THE within is a discourse recently delivered by the writer in several of the Atlantic cities, while on an agency for the Cincinnati Lane Seminary. Those who heard it will perceive that it is as it was delivered, with a little enlargement on a few points which demand a more ample illustration.
A Plea For The West.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. — ISAIAH lxvi, 8.
EVER since the era of modem missions, sceptical men have ridiculed the efforts of the church to evangelize the world, and predicted their failure. "What," say they, "do these Jews build? — if a fox do but go up upon the wall, it will fall. The world can never be converted to Christianity by the power of man." And full well do we know it, and most deeply do we feel it, and in all our supplications for aid,
8most emphatically do we confess our utter impotency; and could no power but the power of man be enlisted, it would be indeed of all experiments the most ridiculous and hopeless. But because man cannot convert the world to Christianity, cannot God do it? Has he not promised to do it, and selected his instruments, and commanded his people to be fellow workers with him? And hath he said, and shall he not do it?
Instead of its being a work of difficulty and dilatory movement, when the time to favor Zion comes, it shall outrun all past analogies of moral causes, as if seed-time and harvest should meet on the same field, or a nation should instantly rush up from barbarism to civilization.
But as all great eras of prosperity to the church have been aided by the civil condition of the world, and accomplished by the regular operation of moral causes,
9I consider the text as a prediction of the rapid and universal extension of civil and religious liberty, introductory to the triumphs of universal Christianity. It is certain that the glorious things spoken of the church and of the world, as affected by her prosperity, cannot come to pass under the existing civil organization of the nations. Such a state of society as is predicted to pervade the earth, cannot exist under an arbitrary despotism, and the predominance of feudal institutions and usages. Of course, it is predicted that revolutions and distress of nations will precede the introduction of the peaceful reign of Jesus Christ on the earth. The mountains shall be cast down, and the valleys shall be exalted — and he shall "overturn, and overturn, and overturn, till he whose right it is, shall reign King of nations — King of saints."
It was the opinion of Edwards, that
10the millenium would commence in America. When I first encountered this opinion, I thought it chimerical; but all providential developments since, and all the existing signs of the times, lend corroboration to it. But if it is by the march of revolution and civil liberty, that the way of the Lord is to be prepared, where shall the central energy be found, and from what nation shall the renovating power go forth? What nation is blessed with such experimental knowledge of free institutions, with such facilities and resources of communication, obstructed by so few obstacles, as our own? There is not a nation upon earth which, in fifty years, can by all possible reformation place itself in circumstances so favorable as our own for the free, unembarrassed applications of physical effort and pecuniary and moral power to evangelize the world.
But if this nation is, in the providence of God, destined to lead the way in the moral and political emancipation of the world, it is time she understood her high calling, and were harnessed for the work. For mighty causes, like floods from distant mountains, are rushing with accumulating power, to their consummation of good or evil, and soon our character and destiny will be stereotyped forever.
It is equally plain that the religious and political destiny of our nation is to be decided in the West. There is the territory, and there soon will be the population, the wealth, and the political power. The Atlantic commerce and manufactures may confer always some peculiar advantages on the East. But the West is destined to be the great central power of the nation, and under heaven, must affect powerfully the
12cause of free institutions and the liberty of the world.
The West is a young empire of mind, and power, and wealth, and free institutions, rushing up to a giant manhood, with a rapidity and a power never before witnessed below the sun. And if she carries with her the elements of her preservation, the experiment will be glorious — the joy of the nation — the joy of the whole earth, as she rises in the majesty of her intelligence and benevolence, and enterprise, for the emancipation of the world.
It is equally clear, that the conflict which is to decide the destiny of the West, will be a conflict of institutions for the education of her sons, for purposes of superstition, or evangelical light; of despotism, or liberty.
I propose to consider in this discourse —
13I. What is required to secure the civil and religious prosperity of the West.
II. By whom it must be done.
III. How it must be done. And
IV. The motive to do it.
1. The thing required for the civil and religious prosperity of the West, is universal education, and moral culture, by institutions commensurate to that result — the all-pervading influence of schools, and colleges, and seminaries, and pastors, and churches. When the West is well supplied in this respect, though there may be great relative defects, there will be, as we believe, the stamina and the vitality of a perpetual civil and religious prosperity.
2. By whom shall the work of rearing the literary and religious institutions of the West be done?
Not by the West alone.
The West is able to do this great work
14for herself, — and would do it, provided the exigencies of her condition allowed to her the requisite time. The subject of education is no where more appreciated; and no people in the same time ever performed so great a work as has already been performed in the West. Such an extent of forest never fell before the arm of man in forty years, and gave place, as by enchantment, to such an empire of cities, and towns, and villages; and agriculture, and merchandise, and manufactures, and roads, and rapid navigation, and schools, and colleges, and libraries, and literary enterprise, with such a number of pastors and churches, and such a relative amount of religious influence, as has been produced by the spontaneous effort of the religious denominations of the West. The later peopled states of New-England did by no means come as rapidly to the same state of relative, intellectual and moral
15culture as many portions of the West have already arrived at, in the short period of forty, thirty, and even twenty years.
But this work of self-supply is not completed, and by no human possibility could have been completed by the West, in her past condition.
No people ever did, in the first generation, fell the forest, and construct the roads, and rear the dwellings and public edifices, and provide the competent supply of schools and literary institutions. New-England did not. Her colleges were endowed extensively by foreign munificence, and her churches of the first generation were supplied chiefly from the mother country; — and yet the colonists of New-England were few in number, compact in territory, homogeneous in origin, language, manners, and doctrines; and were coerced to unity by common perils and necessities; and
16could be acted upon by immediate legislation; and could wait also for their institutions to grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength. But the population of the great West is not so, but is assembled from all the states of the Union, and from all the nations of Europe, and is rushing in like the waters of the flood, demanding for its moral preservation the immediate and universal action of those institutions which discipline the mind, and arm the conscience and the heart. And so various are the opinions and habits, and so recent and imperfect is the acquaintance, and so sparse are the settlements of the West, that no homogeneous public sentiment can be formed to legislate immediately into being the requisite institutions. And yet they are all needed immediately, in their utmost perfection and power. A nation is being "born in a day," and all the nurture of schools and
17literary institutions is needed, constantly and universally, to rear it up to a glorious and unperverted manhood.
It is no implication of the West, that in a single generation, she has not completed this work. In the circumstances of her condition she could not do it; and had it been done, we should believe that a miraculous, and not a human power had done it.
Who then, shall co-operate with our brethren of the West, for the consummation of this work so auspiciously begun? Shall the South be invoked? The South have difficulties of their own to encounter, and cannot do it; and the middle states have too much of the same work yet to do, to volunteer their aid abroad.
Whence, then, shall the aid come, but from those portions of the Union where the work of rearing these institutions has been most nearly accomplished, and their blessings most eminently
18enjoyed? And by whom, but by those who in their infancy were aided; and who, having freely received, are now called upon freely to give, and who, by a hard soil and habits of industry and economy, and by experience are qualified to endure hardness as good soldiers and pioneers in this great work? And be assured that those who go to the West with unostentatious benevolence, to identify themselves with the people and interests of that vast community, will be adopted with a warm heart and an unwavering right hand of fellowship.
But how shall this aid be extended to our brethren of the West in the manner most acceptable and efficacious?
Not by prayers and supplications only, nor by charities alone, nor by colonial emigrations; for these, though they might cultivate their own garden, would for obvious reasons be fenced in, and exert but a feeble general influence
19beyond their own inclosures. Those who go out to do good at the West should go out to mingle with the people of the West, and be absorbed in their multitude, as rain drops fall on the bosom of the ocean and mingle with that world of waters.
20Nor is it by tracts, or Bibles, or itinerating missions, that the requisite intellectual and moral power can be applied. There must be permanent, powerful, literary and moral institutions, which, like the great orbs of attraction and light, shall send forth at once their power and their illumination, and without them all else will be inconstant and ephemeral.
21for a moment be supposed, that the schools of the West are to be sustained
22by the emigration of an army of instructors from the East. For though for the present necessity, the aid of qualified
23instructors is not to be repelled, but invited; yet for any permanent reliance, it is but a drop of the bucket to the ocean.
Nothing is more certain, than that the great body of the teachers of the West must be educated at the West. It is by her own sons chiefly, that the great work is to be consummated which her civil, and literary, and religious prosperity demands.
But how shall the requisite supply of teachers for the sons and daughters of the West be raised up? It can be accomplished by the instrumentality of a learned and pious ministry, educated at the West.
Experience has evinced, that schools and popular education, in their best estate, go not far beyond the suburbs of the city of God. All attempts to legislate prosperous colleges and schools into being without the intervening influence of religious education and moral
24principle, and habits of intellectual culture which spring up in alliance with evangelical institutions, have failed. Schools wane, invariably, in those towns where the evangelical ministry is neglected, and the Sabbath is profaned, and the tavern supplants the worship of God. Thrift and knowledge in such places go out, while vice and irreligion come in.
But the ministry is a central luminary in each sphere, and soon sends out schools and seminaries as its satellites by the hands of sons and daughters of its own training. A land supplied with able and faithful ministers, will of course be filled with schools, academies, libraries, colleges, and all the apparatus for the perpetuity of republican institutions. It always has been so — it always will be.
But the ministry for the West must be educated at the West. The demands on the East, for herself and for pagan lands, forbid the East ever to supply our
25wants. Nor is it necessary. For the Spirit of God is with the churches of the West, and pious and talented young men are there in great numbers, willing, desiring, impatient to consecrate themselves to the glorious work. If we possessed the accommodations and the funds, we might easily send out a hundred ministers a year — a thousand ministers in ten years — around each of whom schools would arise, and instructors multiply, and churches spring up, and revivals extend, and all the elements of civil and religious prosperity abound.
But we have said that the ministry for the West must be a learned and talented ministry.
No opinion is more false and fatal than that mediocrity of talent and learning will suffice for the West. That if a minister is a good sort of a man, but somehow does not seem to be popular,
26and find employment, he had better go to the West. No; let him stay at home; and if among the urgent demands for ministerial labor here, he cannot find employment, let him conclude that he has mistaken his profession.
But let him not go to the West. The men who, somehow, do not succeed at the East, are the very men who will succeed still less at the West. If there be in the new settlements at the West a lack of schools and educated mind, there is no lack of shrewd and vigorous mind; and if they are not deep read in Latin and Greek, they are well read in men and things. On their vast rivers, they go every where, and see every body, and know every thing, and judge with the tact of perspicacious common sense. They are disciplined to resolution and mental vigor by toils and perils, and enterprises; and often they are called to attend as umpires to
27the earnest discussions of their most able and eloquent men, which cannot fail to throw prosing dullness in the ministry to a hopeless distance. No where, if a minister is deficient, will he be more sure to be "weighed in the balance and found wanting." On the contrary, there is not a place on earth where piety, and talent, and learning, and argument, and popular eloquence are more highly appreciated, or rewarded with a more frank and enthusiastic admiration. There are chords in the heart of the West which vibrate to the touch of genius, and to the power of argumentative eloquence, with a sensibility and enthusiasm no where surpassed.
28cultivated mind and popular eloquence might find settlement in an hundred places, and without the aid of missions, and only to increase the demand for an hundred more.
Most unquestionably the West demands the instrumentality of the first order of minds in the ministry, and thoroughly furnished minds, to command attention, enlighten the understanding, form the conscience, and gain
29the heart, and bring into religious organization and order the uncommitted mind and families of the great world; and many a man who might guide respectfully a well-organized congregation here of homogeneous character, and moving onward under the impetus of long continued habits, might fail utterly to call around him the population of a new country.
Of course, the institutions which are to lead in this great work of rearing the
30future ministry of the West should be second to none in their endowments and adaptation to this end. For it is such a work in magnitude as human instrumentality was never before concentrated upon. All other nations have gone up slowly from semi-barbarism to a civilized manhood, while our nation was commenced with the best materials of a nation at that time the most favored nation in the world, and yet was delayed in its growth, through two centuries, by policy, and power, and war, and taxation, and want of capital. It is less than fifty years since our resources have begun to be developed in great power, and we have entered upon the career of internal improvement and national greatness; and at the East, until recently, these movements were slow, as capital gradually increased, and agriculture, and commerce, and art led the way. But the West is filling
31up as by ocean waves; and such is her prospective greatness, that the capital of, the East and of Europe hold competition for her acceptance and use, so that in a day, she is rising up to the high eminence that all other nations have approached progressively through the revolution of centuries.
But what will become of the West, if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind, and the conscience, and the heart of that vast world. It must not be permitted. And yet what is done must be done quickly; for population will not wait, and commerce will not cast anchor, and manufactures will not shut off the steam nor shut down the gate, and agriculture, pushed by millions of freemen on their fertile soil, will not withhold her corrupting abundance.
We must educate! We must
32educate! or we must perish by our own prosperity. If we do not, short from the cradle to the grave will be our race. If in our haste to be rich and mighty, we outrun our literary and religious institutions, they will never overtake us; or only come up after the battle of liberty is fought and lost, as spoils to grace the victory, and as resources of inexorable despotism for the perpetuity of our bondage. And let no man at the East quiet himself, and dream of liberty, whatever may become of the West. Our alliance of blood, and political institutions, and common interests, is such, that we cannot stand aloof in the hour of her calamity, should it ever come. Her destiny is our destiny; and the day that her gallant ship goes down, our little boat sinks in the vortex!
It was to meet these exigences of our common country in the West, that the Lane Seminary was called into
33being by the munificence of the sons of the West; first by a donation from the two gentlemen whose name it bears, followed by the gift of sixty acres of land, on which the institution is located, by Mr. Elnathan Kemper, and the sale of fifty more at a reduced price and long credit by the same benefactor; to which have been added fifteen thousand dollars by the citizens of Cincinnati and the West, for the construction of two college buildings and two professors' houses. To this has been added by our friends on this side of the mountains, twenty thousand dollars from one individual, for the endowment of the professorship of Theology; and by others, thirty thousand, for the endowment of the two professorships of Biblical Literature and Ecclesiastical History.
