The Serpent around the Capitol of Washington

ROMANISM is beginning to uncover its hand in America. It begins to be fearless, now that it is becoming natural. It is attempting to do here what it has achieved in Europe, to awe the state, control the people, and banish liberty.

Slowly, stealthily, with the look of a saint for the outward seeming, with the heart of a Jesuit for the inward reality, Romanism has accomplished in fact, if not in name, what in name as well as in fact she achieved in so many of the kingdoms of Europe, a union of Church and State. This few will admit, but all may know that fact was to have been revealed on the 24th of May, 1888 ; that it was not, was not Rome s fault, but God s decree. Preparations had been going on for months to lay on that day, in the presence of the distinguished representatives of the nation, the corner-stone of the Catholic University of America, that the light of virtue and science might be preserved in the State," in accordance with the decrees and behests of Rome. The Cardinal, the Prince of the Roman Catholic church who was to officiate as President of the Board of Trustees, is, by virtue of his high office, the most conspicuous figure in the Catholic church in this country. Born of Irish parents, July 23rd, 1834, in Baltimore, and accompanying his father to Ireland as a child, where he received his early education, he returned to the United States and graduated from St. Charles College, Howard Co., Md., in 1857. He then studied theology in St. Mary s Seminary, Baltimore, and was ordained a priest June 30th, 1861. Seven years later he was consecrated bishop of North Carolina. Afterwards he took up his abode in Richmond, Va., and in 1877 became coadjutor of Archbishop Bayley, of Baltimore, and upon his death became his successor. After the death of Cardinal McCloskey he was appointed to his present exalted position, and carried to it great versatility of talent, an unconquerable energy, and much learning

Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, Grand Marshal, was born in Ohio in 1819, graduated from West Point in 1842, and in the Civil War rose from the position of colonel to corps commander. In 1867 he resigned from the army, went to California, was elected to Congress, and at the expiration of his term was appointed Register of the Treasury. His brother was a bishop of the Roman Catholic church, and he has been noted for his devotion to his church, whether as soldier, congressman, or citizen. The orator of the day, Rev. J. L. Spalding, was born in Lebanon, Ky., in 1840. Educated in Emmetsburg, Ind. , St. Mary s, Cincinnatti, and in Louvain, Belgium, on May 1st, 1877, he was consecrated bishop of Peoria. He is a scholarly man, and it has been his dream for years to have a great Catholic University built in the United States. It was through him that Miss Mary Gwendolen Caldwell made known her gift of $300,000 to the prelates of the Baltimore Council. The mother of Miss Caldwell was a member of the Breckenridge family. The father amassed a large fortune in New Orleans, and in 1863 was compelled to come North. Residing in New York, the daughter was educated at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Manhattanville, New York, after which she travelled extensively in Europe. The father, at his death, left an estate of four million dollars, to be divided between his two daughters. The Rev. John J. Keane, the Rector of the University, was born in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland, Sept. 12th, 1839. He studied classics at St. Charles College, Baltimore, and subsequently pursued a full course in St. Mary s Seminary, and was ordained in 1866. For many years he served as assistant of St. Patrick’s church, Washington, and in 1878 he was appointed to the See of Richmond. Bishop Keane’s zeal, scholarship, eloquence and organizing ability led to his election as a rector of the University. He has raised $800,000 to endow it.

In 1882 Bishop Spalding visited Rome, and obtained the Papal approval. The proposition was discussed by the Archbishops, called to Rome in 1883, and in 1884 the sanction and benediction of the Pope was promulgated to the Plenary Council in Baltimore. It was expected that the Cardinal, dressed in the red robes of his office, arm-in-arm with the President of the United States, was to strike the blow which would inaugurate the commencement of an enterprise that would exert a felt influence upon the institutions of this fast-growing Republic. Soldiers, belonging to an army seven hundred thousand strong, now enlisted and drilled, and being led by the scarred veterans of the Confederate and Union armies, were to be there, under the command of Mayor General Rosecrans, Grand Marshal, who, with prancing steed and nodding plume, was to place before the eyes of gathered thousands the proof that Church and State were united, and that a willing soldiery were getting ready to enforce the decrees of Rome. Bands of music accompanied the delegations, and filled the air with martial strains, as on Wednesday evening they marched along the streets of Washington.

