POPISH BISHOPS AND PRIESTS ABSOLVE ALLEGIANCE TO PROTESTANT GOVERNMENTS.
I am aware of the difficulty there is in persuading Protestant Americans, that Roman Catholic bishops and priests teach their people to believe, that they, the priests, possess the power of absolving them, either from their oath of allegiance or any other crime. It is, however, time to speak plainly to Americans. It is time to let them know that there exists in the midst of them a body of people, amounting in number to about two millions, who believe in this doctrine, so corrupt in itself, and so well calculated to disturb the peace and harmony of society. There is not a priest or bishop in the United States who dares deny this; they act upon it every day. It is customary with the priests to confess weekly, and to forgive each other’s sins; and I am sorry to say, from my knowledge of them, since my infancy to the present moment, that there is not a more corrupt, licentious body of men in the world. But I will not be judge, accuser, and witness, in this case. I know well that Americans will take the ipse dixit of no man. They are not in the habit of lightly judging any individual or body of men, in any case. I will, therefore, lay before them the Roman Catholic doctrine on the subject of penance and confession, as taught by the council of Trent, and now believed and practised by Roman Catholics in the United States. I will only add, that I have taught these doctrines myself, when a Roman Catholic priest, and while groping my way through the darkness of Popery. There are many now living who heard and received them from me, and to whom I have no apology to make for the errors into which I led them, except that, like themselves, I was the dupe of early education. The following are some of the canons of the council of Trent concerning penance or confession.
“Whoever shall say, that those words of the Lord and Saviour: Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained; are not to be understood of the power of remitting and retaining sins in the sacrament of penance, as the Catholic church has always understood, from the beginning; but shall falsely apply them against the institution of this sacrament, to the authority of preaching the gospel; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall deny that sacramental confession has either been instituted by divine command, or is necessary to salvation; or shall say that the mode of secretly confessing to a priest alone, which the Catholic church always has observed from the beginning, and still observes, is foreign from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall affirm, that in the sacrament of penance, it is not necessary by divine command, for the remission of sins, to confess all and every mortal sin, of which recollection may be had, with due and diligent premeditation, including secret offences, and those which are against the two last precepts of the decalogue, and the circumstances which change the species of sin: but that this confession is useful only for the instruction and consolation of the penitent, and was anciently observed, only as a canonical satisfaction imposed upon him; or shall say, that they who endeavor to confess all their sins, wish to leave nothing for the divine mercy to pardon; or finally, that it is not proper to confess venial sins; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that the confession of all sins, such as the church observes, is impossible, and that it is a human tradition, to be abolished by the pious; or that all and every one of Christ’s faithful, of both sexes, are not bound to observe it once in the year, according to the constitution of the great Lateran council, and that for this reason, Christ’s faithful should be advised not to confess in the time of Lent; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act, but a mere ministry to pronounce and declare, that sins are remitted to the person making confession, provided that he only believes that he is absolved, even though the priest should not absolve seriously, but in joke; or shall say, that the confession of a penitent is not requisite in order that the priest may absolve him; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that priests who are living in mortal sin do not possess the power of binding and loosing; or that the priests are not the only ministers of absolution, but that it was said to all and every one of Christ’s faithful: Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven; and whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained: by virtue of which words, any one may forgive sin; public sins, by reproof only, if the offender shall acquiesce; and private sins, by voluntary confession; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that bishops have not the right of reserving cases to themselves, except such as relate to the external polity of the church, and therefore that the reservation of cases does not hinder the priest from truly absolving from reserved cases; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that the whole penalty, together with the guilt, is always remitted by God, and that the satisfaction of penitents is nothing else than the faith by which they apprehend that Christ has satisfied for them; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that satisfaction is by no means made to God, through Christ’s merits, for sins as to their temporal penalty, by punishments inflicted by him, and patiently borne, or enjoined by the priests, though not undergone voluntarily, as fastings, prayers, alms, or also other works of piety, and therefore that the best penance is nothing more than a new life; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that the satisfactions by which penitents redeem themselves from sin through Jesus Christ, are no part of the service of God, but traditions of men, obscuring the doctrine concerning grace, and the true worship of God, and the actual benefit of Christ’s death; let him be accursed!
“Whoever shall say, that the keys of the church were given only for loosing, not also for binding, and that therefore the priests, when they impose punishments upon those who confess, act against the design of the keys, and contrary to the institution of Christ; and that it is a fiction, that when by virtue of the keys the eternal penalty has been removed, the temporal punishment may still often remain to be suffered; let him tie accursed!”
