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Native Americanism

Brownson's Quarterly Review, January, 1845

Art. IV.  Catholicism compatible with Republican Government, and in full Accordance with Popular Institutions. By Fenelon. New York: Edward Dunnigan. 1844. 8vo. pp. 48.

We have read this pamphlet with pleasure and instruction. It is written in good temper, a mild and forbearing tone, and with a good share of ability. It triumphantly refutes the oft repeated slander, that the Roman Catholic Church is incompatible with republican institutions and popular freedom; and, though it contains a few expressions, and concessions even, which we do not quite approve or believe warranted, we commend it to the members of the American Protestant Society, and especially to those of the so-called Native American party. They can hardly fail to profit by its careful and diligent perusal.

We have, however, introduced this pamphlet not for the purpose of reviewing it, but simply as the text of some few remarks which we are desirous of offering on the subject of Native Americanism. We are ourselves native-born Americans, and have never, saving on one occasion, and then only for a few hours, been out of the territory of the United States. We hope we are not deficient inwhat in our view is a high virtue  the true love of country. Though not blind to the faults of our countrymen, and endeavouring on all occasions to place the love of God before the love of country, we have believed ourselves to possess some share of genuine patriotic feeling. We know we have loved American institutions ; and we are ready to vindicate them, with what little ability we may have, on any occasion, and against any and every sort of enemies. But we confess that we have no sympathy, we have had from the first no sympathy, with what is called Native Americanism. We have seen no necessity for a movement against foreigners who choose to make this the land of their adoption ; and we have felt that such a movement could lead to no good, but might lead to results truly deplorable.

We have been accustomed to trace the hand of a merciful Providence in reserving this New World to so late a day for Christian civilization ; we have been in the habit of believing that it was not without a providential design, that here was reserved an open field in which that civilization, disengaging itself from the vices and corruptions mingled with it in the Old World, might display itself in all its purity, strength, and glory, and work out for man here on earth a social order, which should give him a foretaste of that blessed social order to which the good hope to attain hereafter. We have regarded it as a chosen land, not for one race, or one people, but for the wronged and downtrodden of all nations, tongues, and kindreds, where they might come as to a holy asylum of peace and charity. It has been a cause of gratulation, of ardent thankfulness to Almighty God, that here was founded, as it were, a city of refuge, to which men might flee from oppression, be free from the trammels of tyranny, regain their rights as human beings, and dwell in security. Here all partition walls which make enemies of different races and nations were to be broken down; all senseless and mischievous distinctions of rank and caste were to be discarded ; and every man, no matter where born, in what language trained, or faith baptized, was to be regarded as man, as nothing more, as nothing less. Here we were to found, not a republic of Englishmen, of frenchmen, of Dutchmen, of Irishmen, but of men ; and to make the word American mean, not a man born on this soil or on that, but a free and accepted member of the grand republic of men. Such is what we have regarded as the principle and the destiny of this New World; and with this, we need not say, Native Americanism is directly at war.

Native Americanism is a retrograde step. It is going back to the barbarous ages, when the human race was divided into septs and clans, and the same word designated both a foreigner and an enemy. It is at war with all the popular tendencies of modern ages, at war with the whole spirit of modern civilization, which is to break down the barriers of caste and nation, and melt all into one great, united, and loving family, and above all, with the spirit and the law of our holy religion, which teaches us to embrace a brother wherever we find a human being;  for all have one Father; one God hath made us all, one Lord Jesus Christ hath redeemed, one Holy Ghost stands ready to quicken and sanctify us ; and we are all bound in one faith, one hope, and should be in one charity, which is greater than all, and which levels all distinctions, proclaims and maintains a divine equality among all men. Love of country, love of man, love of God, love of our holy religion, respect for the growing intelligence of modern times, and attachment to modern civilization with its equalizing and elevating tendencies, all compel us to set our faces against the retrograde movement that would induce us to estimate a man according to his nation, and determine his rights by the simple accident of his birth.

The great principle of true Americanism, if we may use the word, is, that merit makes the man. It discards all distinctions which are purely accidental, and recognizes only such as are personal. It places every man on his own two feet, and says to him, Be a man, and you shall be esteemed according to your worth as a man; you shall be commended only for your personal merits; you shall be made to suffer only for your personal demerits. To each one according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works. This is Americanism. It is this which has been our boast, which has constituted our country's true glory. It is this which we have inherited from our fathers ; it is this which we hold as a sacred trust, and must preserve in all its purity, strength, and activity, if we would not prove "degenerate sons of noble sires"; and it is this, which Native Americanism, so called, opposes,  and because it opposes this, no true American can support it.

