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Archbishop Hughes






[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1874.]

Mr. KEHOE has been very successful in collecting the scattered writings of the late eminent Archbishop of New York, and placing them within the reach of the general public; but he would have more fully discharged his duties as editor if he had added more copious notes, explanatory of the several historical events and occasions which called them forth, or the exigencies they were intended to meet. The volumes would thus have contained a very complete history of the church in New York, we might almost say in the United States, from 1838 to 1864. But this would have required no little labor, and would have swollen the volumes to an immoderate size; jet we hope it will be done before it is too late.

Archbishop Hughes was a man of action rather than a man of study, and he kept his eyes open to almost every movement at home or abroad that seemed likely to affect, in any degree, favorably or unfavorably, Catholic interests. We have had among our prelates closer students, more accomplished scholars, more learned doctors, profounder theologians, but we have known none among them who surpassed him in energy of character and bold and decided action. His action might not always seem judicious to his episcopal brethren, nor did it always meet in all respects their approval; but his activity was great and ceaseless, and extended to everything that could affect the public interests of Catholics. His mind was broad and comprehensive, and he seemed to labor especially to gain for the church a public recognition and position in the country, which she was entitled to indeed, but had not hitherto enjoyed. He appeared to believe in political agitation, and to aim, by the aid of Catholic votes, to force the legislature to recognize and protect the equal rights of Catholics: and consequently, to those outside, he seemed to be a politician using his power over his people as a Catholic bishop to gain political ascendency for his church. Hence he accidentally strengthened their false presence, that the church is simply a political body aiming at political power, the most formidable objection urged in our times against her. Yet this was unjust to the illustrious prelate. He undoubtedly did labor to secure to Catholics, through political or legislative action, the practical enjoyment of the equal rights and freedom of conscience guaranteed to them by the constitution, but which an unjust and tyrannical anti-Catholic public opinion denied them, as it does still; but he asked only justice and equality, and justice and equality to Catholics mean, in the minds of non-Catholics, the political ascendency of Catholics. These non-Catholic countrymen of ours cannot believe that they stand on a footing of equality with Catholics, unless they have the power to govern, oppress, and enslave them. They are equal only when they are superior. Protestants can never understand that the same laws may bear very unequally on them and on Catholics. The general law with regard to church property, which regards the parish as the unit, or as complete in itself, works no injury to Protestants, for with them, unless the Methodists form an exception, the parish or congregation is the unit. But with Catholics the case is very different. With Catholics the unit is the diocese, not the parish or congregation, and the temporalities, according to the law of the church, are held and administered by the spiritual authority, whether that of the bishop or of the bishop and his chapter, not by the laity, as with Protestants. In the law which vests the temporalities of the church in the hands of lay trustees chosen by the congregation, there is no violation or oppression of conscience in the case of Protestants; but in the case of Catholics it is far otherwise, for it conflicts with the constitution and laws of the church. The public-school law is open to a similar objection. Nothing can be more equal on its face, or more unequal or unjust in its operation. It works no violence to the conscience of Protestants, for they have no conscience against recognizing the state as educator—so long as they can control the state, and they have really no concrete religion or morality which they hold to be the basis of all sound public or private education; but Catholics are con-scientiously opposed to the state as educator, and hold education to be exclusively the function of the church. They are conscientiously opposed to separating secular education from religious instruction and discipline; they have a concrete, specific, and definite religion, opposed to the vague generalities and abstractions of the sects that recognize no religion in particular, " and assert at best only a common Christianity," which is equivalent to no Christianity at all. They are conscientiously opposed to the public schools for their children. They cannot with a good conscience send their children to them, and yet they are taxed their quota and their rightful proportion of the public school funds to support them. Is not this unequal and unjust?

