The Serpent around the Capitol of Washington

It would require the genius of a Disraeli to do justice to the many-sided characteristics of fashionable life in Washington. More and more, throng there, during the winter months, the women of fashion and the men of note, who make Saratoga, Newport, and Long Branch places of attraction and repute during the summer. Washington is becoming a great winter resort. People come there, some for politics, some for office, some for patronage, and others for the rich pickings or plums of party favor bestowed by their representatives in the House and Senate, by the men whom they have been delighted to honor with their support at home, and who feel that obligation and interest alike, compel and command them to do for them all in their power to make their sojourn in Washington a delight.

The receptions at the White House, the spreads given by the members of the Cabinet and other officials of high life, foreign and home, furnish abundant entertainments to which entrance is not difficult, and is within the reach of the deserving. In fashionable life, a re many citizens of Washington who understand etiquette, and are leaders and directors of the movements which bring pleasure or pain. Some ambitious relative- of a distinguished official gets her name on the page of the Court paper, and becomes a ruling star. Round her gather lesser lights. Ambitious young men connected with the army or navy, with foreigners of distinction, or attaches of the ministers who represent foreign countries, rival the young Congressman, the son of a senator, or mayhap a President, or the bright and noble array of newspaper men, who hold in their hands the making or unmaking of reputations, the successful writer, orator, or financier, who are there with an eye to business, and are regarded as a great catch at home, and therefore as objects of regard abroad, share in the pleasures of the dance, chat at the supper, and play their part in the saloon of fashion, brilliant with light, and radiant with the confiscated rays flashing from brilliant diamonds worn in profusion by the attractive American women, who are becoming each year sought after by the titled and great of this and other lands. Among these are Jesuits, without the name, dressed in the height of fashion, capable of conversing in any tongue, and so able to bring together the Cuban and the pride of Paris, the German and the sweet-toned Italian ; standing as an intermediate not only between different nationalities, but different sects and classes. They know life. They have influence with the great. They sport in the light of the Red- Robed Cardinal, who keeps his high place as prince of the church, and as ruler in the political world, to an extent little appreciated by the uninitiated. Ever on the watch to bring a Protestant of influence, or of wealth which in Washington creates influence into association with a Roman Catholic of prominence and position, it is not difficult- to see that on this continent Washington opens to Romanism a field of richest possibilities. Beside them, and working with Brothers of the Order, are female Jesuits, as well-trained ; distinguished for skill in diplomacy, in finesse, always ready to leave any ordinary occupation to further the interests of the church.

At their head for years and years, ranked that cultured and famed wife of a great general who wears on her breast the” Golden Rose,” presented by the Pope of Rome. Associating with her are ladies who rank high in Evangelical associations, and who are always ready to accept a second or a subordinate place on boards of hospitals or homes ; where they vote as they are bidden, and help to place power and patronage under the control of that one great organism which works parties, senates, and supreme courts, with an eye not to God’s glory, but the good and growth of the party of Rome. As proof, read a few well-known facts.

It was at a magnificent party, a beautiful girl, on her father’s arm, paused, and shook the hand of a distinguished gentleman whose prospects brightened every hour as the probable nominee for the presidency. He made a passing and complimentary remark, which brought a blush to the cheek, brightness to the eye, and a thrill of joy to the heart. Not far away stood a young man, the son of a Protestant, a student at Princeton, enamored of her beauty and glad to hear her praises spoken by one so highly esteemed. In a little time he was at her side. They were together evening after evening. Every hindrance was removed. Room was given them. Invitation followed invitation to places where pleasure reigned. There were those who saw the game and wished it well. The Jesuits were delighted. The President had placed the church of Rome under great obligations, by having his Secretary of State address a letter to the Italian government, asking that the American College be saved from confiscation. It was done ; and the name of the President, as his own successor, was taken up on the tongue of the press, and rolled like a sweet morsel for months. He deserved what was said of him. He was an honest, true, and good President, and proved that he was an exception to the rule, that a Vice-President succeeding to the presidency must be a traitor to the party who elected him.

It was thought that he could be used as an instrument in furthering a scheme upon which thought, money, and much planning had been bestowed. He, the son of a Baptist minister, had married an Episcopalian, and had been led by his wife into the more fashionable church, and was one of the most devout of worshippers. The Jesuits saw in that step but the beginning that might lead him into the fold of a church in which apostolic succession was a claimed verity, and not a pretence. Along this path thou sands had marched into the embrace of Rome. Why not this cultured man? Up came the happy couple to this polite and clear- sighted man, who, handsome in face, faultless in dress, dignified in mien, and courteous in speech, is the centre of attraction.