There is, when we look at the condition of the mass of the people in those countries in the Old World from which emigration takes place, something grateful to all our better feelings in the thought, that here is a home to which the oppressed can come, and find the rights, the respect, and the well-being denied them in the land of their birth. The emigrant's condition is not a little improved by "touching upon our shores ; and the condition of his brother-laborers, whom he leaves behind, is also not a little ameliorated, and the general sum of well-being is greatly augmented. On the simple score of philanthropy, then, who would not struggle to keep our country open to the emigrant, and be prepared to welcome him as a brother, and to rejoice that another is added to the family of freemen ?
But even as a question of our own interest as a people, we should welcome the foreigner. If we should sit clown and reckon up what we lose and what we gain by foreigners coming to settle among us, we should find the gain greatly overbalances the loss. Naturalized citizens constitute no inconsiderable portion of our population, and by no means the least important portion. Without these, what would have been our condition now ? Whose labor has cleared away many of our Western forests, dug our canals and railroads ? and by whose labor and practical skill have we introduced our manufactures, and brought them to their present high state of perfection ? In all the branches of manufactures, in nearly all branches of mechanical industry, the head workmen, if we have been rightly informed, are foreigners. And why foreigners, rather than native-born ? feurely, not because there is any partiality for foreigners over native Americans, but because they are more thorough masters of their business. Then, who man our navy, of which we are so justly proud ? and who constitute, in time of war, the rank and file of our army ? Not all foreigners, truly ; but not a few who were not born on American soil. No small portion of our hardy seamen are of alien birth; but they are none the less true to our flag on that account, nor any the less freely do they spill their blood for our national defence or national glory. VVe do not agree with the assertion said to have been made by a foreigner residing amongst us, and conducting a foreign and not an American journal, that native Americans are cowards; and it we did, we have still too much of the old Adam, and ol the narrow feeling of former times, to suffer him, without rebuke, to tell us so. Americans are not trained to war, and we devoutly pray that they never may be; for war is a terrible calamity, that may with honor be averted at any price, save that of the sacrifice of liberty itself; but they are not deficient in courage, and will, when necessary, face the enemy as boldly as any other people on the globe. Nevertheless, our ranks are not dishonored by foreigners, and no native-born citizens have ever done our country's flag more honor or fought more valiantly in its defence, than the brave and warm-hearted Irish ; and none would do us more efficient service again, were we so unhappy as to be involved in a war. In the Revolution, we found men not born in America could fight manfully for liberty, and then they were not considered as in the way of the native-born. It was no loss to us to reckon in our army a Montgomery a Gates, a De Kalb, a Steuben, a Pulaski, a La Fayette. No ; man is man, wherever born ; and every freeman is our brother, and we should clasp him to our bosom.

As a party movement, we regard the Native American party as contemptible. Take it as a movement of Native American citizens against foreigners who come amongst us to claim the rights and to perform the duties of citizens, it is founded on low and ungenerous prejudices,  prejudices of birth, which we, as a people, profess to discard. We, as a people, recognize no nobility founded on birth ; for our principle is, that all who are born at all are well-born. But what is the effort to confine the political functions incident to citizenship to native-born Americans, but the attempt to found an aristocracy of birth, even a political aristocracy, making the accident of birth the condition of political rights ? Is this Americanism ? Shame on the degenerate American who pretends it ! He is false to his American creed, and has no American heart.

We, of course, do not oppose Native Americanism on the untenable ground, that every man has a natural right to be a citizen, and to take part in the administration of the government. The right of suffrage is a municipal right, not a natural right. But we, as a people, have adopted, with slight restrictions, the principle of universal suffrage. We, as a people, hold that the government is safest, where all the people have a voice in saying what it shall be and who shall be its administrators. We adopt universal suffrage, not indeed as a right, but as a dictate of prudence. We hold that we select better men to rule us, and enact wiser and more equitable laws, by admitting the great body of the people to a participation of political sovereignty, than we should by confining the sovereignty to one man or to a few men. We hold that the people are best governed, when they constitute and manage the government themselves. This is the political creed of the country ; and he is false to his country, who would abolish it, or defeat its practical application. Foreigners, who come here, have, then, in view of the acknowledged principles of the country, a right to be admitted to citizenship, to the rank and dignity of freemen ; and could rightly complain of injustice, if not so admitted.

But we are told that the Native American party does not propose to exclude foreigners from the country, nor from citizenship. It only wishes to prevent them from coming here and exercising the rights of citizens before being properly instructed in the duties of citizens. This plea is specious, but not solid. It is the public, ostensible plea ; but not the private, real one. The real design is, to exclude foreigners, to prevent them from coming here, by denying them the right to become citizens.    We have never conversed with an advocate of the party who did not avow this. But take the plea as publicly offered. It is contended that foreigners, brought up under monarchical or aristocratical governments, cannot be expected, on arriving on our shores, to understand the nature of our peculiar form of government, and that it is necessary for them to serve a long novitiate before they can be prepared to enter upon the duties of freemen. The necessity of intelligence, of understanding well our peculiar institutions, on the part of every man who is to exercise the rights and to discharge the duties of a citizen, we certainly shall not dispute, whether the man was born at home or abroad. But the ignorance of the foreigners who come here is greatly exaggerated. Brought up under monarchical or aristocratical governments, one would naturally expect^ them to be averse to our democracy, and in favor of institutions similar to those with which they had been accustomed. But no complaint of this kind is ever made against them. Foreigners who come here and condemn our institutions, show contempt for them, and wish to exchange them for institutions similar to those they have left behind, are in general cordially welcomed, and treated with great consideration. The complaint is the reverse of this, and the opposition to naturalized citizens is, in fact, not that they do not understand the genius of our government, but that they do understand it; not that they do not adhere to it, but that they do adhere to it, and too strenuously insist on its being administered according to its genuine spirit and original intent. Their offence is in being democratic, and in wishing the government to be administered on truly democratic principles. It is not their ignorance of the real nature of our institutions, but their intelligence of them, that constitutes their disqualification in the eyes of the Natives. But pass over this. The naturalization laws, as they now are, require a foreigner to reside in the country five years before he can become a citizen, or be legally naturalized. This is five years after the man has become of full age. Now, it is fair to presume that an emigrant to this country, intending to come here and to make this his home, has before coming made some inquiries respecting the country, the character of its people, its government, and laws ; and he may be judged to know as much of them as in general one of our own boys at the age of sixteen. In most cases he knows much more, but assume that he knows as much. Then he and the native-born are placed on the same footing. Each must wait five years before entering upon the discharge of his duties as a citizen ; and who will pretend to say that a man fr om the age of twenty-one to twenty-six cannot learn as much of what those duties are, as the boy from sixteen to twenty-one ? The law, as it now stands, exacts in reality as long a novitiate of the foreign-born as of the native-born ; and even on the ground of time to be instructed in one's duties, no more needs to be altered in the case of the one than of the other.