Now it must be manifest to all right-minded persons, that the archbishop, in warring against these and similar wrongs done to his church and people, and in striving to secure the equality to which they are entitled by the constitution or fundamental law of the state, did not travel beyond the sphere of his duty as a Catholic bishop, and by no means justified the senseless charge, that he was grasping at political power, so persistently made against him. Of his boldness, energy, and perseverance in asserting the rights of Catholics, there can be no doubt, and just as little of the extraordinary influence he wielded even over non-Catholics in. his day. As long as he lived, he was a power in the land, and a power that politicians and statesmen felt that they must reckon with. ‘Whether his measures or methods were always the wisest or most judicious possible, it is not within our province to decide or even to inquire. We know that he filled a large space in the public mind, and that he gave in his own diocese, perhaps far beyond it, a position to the church and to Catholics which they had never before occupied in this heretical and infidel country, and which they have hardly maintained since his death. In his own diocese he overawed and rendered comparatively harmless both the so-called Native American and Know-Nothing parties, and effectually protected his people from their wild fanaticism. The archbishop was supposed to be fond of power, and he certainly watched with a jealous eye every individual or combination of individuals that threatened to become too strong for him to control. He would suffer no one among Catholics to acquire an independent power. But, though we personally suffered from the jealousy with which he guarded his own authority, and perhaps had some right to 3el aggrieved at his occasional public criticisms, we are sure that he was not moved by any inordinate love of power, or by anything but his clear conviction, and let us add, just conviction, of the danger of the growth of any power in a diocese too strong for its ordinary to control, or which, if assuming the attitude of opposition, might create embarrassment for authority. On this point his experience had made him extremely sensitive, and so sensitive, it is possible, as sometimes to lead Mm to suspect individuals un-necessarily, but from no vulgar principle or motive. He knew a bishop's authority in his diocese, which he holds by the grace of God and the appointment of the Holy See, cannot be resisted or impeded without the gravest injury to religion, and that it is the duty of the bishop to maintain his authority against all opposition, and at all hazards, and to see that it is duly respected by all, cleric or laic, under his charge. He is appointed to govern, and though he is required by the law of Christ to govern as a father, or as the shepherd his flock, he is nevertheless required to govern; and the history of the church shows that far more evil results from the neglect of prelates to exert their full authority, than from their too strenuous assertion of it. Better, in government, to be too rigid than too lax. Discipline must be rigidly maintained, or ruin ensues. The archbishop, knowing that his flock was composed of the faithful of various nations, was extremely vigilant to suppress the first symptom of a tendency among them to divide according to their respective ‘nationalities, and though the Catholics of American origin were the weakest and least numerous portion of his flock, he was especially severe against any union or movement among them apparently de-signed to carry their own nationality into the church. There was at one time a small club in this city, composed of priests and laymen, chiefly neo-Americans or sons of foreign-born parents, supposed to have some such object in view, and we ourselves were made to suffer not a little, for our supposed connection with it, and presumed intention of making the Review the organ of an American party among Catholics. What the real purpose of the club was, we never knew; we were never a member of it, and never met with it but once, and then only as an invited guest. We never dreamed of forming an American party in the church, and never united with those who demanded a native-born clergy, for it was always a matter of indifference to us where a bishop or priest was born or to what nationality he belonged, if he understood the wants of. his diocese or of his mission, since we always held the church superior to all distinctions of race or nation. All we ever contended was that an American on his conversion to the church is not required by his religion to renounce his American nationality, and that foreign nationalities, domiciled on American soil, should treat his nationality with respect, not, as we sometimes found them doing, with contempt.

The question was raised by the organization of the Native American and Know-Nothing parties, and we as a Catholic publicist had to meet it, and we aimed to meet it without denying our own nationality, or confessing ourselves a for-feigner in our native country, as also without offending the susceptibilities of any foreign-born Catholic. The question is now out of date ; for the struggle now is not to vindicate the right of Americans to remain Americans after conversion, but to prevent foreign-born Catholics and their children born here from americanizing too rapidly, and thus in a great measure losing, with their old national customs and usages, the rich virtues of their Catholic ancestors. The archbishop was undoubtedly right in suppressing, by the weight of his character still more than by his episcopal authority, the first symptom of an American party among Catholics, but he misapprehended us, and some of our clerical friends, when lie supposed that we wished to form such a party, or that we aimed at anything more than to assert that an American, although a Catholic, has as good right to be an American in America, as an Irishman has to be an Irishman in Ireland, or a Frenchman to be a Frenchman in France, and that it is the duty of all foreign settlers in the country, naturalized or not, to recognize and respect that right. We therefore refused to defend our Catholic population against the Know-Nothing and Native American parties, by separating ourselves from our countrymen, in so far as American, or by renouncing our American nationality; for that would have served only to confirm the charge against the church, namely, that one cannot be a Catholic and a loyal American, which these parties brought against her. The question, in the form in which it came up in 1854 and 1855, is antiquated now, but were it to come up anew, we, probably, should avoid some expressions we used for-merely, but we should meet it substantially in the same manner, though less gravely ; for we see more clearly now than we did then, that the charge is a mere pretext, and not seriously made by the leaders of Our anti-Catholic countrymen.