I must be permitted here to remind Americans, that all Roman Catholics are taught to believe, and distinctly to understand, that whatever they confess to their priests, is not to be revealed; nor is the individual, who confesses, permitted to reveal whatever the priest says or does to him or her, except to another priest. For instance, should a priest insult or attempt to seduce a woman, and succeed in doing so, she dare not reveal it under pain of damnation, except to another priest in confession, who is bound also to secrecy; and thus, priests, bishops, popes, and all females of that denomination, may be guilty of licentiousness,—the bare mention of which would pollute the pages of this or any other work,—with impunity. The priests can first pardon the woman, and then themselves, according to the doctrines of the infallible church of Rome. This is not all. It is not enough that the sanction of the church should be given to these enormities; but priests also claim the right of concealing, from the civil authorities, any knowledge which they may have of crimes against the state as well as the power of forgiving them. The following is the language of the church upon that subject. Attend to it, fellow citizens, and tremble at the dangers that threaten the destruction of your republic, from the introduction of Popery among you.
“Although the life or salvation of a man, or the ruin of the state, should depend upon it, what is discovered in confession cannot be revealed. The secret of the seal—confession—is more binding than the obligation of an oath.” If a confessor is asked, what he knows of a fact communicated to him, he must answer that he does not know it; and, if necessary, confirm it by an oath; and “this is no perjury,” says the Popish church, “because he knows it not as man, but as GOD.” There is Popery for you, in its naked beauty! If a man wishes to murder, or to rob you, he may go to his priest, apprize him of his intention, confess to him that he will assuredly murder and rob you, or that he has done so already, and yet this priest may be your next door neighbor, and he will not make it known; and why, reader? Because he knows it as God, and as God he tells the murderer to come to him and he will forgive him. It is not at all impossible but the day may come when this country may be at war with Europe. We can easily fancy the despots of Europe forming another holy alliance, for the laudable purpose of suppressing democracy. France, Austria, Spain, Italy, and a large portion of Germany and Switzerland, together with the holy see, would necessarily constitute that holy junto; and if so, and war were declared by them against this country, what would be the consequence? Inevitable ruin; certain defeat; not caused by foes abroad, but by foes within, leagued by the most solemn ties, and bound by the most fearful oaths to sacrifice our country, and all we value, for the advancement of the Roman church.
That there is a foe in the midst of us, capable of doing so, no man acquainted with the doctrines and statistics of the Roman Catholic church in this country can deny.
It has now:—Dioceses, 21; apostolic vicarate, 1; number of bishops, 17; bishops elect, 8; priests, 634; churches, 611; other stations, 461; ecclesiastical seminaries, 19; clerical students, 261; literary institutions for young men, 16; female academies, 48; elementary schools, passim, throughout most of the dioceses; periodicals, 15; population, 1,300,-000. Late accounts carry the population up to 2,000,000.
The increase of the Romish church, in this country, since 1836, amounts to 12 bishops, 293 priests, 772 churches and other stations, 1,400,000 individuals, and other things in proportion.
Should the said church go on increasing for the next thirty years as she has done for the last eight years, the Papists would be a majority of the population of the United States, and the Pope our supreme temporal ruler.
I have stated to you before what the doctrines of these two millions are in relation to the power of the Pope; and I repeat it now, and most solemnly assure you, that there is not a Roman Catholic in Europe or the United States who does not believe that the Pope has as good a right to govern this country as he has to govern Italy; and that he is, and of right ought to be, our king. Pope Gregory VII. has declared, “that the Pope alone ought to wear the tokens of imperial dignity, and that all princes ought to kiss his feet.” There is not a Roman Catholic clergyman, whether bishop or priest, who does not believe that it is the duty of our president, our governors, and magistrates, to do the same.
Bellarmine, one of the best authorities among Catholic writers, says, “The supremacy of the Pope over all persons and things is the main substance of Christianity.” Mark that, fellow-citizens! That is the belief of Bishop Hughes, of New York; that is the belief of Bishop Fenwick, of Boston, and of every other Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, as I will soon show.
