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"The very fact that the Roman Catho- | but a Catholic is an abomination, for whom lics are, and can be with impunity, thus there is no law, no charity, no bond of trampled upon, in a country like ours, Christian fraternity. affords in itself the most conclusive evidence of the groundlessness of the fears which are entertained by some respecting them. Without the power to protect themselves in the enjoyment of the ordinary rights of citizenship, and with a current of prejudice setting so strongly against them, that they find safety only in bending meekly to the storm; how idle, how puerile, how disingenuous is it, to rave as some have done, of the danger of Catholic inAluence !
"We repeat, that this is a question which must rest upon testimony. The American people are too intelligent, too just, too magnanimous, to suffer the temporary delusion by which so many have been blinded, to settle down into a permanent national prejudice, and to oppress one Christian denomination at the bidding of others, without some proof, or some reasonable argument.
"We have not yet seen any evidence in the various publications that have reached us, of any unfairness on the part of the Catholics, in the propagation of their religious doctrines. If they are active, persevering, and ingenious, in their attempts to gain converts, and if they are successful in securing the countenance and support of those who maintain the same form of belief in other countries, these, we imagine, are the legitimate proofs of Christian zeal and sincerity. In relation to Protestant sects, they are certainly so estimated; and we are yet to learn, why the ordinary laws of evidence are to be set aside in reference to this denomination, and why the missionary spirit which is so praiseworthy in others, should be thought so wicked and so dangerous in them.
"Let us inquire into this matter calmly. Why is it that the Catholics are pursued with such pertinacity, with such vindictiveness, with such ruthless malevolence? Why cannot their peculiar opinions be opposed by argument, by persuasion, by remonstrance, as one Christian sect should oppose each other? We speak kindly of the Jew, and even of the heathen; there are those that love a negro or a Cherokee even better than their own flesh and blood; |
"These reflections rise naturally out of the recent proceedings in relation to the Roman Catholics. A nunnery has been demolished by an infuriated mob—a small community of refined and unprotected females, lawfully and usefully engaged in the tuition of children, whose parents have voluntarily committed them to their care, have been driven from their home-yet the perpetrators have escaped punishment, and the act, if not openly excused, is winked at, by Protestant Christians. The outrage was public, extensive, and undeniable; and a most respectable committee, who investigated all the facts, have shown that it was unprovoked-a mere wanton ebullition of savage malignity. Yet the sympathies of a large portion of the Protestant community are untouched.
"Is another instance required, of the pervading character of this prejudice? How common has been the expedient, employed by missionaries from the west, in the eastern states, of raising money for education or for religion upon the allegation that it was necessary to prevent the ascendancy of the Catholics! How often has it been asserted, throughout the last ten years, that this was the chosen field on which the papists had erected their standard, and where the battle must be fought for civil and religious liberty! What tales of horror have been poured into the ears of the confiding children of the Pilgrims-of young men emigrating to the west, marrying Catholic ladies, and collapsing without a struggle into the arms of Romanism-of splendid edifices undermined by profound dungeons, prepared for the reception of heretic republicans-of boxes of firearms secretly transported into hidden receptacles, in the very bosoms of our flourishing cities-of vast and widely ramified European conspiracies, by which Irish Catholics are suddenly converted into lovers of monarchy, and obedient instruments of kings!
"A prejudice so indomitable and so blind, could not fail, in an ingenious and enterprising land like ours, to be made the subject of pecuniary speculation; accord. ingly we find such works as the 'Master
Key to Popery,' Secrets of Female Con- | that the Catholic appetite for cruelty is not vents,' and Six Months in a Convent,' quite so keen as is usually imagined ; and manufactured with a distinct view to that they exercised, of choice, an expan. making a profit out of this diseased state sive benevolence, at a period when Pro of the public mind. The abuse of the testants, similarly situated, were bloodCatholics, therefore, is not merely matter thirsty and rapacious. of party rancour, but is a regular trade ; Advancing a little further in point of and the compilation of anti-catholic books time, we find a number of colonies adof the character alluded to, has become a vancing rapidly towards prosperity, on part of the regular industry of the country, our Atlantic seaboard. In point of civil as much as the making of nutmegs, or government they were somewhat detached, the construction of clocks.