What we now need is a chapel for the accommodation of students and a
34fast increasing community with a place of worship; the endowment of a professorship of Sacred Rhetoric, and a library. For the first, we have dared to rely on our friends in Boston and its vicinity. The library we hope to receive from our friends in New-York; and for the Professorship of Sacred Rhetoric we look up, hoping and believing that God will put into the heart of one or more individuals to endow it.
The motives which call on us to co-operate immediately in this glorious work of consummating the institutions of the West, essential to the perpetuity of her greatness and glory, are neither few, nor feeble, nor obscure.
The territory is eight thousand miles in circumference, extending from the Alleghany to the Rocky mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Lakes of the North; and it is the largest
35territory, and most beneficent in climate, and soil, and mineral wealth, and commercial facilities, ever prepared for the habitation of man, and qualified to sustain in prosperity and happiness the densest population on the globe. By twenty-four thousand miles of steam navigation, and canals and rail roads, a market is brought near to every man, and the whole is brought into near neighborhood.
When I first entered the West, its vastness overpowered me with the impression of its uncontrollable greatness, in which all human effort must be lost. But when I perceived the active intercourse between the great cities, like the rapid circulation of a giant's blood; and heard merchants speak of just stepping up to Pittsburgh — only six hundred miles — and back in a few days; and others just from New-Orleans, or St. Louis, or the Far West; and others going thither; and when I heard my
36ministerial brethren negotiating exchanges in the near neighborhood — only one hundred miles up or down the river — and going and returning on Saturday and Monday, and without trespassing on the Sabbath; — then did I perceive how God, who seeth the end from the beginning, had prepared the West to be mighty, and still wieldable, that the moral energy of his word and spirit might take it up as a very little thing.
This vast territory is occupied now by ten states and will soon be by twelve. Forty years since it contained only about one hundred and fifty thousand souls; while it now contains little short of five millions. At the close of this century, if no calamity intervenes, it will contain, probably, one hundred millions — a day which some of our children may live to see; and when fully peopled, may accommodate three hundred millions. It is half as large as
37all Europe, four times as large as the Atlantic states, and twenty times as large as New-England. Was there ever such a spectacle — such a field in which to plant the seeds of an immortal harvest! — so vast a ship, so richly laden with the world's treasures and riches, whose helm is offered to the guiding influence of early forming institutions!
The certainty of success calls us to immediate effort. If we knew not what to do, if all was effort and expense in untried experiments, there might be some pretext for the paralysis of amazement and inaction. But we know what to do: the means are obvious, and well tried, and certain. The sun and the rain of heaven are not more sure to call forth a bounteous vegetation, than Bibles, and Sabbaths, and schools, and seminaries, are to diffuse intellectual light and warmth for the bounteous fruits of righteousness and peace. The
38corn and the acorn of the East are not more sure to vegetate at the West than the institutions which have blessed the East are to bless the West.
But these all-pervading orbs of illumination and centres of attraction must be established. Such is the gravitating tendency of society, that no spontaneous effort at arms-length will hold it up. It is by the constant energy and strong attraction of powerful institutions only that the needed intellectual and moral power can be applied: and the present is the age of founding them. If this work be done, and well done, our country is safe, and the world's hope is secure. The government of force will cease, and that of intelligence and virtue will take its place; and nation after nation cheered by our example, will follow in our footsteps, till the whole earth is free. There is no danger that our agriculture and arts will not prosper: the danger is,
39that our intelligence and virtue will falter and fall back into a dark minded, vicious populace — a poor, uneducated reckless mass of infuriated animalism, to rush on resistless as the tornado, or to burn as if set on fire of hell.
Until Europe, by universal education, is delivered from such masses of feudal ignorance and servitude, she sits upon a volcano, and despotism and revolution will arbitrate her destiny.
Consider, too, how quickly and how cheaply the guarantee of a perpetual and boundless prosperity can be secured. The West needs but a momentary aid, when almost as soon as received, should it be needed, she will repay and quadruple both principle and interest. Lend a hand to get up her institutions, to give ubiquity to her schools and Sabbaths and sanctuaries, while her forests are falling and her ocean floods of population rolling in, and afterwards we will
40not come here to ask for aid; for there is a wealth and chivalrous munificence there, which, when it has first performed the necessary work of self-preservation, will pour with you a noble tide of rival benevolence into that river which is "to make glad the city of our God."
All at the West, is on a great scale, and the minds and the views of the people correspond with these relative proportions. Already, where churches are formed, they give more liberally than churches of the same relative condition at the East; and I have no doubt the time is at the door, when the abundance of her means and enterprise will take the lead in those glorious enterprises which are to emancipate the world.
It is not parsimony which renders momentary aid necessary to the West: it is want of time and of assimilation for the consciousness and wielding of her powers. And how cheaply can the aid
41be rendered for rearing immediately the first generation of her institutions; cheaper than we could rear the barracks to accommodate an army for the defence of our liberty, for a single campaign; cheaper than the taxations of crime and its punishment during the same period, in the absence of literary and evangelical influence.
Consider, also, that the mighty resources of the West are worse than useless, without the supervening influence of the government of God.
To balance the temptation of such unrivaled abundance, the capacity of the West for self-destruction, without religious and moral culture, will be as terrific as her capacity for self-preservation, with it, will be glorious. But all the moral energies of the government of God over men, are indissolubly associated with "the ministry of reconciliation." The Sabbath, and the preaching
42of the gospel, are Heaven's consecrated instrumentality for the efficacious administration of the government of mind in a happy, social state. By these only does the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his beams; and ignorance, and vice, and superstition encamp around evangelical institutions, to rush in whenever their light and power is extinct.
The great experiment is now making, and from its extent and rapid filling up is making in the West, whether the perpetuity of our republican institutions can be reconciled with universal suffrage. Without the education of the head and heart of the nation, they cannot be; and the question to be decided is, can the nation, or the vast balance power of it be so imbued with intelligence and virtue, as to bring out, in laws and their administration, a perpetual self-preserving energy? We know that the work is a vast one, and of great
43difficulty; and yet we believe it can be done.
We know that we have reached an appalling crisis; that the work is vast and difficult, and is accumulating upon us beyond our sense of danger and deliberate efforts to meet it. It is a work that no legislation alone can reach, and nothing but an undivided, earnest, decided public sentiment can achieve; and that, too, not by anniversary resolutions and fourth of July orations, but by well systematized voluntary associations; counting the worth of our institutions, the perils that surround them, and the means and the cost of their preservation, and making up our minds to meet the exigency.
I am aware that our ablest patriots are looking out on the deep, vexed with storms, with great forebodings and failings of heart for fear of the things that are coming upon us; and I perceive a
44spirit of impatience rising, and distrust in respect to the perpetuity of our republic; and I am sure that these fears are well founded, and am glad that they exist. It is the star of hope in our dark horizon. Fear is what we need, as the ship needs wind on a rocking sea, after a storm, to prevent foundering. But when our fear and our efforts shall correspond with our danger, the danger is past. For it is not the impossibility of self-preservation which threatens us; nor is it the unwillingness of the nation to pay the price of the preservation, as she has paid the price of the purchase of our liberties. It is inattention and inconsideration, protracted till the crisis is past, and the things which belong to our peace are hid from our eyes. And blessed be God, that the tokens of a national waking up, the harbinger of God's mercy, are multiplying upon us!
There is at the West an enthusiastic
45feeling on the subject of education and nothing has so inspired us with hope as to witness the susceptibleness of the East on the same subject, and the national fraternal benevolence with which you are ready to put forth a helping hand. We have been sad, but now we are joyful. We see, we feel that East and West, and North and South are waking up upon the subject: a redeeming spirit is rising which will save the nation. We did not, in the darkest hour, believe that God had brought our fathers to this goodly land to lay the foundation of religious liberty, and wrought such wonders in their preservation, and raised their descendants to such heights of civil and religious prosperity, only to reverse the analogy of his providence, and abandon his work, and though now there be clouds and the sea roaring, and men's hearts failing, we believe there is light behind the cloud, and that the eminence of our
46danger is intended, under the guidance of Heaven, to call forth and apply a holy, fraternal fellowship between the East and West, which shall secure our preservation, and make the prosperity of our nation durable as time, and as abundant as the waves of the sea.
I would add, as a motive to immediate action, that if we do fail in our great experiment of self-government, our destruction will be as signal as the birthright abandoned, the mercies abused and the provocation offered to beneficent Heaven. The descent of desolation will correspond with the past elevation. No punishments of Heaven are so severe as those for mercies abused; and no instrumentality employed in their infliction is so dreadful as the wrath of man. No spasms are like the spasms of expiring liberty, and no wailings such as her convulsions extort. It took Rome three hundred years to die; and our death, if
47we perish, will be as much more terrific as our intelligence and free institutions have given to us more bone, and sinew and vitality. May God hide me from the day when the dying agonies of my country shall begin! O, thou beloved land bound together by the ties of brotherhood and common interest, and perils, live forever — one and undivided!
But whatever we do, it must be done quickly: for there is a tide in human things which waits not, — moments on which the destiny of a nation balances, when the light dust may turn the right way or the wrong. And such is the condition of our nation now. Mighty influences are bearing on us in high conflict, for good or for evil, — for an immortality of wo, or blessedness; and a slight effort now may secure what ages of repentance cannot recover when lost, and soon the moment of our practical preservation may have passed away.
48We must educate the whole nation while we may. All — all who would vote must be enlightened, and reached by the restraining and preserving energies of Heaven. The lanes and alleys — the highways and hedges — the abodes of filth and sordid poverty must be entered, and the young immortals sought out, and brought up to the light of intellectual and moral daylight. This can be done. God, if we are prompt and willing, will give us the time. But if, in this our day, we neglect the things that belong to our peace, we shall find no place for repentance, though we seek it carefully and with tears.
But the vast amount of uneducated population in our land already calls upon us loudly to set about the work of rearing every where the institutions requisite for universal education.
According to the most accurate estimation which can be obtained, there
49are in the United States about a million and a half of children without the means of education, and about an equal number of adults, either foreigners or native Americans, that are uneducated. These large masses of unenlightened mind lie in almost every portion of this nation, and frightful statistics have been officially given by legislative investigation in several of our states. In one of the smaller eastern states there are nearly thirty thousand adults and children that cannot read or write. In one of the largest there are four hundred thousand adults and children who have had no instruction, and no means provided. In one of the western states, one third of all the children in the state are destitute of any provision for education. These are the states who have taken the lead in making legislative investigation. Equally appalling developments await many of the other states so soon as they have
50public spirit enough to take the same method for information. Every where, and in all ages, such masses of ignorance are the material of all others most dangerous to liberty; for, as a general fact uneducated mind is educated vice. But the safety of our republic depends upon the intelligence, and moral principle, and patriotism, and property of the nation.
These, whatever topical inflammation may break out and push on to desperate measures, will by a common instinct of self-preservation recoil when the precipice appears, and will unite in measures of common safety. But if in this moment of recoil there be a populace behind, — a million of voters without intelligence, or conscience, or patriotism, or property, and driven on by demagogues to forbid recoil and push us over, in a moment all may be lost. Half a million of unprincipled, reckless voters, in the hands of demagogues, may, in
51our balanced elections, overrule all the property, and wisdom, and moral principle of the nation.
This danger from uneducated mind is, augmenting daily by the rapid influx of foreign emigrants, the greater part unacquainted with our institutions, unaccustomed to self-government, inaccessible to education, and easily accessible to prepossession, and inveterate credulity, and intrigue, and easily embodied and wielded by sinister design. In the beginning this eruption of revolutionary Europe was not anticipated, and we opened our doors wide to the influx and naturalization of foreigners. But it is becoming a terrific inundation; it has increased upon our native population from five to thirty-seven per cent., and is every year advancing. It seeks, of course, to settle down upon the unoccupied territory of the West, and may at no distant day equal, and even
52number the native population. What is to be done to educate the millions which in twenty years Europe will pour out upon us?
But what if this emigration, self-moved and slow in the beginning, is now rolling its broad tide at the bidding of the powers of Europe hostile to free institutions, and associated in holy alliance to arrest and put them down? Is this a vain fear? Are not the continental powers alarmed at the march of
53liberal opinions, and associated to put them down? and are they not, with the sickness of hope deferred, waiting for our downfall? It is the light of our republican prosperity, gleaming in upon their dark prison house, which is inspiring hope, and converting chains into arms. It is the power of mind, roused by our example from the sleep of ages and the apathy of despair, which is sending earthquake under the foundations of their thrones; and they have no hope of rest and primeval darkness, but by the extinction of our light. By fleets and armies they cannot do it. But do they, therefore, sleep on their heaving earth and tottering thrones? Has Metternich yet to form an acquaintance with history? Does he dream that there is but one way to overturn republics, and that by the sword? Has he yet to learn how Philip, by dividing her
54councils, conquered Greece? and how, by intestine divisions, Rome fell?
If the potentates of Europe have no design upon our liberties, what means the paying of the passage and emptying out upon our shores such floods of pauper emigrants — the contents of the poor-house and the sweepings of the streets? — multiplying tumults and violence, filling our prisons, and crowding our poor-houses, and quadrupling our taxation, and sending annually accumulating thousands to the polls to lay their inexperienced hand upon the helm of our power? Does Metternich imagine that there is no party spirit in our land, whose feverish urgency would facilitate their naturalization and hasten them to the ballot box? — and no demagogues, who for a little brief authority, however gained, would sell their country to an everlasting bondage? A foreign
55influence acting efficaciously on the councils of a republic, has always been regarded and always proved itself to be among the most fatal to liberty. But in no form can it assume such power as in the form of a consolidated mass of alien voters, to balance in contested elections the suffrages of the nation; rendering foreigners the most favored and most courted people, and giving an easy predominance to foreign influence in our national councils. The wily politician does not sleep over our prosperity, or despair of our overthrow. But he exults full of hope that we sleep while he is sowing with broad cast among us the elements of future strife, and preparing our ruin by the only means by which republics have ever fallen.