Pope Boniface VIII. says, “It is necessary to salvation that all Christians be subject to the Pope.” Bzovius, an orthodox Roman Catholic writer, whose authority no bishop or priest will venture to question, says of the Pope—”He is judge in heaven, and in all earthly jurisdiction supreme; he is the arbiter of the world.” Moscovius, another eminent Popish writer, informs us that “God’s tribunal and the Pope’s tribunal are the same.” Pope Paul IV., in one of his bulls, published in the year 1557, declares, that “all Protestants, be they kings or subjects, are cursed;” and this doctrine is an integral portion of the law of the Roman Catholic church, as may be seen in the fifth book of the decretals of the council of Trent. This is not all. We find in the forty-third canon of the council of Lateran, that “all bishops and priests are forbidden from taking any oath of allegiance,” except to the Pope.
We find in another part of the decrees of the council of Lateran, held under Pope Innocent III., the following denunciation:—”All magistrates who interpose against priests in any criminal case, whether it be for murder or high treason, let him be excommunicated.” Bear that in mind, American Protestants! If a priest murder one of you, if he commit high treason against your government, your magistrates dare not interfere, under pain of being damned. So says the infallible Roman church; and so will she act, should she ever acquire the power of doing so, in this country.
It is said by Lessius, an eminent Jesuit writer, and professor of divinity in the Roman Catholic college of Louvaine, who wrote about the year 1620, and whose authority no Roman Catholic dare doubt, under pain of eternal damnation, that “the Pope can annul and cancel every possible obligation arising from an oath.” This he taught to his students in the college of Louvaine. This same doctrine has been taught in the college of Maynooth, Ireland, where I was educated myself. It is taught there at the present day. See the works of De La Hogue.
Judge you, Americans, what safety there is for your republic, while you support and sustain among you a sect numbering two millions, who are sworn to uphold such doctrines as the foregoing. The very domestics in your houses are spies for the priests. Nothing transpires under your own roofs which is not immediately known to the bishop or priest to whom your servants confess. But you may say, “The confessor will not reveal it.” Here you are partly right, and partly, mistaken; and it is proper to explain the course adopted by priests in such matters as confession.
If it be the interest of the church, that what is confessed should be made public, the priest tells the party to make it known to him, “out of the confessional,” and then he uses it to suit his own views; perhaps for the destruction of the reputation, or fortune, of the very man, or family, employing domestic. But it may be replied that Roman Catholics are good-natured people; that they are generous and industrious. Admitted: I will even go further; there is not a people in the world moreso. Nature has done much for them, especially those of them who are natives of Ireland; but the lack of a correct education has corrupted their hearts and imbittered their feelings; they are not to be trusted with the care or management of the animals of Protestant families.
It is not generally known, nor perhaps suspected by Protestant parents, who employ Roman Catholic domestics, in nursing and taking care of their children, that these nurses are in the habit of taking their children privately to the houses of the priests, and bishops, and there getting them baptized according to the Roman Catholic ritual: I know this as a fact, within my own knowledge. When I officiated as a Roman Catholic priest, in Philadelphia, I baptized hundreds, I may say thousands of Protestant children, without the knowledge or consent of their parents, brought to me secretly by their Roman Catholic nurses; and I should have continued to do so till this day, had not the Lord in his mercy, been pleased to visit me, and show me the wiles, treachery, infamy, corruption, and intrigue of the church, of which the circumstance of birth and education caused me to be a member. It was usual with me in Philadelphia, in St. Margaret church, of which I was pastor, to have services every morning at seven o’clock; and often when I returned home, between eight and eleven, have I found three, four, and sometimes six and eight children, whose parents were Protestants, waiting for me, in the arms of their Roman Catholic nurses to be baptized. This is a common practice in every Protestant country, where there are Roman Catholic priests; but as far as my experience goes, it prevails to a greater extent in the United States than elsewhere; and 1 should not be in the least surprised, if at this time, in the city of Boston, nearly all the infants, nursed by Roman Catholic women, are baptized by their priests and bishops. Roman Catholic women are unwilling to come in contact, even with heretic infants. They believe them damned, unless baptized by a Romish priest. There is another fact, indirectly connected with this subject, which is not generally known. It is believed by Roman Catholics, that all mothers, after their confinement, are to be churched by some Romish priest or bishop. This churching is performed by the repetition of a few prayers, in Latin, a sprinkling of holy water, and the woman who does not submit to this mummery, is believed by any Roman Catholic nurse whom she may employ, to be eternally damned, together with her child. They go so far as to say, that the very ground upon which the unchurched mother walks is accursed; that the very house in which she lives is accursed; and that all she says and does is accursed.
