• Political character of the Austrian government, the power attacking us
  • The old avowed enemy of Protestant liberty-Character of the people of Austria
  • Slaves
  • Character of Prince Metternich the arch-contriver of plans to stifle liberty
  • These ENEMIES of all liberty, suddenly anxious for the civil and religious liberty of the United States
  • The absurdity of their ostensible design exposed
  • The avowed objects of Austria in the Leopold foundation
  • Popery the instrument to act upon our institutions

THE documents to which I have alluded, exhibit so much of the correspondence of the “St. Leopold Foundation,” as it was deemed advisable to publish in Vienna. They consist of letters and statements from Jesuits, bishops and priests, residing or itinerating in this country, and whose resources are derived chiefly from the Society in Austria. In documents thus prepared by Jesuits, (the most wary order of ecclesiastics,) to draw forth more liberal supplies of money from abroad, and then submitted to the revision of the most cautious cabinet of Europe, that so much only may be published as will attain, their object in the Austrian dominions, while all that might excite suspicion in the United States is concealed, we must expect to find great care to avoid any unnecessary exposure of covert political designs. The evidence therefore of a concerted political attack upon our institutions, which I conceive to lurk under the sudden and extraordinary zeal of Austria for the religious welfare of the United States, will not depend altogether on the information derived from these documents. Such an attack is what might be expected from the present political attitude of the European nations, in regard to the principles of despotism and liberty; from the powerful and unavoidable effect which our institutions exert in favor of the popular principle; and also from the known political character of Austria.

Who, and what is Austria, the government that is so benevolently concerned for our religious welfare? Austria is one of that Holy Alliance of despotic governments, one of the “union of Christian princes,” leagued against the liberties of the people of Europe. Austria is one of the partitioners of Poland; the enslaver and despot of Italy. Her government is the most thorough military despotism in the world. She is the declared and consistent enemy of civil and religious liberty; of the freedom of the press; in short, of every great principle in those free institutions which it is our glory and privilege to inherit from our fathers. Austria, from the commencement of the Reformation to the present time, has been the bitter enemy of Protestantism. The famous thirty years’ war, marked by every kind of brutal excess, was waged to extirpate those very principles of civil and religious liberty which lie at the foundation of our government, and had Austria then triumphed, this republic would never have been founded.

And what are the people of Austria? They are slaves, slaves in body and mind, whipped and disciplined by priests to have no 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.” [Dwight.]

And who is Prince Metternich, whose letter of approval, in the name of his master the Emperor, is among the documents? He is the master of his Master, the arch contriver of the plans for stifling liberty in Europe and throughout the world. “Metternich,” says Dwight in his Travels in Germany, “by his wonderful talent in exciting fear, has thus far controlled the cabinets of Europe, and has exerted an influence over the destinies of nations, little, if any inferior to that of Napoleon.” He persuaded the Emperor of Austria and King of Prussia not to fulfill the promise they so solemnly made to their German subjects of giving them free constitutions. It was the influence of Metternich that prevented Alexander from assisting Greece in her struggles for liberty. He lent Austrian vessels to assist the Turks in the subjugation of the Greeks. Metternich crushed the liberties of Spain by inducing Louis XVIII., against his wishes, to send 100,000 men thither under the Duke d’ Angouleme to restore public order! “When Sicily, Naples, and Genoa, in 1820-1, threw off the galling yoke of slavery, Metternich sent his 30,000 Austrian bayonets into Italy and re-established despotism. And when in 1831, (as the writer can testify from personal observation,) goaded to desperation by the extortion and tyranny, and bad faith of the Papal government, the Italian patriots made a noble and successful effort to remedy their political evils by a revolution firm, yet temperate, founded in the most tolerant principles, marked by no excess, and hailed by the Legations with universal joy, again did this arch-enemy of human happiness let loose his myrmidons, overwhelming the cities, dragging the patriots, Italy’s first citizens to the scaffold, or incarcerating them in the dungeons of Venice, filling whole provinces with mourning, and bringing back upon the wretchedly oppressed population the midnight darkness which the dawn of liberty had begun to dispel. “Prince Metternich,” says Dwight, “is regarded by the liberals of Europe as the greatest enemy of the human race who has lived for ages. You rarely hear his name mentioned without exciting indignation, not only in the speaker but in the auditors. Metternich has not been attacking MEN but PRINCIPLES, and has done so much towards destroying on the continent those great political truths, which nations have acquired through ages of effort and suffering, that there is reason to fear, should his system continue for half a century, liberty will forsake the continent to revisit it no more. The Saxons literally abhor this Prince. The German word mitternacht means midnight. From the resemblance of theword to Metternich, as well as from his efforts to cover Europe with political darkness, the Saxons call him Prince Mitternacht-Prince Midnight.”