But, politically speaking, this objection is not the real one. The leaders, we mean at this moment political leaders, of the Native American party, are opposed to naturalized citizens solely on the ground that these citizens do not uniformly vote on their side. Many of them, but not the majority of them, have the audacity to vote the Democratic ticket, and for Democratic men and measures. This is their so\q political offence. We do not discover that our Whig friends object to the votes of naturalized citizens when given for them, nor to naturalizing them, if they feel sure of their suffrages. Why not say so, then, and let the honest truth come out ? Surely, honest men, high-minded men, the true nobility of the earth, as all our Whig leaders are, can have no objections to avowing their real intentions, and the real motives from which they act. Such men will never show false colors!

But the objection to foreigners is not exclusively political, nor chiefly political. The Whig leaders are opposed on political grounds, because a large portion of foreigners are supposed to vote for the Democratic party. But below this is another objection, which operates chiefly amongst the laboring classes. The mass of the people, especially of those who live on from father to son in the same position and pursuit, retain almost for ever their primitive prejudices. The great mass of what may be called the common people in this country are of English descent,  for we are all of foreign extraction ; and they have inherited from their ancestors, and still retain, two strong prejudices,  contempt of the Irish and hatred of the French. There is no use in disguising the fact. The assistance the French rendered us in the Revolution has mollified our feelings somewhat towards them, but we still bear them no real good-will. But the national English contempt for the Irish has been reinforced in America. The Yankee hod-carrier, or Yankee wood-sawyer, looks down with ineffable contempt upon his brother Irish hod-carrier or Irish wood-sawyer. In his estimation, u Paddy " hardly belongs to the human family. Add to this that the influx of foreign laborers, chiefly Irish, increases the supply of labor, and therefore apparently lessens relatively the  demand, and consequently the wages of labor, and you have the elements of a wide, deep, and inveterate hostility on the part of your Yankee laborer against your Irish laborer, which manifests itself naturally in your Native American party.

But this contempt of the Irish, which we have inherited from our English ancestors, is wrong and ungenerous. The Irish do notdeserve it, and it does not become us to feel it. It is a prejudice disgraceful only to those who are governed by it, and no words of condemnation are sufficiently severe for the political aspirant who would appeal to it. Every friend to his country, every right-minded man, must frown upon it, and brand as an incendiary, as a public enemy, the demagogue, whether in a caucus speech in old Faneuil Hall or elsewhere, whether admired by the whole nation for his transcendent abilities or not, who should seek to deepen it, or even to keep it alive. It is a sad day for the peace and prosperity of the country, when your Websters and Archers can so far lay aside their senatorial dignity, and so far belittle themselves, as to appeal to this prejudice ; and, to avail themselves of it for political purposes, raise the standard of Native Americanism. The country, humanity, have a right to demand something better of these men, and, if they do not retrace their steps, and atone for their dereliction from justice and prudence, they will not only be stripped of their hard-won honors, but sent down to posterity amid the scorn and hisses of every man in whose bosom beats an American heart.

But, after all, the competition, which our Native American laborers so much dread, is far less than they imagine. The foreign laborers do not, in general, come directly into competition with them. A great part of the labor they perform is labor which the native Americans could not or would not perform, themselves. Then, the increased demand for labor in other branches of industry, caused by the works carried on mainly by the labor of foreigners, fully compensates, perhaps more than compensates, the native American laborers for any loss they may sustain in the few cases of competition which there really may be. Viewed in all its bearings, the influx of foreign laborers has very little, if any, injurious effect on our own native laborers. The immense internal improvements completed or in process of completion would never have been attempted, if the reliance had been solely on native labor, and, consequently, none of the additional labor employed in the various branches of industry, which these improvements have stimulated, would have been in demand.    The laboring class, as a class, has really gained in the amount of employment by the increase of laborers, and of course, then, in the price of labor. Labor begets the demand for labor. Individuals may have suffered somewhat, in some particular branches, but upon the whole the laboring class has been benefited.

But the real objection lies deeper yet. The Native American party is not a party against admitting foreigners to the rights of citizenship, but simply against admitting a certain class of foreigners. It does not oppose Protestant Germans, Protestant Englishmen, Protestant Scotchmen, nor even Protestant Irishmen. It is really opposed only to Catholic foreigners. The party is truly an anti-Catholic party, and is opposed chiefly to the Irish, because a majority of the emigrants to this country are probably from Ireland, and the greater part of these are Catholics. If they were Protestants, if they could mingle with the native population and lose themselves in our Protestant Churches, very little opposition would be manifested to their immigration or to their naturalization. But this they cannot do. They are Catholics. They adhere to the faith of their fathers, and for which they have suffered these three hundred years more than any other people on earth. Being Catholics, they hold religion to be man's primary concern, and the public worship of God an imperative duty. They accordingly seek to settle near together, in a neighbourhood, where the Church may rise in their midst, within reach of the altar where the " clean sacrifice " is offered up daily for the living and the dead, and where they can receive the inestimable services of the minister of God. Hence, they seem, because in this respect their habits differ from those of our Protestant countrymen, to be a separate people, incapable even in their political and social duties of fraternizing, so to speak, with their Protestant fellow-citizens. Here is the first and immediate cause of the opposition they experience.