Archbishops, bishops and priests, monks and nuns and Christian brothers, crowded the homes of expect ant Romanists. Everything was apparently for Rome. The President of the United States left the Presbyterian Assembly in Philadelphia to grace with his presence this occasion. Every member of the cabinet and distinguished statesmen were expected to keep him company. Seats were prepared on the platform for two thousand guests.

That night, in a great hall in Washington, gathered a company of praying people. They saw the peril ; they declared it, and pleaded with God to bring confusion upon the enemies of the faith ; though ministers in Washington as a rule, and the churches almost without exception, recognize the Roman Catholic church as a part of the Christian world, and are opposed to saying anything, or having anything said, that shall provoke discussion, or awaken enmity. Many there are who believe that Romanism is the foe of Christianity, and is yet to be cast down.

Thursday morning came. The day darkened as it climbed towards noon ; the rain came first as a protest. It increased in quantity, and finally fell in sheets. The streets looked like rivers. The procession was abandoned ; the town was held in the grip of the storm. The crowd that gathered about the great stand was roofed with umbrellas. The cardinal and clergy, who expected to pass around the building to bless the foundations, were unwilling to face the storm. At three P.M., a Change of Programme was announced, in these words: "3 P.M. The procession has been abandoned ; but the rest of the ceremony will go on." It did not go on ! The foundations remained unblest ! As Burns said:

" Full many a plan of mice and men Gang oft a-glee."

It is not the first time that Jehovah, by storm and rain, has disconcerted and broken up the plans of Rome. Twice this was done in the days of Napoleon ; when, but for them, he would have been master of the world. But it came and piled his ships on the lee shore, and buried sailor and soldier in a watery grave.

Once this same terrible result was reached when Philip II. of Spain sent his Armada of ships to crush out the power of Elizabeth, England’s noble queen. In our own land, a storm helped us, when hope had almost died out of the heart. In the Old South church, Boston, there stood up the man of God to pray. Liberty was imperilled. A fleet was on its way from the Old World to the New, bearing soldiers, determined to make an end of the attempt to kindle on the shores of this Western World the light of a new-born hope. The wind, that gently lifted a lock of his white hair from his brow, was but the touch of that tempest that engulphed the fleet in ruin and saved the country from peril. That Being who permitted the persecution of the children of Israel until Pharaoh was beside himself with wrath and egotism, and, as if to defy God, followed the people in their march to Canaan, until the floods environed him, when God withdrew the unseen walls which held back the sea and permitted the waters to break forth, smiting horse, men, and riders with the wrath of God, until chariot-wheel crushed into chariot- wheel, and Pharaoh s host, with all their pride and pomp, sank into the bottom of the sea "as a stone," still lives, and Rome, that in spite of warnings and remonstrances had attempted to dominate our intellectual forces, was compelled to halt, and learned again that the " Lady of the Tiber" was to suffer mortification and chagrin, as her beautiful garments were dispoiled by the rain the good rain, that made the meadows glorious, and opened flowers for the coming sun, and that did for Romanism in the United States what the storm did for the Armada in the Channel. The Cardinal that could make the son of a Presbyterian minister bow to Rome that could touch a spring and send seven millions of people in America to obey the behests of Leo XIII., could not control God. "Sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath triumphed gloriously ; " and, in answer to prayer, thwarted the scheme to make an impression by a pageant we do not need, and will not always brook.

It was understood that the corner-stone of the building would be laid, no matter what sort of weather prevailed, so members of the Catholic societies and others went bravely on in the rain, attending to the duties assigned them. The bishops assembled at Father Chapelle s residence at two o clock, where they took carriages with the cardinal and his attendants, and they were driven to the Middleton estate, next to the Soldiers Home, which they had purchased for $27,000. It has a picturesque and commanding location. An old-fashioned driveway, between rows of trees, leading to the old house, starts from the intersection of Lincoln avenue with the Bunker Hill road. The grounds extend to the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the railroad station of Brooks is located there. The distance from the city is two and a-half miles. So out they went, hoping against hope, that the rain would cease.