It is the testimony of American travelers, that the territorial, civil and ecclesiastical statistics of our country, and
56the action and bearing of political causes upon our institutions, are more familiar at Rome and Vienna, than with us; and that tracts and maps are in circulation, explanatory of the capacious West, and pointing out the most fertile soils and most favored locations, and inviting to emigration. These means of a stimulated expatriation are corroborated by the copious and rapidly increasing correspondence of those who have already arrived, and the increasing facilities of transportation.
But if, upon examination, it should appear that three-fourths of the foreign emigrants whose accumulating tide is rolling in upon us, are, through the medium of their religion and priesthood, as entirely accessible to the control of the potentates of Europe as if they were an army of soldiers, enlisted and officered, and spreading over the land; then, indeed, should we have just occasion
57to apprehend danger to our liberties. It would be the union of church and state in the midst of us. The church and the state both in Europe, and the pliant colonial church here. Her priesthood educated under the despotic governments of Catholic Europe, and dependent for their office, support and honors upon a foreign temporal prince, on whose sanction to their laws and doings they are as dependent as the colonies were upon George the Third,
58elected by their people, or dependent on them during good behavior, or accountable to them for their deeds, but dependent on a foreign jurisdiction,
59and to a great extent on foreign patronage. This would, indeed, be a church and state union — another nation within the nation — the Greek in the midst of Troy.
The simple fact, that the clergy of the Catholic denomination could wield in mass the suffrage of their confiding people, could not fail, in the competition of ambition and party spirit, to occasion immediately an eager competition for their votes, placing them at once in the attitude of the most favored sect; securing the remission of duties on imported church property, and copious appropriations of land for the endowment of their institutions; shielding them from animadversion by the sensitiveness of parties on account of their political ends; and turning against their opponents,, and in favor of Catholics, the patronage and the tremendous influence of the administration,
60whose ascendency and continuance might, in closely contested elections, be thought to depend on Catholic suffrage. Should it be asserted that the clergy of every denomination, can or do exert as decisive a political influence over their people as the Catholic clergy, the assertion is notoriously untrue.
The ministers of no Protestant sect could or would dare to attempt to regulate the votes of their people as the Catholic priests can do, who at the confessional learn all the private concerns of their people, and have almost unlimited power over the conscience as it respects the performance of every civil or social duty.
There is another point of dissimilarity of still greater importance. The opinions of the Protestant clergy are congenial with liberty — they are chosen by the people who have been educated as freemen, and they are
61dependent on them for patronage and support. The Catholic system is adverse to liberty, and the clergy to a great extent are dependent on foreigners opposed to the principles of our government, for patronage and support.
Nor is this all — the secular patronage at the disposal of an associated body of men, who under the influence of their priesthood may be induced to act as one, for those who favor and against those who oppose them, would enable them to touch far and wide the spring of action through our cities and through the nation. How many presses might they influence by their promised patronage or threatened withdrawment? How many mechanics, merchants, lawyers, physicians, in any political crisis, might they reach and render timid, and temporizing, and prudent not to say sturdy, eulogists of Catholics, lest they should lose the patronage of a sect, who alone can yield a
62patronage to favor or to punish those who favor or obstruct their views. And if while they are few and feeble, compared with the whole nation, their consolidated action gives them such various and extended influence, how will its power extend and become omnipresent and resistless as emigration shall quadruple their numbers and action on the political and business men of the nation?
No government is more complex and difficult of preservation than a Republic, and in no political associations do little adverse causes produce more disastrous results. Of all the influences, none is more pernicious than a corps of men acting systematically and perseveringly for its own ends upon a community un-apprized of their doings, and undisciplined to meet and counteract them. A tenth part of the suffrage of the nation, thus condensed and wielded by the Catholic powers of Europe, might
63decide our elections, perplex our policy, inflame and divide the nation, break the bond of our union, and throw down our free institutions. The voice of history also warns us, that no sinister influence has ever intruded itself into politics, so virulent and disastrous as that of an ambitious ecclesiastical influence, or which demands, now and always, keener vigilance or a more active resistance.
But before I proceed, to prevent misapprehension, I would say that I have no fear of the Catholics, considered simply as a religious denomination, and unallied to the church and state establishments of the European governments hostile to republican institutions.
Let the Catholics mingle with us as Americans and come with their children under the full action of our common schools and republican institutions, and the various powers of assimilation, and we are prepared cheerfully to abide
64the consequences. If in these circumstances the Protestant religion cannot stand before the Catholic, let it go down, and we will sound no alarm, and ask no aid, and make no complaint. It is no ecclesiastical quarrel to which we would call the attention of the American nation.
Nor would I consent that the civil and religious rights of the Catholics should be abridged or violated. As naturalized citizens, to all that we enjoy we bid them welcome, and would have their property and rights protected with the same impartiality and efficacy that the property and rights of every other denomination are protected; and we should abhor the interposition of lawless violence to injure the property or control the rights of Catholics as vehemently as if it were directed against Protestants and their religion. For when the day comes that lawless force
65prevails, argument and free inquiry are ended, and law and courts are impotent and useless, and liberty is extinct, and anarchy by its terrors will compel men to call in the protection of despotic power to save them from the pursuing hell. The late violence done to Catholic property at Charlestown is regarded with regret and abhorrence by Protestants and patriots throughout the land, though the excitement which produced it had no relation whatever to religious opinions, and no connection with any religious denomination of Christians.
We are equally opposed to any attempt to cast odium upon Catholics of the present generation for any maxims, doctrines or practices of past ages, which are now by the competent authority of the pope or a general council disavowed. But for all the political bearings of their unchangeable and infallible creed, and for all the deeds of persecution and
66blood, JUSTIFIED BY THEIR PRINCIPLES and perpetuated by Catholic powers, and not disavowed by his holiness or by a council, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is ACCOUNTABLE, whatever may be the personal opinion of particular individuals or particular departments of that great community.
In our animadversions, however, even on these things, a declamatory, virulent, contemptuous, sarcastic, taunting, denunciatory style is as unchristian as it is in bad taste and indiscreet. The invidious technics of the old controversy have gone into oblivion, and it is impossible to bring back the image and body of the times gone by as they stood in dreadful reality around our persecuted fathers; and however the urgency of oppression in a rough age may palliate the use of such terms by them, sound argument with meek firmness had been better even then: and it is one of the most hopeful signs of the present times,
67that public sentiment demands such courtesy of all religious controvertists now, and will not endure a dialect of rudeness, ill-temper and violence. If the reaction upon Catholics for the use of such language is not as stern and powerful as on Protestants, it is only because as strangers and a minority, more aggressive language will be tolerated in them than the Protestant majority will be permitted to hurl back; while even they, in the use of invidious terms, and the manifestation of a virulent, discourteous and contemptuous spirit, are fast using up both the sympathy and patience of the community in their behalf.
Besides, the Catholics in great numbers are with us, and their increase by emigration, if it can be regulated, can never be wholly prevented. Our rich unoccupied territory, our national works and their poverty and oppression at home
68will as certainly bring over adventurers as a vacuum will call in the circumjacent atmosphere; and it is impossible to avert the danger from so much exile population but by a friendly approximation, and the ubiquity and powerful illumination of our institutions, and the overcoming influence of Christian enterprise and Christian love. It is not the striking of the fist which will disarm them, but words and acts of kindness and the warm beating of our heart; while contemptuous treatment will augment their hatred of Protestants, and rivet their prejudice, and deliver them over double bound to the power of their priesthood, already too great for their happiness and our safety.
In this view of the subject, I cannot but regret the manner in which the controversy between the Catholics and Protestants has in various instances been conducted, in which the style and temper
69as the means of doing good, were the very worst that could have been chosen, and the very best as the means of aiding the cause they were intended to oppose. Important facts and powerful arguments have been given, but so mingled with invective and taunt, and sarcasm, and reviling, as to injure the cause as much by the disgust occasioned, as it was aided by the power of argument.
It is to the political claims and character of the Catholic religion, and its church and state alliance with the political and ecclesiastical governments of Europe hostile to liberty, and the tendency upon our republican institutions of flooding the nation suddenly with emigrants of this description, on whom for many years European influence may be exerted with such ease, and certainty, and power, that we call the attention of the people of this nation. Did the Catholics regard themselves
70only as one of many denominations of Christians, entitled only to equal rights and privileges, there would be no such cause for apprehension while they peaceably sustained themselves by their own arguments and well doing. But if Catholics are taught to believe that their church is the only church of Christ, out of whose inclosure none can be saved, — that none may read the Bible but by permission of the priesthood and no one be permitted to understand it and worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, — that heresy is a capital offence not to be tolerated, but punished by the civil power with disfranchisement, death and confiscation of goods, — that the pope and the councils of the church are infallible, and her rights of ecclesiastical jurisdiction universal and as far as possible and expedient may be of right, and ought to be as a matter of duty, enforced by the civil power, —
71that to the pope belongs the right of interference with the political concerns of nations, enforced by his authority over the consciences of Catholics, and his power to corroborate or cancel their oath of allegiance, and to sway them to obedience or insurrection by the power of life or death eternal: if such, I say, are the maxims avowed by her pontiffs, sanctioned by her councils, stereotyped on her ancient records, advocated by her most approved authors, illustrated in all ages by her history, and still UNREPEALED and still acted upon in the armed prohibition of free inquiry and religious liberty, and the punishment of heresy wherever her power remains unbroken: if these things are so, is it invidious and is it superfluous to call the attention of the nation to the bearing of such a denomination upon our civil and religious institutions and equal rights? It is the right of SELF-PRESERVATION,
72and the denial of it is TREASON or the INFATUATION OF FOLLY.
It is the duty also enforced by the unparalleled novelty and urgency of our condition; for since the irruption of the northern barbarians, the world has never witnessed such a rush of dark-minded population from one country to another, as is now leaving Europe, and dashing upon our shores. It is not the northern hive, but the whole hive which is swarming out upon our cities and unoccupied territory as the effect of overstocked population, of civil oppression, of crime and poverty, and political and ecclesiastical design. Clouds like the locusts of Egypt are rising from the hills and plains of Europe, and on the wings of every wind, are corning over to settle down upon our fair fields; while millions, moved by the noise of their rising and cheered by the news of their safe arrival and green pastures,
73are preparing for flight in an endless succession.
Capitalists and landholders, who feel in Europe the premonitions of coming evil are transferring their treasures to our funds, and making large investments in land, and facilitating emigration to augment the value of their property. Our unoccupied soil is coming fast into the European market, and foreign capitalists and speculators are holding competition with our own. So that, were there no political and no ecclesiastical ends to be accomplished, the rapid influx upon us of such masses of uneducated mind of other tongues and habits would itself alone demand an immediate and earnest national supervision, on the same principles of self-preservation that would dyke out the ocean or turn the mountain torrent from carrying desolation over our fields. For the causes are mighty and radical which threaten
74us: while the peculiarity of our organization in national and state governments gives potency to their action and imbecility to our resistance.
But if this tremendous tide of European emigration is from two-thirds to three quarters of it under the direction of the feudal potentates of Europe, associated to put down at home and abroad the liberal institutions of the world, and to reach us are availing themselves of a religion which has always sustained their thrones and been sustained by them — despotic in its constitution and doctrines, and in all ages found in the ranks of despotism, contending against the civil and religious rights of man — a religion which extinguished the lingering remains of Roman liberty, and warred for thirty years against the resurrection of civil and religious liberty in modern Europe, and holds now the mind in unmitigated bondage
75wherever its power is unbroken, and is the mainstay of opposition to the efforts of European patriots to break the yoke and ameliorate the condition of man; if this religion is rising in the midst of us, by floods of annual emigration, by its undivided suffrage to balance our elections and sway our destiny, and by the aid of royal munificence to endow our institutions, and by underbidding and gratuitous instruction to monopolize the education of the coming generations, — why should we shut our eyes, and stop our ears, and cry, Peace, while destruction is coming?
There is no despotism so terrible as a popular despotism under the names and forms of liberty, where ignorance and prejudice, and passion and irreligion, and crime are wielded by desperate political ambition and a corrupting foreign influence; and if ever our liberties perish, it will be by the explosion of the
76volcanic power of the European and American populace, and foreign influence and American demagogues in bad alliance, who will ride in the whirlwind and direct the storm. This I am aware is strong language. But strong language is demanded; for this giant nation sleepeth and must be awaked. For obvious and imminent as is the danger, its development is recent, and the action of it on many minds is prevented by a multitude of careless, commonplace, fallacious maxims pouring contempt on fear and holding the community spell-bound; some of which I must note and expose.
It is nothing but a controversy about religion, it is said — a thing which has nothing to do with the liberty and prosperity of nations, and the sooner it is banished from the world the better.
As well might it be insisted that the sun has no influence on the solar system,
77or the moon on the tides. In all ages, religion, of some kind, has been the former of man's character and the mainspring of his action. It has done more to fill up the eventful page of history, than all moral causes beside. It has been the great agitator or tranquilizer of nations, — the orb of darkness or of light to the world, — the fountain of purity or pollution, — the mighty power of riveting or bursting the chains of men. Atheists may rage and blaspheme, but they cannot expel religion of some kind from the world. Their epidemic madness, like the volcano, may at times break out, and obscure the sun, and turn the moon into blood, and extend from nation to nation the cup of God's displeasure, covering the earth with the slain and the fragments of demolished institutions. But it can reconstruct nothing. It must be temporary, or it would empty the earth of
78its inhabitants. It will be temporary, because so bright are the evidences of a superior power, and so frail and full of sorrow are men, and so guilty and full of fears, that if Christianity does not guide them to the true God and Jesus Christ, superstition will send them to the altars of demons.
But it is a contest, it is said, about religion — and religion and politics have no sort of connection. Let the religionists fight their own battles; only keep the church and state apart, and there is no danger.
It is a union of church and state, which we fear, and to prevent which we lift up our voice: a union which never existed without corrupting the church and enslaving the people, by making the ministry independent of them and dependent on the state, and to a great extent a sinecure aristocracy of indolence and secular ambition, auxiliary to
79the throne and inimical to liberty. No treason against our free institutions would be more fatal than a union of church and state; none, when perceived would bring on itself a more overwhelming public indignation, and which all Protestant denominations would resist with more loathing and abhorrence.