 But deeper yet lies the old traditionary hatred of Catholicism. The majority of the American people have descended from ancestors who were accustomed to pray to be delivered from the flesh, the world,'the Devil, and the Pope; and though theyhave in a great degree rejected the remains of faith still cherished by their Protestant ancestors, they retain all their hatred of Catholicism. If they believe nothing else, they believe the Pope is Antichrist, and the Catholic Church the Scarlet Lady of Babylon. When the Catholic Church is in question, all the infidels and nothingarians, to use an expressive term, are sure to sympathize with their Protestant brethren.
Pilate and Herod are good friends, when it concerns crucifying the Redeemer of men. This is, perhaps, as it should be. Hence, the great mass of the American people, faithful to their traditions, are inveterately opposed to Catholicism, and it is this opposition that manifests itself in Native Americanism, and which renders it so inexcusable and so dangerous.
We presume there are few who will question this statement. The "Native Americans " with whom we have conversed, all, to a man, avow it, and the late disgraceful riots and murder and sacrilege in Philadelphia prove it. There, no harm was done to Protestant foreigners. Hostility was directed solely against Catholics. They were Catholics, who were shot down in the streets,Catholic churches, seminaries, and dwellings, that were rifled and burnt. Even the most active members of the Native American party, if we may be pardoned the Hiber-nianism, are in many cases foreigners. The notorious ex-priest Hogan, a foreigner and an Irishman, deposed for his immoral conduct, is, if we are rightly informed, a most zealous Native.) and has been lecturing in this city and vicinity in favor of Native Americanism, and we have heard no Nativist object to having men like him exercise the rights of an American citizen. The Orangemen, foreigners as they are, did the Natives substantial service in Philadelphia, as it has been said, and they threaten to do the same here, if occasion serve. All this proves that the opposition is not to foreigners, as such, but simply to Catholics, and especially to Irish Catholics.

Now against this, we hardly need say, we protest in the name of the Constitution, and the good faith of the country. The Constitution of this country does not merely tolerate different religious denominations, but it recognizes and guaranties to all men the free exercise of their religion, whatever it may be. It places all denominations, however great or however small, on the same footing, before the state, and recognizes the equal rights of all and of each. To this the faith of the country is pledged. We say to all, of all creeds, Come here and demean yourselves, in civil matters, as good citizens, and your respective faiths and modes of worship shall all alike be legally respected and protected. This is what we have professed ; of this we make our boast ; and this we consider our chief title to the admiration of the world. We have promised to all the fullest conceivable religious liberty. For this we have solemnly pledged our faith before the world and before Heaven.    Are we prepared to break our faith ?
But in getting up a party against any one religious denomination, are we not breaking our faith, and perjuring ourselves in the sight of God and of man ? What matters it to honest men, whether we do this directly or indirectly ? What is the difference in principle between passing a law excluding, under severe penalties, the exercise of the Catholic religion in this country, and, by our political and other combinations, rendering its exercise impossible ? What is the difference between excluding Catholics directly, and treating them in such a manner that they will be forced to exclude themselves ?

Then, again, the wisdom of the policy of combining for the expulsion or exclusion of Catholics may be gravely questioned. Where there is a multiplicity of denominations, there is safety for any one only so far as there is safety for all. Combine and suppress Catholicism to-day, and it may be some other one's turn to be suppressed to-morrow. The precedent established, the Catholics disposed of, a new combination may be formed against the Methodists, then against the Baptists, then against the Unitarians and Universalists, and then against the Episcopalians, or for the revival of the Classis of Amsterdam, or the Kirk of Scotland. Cannot all see that the safety of each is in protecting all, and suffering a combination to be formed against none ?

Moreover, why should Protestants combine against Catholics ? Have they not the Bible and private reason ? and with these what has a Protestant to apprehend ? Is he not abundantly able to meet and vanquish in the fair field of controversy the benighted and idolatrous Papist ? Does he not believe that he has truth, reason, and revelation on his side ? Does he not know that he has all the prejudices and nearly nineteen twentieths of the whole population of the country on his side ? Are there not here odds enough in his favor ? What, then, does he fear ? With all these advantages, does he tremble before the Papist, and fear the meeting-house may give place to the church, the table to the altar, the bread and wine to the Real Presence ? A sorry compliment this to Protestantism ! a sorry compliment to reason, to distrust its encounter with error in open field and fair combat ! Were we Protestants, as we once were,  but, God be praised, are no longer,  we should blush to appeal against Popery to any other arguments than Scripture and reason. If with these we could not resist the spread of Catholicism, we should be led to distrust the sacredness of our cause, and to fear, that, after all, we had not the Lord on our side. These political combinations betray the weakness of Protestantism, not its strength ; the doubts, not the faith, of its upholders. If they are right in their premises, they need not these combinations to suppress Catholicism ; if they are wrong: in their premises, then they are warring, not ngainsi a superstition, an idolatry as they pretend, but against God, and we leave to them to decide what is the proper name by which they should be designated.                                                             

But we are told that Catholics are opposed, not because they are Catholics simply, but because, being Catholics, they owe allegiance to a foreign power, and therefore cannot be good citizen. Every Catholic, it is assumed, owes allegiance to the Pope, and of course can be bound by no civil obligation he may contract as a citizen. If we really supposed that any one among us could be so simple as to believe this, we would contradict it.  But there are charges too absurd to need a reply.  The Catholic does, indeed, owe allegiance to the Pope as the visible head of the Church, but not as visible head of the state? Whoever knows any thing at all of the obligation of the Catholics to the successor of St. Peter knows that it would be as absurd to conclude that the Christian, because he owes allegiance to God, cannot be a good citizen, nor true to the obligations he contracts as a citizen to the state, as to infer that a Catholic cannot be a good citizen because he owes allegiance to the visible head of his Church. So far as this allegiance is a fact, and go far as it is operative on the heart and conscience of a Catholic, it binds him to be a peaceful and obedient subject to the state, a faithful and conscientious citizen.