It would be the basest ingratitude on the part of the Catholic American to entertain any prejudice against foreign-born Catholic, whether cleric or laic, for it is to them principally that we owe the up building and extension of Catholicity in our country. "We would not withhold the need of praise from those old American Catholics who held fast to the faith and sustained it when to be a Catholic was to incur almost universal odium: but it cannot be denied that the growth of Catholicity with us began with the more re-« cent migration hither of foreign Catholics, and their settlement in the country. Very few of our bishops and clergy have been of the old American stock, and certainly the most energetic and efficient laborers in the American vine-yard, whose toil, privations, and sacrifices God has so richly blessed, have nearly all come to us from Old Catholic nations. We are debtors to every nation in Europe, principally to France, Ireland, and Germany. We do not find that Native American priests are a whit more successful or more acceptable than foreign-born priests. There is no reason for demanding an exclusively native-born clergy.

In all ages of the church her most formidable enemy has been nationalism, that is to say, genteelism, in some one or other of its various forms: that is, again, the city of the world, in the language of St. Augustine, set up over against the city of God. The demand for a. national clergy, whenever and wherever made, is prompted, not by the spirit of Christ, but the spirit of Satan, who governs in the city of the world. In the city of God there is neither Jew nor gentile, neither Greek nor barbarian. In the spiritual order all national distinctions are effaced, as also all distinctions of race or complexion, of noblemen and simple men, of rich and poor, and of bond and free. These distinctions obtain in the city of the world, but cannot enter the city of God. The New Testament recognizes no such virtue as patriotism, the highest virtue known to the gentile world. In so far as love of country is subordinated to the love of God, it is a natural virtue and not censurable, but it is never in itself a distinctively Christian virtue, any more than is the natural love of husband and wife, or of parents and children. The demand for a national church or a national clergy is anti-Catholic, for it is a demand that the city of God should be modeled after and subordinated to the city of the world. "We, who have always opposed Catholicity to nationalism, and held that the church as the spiritual order, is above all national or race distinctions, and supreme over all men and nations, never could have so far forgotten our logic as to join in any demand of the sort.

We hope we shall be pardoned these references to matters on which it was supposed at the time that there was a misunderstanding between us and our venerable archbishop, and which unpleasantly affected our standing as a Catholic publicist. We were, on other questions, especially on the emancipation of the slaves as a war measure, not in accord with the archbishop. He wrote or dictated in the Metropolitan Record a severe criticism on an article of ours, entitled Slavery and the War, opposing the policy we recommended, but which the government found itself ultimately obliged to adopt. He hoped, with his old friend William H. Seward, secretary of state that the war could be ended and the Union saved without disturbing in the states that seceded the relation of master and slave. We thought differently (and were right, as the event proved), if the war was to go on; yet we could not maintain our Catholic standing against the weight of the archbishop's influence. We complain not of this, for it was fitting that his authority should be sustained, though the question was mainly political and national, not religions, and one in which we were free to follow our own convictions. The archbishop once said to us, " I will suffer no man in my diocese that I cannot control. I will either put him down or he shall put me down." "We do not object to the principle; no bishop should suffer, if able to prevent it, the rise within his jurisdiction of any power, in opposition to his authority, too strong for him to control. We suppose he regarded us not unlikely to become dangerous, and therefore felt it his duty "to put us down," though we do not think we were ever powerful enough, however ill-disposed, to be dangerous, and we know that we were never capable of resisting legitimate authority. At no time had authority to do more than to -speak in its own name to be obeyed, and obeyed cheerfully. The difficulty was, as we assured the cardinal prefect of the Propaganda that we refused to recognize as the voice of authority an anonymous article in a newspaper. The arch-'bishop was somewhat in the habit of exacting, for unsigned articles in a public journal, the obedience due only to his pastoral authority. If a bishop writes as a journalist we hold he waives his episcopal authority, and places himself, so far, on a par with other journalists.

