Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse

  • The cause of Popery and despotism identical
  • Striking difference between Popery and Protestantism as they exist in this country
  • American Protestantism not controlled by foreign Protestantism
  • American Popery entirely under foreign control
  • Jesuits the foreign agents of Austria, bound by the strongest ties of interest to Austrian policy, not to American
  • Their dangerous power-unparalleled in any Protestant sect
  • Our free institutions opposed in their nature to the arbitrary claims of Popery
  • Duplicity to be expected
  • Political dangers to be apprehended from Roman Catholic organization
  • American Roman Catholic ecclesiastical matters uncontrolled by Americans or in America
  • Managed in a foreign country by a foreign power for political purposes-Consequences that may easily result from such a state of things.

I EXPOSED in my last chapter the remarkable coincidence of the tenets of Popery with the principles of despotic government, in this respect so opposite to the tenets of Protestantism; Popery, from its very nature, favoring despotism, and Protestantism, from its very nature, favoring liberty. Is it not then perfectly natural that the Austrian government should be active in supporting Catholic missions in this country? Is it not clear that the cause of Popery is the cause of despotism?

But there is another most striking and important difference between Popery and Protestantism, in their bearing upon the liberties of the country. No one of the Protestant sects owns any head out of this country, or is governed in any of its concerns by any men or set of men in a foreign land. All ecclesiastical officers are nominated and appointed or removed by the people of the United States. No foreign body has any such union with any sect of Protestants in the United States, as even to advise, much less to control any of its measures. Our Episcopalians appoint their own bishops without consulting the church of England; our Presbyterians are entirely independent of the church of Scotland ; and our Wesleyan Methodists have no ecclesiastical connection with the disciples of Wesley in the old world. But how is it in these respects with the Catholics? The right of appointing to all ecclesiastical offices in this country, as every where else, is in the Pope, (now a mere creature of Austria. He claims the power, as we have seen, by divine right. All the bishops, and all the ecclesiastics down to the most insignificant officer in the church, are from the genius of the system entirely under his control. And he, of course, will appoint none to office but those who will favor the views of Austria. He will require all whom he appoints, to support the agents whom Austria is sending to this country for the accomplishment of her own purposes.

And who are these agents? They are, for the most part Jesuits, an ecclesiastical order, proverbial through the world for cunning, duplicity, and total want of moral principle; an order so skilled in all the arts of deception that even in Catholic countries, in Italy itself, it became intolerable, and the people required its suppression. They are Jesuits in the pay and employ of a despotic government, who are at work on the ignorance and passions of our community; they are foreigners, who have been schooled in foreign seminaries in the doctrine of passive obedience; they are foreigners under vows of perpetual celibacy, and having, therefore, no deep and permanent interest in this country; they are foreigners, bound by the strong ties of pecuniary interest and ambition, to the service of a foreign despot.

Footnote: The foreign Emissaries of Popery rewarded in their own country. This is a matter deserving of serious attention. Where now is Bishop Cheverus, who passed about fourteen years in Boston? He was a foreigner, with no ties to this country, paid for his services by a foreign government, he had a duty to his foreign masters to perform. What that duty was, may now easily be conjectured. Boston, as the capital of New- England, was considered at the time he arrived, the strong hold of Protestant, of Anti-Popish principles. Popery was there, and throughout New-England, held in the greatest abhorrence, for to Popery may be traced, though remotely, yet clearly, the persecutions which drove the Pilgrim fathers to this country The history of those fathers, for ages previous, is but the history of hard fought battles, to wrest from Popish usurpation those invaluable rights, civil and religious, which they fled to this wilderness securely to enjoy. Ere popery then could expect to gain foothold among the descendants of the persecuted Puritans, their almost innate abhorrence to popery must be overcome. What plan could be better devised to accomplish the end, than to send the mild, conciliating, gentle Bishop to demonstrate by his example and his teaching, that Popery was not that monster their fathers had taught them to believe it to be, or at least that now the tyrant had grown mild and tolerant. If this were the design, no plan could have been more successful. Who that has visited Boston, does not know the epithets with which Bishop Cheverus’ name is coupled. The good bishop, the liberal bishop, the excellent, pious, tolerant, mild bishop. Now all this might have been and perhaps is true of the bishop. The instrument was well chosen, his duty was well accomplished, and he receives the reward of a faithful servant from his foreign masters, in a translation to the wealthy archbishopric of Bordeaux.

Again, where is Bishop Dubourg, of New-Orleans? He has resided in this heathen land his stated time, and having accomplished the duty prescribed to him is translated to the Bishopric of Montauban, in France.

And again, where is Bishop Kelly, of Richmond, Va.? He also sojourns with us until his duties to foreign masters are performed, and then is rewarded by promotion at home to the Bishopric of Waterford and Lismore.