So firmly have the Romish priests and bishops fastened this belief upon the minds of their dupes, that at this moment in Ireland, and I may venture to say in this city of Boston, no Catholic woman will leave her bed after confinement, without being churched, lest the ground on which she walks may be accursed. Until this ceremony is performed, none of her Catholic neighbors will hold any intercourse with her. How then can Protestant mothers expect otherwise, than that Catholic nurses will have their children baptized by priests! or what security can they have that they will not, under the direction of priests, try to turn the minds of their children from the contemplation of truth, and pure gospel light, to the foul sources of Popery and superstition! Look to this, American mothers.
It may not be amiss in this connection, to lay before American Protestants, the doctrine of the Romish church upon baptism; and, lest I may be accused of setting down aught in malice, I shall do so in the words of the council of Trent.
Canons of the Council of Trent concerning Baptism.
“1. Whoever shall say that the baptism of John, had the same virtue as the baptism of Christ; let him be accursed!
“2. Whoever shall say that true and natural water is not absolutely necessary for baptism, and therefore wrests those words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as though they had been a kind of metaphor: ‘Except a man be born of water, and the Holy Spirit;’ let him be accursed!
“3. Whoever shall say that in the Roman church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches, the doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism is not true; let him be accursed!
“4. Whoever shall say that the baptism which is also given by heretics, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the church does, is not true baptism; let him be accursed!
[Here is another of those rules, by which the holy Romish church leaves herself room to impose upon the public. Can any man believe, can any one even suppose a case, where a heretic acts, or intends to act, according to the intention of the church of Rome; The very act of heresy was against that church and her doctrines; and the truth is, if the church would speak honestly, or her priests and bishops do so for her, all who are not baptized in the Romish church, and who are baptized, are eternally damned. So thinks, and so teaches, the Popish church.]
“5. Whoever shall say that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary to salvation; let him be accursed!
“6. Whoever shall say that a baptized person cannot, even if he would, lose grace, how much soever he may sin, unless he is unwilling to believe; let him be accursed!
“7. Whoever shall say that baptized persons, by baptism itself, become debtors to preserve faith alone, and not the whole law of Christ; let him be accursed!
“8. Whoever shall say that baptized persons are free from all precepts of holy church, which are either written or traditional, so that they are not bound to observe them, unless they choose to submit themselves to them of their own accord; let him be accursed!
“9. Whoever shall say that men are so to be recalled to the memory of the baptism which they have received, that they may regard all the vows which are made after baptism as null and void, by virtue of the promise already made in baptism itself, as if by it they detract from the faith which they have professed, and from the baptism itself; let him be accursed!
“10. Whoever shall say that all the sins which we committed after baptism, by the mere remembrance and faith of the baptism received, are either dismissed or become venial; let him be accursed!
“11. Whoever shall say that a baptism, truly and with due ceremony conferred, is to be repeated on him who has denied the faith of Christ among infidels, when he is converted to repentance; let him be accursed!
“12. Whoever shall say that no one is to be baptized, except at that age at which Christ was baptized, or in the article of death; let him be accursed!
“13. Whoever shall say that infants, because they have not the act of faith, are not to be reckoned among believers after having received baptism, and on this account are to be re-baptized when they arrive at years of discretion; or that it is better that their baptism be omitted, than that they should be baptized in the faith only of the church, when they do not believe by their own act; let him be accursed!
“14. Whoever shall say that baptized children of this kind, when they have grown up, are to be asked whether they wish to have that ratified which their sponsors promised in their name when they were baptized; and that when they reply that they are unwilling, they are to be left to their own choice; and that they are not in the meantime to be compelled by any other punishment, to a Christian life, except that they be prohibited the enjoyment of the Eucharist, and the other sacraments, until they repent; let him be accursed!”
This last canon, as the reader perceives, explains fully why Roman Catholics are so anxious for the baptism of Protestant children by their priests. It gives them the power of compelling those children, should they deem it expedient to do so, to profess the Catholic faith, and thereby strengthening her power. They try to alienate the children from the parents; or calculating upon that natural affection with which a parent clings to a child, they hope to bring over the parent also to the Catholic faith; or, failing in this, they hope to break up those alliances of blood which nature has established, and that community of interest and feeling, which society has sanctioned, and religion and nature have blessed, between parent and child.