each making its own municipal laws, and “Philosophy sanctions the belief, that there being in each a predominance of the power, held by any set of men without influence of one religious donomination. restraint or competition, is liable to abuse; We might therefore expect to see the and history teaches the humiliating fact, political bias of each sect carried out into that power thus held has always been practice ; and it is curious to examine how abused. To inquire who has been the far such was the fact. It is the more cu. greatest aggressor against the rights of rious, because the writers and orators of human nature, when all who have been one branch of this family of republics, tempted have evinced a common propen. are in the habit of attributing to their own sity to trample upon the laws of justice fathers the principles of religious and and benevolence, would be an unprofitable political toleration, which became estabprocedure. The reformers punished heresy lished throughout the whole, and are now by death as well as the Catholics; and the boast and pride of our nation. The the murders perpetrated by intolerance, in impartial record of history affords on this the reign of Elizabeth, were not less atro- subject a proof alike honorable to all, but cious than those which occurred under which rebukes alike the sectional or secta.
the bloody Mary.' We might even come rian vanity of each. New England was setnearer home, and point to colonies on our tled by English Puritans, New York by own continent, planted by men professing Dutch Protestants, Pennsylvania by Qua. to have Aed from religious persecution, kers, Maryland by Catholics, Virginia by who not only excluded from all civil and the Episcopalian adherents of the Stuarts, political rights those who were separated and South Carolina by a mingled population from them by only slight shades of reli- of Roundheads and Cavaliers from Enggious belief, but persecuted many even to land, and of French Huguenots—yet the death, for heresy and witchcraft. Yet these same broad foundations of civil and political things are not taken into the calculation ; liberty were laid simultaneously in them all, and Catholics are assumed, without ex. and the same spirit of resistance animated amination, to be exclusively and especially each community, when the oppressions prone to the sins of oppression and cruelty. of the mother country became intolerable.
“ The French Catholics, at a very early Religious intolerance prevailed in carly period, commenced a system of missions times only in the eastern colonies; but for the conversion of the Indians, and were the witchcraft superstition, though most remarkably successful in gaining converts, strongly developed there, pervaded some and conciliating the confidence and affec- other portions of the new settlements. tions of the tribes. While the Pequods We shall not amplify our remarks on this and other northern tribes were becoming topic ; it is enough to say, that if the love exterminated, or sold into slavery, the of monarchy was a component principle more fortunate savage of the Mississippi of the Catholic faith, it was not developed was listening to the pious counsels of the in our country when a fair opportunity Catholic missionary. This is another was offered for its exercise; and that in fact, which deserves to be remembered, the glorious struggle for liberty, for civil and which should be weighed in the and religious emancipation-when our examination of the testimony. It shows fathers arrayed themselves in desence of
the sacred principles involving the whole “ The prospect of national prosperity broad ground of contest between liberty now before us, is truly animating, and and despotism, the Catholic and the Pro- ought to excite the exertions of all good testant stood side by side on the battle men, to establish and secure the happiness field, and in the council, and pledged to of their country, in the permanent duration their common country, with equal de- of its freedom and independence. Amer. votedness, their lives, their fortunes, and ica, under the smiles of divine Providence, their sacred honor. Nor should it be for the protection of a good government, and gotten, that in a conflict thus peculiarly the cultivation of manners, morals, and marked, a Catholic king was our ally, piety, cannot fail of attaining an uncomwhen the most powerful of Protestant mon degree of eminence in literature, governments was our enemy.”
