalian, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, &c. what an outcry would be raised in the land! And should not the men who possess such powers be jealously watched by all lovers of liberty?
Is it possible that these Jesuits can have a sincere attachment to the principles of free institutions? Do not these principles oppose a constant barrier to their exerise of that arbitrary power, which they claim as a divine right, and which they exerise, too, in all countries where they dominate? Can it not be perceived, that although they may find it politic for the present to conceal their anti-republican tenets, yet this concealment will be merely temporary, and is only adopted now, the better to lull suspicion? Is it not in accordance with all experience of Popish policy, that Jesuits should encroach by little and little, and perserve till they have attained the plenitude of power? At present they have but one aim in this country, which absorbs all others, and that is, to make themselves popular. If they succeed in this, we shall then learn, when too late to remedy the evil, that Popery abandons none of its divine rights The leaders of this sect are disciplined and organized, and have their adherents entirely subservient to their will. Here, then, is a regular party, a religious sect, ready to throw the weight of its power as circumstances may require–ready to favor any man or set of men who will engage to favor it.
And to whom do these leaders look for their instructions? Is it to a citizen, or body of citizens belonging to this country; is it to a body of men kept in check by the ever jealous eyes of other bodies around them, and by the immediate publicity which must be given to all their doings?
* See note C.
No, they are men owning no law on this side of the ocean; they are the Pope and his Consistory of Cardinals, following the plans and instructions of the imperial cabinet of Austria,–plans formed in the secret councils of that cabinet, instructions delivered in secret, according to the modes of despotism, to their obedient officers, and distributed through the well disciplined ranks in this country, to be carried into effect in furtherance of any political designs the Austrian cabinet may think advantageous to its own interests. And will these designs be in favor of liberty? What a party thus formed and disciplined among us, who will venture to say that our elections will not be under the control of a Metternich, and that the appointment of a President of the United States will not be virtually made in the Imperial Cabinet of Vienna, or the the Consistory of Cardinals at Rome? Will this be pronounced incredible? It will be the almost certain result of the dominion of Popery in this country.
But we need not imagine that it will always be deemed expedient to preserve the name of President, or even the elective character of our chief magistrate. How long would it take the sophistry that deludes the mind of its victim into the belief of a man’s infallibility, and fixes the delusion there indelibly, binding him, soul and body, to believe against the evidence of his reason and his senses; holding him in the most abject obedience to the will of a fellow-man; how long, I say, would it take such sophistry to impose the duty of acknowledging the divine right of an emperer over the priest-conquered vassals of this country–vassals well instructed in the Russian Catechism, and prepared to worship, love and obey, as their lord and master, some scion of the House of Hapsburg–the Emperer of the United States!
Points in our political system which favor this foreign attack–Our toleration of all religious systems–Popery opposed to all toleration–Charge of intolerance substantiated–The organization of Popery in America connected with, and strengthened by foreign organization–Without a parallel among Protestant sects–Great preponderance of Popish strengthen in consequence–The divisions among Protestant sects nullifies their attempts at combination–Taken advantage of by Jesuits–Popish duplicity illustrated in its opposite alliances in Europe with despotism, and in America with democracy–The laws relating to emigration and naturalization favor foreign attack–Emigrants being mostly Catholic, and in entire subjection to their priests–No remedy provided by our laws for this alarming evil.
WHAT I have advanced in my previous chapters, may have convinced my readers that there is good reason for believing that the despots of Europe are attempting, by the spread of Popery in this country, to subvert its free institutions; yet many may think that there are so many counteracting causes in the constitution of our society, that this effort to bind us with the cast-off chains of the bigotry and supersition of Europe cannot meet with success. I will, therefore, in the present chapter, consider some of the points in our political system, of which advantage has already been taken to attack us by the wily enemies of our liberties.
It is a beautiful feature in our constitution, that every man is left to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; that the church is separated from the state, and that equal protection is granted to all creeds. In thus tolerating all sects, we have admitted to equal protection not only those sects whose religious faith and practice support the principle on which the free toleration of all is founded, but also that unique, that solitary sect, the Catholic, which builds and supports its system on the destruction of all toleration. Yes, the Catholic is permitted to work in the light of Protestant toleration, to mature his plans, and to execute his designs to extinguish that light, and destroy the hands that hold it. It is no refutation of the charge of intolerance here made against Catholics as a sect, to show that small bodies of them under peculiar circumstances, have been tolerant, or that in this country, where they have always been a small minority, they make high professions of ardent love for the republican, tolerant institutions of our government. No one can be deceived by evidence so partial and circumscribed, while the blood of the persecuted for opinions’ sake stains with the deepest tinge every page of the history of that church, aye, even while it is still wet upon the dungeon floors of Italy; while the intolerant and anti-republican principles of Popery are now weekly thundered from the Vatican, and echoed in our ears by almost every arrival of Europe.*
* See note D.
Let me not be charged with accusing the Catholics of the United States with intolerance. They are too small a body as yet fully to act out their principles, and their present conduct does not affect the general question in any way, unless it may be to prove that they are not genuine and consistent Catholics. The conduct of a small insulated body, under the restraints of the society around it, is of no weight in deciding the character of the sect, while there are nations of the same infallible faith acting out its legitimate principles uncontrolled, and producing fruits by which all may discern, without danger of mistake, the true nature of the tree. If Popery is tolerant, let us see Italy, and Austria, and Spain, and Portugal, open their doors to the teachers of the Protestant faith; let these countries grant to Protestant missionaries, as freely as we grant to Catholics, leave to disseminate their doctrine through all classes in their dominions. They may Popery speak of toleration, then may we believe that it has felt the influence of the spirit of the age, and has reformed; but then it will not be Popery, for Popery never changes; it is infallible the same, infallibly intolerant.
The conspiracies against our liberties, who have been admitted from abroad through the liberality of our institutions, are now organized in every part of the country, they are all subordinates, standing in regular steps of slave and master, from the most abject dolt that obeys the commands of his priest, up to the great master-slave Metternich, who commands and obeys his illustrious Master, the Emperor.*
They report from one to another, like the sub-officers of any army, up to the commander-in-chief at Vienna, (not the Pope, for he is but a subordinate of Austria.**) There is a similar organization among the Catholics of other countries, and the whole Catholic church is thus perpared to throw its weight of power and wealth into the hands of Austria, or any Holy Alliance of despots who may be persuaded to embark, for the safety of their dynasties, in the crusade against the liberties of a country which, by its simple existence in opposition to their theory of legitimate power, is working revolution and destruction to their thrones.
*See note E.
** Lest the charge, often made in these numbers should seem gratuitous of the Pope being the creature of Austria, and entirely subservient to the Imperial Cabinet, it may be as well to state that the writer was in Rome during the deliberations of the Conclave, respecting the election of the present Pontiff. It was interesting to him to hear the speculations of the Italians on the probability of this or that cardinal’s election. Couriers were daily arriving from the various despotic powers, and intrigues were rife in the ante-chambers of the Quirinal palace; now it was said that Spain would carry her candidate, now Italy, and now Austria, and when Cardinal Capelani was proclaimed Pope, the universal cry, mixed, too, with low-muttered curses, was that Austria had succeeded. The new Pope had scarcely chosen his title of Gregory XVI. and passed through the ceremonies of coronation, before the revolution in his states gave him the opportunity of calling in Austria to take possession of the Patrimony of St. Peter, which his own troops could not keep for an hour, and at this moment Austrian soliders hold the Roman Legations in submission to the cabinet of Vienna. Is not the Pope a creature of Austria?
Now, to this dangerous conspiracy, what have we to oppose in the discipline of Protestant sects? However well organized, each according to its manner, these different sects may be, there is not one of them that can by any possibility derive strength, through its organization, from foreign sects of the same name. Nor is this a matter of regret; it is right that it should be so; no nation can be truly independent where it is otherwise. Foreign influence, then, cannot find its way into the country through any of the Protestant sects, to the danger of the State. In this respect Catholics stand alone. They are already the most powerful and dangerous sect in the country, for they are not confined in their schemes and means like the other sects, to our own borders, but they work with the minds and the funds of all despotic Europe.
And not only are each of the Protestant sects deprived of foreign aid; they are weak collectively, in having no common bond of union among themselves, so far as political action is concerned. The mutual jealousies of the different sects have hitherto prevented this, and it is a weakness boasted of by Catholics, and of which advantage is, and ever will be taken, while the unnatural estrangement lasts. Catholics have boasted that they can play off one sect against another, for in the petty controversies that divide the contending parties, the pliable conscience of the Jesuit enables him to throw the weight of his influence on either side, as his interest may be; the command of his superiors, and the alleged good of the church, (that is, the power of the priesthood,) being paramount to all other considerations.
This pliability of conscience, so advantageous in building up any system of oppression, religious or political, presents us with strangely contradictory alliances. In Europe, Popery supports the most high-handed despotism, lends its thunders to awe the people into the most abject obedience, and maintains, at the top of its creed, the indissoluble union of church and state! while in this country, where it is yet feeling its way (oh! how consistent!) it has allied itself with the democracy of the land; it is loudest in its denunciationsof tyranny, the tyranny of American patriots; it is first to scent out oppression, sees afar off the machinations of the native American Protestants to unite church and state, and puts itself forth the most zealous guardian of civil and religious liberty! With such sentinels, surely our liberties are safe; with such guardians of our rights, we may sleep on in peace!
Another weak point in our system, is our laws, encouraging emigration, and affording facilities to naturalization.* In the early state of the country, liberality in these points was thought to be of advantage, as it promoted the cultivation of our wild lands, but the dangers which now threaten our free institutions from this source more than balance all advantages of this character. The great body of emigrants to this country are the hard-working, mentally neglected poor of Catholic countries in Europe, who have left a land where they were enslaved, for one of freedom.
* See note F.