A true Papist will stop at nothing to advance the power of the Pope, or the interest of the holy church. Heretics, by which the reader will understand all who do not belong to the Roman Catholic church, are to be destroyed, cost what it will. Death, and the destruction of heretics, is the watchword of Popery. Down with Protestant governments, kings, presidents, governors, judges, and all other civil and religious authorities, is the war-cry in Popish countries. They desire neither to live nor die with us. They refuse to be laid down in the same common earth with us. Need this be proved to Americans? One would suppose not. Our intercourse with Roman Catholic countries is such, at present, that there can be no longer any doubt of this fact.
Our commercial transactions with Spain, Portugal, South America, Mexico, and the neighboring Island of Cuba, enables many of our people to judge for themselves, and say what is now the condition of Protestants in those countries where Popery predominates. Can a Protestant worship God in those countries, according to the dictates of his own conscience? He cannot. They are all told by their priests, that a Protestant is a thing too unclean to worship God until he is first baptised and then shrived or confessed by their priests. A Protestant cannot even carry his Bible with him, into these countries. Many of my fellow-citizens, who may see this statement, will bear testimony to its truth. When a Protestant arrives at any port in a purely Catholic country, his trunks and his person are examined; and if a bible is found in them, or about him, it is taken from him. The ministers of his religion dare not accompany him, or if he does, his lips are sealed, under pain of a lingering death. Should sickness lay its heavy hand upon him, there is no minister to attend him, no Bible allowed him, from which he may quench his thirst for the waters of life. Should death visit him, there is no one to close the eyes of the lonely Protestant stranger. A good Roman Catholic would not touch the accursed heretic, and when dead he is not allowed the rights of Christian interment; he must be cast by the wayside, as suitable food for the hog, the dog, and the buzzard. How many a worthy American have I seen myself, in Cuba, cast away when dead, as you would a carrion, not even a coffin to cover him; and why all this? Because he was a heretic; because he did not believe in the supremacy of the Pope, and the infallibility of the Romish church; and yet those inhuman wretches, those libels upon religion and humanity, come among us, ask you for lands on which to build churches and pulpits, from which they curse you and your children; become citizens of your republic, inmates in your families, with smiles on their faces and curses in their hearts for you. Let not this language be deemed exaggeration. I have heard it, I have witnessed it, I have seen it. And yet Americans, heedlessly fancying themselves and their institutions secure, refuse these, their sworn enemies, and foes of their religion, nothing they ask for. Such is the listlessness and apathy of our people upon this subject, that, as far as I am acquainted, no appeal has ever been made to our government, to ask even for a modification of those barbarities, with which our Protestant citizens are treated, in Roman Catholic countries; nor has there been any effort made to alter our free constitution, so as to enable us to retaliate upon those Popish monsters, and obtain from the bloodthirsty cowards, at the point of the bayonet, those common privileges, which are almost among the necessary appurtenances of humanity, and which even a Pagan would scarcely deny to a fellow-being.
I hold it as undeniable, that even as Protestants, we are, at least by implication, entitled by our treaties of alliance with Popish countries, to far different treatment from that which we receive; and had the question been considered by our people, either in their primary meetings, or through their representatives, they would have long since, insisted upon due protection and respect for the natural rights of their citizens abroad. These natural rights can neither be sold nor exchanged; their free exercise is guaranteed by implication in every treaty we make with foreign nations, and cannot be violated by them without giving just cause of war.
Let political casuists say what they please, there is no principle better established in political ethics, than that all international treaties of amity and commerce, should be formed, and if formed, should be kept, upon principles of justice and reciprocity. The same national amity and courtesy, which our Protestant country extends to Popish nations and their people, should be extended by them to us By national friendship and comity, is not, I apprehend, and should not, be meant or understood, the privilege of selling a bale of cotton here or a bag of coffee there. It includes the free exercise of the rights of the parties thereto, so far, at least, as they are not incompatible with each other, or with the general principles of natural or national law. The Spaniard, the Portuguese, the Italian, the Mexican, or Cuban, may worship his God, the Virgin Mary, or any saint he pleases, and no American will disturb him; no American will forbid him. If he dies, his priests may have him buried where he will. This is as it should be. Man has a natural right to worship God; it is a right implanted in his very nature. As well may we say to a man, thou shalt not breathe the air of our country, as say, thou shalt not worship the God that gave thee birth; and as well also may we say, thou shalt not worship that God except according to the mode which we prescribe, as forbid him doing so at all. The natural right of worshipping God, or a first cause, implies the right of doing so according to the dictates of each man’s conscience, provided, in doing it, we interfere with none of those laws, which civilized nations should reverence. This is the principle on which we act with Popish countries and people, and upon the principle of reciprocal justice, we ought to demand similar treatment from them.
