Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse

  • Points in our political system which favor this foreign attack-Our toleration of all religious systems
  • Popery opposed to all toleration
  • Charge of intolerance substantiated
  • The organization of Popery in America connected with and strengthened by foreign organization-Without a parallel among Protestant sects
  • Great preponderance of Popish strength in consequence
  • The divisions among Protestant sects nullifies their attempts at combination-Taken advantage of by Jesuits
  • Popish duplicity illustrated in its opposite alliances in Europe with despotism, and in America with democracy
  • The laws relating to immigration and naturalization favor foreign attack
  • Emigrants being mostly Catholic and in entire subjection to their priests
  • No remedy provided by our laws for this alarming evil.

WHAT I have advanced in my previous chapters may have convinced my readers that there is good reason for believing that the despots of Europe are attempting, by the spread of Popery in this country, to subvert its free institutions; yet many may think that there are so many counteracting causes in the constitution of our society, that this effort to bind us with the cast-off chains of the bigotry and superstition of Europe cannot meet with success. I will, therefore, in the present chapter, consider some of the points in our political system, of which advantage has already been taken to attack us, by the wily enemies of our liberties.

It is a beautiful feature in our constitution, that every man is left to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, that the church is separated from the state, and that equal protection is granted to all creeds. In thus tolerating all sects, we have admitted to equal protection not only those sects whose religious faith and practice support the principle on which the free toleration of all is found- ed, but also that unique, that solitary sect, the Catholic, which builds and supports its system on the destruction of all toleration. Yes, the Catholic is permitted to work in the light of Protestant toleration, to mature his plans, and to execute his designs to extinguish that light, and destroy the hands that hold it. It is no refutation of the charge of intolerance here made against Catholics as a sect, to show that small bodies of them, under peculiar circumstances, have been tolerant, or that in this country, where they have always been a small minority, they make high professions of ardent love for the republican, tolerant institutions of our government. No one can be deceived by evidence so partial and cir- cumscribed, while the blood of the persecuted for opinion’s sake, stains with the deepest tinge every page of the history of that church, aye, even while it is still wet upon the dungeon floors of Italy; while the intolerant and anti-republican principles of Popery, are now weekly thundered from the Vatican, andechoed in our ears by almost every arrival from Europe. Footnote: Sanguinary spirit still existing in Modern Popery. If any suppose that Popery has changed its intolerant character in modern times, we refer them to the following specimen of its spirit. It is Popery of the present day; Popery of 1833.

In the recent journals of Modena, in Italy, are articles signed by the duke of Canosa, the language of which knows no bounds. He justifies the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. He says, “when a disease has made such progress, that it cannot be cured by magnesia and calomel, to save life, resort must be had to arsenic. If Charles IX. had recoiled from the massacre of the Huguenots, he would certainly have perished, a few weeks after, upon the scaffold, as happened to the indulgent and compassionate Louis XVI., because he took an opposite course. He who in such a case has not the courage of a lion, and does not resolve on rigorous measures, is lost. The pusillanimous alone are ignorant of this truth.” Such shocking sentiments, be it remembered, are published in a country, where there is a censorship of the press: and they are therefore the language of the government.