However well disposed they may be to the country which protects them, and adopts them as citizens, they are not fitted to act with judgment in the political affairs of their new country, like native citizenz, educated from their infancy in the principles and habits of our institutions. Most of them are too ignorant to act at all for themselves, and expect to be guided wholly by others. Those others are of course their priests. Priests have ruled them at home by divine right; their ignorant minds cannot ordinarily be emancipated from their habitual subjection, they will not learn nor appreciate their exemption from any such usurpation of priestly powers in this country, and they are implicity at the beck of their spiritual guides. They live surrounded by freedom, yet liberty of conscience, right of private judgment, whether in religion or politics, are as effectually excluded by the priests, as if the code of Austria already ruled the land. They form a body of men whose habits of action (for I cannot say thought) are opposed to the principles of our free institutions, for, as they are not accessible to the reasonings of the press, they cannot and do not think for themselves.
Every unlettered Catholic emigrant, therefore, that comes into the country, is adding to a mass of ignorance which it will be difficult to reach by any liberal instruction; and however honest, (and I have no doubt most them are so,) yet, from the nature of things, they are but obedient instruments in the hands of their more knowing leaders, to accomplish the designs of their foreign masters. Republican education, were it allowed freel to come in contact with their minds, would doubtless soon furnish a remedy for an evil for which, in the existing state of things, we have no cure. It is but to continue for a few years the sort of emigration that is now daily pouring in its thousands from Europe, and our institutions, for ought that I can see, are at the mercy of a body of foreigners, officered by foreigners, and held completely under the control of a foreign power. We may then have reason to say that we are the dupes of our own hospitality; we have sheltered in our well provided house a needy body of strangers, who, well filled with our cheer, are encouraged, by the unaccustomed familiarity with which they are treated, first to upset the regulations of the household, and then to turn their host and his family out of doors.
The evil from emigration further considered–Its political bearings–The influence of emigrants at the elections–This influence concentrated in the priests–The priests must be propitiated–By what means–This influence easily purchased by the demagogue–The unprincipled character of many of our politicians favor this foreign attack–Their bargain for the suffrages of this priest-led band–A church and state party–The Protestant sects obnoxious to no such bargaining–The newspaper press favors this foreign attack–From its want of independence and its timidity–An anti-republican fondness for titles favors this foreign attack–Cautious attempts of Popery to dignify its emissaries, and to accustom us to their high-sounding titles–A mistaken notion on the subject of discussing religious opinion in the secular journals favors this foreign attack–Political designs not to be shielded from attack because cloaked by religion.
I WILL continue the consideration of some of the points in our political system, of which the foreigner conspirators take advantage, in their attacks on our liberties. We have seen that, from the nature of the case, the emigrant Catholics, generally, are shamefully illiterate, and without opinions of their own. They are, and must be, under the direction of their priests. The press, with its arguments for or against any political measure, can have no effect on minds taught only to think as the priest thinks, and to do what the priest commands. Here is a large body of ignorant men brought into our community, who are unapproachable by any of the ordinary means of enlightening the people–a body of men who servilely obey a set of priests imported from abroad, bound the country by none of the usual ties, owing allegiance and service to a foreign government; depending on that government for promotion and reward, and this reward, too, depends on the manner in which they discharge the duties prescribed to them by their foreign master; which is, doubtless for the present, to confine themselves simply and wholly to increasing the number of their sect, and the influence of the Pope in this country. It is men thus officered, and of such a character, that we have placed in all respects on a level, at our elections, with the same number of native patriotic and intelligent citizens.
The Jesuits are fully aware of the advantage they derive from this circumstance. They know that a body of men admitted to citizenship, unlearned in the true nature of American liberty, exercising the elective franchise, totally uninfluenced by the ordinary methods of reasoning, but passively obedient only to the commands of their priests, must give those priests great consequence in the eyes of the leaders of political parties; they know that these leaders must esteem it very important that the priests be propitiated. And how is a Catholic priest to be propitiated? How, but by stipulating for that which will increase his power, or the power of the church, for be it always borne in mind that they are identical. The Roman church is the body of priests and prelates; the laity have only to obey and to pay, not to exercise authority. The priest must be favored in his plans of destroying Protestantism, and building up Popery. He must have money from the public treasury to endow Catholic institutions; he must be allowed to have charters for these institutions which will confer extraordinary powers upon their Jesuit trustees;* he must be permitted quietly to break down the Protestant Sabbath, by encouraging Catholics to buy and sell on that day as on other days; in one word, he must have all the powers and privileges which the law, or the officers appointed to administer the law, can conveniently bestow upon him. The demagogue, or the party who will promise to do most for the accomplishment of these objects, will secure all the votes which controls. Surely there is great danger to our present institutions from this source, and men as skilful as are the Jesuits, we may be sure will not fail to use the power thus thrown into their hands to work great mischief to the republic.
The recklessness and unprincipled character of too many of our politicians give a great advantage to these conpirators. There is a set of men in the country who will have power and office, cost what they may; men who, without a particle of true patriotism, will yet ring the changes on the glory and honor of their country, talk loud of liberty, flatter the lowest prejudices, and fawn upon the powerful and the influential; men who study politics only, that they may balance the chances of their own success in falling in with or opposing this or that fluctuating interest, without caring whether that interest tends to the security or downfall of their country’s institutions. To such politicians, a body of men thus drilled by priests presents a well fitted tool. The bargain with the priest will be easily struck. “Give me office, and I will take care of the interests of your church.” The effect of the bargain upon the great moral or political interests of the country will not for a moment influence the calculation. Thus we have among us a body of men, a religious sect, who can exercise a direct controlling influence in the politics of the country, and can be moved together in a solid phalanx; we have a church interfering directly and most powerfully in the affairs of state. There is not in the whole country a parallel to this among the other sects. What clergyman of the Methodists, or Baptists, or Episcopalians, or any other denomination, could command the votes of the members of their several congregations, in the election of an individual to political office? The very idea of such power is preposterous to a Protestant. No freeman, no man accustomed to judge for himself, would submit even to be advised, unasked, by his minister in a matter of this kind, much less dictated to.
* See note G.
Connected with these evils, and assisting to increase them, we have a Press to an alarming extent wanting in independence. Most of our journals are avowedly attached to a particular party, or to particular individuals. They are like counsel retained for a particular cause; they are to say every thing that makes in favor of their client, and conceal every thing that makes against him. Does a question of principle arise, of fundamental importance to the country?–the inquiry with a journal thus pledged is not, how are our free institutions, how is the country affected by the decision, but how will the decision affect the interests of our particular party or favorite? How few are there among our newspaper editors who dare ask to take a manly stand for or against a principle that affects vitally the constitution, if it is found to bear unfavorably upon their party or candidate! A press thus wanting in magnanimity and independence is the fit instrument for advancing the purposes of unprincipled men; and editors of this stamp–and they are confined to no particular party—whether they have followed out their conduct or not to its legitimate results, can easily be made the tools of a despot, to subvert the liberties of the country.
Again; we have, still unsubdued, some weaknesses, (perhaps they belong to human nature,) of which advantage may be taken to the injury of our republican character, and in aid of despotism, and which may seem to some too trivial to merit notice in connextion with the more serious matters just considered. One of these weaknesses is an anti-republican fondness for titles;* and whoever has lived in the old world, and knows the extraordinary and powerful influence which mere titles of honor exercise over the minds of men, and their tendency to keep in due subjection the artificial ranks into which despotic and aristocratic power divide the people, subduing the lower orders to their lords and masters, will not think it amiss in this place to draw attention to the subject. Republicans as we are, I fear we are influenced in a greater degree than we are aware, by the high sounding epithets with which depotism and aristocracy surround their officers, to awe into reverence the ignorant multitude. A name having a half a dozen titles for its avant couriers, and as many for its rear guard, swells into an importance even in the estimation of our citizens, which the name alone, and especially the individual himself, could never assume. Let Mr. Brown or Mr. Smith, or any other intelligent, upright, active citizen, be elected president of a benevolent society, does he excite the gaze of those who meet him, or inspire awe in the multitude? No one regards him but as a respectable, useful member of the community. But let us learn that a gentleman, not half as intelligent, or upright, or active, is to land in our city, who is announced as the “Most Illustrious Archduke and Eminence, his Imperial Highness, the Cardinal and Archbishop of Almutz, RODOLPH, (this last is the gentleman’s real name,)
Highest Curator of the Leopold Foundation,” and although not half as capable in any respect as Mr. Brown or Mr. Smith, or ten thousand other honest untitled citizens among us, I very much fear that the Battery would be thronged, and the windows in Broadway
* See note H.
would be in demand, and the streets filled with a gaping crowd, to see a man who could have such a mighty retinue of glittering epithets about him. Yet this title-blazoned gentleman holds the same office as Mr. Brown or Mr. Smith. Poor human nature! Alas for its weakness!*
Who is not struck with the difference of effect upon the imagination when we describe a person thus: Mr._______, a good hearted old gentleman, rather weak in the head, who finds in the manufacture of sealing-wax one of the chief and most agreeable employments of his time,” and when we should describe a man thus: “His Imperial Majesty FRANCIS I. Emperor of Austria, King of Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, of Lombardy and Venice, Dalmatia, Croatia, Sclavonia, Galiza, and Londomira, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Lorena, Salsburg, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, Grand Prince of Transylvania, Margrave of Moravia, Count Prince of Hapsburg and Tryol,” &c. &c.; and yet these two descriptions belong to one and the same individual.