We have friendly treaties with these people. Friendly, forsooth! Can that man or that nation be friendly, who forbids us to read our Bibles within their territories, or to bury our dead among their dead, or to worship God according to the usages of our forefathers, or the dictates of our own conscience? Such treaties should rather be termed treaties for the abrogation of natural rights of Americans within Popish dominions. We enjoy no rights there; and if we have any by implication, under our treaties, they are impiously wrested from us by a wicked rabble of priests and bishops, distinguished only for their ignorance, rapacity, and licentiousness.
I solemnly call upon every American citizen, who reveres his God, respects his fellow-citizens, or values the happiness of his country, to submit no longer to Popish insolence abroad, and to allow them no rights in this country, which they are not willing to reciprocate. If our existing treaties of amity with Popish powers are not sufficient to protest us in the free exercise of our religion, when among them, let us break them, let us tear them asunder, and scatter them as chaff before the wind. They were never binding upon us. They were made in violation of natural rights, which God alone could give, and man cannot take away. Call upon your government to protect you; choose no man as your representative who will allow Popery to flourish in this free soil, and witness the religion of your forefathers trampled upon, with impunity, by Papists in a neighboring country; and if you cannot obtain your rights by law, you will show the world that you have, at least, moral and physical courage enough to redress your wrongs.
Let not Papists, who, at the distance of a few days’ sail from your ports, would deny your brother the rights of Christian interment, or the consolation of dying with his Bible in his hand, dare call upon your aid, to propagate a religion, which inculcates principles worse and more dangerous than were ever practised in Pagan lands.
Much sympathy is felt and expressed, particularly in this state of Massachusetts, where I write for some of her colored population, because it is deemed necessary, in slave states, to prevent them from commingling with their slaves, lest they may excite them to dissatisfaction with their condition, and ultimately to insurrection. It is deemed a matter of such magnitude that Massachusetts, in the plenitude of its sympathy, felt herself called upon to send an ambassador to South Carolina, to protect her citizens, and demand redress for this supposed outrage upon her rights. It is not my intention to enter into the merits or demerits of the question at issue between the states of Massachusetts and South Carolina. I will merely state, that the former consists in this, viz: by a law of the state of South Carolina, every free person of color, entering that state, is liable to be imprisoned till he leaves the state. This is done by South Carolina and some other slave states, as a necessary measure of precaution; but the prisoner is kindly treated; at least, we hear nothing to the contrary; no such complaint is made by Massachusetts. The prisoner is allowed the free exercise of his religion; his friends may visit him almost at any hour; his spiritual instructor is never denied access to him; he may have his Bible with him, or any other books he may think proper. But this will not satisfy the sympathizing people of Massachusetts. They call public meetings of their citizens; threaten to dissolve the union; and declare they will raise a sufficient military force to invade South Carolina, and redress this outrage upon a citizen’s rights, at the point of the bayonet.
Man is truly a strange being, and various indeed are the currents of his sympathies, but still more various and unaccountable are the causes which often set them in motion. It is comparatively but seldom, that a colored citizen of the North goes to slave states; but if there should be the least infraction of his civil rights, the whole North flies into a passion; and yet this very people of the North can see the citizens of their own country, kindred, and blood, in a neighboring Popish port of Havana, for instance, deprived of all their rights, both conventional and natural, without a murmur. Not a complaint is heard in New England, from the son, whose father is confined in the dungeons of Cuba, not because he is suspected of any intention to create insurrection, but simply because he refused to kneel to some wooden image, which a parcel of debauched priests are lugging about the streets; or because he expresses his belief that such processions and mummeries are worse than Pagan idolatry.