But the Roman Catholic religion, we are further told,  is incompatible with republicanism, hostile to popular institutions; from which it is to be inferred, we suppose  that Protestantism, as the negative of Catholicism, is compatible with republican institutions and friendly to popular freedom.    It would perhaps, be difficult to prove this.    The most despotic states in Europe are the Protestant, and in Switzerland, for instance he Catholic cantons are the most democratic.    Despotism was hardly known in Europe prior to the Reformation, save in that portion not in communion with the Church of Rome; and we very much doubt if there be at this moment as much popular freedom in the Protestant states of Europe as there was in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries.    There are reallv fewer checks on arbitrary power, and there is more heartless oppression.

In this country, the only republican government that Protestantism can pretend ever to have founded has been established, but it has not been founded solely by Protestantism.  It owes its origin to the circumstances in which the first settlers came here, and to the impossibility, after independence of the crown of Great Britain was proclaimed, of establishing any other than a republican form of government. We have existed as a republic between sixty and seventy years. But it needs no very sharp observation to perceive that our republic has virtually failed to accomplish the hopes of its founders, and that it is, without some notable change in the people, destined either to a speedy dissolution, or to sink into a miserable timocracy, infinitely worse than the most absolute despotism. Protestantism, if it could originate, has not proved itself able to sustain it.

We need but glance at our electioneering contests, becoming fiercer and fiercer, more and more demoralizing, with each succeeding election, to be convinced of this. The election of our presidents costs us nearly as much as costs the whole civil list of Great Britain. We have heard it suggested that the election of General Harrison cost the Whigs more than fifty millions of dollars, not to reckon the expenditures of the opposite party in attempting to reelect Mr. Van Buren. Hardly less has been expended in the campaign just closed. This is a tax no people can bear for any great length of time, without ruin, and the complete prostration of public and private morality.
Protestantism, by its principle,liberty of private judgment,may undoubtedly seem to favor civil freedom; and that it often attempts to establish free popular institutions we do not deny ; but it wants the virtue to sustain them. By this same principle, it multiplies sects without number, and virtually destroys, by dividing, the moral force of the nation. We see this with ourselves. Religion has little force in controlling our passions or pursuits. No one of the sects possesses a commanding influence over the people. The great mass of the people are left, therefore, to the corrupt passions of their own depraved nature. They cease to live for God, and live only for the world,  to live for eternity, and live only for time. They become wedded to things of this world, their hearts bent only on wealth and honOl-s. In business the ruling passion is to get rich, in public life to rise to places of honor and emolument, in private life to gain ease and pleasure. Now, how long can a government, which rests for its existence on the virtue and intelligence of the people, exist, or, if exist, answer its end, in a community where the great mass of the people are carried away by the dominant passions, wealth, place, and pleasure ?

We may be told that enlightened self-interest will suffice,
that only instruct the people what is for their interest, and they
will do it.     I his is plausible, but all experience proves to the
contrary.    Who does not know that it is for his real interest,
both lor time and eternity, to be a devout Christian ?    And vet
are all devout Christians ?    The wisdom and prudence of men's
conduct cannot be measured by their intelligence.    A corrupt
man uses his intelligence only as the minister of his corruption.
±ne more you extend intelligence, unless you extend the moral
restraints and influences of the gospel at the same time, the
more do you sharpen the intellect for evil.    The people of the
United States are far more instructed than they were fifty years
ago, and yet have not half so much of the virtue necessary to
sustain a republican government.    We are never to  expect
men to act virtuously, simply because their understandings are
convinced that virtue is the best calculation.    You must make
them act from a higher motive.    They must be governed by
religion ; act irom the love and the fear of God, from a deep
sense of duty ; be meek, humble, self-denying ; morally brave
and heroic ; choosing rather to die a  thousand deaths than
swerve from right principle, or disobey the will of God : or
they will not practise the virtues without which liberty is an
empty name,  a mere illusion.

 Now, Protestantism never has, and never can, produce the virtues  without which a republican government can have  no solid foundation.    It may have good words ; it may say wise and even just things ; but it wants the unction of the spirit.    It does not reach and regenerate the heart, subdue the passions, and renew the spirit.    It has never produced a single saint and the virtues it calls forth are of the sort exhibited by the old heathen moralists.    It praises the Bible, but studies the Greek and Roman classics ; boasts of spirituality, but expires in a vain formalism.    For the three hundred years it has existed, it has proved itself powerful to destroy, but impotent to  found  ready  to begin, but never able  to  complete.    Whatever it claims that is positive, abiding, it has inherited or borrowed Irom the ages and the lands of faith.    Its own creations rise and vanish as the soap-bubbles blown by our children in their sports.    It has never yet shown itself able to command human nature, or to say to the roused waves of passion, Peace, be still.    It lulls the conscience with the forms of faith and piety ; soothes vanity and fosters pride by its professions of freedom ; but leaves the passions all their natural force, and permits the man to remain a slave to all his natural lusts.    It never subdues or regenerates nature.    Hence, throughout all Protestantdom, the tendency is, to reproduce heathen antiquity, with all its cant, hollovvness, hypocrisy, slavery, and wretchedness,  to narrow men's views  down to  this transitory life and   the fleeting shows of sense, and to make them live and labor for the meat that perisheth.    We appeal to England,  Sweden, Denmark, Protestant Germany, Holland, and our own country, for the truth of what we say.    They were Protestant traders who trampled on  the cross  of Christ to gain the lucrative trade of Japan.    It is in no spirit of exultation we allude to Protestant worldly-mindedness and spiritual impotency.    Would to God the sketch were from fancy, or our own diseased imagination ! We do not mean to deny, that,  in words, Protestantism teaches many, perhaps most, of the Christian virtues.    It has even some good books on morals and practical religion.    Its clergy give good  exhortations, and labor, no doubt, in good faith, for the spiritual culture of their flocks !    No doubt, much truth,   much  valuable instruction,   is  given from    Protestant pulpits.     The Protestant clergy take no delight in the state of things they see around them.    They would gladly see Christ reign in the hearts of men ; they, no doubt, would joyfully dispense the bread of life to their famished people ; and they do dispense the best they have.    But, alas ! how can they dispense what they have not received ?    The living bread is not on their communion table.     They communicate, according to their own confession, only a figure, a shadow ; and how shall the divine life be nourished with shadows ?    What we mean to say is, not that Protestantism does not aim to  bring men to Christ, to make them pure and holy, but that it has no power to do it. It does not control human nature, and produce the fruits of a supernatural faith, hope, and charity.    Its faith is merely an opinion or persuasion, its hope a wish, and its charity natural philanthropy.    It necessarily leaves human nature as it finds it, and no pruning of that corrupt tree can make it bring forth good fruit.    It is of the earth,-earthly ; and it will bear fruit only for the earth.    With unregenerated nature in full activity, we can have only sensuali'ty and mammon-worship.