And is there, therefore, no danger of a church and state union, because all denominations cannot unite, and no one can elude the Vigilant resistance of the rest? Is there no other door at which the innovation can come in? How has the union been constituted in times past? Not as coveted by the church, and secured by her artifice or power; but as coveted by the state, and sought for purposes of secular ambition to strengthen the arm of despotic power. It was Constantine who invited the church into an alliance with the state, — nay, forced upon her the corrupting
80honor. It was the kings of the earth who gave their protection to a despotic form of corrupted Christianity; from which, when the power of superstition overmastered the sceptre, they have been taking it away.
But in republics the temptation and the facilities of courting an alliance with church power may be as great as in governments of less fluctuation. Amid the competitions of party and the struggles of ambition, it is scarcely possible that the clergy of a large denomination should be able to give a direction to the suffrage of their whole people, and not become for the time being the most favored denomination, and in balanced elections the dominant sect, whose influence in times of discontent may perpetuate power against the unbiased verdict of public opinion. The free circulation of the blood is not more essential to bodily health, than the easy,
81unobstructed movement of public sentiment in a republic. All combinations to forestall and baffle its movements tend to the destruction of liberty. Its fluctuations are indeed an evil; but the power to arrest its fluctuations and chain it down is despotism; and when it is accomplished by the bribed alliance of ecclesiastical influence in the control of suffrage, it appears in its most hateful and alarming form. It is true, that the discovery might produce a reaction, and sweep away the ecclesiastical intermeddlers. But in political crises, calamities may be inflicted in a day, which ages cannot repair; and who can tell, when the time comes, whether the power will be too strong for the fetters, or the fetters for the power? For none but desperate men will employ such measures for the acquisition of power; and when desperate men have gained power they will not relinquish it without a struggle.
The Lord deliver us from the alliance of any church with the state; for it will be the alliance of ambition with ambition, of corruption with corruption, of despotism with despotism, and of a persecuting irreligion with a persecuting Christianity. It will produce a reaction, should the alliance ever take place; but the conflict will be dreadful, and blood will flow.
We say, then, with the objector, only keep the church and state apart, and there will be no danger. But while you watch the door at which the alliance never did come, do not forget to watch the door at which it always has entered — the door of the state, inviting the alliance of church power to sustain its own weakness, and nerve its arm for despotic dominion.
"But why so much excitement about the Catholic religion? Is not one religion just as good as another?"
There are some who think that
83Calvinism is not quite as good a religion as some others. I have heard it denounced as a severe, unsocial, self-righteous, uncharitable, exclusive, prosecuting system — dealing damnation round the land — compassing sea and land to make proselytes, and forming conspiracies to overturn the liberties of the nation by an unhallowed union of church and state. There have been those, too, who have thought it neither meddlesome nor persecution to investigate the facts in the case, and scan the republican tendencies of the Calvanistic system. Though it has always been on the side of liberty in its struggles against arbitrary power; though, through the puritans, it breathed into the British constitution its most invaluable principles, and laid the foundations of the republican institutions of our nation, and felled the forests, and fought the colonial battles with Canadian Indians and
84French Catholics, when often our destiny balanced on a pivot and hung upon a hair; and though it wept, and prayed, and fasted, and fought, and suffered through the revolutionary struggle, when there was almost no other creed but the Calvanistic in the land; still it is the opinion of many, that its well-doings of the past should not invest the system with implicit confidence, or supersede the scrutiny of its republican tendencies. They do not think themselves required to let Calvinists alone; — and why should they? We do not ask to be let alone, nor cry persecution when our creed or conduct is analyzed. We are not annoyed by scrutiny; we seek no concealment. We court investigation of our past history, and of all the tendencies of the doctrines and doings of the friends of the Reformation; — and why should the Catholic religion be exempted from scrutiny? Has it disclosed more vigorous
85republican tendencies? Has it done more to enlighten the intellect, to purify the morals, and sanctify the hearts of men, and fit them for self-government? Has it fought more frequently or successfully the battles of liberty against despotism? or done more to enlighten the intellect, purify the morals, and sanctify the heart of the world, and prepare it for universal liberty?
I protest against that unlimited abuse with which it is thought quite proper to round off declamatory periods against the religion of those who fought the battles of the reformation and the battles of the revolution, and that sensitiveness and liberality which would shield from animadversion and spread the mantle of charity over a religion which never prospered but in alliance with despotic governments, has always been and still is the inflexible enemy of liberty of conscience and free inquiry,
86and at this moment is the main stay of the battle against republican institutions. A despotic government and despotic religion may not be able to endure free inquiry, but a republic and religious liberty CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT IT. — Where force is withdrawn, and millions are associated for self-government, the complex mass of opinions and interests can be reduced to system and order only by the collision and resolution of intellectual and moral forces. To lay the ban of a fastidious charity on religious free inquiry, would terminate in unthinking apathy and the intellectual stagnation of the dark ages. Whatever European nations may do, our nation must read and think from length to breadth, from top to bottom. It is a perilous experiment we have adventured upon; but it is begun, and we cannot go back. For mind has felt its own power, and is girding itself for
87efforts never yet made, and with means and motives never before possessed, and on such a field as before was never opened, and it is only the mighty salutary action of mind which can carry us through.
It is an anti-republican charity, then, which would shield the Catholics, or any other religious denomination, from the animadversion of impartial criticism. Denominations, as really as books, are public property, and demand and are benefited by criticism. And if ever the Catholic religion is liberalized and assimilated to our institutions, it must be done, not by a sickly sentimentalism screening it from animadversion, but by subjecting it to the tug of controversy, and turning upon it the searching inspection of the public eye, and compelling it, like all other religions among us, to pass the ordeal of an enlightened public sentiment,
88"But are not the Catholics sincere? why not, then, let them alone? That they are sincere in their faith there can be no doubt. But what the republican tendency of their faith is, depends on what they believe, and not on the simple fact that they do believe it. If they believe in the rights and duties of universal education, of free inquiry, of reading and understanding the Bible, and in the liberty and equality of all religious denominations, and that they and we are accountable only to God and the laws of the land, it is well. But if they believe that the pope and the church are infallible, — that his ecclesiastical jurisdiction is universal, — that he and the priests have the power of eternal life or death, in the bestowment or refusal of pardon as they obey or disobey them, — that no man may read the Bible without the permission of the priesthood, or understand it but
89as they interpret, — and that every Catholic is bound to believe implicitly as the church believes, and that all non-Catholics are heretics, and heresy a capital offence, and the extermination of heretics by force duty, then the more anti-republican the elements of their faith are, the more terrific is their sincerity, which on the peril of their soul would make them the instruments of a foreign policy in overturning our institutions for the establishment of those of their own church.
"But have there not been great and good men in the Catholic Church?" Doubtless. Luther was a great and good man while he was in the church, or he had never left it; and others have given evidence of piety who never did abandon her communion. But does the existence of a few good men in a church and state union sanctify the system? — are all systems
90containing men of talents and piety of good republican tendency? There may be great and good men in Russia, and Prussia, and Austria, and Italy; but does that prove the republican tendencies of their religious systems? It might be well to ascertain, too, whether the great and good men in the Catholic church have ever exerted a predominant influence in it, and have not rather endured what they could not reform, and if not persecuted, were tolerated in an impotent minority for the credit their virtues gave, without the power of changing the maxims and tendencies of the system? Whether Catholics are pious or learned, is not the question; but what are the republican tendencies of their system? I am pressing upon republican America that it is better for her to educate her population by her own sons and money, than to rely on the school-masters and
91charitable contributions of the despotic governments of Catholic Europe — and the more piety, and talent, and learning they should bring to our aid, the more deep and indelible would be the impression they might make adverse to our religious and political institutions.
"But have not the Catholics just as good a right to their religion as other denominations have to theirs?" I have said so. I not only admit their equal rights, but insist upon them; and am prepared to defend their rights as I am those of my own and other Protestant denominations. The Catholics have a perfect right to proselyte the nation to their faith if they are able to do it. But I too have the right of preventing it if I am able. They have a right freely to propagate their opinions and arguments; and I too have a right to apprise the nation of their political bearings on our
92republican institutions. They have a right to test the tendencies of protestantism by an appeal to history; and I, by an appeal to history, have a right to illustrate the coincidence between the political doctrines and the practice of the Catholic church, and to show that always they have been hostile to civil and religious liberty. The Catholics claim and exercise the liberty of animadverting on the doctrines and doings of Protestants, and we do not complain of it: — and why should they or their friends complain that we in turn should animadvert on the political maxims and doings of the Catholic church? Must Catholics have all the liberty — their own and ours too? Can they not endure the reaction of free inquiry? Must we lay our hand on our mouth in their presence, and stop the press? Let them count the cost and such as cannot bear the scrutiny of free inquiry return where there is none;
93for though we would kindly accommodate them in all practicable ways, we cannot surrender our rights for their accommodation.
But are not the Catholic priesthood useful to keep in order their unlettered population, to secure the restitution of property, and in cases of popular tumult, by the waving of the hand to allay excitement and obviate violence?
But how much better it were if their people were so educated as not wrongfully to take the property of their neighbors. And what per centage do you imagine ever returns to the owner by the instrumentality of the confessional and the priesthood. And as to the power of stilling tumults by waving the hand were it not better so to educate their people as to prevent such insurrections of wrath. And in what sort of elementary preparation for naturalization at the polls is the mind of a mob — whose rage may be
94tamed and their purpose controlled by the waving of a bishop's hand? — and what if this hand should wave onward instead of off? And how felicitous the condition of American citizens, who depend gratefully upon the hand and will of a Catholic bishop to protect them from clubs, and conflagration, and the knife!
For what was the city of Boston for five nights under arms — her military upon the alert — her citizens enrolled, and a body of five hundred men constantly patrolling the streets? Why were the accustomed lectures for public worship, and other public secular meetings, suspended? Why were the citizens, at sound of bell, convened at mid-day in Fanuiel Hall? — to hear Catholicism eulogized, and thanksgivings offered to his reverence the bishop, for his merciful protection of the children of the pilgrims! And why by the
95cradle of liberty, and under the shadow of Bunker's Hill, did men turn pale, and whisper, and look over their shoulders and around to ascertain whether it were safe to speak aloud, or meet to worship God? Has it come to this? — that the capital of New-England has been thrown into consternation by the threats of a Catholic mob, and that her temples and mansions stand only through the forbearance of a Catholic bishop? There can be no liberty in the presence of such masses of dark mind, and of such despotic power over it in a single man. Safety on such terms is not the protection of law, but of single handed despotism. Will our great cities consent to receive protection from the Catholic priesthood — dependent on the Catholic powers of Europe, and favored by his holiness, who is himself governed by the bayonets of Austria?
I do not forget that non-Catholics
96were first in the aggression, or deprecate the proper conduct of the bishop in restraining the indignation of his people at the wrong which had been done them. — I am answering an argument often urged in favor of the Catholic religion, viz: the influence of its clergy in protecting us against popular tumults; and my answer is — that the population which can be governed thus by the power of superstition is a dangerous population — and the power which governs it a dangerous power — and I allude to the panic and military array in Boston to illustrate the peril and commotion which a small body of Catholic population may produce in spite of clerical power — and to place in merited contempt, the idea that the Catholic religion should be advocated on the ground of its power of protecting Protestant republicans, against the violence of its own people. And I am sure I
97express but a small portion of the disgust which was felt in Boston at the sycophantic eulogies of the Catholic religion, and of the Catholic bishop — as if he had immortalized himself, and placed Boston under everlasting obligations for having done what was as much the dictate of a sagacious policy as it was also the dictate of duty.
But, it is said, "the Catholics do not interfere at all with the religion of their Protestant pupils. They have no such design. They promise not to do it, and only require as a matter of decency and order a conformity to the rules of the school."
They cannot help interfering with the religion of their pupils. The known opinions and kind attentions of instructors sedulous to please, and a constant familiarity with their example and religious instruction and the doctrines, prayers, ceremonies and worship of the
98church, cannot fail to affect the mind of Protestant youth — allaying apprehension, conciliating affection, inspiring confidence and undermining their Protestant education — until they became either sceptics, or devotees, or at least the friends and apologists and auxiliaries of Catholics. You may as well suspend the attraction of gravity, or intercept the connection between cause and effect, as to prevent the adverse action of a Catholic education on the minds of Protestant children.
"But they have no design to subvert the religion of Protestant children."
And what if they have no design? Will the absence of a deliberate purpose stay the influence or avert the effects of such powerful tendencies constantly acting upon the youthful mind? The action of physical and moral causes is not dependent on design. Fire will burn, and poisons
99destroy, independent of the malignant purpose in the application.
But have they no design? Is not the system of instruction, and every relation and circumstance of the condition of their pupils, a matter of deliberate arrangement? and is it not as well adapted to produce effect as it could be? and are not the consequences continually witnessed? Do they not studiously withhold Catholic children from the action of such causes in Protestant schools, and tax their own people, and supplicate the royal munificence of Catholic Europe to rear schools and colleges for the cheap and even gratuitous education of Protestant children, high and low, — while thousands of Catholic children are utterly neglected and uncared for, and abandoned to ignorance and vice? And is all this without design?
"But they promise not to interfere
100with the religion of their Protestant pupils, only so far as is implied in conformity to the regulations of the school," — i. e. they will not coerce and persecute them, nor assail them by direct disputation and argument — which would preclude the access of pupils; while the entire associations and influences and instruction of the school are in the most dexterous manner possible contrived to effect that which they promise not to attempt. There is an inhibition of such free conversation and discussion on disputed points by the students among themselves, as would be calculated to sustain Protestant opinions and associations. The entire absence of all Protestant books touching religion, with the presence of those which are Catholic; while by separate beds, and silence, and the presence of an overseer in the lodging room and in all their
101amusements and walks and ways, the action of every thing Protestant is suspended, and the active, universal, constant action becomes Catholic. Every day they assist, — i. e. they unite in Catholic worship — engage in and comply with their forms and ceremonies — commit their catechisms, recite their prayers to the Virgin Mary and for the repose of the dead, and make the crosses and genuflexions. They are not permitted to attend Protestant worship, but hear points of Catholic doctrine explained, discussed and defended.