The American Protestant, who will dare worship his God publicly, or even in private, within the walls of his own house, unless with closed doors, and without the knowledge of the Popish spies of the Inquisition, is liable to imprisonment, from which, in all probability, he is never to be released. If a Bible be found in his house, it is burned, and he and his family are cast into jail. This is the case in every country where the Popish church has power enough to make its religion that of the state; and yet we have treaties of amity, with these countries. What a burlesque upon amity! what a mockery of friendly relations, with a people who deny us the exercise of the natural right which every man has, to worship God as he pleases! who compel our fathers, brothers, and our sons, to bow the knee, in idolatrous worship, to wooden images, and particles of bread, which are paraded as Gods, through the streets, in Roman Catholic countries. Friendly relations, forsooth, with a people who consider us damned, and already consigned to perdition! And yet we hear no complaint in Massachusetts, of cruelties to our citizens; nothing is said of the violation of those friendly relations, secured to us by treaty, and annually declared by our presidents, in their messages, to exist and to be maintained between our people and those Popish countries. When we hear of an American citizen in Cuba, when we hear of his natural rights being trampled under foot, by Catholic governors, bishops, and priests, no complaint is made of a violation of friendly alliance; no meeting is called to express sympathy for the individual sufferer, or indignation against the treacherous government of Popery; no act of our legislature has been passed, making appropriations to send ambassadors to these neighboring nations, for injuries done to our citizens; and yet it is a well-known fact, that where one colored citizen of New England is imprisoned, for a few days, in South Carolina, there are a thousand of our enterprising seamen and merchants, confined in the dungeons of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Mexico, and Cuba, at our very door. How long will these outrages be tolerated? A Popish captain comes here; the hands before the mast are Papists; the ship may have her chaplain, or may have as many little gods, and saints, indulgences, scapulas, beads, and rosaries, as they please; they may land, captain, crew, saints, and all, and no one molests them; but if an American ship arrives at the very port from which the other sailed, her captain and crew are forbidden even to carry their Bible on shore; but should the ship have a Protestant chaplain, and that chaplain venture on shore, with his congregation of sailors—all American freemen—he dare not take his Bible with him, or hold religious worship on this Popish soil; and should this captain, chaplain, or any of the crew die, he is not allowed Christian burial, unless he can buy the privilege from, profligate priests, at an enormous sacrifice of money, and after certain purifications effected by holy water, and smoking, which they call incense. This is what our government calls friendly relations.
How long shall we be amused by the executive messages, annually informing us of receiving “assurances of friendship from Popish countries?” Let the people take this subject into their own hands; let them have no alliance, no treaty, no commerce with a people, who will deny them the right of worshipping God peaceably and respectfully, or who will refuse them the right of burying their dead decently and with due solemnity. The treaties which are made with Papists begin, on their part, with the most solemn avowal of good faith, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. They assure us of their friendly sentiments towards us under this solemn and awful sanction; but no sooner is this promise made—no sooner have they pledged their honor, their faith, and all that is holy, to support it—than they disregard all those obligations, feeling and believing that they are already dispensed with by their church, which teaches them to hold no faith with heretics. The priests, however, and bishops, more crafty than the mass of their people, plead state necessity for withholding from us privileges which we give them. This is a shallow pretext, and worthy only of the source from which it comes. Can any case be supposed, or any necessity arise, to violate the eternal principles of right and wrong, of justice and truth? Are moral and national obligations anything more than mere dead letters and leaden rules, which can be bent by hands strong enough to do so, and to suit their own purposes and designs?
Suppose a man in private life—suppose further that man to be a Papist—he enters into a treaty of alliance and friendship with a Protestant; he calls God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to witness that he will fulfil his engagement; we can easily fancy the Protestant, within the jurisdiction of that Papist, reading his Bible, without interfering or any way molesting the individual within whose jurisdiction he is. Let us imagine this Protestant seized by the Papist, thrown into prison by him, while alive, and if dead, thrown away as food for the birds of prey. Would you call this fulfilling the obligations of friendship or friendly alliance? Would the Protestant ever enter into such a treaty of alliance again? Would not every Protestant who witnessed this transaction look upon the Papist who committed it, even though he be but a private individual, as a bad man, with whom no further intercourse ought to be had? Assuredly, he would. But let it be borne in mind, that actions do not change their nature; immutable principles are always the same; they do not change with the paucity or number of actors; what is bad in an individual will be wrong in a nation, and in every individual of that nation. The only difference is, that an act of perfidy and bad faith in a nation is, if possible, worse in itself, and infinitely more mischievous, than if committed by an individual.