There used to be a sound democratic feeling in the country, which spurned such glosses of character, and frowned out use mere glory-giving title. Austria, however, is gradually (as fast as it is thought safe) introducing these titled gentlemen into the country. Bishop Fenwick, a Catholic priest, is “his Grace of Cincinnati;” Mr. Vicar-General Rese, another priest, is only “his Reverence;” and Bishop Flaget, and all the other Bishops, are simple Monseigneurs, this title in a foreign language being less harsh at present to republican ears than its plump aristocratic English translation, “My Lord Bishop of New York,” “My Lord Bishop of Boston,” “My Lord Bishop of Charleston,” &c. &c. &c. As we improve, however, under Catholic instruction, we may come to be quite reconciled even to his Eminence, Cardinal so and so, and to all the other graduated fooleries which are so well adapted to dazzle the ignorant. The scarlet carriage of a Cardinal, too, bedizened with gold, and containing the sacred person of some Jesuit, all scarlet and humility, as is at this day often seen in Rome, may yet excite our admiration as it rolls through our streets; and even a Pope, (for in these republican times in Italy, who knows but his Holiness may have leave of absence,) yes, even a Pope, a Vicegerent of God, the great divinely appointed appointer of Rulers, the very centre from which all titles emanate, may possibly, in his scarlet and gold and jewel-deck equipage, astonish our eyes, and prostate us on our knees as he moves down Broadway. To be sure, some of his republican friends, now in strange holy alliance with his faithful subjects here, might find their Protestant knees at first a little stiff, yet the Catholic schools, which they are encouraging with their votes and their money and their influence, will soon furnish them good instructers in the art of reverential gesture and genuflexion.
* There is reason to believe we are reforming in this particular, for we have now titled foreigners, respectable men, travellers in the country, and our press no longer lends itself to announce their unimportant presence or movements.
Again, there are some minds of a peculiarly sensitive cast, that cannot bear to have the subject of religious opinion mooted in any way in the secular journals. They use a plausible argument that satisfies them, namely, that religion is too sacred a subject to be discussed by the daily press. I agree to a certain extent, and in a modified sense, with this sentiment; but it should be remembered that all is not religion which passes under that name. The public safety makes it necessary sometimes to strip off the disguise, and show the true character of a design which may have assumed the sacred cloak, the better to pass unchallenged by the just such feeble-hearted objectors. Were such objections valid, how easy it would be for the most dangerous political designs (as in the case we are considering) to assume a religious garb, and so escape detection. The exposure I am now making of the foreign designs upon our liberties, may possibly be mistaken for an attack on the Religion of the Catholics; yet I have not meddled with the conscience of any Catholic; if he honestly believes the doctrine of Transsubstantiation, or that by doing penance he will prepare himself of heaven, or in the existence of Purgatory, or in the efficacy of the prayers and masses of priests to free the souls of his relatives from its flames, or that it is right to worship the Virgin Mary, or to pray to Saints, or keep holy days, or to refrain from meat at certain times, or to go on pilgrimages, or in the virtue of relics, or that none but Catholics can be saved, or many other points; however wrong I may an do think him to be, it is foreign from the design of these chapters to speak against them. But when he proclaims to the world that all power, temporal as well as spiritual, exists in the Pope, (denying, of course, the fundamental doctrine of republicanism;) that liberty of conscience is a “raving,” and “most pestilential error;” that “he execrates and detests teh liberty of the press;” when his intolerant creed asserts that no faith is to be kept with heretics, (all being heretics, in the creed of a Catholic, who are not Catholics,) and many other palpable anti-republican, as well as immoral doctrines, he has then blended with his creed political tenets that vitally affect the very existence of our government, and no association with religious belief shall shield them from observation and rebuke. It would indeed be singular if these mere “ravings,” ( the Pope’s phrase is appropriate here,) subversive of the fundamental principles of our government, should be shielded from exposure because misnamed religion. If incendiaries or robbers should ensconce themselves within a church, from the windows and towers of which they were assailing the people, the cry of sacrilege shall not prevent use from attempts to dislodge them, though the walls which protect them should suffer in the conflict.
The political character of this ostensibly religious enterprise proved from the letters of the Jesuits now in this country–Their antipathy to private judgment–Their anticipations of a change in our form of government–Our government declared too free for the exercise of their divine rights–Their political partialities–their cold acknowledgment of the generosity, and liberality, and hospitality of our government–Their estimate of our condition contrasted with their estimate of that of Austria–Their acknowledged allegiance and servility to a foreign master–Their sympathies with the oppressor, and not with the oppressed–Their direct avowal of political intention.
LET me next show the political character of this ostensibly religious effort, from the sentiments of the Austrian emmissaries expressed to their foreign patrons. The very nature of a conspiracy of this kind precludes the possibility of much direct evidence of political design; for Jesuit cunning and Austrian duplicity would be sure to tread with unusual caution on American ground. Yet if I can quote from their correspondence some expressions of antipathy to our free principles and to the government; some hinting at the subversion of the government; prevailing partialities for arbitrary government; and siding witj tyranny against the oppressed; and some aknowledgments of POLITICAL EFFECTS to be expected from the operations of the society, I shall have exhibited evidence enought to put every citizen, who values his birthright, upon the strict watch of these men and their adherents, and to show the importance of some measures of repelling this insidious invasion of the country.
The Bishop of Baltimore, writing to the Austrian Society, laments the wretched state of the Catholic religion in Virginia, as a proof of the difficulty it has to contend with, (a proof doubtless shocking to the pious docility of his Austrian readers,) he says:
” I sent to Richmond a zealous missionary, a native of America. He travelled through the whole of Virigina. The Protestants flocked on all sides to hear him; they offered him their churches, court-houses, and other public buildings, to preach in–which, however, is not at all surprising, for the people are divided into numerous sects, and know not what faith to embrace. In consequence of being spoiled by bad instruction, they will judge everything themselves; they therefore hear eagerly every new comer,” &c.
The Bishop, if had the power, would of course change this “bad instruction,” for better, and, as in Catholic countries, would relieve them from the trouble of judging for themselves. Thus the liberty of private judgment and freedom of opinion, guaranteed by our institutions, are avowedly an obstacle to the success of the Catholics. Is it not natural that Catholics should desire to remove this obstacle out of their way?*
My Lord Bishop Flaget, of Bardstown, Kentucky, in a letter to his patrons abroad, has this plain hint at an ulterior political design, and that no less than the entire subversion of our republican government. Speaking of the difficulties and discouragements the Catholic missionaries have to contend with in converting the Indians, the last difficulty in the way he says, is “their continual traffic among whites, WHICH CANNOT BE HINDERED AS LONG AS THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT SHALL SUBSIST!”
What is this but saying that a republican government is unfavorable in its nature to the restrictions we deem necessary to the extension of the Catholic religion; when the time shall come that the present government shall be subverted, which we are looking forward to, or hope for, we can then hinder this traffic?
Mr. Baraga, the German missionary in Michigan, seems impressed with the same conviction of the unhappy influences of a free government upon his attempts to make converts to the church of Rome. In giving an account of the refusal of some persons to have their children baptized, he lays the fault on the this “TOO FREE (allzu freien) GOVERNMENT.” In a more despotic government, in Italy or Austria, he would have been able to put in force compulsory baptism on these children. **
These few extracts are quite sufficient to show how our form of government, which gives to the Catholics all the freedom and facilities that all other sects enjoy, does from its very nature embarrass their depostic plans. Accustomed to dictate at home, how annoying it is to these Austrian ecclesiastics to be obliged to put off their authority; to yield their divine right of judging for others; to be compelled to get at men through their reason and conscience, instead of the more summary way of compulsion!
*A Catholic journal of this city (the Register and Diary) was put into my hands as I had completed this last paragraph. It contains the same sentiment, so illustrative of the natural abhorrence of Catholics to the exercise of private judgment, that I cannot forbear quoting it. “We seriously advise Catholic parents to be very cautious in the choice of school-books for their children.–There is more danger to be apprehended in this quarter that could be conceived. Parents, we are aware, have not always the time or patience to examine these matters: but if they trust implicity to us, we shall, with God’s help, do it for them. Legimus ne legantur.” We read, that they many not read!! How kind! they will save parents all the trouble of judging for themselves, but “we must be trusted implicitly!” Would a Protestant journal thus dare to take liberties with its readers?
** See note I.
The disposition to use force, if they could, shows itself in spite of all their caution. The inclination is there. It is reined in by circumstances. They want only strength to act out the inherent despotisms of Popery.
But let me show what are some of the political partialities which these foreign emissaries discover in their letters and statements to their Austrian supporters. They acknowledge their unsuspicious reception by the people of the United States; they acknowledge the Protestant in all parts of the country have even aided them with money to build their chapels, and colleges, and nunneries, and treated them with liberality and hospitality, and—strange infatuation!!–have been so monstrously foolish as to intrust their children to them to be educated!! so infatuated as to confide in their honor and in their promises that they would use no attempts to proselyte them! And with all this, does it not once occur to these gentlemen, that this liberality, and generosity, and openness of character are the fruits of Protestant republicanism? Might we not expect at least that Popery, were it republican in its nature, would find something in all this that would excite admiration, and call forth some praise of a system so contrasted to that of any other government; some acknowledgments to the government of the country that protects it, and allows its enemies the unparalleled liberty even to plot the downfall of the state? But no, the government of the United States is not once mentioned in praise. The very principle of the government, through which they are tolerated, is thus slightingly noticed: “The government of the United States has thought fit to adopt a complete indifference towards all religions.”* They can recognise no nobler principle than indifference.
Again, of the people of our country they thus write: “We entreat all European Christians to unite in prayer to God for the conversion of these unhappy heathen and obstinate heretics.” We are spoken of as a country “on which the light of faith has hitherto not shined.” “A vast country, destitute of all spiritual and temporal resources.” But if Austria is mentioned, what are the terms? “Your Society, (the Leopold Foundation,) which is an oranamnet to the illustrious Austrian Empire.”–“the noble and generous inhabitants of the Austrian empire.” “Of many circumstances in our condition, few, perhaps, in your happy empire can form a correct notion;” and again, “Here are many churches, if you may so call the miserable wooden buildings, differing little from the barns of your happy land?” Austria, happy land!! How enthusiastic, too, is another Bishop, who writes, “we cannot sufficiently praise our good Emperor (of Austria,) were we to extol him to the third heaven!” Such are the political partialities which are discovered in various parts of these documents. Are they in favor of our republican darkness, and heathenism, and misery, or of Austrian light, and piety, and happiness?