In St. Mary's College, Baltimore, "No books foreign to the course of study are SUFFERED to circulate in the College, unless signed by the president."
In Georgetown, D. C., "The exercises of religious worship are Catholic. It is required that members of other religious denominations assist at the public duties of religion with their companions."
At the Athenaeum, Cincinnati, "it is not deemed an infringement of liberty that all our pupils should assist together at religious exercises."
At St. Joseph's College, Bardstown, Kentucky, the students of other denominations are received upon the sole condition of attending morning and evening prayer daily, and catechism and divine service on Sundays and holy days.
What more could Catholics do, or
103Protestant parents permit to be done? What more do Protestants do to educate their children in the Protestant faith, than is avowed and permitted and done to convert Protestant children to the Catholic faith? — and all under the trifling reservation of "expected conformity to the regulations of the school."
They hold up to the ear of unreflecting credulity, the promise of non-interference with the religion of the pupils. But do they promise that they will not by studied attention seek to gain their confidence and affection? and that by dextrous insinuation and remark, they will not attempt to undermine their confidence in the religion of their parents? That they will not heave the sigh nor drop the tear in their presence, that their parents should be heretics, and their beloved pupils aliens from the only church in which they can possibly
104be saved. If they do, then doubtless they break their promise. For promises are obligatory in the sense in which they are known to be understood by those to whom they are made. But Catholics know that Protestants would not send their children to their schools, if they believed their children would be made Catholics, or their principles undermined — and understand them to promise that nothing of this kind shall be done; while Catholics know that the influence under which the children are placed, is as wisely and powerfully adapted to do this as a system of means can be; and by long experience they know and admit — and exult in it — that it produces just this effect, and call upon their European friends to aid them in rearing seminaries because of their admirable influence in conciliating Protestant children toward the Catholic religion. And if
105Protestants are justly punished for their carelessness and credulity, that is no justification or excuse for the disappointments of the honest confidence which the Protestant community have reposed in these promises.
They do promise not to interfere with the religion of Protestant children committed to their schools. But what do they say, when writing to their missionary patrons in Europe, as to the effect on Protestant children of this confidence reposed in their promises by their parents?
The quotations which follow are translated from a French Catholic missionary publication called the "Annales," by a friend of the writer, whose ability and integrity are unquestioned; and from a report of the doings of the general convention of the whole Catholic church in the United States, held in Baltimore. Both these publications were circulated among Catholics in
106Europe, to enkindle their missionary zeal and secure contributions, and fell accidentally into the hands of a Protestant gentleman travelling in Europe, by whom they were sent home for translation.
"Mr. Flaget has established in his diocese many convents of nuns devoted to the education of young females. These establishments do wonderful good. Catholics and Protestants are admitted indiscriminately. The latter, after having finished their education, return to the bosom of their families, full of esteem and veneration for their instructresses. They are ever ready to refute the calumnies, which the jealousy of heretics loves to spread against the religious communities: and often, when they have no longer any opposition of their relations to fear, they embrace the Catholic religion." — Quarterly Register, vol. 2, 1830 — page 194.
They promise not to interfere with
107the religion of their Protestant pupils, and simple-hearted Protestant parents confide in their promises; and thus are they requited by those who, it seems, knowingly spread the snare for their feet, and to their friends in Europe exult in their success.
The bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky, says:
"Had I treasures at my disposal, I would multiply colleges and schools for girls and boys; I would consolidate all these establishments, by annexing to them lands or annual rents; I would build hospitals and public houses: in a word, I would compel all MY KENTUCKIANS to admire and love a religion so benificent and generous, and perhaps I should finish by converting them." — Quarterly Register, vol. 2, 1830 — page 194.
The next year the same bishop writes:
"I have the greatest confidence we
108shall be able in a short time to liquidate our debts; and shall then have: the opportunity of educating gratis a much larger number of pupils in our seminary for the good of the church in Kentucky." Quarterly Register, vol. 2, 1830 — page 195.
Again he says:
"Since the holy Catholic religion has exhibited itself in Kentucky with a certain splendor, — since schools for girls and boys, into which all sects are admitted, have been multiplied, our many churches built, and our doctrine clearly and solidly explained in them on Sundays and festivals, the most happy revolution is effected in her favor. To the most inveterate prejudices have succeeded astonishment, admiration, and the desire of knowing our principles. Now the conversions are numerous. In twelve jubilees, wherein I have presided, more than forty Protestants
109have entered the church; a great number still are preparing to share the same happiness, — and I have hardly gone over the half of Kentucky." — Quarterly Register, vol. 2, 1830 — page 197.
In the proceedings of the Catholic convention sent to the missionary patrons of Europe, they say it was proposed to form a central seminary for the whole metropolitan jurisdiction where young persons should be educated at a low cost, and prepared for the functions of the priesthood, — at a low cost, remember, — and that they especially invite in their seminaries Protestant pupils. In the same reports, they say:
"There is also a society of men who do for boys what is done by the ladies for girls. These schools are frequented not only by the Catholic, but also by Protestant children, many of whom embrace the Catholic religion, or at least receive impressions in its favor, which
110they carry into the bosom of their families." — Quarterly Register, vol. 3, 1831 — page 98.
The Sisters of Charity began their establishment at Baltimore in 1809. In 1810 they removed to Emmetsburgh, in Maryland. Seventy in number professed, or novices, and a hundred female boarders.
"From that place they have sent colonies to Baltimore, Washington, Frederick, Montagne, Philadelphia, New-York, Albany, Harrisburgh, and St. Louis. In these different places, they receive and instruct orphans, and have a school for unfortunate children, the number of which is enormous. There are some schools containing from five to six hundred. At Baltimore, besides the asylum and free school, they have the care of the lying-in-hospital belonging to the medical school. Those of St. Louis have also the care of the hospital
111of that city. All these different branches are connected with a central government, in the parent house at Emmetsburgh. They form together but one body. They live under the rule of St. Vincent de Paul, with a little variation, thought indispensable by the ecclesiastical superiors. One of these is the boarding establishment of the parent house, with the double object of giving a Christian education to Protestants as well as Catholics, (a want deeply felt in these regions.)" — Quarterly Register, vol. 3, 1831 — page 98.
What are the motives of these Catholics in neglecting the education of their own children, and extending such cheap and even gratuitous facilities of education to Protestants? and what is it which all at once has warmed the heart of pope and cardinals, potentates, princes, prime ministers and nobles, to endow for us Protestants such ample
112means of cheap instruction? We perceive in the preceding extracts, and the one which follows, what the motives are which the Catholics of this country, in their communications, press upon their patrons in Europe, and which bring out their exuberant charities.
"The missions of America are of high importance to the church. The superabundant population of ancient Europe is flowing toward the United States. Each one arrives, not with his religion, but with his indifference. The greater part are disposed to embrace the doctrine, whatever it may be, which is first preached to them. We must make haste; the moments are precious. America may one day become the centre of civilization; and shall truth or error establish there its empire? IF THE PROTESTANT SECTS ARE BEFOREHAND WITH US, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DESTROY THEIR INFLUENCE.
"‘Mgr. Fenwick,’ adds the editor, ‘is laboring with an admirable zeal to combat this influence of the Protestant sects in the mission entrusted to him. Numerous conversions have already crowned his efforts; and he has even been able to establish a convent, all the nuns of which are Protestants, who have abjured their former faith.’" — Quarterly Register, vol. 2, 1830 — page 198.
And now, in view of these disclosures, let me ask, can a Protestant professor of religion, covenant to train up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and then deliver them over to a Catholic education, and not violate his vow? — and can patriots swear to be faithful to the constitution of the United States, and commit the education of their republican children to Catholic schools and seminaries, and do no violence to their oath? Can Jesuits
114and nuns, educated in Europe, and sustained by the patronage of Catholic powers in arduous conflict for the destruction of liberty, be safely trusted to form the mind and opinions of the young hopes of this great nation? — Is it not treason to commit the formation of republican children to such influences?
It is time to awake out of sleep on the subject, and that the sanction of a correct, concentrated, all-powerful public sentiment should stamp infatuation and shame upon it. Nothing fills the Catholics with such amazement and high hopes as the simple-hearted credulity and recklessness of Protestants, in committing their children to their forming hand; and nothing certainly can be more wonderful or more fatal in its influence on our republican institutions.
But, it is said, "this outcry of a conspiracy to overturn our republican institutions by immigration and ecclesiastical
115influence is a false alarm. There is no such design."
If there be no such design, the facts in the case are as adverse to our safety as if they were the parts of a settled plan. The number of the immigrants, who lack of information, their unacquaintance with the principles of our government, their superstition and implicit confidence in their ecclesiastical teachers, and the dependence of these on Rome, and of Rome upon Austria, — all constitute an influence of dangerous action in themselves, and offer to the powers of Europe, easy and effectual means of disturbing the healthful action of our institutions, which, if it did escape their design to contrive, cannot be expected long to escape their sagacity to employ. It is like a train of powder between an enemy's camp and our own magazine; which, though laid by accident, may not be expected long to escape observation and use.
But if the civil and ecclesiastical powers of Europe have no such design, they lack the ordinary discretion and conduct of men in their condition, annoyed and endangered, as they feel themselves to be, by our republican institutions. If they have no design to extend their influence by ecclesiastical power, they have forgotten also all the past analogies of supposed duty, — their faith authorizing and requiring them to extend the Catholic religion the world over, by persuasion if they can, and by force if they must and are able. And when or where has their executive zeal fallen in the rear of their physical ability.
If they have no design, they do not pursue the analogy of their past policy in similar circumstances, which has been always to compensate for losses at home by new efforts to extend their influence abroad. It was the boast of the Catholic church, when she lost half
117Europe by the Reformation, that she had more than compensated her loss by the new enterprise of her Jesuit missionaries in India and South America. But during the last half century her power in Europe has been as much curtailed by infidelity and revolution, as before it had been by the Reformation. "The spirit of the age," which Bonaparte says dethroned him, is moving on to put an end in Europe to Catholic domination, creating the necessity of making reprisals abroad for what liberty conquers at home. Their policy points them to the West, the destined centre of civilization and political power once their own, and embracing now their ancient settlements and institutions and people, and not a little wealth — bounded on the north by a Catholic population, and on the south by a continent not yet emancipated from their dominion, and agitated by the at
118sent successful conflicts of the Catholic priesthood to extinguish free institutions and reconstruct those of despotic power — there can be no doubt that Catholicism in St. Domingo and South America is destined to feel the quickening energies of the political powers of Europe, as the only means remaining to them of combating the inarch of liberal institutions; and it cannot be denied that those empires of superstitious mind offer the fairest opportunity now remaining to the Catholic church of making a stand, and perpetuating for a season her political and ecclesiastical dominion.
But why is it so flippantly said, and so confidently believed, that there is no design on the part of the powers of Europe to annoy us by the introduction of a disturbing political religious influence among us? What can evidence design, if obvious and powerful motives, frank declaration, and the extensive
119and vigorous adaptation of means to the end, do not? But American travelers at Rome and Vienna, assure us, that in the upper circles the enterprise of reducing our western states to spiritual subserviency to the see of Rome is a subject of avowed expectation, and high hope, and sanguine confidence, while the correspondence of the Catholic bishops and priests in this country to their noble and royal patrons in Europe are full of the same predictions and high hopes, as motives to their immediate and copious charities to establish Catholic institutions at the West.
The bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky, says:
"Had I treasures at my disposal, I would multiply colleges, and schools for girls and boys; I would consolidate all these establishments, by annexing to them lands or annual rents; I would build hospitals and public houses: in a
120word, I would compel all MY KENTUCKIANS to admire and love a religion so beneficial and generous, and perhaps I should finish by converting them."
The bishop of Cincinnati, on the same page, says:
"The missions of America are of high importance to the church. The superabundant population of ancient Europe is flowing toward the United States. Each one arrives, not with his religion, but with his indifference. The greater part are disposed to embrace the doctrine, whatever it may be, which is first preached to them. We must make haste; the moments are precious. America may one day become the centre of civilization; and shall truth or error establish there its empire? IF THE PROTESTANT SECTS ARE BEFOREHAND WITH US, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DESTROY THEIR INFLUENCE.
"‘Mgr. Fenwick,’ adds the editor, ‘is laboring with an admirable zeal to combat this influence of the Protestant sects in the mission entrusted to him. Numerous conversions have already crowned his efforts; and he has even been able to establish a convent, all the nuns of which are Protestants, who have abjured their former faith.’"
A Catholic priest, writing apparently from Cincinnati to a friend in Europe, says:
"Since the Bishop's arrival, a great number of persons have presented themselves for instruction in the true religion. I hope, if the Lord blesses our efforts, we shall be able to finish the cathedral and found a college. We shall see the truth triumph, the temples of idols overthrown, and the seat of falsehood brought to silence. This is the reason that we conjure all
122the Christians of Europe — (i. e. all the Catholics) — to unite in order to ask of God the conversion of those unhappy infidels or heretics. What a happiness, if by our feeble labors and our vows, we shall so merit as to see the savages of this diocese civilized, and all the United States embraced in the same unity of the Catholic church, in which dwells truth and temporal happiness."
Bishop England, in his late address to the clergy of his diocese, on his return from Rome, speaking of the prelates of the church of Ireland, says:
"They are ready, as far as our hierarchy shall require their co-operation, to give it their best exertions in selecting and forwarding, from amongst the numerous aspirants to the sacred ministry that are found in the island of saints, a sufficient number of those
123properly qualified to supply our deficiencies."
Such is the language employed by Catholics in this country, to stimulate the hopes and efforts of Catholics in Europe, and especially the royal patrons of the three powerful missionary societies — one at Rome, the other at Vienna, and the third in France — but the centres, no doubt, of correspondence throughout Catholic Europe, and the reservoirs of her copious charities. We have accidentally fallen upon the items of fifty thousand dollars in one donation, and sixty thousand in another, and twenty thousand, besides the frequent recognition in their correspondence of efficacious aid, the amount of which is not named.