The duke reasons like a true legitimate. The happiness and lives of the people to any amount, are mere chaff compared with the happiness and life of that sainted bauble called a king. His reasoning amounts to this: “better that thousands of the common people should perish by the bloodiest butchery, than that the single life of one human being endowed with divine right to reign, should like Louis XVI. perish on the scaffold.” It is not necessary to defend the shedding of royal blood, but there is a trick of kingcraft which ought to be exposed, because its influence is not unfelt in this country. The divine right to reign is first assumed, then the human being thus invested with power partakes of divinity, he becomes sacred, and all the names and paraphernalia of idolatrous worship surround him. He becomes a God, every word he utters, every step he takes, every action, however unimportant in any other human being, is invested in this earthly divinity with a sacred character. Does the god-king ride out, the whole country must know the important event; is he married, the whole nation keeps jubilee; is he dead, the world is clad in mourning. The misfortunes of his offspring are magnified and consecrated by all the arts of the imagination, by all the embellishments of romance. Is an illustration wanted? Take a recent case. Look at the history of the Duchess de Berri, an infamous woman, notoriously profligate, of a character that in common life would condemn her to the neglect of the world, and cast her out of all society. But she is a princess, she has a spark of royal divinity that shines upon her brazen front, and the duped multitude bow in adoration before her. Her sufferings, her wanderings, her dress in the minutest particulars, her words, her looks, are the subject of sympathetic appeals to the compassion of the world; ladies shed tears over the distresses of the unfortunate princess. Alas! alas! that royal blood should suffer! And arewe not influenced by this mawkish, morbid sympathy for suffering despots? Where are our sympathies, when the interested statements of a government-controlled foreign press, inform us of the struggles of the people against age-consecrated oppression. Are they with the people? Do we ever suspect the truth of the glowing details of the doings of the scandalous mob, the high-wrought accounts of outrage and rebellion of a wicked rabble against lawful authority, which circulate through our land, the production abroad of pensioned writers; of a licensed press, and those too without remark or explanation from our press? What should be the feelings of a true American? Where should be his sympathies, who has been nurtured in the air of liberty, who has learned from his father’s lips the black catalogue of despotic wrongs, which his ancestors suffered, and which were defended by all the tricks and glosses, and arts of oppression? If any human being should feel quick sympathy with the struggles of the people, should examine with the greatest care the charges preferred against them, and exercise a willing charity for their apparent or real excesses, and quick mistrust of all the doings, representations and fair speeches of despotism, it is an American.

Let me not be charged with accusing the Catholics of the United States with intolerance. They are too small a body as yet fully to act out their principles, and their present conduct does not affect the general question in any way, unless it may be to prove that they are not genuine and consistent Catholics. The conduct of a small insulated body, under the restraints of the society around it, is of no weight in deciding the character of the sect, while there are nations of the same infallible faith acting out its legitimate principles uncontrolled, and producing fruits by which all may discern, without danger of mistake, the true nature of the tree. If Popery is tolerant, let us see Italy, and Austria, and Spain, and Portugal, open their doors to the teachers of the Protestant faith; let these countries grant to Protestant missionaries, as freely as we grant to Catholics, leave to disseminate their doctrine through all classes in their dominions. Then may Popery speak of toleration, then may we believe that it has felt the influence of the spirit of the age and has reformed; but then it will not be Popery, for Popery never changes; it is infallibly the same, infallibly intolerant.

The conspirators against our liberties who have been admitted from abroad through the liberality of our institutions, are now organized in every part of the country; they are all subordinates, standing in regular steps of slave and master, from the most abject dolt that obeys the commands of his priest, up to the great master-slave Metternich, who commands and obeys his Illustrious Master the Emperor. Footnote: Popery is organized throughout the World. This organization is asserted in the late proclamation of the Pope to the Portuguese. In the catalogue of his complaints he says: “Nevertheless, that which principallyafflicts us is, that those acts and measures have evidently for their aim to break every bond of union, with that venerable chair of the blessed Peter” (his own throne) “which Jesus Christ has made the centre of unity; and thus the society of communion being once broken, to wound the church by the most pernicious schism. In fact, how can there be unity in the body, when the members are not united to the head, and do not obey it?” They report from one to another, like the sub-officers of an army, up to the commander-in-chief at Vienna, (not the Pope, for he is but a subordinate of Austria. Footnote: Lest the charge often made in these numbers should seem gratuitous; of the Pope being the creature of Austria, and entirely subservient to the Imperial Cabinet, it may be as well to state that the writer was in Rome during the deliberations of the Conclave, respecting the election of the present Pontiff. It was interesting to him to hear the speculations of the Italians on the probability of this or that cardinal’s election. Couriers were daily arriving from the various despotic powers, and intrigues were rife in the anti- 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 Legations in submission to the cabinet of Vienna. Is not the Pope a creature of Austria?) There is a similar organization among the Catholics of other countries, and the whole Catholic church is thus prepared to throw its weight of power and wealth into the hands of Austria, or any Holy Alliance of despots who may be persuaded to embark for the safety of their dynasties, in the crusade against the liberties of the country which, by its simple existence in opposition to their theory of legitimate power, is working revolution and destruction to their thrones.