*Quart. Regis. Feb. 1830, p. 198
In the struggles of the European people for their liberty, do these foreign teachers sympathize with the oppressor or with the oppressed? “France no more helps us,” (Charles X. had just been dethroned,) “and Rome, beset by enemies to the church and public order, is not in a condition to help us.” And who are these men, stigmatized as enemies of public order? They are the Italian partriots of the Revolution of 1831, than whom our own country, in the perils of its own revolution, did not produce men more courageous, more firm, more wise, more tolerant, more patriotic; men who had freed their country from the bonds of despotism in a struggle almost bloodless, for the people were with them; men who, in the spirit of American partriots, were organizing a free government; rectifying the abuses of Papal misrule, and who, in a few weeks of their power, had accomplished years of benefit. These are the men afterwards dragged to death, or to prison, by Austrian intruders, and styled by our Jesuits, enemies of public order! Austria herself uses the selfsame terms to stigmatize those who resist oppression.
I will notice one extract more, to which I would call the special attention of my readers. It is from one of the reports of the society in Lyons, which society had the principal management of American missions under Charles X. When this bigoted monarch was dethroned, and liberal principles reigned in France, the society so languished that Austria took the design more completely into her own hands, and through the Leopold Foundation she has the enterprise now under her more immediate guardianship.
“Our beloved king (Charles X.) has given the society his protection, and has enrolled his name as a subscriber. Our society has also made rapid progress in the neighboring states of Piedmont and Savoy. The pious rulers of those lands, and the chief ecclesiastics, have given it a friendly reception.”
Charles X., be it noticed, and the despotic rulers of Piedmont and Savoy, took a special interest in this American enterprise. The report goes on to say, “Who can doubt that an institution which has a purely spiritual aim, whose only object is the conversion of souls, desires nothing less than to make whole nations, on whom the light of faith has hitherto not shined, partakers of the knowledge of the Gospel; an institution solemnly sanctioned by the supreme head of the church: which, as we have already remarked, enjoys the protection of our pious monarch, the support of archbishops and bishops; an institution established in a city under the inspection of officers, at whose head stands the great almoner, and which numbers among its members men alike honorable for their rank in church and state; an institution of which his excellency, the minister of church affairs, lately said, in his place in the Chamber of Deputies, that, independent of its purely spiritual design, IT WAS OF GREAT POLITICAL INTEREST.”
Observe that great pains are here taken to impress upon the public mind the purely spiritual aim, the purely spiritual design of the society; and yet one of the French ministers, in the Chambers of Deputies, states directly that it has another design, and that it was of “GREAT POLITICAL INTEREST.” He gives some of these political objects–“because it planted the French name in distant countries; caused it, to be loved
and honored, and thus opened to our trade and industry useful channels,” &c. Now, if some political effecs are already avowed, as intended to be produced by this society, and that, too, immediately after reiterating its purely spiritual design, why may not that particular political effect be also intended, of far more importance to the interests of despotism, namely, the subversion of our Republican institutions?
Some of the means by which Jesuits can already operate politically in the country–by mob discipline–By priest police–Their great danger–Already established–Proofs–Priests already rule the mob–Nothing in the principles of Popery to prevent its interference in our elections–Popery interferes at the present day in the politics of other countries–Popery the same in our country–It interferes in our elections–In Michigan–In Charleston, S.C.–In New York–Popery a political despotism cloaked under the name of Religion–It is Church and State imbodied–Its character at head-quarters, in Italy–Its political character stripped of its religious cloak.
BUT some of my readers, notwithstanding they may be convinced that it is for the interest of despotism to subvert our institutions, and are even persuaded that this grand enterprise has been actually undertaken, may be inclined to ask in what manner can the despots of Europe effect, by means of Popish emmissaries, any thing in this country to counteract the influence of our liberal institutions? In what way can they operate here?
With the necessity existing of doing something, from the instinct of self-preservation, to check the influence of our free institutions on Europe, with the funds provided, and agents on the spot interested in their plans, one would think it needed but little sagacity to find modes and opportunities of operating; especially, too, when such vunerable points as I have exposed ( and there are many more which I have not brought foward) invite attack.
To any such inquirers, let me say there are many ways in which a body organized as are the Catholics, and moving in concert, might disturb (to use the mildest term) the good order of the republic, and thus compel us to present to observing Europe the spectacle of republican anarchy. Who is not aware that a great portion of that stuff which composes a mob, ripe for riot or excess for any kind, and of which in some part of the country, is a Catholic* population? And what makes it turbulent?
*At the time this was written, riots in this country were almost entirely confined to the emigrants from foreign countries employed as laborers on our rail-roads, canals, &c.
Ignorance–an ignorance which it is for the interest of its leaders not to enlighten; for, enlighten a man, and he will think for himself, and have some self-respect; he will understand the laws, and know his interest in obeying them. Keep him in ignorance, and he is the slave of the man who will flatter his passions and appetites, or awe him by superstitious fears. Against the outbreakings of such men, society, as it is constituted on our free system, can protect itself only in one of two ways: it must either bring these men under the influence and control of a sound republican and religious education, or it must call in the aid of the priests who govern them, and who may permit and direct, or restrain their turbulence, in accordance with what they may judge at any particular time to be the interest of the church. Yes, be it well remarked, the same hands that can, whenever it suits their interest, restrain, can also, at the proper time, “let slip the dogs of war.” In this mode of restraint by a police of priests, by substituting the ecclesiastical for the civil power, the priest-led mobs of Portugal and Spain, and South America, are instructive examples. And start not, American reader, this kind of police is already established in our country! We have had mobs again and again, which neither the civil nor military power have availed any thing to quell, until the magic “peace, be still,” of the Catholic priest has hushed the winds, and calmed the waves of popular tumult.*
While I write, what mean the negotiations between two Irish bands of emigrants in hostile array against each other, shredding each other’s blood upon our soil, settling with the bayonet miserable foreign feuds which they have brought over the waters with them? Why have not the civil and military power been able to restore order among them and obedience to our laws, without calling in the priests to negotiate and settle the terms of which they will cease from violating our laws?†
*See note J.
† As our readers have probably forgotten the particulars of the affair here alluded to, we subjoin, form the Journal of Commerce, a copy of the agreement subscribed by the leaders of the riot. The civil and military authorities of Maryland had tried repeatedly, but in vain, to quell the rioters–Ed.Obs.
From the Journal of Commerce
THE RIOTERS—It appears by the following notice, that the rioters on the Baltimore and Washington Rail-road have concluded a treaty of peace, through the intervention of a priest. There was considerable talk during the late riots in this city, of calling in the agency of the priests to put an end to the disturbance. No doubt it would have been effectual.
On the 24th of June, 1834, the subscribers, in the presence of the Rev. John McElroy, have respectively and mutally agreed to bury for ever, on their own part, and on behalf of their respective sections of country, all remembrance of feuds and animosities, as well as injuries sustained. They also promise to each other, and make a sincere tender of their intention to preserve peace, harmony, and good feeling between persons of every part of their native country without distinction.
They further mutually agree to exclude from their houses and premises, all disorderly persons of every kind, and particularly habitual drunkards. They are also resolved, and do intend to apply, in all cases where it is necessary, to the civil authorities, or the laws of the country for redress–and finally, they are determined to use the utmost endeavors to enforce, by word and example, these unanimous resolutions.
Signed by fourteen of the men employed
on the 4th, 5th, and 8th sections of the on behalf of all employed
2d division, B. and W.R.B.
And also by thirteen of the 8th section of on behalf of all employed
the 1st division.
Have the priests become necessary in our political system? Have the emissaries of a foreign despotic power stolen this march upon us? Can they tell their foreign masters, “we already rule the mob?” Yes, and facts will bear them out in their boasting.*
And what now prevents the interference of Catholics, as a sect, directly in the political elections of the country? They are organized under their priests: is there any thing in their religious principles to restrain them? Do not Catholics of the present day use the bonds of religious union to effect political objects in other countries? Did not the Pope interfere in Poland in the late revolution, and, through the priests, command submission to the tyranny of the Czar? At the moment I am writing, are not monks and priests leaders in the field of battle in Spain; in Portugal? Is not the Pope encouraging the troops of Don Miguel, and exciting priests and people to arms in a civil contest? Has Popery abandonded its every meddling in the politics of the countries where it obtains foothold?**
Will it be said, that however officious in the old countries, yet here, by some strange metamorposis, Popery has changed its character, and is modified by our institutions; that here it is surely religious, seeking only the religious welfare of the people–that it does not meddle with the state?† It is not true that Popery meddles not with the politics of the country. The cloven foot has already shown itself. Popery is organized at the elections! For example: in Michigan, the Bishop Richard, a Jesuit, (since deceased,) was several times chosen delegate to Congress from the territory, the majority of the people being Catholics. As Protestants became more numerous, the contest between the bishop and this Protestant rival was more and more close, until at length, by the increase of Protestant emigration, the latter triumphed. The bishop, in order to detect any delinquency in his flock at the polls, had his ticket printed on colored paper? Whether any were so mutinous as not to vote according to orders, or what penance was inflicted for disobedience, I did not learn. The fact of such a truly Jesuitical mode of espionage I have from a gentlemen resident at that time in Detroit. Is not a fact like this of some importance?– Does it not show that Popery, with all its speciousness, is the same here as elsewhere? It manifests, when it has the opportunity, its genuine disposition to use spiritual power for the promotion of its temporal ambition. It uses its ecclesiastical weapons to control an election.
* See Note K.
** See Note L.
† See Note M.
In Charleston, S.C. the Roman Catholic Bishop, England, is said to have boasted of the number of votes that he could control at an election. I have been informed, on authority which cannot be doubted, that in New-York, a priest, in a late election for city officers, stopped his congregation after mass on Sunday and urged the electors not to vote for a particular candidate, on the ground of his being an anti-Catholic; the result was the election of the Catholic candidate.