Hundreds and thousands among us, who are by no means favorably disposed to Catholicity, see this and deplore it. They say,_ the age has no faith. They see the impotency of Protestantism ; that under it all the vices are sheltered ; that, in spite of it, all the dangerous passions rage unchecked ; and they turn away in disgust from its empty forms and vain words. Witness the response the biting sarcasms and withering irony of Carlyle brings from thousands of hearts in this republic, the echoes which the chiselled words and marble sentences of Emerson also bring. Witness, also, the movements of the Come-outers, the Socialists, Fourierists, Communists. All these see that I rotestantism has nothing but words, while they want life, realities, not vain simulacra. They err most egregiously, no doubt; they go from the dying to the dead ; but their error proves the truth of what we advance.
Now, assuming our view of Protestantism to be correct, we demand how it is to sustain, or we, with it alone, are to sustain our republican government.    Do we not see,  in this growing love of place and plunder, with this growing devotion to wealth, luxury, and pleasure, with these fierce electioneering; contests, one no sooner ended than another begins, each to be fiercer and more absorbing and more destructive than the last, and each drawing within its vortex nearly the whole industrial interest of the country, and touching almost every man in his honor and his purse, that we want the moral elements without which a republic cannot stand ?    A republic can stand only as it rests upon the virtues of the people ; and these not the mere natural virtues  of worldly prudence and social decency, but those loftier virtues which are possible to human nature only as elevated above itself by the infused habit of supernatural grace. Ihis is a solemn fact to which it is in vain for us to close our eyes.^   Human nature left to itself tends to dissolution, to destruction, decay, death.    So does every society that rests only on those virtues which have their origin, growth, and maturity m nature alone.    This is the case with our own society.    We have really no social bond ; we have no true patriotism; none ot that patience, that self-denial, that loyalty of soul, which is necessary to bind man to man, each to each, and each to all. ¦fcacn is for himself.    Save who can (sauve qui peut), we exclaim.    Hence a universal scramble.    Man overthrows man, brother brother, the father the child, and the child the father the demagogue all; while the Devil stands at a distance, looks on, and enjoys the sport.    Tell us, ye who boast of the glorious tte ormation, if a republican form of government is compatible with this moral state of the people ?

Even in matters of education we can do little but sharpen UHMvit, and render brother more skilful and successful in plundering brother. With our multitude of sects, we may instruct, but not educate. Our children can have no moral training, for morality rests on theology, and theology on faith. But faith is expelled from our schools, because it is sectarian, and there is no one faith in the country which can be taught without exciting the jealousy of the followers of a rival faith. Cut up into such a multitude of sects, there is and can be no common moral culture in the country, no true religious training. We give a little instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, perhaps history, the Greek and Roman classics, and in the physical sciences ; and send our children out into the world, to form their morals and their religion without other guide or assistant than their own short-sighted reason and perverted passions. How can we expect any thing from such a sowing, but what we reap ? and how, under Protestantism, which broaches every thing and settles nothing, raises all questions and answers none, and therefore necessarily giving birth to a perpetual succession of sects, each claiming with equal reason and justice to have the truth, and the claims of all equally respected, as they should be, by the government, is this terrible evil to be remedied ? Protestantism is just a-going to remedy it; but, alas ! it does not succeed. It reminds us of a remark by a lady eating vegetable oysters,  "I always seem, when I eat vegetable oysters, as if I was just a-going to taste of an oyster." So, when we examine Protestantism, hear its loud professions, witness its earnest strivings, and observe each new sect it gives birth to, we say it is the lady eating vegetable oysters. It seems to itself that it is just going to light upon the truth, and to hit upon some plan by which it can remove the terrible evils it sees and deplores, and call forth the virtues it owns to be necessary ; but, alas ! it is only just a going to taste the oyster ; it never quite tastes it.

These facts, which we mention, are seen and felt by large numbers in our midst. Quiet, peaceable, but observing and reflecting men look on and observe our doings, and say to themselves, cc This republicanism, after all, is a mere delusion. It is all very fine, no doubt, in theory, but exceedingly hateful in practice. Washington, and Hamilton, and others, were wiser than Jefferson and Madison. So large a republic, with such frequency of elections, and so many thousands depending on the fate of an election for their very means of subsistence, so many ins afraid of being turned out, so many outs anxious to be turned in, and the number each year increasing with the extent and population of the country,  well, let the republic stand if it can, but a change to a monarchy will soon be inevitable." There are men who so reason, and they are neither few nor despicable ; nor are they fairly answered by our Fourth of July glorifications, or hurrahs for Democracy, Vive la Republique! Vive la Democratic ! Vive la Liberte! We do not agree with them ;far from it; but we should agree with them, if we saw nothing better for our republic than Protestantism. Protestants as they are, we say they reason correctly, and if the religion of the country remains Protestant for fifty years longer, facts will prove it.