Bishop England says:
"During my absence, I have not been negligent of the concerns of this diocese, I have endeavored to interest
124in its behalf several eminent and dignified personages whom I had the good fortune to meet; and have continued to impress with a conviction of the propriety of continuing their generous aid, the administration of those societies from which it has previously received valuable succor. In Paris and at Lyons I have conversed with those excellent men who manage the affairs of the association for propagating the faith. This year their grant to this diocese has been larger than usual. I have also had opportunities of communication with some of the Council which administers the Austrian association; they continue to feel an interest in our concerns. The Propaganda in Rome, though greatly embarrassed, owing to the former plunder of its funds by rapacious infidels, has this year contributed to our extraordinary expenditure; as has the holy father himself,
125in the kindest manner, from the scanty stock which constitutes his private allowance."
But we need not the list of donations. The results that are starting up before our eyes, as if by magic, lift the veil, and discover that a portion of the resources which potentates once squandered in war are beginning to be appropriated in munitions for the moral conflict — the battle of institutions — and that the field of battle is the American republic, and especially the West.
Four years ago the Catholic population was estimated at half a million, and in the single year of 1832 one hundred and fifty thousand were added, and the numbers every year since have greatly increased, and the Catholics predict still greater numbers the current and coming years. A great proportion of them are poor; and though in various forms an oppressive taxation
126swallows up all the earnings they do not consume or squander, the revenue fails, it is said, by the Catholics themselves, to support their clergy. Their multiplied and multiplying institutions, cathedrals of royal splendor, and colleges, and nunneries, and cheap schools, and free schools rise therefore to attest the sincerity and energy of political European patronage.
But the numerical power, without augmentation, would be too small to accomplish the end; and, therefore, Catholic Europe is throwing swarm on swarm upon our shores. They come, also, not undirected. There is evidently a supervision abroad — and one here — by which they come, and set down together, in city or country, as a Catholic body, and are led or followed quickly by a Catholic priesthood, who maintain over them in the land of strangers and unknown tongues an ascendency as
127absolute as they are able to exert in Germany itself.
Their embodied and insulated condition, as strangers of another tongue, and their unacquaintance with Protestants, and prejudices against them, and their fears and implicit obedience of their priesthood, and aversion to instruction from book, or tract, or Bible, but with their consent, tend powerfully to prevent assimilation and perpetuate the principles of a powerful cast. Hence, while Protestant children, with unceasing assiduity, are gathered into Catholic schools, their own children, with a vigilance that never sleeps, and is upon them both when they go out and come in, and is conversant with all their ways, are kept extensively from Sabbath schools, from our republican common schools, and from worship in Protestant families, and from all such alliance of affection as might supplant the control of the
128priesthood over them; so, that, as the bishop of Cincinnati said, to a Protestant, "We multiply by securing all our Catholic children, so that every family in process of time becomes six."
If they associated with republicans, the power of caste would wear away. If they mingled in our schools, the republican atmosphere would impregnate their minds. If they scattered, unassociated, the attrition of circumstances would wear off their predilections and aversions. If they could read the Bible, and might and did, their darkened intellect would brighten, and their bowed down mind would rise. If they dared to think for themselves, the contrast of Protestant independence with their thraldom, would awaken the desire of equal privileges, and put an end to an arbitrary clerical dominion over trembling superstitious minds. If the pope and potentates of Europe held no
129dominion over ecclesiastics here, we might trust to time and circumstances to mitigate their ascendency and produce assimilation. But for conscience sake and patronage, they are dependent on the powers that be across the deep, by whom they are sustained and nurtured; and receive and organize all who come, and retain all who are born; while by argument, and a Catholic education, they beguile the children of credulous unsuspecting Protestants into their own communion.
No design! How does it happen that their duty, and the analogy of their past policy, and their profession in Europe, and their predictions and exultation in this country, and their deeds, all well adapted to their end, should come together accidentally with such admirable indications of design? If such complicated indications of design may exist without design, as well may the broader
130mechanism of the world be regarded as the offspring of chance.
Had the Catholic power of the holy alliance declared their purpose in due time to subdue us by force, and sent out fleets, with munitions and men and officers, in bright array — to move through the land, seizing passes, fortifying eminences, and every where rearing barracks, arsenals and forts, and military schools for the gratuitous instruction of our sons, the evidence of a designed assault would not surpass the preparations for our subjection by a conflict of institutions.
They do design the subversion of our institutions; so far as a Catholic ascendency of literary institutions and ecclesiastical and political influence would be their subversion; and according to their views they ought to, for their time or ours is short. If our light continues, their darkness passes away; and if our
131prosperity continues, their overturnings cannot be stopped till revolution has traveled round the globe, and the earth is free.
It is said again, "the conspiracy, if real, to overthrow our republic by immigration and a foreign religion, is impotent and chimerical — a thing which cannot be done."
Indeed! Is our republic, then, so mature, and solid, and strong, as to bid defiance to peril? Our wisest men have regarded its preservation, when formed of native citizens, only as an experiment, — urged on by high hopes, indeed, and strenuous efforts, but amid stupendous difficulties, and not yet consummated. And though hitherto our ship has weathered every storm, has it been accomplished with such ease and safety as to justify the proud contempt of greater dangers?
Nothing is more easy than the perversion of associated mind; or difficult,
132than its recovery to sanity and a healthful self-government. To let out the storm, and roll up the angry wave, is easy; but to still the tumult of the people lies often only within the reach of that power which holds the winds, and stilleth the tumult of the sea. We have surmounted past difficulties also by means of a comparative homogenity of character, opinions and interests, the result of our colonial training and revolutionary struggle, and while the ship was navigated by those who aided in her construction and launching. But another generation has arisen; and great difficulties are yet to be encountered, demanding equal wisdom, unity, and firmness, and decision, and rendering the accumulation of a powerful adverse influence justly alarming. And of all others, a religious influence, in the hands of ecclesiastics, and perverted to purposes of secular intrigue and political
133intermeddling, is most to be feared. While religion, pure and undefiled, is as indispensable to the perfection of society and the propitious results of government, as the sun is to light, and order, and vegetation, and life, it becomes such only by being kept in its own department, to send out through all relations its mild, purifying, tranquilizing, but mighty and all-pervading energy. But it is too much for one class of men to unite in the same hands the power of both worlds. Instead of coalescing, they should be vigilantly and efficaciously kept apart.
With sincere approbation and thanksgiving to God, I regard the article of our constitution prohibiting forever an alliance of any church with the state. And though I regard as needless and just, the constitutional exclusion of the clergy in some states from eligibility to office, as if the people were incompetent
134to be trusted in the selection of their own servants; yet did I believe that they were incompetent, and that they would not as a general fact confine the clergy to their own vocation, I should much prefer that the exclusion had been universal. For I have never witnessed a clergyman active in the collision of party politics, or absorbed in secular cares of legislation, without feeling and perceiving that others felt, that the man was out of his place, and religion disgraced.
The purse and the sword includes too much power to be united in the same hands. But how is the peril augmented when both these, with the sanctions of God's eternal government, are concentrated in clerical hands, and directed to political purposes, in the government of nations. Such a priesthood, as a body, cannot be spiritual, or pure, or safe, but always has been, and always
136will be, a corrupt and intriguing priesthood, perverting its spiritual power over the consciences of men, to the control of their physical and civil action in accordance with his own will and the purposes of a despotic government.
The history of five hundred years attests the baleful influence which one of the feeblest political powers of Europe has been able to exert upon the governments around him, by his spiritual dominion over the consciences of their subjects. There never was a time when the pope could by the power of arms control the policy of surrounding nations; and yet for ages, by the terrors of his spiritual power over the consciences of their dark-minded subjects, he bound kings in chains and princes in fetters of iron, — because, if they disobeyed his will, he could by his power over the consciences of their subjects, in a moment blast them with a curse
137and interdict, which would cause them to be shunned like leprous men, or sent out like Nebuchadnezzar to graze among oxen. It is the spiritual power of the pope over the civil destiny of nations, through the medium of his priesthood and the consciences of men, which has in all periods rendered the election of the pope a subject of such high interest and earnest competition and intrigue by the different nations of Europe.
By the Reformation, half Europe was disenthralled from the action of this dreadful power. And the extension of commerce and the arts, the illumination of science, the power of scepticism, and the advance of liberal opinions and of revolution and reform, have done much in Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, and Portugal, to annihilate this power of religion, perverted to secular ends. But in Austria, and Bohemia, and Ireland, the spell is not broken;
138and the perverted power of both worlds is concentrated to darken and enslave mind, and perpetuate civil and ecclesiastical despotism; while in the nations named, there are millions upon millions, whose physical and civil action can be controlled by the influence of their priesthood, through the medium of their religion, as implicitly, and as accurately as the soldiers of Frederick could be moved to fight his battles.
But it is notorious, that the Catholic immigrants to this country are generally of the class least enlightened, and most implicit in their religious subjection to the priesthood, who are able, by their spiritual ascendency, to direct easily and infallibly the exercise of their civil rights and political action. And it were easy to show, were this the time and place, that they do interfere in the exaction of fees, in the control of children, and in the article of marriage, as no
139Protestant minister ever did or would dare to attempt; and that a secular influence is beginning to be exerted over the political action of their dependent, confiding people.
And is there no danger from a population of nearly a million, augmenting at the rate of two or three hundred thousand a year by immigration; whose physical power, and property, and vote, are, as entirely as in Europe, within the reach of clerical influence? Is it, then, a vain hope of European potentates, endangered by our free institutions, that they shall be able to clog, and perplex, and stop their movements by thrusting in such a disturbing force, — rearing up in fact a distinct nation of their own subjects, organized and wielded by them, in the midst of us? Is a perverted religious power so feeble and innoxious, that its threatened agency in our political movements is to be slept over or
140despised? Religion is the most powerful, dreadful cause, when perverted, which ever mingled a malignant influence in the politics of nations? But for the alliance of religion with the state, and the intrigues and power of the priesthood, Europe had been for ages comparatively tranquil, instead of being, like a volcano, in continued action, or a ship in battle, in a constant blaze.
How dreadful were the wars of the Reformation in Europe, and the civil wars which followed, which could at any time have been quenched, but that a perverted religious zeal inflamed them. The politics of the nation could at any time have been adjusted, but the religion never. Far, far from us be the plague of that burning which will break out and rage among us as it never raged on earth, should a perverted religious influence introduce among us this curse of nations. For holy as religion is, all the
141bad passions gather about its perverted standard, and under the sanctions of its hallowed name, and by all the augmented motives of eternity, let loose the malignant passion of the desperately wicked heart.
And let me ask again, whether the Catholic religion in its union with the state, has proved itself so unambitious, meek, and unaspiring — so feeble, and easy to be entreated, as to justify a proud contempt of its avowed purpose and systematic movements to secure an ascendency in this nation? Is it accidental that in alliance with despotic governments, it has swayed a sceptre of iron, for ten centuries, over nearly one third of the population of the globe, and by a death of violence is estimated to have swept from the earth about sixty-eight millions of its inhabitants, and holds now in darkness and bondage nearly half the civilized world?
In all this long career of evil it is not the personal character of individuals which perverted the system and sent out the results, but the system which perverted personal character. It was the energy of an absolute spiritual dominion in corrupt alliance with political despotism — displaying their perverting power and acting out their own nature. It is the most skillful, powerful, dreadful system of corruption to those who wield it and of debasement and slavery to those who live under it, which ever spread darkness and desolation over the earth.
And yet over all its track of blood it has thrown the exterior of high devotion, great sanctity, and eminent purity and benevolence. It boasts a venerable antiquity, and claims a lineal descent from primitive Christianity, and blazons on its roll of fame the names of many holy and illustrious men. Some of its
143doctrines are true, and some of its institutions are wise, and the self-denial and good deeds of some of its clergy and sisters of charity, in the visitation of the sick and the education of the poor, are worthy of imitation. But it is a religion exclusive in its claims and awful in its sanctions, and terrific in its power of declaring sins remitted or retained. By the confessional it searches the heart, learns the thoughts, and motives, and habits, and condition of individuals and families, and thus acquires the means of an unlimited ascendency over mind by the united influence of both worlds. It is majestic and imposing in its ceremonies, dazzling by its lights and ornaments, vestments and gorgeous drapery, and fascinating by the power of music and the breathing marble and living canvas, and all the diversified contributions of art — strong in the patronage of the great, and the
144power of wealth and the versatilities of art, and unlimited in its powers of accommodation to the various characters, tastes, and conditions of men. For the profound, it has metaphysics and philosophy — the fine arts for men of taste, and wealth, and fashion — signs and wonders for the superstitious — forbearance for the sceptic — toleration for the liberal, who eulogize and aid her cause — enthusiasm for the ardent — lenity for the voluptuous, and severity for the austere — fanaticism for the excited, and mysticism for moody musing. For the formalist, rites and ceremonies — for the moral, the merit of good works, and for those who are destitute, the merits of the saints at accommodating prices — for the poor, penance — extreme unction for the dying, and masses for the spirits in prison, who, by donation, or testament, or by their friends, provide the requisite ransom.
This is the religion so powerful in the combined energies of earth and heaven — so dextrous in their application — so gigantic in its past energies — so enslaving and terrible in its recorded deeds, and yet in its present appearance, so mild, meek, unassuming, and munificent, which is coining in among us, a comparative stranger — the records of its history denied, or forgotten, or covered by a charity that would belt the zones, and span the earth — coming by numbers to outnumber us, and by votes to outvote us, and by the competitions of European munificence to secure an ascendant influence in the education of the young republicans of our nation.
This religion is wielded by a priesthood educated, for the most part, in the despotic governments of Europe, of recent naturalization and retaining the ecclesiastical and political partialities of their country and early associations.
146Were they allied to us by family and ties of blood, like the ministry of all other denominations, there would be less to be feared, and common interests would produce gradually but certainly an unreluctant assimilation. But as it is, they stand out from society, a separate, insulated male ecclesiastical association, with property and interests peculiarly their own; with an irresponsible and despotic power over the consciences, and physical and civil action of numbers, quite too great and influencial for the safety of republican institutions, where every thing depends on the free and enlightened action of public sentiment.