It is unnecessary to multiply facts of this nature, nor will it be objected that these instances are unworthy of notice, because of their local or circumscribed character. Surely American Protestants, freemen, have discernment enough to discover beneath them the cloven foot of this subtle foreign heresy, and will not wait for a more extensive, disastrous, and overwhelming political interference, ere they assume the attitude of watchfulness and defence. They will see that Popery is now, what it has ever been, a system of the darkest political intrigue and despotism, cloaking itself, to avoid attack, under the sacred name of religion. They will be deeply impressed with the truth, that Popery is a political as well as a religious system; that in this respect it differs totally from all other sects, from all other forms of religion in the country. Popery imbodies in itself THE CLOSEST UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Observe it at teh fountain-head. In the Roman States the civil and ecclesiastical offices are blended together in the same individual. The Pope is the King. A Cardinal is Secretary of State. The Consistory of Cardinals is the Cabinet Council, the Ministry, and they are Viceroys in the provinces. The Archbishops are Ambassadors to foreign courts. The Bishops are Judges and Magistrates; and the road to preferment to most, if not all the great office of state, is through the priesthood. In Rome, and the partrimony of St. Peter, the temporal and spiritual powers are so closely united in the same individual, that no attack can be made on any temporal misrule without drawing down upon the assailants the vengeance of the spiritual power exercised by the same individual. Is the Judge corrupt or oppressive, and do the people rise against him–the Judge retires into the Bishop, and in his sacred retreat cries, “Touch not the Lord’s annoited.”
Can we not discern the political character of Popery? Shall the name Religion, artfully connected with it, still blind our eyes? Let us suppose a body of men to combine together, and claim as their right, that all public and private property, of whatever kind, is held at their disposal, that they alone are to judge of their own right to dispose of it; that they alone are authorized to think or speak on the subject; that they who speak or write in opposition to them are traitors, and must be put to death; that all temporal power is secondary to theirs, and amenable to their superior and infallible judgment; and the better to hide the presumption of these tyrannical claims, suppose that these men should pretend to divine right, and call their system Religion, and so claim the protection of our laws, and pleading conscience, demand to be tolerated.
Would the name of Religion be a cloak sufficiently thick to hide such absurdity, and shield it from public indignation? Take, then, from Popery its name of Religion; strip its officers of their pompous titles of sacredness, and its decrees of the nauseous cant of piety,* and what have you remaining? Is it not a naked, odious Depostism, depending for its strength on the observance of the strictest military discipline in its ranks, from the Pope, through his Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, &c. down to the lowest priest of his dominions? And is not this despotism acting politically in this country?
Let us suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the Emperor of Russia, in a conceited dream of divine right to universal empire, should parcel out our country into convenient districts, and should proclaim his intention to exercise his rightful sway over these states, now not owning his control; should we not justly laugh at his ridiculous pretensions? But suppose the should proceed to appoint this Viceroys, Grand Imperial Dukes, giving to one the title of “his Grace of Albany,” to another the “Grand Duke of Washington,” and to another “his Imperial Highness of Savannah,” and should send them out to take possession of their districts, and subdue the people as fast as practicable to their proper obedience to his legitimate sway; and should these pompous Viceroys, with their train of sub-officers, actually come over from Russia, and erect their government houses, and commence by compliant manners and fair promises to procure lands and rentals to hold in the power of the Emperor, and under the guise of educating the rising generation should being to sap the foundations of their attachment to the government, by blinding their reasoning faculties, and by the Russian catechism instilling the doctrine of passive obedience, and the divine right of the Emperor; what would we say to all this? Ridiculous as the first conceited dream of imperial ambition appeared, if matters got to this pass, we should being to think that there was something serious in the attempt, and, very properly too, be a little alarmed.–
Suppose then, further, that the Emperor’s cause, by Russian emigration, and the money supplied by the Emperor, had become so strong that the Viceroys were imboldened, in a cautious way, to try their influence upon some of the local elections; that the Russian party had become a body somewhat formidable;
* Through the Leopold Foundation reports there is this perpetual cant of piety: We have “pious prelate,” “pious purpose,” “pious end,” “pious curiosity,” “pious dread,” “pious progress,” and even “pious dress.”
that its foreign leaders had their passive obedience troops so well under command as to make themselves necessary in the police of the country; that we feared to offend them, that the secular press favored them,* and the unprincipled courted them; to what point then, in the process of gradually surrending our liberties to the Russian Czar, should we have come; and how near to their accomplishment would be those wild dreams of imperial ambition, which we had, in the first instance, ridiculed?
And is this a caricature? What is the difference between the real claims, and efforts, and condition of Popery at this moment in these United States, and the supposed claims, and efforts, and conditions of the Russian despotism? The one comes disguised under the name of Religion, the other, more honest and more harmless, would come in its real political name. Give the latter the name of Religion, call the Emperor, Pope, and his Viceroys, Bishops, interlard the imperial decrees with pious cant, and you have the case of pretension, and intrigue, and success, too, which has actually passed n these United States! Yes, the King of Rome, acting by the promptings of the Austrian Cabinet, and in the plentitude of his usurpation, has already extended his sceptre over our land; he has divided us up into provinces, and appointed his Viceroys, who claim their jurisdiction** from a higher power than exists in this country, even from his majesty himself, who appoints them, who removes them at will, to whom they owe allegiance; for the extension of whose temporal kingdom they are extering themselves, and whose success, let it be indelibly impressed on your minds, is the certain destruction of the free institutions of our country.
* Is this a harsh judgment on the secular press? If a secular paper ventures to remonstrate against Catholics, is not the cry of intolerance or persecution at once raised, and the editor scared away from his duty of exposing the secret political enemies of the republic, under the false notion that he is engaged in a religious controversy?
** “Indiana and Illinois, two states depending on my jurisdiction!” [My Lord Bishop Flaget’s Letter.]
Evidence enough of conspiracy adduced to create great alarm–The cause of liberty universally demands that we should awake to a sense of danger–An attack is made which is to try the moral strength of the republic–The mode of defence that might be consistently recommended by Austrian Popery–A mode now in actual operation in Europe–Contrary to the entire spirit of American Protestantism–True mode of defence–Popery must be opposed by antagonist institutions–Ignorance must be dispelled–Popular ignorance of all Papal countries–Popery the natural enemy of general education–Popish efforts to spread education in the United States delusive.
IS not the evidence I have exhibited in my previous numbers sufficiently strong to prove to my countrymen the existence of a foreign conspiracy against the liberties of the country? Does the nature of the case admit of stronger evidence? or must we wait for some positive, undisguised acts of oppression, before we will believe that we are attacked and in danger? Must we wait for a formal declaration of war? The serpent has already commenced his coil about our limbs, and the lethargy of his poison is creeping over us; shall we be more sensible of the torpor when it has fastend upon our vitals? The house is on fire; can we not believe it till the flames have touched our flesh? Is not the enemy already organized in the land? Can we not preceive all around us the evidence of his presence? Have not the wily manoeuverings of despotism already commenced? Is he not inveigling our, children to his schools? Is she not intriguing with the press? Is he not usurping the police of the country, and showing his front in our political councils? Because no foe is on the sea, no hostile armies on our plains, may we sleep securely? Shall we watch only on the outer walls, while the sappers and miners of foreign despots are at work under our feet, and steadily advancing beneath the very citadel? Where is that unwearying vigilance which the eloquent Burke proclaimed to be the characteristic of our fathers, who did not wait to feel oppression, but “augured misgovernment at a distance and snuffed the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze!” Are we their sons, and shall we sleep on our posts? We may sleep, but the enemy is awake; he is straining every nerve to possess himself of our fair land. We must awake, or we are lost. Foundations are attacked, fundamental principles are threatened, interests are put in jeopardy, which throw all the questions which now agitate the councils of the country into the shade. It is Liberty itself that is in danger, not the liberty of a single state, no, nor of the United States, but the liberty of the world. Yes, it is the world that has its anxious eyes upon us; it is the world that cries to us in the agony of its struggles against despotism, THE WORLD EXPECTS AMERICA, REPUBLICAN AMERICA , TO DO HER DUTY.
Our institutions have already withstood many assaults from within and from without, but the war has now assumed a new shape. An effort is now making that is to try the MORAL STRENGTH of the Republic. It is not a physical contest on the land or on the water. The issue depends not on the strength of our armies or navies. How then shall we defend ourselves from this new, this subtle attack?
“Defend yourselves!” cries the Austrian Papist; “you cannot defend yourselves; your government, in its very nature, is not strong enough to protect you against foreign or domestic conpiracy. You must here take a lesson from legitimate governments; we alone can teach the effectual method of suppressing conspiracies. You say you have a body of conspiracies against your liberties, a body of foreigners who are spreading their pernicious heresies through your land, and endangering the state. The weakness of republicanism is now manifest. What constitutional or legal provision meets the difficulty? Where are your laws prohibiting Catholics from preaching or teaching their doctrines, and erecting their chapels, churches, and schools? Where is your passport system, to enable you to know the movements of ever man of them in the land? Where is your Gens d’armerie, your armed police, those useful agents, whose domiciliary visits could ferret out every Catholic, seize and examine his papers, and keep him further mischief in the dungeons of the state? Where are your laws that can terrify, by the penalty of imprisonment, any man that dares to utter an opinion against the government? Where is your judicious censorship of the press, to silence the Catholic journals, and stifle any Catholic sentiments in other journals? Where is your Index expurgatorious, to denounce all unsafe books, that no Catholic book may be printed or admitted into the country? Where is your system of espionage, that no Protestant may read a Catholic publication, or express in conversation a single sentiment unfavorable to Protestantism, without being overlooked and overhead by some faithful spy, and reported to the government? Where are the officers in your post-office department for the secret examination of letters, so that even the most confidential correspondence may be purifed from dangerous heresy? Where is your secret Inquisitorial Court for the trial and condemnation of apostate Protestants? Without these changes in the constitution and laws of your government, you can oppose no efficent obstacle to the success of this conspiracy.”
