Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse

  • Some of the means by which Jesuits can already operate politically in the country-By mob discipline-By priest police
  • Their great danger-Already established
  • Proofs Priests already rule the mob
  • Nothing in the principles of Popery to prevent its interference in our elections
  • Popery interferes at the present day in the politics of other countries
  • Popery the same in our country-It interferes in our elections
  • In Michigan-In Charleston, S. C.-In New-York
  • Popery a political despotism cloaked under the name of Religion
  • It is Church and State embodied
  • Its character at head-quarters in Italy
  • Its political character stripped of its religious cloak

BUT some of my readers, notwithstanding they may be convinced that it is for the interest of despotism to subvert our institutions, and are even persuaded that this grand enterprise has been actually undertaken, may be inclined to ask in what manner can the despots of Europe effect, by means of Popish emissaries, any thing in this country to counteract the influence of our liberal institutions? In what way can they operate here?

With the necessity existing of doing something from the instinct of self-preservation, to check the influence of our free institutions on Europe, with the funds provided, and agents on the spot interested in their plans, one would think it needed but little sagacity to find modes and opportunities of operating, especially too, when such vulnerable points as I have exposed, (and there are many more which I have not brought forward,) invite attack.

To any such inquirers, let me say, there are many ways in which a body organized as are the Catholics, and moving in concert, might disturb (to use the mildest term) the good order of the republic, and thus compel us to present to observing Europe the spectacle of republican anarchy. Who is not aware that a great portion of that stuff which composes a mob, ripe for riot or excess of any kind, and of which we have every week or two, a fresh example in some part of the country, is a Catholic population; Footnote: Priests control the Mob. If farther proof were wanting of the fact of the supreme influence of the Catholic priests over the mob, it is opportunely furnished in the testimony on the trial of the rioters at Charlestown, (Mass.). Mr. Edward Cutter testified that the Lady Superior, in an interview previous to the burning of the convent, thus threatened him; she said “the bishop had 20,000 of the vilest (or boldest) Irishmen under his control, who would tear down the houses of Mr. Cutter and others; and that the selectmen of Charlestown might read the riot act till they were hoarse, and it would be of no use.”But if any doubt is thrown over Mr. Cutter’s testimony because he is a Protestant, hear what the Lady Superior herself testifies; “I told him,” she says, that “the Right Reverend Bishop’s influence over ten thousand brave Irishmen might lead to the destruction of his property, and that of others.”

Here we have the startling fact, acknowledged in a court of justice by the Superior of the convent, that the Bishop has such influence over a mob of foreigners, that he can use them for vengeance or restrain them at pleasure. The question that occurs is, How much stronger is it necessary for this foreign corps to become, before it may prudently act offensively against our noxious Protestant institutions? The fact is established by Catholic testimony, that the Popish population is not an unorganized mob, but is moved by priestly leaders, Jesuit foreigners in the pay of Austria. They are ready to keep quiet or to strike as circumstances may render expedient. But exclusive of other proof, another most important fact is rendered certain by this singular confession of the Lady Superior, and that is Roman Catholic interference in our elections. Jesuits are not in the habit of slighting their advantages, and the Bishop who can control ten or twenty thousand, or five hundred thousand men, as the case may be, for the purpose of destruction and riot, can certainly control the votes of these obedient instruments! Will not American freemen wake to the apprehension of a truth like this? and what makes it turbulent? Ignorance, an ignorance which it is for the interest of its leaders not to enlighten; for enlighten a man and he will think for himself, and have some self-respect; he will understand the laws and know his interest in obeying them. Keep him in ignorance, and he is the slave of the man who will flatter his passions and appetites, or awe him by superstitious fears. Against the outbreakings of such men, society, as it is constituted on our free system, can protect itself only in one of two ways: it must either bring these men under the influence and control of a sound republican and religious education, or it must call in the aid of the priests who govern them, and who may permit, and direct, or restrain their turbulence, in accordance with what they may judge at any particular time to be the interest of the church. Yes, be it well remarked, the same hands that can, whenever it suits their interest, restrain, can also, at the proper time, “let slip the dogs of war.” In this mode of restraint by a police of priests, by substituting the ecclesiastical for the civil power, the priest-led mobs of Portugal and Spain, and South America, are instructive examples. And start not, American reader, this kind of police is already established in our country! We have had mobs again and again, which neither the civil nor military power have availed any thing to quell, until the magic ‘peace, be still’ of the Catholic priest has hushed the winds, and calmed the waves of popular tumult. Footnote: At the time this was written, riots in this country were almost entirely confined to the emigrants from foreign countries employed as laborers on our rail-roads, canals,&c. While I write, what mean the negotiations, between two Irish bands of emigrants, in hostile array against each other, shedding each other’s blood upon our soil, settling with the bayonet miserable foreign feuds which they have brought over the waters with them? Why have not the civil and military power been able to restore order among them, and obedience to our laws, without calling in the priests to negotiate and settle the terms on which they will cease from violating our laws? Footnote: As our readers have probably forgotten the particulars of the affair here alluded to, we subjoin from the Journal of Commerce, a copy of the agreement subscribed by the leaders of the riot. The civil and military authorities of Maryland had tried repeatedly, but in vain, to quell the riot.-Ed. Obs.