This anti-republican tendency of clerical influence is augmented in our nation, by the fact that the control of suffrage, and secular patronage, and education, and power of conscience, is under the predominant influence of the
147society of Jesuits; an order of men associated at the reformation, to stay its progress, and sustain and extend the cause of the Papacy — clothed with high privileges and devoted by oath to implicit obedience to his holiness — possessing the advantages of an efficient organization, and the energy of a despotic will, equal to the control of a commander-in-chief over every officer and private in his army, and wielding the power which belongs to talent, learning, wealth, numbers, and a deep knowledge of human nature, and the means of touching dextrously every spring of action, and securing every complexity of movement for religious and political purposes — trained as courtiers, confessors, teachers, diplomatists, saints, spies, and working men, to influence and control the destiny of nations, and guided also by a morality which permits the end to, sanctify the means. An
148association of more moral and political power than was ever concentrated on the earth — twice suppressed as too formidable for the crowned despotism of Europe, and an overmatch for his holiness himself — and twice restored as indispensable to the waning power of the holy see. And now with the advantages of its past mistakes and experience, this order is in full organization, silent, systematized, unwatched, and unresisted action among us, to try the dexterity of its movements, and the potency of its power upon unsuspecting, charitable, credulous republicans.
That the Jesuits will ever regain their former ascendency is not to be apprehended; but is no influence of their secret organization and intrigue, short of its former terrific energy, to be feared? Was ever a more ample field for intrigue opened before them than our country presents, — or more accessible
149and unwatched, — or filled with materials more powerfully adapted to perplex the movements of our government, and make confusion worse confounded?
Doubtless, the Catholic religion can never acquire a permanent ascendency in this nation by force, and a formal union of church and state; but a kingdom or nation divided against itself is brought to desolation. And is it impossible to embody such an amount of Catholic influence by copious immigration, and unity of action, and Jesuit intrigue, as to divide us? Is the task so impossible, or difficult, as to throw contempt upon the systematized action of an order of men, once the most powerful that ever conspired against liberty, or held competition with despotic powers?
Were we all, as Americans and republicans, apprised of the danger, and united in mild and efficient measures,
150it would still be a subject of deep interest and great difficulty. If none were indiscreet and violent, and none sympathized with the Catholics, as abused and persecuted, and none from a greater hatred of the Protestant than the Catholic religion and none from secular interest, and political favoritism, sympathized with them, the floods of unprepared, confiding mind, rolling in upon us to augment the power of a Jesuit priesthood might well awaken solicitude and demand circumspection.
But who can preclude, in so exciting and delicate an emergency, all but wise councils and discreet action, or prevent the affinities of prejudice, and hate, and political ambition from gathering nominal Protestants about the Catholic standard; and who can abide the day, should the politics of this nation become perplexed and infuriated with the virulence of a religious controversy.
It is true that Catholicity in Europe is on the retreat before the march of liberal opinions and institutions; but it is no less true that it is still, in numbers, wealth, and political dominion over mind, a terrible power, and precisely such an enemy as has often given a desperate battle; and inspiration teaches that the dying struggles of this system will be among the most gigantic and terrible, and such are the existing prognostics of its destiny.
If the Catholic religion were simply an insulated system of religious error, it might be expected to fade away without a struggle before the augmenting, overpowering light of truth; but it has always been, and still is, a political religion, — a religion of state; and though its ambitious encroachments reconciled the potentates of Europe to its waning power, the experience of the last thirty years has taught them, that they have overacted in the humiliation of his
152holiness and the church, that her downfall opens the door to revolution and the march of liberty, that the Catholic church is as indispensable to the throne, as the throne is to the church, and that without her influence over mind, they cannot meet and stem the spirit of the age; and now they are beginning, with new decision, to rally again around the church, and to give to her their secular aid, while she repays them by the energy of her spiritual dominion over mind.
Hence it is, that under the auspices of the Greek church, the emperor of Russia declares, "as long as I live, I will oppose a will of iron to the progress of liberal opinions," and has prescribed to the ill-fated Poles a catechism in equal quantities of despotism and blasphemy.
The empire of Austria is also hermetically sealed against the admission of light.
A late intelligent American traveler in Austria, says:
"And what are the people of Austria? They are slaves, slaves in body and mind, whipped and disciplined by priests to have no opinion of their own, and taught to consider their emperor their God. They are the jest and by-word 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."
In accordance with this Austrian policy of keeping out the light and maintaining the empire of darkness, his present holiness, pope Gregory XVI, lamenting, in 1832, the disorders and infidelity of the times, says:
"From this polluted fountain of ‘Indifference,’ flows that absurd and erroneous doctrine, or rather raving, in
154favor and defence of ‘liberty of conscience;’ for which most pestilential error, the course is opened for that entire and wild liberty of opinion, which is every where 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 ages, portend 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,
155"No means must be here 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.’"
And to aid him in the work of burning liberal books and crushing the efforts of patriots to break their chains and secure liberty, Austrian bayonets are placed at his disposal.
"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
156object of which is to show the mutual support which Popery and Monarchy derive from each other. He commends the two systems in connection 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 ally of Republicanism, as the parent of the distresses of Europe, as the cause of all the disorders with which legitimate governments 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
157NORTH AMERICA. Thence the evil has spread over many other lands, either by natural contagion, or by arbitrary communication.’
"But who is Frederick 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 repaired to Vienna. In 1809 he received an appointment at the head quarters of Arch Duke Charles, where he drew up several powerful proclamations. When peace was concluded, he again delivered lectures in Vienna on modern History and the
158literature 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 Protestantism and Republicanism, and of 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
159was ONE OF THE AUSTRIAN CABINET, THE CONFIDENTIAL COUNSELLOR OF PRINCE METTERNICH."
It is doubtless in the exertion of this plan of resuscitating the Catholic religion on account of its political subserviency to the thrones of Europe, that St. Domingo is coming into remembrance, and that efforts are making to establish in that island the spiritual dominion of a Catholic priesthood; and that in all the South American continent the cause of liberty is on the wane, before the united influence of military chieftains and the Catholic priesthood.
All the signs of the times indicate the coming on of that next European conflict of which prophetic Canning spoke, as long and dreadful, a war of opinion — a war of liberty against despotism, and which is to terminate in the
160emancipation or hopeless bondage of the world.
In this view of the subject, the Catholicity of this nation, and its rapid increase, cannot be safely regarded as a mere insulated religion, but rather as one department of a comprehensive effort to maintain despotic government against the march of free institutions, by an invigorated union of ecclesiastical and political power; and though the Catholics among us may, as a body, be unapprized of this policy, and ought not to be reviled, or denounced, or falsely accused, or assailed by rumor, and invidious epithets, neither are they to be unwatched, or entrusted with the education of the nation, or the balance of her suffrage.
No opinion is more unfounded or pernicious than the one so often expressed, that the Catholic church stands on the same foundation, in respect to
161its republican tendencies, with all the other religious denominations in our land. There is no denomination but the Catholic which acknowledges implicit subjection to the spiritual dominion of a foreign prince in whom the church and state are united, and whose political relations modify, by the intrigues of the European powers, his ecclesiastical decisions — a prince dependent on the protection, and under the control of one of the most despotic governments of Europe. There is no church but the Catholic in our land which claims infallibility, and the right of a universal spiritual jurisdiction, and makes heresy a capital offence, punishable with political disfranchisement and with torture and death — none whose clergy are chiefly foreigners, dependent for investiture, and honor, and support,
162on a foreign jurisdiction, and whose most active correspondence, and strongest sympathies, and most powerful motives of action, lie abroad and cluster about thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, adverse to our institutions — none which claims and exercises the right of inhibiting the reading of the Bible but with express permission of a priest, and denounces the right of private interpretation, and inculcates, wholly, the obligation of believing implicitly as popes and councils have believed. There is in this country, beside the Catholic, no denomination, any principles of whose religion are anti-republican, or whose influential officers denounce republican
163institutions, free inquiry, and the liberty of the press, as they have been denounced by the reigning pope, and opposed by Catholic potentates of Europe — none which makes the confidential confession of sin to a priest indispensable to forgiveness, or claims the right of selling indulgences for sins past, or to come — of selling prayers for the deliverance of souls from purgatory — none whose interests are in the hands of a secret association of men, bound by oath to obey, implicitly, his holiness in the propagation of the Catholic religion — the most powerful secret organization that ever existed, and now sustained by the royal munificence of European Catholics, and occupied in rearing powerful institutions for the education of our sons and daughters. There is in this country no religion but the Catholic which claims the right of interfering with the political affairs of nations by the
164interposition of ecclesiastical authority, releasing subjects from their oaths of allegiance, and putting down and setting up the powers that be, or who have manifested a desire, or commenced the attempt, by the exclusion of lay trustees, to secure all church property in ecclesiastical hands.
Among the deliberations of the late Catholic convention, at Baltimore, they say, in their European correspondence, that one subject of consideration was,
"What is necessary to be done in regard to trustees, and the means of repressing their pretensions? It is known what disputes and scandals have arisen on this subject, and, it may be said, it is one of the greatest scourges of the church in the United States; and one of the priests, writing to a mutual friend in Europe, says: ‘The bishop has the happiness of governing his churches without church wardens. By this
165method you see we are at peace, although without help. Were we to establish them, they might be very useful to us; but we should fear schisms and dissensions; of all evils the greatest despotism exercised against the pastors, and division and disorder in many other churches, assure us fully of this. Better then is poverty and dependence on the charity of the faithful, than tyranny.’"
The desire seems here to be avowed of securing the entire property of the Catholic church in the United States, by some means, in the hands of the clergy, regarding the inspection and influence of lay trustees, even though Catholics, as tending to schisms, despotism against the pastors, and constituting one of the greatest scourges of the church.
But it is said the Catholic religion is not what it used to be, the claims and
166dogmas, and bigotry, and persecuting maxims, and superstitions of the Catholic church have passed away. She has felt the spirit of the age, and yielded to its demands, and henceforth, and especially in this country, we have to anticipate only a revised and corrected edition of the Catholic church.
As republicans and Christians, we certainly hail the day when the Catholic church shall be reformed, and we are not reluctant to believe, on proper evidence, that the Catholics of this country perceive and renounce the past unscriptural and anti-republican claims, maxims, and deeds of the church of Rome. We only desire that their professions and disclaimers should not be received in evidence that the Roman church is reformed, till the same authority which enacted her erroneous maxims and authorized the unchristian conduct, has conceded her fallibility and repealed
167the criminal decisions of her popes and councils, and professed repentance for her evil deeds, and made proclamation that she admits her members to rights of conscience, and free inquiry, and civil liberty; but so long as the infallibility of the church is claimed, and all her maxims remain unrepealed, and are rigidly enforced wherever the march of liberal opinions has not compelled a relaxation. Such disclaimers can be regarded only as evidence of what necessity extorts and expediency dictates, and the accommodating policy of the church has always permitted to her loyal sons.
Who is it then that makes the proclamation, that the Catholic Church has discovered her mistakes in past ages and is reformed? Has the pope announced it? Has the general council decreed it? Has the Catholic convention at Baltimore placed it upon their
168records? Has a single Catholic bishop or priest admitted or claimed that the Catholic church has been, by the proper authorities, revised and corrected in any material point of doctrine, discipline, or practice. Not one — and no Catholic will say it, who has any character to lose, or frowns to fear from superior power.
The church cannot be reformed as a church only by the pope and a general council. The question of revision and change is therefore simply a matter of historical fact. When, where, and in what respects, has the pope and a general council changed the claims, maxims, doctrines, or established usages of the church? When and where has it been decreed that liberty of conscience, and civil liberty, are the birth-right of man — that reading the Bible is the right of man and not a privilege to be conferred — that private interpretation is the duty
169of man instead of implicit confidence in the exposition of others — that persecution for conscience sake is tyranny, and the deeds of the inquisition an abomination in the sight of God. What one of her maxims, avowed centuries ago, has she expunged and does not rather enforce to the present hour at Rome and Vienna? What are the powerful principles of collision which now agitate Europe and South America but those of civil liberty and despotic power? And on which side, when uncoerced, is his holiness, and his cardinals, and bishops, and priesthood? Every where in Portugal, in Spain, in France, and in Italy, and South America, on the side of monarchical, and in opposition to liberal institutions.
But we have documentary evidence which settles the questions. The following is from a treatise by M. Aignan, Of the French Academy, the second
170edition of which was published at Paris in 1818.
"Passing to the 10th article of the Concordat, in which it is said that His Most Christian Majesty shall employ, in concert with the Holy Father, all the means in his power to cause to cease, as soon as possible, all the disorders and obstacles which obstruct the welfare of religion, and the execution of the laws of the church — were [the Protestants] to ask, (although the profuse shedding of their blood might have informed them,) ‘what are the laws of the church’? the acts of Pius VII. himself, and the writings on which the church rests her authority would answer, THE EXTERMINATION OF HERETICS, THE CONFISCATION OF THEIR GOODS, AND THEIR PRIVATION OF EVERY CIVIL PRIVILEGE." To this the author subjoins in a note: "Certain portions of real estate, which had belonged to ecclesiastics, had passed
171into the hands of Protestant princes. Pius VII. in 1805, complained of it to his nuncio residing at Vienna; and reminded him that, according to the laws of the church, not only could not heretics possess ecclesiastical property, but that also they could not possess any property whatever, since the crime of heresy ought to be punished by the confiscation of goods. He added, that the subjects of a prince, who is a heretic, should be released from every duty to him, freed from all obligation and all homage. ‘In truth,’ said he, ‘we have fallen on times so calamitous, and so humiliating to the spouse of Jesus Christ, that it is not possible for her to practise, nor expedient to recall so holy maxims; and she is forced to interrupt the course of her just severities against the enemies of the faith. But if she cannot exercise her right to depose the partisans of heresy from their principalities, and
172declare that they have forfeited all their goods; can she ever permit that, to enrich themselves, they should despoil her of her own proper dominions? What a subject of derision would she not present to these very heretics and unbelievers, who, while they insulted her grief, would say they had discovered the method of rendering her tolerant’?