And what shall I reply to this consistent Papist? The methods he would prescribe have the sanction of successful experiment for your centuries. They are in sober truth the very means that Popery employs at this very day, in the countries where it is dominant, to prevent the spread of opinions contrary to its own dogmas. But are these the methods that commend themselves to American Protestants? Does not such a cumbrous machinery of chains, and bolts, and bayonets, and soldiers, to hold the mind in bondage, seem rather a dream of the dark ages, than a real system now in actual operation in the nineteenth century? Away with Austrian and Popish precedent. American Protestantism is of a different school.
It needs none of the aids which are indispensable to the crumbling despotisms of Europe; no soldiers, no restrictive enactments, no Index expurgatorious, no Inquisition. This war is the war of principles; it is on the open field of free discussion; and the victory is to be won by the exercise of moral energy, by the force of religious and political truth. But still it is a war, and all true patriots must wake to the cry of danger. It is no false alarm. Our liberties are in danger. The Philistines are upon us. Their bonds are prepared, and they intend, if they can, to fasten them upon our limbs. We must shake off our lethargy, and like the giant awakening from his sleep, snap these shackles asunder. We are attacked in vulnerable point by foreigner enemies to all liberty. We must no longer indulge a quiet complacency in our institutions, as if there were a charm in the simple name of American liberty sufficiently potent to repel all invasion. For what constitutes the life of our justly cherished institutions? Where is the living principle that sustains them? Is it in the air we breathe? Is it in the soil we cultivate? Is our air or our soil more congenial to liberty than the air and soil of Austria, or Italy, or Spain? No! The life of our institutions!–it is a moral and intellectual life; it lies in the culture of the human mind and heart, of the reason and conscience; it is bound up in principles which must be taught by father to son, from generation to generation, with care, with toil, with sacrifice.–Hide the Bible for fifty years–(we will not ask for the hundred years so graciously granted by the autocrat to stifle liberty)–hide the Bible for fifty years, and let our children be under the guidence of men whose first exercise upon the youthful mind is to teach that lesson of old school sophistry which distorts it forever, and binds it through life in bonds of error to the dictation of a man –a man whom, in the same exercise of distorted reason, he is persuaded to believe infallibile; let these Jesuit doctors take the place of our Protestant instructors, and where will be the political institutions of the country? Fifty years would amply suffice to give the victory to the despotic principle, and realize the most sanguine wishes of the tyrants of Europe.
The first thing to be done to secure safety, is to open our eyes at once to the reality and the extent of the danger. We must not walk on blindly, crying “all’s well.” The enemy is in all our borders. He has spread himself through all the land. The ramifications of this foreign plot are everywhere visible to all who will open their eyes. Surprising and unwelcome as is such an announcement, we must hear it and regard it. We must make AN IMMEDIATE, A VIGROUS, A UNITED, A PERSERVING EFFORT TO SPREAD RELIGIOUS AND INTELLECTUAL CULTIVATION THROUGH EVERY PART OF OUR COUNTRY. Not a village nor a log-hut of the land should be overlooked. Where Popery has put darkness, we must put light. Where Popery has planted its crosses, its colleges, its churches, its chapels, its nunneries, Protestant patriotism must put side by side college for college, seminary for seminary, church for church. And the money must not be kept back. Does Austria send her tens of thousands to subjugate us the principles of darkness? We must send our hundreds of thousands, ay, our millions, if necessary, to redeem our children from the double bondage of spiritual and temporal slavery, and preserve to them American light and liberty. The food of Popery is ignorance. Ignorance is the mother of Papal devotion. Ignorance is the legitimate prey of Popery.
But some one here asks, are not the Roman Catholics establishing schools and colleges, and seminaries of various kinds, in the destitute parts of the land? And they not also zealous for education? May we not safely assist them in their endeavors to enlighten the ignorant? Enlighten the ignorant! Does Popery enlighten the ignorant of Spain, of Portugal, of Italy, of Ireland, of South America, of Canada? What sort of instruction is that, in the latter country for example, which leaves 78,000 out of 87,000 of its grown up scholars, signers of a petition by their mark, unable to write their own names, and many of the remaining signers who write nothing but their names? What sort of light is that which generates darkness? Popery enlighten the ignorant! Popery is the natural enemy of GENERAL education. Do you ask for proof? It is overwhelming. Look at the intellectual condition of all the countries where Popery is dominate. If Popery is in favor of general education, why are the great mass of the people, in the papal countries I have named, the most ill-informed, mentally degraded beings of all the civilized world, arbitrarily shut out by law from all knowledge but that which makes them slaves to the tyranny of their oppressors? No! look well at it! If Popery in this country is professing friendship to general knowledge, it is a feigned alliance. If it pretends to be in favor of educating the poor, it is a false pretence, it is only temporizing; it is conforming for the present, from policy, to the spirit of Protestantism around it, that it may forge its chains with less suspicion. If it is establishing schools, it is to make them prisons of the youthful intellect of the country. If the Papists in Europe are really desirous of enlightening ignorant Americans by establishing schools, let them make their first efforts among their brethern of the same faith in Canada and Mexico.
Do our fellow-citizens at the South and West ask for schools, and are there not funds and teachers enough in our own land of wealth and education to train up our own offspring in the free principles of our own institutions? or are we indeed so beggared as to be dependent on charities of the Holy Alliance, and the Jesuits of Europe, for funds and teachers to educate our youth? in what?–THE PRINCIPLES OF DESPOTISM! Forbid it, patriotism! forbid it, religion! Our own means are sufficient; we have wealth enough, and teachers in abundance. We have only to will it with resolution and the zeal that have so often been shown, whenever great national or moral interests are to be subserved, and every fortress, every corps of Austrian darkness will be surrounded; the lighted torches of truth, political and religious, would flash their unwelcome beams into every secret chamber of the enemies of our liberty, and drive these ill-omened birds of a foreign nest to their native hiding-place.
All classes of citizens interested in resisting the efforts of Popery–The unnatural alliance of Popery and Democracy exposed–Religious Liberty in danger–Specially in the keeping of the Christian community–They must rally for its defence–The secular press has no sympathy with them in this struggle, it is opposed to them–The Political character of Popery ever to be kept in mind, and opposed–It is for the Papist, not the Protestant, to separate his religion from his political creed–Papists ought to be required publicly, and formally, and officially to renounce foreign allegiance, and anti-republican customs.
IN considering the means of counteracting this foreign political conspiracy against our free institutions, I have said that we must awake to the reality and extent of the danger, and rouse ourselves to immediate and vigorous action, in spreading religious and intellectual cultivation through the land. This, indeed, would be effectual, but this remedy is remote in its operation, and is most seriously retarded by the enormous increase of ignorance which is flooding the country by foreign emigration. While, therefore, the remote effects of our extertions are still provided for, the pressing exigency of the case seems to require some more immediate efforts to prevent the further spread of the evil. The two-fold character of the enemy who is attacking us must be well considered. Popery is doubly opposed–civilly and religiously–to all that is valuable in our free institutions. As a religious system, it is the avowed and common enemy of every other religious sect in the land. The Episcopalian, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, the Quaker, the Unitarian, the Jew, &c., &c., are alike anathematized, are together obstinate heretics, in the creed of the Papist. He wages an indiscriminate, uncompromising, exterminating war with all.
As a political system, it is opposed to every political party in the country. Popery in its very nature is opposed to the genius of our free system, notwithstanding its affected, artful appropriation (in our country only) of the habits and phraseology of democracy. Present policy alone dictates so unnatural an alliance, ay, most unnatural alliance. What! Popery and Democracy allied! Despotism and Liberty hand in hand? Has the Sovereign Pontiff in very deed turned Democrat in the United States? Let us look into this incongruous coalition, this solecism in politics–Popish Democracy. Do Popish Bishops or Priests consult the people? Have the people any voice in ecclesiastical matters? Can the people vote their own taxes? or are they imposed upon them by irresponsible priests? Do the bishops and priests account for the manner in which they spend the people’s money? Has Popery here adopted the American principles of RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PEOPLE; a responsibility which gives the most insignificant contributor of his money towards any object, a right to examine into the manner in which it is disbursed? No! the people account to their priests in all cases, not the priests to the people in any case. What sort of Democracy is that where the people have no power, and the priests have all, by divine right? Let us hear no more of presumptuous claim of Popery to Democracy. Popery is the antipodes of Democracy. It is the same petty tyrant of the people here, as in Europe. And this is the tyranny that hopes to escape detection, by assuming the name, and adopting the language of Democracy.* It is this tyranny that is courted and favored at political elections by our politicians fo all parties, because it has the advantage of a despotic organization† How much longer are the feelings of the religious community to be scandalized, and their moral sense outraged, by the bare-faced bargainings for Catholic and infidel votes? Have the religious community no remedy against such outrage? If they have not, if there is not a single point in which they can act together, if the religious denominations of various names can have no understanding on matters of this kind, if they have no common bond to unite them in repelling common enemies, then let us boast no more of religious liberty. What is religious liberty? Is it merely a phrase to round a period in a Fourth of July oration? Is it a dazzling sentiment for Papists to use in blinding the eyes of the people, while they rivet upon them their foreign chains of supersition? Is it a shield to be held before infidels, from behind which they may throw their poisoned shafts at all that is orderly and fair in our civil, as well as religious institutions? Or is it that prize above all price, that heaven-descended gift to the world, for which, with its twin-sister, we contended in our war for independence, and which we are bound, by every duty to ourselves, to our children, to our country, to the world, to guard with the most jealous care? And has it ever occurred to Christians that this duty of guarding religious liberty in a more special manner devolves on them! Who but the religious community appreciate the inestimable value of religious liberty? Are their interests safe in the hands of the infidel, who scoffs at all religion, and uses his civil liberty to subvert all liberty? Is it safe in the hands of imported radicals and blasphemers? Is is safe in the hands of calculating, selfish, power-seeking politicians? Is it safe in the keeping of Metternich’s stipendiaries, the active agents of a foreign despotic power? Does the secular press take care of our religious liberty? Is there a secular journal that has even hinted to its readers the existence of this double conspiracy? The most dangerous politico-religious sect that ever existed; a sect that has been notorious for ages for throwing governments into confusion, is politically at work in our own country, under the immediate auspices of the most despotic power of Europe, interested politically an vitally in the destruction of our free institutions, and is any alarm manifested by the secular press? No! they are altogether silent on this subject.