From the Journal of Commerce.

THE RIOTERS.-It appears by the following notice, that the rioters on the Baltimore and Washington Rail-road have concluded a treaty of peace, through the intervention of a priest. There was considerable talk during the late riots in this city, of calling in the agency of the priests, to put an end to the disturbance. No doubt it would have been effectual.


On the 24th of June, 1834, the subscribers, in the presence of the Rev. John McElroy, have respectively and mutually agreed to bury forever, on their own part, and on behalf of their respective sections of country, all remembrance of feuds and animosities, as well as injuries sustained. They also promise to each other, and make a sincere tender of their intention to preserve peace, harmony, and good feeling between persons of every part of their native country without distinction.

They further mutually agree to exclude from their houses and premises all disorderly persons of every kind, and particularly habitual drunkards. They are also resolved, and do intend to apply in all cases where it is necessary, to the civil authorities, or to the laws of the country for redress-and finally they are determined to use their utmost endeavors to enforce, by word and example, these, their joint and unanimous resolutions.

Signed by fourteen of the men employed on the 4th, 5th, and 8th sections of the 2d division, B. and W. R. R. } on behalf of all employed. And also by thirteen of the 8th section of the 1st division. } on behalf of all employed.Have the priests become necessary in our political system?

Have the emissaries of a foreign despotic power stolen this march upon us? Can they tell their foreign masters, “we already rule the mob?” Yes, and facts will bear them out in their boasting. Footnote: See previous footnote “Priests control the Mob.”

And what now prevents the interference of Catholics as a sect directly in the political elections of the country? They are organized under their priests: Is there any thing in their religious principles to restrain them? Do not Catholics of the present day use the bonds of religious union to effect political objects in other countries? Did not the Pope interfere in Poland in the late revolution, and through the priests command submission to the tyranny of the Czar? At the moment I am writing, are not monks and priests leaders in the field of battle in Spain; in Portugal? Is not the Pope encouraging the troops of Don Miguel, and exciting priests and people to arms in a civil contest? Has Popery abandoned its ever busy meddling in the politics of the countries where it obtains foothold? Footnote: Political interference of Popery. The kind of interference in the political affairs, of other countries by the Sovereign of Rome, may be learned from the following extracts from the Pope’s Proclamation against Don Pedro in which he thus speaks of Portugal.-He laments the defection of “That kingdom, cited, until now, as a model of devotion and of fidelity to the Catholic faith, to the Holy See, and to the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors; a kingdom which, as is meet, has already felt it an honor to obey its Sovereigns, distinguished by the title of Most faithful Kings. We confess that we could not at first believe what report and public rumor related upon enterprises so audacious, but the unexpected return to Italy of him who represented us in the said kingdom as Apostolic Nuncio, and the most positive testimony of many persons, soon convinced us that what had been previously announced to us was but too true.

“It is then as certain as it is greatly to be deplored, that the above-mentioned Government has unjustly driven away him who represented our person and the Holy See, commanding him to quit the kingdom without delay. But after so gross an insult offered to the Holy See, and to us, the audacity of these perverse men bas been carried still further against the Catholic Church, against ecclesiastical property, against the inviolable rights of the Holy See. Considering that all these measures have been exercised, almost at the accession of a new Power, and in consequence of a conspiracy prepared beforehand, our mind is filled with horror, and we cannot refrain from tears. All the public prisons have been opened, and, after having let those who were detained there go forth, they have thrown into them, in their place, some of those of whom it is written, Touch not my Anointed. Laymen have rashly arrogated to themselves a power over sacred things; they have proclaimed a general reform of the secular clergy, and of religious orders of both sexes.