But with Catholicism  the republic may be sustained, not because the Catholic Church enjoins this form of government or that, but because she nourishes in the hearts of her children the virtues which render popular liberty both desirable and practicable.    The Catholic Church meddles directly with no form of government.    She leaves each people free to adopt such form of government as seems to themselves good, and to administer it in their own way.    Her chief concern is to fit men for beatitude, and this she can do under any or all forms of government.    But  the spirit  she  breathes into man,  the graces she communicates, the dispositions she cultivates, and the virtues she produces, are such, that, while they render even arbitrary forms of government tolerable, fit a people for asserting and maintaining freedom.    In countries where there are no constitutional checks on power, she remedies the evil by imposing moral restraints on its exercise, by inspiring rulers with a sense of justice and the public good.    Where such checks do exist, she hallows them and renders them inviolable.    In a republic she restrains the passions of the people, teaches them obedience to the laws of God, moderates their desires, weans their affections from the world, frees them from the dominion of their own lusts, and, by the meekness, humility, loyalty of heart which she cherishes, disposes them to the practice of those public virtues which render a republic secure.     She also creates by her divine charity a true equality.    No republic can stanc^ where the dominant feeling is pride, which finds its expression in the assertion " I am as good as you."    It must be based on the love of man for man; not on the determination to defend our own rights and interests, but on the fear to encroach on the rights and interests of others.    But this love must be more than the mere sentiment of philanthropy.    This sentiment of philanthropy is a very unsubstantial affair.    Talk as we will about its excellence, it never goes beyond love to those who love us.    We love our friends and neighbours, but hate our enemies.    This is all we do as philanthropists.    All the fine speeches we make beyond about the love of humanity, and all that-are fine speeches.    Philanthropy must be exalted into the supernatural virtue of charity, before it can become that love which leads us to honor all men, and makes us shrink from encroaching upon the interests of any man, no matter how low or how vile. We must love our neighbour, not for his own sake, but for God's sake,  the child, for the sake of the Father ; then we can love all, and joyfully make the most painful sacrifices for them. It is only in the bosom of the Catholic Church that this sublime charity has ever been found or can be found.

The Catholic Church also cherishes a spirit of independence, a loftiness and dignity of soul, favorable to the maintenance of popular freedom. It ennobles every one of its members. The lowest, the humblest Catholic is a member of that Church which was founded by Jesus Christ himself; which has subsisted for eighteen hundred years ; which has in every age been blessed^ with signal tokens of the Redeemer's love ; which counts its saints by millions ; and the blood of whose martyrs has made all earth hallowed ground. He is admitted into the goodly fellowship of the faithful of all ages and climes, and every day, throughout all the earth, the Universal Church sends up her prayers for him, and all the Church above receive them, and, with their own, bear them as sweet incense up before the throne of the almighty and eternal God. He is a true nobleman, more than the peer of kings or Caesars ; for he is a child of the King of kings, and, if faithful unto death, heir of a crown of life, eternal in the heavens, that fadeth not away. Such a man is no slave. His soul is free ; he looks into the perfect law of liberty. Can tyrants enslave him ? No, indeed ; not because he^will turn on the tyrant and kill, but because he can die and reign for ever. What were a mere human tyrant before a nation of such men ? Who could establish arbitrary government over them, or subject them to unwholesome or iniquitous laws ?