"The same pontiff, in his instructions to his agents in Poland, given in 1808, professes this doctrine, that the laws of the church do not recognize any civil privileges as belonging to persons not Catholic; that their marriages are not valid; that they can live only in concubinage; that their children, being bastards, are incapacitated to inherit; that the Catholics themselves are not validly married, except they are united according to the rules prescribed by the court of Rome; and that, when they are married according to these rules, their
173marriage is valid, had they, in other respects, infringed all the laws of their country."
The present pontiff declares that
"From this polluted fountain of ‘Indifference,’ flows that absurd and erroneous doctrine, or rather raving, in favor and defence of ‘liberty of conscience;’ from which most pestilential error, the course is opened for that entire and wild liberty of opinion, which is every where 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 ages, portend 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 here 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."
To the question, "What is to be done?" I would say a few things to obviate misapprehension, and indicate
175what would seem to be the plain practical course.
In the first place, while the language of indiscriminate discourtesy towards immigrants, calculated to wound their feelings, and cast odium on respectable and industrious foreigners, is carefully to be avoided; an immediate and energetic supervision of our government is demanded to check the influx of immigrant paupers, thrown upon our shores by the governments of Europe, corrupting our morals, quadrupling our taxation, and endangering the peace of our cities, and of our nation.
It is equally plain, also, that while we admit the population of Europe to a participation in the blessings of our institutions and ample territory, it is both our right and duty so to regulate the influx and the conditions of naturalization, that the increase shall not outrun the possibility of intellectual and
176moral culture, and the unregulated action of the European population bring down destruction on ourselves and them. In what manner the means of self-preservation shall be applied, it does not belong to my province to say. Doubtless a perfect remedy may be difficult, perhaps impossible; but should we therefore look upon the appalling scene in pale amazement and trembling impotency? It would be the consummation of infatuation, and the precursor of ruin. Nothing is impracticable for the preservation of our liberty and national prosperity which ought to be done, and nothing can ruin us but presumptuous negligence or faintness of heart. But we must act, and act quickly, and with decision, or the stream will be too deep and mighty to be regulated, and will undermine foundations and sweep away landmarks, and roll the tide of desolation over us. Nor can the
177patriotic solicitude of the people, and the states, and the nation, be brought to bear on this subject, immediately, to the extent of our political wisdom and practical energy, and not mitigate the evil, and avert the danger. But our past utter neglect on this subject, is as wonderful as the carefulness of the nations of the continent. Not an individual from this country can traverse Europe without the inspection of a host of spies and police agents, who make his person, character, and business, as well known to the government as they are known to himself, and no small portion of this vigilance is for the purpose of precluding the possibility of any political republican action, adverse to their institutions. While we, around the entire circumference of our nation, leave wide opened the door of entrance, and all the vital energies of our institutions, accessible to any influence which
178the anti-republican governments of Europe may choose to thrust in upon us. Do these governments indulge a vain fear in thus environing the political influence of Americans, though only temporary residents, and even wayfaring men? And have we nothing to apprehend while European paupers flood us, and Europeans occupy the soil, rear institutions, wield the press, control suffrage, and rush up rapidly to a competition of numbers? Is our government so compact and iron-sinewed as to bid defiance, safely, to every possible disturbing influence from abroad, which can be made to bear upon it? Ought there not to be a governmental supervision of the subject of immigration, which shall place before the nation, annually, the number and general character of immigrants, that the whole subject may experience the animadversion of an enlightened public sentiment,
179and the voice of the people aid in the application of the remedy?
We entered upon the experiment of self-government, when a homogenous people, with diffidence, and multiplied checks, and balances in our constitution, and have watched and encountered, with decision and care, the dangers developed in the progress of its administration; but why should there be such vigilance to guard our institutions from domestic perils, and such reckless improvidence in exposing them, unwatched, to the most powerful adverse influence which can be brought to bear upon them from abroad?
In respect to the Catholic religion, and its political bearings, there is an obvious and safe course. It is the medium between denunciation and implicit confidence, between persecution and indiscriminate charity. It includes a thorough knowledge of the principles,
180history, and present conduct of the papal church, where its power is unobstructed. To this end, a book is eminently needed, containing the authentic documents of the Catholic church, accessible to ministers and intelligent laymen of all denominations. These now are scattered through massy folios, or quoted in versatile discussions, and cannot be readily appealed to or consulted. A book of well authenticated documents, without note or comment, would nearly supersede the necessity of controversy, and afford ample material for public sentiment to act upon, which, while it would not encroach on the rights of Catholics, would, by no means, confide to their care the education of large and influential portions of our republic. A book of this description would not be invidious. If the Catholic system does not contain principles and usages adverse to
181free institutions, it would clear it of unmerited odium; and if it does contain such principles it is the right and duty of the nation to know it. There is nothing in Catholic more than in Protestant human nature, to demand implicit confidence, or preclude investigation and vigilance. No denomination of Christians, and no class of politicians, are so good as to justify implicit confidence, or supersede the necessity of being watched. Responsibility to an enlightened public sentiment is the only effectual guarantee of unperverted liberty and political prosperity.
But to a correct and universal observation must be added efficient universal action, to rear up, immediately, those institutions, literary and religious, which are indispensable to the intellectual and moral culture of the nation. Our own population is fast outrunning the influence of Christian and literary
182institutions; and if to us republicans it seems evil to supply them — if it grieves us to encounter the expense of maintaining the discipline which is necessary to the perpetuity of government in our way, we have no cause to complain that the powers of Europe should extend to us a gratuitous education, which shall enable them to avert the annoyance of our example, and govern us their way. If we do not provide the schools which are requisite for the cheap and effectual education of the children of the nation, it is perfectly certain that the Catholic powers of Europe intend to make up the deficiency, and there is no reason to doubt that they will do it, until by immigration and Catholic education we become to such an extent a Catholic nation, that, with their peculiar power of acting as one body, they will become the predominant power of the nation, or if not predominant, sufficient to
183embarrass our republican movements, by the easy access and powerful action of foreign influence and intrigue. We have no right to complain that the Catholics of this country, aided from Europe, should seek to accomplish a work which we neglect, — and we do not complain either of his holiness of Rome or of his majesty of Austria, or his wily minister Metternich. They pursue the policy in supplying our deficiency of education, which, with their views of right and self-preservation, they ought to pursue, and the Catholics in this country have a perfect right to gather funds from Europe to purchase lands — rear cathedrals — multiply churches — and sustain immigrant ministers, and to sustain the unendowed bishoprics for fifty years to come, and establish nunneries, and support the sisterhood, and establish cheap and even gratuitous education amid all the destitute portions of our
184land. They have a right to do it, and, according to their principles, they ought to do it, and they are doing it, and they will do it, unless as a nation of republicans, jealous of our liberties, and prompt to sustain them by a thorough intellectual and religious culture as well as by the sword, we arise, all denominations and all political parties, to the work of national education.
"The sole object of this argument touching the Catholics is not to repudiate them, but to present the facts in the case, and appeal to the nation, whether it will sustain its own institutions for the education of its own people, or depend on the charity of the Catholic despotic governments of Europe. I do it because when the facts are stated, and the eye of the nation is fixed on the subject, unless infatuation has fastened on us, there can be no doubt of the result. Education,
185intellectual and religious, is the point on which turns our destiny, of terrestrial glory and power, or of shame and everlasting contempt, and short is the period of our probation. Indolence and neglect will soon extend over the land the lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." The things which belong to our peace are now before our eyes, and our sufficiency to secure them is vast and manifold. As a nation we are disincumbered of debt, and from our perilous resources might at once make provisions to endow forever the colleges, academies, and schools of the land. Each state, alone, is able to endow its own institutions, and were all legislative provision withheld, there are in the nation individuals of sufficient wealth and patriotism, and munificence, when they perceive the perils and the safeguards of our liberty, to call into being
186all those orbs of light which are indispensable to the safety and perpetuity of our institutions. And were even those unmindful of their privilege and duty, a republican phalanx, such as once fought the battles and paid the taxes of the revolutionary war, would now command institutions for the defence of liberty to arise, as their fathers did the forts and munitions of their day. Every denomination would organize its willing multitude to give and toil till intelligence and holiness should cover the land as the waters cover the sea. But this various and superabundant ability and willingness of the nation must be called forth in plans of peaceable efficacy — the means must be multiplied of providing and sustaining the requisite host of qualified instructors. Institutions, male and female, must be endowed to secure cheaply, the requisite qualification. The national
187intellect and morals, will never rise to the exigencies of our preservation, accidentally, or spring up under the hand of ephemeral and inexperienced instructors. The early culture of the national intellect, and heart, is worthy of becoming a profession, and must become a profession, in the hands of duly qualified men and women — embracing the experience of the past, and the accumulating knowledge of coming generations. The education of the nation — the culture of its intellect — the formation of its conscience, and the regulation of its affection, heart, and action, is of all others the most important work, and demands the supervision of persons, of wise and understanding hearts — consecrated to the work, and supported and highly honored in accordance with their self-denying, disinterested, and indispensable labors. It is here that we faulter, and that the
188Catholic powers are determined to take advantage of our halting — by thrusting in professional instructors and underbidding us in the cheapness of education — calculating that for a morsel of meat we shall sell our birth-right. Americans, republicans, Christians, can you, will you, for a moment, permit your free institutions, blood bought, to be placed in jeopardy, for want of the requisite intellectual and moral culture.
One thing more only demands attention, and that is the extension of such intellectual culture, and evangelical light to the Catholic population, as will supercede implicit confidence, and enable and incline them to read, and think, and act for themselves. They are not to be regarded as conspirators against our liberties, their system commits its designs and higher movements, like the control of an army, to a few governing minds, while the body of the
189people may be occupied in their execution, unconscious of their tendency. I am aware of the difficulty of access, but kindness and perseverance can accomplish any thing, and wherever the urgency of the necessity shall put in requisition the benevolent energy of this Christian nation — the work under the auspices of heaven will be done.
It is a cheering fact, also, that the nation is waking up — a blind and indiscriminate charity is giving place to sober observation, and a Christian feeling and language towards Catholics is taking the place of that which was petulant, and exceptionable. There is rapidly extending a just estimate of danger. Multitudes who till recently regarded all notices of alarm as without foundation, are now beginning to view the subject correctly, both in respect to the reality of the danger, and the means which are necessary to avert it, and
190both the religious and the political papers are beginning to lay aside the language of asperity and to speak the words of truth and soberness. Under such auspices we commit the subject to the guardianship of heaven, and the intelligent instrumentality of our beloved country.
"We have heard lately of several colonies which have been formed in the eastern states, for the purpose of emigrating to Illinois; and we always hear such information with regret. Not that we have any objection to emigration in itself; on the contrary, few have done more than we, to encourage and promote it. We ardently long to see the fertile plains of Illinois covered with an industrious, an enterprising, and an intelligent population; we shall always be among the first to welcome the farmer, the mechanic, the school teacher — the working man, in short, of any trade, mystery, or profession — and we care not from what point of the compass he may come; but wish to see them come to Illinois, with a manly confidence in us, and with the feelings, not of New-Englanders, or Pennsylvanians, but of Americans."
"I am happy to say to you, that the persons who have been induced by your representations to remove to Illinois, are generally well pleased, and are doing well. The best schools that we have now in Illinois, are those established by the young ladies who came out for that purpose. The school at Edwardsville, conducted by two young ladies, is very popular, and deservedly so. The Vandalia school commenced with five scholars, a month ago, and has now thirty-two, which, for a female school in this quarter, is quite encouraging. Miss L — is doing very well, and is said to be very useful at Carrollton. Miss S — has gone to Hillsborough, to keep an infant school. There will be several other female schools established shortly.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to the friends of the Redeemer in Massachusetts, for their great liberality in providing us with Sabbath school books, which we shall not for many years be able to repay. The day will assuredly come, however, when the doings of the present generation of Christians will be looked back to with feelings of admiration and gratitude, and when Illinois will remember Massachusetts as a benefactor. ‘He is ever merciful and lendeth,’ is the language used in Scripture to describe a good man; and surely if the lending, or giving, our money or goods to another is praiseworthy, it is still more so to bestow intellectual riches, and the means of Christian instruction. For my part, I feel grateful, and am glad to have the opportunity of saying so to you.
"Multitudes have assented to the proposition, that Sabbath schools are among the most efficient means of grace; and other multitudes recognize in them valuable instruments for the dissemination of knowledge and morality — but we are totally destitute of the facilities for setting such persons in motion. We need, especially, TEACHERS and BOOKS. The latter I consider as most imperiously and immediately requisite, because the former may, in some places, be supplied, while for the books we must at all events be indebted to you, or to other of the friends of humanity. *** We are also greatly in want of teachers, and give to this part of your plan our cordial approbation. Pious persons coming out with this intention, and having callings to support them, need be under no fear, if frugal and industrious, of doing well."
"All your reasoning in favor of Professor Stowe's better adaptation for New-England than for the West is founded in a great and injurious mistake concerning the character and condition of the West. It is a mistake, that the talents and acquirements of Mr. S. would not be as highly and as justly appreciated here as in New-England. A full proportion of the minds that are filling up the new states of the West, are of the first order of intellectual vigor, and often of taste and learning, and intellectual action; and a large portion of the people who are not educated, are persons of shrewd mind, and quick discernment to perceive the empty pretensions of men to learning and talents, and will respond respectfully, yea, gladly, to the touch of real talent. But Ohio is not a frontier state, or Cincinnati a new settlement, or the work demanded here that of a pioneer. On the contrary, Cincinnati is as really a literary emporium as Boston, and is rapidly rising to an honorable competition. Indeed, at the present time, I firmly believe that there is, according to the number of her inhabitants, as much intellectual and literary activity here as in Boston, constituting an atmosphere which he would breathe with great pleasure, and in which his literary attainments would not pass undiscovered or unappreciated."
"It was interesting 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 Capellani 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 soldiers hold the Roman legions in subjection to the cabinet of Vienna. Is not the pope a creature of Austria?"