As the young and happy couple pass, a friend to the President remarks:”A most desirable match!”

She is a Roman Catholic,” replied the President.

” What of that?” was the outspoken ejaculation, as a shadow of disappointment swept over the faces of the Jesuitical throng;”surely, that would not form an obstacle in the opinion of a gentleman who allowed his heart-love to rule so much of his life as was shown in his devotion to his wife.”

The President’s face flushed, and his eye flashed, as he replied:”It would make a vast difference. Between a girl professing faith in Christ and a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and a Roman Catholic, is a wide remove. Should the young man marry into that home, they will be compelled either to be married in a Roman Catholic church with its attendant display, or an altar must be built in the home, and the bridegroom must consent to having their offspring given up to the church of Rome. This would, in my opinion, be an inseparable barrier to the union.”

A polite acquiescence was given.

In another part of the room was a hurried conversation. That woman distinguished in securing the advancement of any one connected with the Roman Catholic church, from a man who empties ash-barrels to one seeking a Cabinet appointment, spoke warmly and wisely: Sound him. Find out if those are his views. If so, we will have done with him.”

To the girl the words were recited. She would gladly have turned from Rome. She was tired of its empty nummeries, and longed for something better. These men, who know so well the weaknesses of women, knew how to manage her. She soon found herself fenced in to Jesuitical influences, and apart and away from Protestant associations.

A Jesuit took the young man to ride, and there learned that he would stand with his household that he would not surrender to Rome.

The father of the girl, a devout Roman Catholic, believed he could remove the hindrance. The house hold quoted the words of the President in approval. To the President went the Congressman, assured of his power to carry all before him. The son of a Baptist minister, born in the north of Ireland, and knowing Romanism as it is, and hating it because of its deserts, was firm and decided. Archbishop, bishop, priest and Jesuit, tried to persuade, and finally to compel. In vain! Rome had reached a stone wall! It could not go over it. It was difficult to go around it! At this time the President was riding on the high and crested wave of popularity. A second term was an assured fact, in the estimation of the million. His name was on the world’s broad tongue like the sound of the falling of a force. His praises filled the press, and rolled like a tide current over the world. He was honest, capable, industrious, and a mighty manipulator of men. His knowledge of the requirements of high life surpassed all his predecessors. As a club man, he was an authority ; and as a referee in difficult cases, his decisions were marked by sound judgment and fairness, and were not appealed from. To break such a man, seemed like a herculean task ; but the Jesuits said it should be done, if he did not bow to Rome.

The health of the young lady gave way. The Jesuits made the most of it. The father and the magnates of the church grew desperate. There was great commotion in fashionable life. Rome had never been baffled before. Could she be baffled now?

The Congressman, beaten and almost broken, took his daughter to his home, where she died, it is said, with a broken heart. This was as the Jesuits desired. Then came the organizing against the President, and in favor of a man more subtle, more complaisant, more ready to yield.

As was natural, thought turned towards a General of the army, the friend and companion of Grant, and the most popular man in Washington. His tall form ; short, quick, nervous step ; always well dressed, but never gaudily ; a hater of new clothes, and of new ways ; with an extraordinary head, big and full at the top ; with a brain that had been too big for the body, had not the latter been developed into a bundle of iron tissues by the hardest of physical exertions, he was a man to be pointed out as the commanding feature of any gathering. His” great campaigns, in which he generally slept on the ground without a tent, in the earlier part of his military career, gave him a constitution which served him well. His face was rough, and it had a strong expression. He was pat-tongued. Epigrams flew from it like sparks from an anvil. Though nominally a member of the church, he was noted for his profanity. He carried a cigar in his mouth almost as much as Grant. When he smokes he smokes all over, so to speak. He seems to be disgusted with his cigar, and sucks in its nicotine as though it was the hardest thing in the world to get it to draw. He brushes off the ashes with a quick, nervous gesture, and throws away the cigar when it is only half smoked. He uses the weed fully as much as any man in the army.

“The shape of his head was much discussed at the time it was alleged he was a lunatic. This was when he told Simon Cameron and Lorenzo Thomas that it would take 200,000 men to drive the rebels out of Kentucky. These two gentlemen laughed at the idea, and would not accept his advice concerning Kentucky. He then asked to be relieved. He was ordered elsewhere, and another took his place. This was on November 30, 1861 ; and on the same night, the report that he was crazy was sent out by a correspondent of one of the New York papers.