And where, soon will be that busy, pompous Jesuit, who has been so often announced as passing and repassing between Rome, Vienna, and the United States, Bishop England? 1f report speaks truth, he is soon to be rewarded for his services in the cause of his foreign masters with a Cardinal’s hat. The following from the Dublin Freeman’s Journal, preceded by a nauseous mass of fulsome compliment, gives substance to the report:-“After escorting these ladies (some nuns) to Charleston, Dr. England proceeds without delay as Legate from the Pope to Hayti [sic Haiti], over the ecclesiastical affairs of which republic he carries with him from the Holy See the most full and unlimited powers; from which we confidently trust ere long he will again return to Europe, to receive as some reward for all his labors and services, a Cardinal’s hat; for instead of receiving dignity from, should such an appointment take place, Dr. England will confer dignity upon the sacred purple.”

Now in view of these instances of services in this country, rewarded by appointments in Europe, the question naturally occurs: What interest have these servants of a foreign despotism in the free institutions of this country? What sympathies with American liberty can these foreigners have, educated, as they have been in their own country, in the principles of despotic institutions, living but temporarily in this country, (whose entire political system is diametrically opposed to their whole education,) and looking forward, after their task is performed, to a recall to comfortable benefices and high places of profit and honor at home, to rewards devised by Austria and the Pope, and meted out to their faithful advocates according to the zeal and devotion manifested to their interests? What would be said of the Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, or Methodist, or Baptist clergy, were they announced as foreigners sent from England, who after a short sojourn of active service in this country, were known to be recalled and promoted in their own country, to be Bishops, and dignified officers under the British government? Is there no danger to our free institutions from a host commanded by such men, whose numbers are constantly increasing by the machinations and funds of Austria?

Consider, too, the power which these Jesuits and other Catholic priests possess through the confessional, of knowing the private characters and affairs of all the leading men in the community; the power arising from their right to prescribe the kinds and degrees of penance; and the power arising from the right to refuse absolution to those who do not comply with their commands. Suppose such powers were exercised by the ministers of any other sect, the Episcopalian, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Baptist, &c. what an outcry would be raised in the land! And should not the men who possess such powers be jealously watched by all lovers of liberty?

Is it possible that these Jesuits can have a sincere attachment to the principles of free institutions? Do not these principles oppose a constant barrier to their exercise of that arbitrary power, which they claim as a divine right, and which they exercise too in all countries where they are dominant? Can it not be perceived, that although they may find it politic for the present to conceal their anti-republican tenets, yet this concealment will be merely temporary, and is only adopted now, the better to lull suspicion? Is it not in accordance with all experience of Popish policy, that Jesuits should encroach by little and little, and persevere till they have attained to plenitude of power. At present they have but one aim in this country, which absorbs all others, and that is to make themselves popular. If they succeed in this we shall then learn, when too late to remedy the evil, that Popery abandons none of its divine rights. The leaders of this sect are disciplined and organized, and have their adherents entirely subservient to their will. Here then is a regular party, a religious sect, ready to throw the weight of its power, as circumstances may require, ready to favor any man, or set of men, who will engage to favor it. And to whom do these leaders look for their instructions? Is it to a citizen or body of citizens belonging to this country; is it to a body of men kept in check by the ever jealous eyes of other bodies around them, and by the immediate publicity which must be given to all their doings? No, they are men owning no law on this side of the ocean; they are the Pope and his Consistory of Cardinals, following the plans and instructions of the imperial cabinet of Austria,-plans formed in the secret councils of that cabinet, instructions delivered in secret, according to the modes of despotism, to their obedient officers, and distributed through the well disciplined ranks in this country, to be carried into effect in furtherance of any political designs the Austrian cabinet may think advantageous to its own interests. And will these designs be in favor of liberty? With a party thus formed and disciplined among us, who will venture to say that our elections will not be under the control of a Metternich, and that the appointment of a President of the United States will not be virtually made in the Imperial Cabinet of Vienna, or the Consistory of Cardinals at Rome? Will this be pronounced incredible? It will be the almost certain result of the dominion of Popery in this country.

But we need not imagine that it will always be deemed expedient to preserve the name of President, or even the elective character of our chief magistrate. How long would it take the sophistry that deludes the mind of its victim into the belief of a man’s infallibility, and fixes the delusion there indelibly, bindinghim soul and body to believe against the evidence of his reason, and his senses; holding him in the most abject obedience to the will of a fellow-man; how long, I say, would it take such sophistry to impose the duty of acknowledging the divine right of an emperor over the priest conquered vassals of this country- vassals well instructed in the Russian Catechism, and prepared to worship, love and obey as their Lord and Master, some scion of the House of Hapsburg,-the Emperor of the United States?

Continue to chapter 5



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