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (full name German: Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein, anglicised as Clement Wenceslas Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg-Beilstein; 15 May 1773 – 11 June 1859[1]) was a politician and statesman of Rhenish extraction and one of the most important diplomats of his era, serving as the Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire from 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation. (Taken from Wikipedia)

This is the government and the people, which have, all at once, manifested so deep an interest in the spiritual condition of this heretic land. It is this nation of slaves, this remnant of the superstition and vassalage, and degradation of the dark ages, from whom the light of the nineteenth century has been so carefully shut out, that it fondly conceits its own darkness to be light, its death-like torpor, order,-it is this nation, not yet dis-enthralled from the chains of superstition, that is anxious to enlighten us, in the United States, in the principles of civil and religious liberty. Civil and religious liberty! words that may not be uttered in Austria but at the risk of the dungeon; words that would carry such shrieks of dismay through the ranks of Prince Metternich’s vassals, as the flash of a torch would bring forth from a cavern of owls.

And can it be believed that such a government, the determined, consistent enemy of liberty, has no interested motive, no political design, no other than sentiments of Christian benevolence in her operations in this country ? Is it likely that we, Protestant republicans of the United States, have won the kind regards of the Austrian government, which has been the persevering foe of the Reformation and its republican fruits since the days of Luther? Has not Austria had vexation and anxiety and trouble enough for fifty years past, in stopping up the opening crevices of the European dungeon through which the unwelcome light of American liberty has so often broken, to be perfectly apprised of the hated source of that light ? Yes, she cannot but now perceive, that those Protestant principles, which she has been incessantly engaged in endeavoring to suppress, driven by the winds of persecution from Europe, have been taking root, and strengthening in a congenial soil, and are here bearing their genuine fruits, liberty and happiness, and all the religious and social virtues. She cannot view this Protestant nation growing to gigantic dimensions, a living proof of the truth and salutary influence of the principles she hates, without feeling that her own principles of darkness are in danger. And well may she be dismayed. Yes, Austria has turned her eyes towards us, and she loves us as the owl loves the sun. Can any one doubt that she would extinguish every spark of liberty in this country, if she had the power? Can any one believe that she would make no attempt to abate an evil which daily threatens more and more the very existence of her throne? We may be told by some, perhaps, that her designs are purely of a religious character. Who can believe it? No one who has been in Austria. Every intelligent man who has resided even for a short time in the Austrian dominions, must have seen enough of the craft, both of the government and the priests, to make him suspicious of all their doings, and most so, when they are most lavish of their professions of kindness and benevolence. “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.” (Meaning: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”)

But let us see what Austria avows as her design in the formation of the Leopold Foundation. Footnote: Some may be inclined to ask. Is not this society a private association, merely chartered by the government, not differing materially from the religious societies in our own country? I answer that, were the Leopold Foundation an association of private individuals, (which it is not.) yet got up in the Austrian dominions, it would still be a government affair.-For we must not confound the practices of two governments, so totally opposite in the administration of all their affairs as the Austrian and our own. From the happy, separation of church and state in our own country, religious societies, of whatever character, have no connection with the government. They move in a separate sphere of action, yet in perfect harmony with it. But in Austria, no plan, no society of any kind, is private; the government interferes in every thing, is all in all. Even the persecuted Maroncelli, confined in the dungeons of Spielberg for the crime of loving the political principles of this country, must wait a week, at the risk of this life, for a gracious permission from the Paternal government to have his leg amputated. Yes, a private matter like this is a government affair; how much more then a grand society, with the Emperor its patron, the Crown prince and heir to the imperial throne its protector, and Prince Metternich, and all the dignitaries of the empire, temporal and ecclesiastical, engaged in its operations? It is the Austrian government that is engaged in this plan of an ostensibly religious character. The first great object is “To promote the greater activity of Catholic missions in America.” She may be, and doubtless is, perfectly sincere in this design, for it is only necessary that she should succeed in her avowed object to have her utmost wishes accomplished. She need avow no other aim. If she gains this, she gains all. If she succeeds in fastening upon us the chains of Papal bondage, she has a people as fit for any yoke she pleases to grace our necks withal, as any slaves over whom she now holds her despotic rod. She has selected a fitting instrument for her purpose. Her armies can avail her nothing against us, for the ocean intervenes. Her diplomacy gives her no hold, for there are scarcely any political relations between us. The only instrument by which she can gain the least influence in these States is that precisely which she has chosen. Its perfect fitness to accomplish any political design against the liberties of this country and of the world, I shall next consider.

Continue to chapter 3

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