“During the first part of Andrew Jackson’s term he lived in the family of Senator___ , at___ , O___. , a sleepy country-town of perhaps a couple of thousand inhabitants, where the boys loafed about the stores and listened to the older loafers tell stories. His comrades called him * Gump, and one of them says he was among the laziest of them, and that he could always be found at the stores of an evening. 4 He was a different fellow/ says this gentleman, from ___ , who was a great reader, and a sort of plodder. Gump had a great idea of going to West Point, and he talked of it continually. I shall never forget the day his uncle finally got him his appointment. He was so happy he could hardly contain himself, and he almost walked on the air for several days.

“He graduated at the early age of 20, and entered the artillery, serving first in the Florida war, as first- lieutenant during the Mexican war, in California as adjutant-general. Ten years after he graduated he married his patron’s daughter, who was then Secretary of the Interior, and the wedding came off in grand style at Washington. Clay, Webster, Calhoun and Tom Beiiton were all present, as was also the President and his cabinet. He was thirty years old then. His beard was a dingy red, and he had a face bronzed with service in the West. The couple went to New York, Niagara Falls, and then to Washington. He stayed in the army three years after his marriage ; but in 1853 resigned, and went to San Francisco, where he opened a broker’s shop. He afterward had a bank at No. 12 Wall Street, New York City. But neither of these ventures could have paid very well ; for very shortly after, we find he left for Kansas, where his brothers-in-law were practicing at the bar.

“His family are missed, in a social way, for the general was the life of many a dinner table. He lived very nicely here, in a three-story building, on street, very near the White House, Worrnley’s Hotel, and the Riggs. Here he had an office in the basement, where you could find him at odd hours working away. At the War Department he was, perhaps, the most busy man in the great building. He seemed to be always going at lightning speed. In his eyes the department clerk was as good as the long-winded United States senator, and if he were in a good humor, the clerk would be just as well received. If he were in a bad humor and this was by no means uncommon both had better keep away. This quality of the general has tended much to the good of the army. Military men, especially of the lower orders, are inclined to pomp and snobbery. His blunt, off-hand ways, his plain, practical ideas, and his bold way of calling a spade, a spade, has done much to foster common sense among the military men here.

“His habit of sometimes letting his feelings carry him away came near being his ruin in the days following the accession of Andrew Johnson. Johnson, you know, repudiated his agreement with Joe Johnston at the time, though he afterwards practically adopted it. One of the leading war correspondents of the time tells the story. He says:

“Sullen at the repudiation of his agreement with Johnston, angry at the interference of Gen. Halleck with the co-operative movements of himself and ___ , furious at the countermanding of his orders by the Secretary of War, he marched to Washington with his army, breathing vengeance upon Halleck, and hate and contempt upon Stanton. No nation safely before witnessed such a spectacle a victorious general, at the head of 80,000 men devoted to him and jealous of his fame as a part of their own, marching to the capital of the country, with threats against his military superiors breathing from his lips and flowing from his pen. For days he raved around Washington, expressing his contempt for Halleck and Stanton in the strongest terms, and denouncing them as mere non-combatants whom he despised. He wrote to his friends, and through them to the public, comparing Halleck and Stanton to cowardly Falstaffs, seeking to win honor for the deeds he had done, accusing the Secretary of War of suppressing his reports and endeavoring to slander him before the American public in official bulletins. For days his army roamed the streets of the capital with the same freedom with which they had roamed through the fields of war, and no man dared to raise his voice in condemnation of their leader or approval of the superiors who had opposed him. No Republic ever was in such danger before, and yet the danger was hardly suspected.

“This affair, however, blew over, and he never was called to account for his actions. No record was made of the offense against discipline, which in any other country would have cost him, not merely his position, but his reputation, and in many armies his life. Still, in all this he never meditated anything against the Government and never forgot his allegiance.” {Frank G. Carpenter, in Special Correspondence}

The timber out of which to make a President was clearly in this man. The wife being approached was not averse to whatever might give power to the church, and so readily yielded consent. It was believed that the manner in which the father had surrendered his idolized son to the Romish priesthood, was an indication of his readiness to yield compliance to their demands.

He was in St. Louis when the proposition was broached.”It won t do,” replied the great General.”My wife is a Roman Catholic, and most devoted to the interests of the church. That is enough. The country would never give its support to a man who, when elected, would be compelled to see the White House overrun with priests.” That outspoken man was abandoned.

There was another ready. A man born a Roman Catholic, converted to the Protestant faith, professedly, and having united with the Congregational church, and having a wife devoted to Christian work, moving in the first circles, seemed to be fitted, if it could be managed. There was much in his favor. His relatives were all Roman Catholics. His mother died in the church, and he had said that for a”dozen presidencies, he would not say a word against the religion of his mother.” His two sisters were at the head of two convents. His brother was a devout Romanist, and it was said that his father died in that faith. In the town and much in society, was a man sixty years of age, who was noted for wearing on his breast a medal given him by Pio Nono, because he belonged to his Pontifical Guard.