Archbishop Hughes wrote much for the journals. He had not only a paper of his own devoted to Catholic interests, in which he frequently wrote the leading editorial -.article, but he entered the secular journals, sometimes un-'der his own and sometimes under an assumed name, in order to repel attacks on himself or his church, and to vindicate the equal rights of Catholics. His articles and letters are able, adroit, and for the most part conclusive against his opponents. In vindicating the rights and inviolability of conscience, he was not always careful, however, to distinguish between the civil rights of American citizens, and their theological or spiritual rights, and left it to be inferred, though falsely inferred, that man has the right before God to be of any religion he chooses, or even of no religion, which would absolve heresy and infidelity from all sinfulness or moral blame. Before the state or civil law, in this country at least, a man is free to be of any religion he pleases, and is entitled to the protection of the law in its free and full enjoyment; but before the moral law, before God, no man has the right to be of any religion but the Catholic religion, the one only true religion. Heresy and infidelity are not civil offences in this country, but they are deadly sins. None more so there may be cases in which the man who adheres, as we have elsewhere said, through invincible ignorance or invincible necessity, to a heresy or to unbelief, may be excused from the sin of heresy or infidelity; but no one can be saved without the true faith, for without it there is no remission of sins, and no one can have the positive virtue, to which heaven is given as a reward. It would be unjust to the archbishop to suppose that he was either ignorant of this distinction or that he denied it. We know personally, from his own lips, that he was theologically as intolerant as our Review had ever been, and that is saying enough. But having in his various controversies to vindicate only the civil rights of Catholics under the American constitution and laws, which recognize the freedom and equal right of all religions in the civil order, he was not called upon to discuss the rights of heresy and infidelity, or their character in the moral or spiritual order.

In reading his collected writings, nearly all of which were called forth by the circumstances of the day or the hour, we are struck with the immense difficulties that had to be overcome before the church here could receive her regular organization, discipline be introduced and carried out, and she be enabled to take up, so to speak, her regular march to the conquest of souls for her Lord. The greatest of these difficulties did not come from without, at least not the most vexatious. There were not a few refractory priests in proportion to the whole number of Catholics in the country, and not a few of the laity were slow in learning that the democratic principle recognized in the state, and usually confounded with liberty, because it emancipates the people from all legitimate authority and asserts their right to do collectively whatever they please, has no place in the constitution and government of the church. The church has her own constitution and laws, and her own officers, whose rights and powers, derived through the supreme pontiff from God, are independent of the people, and are the same in all ages and nations, whatever the form of civil government adopted or maintained. In monarchical states the prince, in democratic states the people, that is the laity, combat this independence of the church, and ordinarily insist on having a voice in the ecclesiastical administration, at least in the management of the church's temporalities, and always are there found priests, and sometimes even bishops, so forgetful of the rights as well as the duties of their order, as to support the laical pretensions whether of princes or of people.

The laity have always been, from Ananias and Saphira down to our own times, plow to learn that, while free to give or not to give to the church of their substance, yet when once given, it is no longer theirs; it is the Lord's, and passes from their control. Protestants, recognizing no real church, and no real distinction between cleric and laic, spiritual and temporal, do not need to learn this lesson, and therefore very properly retain in the hands of the laity the proprietorship and management of the goods devoted to religious and eleemosynary purposes. There is no incongruity in the vestry or wardens of an Episcopalian congregation closing the door of their meeting-house—church, they call it—against the bishop of the diocese, and forbidding him to enter within its walls; for an Episcopalian bishop has no authority to govern, and in no sense represents the spiritual order, even in his own diocese. ^He can perform, when invited and where permitted, certain episcopal functions, but he is little else than a figure-head and the power is congregational, vested in the rector and wardens, or in the wardens alone. But for Catholics the bishop is: the church in his diocese, subject to no lay authority, and responsible only to the supreme pontiff; and to be separated from the bishop is to be separated from the church.