See note N.
† And infidelity too, it seems, has just learned the secret of political power, and, not content with civil and religious liberty, has introduced a third kind, and organizing itself into a new interest, demands to be represented in the state as the advocate of irreligious liberty!
They presume it is only a religious controversy, and they cannot meddle with religious controversies. They must not expose religious imposture, lest they should be called pious. They have no idea of blending church and state. They have a religion of their own, a worship in which the public, they think, feel a more exciting interest. One has a liberty pole to be erected, another a hickory tree; and the rival pretensions to superiority of these wooden goods of their idolatry it is of the last importance to settle, and the bacchanalian reverlry of their consecration must be recorded and blazoned forth in italics and capitals in its minutest particulars” “O Pole! O Tree! thou art the preserver of our liberty!” No; if the religious community ( in which term I mean to include Protestants of every name who profess a religious faith) awake not to the defence of their own rights in the state, if they indulge timidity or jealousy of each other, if they will not come forward boldly and firmly to withstand the encroachments of corruption upon their own rights; the selfish politicians of the day (and they swarm in the ranks of all parties) will bargain away all that is valuable in the country, civil and religious, to the Pope, to Austria, or to any foreign power that will pay them the price of their treason.
We cannot be too often reminded of the double character of the enemy who has gained foothold upon our shores; for although Popery is a religious sect, and on this ground claims toleration side by side with other religious sects, yet Popery is also a political, a despotic system, which we must repel as altogether incompatible with the existence of freedom. I repeat it, Popery is a political, a despotic system, which must be resisted by all true patriots.
Is it asked, how can we separate the character thus combined in one individual? How can we repel the politics of a Papist without infringing upon his religious right? I answer, that this is a difficulty for Papists, not for Protestants to solve. If Papists have made their religion and despotism identical, that is not our fault. Our religion, the Protestant religion, and Liberty, are identical, and liberty keeps no terms with despotism. American Protestants use no solecism as religious despotism. Shall political heresy be shielded from all attack, because it is connected with a religious creed? Let Papists separate their religious faith from their political faith, if they can, and the former shall suffer no political attack from us. “Bu no,” the Papist cries, “I cannot separate them; my religion is so blended with the political system, that they must be tolerated or refused together; my ‘whole system is one, and indivisible, unchangeable, infallibile.’ I am conscientious, I cannot separate them.” What are we to do in such a case?–Are we to surrender our civil and religious liberty to such presumptuous folly?
No! our liberties must be preserved; and we say, and say firmly to the Popish Bishops and Priests among us, give us your declaration of your relation to our civil government. Renounce your foreign allegiance, your allegiance to a FOREIGN SOVEREIGN. Let us have your own avowal in an official manifesto, that the Democratic Government under which you here live delights you best. Put your ecclesiastical doings upon as open and popular a footing as other sects.
Open your books to the people, that they may scrutinize your financial matters, that the people, your own people, may know how much they pay to priests, and how the priests expend their money; that the poorest who is taxed from his hard earned wages for church dues, and the richest who gives his gold to support your extravagant ceremonial, may equally know that their contributions are not misapplied. Come out and declare your opinion on the LIBERTY OF THE PRESS, on LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, and LIBERTY OF OPINION. Americans demand it. They are waking up they have their eyes upon you. Think not the American Eagle is asleep. Americans are not Austrians, to be hoodwinked by Popish tricks. This is a call upon you, you will be obliged soon to regard.
Nor will they be content with partial, obscure avowals of republican sentiment in your journals, by insulated priests, or even bishops. The American people will require a more serious testimonial of your opinions on these fundamental political points. You have had Convocations of Bishops at Baltimore. Let us have at their next assembling, their sentiments on these vital points. Let us have a document full and explicit, signed by their names, a document that may circulate as well in Austria and Italy as in America, ay, a document that may be published “con permissione” in the Diario di Roma, and be circulated to instruct the faithful in the united church, the church of but one mind, in the sentiments of American democratic Bishops on these American principles. Let us see how they will accord with those of his Holiness, Pope Gregory XVI., in his late encylical letter! Will Popish Bishops dare to put forth such a manifesto? No! They dare not.
The question, what is the duty of the Protestant community, considered–Shall there be an Anti-Popery Union?–The strong manifesto that might be put forth by such a union–Such a political union discarded as impolitic and degrading to a Protestant community–Golden opportunity for showing the moral energy of the Republic—The lawful, efficient weapons of this contrast–To be used without delay.
THERE is no question of more pressing, more vital importance to the whole country than this:
What is the duty of the Protestant community in the perilous condition to which religious as well as civil liberty is reduced, by the attempts of Popery and foreign enemies upon our free institutions? Have Christian partriots reflected at all on the possible, nay, I will say probable loss of religious liberty; or in idea attempted to follow out to their result, and in their immeasurable extent, the fearful consequences of its loss? Why is it, then, that no more energetic efforts are made to save ourselves?
______________we hear this fearful tempest sing,
Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
* * * * * * * *
We see the very wreck that we must suffer;
And unavoided is the danger now,
For suffering so the causes of our wreck.
Yes, the rocks are in full view on which American liberty must inevitably be wrecked, unless all hands are roused to immediate action. Our dangers are none the less, be assured, because they are not those against which the general cry of alarm is so loudly raised by the two great political parties of the day. In the heedless strife they are now waging, the most superlative epithets of alarm have been already exhausted by each, on ficticious or comparatively trivial dangers to the commonwealth. The public ear is deafened by their noise; its sense of hearing is grown callous with the reitereated cries of alarm on every slight occasion. “Wolf! Wolf!” has been so often falsely cried, that now, when the wolf has in reality appeared, we cannot seem to realize it. “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” We are busying ourselves in quenching the few falling sparks that threaten the deck of the ship, without heeding the fire beneath, that is approaching the magazine. In this reckless warfare of passion, and falsehood, and slander, and aided by the deafening din of party strife, neither party seem to have observed that a secret enemy, an artful, foreign enemy, has stolen in among us, joining his foreign accents to swell the uproar, that he may with less suspicion do his nefarious work.* Like incendiaries at a conflagration, they even cry fire! loudest, and are most ostentatiously busy in seeming to protect that very property which they watch but to make their prey.
What then can be done? Shall Protestants organize themselves in to a political union after the manner of the Papists, and various classes of industry and even foreigners in the country? Shall they form an Anti-Popery Union, and take their places among this strange medley of conflicting interests? And why should they not? Various parties and classes do now combine and organize for their own interest; and if any class of men are allowed thus to combine and promote their own peculiar interests at the expense of another class, that other class surely has at least an equal right to combine to protect itself against the excess of its antagonist.
* See note O.
A denial of this right would certainly come with an ill grace from those who are already formed into seperate organizations, as a Working Men’s party, as a Trades’ Union party, as a Catholic party, as an Irish party, as a German party, yes, even as a French and an Italian party.*
And now, on the supposition that such a political organization of Protestants were expedient, (for it resolves itself altogether into a question of expediency,) let us see whether any party or interest could show a stronger claim upon the support of the whole nation. Its manifesto might run thus:
Popery is a political system, despotic in its organization, anti-democratic and anti-republican, and cannot therefore co-exist with American republicanism. The ratio of increase of Popery is the exact ratio of decrease of civil liberty.
The dominance of Popery in the United States is the certain destruction of our free institutions.
Popery, by its organization, is wholly under the control of a FOREIGN DESPOTIC SOVEREIGN.
AUSTRIA, one of the Holy Alliance of sovereigns leagued against the liberties of the world, HAS THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE OPERATIONS OF POPERY IN THIS COUNTRY.
The agents of Austria in the United States are Jesuits and priests in the pay of that foreign power, in active correspondence with their employers abroad, not bound by ties of any kind to our government or country, but, on the contrary, impelled by the strongest motives of ambition to serve the interests of a despotic foreign government; which ambition has already, in one or more instances, been gratified, by promotion of these agents to higher office and wealth in Europe.
*By classing these together at this moment, I do not intend to commit myself as expressing approval or disapproval of the right of each and all of these to organize, but merely to show that such organization does already exist among other classes in the community, and if even foreigners among us are allowed to exercise the right to organize into a separate interest, yes, even as foreigners, can the right with any propriety be refused to American Christians? Having thus stated the case, I am now free to make the passing remark, that excluding from view the three classes first named, the right of foreigners to organize as foreigners, for political purposes, is at least very questionable; but were their right unquestionably legal through the mildness of our laws, yet the practice is dangerous, indecorous, and a palpable abuse of political liberality. The Irish naturalized citizens who should know no other name than Americans, for years have clanned together as Irish, and every means has been used, and is still used, especially by Catholics, to preserve them distinct from the American family. Recently a portion of the Germans have organized to keep up their distinct nationality, and the French and Italians have just followed the example [Nov. 1834] To what will all this lead?
Popery is a UNION OF CHRURCH AND STATE, nor can Popery exist in this country in that plentitude of power which it claims as a divine right, and which, in the very nature of the system, it must continually strive to obtain, until such a union is connsummated. Popery on this ground, therefore, is destructive to our religious as well as civil liberty.
Popery is more dangerous and more formidable than any power in the United States, on the ground that, through its despotic organization, it can concentrate its efforts for any purpose with complete effect; and that organization being wholly under foreign control, it can have no real sympathy with any thing American. The funds and intellect, and intriguing experience of all Papal and despotic Europe, by means of agents at this moment organized throughout our land, can, at any time, be brought in aid of the enterprises of foreign powers in this country.