Our political sophists may deny this, and gloss over the conduct of Popish governments towards our citizens while among them; but they cannot long hide from our people that the eternal laws of truth cannot be violated; nor can their meaning be frittered away by the technicalities of treaties. Truth, whether moral or political, is like the suu of heaven; it is but one—it is the same every where. It is sometimes clouded, it is true, but these clouds are momentary; they pass away, and it shines again in its native brilliancy. The day is fast coming, and I trust it has even arrived, when Americans will see, that by a treaty of amity is not meant the right of shipping our commodities to Popish countries, and receiving theirs in exchange; reserving to one party the privilege of denying to the other a right dearer to him than all earthly considerations; and which is guarantied to him by the eternal laws of God, while the other party is under no restraint as to the full and free enjoyment of those natural rights. And here, I beg leave to say to our legislators, that Protestant Americans, upon due reflection, will not long give their assent to any treaty, nor form an alliance with any country, which shall deny them the free exercise of their religion.
The American, who will enter into an alliance with the Pope, or a Popish country, explicitly agrees to deny his God, and forswear the religion of his forefathers. He virtually consents that the party with which he makes the agreement shall be privileged to curse and damn him, his country, his religion, and his rights. This needs no proof. Look around you, and see your citizens in Mexico denying their God by submitting to Popish laws, which forbid their worship according to the dictates of their conscience. Were your puritan forefathers to witness this, would they not exclaim, “Shame upon our degenerate sons, who will barter their religion and their birthright for the petty advantages of commerce!” No wonder that Popish priests and Popish presses should call Americans cowards and the sons of cowards. Who but a coward, and what but a nation of cowards, would surrender that liberty of conscience which their forefathers purchased at the price of blood? This Americans do by assenting to a treaty with any country which does not guarantee to them the right of worshipping God without hindrance. Americans will not forget, though they cannot too often be reminded of the fact, that those countries where their feelings are thus outraged are, de facto, governed by the Pope and his vicegerents, whose actions for centuries back have proved them to have been no other than conspirators against the improvement and happiness of the human race. What were the means by which they conducted their governments? The very same that they are now in every Roman Catholic country, all over the globe; craft, dissimulation, oppression, extortion, and above all, fire, faggot, and the sword. There is not an article of their faith, nor a sacrament of their church, which is not enforced by curses, as I shall show in the sequel. These vicegerents of the humble Redeemer have the insolence to ape the very thunders of heaven. History informs us, that their robes have been crimsoned in blood. Their images of saints, some of which I have seen in Mexico, made of solid gold, and many of them six feet high and well-proportioned, were wrung from the poor.
Many of those countries, which they now possess, and where God and nature have scattered plenty, have been made barren by Popish avarice and the licentiousness of its priests. The fields, which laughed with plenty, they have watered with hunger and distress. They found the world gay with flowers, and with roses: they dyed it with blood. They and their doctrines acted upon it like the blast of an east wind. Popery, since the eighth century in particular, has been what a pestilence or conflagration is to a city.
Come with me, in imagination, to Italy, and judge for yourselves. Pass on with me, to Spain, Portugal, South America, and you will sec that I am not exaggerating. You will find that I have only told truth, but not the whole truth. No tongue can tell it. We have no language to express it. I will give you a few instances of the fruits of Popery in the neighboring island of Cuba. What I am about stating has come under my own observation; and is, besides, a matter of record, and accessible to many. The natives of Cuba pay fifteen millions per annum to her most Christian Majesty, the queen of Spain. They support an army of sixteen thousand men, every one of whom is a native of old Spain, kept there for the sole purpose of extorting this enormous annual tribute. The number of priests there is immense. They, too, must be supported at the point of the bayonet. These priests are known to be the most profligate vagabonds in creation. And why, it will naturally be asked, should such men be tolerated? Why supply them with money to gamble at the faro table, at cock-fights and bull-fights? The reason is plain; they act as spies for the Pope, who, in reality, manages the government of old Spain, and contrives to draw, from that already impoverished and distracted country, the last dollar of a people whom God has endowed with every virtue, and a capacity of cultivating them, had not the curse of Popery fallen upon them.
- SYNOPSIS OF POPERY, AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS.
- ORIGIN OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPE.
- POPISH BISHOPS AND PRIESTS ABSOLVE ALLEGIANCE TO PROTESTANT GOVERNMENTS.
- Life in Roman Catholic Countries
- Crusade against the Albigenses
- The Pope apes the very thunders of heaven
- MASSACRE OF THE HUGUENOTS.
- The folly of uniting with the Catholic Church