Turn to this man as suited to their plan. He is introduced into the family of the senator. He becomes acquainted with the daughter. Barriers are removed. The way is open. Marriage is proposed. The daughter joins the Roman Catholic church, and an altar is built in the home, and the”medal” soldier of Pio Nono marries the daughter of the most magnetic man of the age.

At once his name is taken up. Banners are worked for him.”The dividing of the Irish vote is spoken of as a desirable result. Here is a man, born a Roman Catholic, and becoming a Protestant, and yet supported by Romanists for the Presidency. Is not that a proof that in this land there is no danger from Rome? That Romanists can separate church State, and vote for a man who left them, and yet not so bigoted as to oppose them? It seemed as it the American people were dead to apprehension. The Pope was spoken of as a well-meaning gentleman. Romanists in high positions began to be consulted by politicians. The bargain was made. The goods were not delivered. Never was a more propitious time to act. The guns of Protestantism were still. In all the land, with here and there an exception, those who had fought Romanism had grounded arms. Romanism was a menace, no more. From every altar the nominee was praised, and tickets were given to the faithful to be deposited in the ballot box.


There is but one answer: God was against the sale. At a great reception, which was claimed to be a spontaneous outpouring of the ministry connected with the Evangelical denominations, to offset any fear arising from the statement which was going abroad, that the proposition had been made to the Vicar- Generals of the Archbishop of New York and Brooklyn,”Give me the Roman Catholic vote, and I will do for Romanism what has never been done before”

So the ministry came from far and near. The gentleman expected to deliver the address was called away. The Rev. Dr. Burchard was invited to take his place. He was an old man, given to alliterations. He said, in a low voice, so low that few heard it,” We are Republicans, and don t propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.”

A reporter of the Press overheard these words, took them down, sold what he claimed would defeat the Republican and elect the Democratic candidate, and having pocketed his money, gave them wing.

The words were caught up and flashed over the world. Had the nominee said, That is true, all would have been well. Why did he not say it? He could not! Behind him was the altar, the giving away of his child, the bargain, the Jesuit host all about, the demand that he prove himself true to Rome, however false he might be to the principles professed when he turned from Rome and gave himself professedly to Christ. The next day it was printed ; and he said: “For a dozen presidencies, would not say a word against the religion of my mother.” Why not? If the religion of his mother was so bad that he decided he ought to turn from it, it was so bad that it ought to be opposed, no matter who professed it.

Defeat came. Why? One paper called it” bad luck.” The candidate said,” It was because it rained ;” and other excuses were given.

Was it” bad luck,” or God? It is a question which Americans will do well to answer.

On the deck of an ocean steamer, men discuss the probable chances of prominent men for the presidency. Among them is a Jesuit, who keeps his own counsel. Just opposite the Never Sink, as they approach the harbor of New York, the Jesuit asks one who has been foremost in the discussion,” Do you know who selects your President?”

“The people,” was the swift reply.



“The Pope of Rome. Everyman who succeeds has to have his endorsement.”

“My friend,”said the politician,” your words remind me of a story. A Quaker friend was in conversation with a neighbor who was addicted to falsehood. One day, when he had told a whopper, he said: Friend A___ , I do not like to call thee a liar, but if the Mayor of Philadelphia should ask me to show him the greatest liar I ever knew, I would go to thee and say, Friend A___, the Mayor wants to see thee. And so, sir, though I would not like to call you a liar, this I will say, never was a man more mistaken. Let it be known whom Rome wants, and the American people will want and have the other man, and the history of our late conflict proves it. Rome may conspire against, and perhaps defeat, but cannot elect. She may hinder, but cannot control.”

“As an illustration, who is more popular than this man? For whom was such a welcome ever prepared? True, Home did her best, and pulled the wires well, and the menials who do her bidding thought to throw the nominee of the party into the shade, and foist this man to the chief place again ; but once more a power they could not control took charge of affairs. Seventy-five thousand people looked and waited ; some of them tossed on the waves grew sick and weary, and he did not come. The play came on with Hamlet left out, and once more the Hand which wrote on the palace-wall,” Mene, mene, tekel, apharsin,” appeared, the plan was marred, and the scheme was ruined.

Will this teach the people that it is safe to be true? Jesuitism is potent, but not all-potent. God Almighty has managed the affairs of this world a good while. As a result, the Pope is a prisoner in the Vatican, and Romanism needs only to be exposed to be expurgated from the plans of politics, and the purpose of this great free nation.

Continue to chapter 14

Contents of Washington in the Lap of Rome



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