These are the grounds upon which an appeal for support might be made to the patriotism, the love of liberty, the hatred of tyranny, temporal or spiritual, which belong in common to the whole Protestant American Family.
But is this the plan of opposition to Popery that should be proposed, the plan which ought to be adopted by the Protestant community? No; distinctly and decidely NO. Plausible as it may appear, and perfectly in accordance as it is with the practice of politicans, the Christian community ought not, cannot adopt such an organization. There must not be a Christian party. What! shall Christianity throw aside the keen moral and intellectual arms with which alone it has gained and secured every substantial victory since the commencement of its glorious career; shall it exchange those arms of heavenly temper, “mighty in pulling down strong holds,” for the paltry, earthly ( I might even say infernal) weapons of party strife? Can Christianity stoop so law? Can it bring itself down from contemplating its great work of revolutionizing the world, by bringing moral truth to bear on the conscience and the heart, and narrow its vision to the contracted sphere of party politics? Can it enter, without defilement, into the polluted and polluting arena of political contest? Can it consent to be bargained for by political hucksters, or have the price of its favors hawked in the market by political brokers?* Can it consent to compete with Popery in the use of those intruments of intrigue, and trick, and gambling management, in which Popery is perfectly skilled from the hoarded experience of ages? Can Christians present themselves before the country and the world, in this enlightened age and country, as a mere political party? No, no; God forbid that we should forget that holy character of our cause; let us not be caught in that snare of the enemy. The danger-cry of Church and State may safely be left to the people, to trumpet aloud through the land, when the blind infatuation which now closes their eyes shall have been removed, and they shall be able to see, what may already see, the secret political manoeuvrings† of a sect whose very existence depends upon a union of Chruch and State.
* See note P. † See Note R.
No; let American Christianity proclaim anew to all the world that it can never be wooed to any such unholy alliance. It will keep its garments unspotted from the crimes of the State. It will take none of the responsibilities of the political errors of the age, nor father any of the evils which the unprincipled politicians of the day may bring upon the coutnry and the world, as the effect of their political bargainings.
Now is the time for this Christian Republic to show her moral energy. Europe is an anxious spectator of our contests, and is watching the success of this new trial of the strength of our boasted institutions. Oh! what a lesson, what an impressive lesson might free America now read to Europe! what an example of the power of moral over physical government can she give to the world, if she will but rouse herself, in her moral might, to the grand effort which the occasion demands! How would the petty jealousies of the different Protestant sects be swallowed up in the magnitude of the one great enterprise! How would every sect rather cheer the others on, in their united march against the common foe, and make a common rejoicing of the success of any and every corps, as of a victorious regiment in the same great army!
Will American Christians prepare themselves for this enterprise? Will each sect awake to the feeling of its being a corps of the great Christian army, marching under the command of no earthly leader, fighting with no earthly weapons, and against no earthly foe? Will they wake to the perception of the great truth, that while their great Captain allows each to act separately and independently within certain limits, it is he that commands in chief, and now orders all his soldiers, under whatever earthly banner enrolled, in united phalanx to go forward, forward in his single service? Which corps will first marshal itself for action? Which will be first in the field? Which will press forward with the most zeal for the honor of the advance, for the post of danger? Which in the battle will be most in earnest to carry forward the standards of truth and plant them upon the battlements of papal darkness? Will any shrink back for fear? Will any be detered from unholy jealousy of its neighbor? Will any indulge in unchristian, ignorable suspicion of its brethren? What cause have any for fear, or jealousy, or suspicion? This enterprise asks no sacrifice or sectarian principle; it demands no surrender of conscientious predilection of each to its own modes and forms; but it does ask the sacrifice of petty prejudice; it does not demand the surrender of thos miserable jealousies and envyings which more or less belong to some of every sect, when they learn the greater success of another, as if the victory of one were not the victory of all. And what are the weapons of this warfare? The Bible, the Tract, the Infant school, the Sunday school, the common school for all classes, the academy for all classes, the college and university for all classes, a free press for discussion of all questions. These, all these, are weapons of Protestantism, weapons unknown to Popery! Let no one be deceived by the Popish apings of Protestant institutions. The Popish seminary has little in common with the Protestant seminary but the name. It is but the sheep’s skin that covers the wolf’s back; the teeth and the claws are not even well concealed beneath. With the weapons we have named, and with our education societies, theological seminaries, and missionary societies, we need no new organization, no Anti-Popery union. But we must use our arms, and not rest satisfied with the possession of them. They must be furbished anew, and we must prepare ourselves for a vigorous warfare. We must be stirring, if we mean indeed to be victorious. Not a moment is to be lost. The enemy knows well the importance of the present instant. Hear what he says. “We must make haste, the moments are precious. IF THE PROTESTANT SECTS ARE BEFOREHAND WITH US, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DESTROY THEIR INFLUENCE.” Ought not this acknowledgement of the enemy to quicken and encourage to instant effort? And again writes a Catholic Missionary, “Zeal for error is always hot, particularly among the Methodists, whom nothing can turn from their track, and who heap absurdity upon absurdity. I should despair if I should see this sect building a church in my neighborhood.” Will not our Methodist brethren take this hint?
The political duty of American citizens at this crisis.
IN my last number I deemed it a duty to warn the Christian community against the temptation to which they were exposed, in guarding against the political dangers arising from Popery, of leaving their proper sphere of action, and degrading themselves to a common political interest. This is a snare into which they might easily fall, and into which, if Popery could invite or force them, it might keep a jubilee, for its triumph would be sure. the propensity to resist by unlawful means the encroachment of an enemy, because that enemy uses such a means against us, belongs to human nature. We are very apt to think, in the irritation of being attacked, that we may lawfully hurl back darts the darts of a foe, whatever may be their character; that we may “fight the devil with fire,” instead of the milder, yet more effective weapon of “the Lord rebuke thee.” The same spirit of Christianity which forbids us to return railing for railing, and persecution for persecution, forbids the use of unlawful or even doubtful means of defence, merely because an enemy uses them to attack us. If Popery (as is unblushingly the case) organizes itself at our elections, if it interferes politically, and sells itself to this or that political demagogue or party, it should be remembered that this is notoriously the true character of Popery. It is its nature. It cannot act otherwise. Intrigue is its appropriate business. But all this is foreign to Christianity. Christianity must not enter the political arena with Popery, nor be mailed in Popish armor. The weapons and strategems of Popery suit not with the simplicity and frankness of Christianity. Like David with the armor of Saul, it would sink beneath the ill-fitting covering, before the Philistine. Yes! Popery will be an overmatch for any Christian who fights behind any other shield than that of Faith, or uses any other sword than the sword of the Spirit of Truth.
But while deprecating a union of religious sects to act politically against Popery, I must not be misunderstood as recommending no political opposition to Popery by the American community. I have endeavored to rouse Protestants to a renewed and more vigorous use of their religious weapons in their moral war with Popery, but I am not unmindful of another duty, the political duty, which the double character of Popery makes it necessary to urge upon American citizens with equal force–the imperious duty of defending the distinctive principles of our civil government. It must be sufficiently manifest to every republican citizen that the civil polity of Popery is in direct opposition to all which he deems sacred in government. He must perceive that Popery cannot, from its very nature, tolerate any of those civil rights which are the peculiar boast of Americans. Should Popery increase but for a little time longer in this country, with alarming rapidity with which, as authentic statistics testify, it is advancing at the present time, (and it must not be forgotten that despotism in Europe, in its desperate struggles for existence, is lendings its powerful aid to the enterprise,) we may even in this generation learn, by sad experience, what common sagacity and ordinary research might now teach in time to arrest the evil, that Popery cannot tolerate our form of government in any of its essential principles.
Popery does not acknowledge the right of the people to govern; but claims for itself the supreme right to govern all people, and all rulers, by divine right.
It does not tolerate the Liberty of the Press, it takes advantage indeed of our liberty of the press to use its own press against our liberty, but it proclaims in the thunders fo the Vatican, and with a voice which it pronounces infallibile and unchangeable, that it is a liberty “never sufficiently to be execrated and detested.”
It does not tolerate liberty of conscience nor liberty of opinion. The one is denounced by the Sovereign Pontiff as “a most pestilential error,” and the other, ” a pest of all others most to be dreaded in a state.”
It is not responsible to the people in its financial matters. It taxes at will, and is accountable to none but itself.
Now these are political tenets held by Papists in close union with their religious belief, yet these are not religious, but civil tenents; they belong to despotic government. Conscience cannot be pleaded against our dealing politically with them. They are separable from religious belief; and if Papists will separate them, and repudiate these noxious principles, and teach and act accordingly, the political duty of exposing and opposing Papists, on the ground of the enmity of their political tenents to our republican government, will cease. But can they do it? If they can, it behooves them to do it without delay. If they cannot, or will not, let them not complain of religious persecution, or of religious intolerance, if this republican people, when it shall awake to a sense of the danger that threatens its blood-bought institutions, shall rally to their defence with some show of indignation. Let them no whine about religious oppression, if the democracy turns it searching eye upon this secret treason to the state, and shall in future scrutinize with something of suspicion the professions of those foreign friends, who are so ready to rush to a fraternal embrace. Let them not raise the cry of religious proscription, if American republicans shall stamp an indelible brand upon the liveried slaves of a foreign despot, the servile adorers of their good “Emperor,” the Austrian conspirators, who now, sheltered behind the shield of our religious liberty, dream of security, while sapping the foundations of our civil government. Let no foreign Holy Alliance presume, or congratulate itself, upon the hitherto unsuspicious and generous toleration of its secret agents in this country. America may for a time sleep soundly, as innocence is wont to sleep, unsuspicious of hostile attack; but if any foreign power, jealous of the increasing strength of the embryo giant, sends it serpents to lurk within his cradle, let such presumption be assured that the waking energies of the infant are not to be despised; that once having grasped his foes, he will neither be tempted from his hold by admiration of their painted and guilded covering, nor by fear of the fatal embrace of their treacherous folds.