The ecclesiastical ceremony at the site of the University was planned as follows : The procession was to form at three o clock along the Bunker Hill road. The various divisions were to gather in fields on both sides of the railroad, in such manner that the first division, when it files out, will pass before all the divisions, and each division in turn will march out upon the road, so that the whole long procession will pass in review before the last division, composed of the bishops and clergy. Following an ecclesiastical custom, each division is arranged with the junior organization first. Thus the youngest parish is placed at the head of the division, composed of representatives of parishes, and the oldest last. In the division composed of the clergy, the different bodies are arranged according to their ecclesiastical rank, the Christian Brothers coming first, followed in order by the priests, the bishops, the archbishops, and last by the Cardinal, the highest dignitary. In the programme it was arranged to sing Haydn’s anthem, "The Heavens are Telling," the choir to be accompanied by the full Marine Band. The heavens told, without the song, that America has no need of a Papal university, built to perpetuate the dominion of Romanism and to unify the many elements of which the Roman Catholic church in America is composed. One feature of the institution is the establishment of " University Burses." The "Burse" is a fund out of which the poor students are cared for. Every person is at liberty to contribute to it whatever sum he or she may desire. The object is to aid any bright-minded man whose appetite for scholarly attainment in the scientific, or the historical, or the mathematical fields of knowledge are known, but not brought out because of the lack of means to develop them. The reason for locating the university at Washington was ostensibly, as urged by Father Chapelle, because the Capital is growing rapidly as a social, as well as a political centre ; that its literary circle is a growing and a liberal one ; that a great general library, a superb law library, scientific works and collections, the National Museum, the Observatory, and other public institutions, offered facilities for study that could not be secured else where. In fact, it is the dream of Romanists to make Washington the Rome of America. The Capitol is to be the Vatican ; the great Department- buildings, the homes of her oligarchy, when the Tiber there, as in the Seven-hilled City of Italy, shall give name to the mistress of the Republic which hopes to be mistress of the world ; and when this result is achieved, it would be in keeping to have the Catholic University of America located at that centre of Mary s Land.

It was Thursday evening, May 24th, 1888. A company of lovers of American institutions were gathered in one of the corridors of a great hotel. In came the man who had led the meeting for prayer, and whose face looked as though victory was in the air. He had been all day with the Jesuits. He had seen their discomfiture, and witnessed their mortification, wrath and desperation.

" What is the outlook?"

"All right."

How goes the fight ? " " Never better. Rome has met her Waterloo, and has received a blow she will not soon forget. Cardinal Gibbons finds that he cannot manage God. He is beaten. The archbishop, bishop, and priests realize it. The president, cabinet, and congressmen who have bent the supple hinges of the knee, that thrift might follow fawning, now see it. Whiskey flows as free to-night as water fell today. It is appalling to hear the profanity. Between yesterday and today what a change ! Then all was hope ; now all is gloom ! A leading priest, who invited the speaker to come and witness the ceremony, is despondent enough. The minister reminded him of the prophecy, read to him from Revelation 18:16, and, changing it, said : Alas, alas, that great company, clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, in one hour have been brought to see their helplessness when contending with the Almighty. May it not be a type of the disasters to attend the enterprise? A bad start is a prophecy of what, at least, is possible. The charter – the organism, – all will be opposed. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and the heavens and the earth shall shake ; but the Lord shall be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain. All recognized how the mighty angel may cast Rome down as a stone is thrown into the sea when the truth gets before the people, and the machinations of this foe of liberty are understood."

Tongues were loosened. Rome, though mighty, was not almighty. The truculency of politicians had been of no avail. The president and cabinet went home chagrined ; better, if not wiser, men.