Here is our hope for our republic. We look for our safety to the spread of Catholicism. We render solid and imperishable our free institutions just in proportion as we extend the kingdom of God among our people, and establish in their hearts the reign of justice and charity. And here, then, is our answer to those who tell us Catholicism is incompatible with free institutions. We tell them that they cannot maintain free institutions without it. It is not a free government that makes a free people, but a free people that makes a free government; and we know no freedom but that wherewith the Son makes free. You must be free within, before you can be free without. They who war against the Church, because they fancy it hostile to their civil freedom, are as mad as those wicked Jews who nailed their Redeemer to the cross.    But even now, as then, God be^thanked, from the cross ascends the prayer, not in vain, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." As to the effect this Native American party may have on the Church, or the cause of Catholicism in this country, we have no fears.    We know it is a party formed for the suppression oi the Catholic Church in our land.    Protestantism, afraid to meet the champions of the cross in fair and open debate, conscious of her weakness or unskilfulness in argument, true to her ancient instincts, resorts to the civil arm, and hopes by a series of indirect legislation  for she dare not attempt as yet any direct legislation  to maintain her predominance.    But this gives us no uneasiness.    We know in whom we believe, and are certain.    We see these movements, we comprehend their aim, and we merely ask, in the words of the Psalmist, « Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? Hie kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.    Let us break their bands asunder, and let us cast their yoke from us.    He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh at them, and the Lord shall deride them.    Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage."    Ps. ii. 1  5.    They wage an unequal contest who wage war against the Church of the Living God, who hath said to its Head, « Thou art my Son, this day have 1 begotten thee.    Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possessions."    lb., 7, 8.    These may combine to put down Catholicism, form leagues against it, enlist all the powers of the earth against it; but what then ?    Nero tried to crush it in its infancy.    Diocletian tried it.    And Nero and Diocletian have passed away, and their mighty empire has crumbled to pieces and   dissolved,   leaving scarce   "a wreck behind"; yet the Church has lived on, and the successor of the fisherman of Galilee inherited a power before which that of Rome in her proudest day was merely the dust in the balance.    Pagan and toaracen tried to crush it, but Pagan and Saracen are scattered before its glory as the morning mist before the rising sun.    Heretic and schismatic have tried to exterminate it,Luther, and Calvin, and Henry of England, like the great dragon whose taif drew after it a third part of the stars of heaven ; and their own children are rising up and cursing their memory.    The powers of the earth have tried to do it,Napoleon, the Colossus who bestrided Europe, and made and unmade kings in mere pastime ; but Napoleon, from the moment he dared lay his hand on the Lord's anointed, loses his power, and goes to die at last of a broken heart in a barren isle of the ocean. Jew, Pagan, Saracen, heretic, schismatic, infidel, and lawless power have all tried their hand against the Church. The Lord has held them in derision. He has been a wall of fire round about her, and proved for eighteen hundred years that no weapon formed against her shall prosper ; for he guards the honor of his Spouse as his own. Let the ark appear to jostle, if it will; we reach forth no hand to steady it, and fear no harm that may come to it. The Church has survived all storms ; it is founded upon a rock, and the gates of hell are impotent against it. It is not for the friends of the Church to fear, but for those who war against her, and seek her suppression. It is for them to tremble,not before the arm of man, for no human arm will be raised against them ; but before that God whose Church they outrage, and whose cause they seek to crush. The Lord hath promised his Son the Gentiles for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession. He must and will have this nation. And throughout all the length and breadth of this glorious land shall his temples rise to catch the morning sun and reflect his evening rays, and holy altars shall be erected, and the "clean sacrifice" shall be offered daily, and a delighted people shall bow in humility before them, and pour out their hearts in joyous thanksgiving ; for so hath the Lord spoken, and his word shall stand.
So far as the spread of Catholicism in this country is concerned, we look upon this anti-Catholic party with no apprehension. If we deprecate the formation of such a party, it is for the sake of those misguided citizens who may unite to form it. It is because we see the terrible injustice of which they render themselves guilty, and the awful judgments they may provoke. We say to them, as St. Justin Martyr said to the Roman emperors, " Take heed how you hearken only to unjust accusations ; fear lest an excessive complaisance for superstitious men, a haste as blind as rash, old prejudices which have no foundation but calumny, may cause you to pronounce a terrible sentence against yourselves. As for us, nobody can harm us, unless we harm ourselves, unless we ourselves become guilty of some injustice. You may indeed kill us, but you cannot injure us." It is for our countrymen, who will render themselves guilty of gross wrong, of terrible sin, that we fear. They are engaged in an unholy cause, and, if they persist, cannot fail to draw down the judgments of Almighty God upon their guilty heads. They can shoot us down in the streets; they may break up our schools and seminaries ; they may desecrate and burn our churches. Such things have been, and may be again ; but it becomes those who have been and may be the perpetrators of such things to pause and ask themselves what manner of spirit they are of; and how, in that day of solemn reckoning which must come to us all, they will answer the inexorable Judge for their abuse, their riots, their murder, and their sacrilege. As they love their own souls, and desire good, we entreat them to beware how they plunge deeper in sin, and rekindle the torch of persecution. For their sakes, not for ours, we pray them to pause before they go farther, and make their peace with the Son of God.

To our Catholic brethren, who may be called on to suffer for their faith, we would counsel patience and resignation. It is no calamity to die for the faith, and we should count it a blessed privilege to be permitted to suffer for it. Let us not dream, if worst comes to worst, of opposing force to force. Let them burn our houses if they will, let them demolish our churches if they will, let them shoot us down, or drag us to the slaughter, if they will; ever on the blackened walls over the altar will glow the to them terrible, to us consoling words, The Lord seeth ! The Lord seeth! this is enough for us. Vengeance is his and he will repay. For every Catholic called to suffer, a hundred converts will spring up. The blood of martyrs ever has been the seed of the Church.

In the controversy which is likely to grow out of the movement, we hope we shall not be thought intrusive if we suggest to our naturalized brethren, and foreigners residing amone us that the less part they take, the better. There are many truths which we may hear with patience from native lips, that few of us would willingly have thrown in our face by a foreigner. Let those of foreign birth, as far as they can, leave the whole controversy m the hands of native-born Americans. We assure them that they have friends who will manage their cause better for them, than they, under the circumstances, can manage it lor themselves. Let them be calm, be patient, be tolerant, and fear no harm. In their political action, let them, in the division of parties, seek out that one which they can count on as likely to be true to their cause, and that of the Republic, and quietly but firmly support it, and they may be assured that the malice of their enemies will be defeated. No alteration will be made m the naturalization laws, if our naturalized citizens will be true to their own interests, and leave the discussion of
the question in the hands of native American citizens, with whom prudence at least requires that it should be left.

To our own political party we need say nothing. It has not, indeed, in this State, done justice, when it had the power, to the Catholic population. Mount Benedict reproaches them. But we know the party are, in the main, the friends of liberty, and, above all, of liberty of conscience. It remembers certain Alien and Sedition laws, and it will never revive or suffer them to be revived. The party in the main is sound, and the few who have been seduced by their prejudices or rivalries to join the Native American party, now that Mr. Webster has avowed himself in its favor, will comprehend its design, its real character, and return to their duty. They will see that the party is to inherit all the sins and odium attached to the party against which they have always contended, and they will loathe the name of Native American as they do that of Federal or Whig. They will never consent to support as Native Americans men whom they would scorn to vote for as the enemies of the Democracy. Let the Democratic party remain united, and remember that Native Americanism is but a nickname for old Federalism, so far as it is a political party, and no great harm need be apprehended.