The laity intervened in the government of the church in this country through lay trustees chosen by the congregation, and in whom all church property was vested. The bishop was rendered dependent on the several congregations of his diocese, and the pastor, instead of governing his congregation, was, through lay trustees, in a measure governed y them, as among Protestants, with whom the sheep govern the shepherd. It is difficult to estimate the injury done to the church for years by lay trustees; and the archbishop of New York fought and won no more important battle than that which from the first he waged against the system, substantially that of Bismarck in Germany. By his boldness and energy he put it down in his own diocese, and we hear little complaint of it now elsewhere. It exists in name, but only in such form as to be unable to offer any obstacle to the spiritual authority of the diocese. The bishop and pastor have in each particular congregation in the several dioceses of this state, and also some other states, the power to control their action, as well as to appoint or displace at will the lay members of the board. The spiritual authority is thus rendered, as it should be, independent of the laity in all ecclesiastical matters, and the consequence is that schisms are now rarely attempted, unity of action is secured, the church is governed by her own laws, and religion prospers.

How far the archbishop, by his writings in the public journals, contributed to soften or to embitter opposition from without, is a question which it is not necessary for us to raise or to discuss. His example in this respect, the other bishops and archbishops of the country have not generally followed. Some of them doubt its expediency, some regard it as incompatible with the episcopal dignity, and prefer saying what they deem it necessary to say to the public in the form of pastorals or man dements addressed to the people of their charge, and others probably have no taste for newspaper controversy, and shrink, as much as possible, from public notoriety. To the outside public, Archbishop Hughes was looked upon as our only live bishop, and as embodying in himself, so to speak, the whole Catholic hierarchy in the United States. He was supposed to be omnipotent with the whole Catholic population. But this grew out of the fact that his name was more frequently seen in the papers, or appeared more prominent!}' before the public ; but in reality other bishops, whose names were seldom mentioned outside of Catholic circles and never in connection with politics, were not less influential than he, and quite as efficient workers in their own sacred vocation. Not always do they who occasion the most noise or attract the most public attention effect the most. Yet certain it is, that Archbishop Hughes was one of the most remarkable and efficient prelates the church in the United States has ever had. He was a prelate of large views, great firmness and decision of character, ceaseless activity, and untiring industry. We will not say he never made any mistakes, or misjudged the time for raising and discussing certain great questions; nor will we say the contrary. Time and events have proved that he was right in many things in which we thought him wrong, or at least injudicious, at the time, and it is not for UB to say that he was not always right, wise, and judicious. We are laymen, and not judges of episcopal administration.


Archbishop Hughes was a large-hearted man, a man of deep and earnest feeling, and of warm and tender affections. He was severe only when he felt it his duty to be severe; he could not relax discipline, but lie was always open and ready to pardon offences against himself, and to give the offender a new chance. He was a true, kind, and faithful friend, and we remember, and as long as we live we shall remember with deepest gratitude, his many acts of kindness and regard shown, for years, to us personally, and which, we grieve to say, we did not sufficiently appreciate at the time. He disapproved in later years, in some respects, the course of the Review, as did many other prelates, though not more than we ourselves disapprove it now ; but he never treated us harshly, or with personal unkindness. He was not one of those who preferred charges against us to the Holy See; but in the very height of the opposition wrote us that he had written to Rome, giving the Hoi}7 See assurance of his full confidence in our personal orthodoxy. "We mention this fact in proof of his generous nature, and to correct an impression entertained at the time, by some of our friends, to the contrary. He had a large and generous nature, and not a few of the elements of a great man. the greatest we have ever known; and though we own we had at the time unjust prejudices against him, for his treatment of others rather than of ourselves, we felt, when told of his death, that Catholics had lost a protecting power, a father who could shield us from our enemies. We felt personally orphaned, left desolate, and helpless; that no man was left us who could nil his place, and act his part. He was, whatever his imperfections, a providential man ; he did a great work, was an honor to the hierarchy, and a glory to the land of his birth.