The Great University looked well on paper ; but looked very diminutive to those standing in the mud and rain. So will it be when God shall take Rome in hand. "How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously ; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, mourning, and famine ; and she shall be utterly burned with fire : for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."

Thus spoke the minister to his friend, the priest. The words shook him up. They loosened the foundation on which superstition had been building. The New was coming. The battle was on. Never did a fiercer conflict rage in Washington. The forts were dismantled after the war. Soldiers in blue and gray had gone far away ; yet the city was full of combatants. Months before in a Roman Catholic institution, concerning which a war of words seems to go on from year to year, the minister met the priest. They sat at a table with distinguished Romanists, priests and laymen. Eleven nuns waited on them. After dinner, this priest, distinguished for his courage, cultured, talented, eloquent, made a speech, which presents the doings of the church as seen by Romanists. He praised Rome for what she is, and for what she has achieved. He spoke of the proofs of her greatness, seen in her magnificent cathedrals and churches in all the large cities, the great monasteries, convents, and asylums, crowning the hilltops that look down upon many of our large cities, of the Golden Cross that greets the eye as the traveller passes through the Golden Gate on the California Coast ; while in New York, the gateway of the Western World, Rome, in churches, in schools, in convents, in monasteries, in protectories, and what not, leads all other churches in enterprises and in far- reaching plans.

He claimed that there was more money and more brain under the control of the church in New York than in Rome itself, and that now, while the school system was being shattered and the parochial school had become a fact, Rome was to get control of the youth of America, and could hold her own against all comers. He then spoke with pride of the gift of the descendant of the great opponent of Romanism, the gifted Dr. Breckenridge, whose $300,000 was but the seedling the germ out of which was to come an University that would surprise and astound the world." He sat down, roundly applauded. The chairman then asked the minister if he would like to speak. Consenting, he arose, and said: "The speech of the distinguished priest gladdens you. Make the most of it, while you have it ; it is but for a short time." " What do you mean ? Simply this: There is nothing God Almighty hates as he does Romanism. In 1870 you proclaimed your Pope an infallible God. That act proved him to be the man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Thus was the " wicked revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming."

“Is that your idea?” shouted the priest.

"That is the word of God. By it men and nations are to be judged. You remember that your Pope had hardly been made the church, when the beast Louis Napoleon, on which he rode into power, was destroyed. Then Babylon fell, because of a power which came down from heaven, and which lightened the earth with its glory. Because of this, the cry is going forth as never before : Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues ! Clouds, dark with the wrath of God, are gathering in the sky of Rome ; for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities’

"Gentlemen, you may not know it, but it is true, that God keeps in his ear the cry and shriek of every Waldensian thrown over the Alpine cliff and torn by the jagged rocks ; every body wrenched in twain by the rack of the Inquisition ; every woman whose feet were burned over the brasier of coals ; every martyr who ascended to heaven in his chariot of fire ; all are remembered ; and God says : Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her work in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.

"Then, again, gentlemen, there is a prophecy linked to a fact, to which I have never seen attention called. You have a perfect passion to place all your institutions on elevations. You seek to exalt yourselves in the eye of the people. The Pope exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped ; and you manifest the same spirit in the location of your public buildings. Our Lord said : Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased. Every hilltop crowned with your great structures, proclaims the abasement of the Roman Catholic Church, and even now Christ may have said, Because you have tried to exalt yourselves at the expense of humanity and of brotherly kindness, thou shalt be brought down to hell. He that hurnbleth himself shall be exalted. This is the outlook for Rome. The present condition is not what you paint it. They tell me, if the mortgages were foreclosed on the property Rome claims to own in New York City, she would not have one foot of land, a convent, or a church. What you own would not pay what you owe. Rome is to be uncovered, and then she will be hated. In the battle to be fought, our hope is in God, and you must look out for great defeats."

With that conversation in mind, there was meaning in the results of the day. The priest felt it. He spoke of his disappointment.