commerce, agriculture, improvements at We close, in the language of the great home, and respectability abroad. father of American liberty. In a reply “ As mankind become more liberal, to a patriotic address of the Catholics of they will be more apt to allow, that all the United States, the illustrious Washing. those who conduct themselves as worthy ton thus gave utterance to his feelings : members of the community, are equally
“ Gentlemen,-While I now receive entitled to the protection of civil govern. with much satisfaction your congratula- ment. I hope ever to see America among tions on my being called by an unanimous the foremost nations in examples of jusvote, to the first station in my country, I tice and liberality. And I presume that cannot but duly notice your politeness, in your fellow-citizens will not forget the offering an apology for the unavoidable patriotic part which you took in the acdelay. As that delay has given you an complishment of their revolution, and the opportunity of realizing, instead of anti- establishment of their government, or the cipating, the benefits of the general gov. important assistance which they received ernment, you will do me the justice to from a nation in which the Roman Catho. believe, that your testimony of the increase lic faith is professed. of the public prosperity, enhances the “ I thank you, gentlemen, for your kind pleasure, which I should otherwise have concern for me. While my life and my experienced from your affectionate ad health shall continue, in whatever situadress.
tion I may be, it shall be my constant en. “ I feel that my conduct, in war and in deavor to justify the favorable sentiments peace, has met with more general appro- which you are pleased to express of my bation that could have reasonably been conduct. And may the members of your expected; and I find myself disposed to society in America, animated alone by the consider that fortunate circumstance, in a pure spirit of Christianity, and still congreat degree, resulting from the able sup- ducting themselves as the faithful subjects port, and extraordinary candor, of my of our government, enjoy every temporal fellow-citizens of all denominations. and spiritual felicity.”
THE CHRISTIANS, OR CHRISTIAN CONNEXION.
BY THE REV. DAVID MILLARD,
AUTHOR OF TRAVELS IN EGYPT, ARABIA PETREA, AND THE HOLY LAND.
Within about one half century, a very finally swallow up all party distinctions in considerable body of religionists have the gospel church. arisen in the United States, who, rejecting While the American Revolution hurled all names, appellations, and badges of a deathblow at political domination, it also distinctive party among the followers of diffused a spirit of liberty into the church. Christ, simply call themselves CHRISTIANS. The Methodists had spread to some con. Sometimes, in speaking of themselves as siderable extent in the United States, esa body, they use the term Christian Con. pecially south of the Potomac. Previous nexion. In many parts of our country to this time they had been considered a this people have become numerous; and branch of the Church of England, and as their origin and progress have been were dependent on English Ěpiscopacy marked with some rather singular coinci- for the regular administration of the ordents, this article will present a few of dinances. But as the revolution had them in brief detail.
wrested the states from British control, it Most of the Protestant sects owe their also left the American Methodists free to origin to some individual reformer, such transact their own affairs. Thomas Coke, as a Luther, a Calvin, a Fox, or a Wes. Francis Asbury, and others, set about es. ley. The Christians never had any such tablishing an Episcopal form of church leader, nor do they owe their origin to government for the Methodists in America. the labors of any one man. They rose Some of the preachers, however, had nearly simultaneously in different sections drank too deeply of the spirit of the times of our country, remote from each other, to tamely submit to lordly power, whether without any preconcerted plan, or even in judicial vestments, or clad in the gown knowledge of each other's movements. of a prelate. Their form of church gov. After the lapse of several years, the three ernment became a subject of spirited disbranches obtained some information of cussion in several successive conferences. each other, and upon opening a corres. Janies O'Kelly, of North Carolina, and pondence, were surprised to find that all several other preachers of that state and had embraced nearly the same principles, of Virginia, plead for a congregational and were engaged in carrying forward the system, and that the New Testament be same system of reform. This singular their only creed and discipline. The coincidence is regarded by them as evi. weight of influence, however, turned on dence that they are a people raised up by the side of Episcopacy and a human the immediate direction and overruling creed. Francis Asbury was elected and providence of God; and that the ground ordained bishop; Mr. O'Kelly, several they have assumed is the one which will other preachers, and a large number of