Now, to this dangerous conspiracy what have we to oppose in the discipline of Protestant sects? However well organized, each according to its own manner, these different sects may be, there is not one of them that can by any possibility derive strength through its organization, from foreign sects of the same name. Nor is this a matter of regret; it is right that it should be so; no nation can be truly independent where it is otherwise. Foreign influence, then, cannot find its way into the country through any of the Protestant sects, to the danger of the State. In this respect Catholics stand alone. They are already the most powerful and dangerous sect in the country, for they are not confined in their schemesand means like the other sects, to our own borders, but they work with the minds and the funds of all despotic Europe.

And not only are each of the Protestant sects deprived of foreign aid; they are weak collectively, in having no common bond of union among themselves, so far as political action is concerned. The mutual jealousies of the different sects have hitherto prevented this, and it is a weakness boasted of by Catholics, and of which advantage is and ever will be taken while the unnatural estrangement lasts. Catholics have boasted that they can play off one sect against another, for in the petty controversies that divide the contending parties, the pliable conscience of the Jesuit enables him to throw the weight of his influence on either side as his interest may be the command of his superiors, and the alleged good of the church, (that is the power of the priesthood,) being paramount to all other considerations. This pliability of conscience, so advantageous in building up any system of oppression, religious or political, presents us with strangely contradictory alliances. In Europe Popery supports the most high- handed despotism, lends its thunders to awe the people into the most abject obedience, and maintains at the top of its creed, the indissoluble union of church and state! while in this country, where it is yet feeling its way, (oh! how consistent!) it has allied itself with the democracy of the land, it is loudest in its denunciations of tyranny, the tyranny of American patriots! it is first to scent out oppression, sees afar off the machinations of the native American Protestants to unite church and state! and puts itself forth the most zealous guardian of civil and religious liberty! With such sentinels, surely our liberties are safe, with such guardians of our rights, we may sleep on in peace!

Another weak point in our system is our laws encouraging immigration, and affording facilities to naturalization. Footnote: Immigration and our Naturalization Law. The subject of immigration is one of those which demands the immediate attention of the nation, it is a question which concerns all parties: and if the writer is not mistaken in his reading of the signs of the times, the country is waking to a sense of the alarming evil produced by our naturalization laws. Let us war among ourselves in party warfare, with every lawful weapon that we can convert to our purpose. It is our birthright to have our own opinion, and earnestly to contend for it, but let us court no foreign friends. Every American should feel his national blood mount at the very thought of foreign interference. While we welcome the intelligent and persecuted of all nations and give them an asylum and a share in our privileges, let us beware lest we admit to dangerous fellowship those who cannot and will not use our hospitality aright. That such may come, and do come, there is no reason to doubt. Consider the following testimony of an emigrant, given before a justice in Albany. He says that “in June last, the parish officers paid the passages ofhimself and about forty others of the same parish, from Chatham to the city of Boston, in America, on board the ship Royalist, Capt. Parker, and that they landed in Boston in the month of July last-that the parish officers gave him thirty shillings sterling, in money, in addition to paying his passage,-that he is now entirely destitute of the means of living, and is unable to labor, and prays for relief.” Now here are forty paupers cast upon our shores from one parish in England, and in five years they become citizens, entitled to vote!! Is there an American of any party, who can believe that there is no danger in admitting to equal privileges with himself such a class of foreigners. A remedy to this crying evil admits of not a moment’s delay. At this moment the ocean swarms with ships crowded with this wretched population, bearing them from misery abroad to misery here.

The expense incurred in this city (New York) for the support of foreign paupers, it is well known is enormous. In Philadelphia more than three fourths of the inmates of their Almshouse are foreigners. Whole families have been known to come from on board ship, and go directly to the Almshouse. In the Boston Dispensary there were the last year, (1831) from two districts only, 477 patients; of these 441 were foreigners!! Leaving but 36 of our own population to be provided for. In the Boston Almshouse, the following returns show the increase of foreign paupers in five years.

The year ending Sept. 30, 1829, Americans 395 ” ” ” ” ” ” Foreigners 284

The year ending Sept. 30, 1834, Americans 340 ” ” ” ” ” ” Foreigners 613

Thus we see that native pauperism has decreased in five years, and foreign pauperism more than doubled.