"It is hard to contend against an Almighty must," replied the minister; " the hour approaches when Rome shall be fought by Romanists. What means this unrest of the Pope, this feeling that he must get out of Italy and find a refuge somewhere else? Does he not know, does not the world recognize the fact, that Romanism is nothing without Rome ? Let the Pope come to the United States and he would be compelled to walk down Broadway with a stove pipe hat, as Romanists are compelled to wear citizens clothes in Mexico. The current of free thought in America will take care of Romanism. The time is coming when men will be ashamed of the name in which they pandered to Rome." A minister of distinction declines to attack the Roman Catholic Church in Washington, lest offence be given to the representatives of foreign governments, who crowd St. Matthew s on the Sabbath, and the places of pleasure during the week, for Washington is in the lap of Rome. A Cunarder put out from New England for New York. It was well equipped ; but in putting up a stove in the pilot box, a nail was driven too near the compass. You know how that nail would affect the compass. The ship s officer, deceived by that distracted compass, put the ship two hundred miles off her right course, and suddenly the man on the look out cried: "Land ho! "and the ship was halted within a few yards of her demolition on Nantucket shoals. A sixpenny nail did that ; because it was not known that it was misplaced. It shall be the fault of those who will not heed a warning if this Jesuit University shall derange the American compass and send the Ship of State upon the rocks which threaten her.

Shall it be encouraged? It is but a part of a movement to take control of educational interests in the United States. There are 6,800 Roman Catholic churches in the United States, and there are more than 4,000 parochial schools. A movement has begun, to take possession of our public school buildings. Rome withdraws her children from the public school, leaving the seats unoccupied. Then she rents the empty building, and fills it with her children, through the assistance of men elected to do her bidding ; as is done in Pittsburg, Pa., and Maiden, Mass. As has been said, Rome sees clearly the peril which confronts her from secular teaching, and from this day she will spare "no effort to keep her children within sound of her own bell and within the limits of her own instruction. There will be no compromise ; there is no evasion ; open, determined and persistent antagonism to our common-school system is henceforth the attitude and policy of the Roman hierarchy. He who hopes to escape this struggle, or out maneuver this foe is already beaten ; he does not know the antagonist with whom he is fighting.

The universal diffusion of Catholic education means something more than the opening of schools in every parish ; it means a steady and unrelenting attack on our common schools; not on that abstract thing called the common-school system, but on every school in every locality where the Catholic voting population has any strength. This result was inevitable ; Catholics have the same indisposition to pay taxes which characterizes the great majority of men of all faiths. They are compelled to support their own church schools ; they are not disposed to support the common schools in addition ; wherever the way is open they will, as a matter of course, use their power to control or cripple the common schools. The great struggle between our schools and this vigilant and uncompromising foe will not be fought out in Congress or in Legislatures, in newspapers or pulpits ; it will be fought in every school district in the country. There will be no great and decisive battle ; there will be a long series of skirmishes. Every school meeting will be contested, and on the result of these minor contests the struggle itself will turn. Henceforth eternal vigilance will be the price we shall pay for our common schools ; henceforth, no man who cares for his community or his country can afford to shirk a duty which has been more honored in the breach than in the observance.

In many communities these foes of the common school will not lack for allies, who will, consciously or unconsciously, work with and for them ; men who will fail to see that they are being used as tools by a power which has never yet failed of the highest sagacity in using those who are too shortsighted or too selfish to comprehend the real issues involved. The only reply which must be made to the establishment of the parochial school must be the increased efficiency of the common schools.

The actual Ruler of this nation lives not in the White House at Washington, but in the palace of Baltimore. No important editorial affecting the Romish Church is printed until it has been submitted to the Cardinal for his criticism, We wonder at the power exercised. No member of Congress enters Washington but he is weighed in the Romish balances. If he comes down with the shekels for the church and with votes for her policy, all is well. If not, there is a reckoning-time sure to come, and an influence is exerted at once that touches the springs of power in his far away home. As a political machine, Rome is a transcendent success : and the Jesuit was more than half right when he said, " The representative of the Pope in the Vatican is the Ruler of the United States of America."

Continue to chapter 2

Contents of Washington in the Lap of Rome



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