“After enumerating various acts of rigor of the new government against those priests, monks and other ecclesiastics, who had taken an active part in the civil war, the Pope continues:-“For this reason, venerable brethren, we expressly proclaim that we absolutely reprobate all the decrees issued by the aforesaid government of Lisbon, to the great detriment of the Church, of its holy ministers, of the ecclesiastical law, and Holy See prerogatives; we, therefore, declare them to be null and of no effect, and express our most serious complaints against the audacious measures we have referred to; we declare that in exercising the duties of our office, and with God’s help, we will oppose ourselves as a wall for the House of Israel, and show ourselves in the combat at the day of the Lord, as the interests of religion and the gravity of circumstances may require.”

He hopes this low rumbling of the thunders of the Vatican will prevent his “having recourse to those spiritual arms with which God has invested his apostolic ministry,” namely anathemas, curses of excommunication, &c. And these are not the records of doings of the dark ages, but are fresh from the papal throne, the acts of 1833.

Will it be said, that however officious in the old countries, yet here, by some strange metamorphosis, Popery has changed its character, and is modified by our institutions; that here it is surely religious, seeking only the religious welfare of the people, that it does not meddle with the state? Footnote: If any suppose that Popery meddles not with civil matters in this country, let them peruse the following extract of a letter from one of their missionaries.

“Mr. Baraga to the Central Direction of the Leopold Foundation, dated L’ARBRE CROCHE, October 10th, 1832.

” * * On the 5th of August, after partaking the sacrament of confirmation, the bishop called all the chiefs and head men of the mission, and made known to them some civil laws, which he had made for the Ottowas. The Indians received these laws with much pleasure, and promised solemnly to obey them. The missionary and four chiefs are the administrators of these laws.


Here is a specimen of the disposition of Popery to meddle in civil matters in this country where it has the power; the Bishop is the propounder, and the Missionary one of the administrators of the civil laws. It is not true that Popery meddles not with the politics of the country. The cloven foot has already shownitself. Popery is organized at the elections! For example: In Michigan the Bishop Richard, a Jesuit (since deceased,) was several times chosen delegate to Congress from the Territory, the majority of the people being Catholics. As Protestants became more numerous, the contest between the bishop and his Protestant rival was more and more close, until at length by the increase of Protestant immigration the latter triumphed. The bishop, in order to detect any delinquency in his flock at the polls, had his ticket printed on colored paper; whether any were so mutinous as not to vote according to orders, or what penance was inflicted for disobedience, I did not learn. The fact of such a truly Jesuitical mode of espionage I have from a gentleman resident at that time in Detroit. Is not a fact like this of some importance? Does it not show that Popery, with all its speciousness, is the same here as elsewhere; it manifests, when it has the opportunity, its genuine disposition to use spiritual power for the promotion of its temporal ambition. It uses its ecclesiastical weapons to control an election.

In Charleston, S. C., the Roman Catholic Bishop England is said to have boasted of the number of votes that he could control at an election. I have been informed, on authority which cannot be doubted that in New-York, a priest, in a late election for city officers, stopped his congregation after mass on Sunday and urged the electors not to vote for a particular candidate, on the ground of his being an anti-Catholic; the result was the election of the Catholic candidate.

It is unnecessary to multiply facts of this nature nor will it be objected that these instances are unworthy of notice, because of their local or circumscribed character. Surely American Protestants, freemen, have discernment enough to discover beneath them the cloven foot of this subtle foreign heresy, and will not wait for a more extensive, disastrous, and overwhelming political interference, ere they assume the attitude of watchfulness and defence. They will see that Popery is now, what it has ever been, a system of the darkest political intrigue and despotism, cloaking itself to avoid attack under the sacred name of religion. They will be deeply impressed with the truth, that Popery is a political as well as a religious system; that in this respect it differs totally from all other sects, from all other forms of religion in the country? Popery embodies in itself THE CLOSEST UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Observe it at the fountain head. In the Roman States the civil and ecclesiastical offices are blended together in the same individual. The Pope is the King. A Cardinal is Secretary of State. The Consistory of Cardinals is the Cabinet Council, the Ministry, and they are Viceroys in the provinces. The Archbishops are Ambassadors to foreign courts. The Bishops are Judges and Magistrates, and the road to preferment to most if not all the great offices of State is through the priesthood. In Rome and the patrimony of St. Peter the temporal and spiritual powers are so closely united in the same individual, that no attack can bemade on any temporal misrule, without drawing down upon the assailants the vengeance of the spiritual power exercised by the same individual. Is the Judge corrupt or oppressive; and do the people rise against him, the Judge retires into the Bishop, and in his sacred retreat cries “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.”