In Cambridge, (Mass.) more than four fifths of the paupers are foreigners.

The first and immediate step that should be taken, is to press upon Congress and upon the nation, instant attention to the NATURALIZATION LAWS. We mast first stop this leak in the ship, through which the muddy waters from without threaten to sink us. If we mean to keep our country, this life-boat of the world, from foundering with all the crew, we must take on board no more from the European wreck until we have safely landed and sheltered its present freight. But would you have us forfeit the character of the country as the asylum of the world? No: but it is a mistaken philanthropy indeed that would attemptto save one at the expense of the lives of thousands; that would receive into our families those dying of the plague. Our naturalization laws were never intended to convert this land into the almshouse of Europe, to cover the alarming importation of every thing in the shape of man that European tyranny thinks fit to send adrift from its shores, nor so to operate as to compel us to surrender back all the blessings of that freedom for which our fathers paid so dear a price into the keeping of its foreign enemies. No, we must have the law so amended that NO FOREIGNER WHO MAY COME INTO THE COUNTRY, AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE NEW LAW, SHALL EVER BE ALLOWED TO EXERCISE THE ELECTIVE FRANCHISE. This alone meets the evil in its fullest extent.

Who can complain of injustice in the enactment of such a law? Not the native American, he is not touched by it. Certainly not the foreigner now in the country, whether naturalized or not. It cannot operate against him. It would take away no right from a single individual in any country. This law would withhold a favor, not a right from foreigners, and from those foreigners only who may hereafter come into the country. If foreigners abroad choose to take offence at the law, we are not under obligations to consult their wishes, they need not come here. This favor, it should be understood, has repeatedly been abused, and it is necessary for the safety of our institutions in future to withhold it. The pressing dangers to the country from Popery, which I think I have shown not to be fictitious; other visible indications of foreign influence in the political horizon; the bold organization of foreigners as foreigners in our elections-these all demand the instant attention of Americans, if they mean not to be robbed by foreign intrigue of their liberty and their very name. In the early state of the country liberality in these points was thought to be of advantage, as it promoted the cultivation of our wild lands, but the dangers which now threaten our free institutions from this source more than balance all advantages of this character. The great body of emigrants to this country are the hard-working mentally neglected poor of Catholic countries in Europe, who have left a land where they were enslaved, for one of freedom. However well disposed they may be to the country which protects them, and adopts them as citizens, they are not fitted to act with judgment in the political affairs of their new country, like native citizens educated from their infancy in the principles and habits of our institutions. Most of them are too ignorant to act at all for themselves, and expect to be guided wholly by others. These others are of course their priests. Priests have ruled them at home by divine right; their ignorant minds cannot ordinarily be emancipated from their habitual subjection, they will not learn nor appreciate their exemption from any such usurpation of priestly power in this country, and they are implicitly at the beck of their spiritual guides. They live surrounded by freedom, yet liberty of conscience, right of private judgment, whether in religion orpolitics, are as effectually excluded by the priests, as if the code of Austria already ruled the land. They form a body of men whose habits of action, (for I cannot say thought,) are opposed to the principles of our free institutions, for they are not accessible to the reasonings of the press, they cannot and do not think for themselves.

Every unlettered Catholic emigrant, therefore, that comes into the country, is adding to a mass of ignorance which it will be difficult to reach by any liberal instruction, and however honest, (and I have no doubt most of them are so,) yet from the nature of things they are but obedient instruments in the hands of their more knowing leaders to accomplish the designs of their foreign masters. Republican education, were it allowed freely to come in contact with their minds, would doubtless soon furnish a remedy for an evil for which, in the existing state of things, we have no cure. It is but to continue for a few years the sort of immigration that is now daily pouring in its thousands from Europe, and our insti- tutions, for aught that I can see, are at the mercy of a body of foreigners, officered by foreigners, and held completely under the control of a foreign power. We may then have reason to say, that we are the dupes of our own hospitality; we have sheltered in our well provided house a needy body of strangers, who, well filled with our cheer, are encouraged by the unaccustomed familiarity with which they are treated, first to upset the regulations of the household, and then to turn their host and his family out of doors.

Continue to chapter 6

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