Can we not discern the political character of Popery? Shall the name of Religion, artfully connected with it, still blind our eyes? Let us suppose a body of men to combine together, and claim as their right, that all public and private property, of whatever kind, is held at their disposal; that they alone are to judge of their own right to dispose of it; that they alone are authorized to think or speak on the subject; that they who speak or write in opposition to them are traitors, and must be put to death; that all temporal power is secondary to theirs and amenable to their superior and infallible judgment; and the better to hide the presumption of these tyrannical claims, suppose that these men should pretend to divine right and call their system Religion, and so claim the protection of our laws, and pleading conscience, demand to be tolerated. Would the name of Religion be a cloak sufficiently thick to hide such absurdity, and shield it from the frown of public indignation? Take then from Popery its name of Religion, strip its officers of their pompous titles of sacredness, and its decrees of the nauseous cant of piety, Footnote: Through the Leopold foundation reports there is this perpetual cant of piety. We have “pious prelate,” “pious purpose,” “pious end,” “pious curiosity,” “pious dread,” and even “pious progress,” and “pious dress.” and what have you remaining? Is it not a naked, odious Despotism, depending for its strength on the observance of the strictest military discipline in its ranks, from the Pope, through his Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, &c., down to the lowest priest of his dominions? And is not this despotism acting politically in this country?

Let us suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the Emperor of Russia, in a conceited dream of divine right to universal empire, should parcel out our country into convenient districts, and should proclaim his intention to exercise his rightful sway over these States, now not owning his control. Should we not justly laugh at his ridiculous pretensions? But suppose he should proceed to appoint his Viceroys, Grand Imperial Dukes, giving to one the title of “his Grace of Albany,” to another the “Grand Duke of Washington,” and to another “his Imperial Highness of Savannah,” and should send them out to take possession of their districts, and subdue the people as fast as practicable to their proper obedience to his legitimate sway. And should these pompous Viceroys, with their train of sub-officers, actually come over from Russia, and erect their government houses, and commence by compliant manners and fairpromises to procure lands and rentals to hold in the power of the Emperor, and under the guise of educating the rising generation should begin to sap the foundations of their attachment to this government, by blinding their reasoning faculties, and by the Russian catechism instilling the doctrine of passive obedience and the divine right of the Emperor, what should we say to all this? Ridiculous as the first conceited dream of imperial ambition appeared, if matters got to this pass, we should begin to think that there was something serious in the attempt, and very properly too, be a little alarmed. Suppose then further that the Emperor’s cause, by Russian emigration, and the money supplied by the Emperor, had become so strong that the Viceroys were emboldened in a cautious way, to try their influence upon some of the local elections, that the Russian party had become a body somewhat formidable, that its foreign leaders had their passive obedience troops, so well under command as to make themselves necessary in the police of the country, that we feared to offend them, that the secular press favored them; Footnote: Is this a harsh judgment on the secular press? If a secular paper ventures to remonstrate against Catholics, is not the cry of intolerance or persecution at once raised and the editor scared away from his duty of exposing the secret political enemies of the republic, under the false notion that he is engaged in a Religious controversy? and the unprincipled courted them; to what point then, in the process of gradually surrendering our liberties to the Russian Czar, should we have come; and how near to their accomplishment would be those wild dreams of imperial ambition, which we had in the first instance ridiculed?

And is this a caricature? What is the difference between the real claims, and efforts, and condition of Popery at this moment in these United States, and the supposed claims, and efforts, and condition of the Russian despotism?

The one comes disguised under the name of Religion, the other, more honest and more harmless, would come in its real political name.

Give the latter the name of Religion, call the Emperor, Pope, and his Viceroys, Bishops, interlard the imperial decrees with pious cant, and you have the case of pretension, and intrigue, and success too, which has actually passed in these United States!

Yes, the King of Rome, acting by the promptings of the Austrian Cabinet, and in the plentitude of his usurpation, has already extended his sceptre over our land, he has divided us up into provinces, and appointed his Viceroys who claim their jurisdiction, Footnote: “Indiana and Illinois, two states depending on my jurisdiction!”-[My Lord Bishp Flaget’s letter.] from a higher power than exists in this country, even from his majesty himself, who appoints them, who removes them at will, to whom they owe allegiance, for the extension of whose temporal kingdom they are exerting themselves, and whose success let it be indelibly impressed on your minds, is the certain destruction of the free institutions of our country.

Continue to chapter IX



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