Of his writings here collected in two goodly volumes, we can attempt no review. They are well known to the public, and have been already adjudged. " I hope," said the archbishop to us a propos of Bishop England's Works, then just collected and published, " that no one will venture, when I am dead, to collect and publish my various writings. It would be an injustice to my memory, a grave injury to my reputation. All that I have written has been written hastily to meet some pressing occasion, and is crude and unfinished. I have written nothing which I wish to be preserved, or by which I am willing to be judged." We think he undervalued his writings, though he felt, as every really able writer must feel in looking back on what he has written that it does not do him justice. It is but a small part, and that by no means the best part of what passes in the mind of a writer, that he can express in his writings, and every writer worthy of the name feels that his happiest efforts fall infinitely short of his ideal, and express only the least, and perhaps, the least worthy part of- himself. Every really great man, every man of real genius as an author, reads over, if read over he can, with a deep feeling of humiliation, the best things he has written, even when not marred by the errors of the press. The archbishop usually wrote under the pressure of the occasion, and when the reassure was removed and the natural excitement subsided, is writing, thought it had effected its purpose, seemed to him of little or no permanent value. We cannot accept his estimate of his own writings, they all have at least a permanent historical value, if no other, and much other they certainly have.

All the writings of Dr. Hughes indicate a writer of un-mistakable genius. They are all written in a clear, forcible, chaste, and dignified style. Their diction is pure and choice, and often remarkably felicitous. The author was an accomplished rhetorician, and we may add, as all who ever heard him speak, knows full Well, a graceful, dignified, and most impressive orator. He was one of the ablest, most pleasing, and effective preachers we have ever listened to. Much under the medium size in fact, he always left the impression that he was far above it. His head was large, his features were noble and masculine, and his look was commanding, even majestic. His wit as a writer was keen and delicate, but his logic was not always equal to his rhetoric or his wit. His writings were popular, eloquent, and effective, but not remarkable for that higher logic which always seizes the ultimate principle on which depends the solution of the question before one; and his conclusions, though valid against his actual opponents, are not always valid against all classes of objectors, and leave something to be said after him.

This was the principal defect, as we regard it, of the illustrious archbishop's mind, or at least of his intellectual culture. He was in the habit of taking practical views of all questions, and of acting according to circumstances. In discussing a question he rarely states distinctly the principle on which the question turns, and gives it only in his practical solution, from which it is not always easy to gather it. In this respect he resembled the English and American Protestant writers, rather than the higher class of Catholic authors, and fails sometimes to satisfy the demands of the thoroughly trained Catholic theologian or philosopher. You cannot readily reduce his argument to its principle, but are obliged to take it as a whole, as rhetorical rather than as logical. He was not what is called a suggestive writer.

He enlightens the question distinctly before him, but throws little light on collateral problems. He has, so to speak, no side lights. In reading him you get the answer to the direct question discussed, but nothing more, no principle which enables you to solve various kindred, though at first sight, unrelated problems. He lies in this the advantage of being always intelligible, and of having his whole thought and its bearings grasped at once, for there is no more in it than appears. Such a writer is always, in no objectionable sense of the word, a popular writer; while those we call suggestive writers, who seek to solve all particular questions by the light of universal or ultimate principles, are never popular, and are appreciated only by the few who study as well as read them; for there is more in them than appears on the surface, and more than the ordinary reader ever thinks of looking for. As a controversialist Dr. Hughes was adroit, diplomatic, and subtle, sometimes too subtle and refined, and puzzled and silenced his opponent without absolutely refuting him, His Oral Discussion with Breckenridge, especially in the part in which he undertakes to prove that Presbyterianism is hostile to civil liberty, did not satisfy us, when as a Catholic we read it; we accepted the proposition, but not for the reasons assigned. So, in the Letter to General Cass, vindicating Catholics from the charge of having ever oppressed the consciences of Protestants. He denies the charge on the ground that conscience is interior, what is most intimate in man and therefore beyond the reach of external violence or oppression. Yet he had himself complained that Protestant powers had oppressed the consciences of Catholics. He replied to the charge in a sense in which General Cass did not make it. The charge of course was false, but not for the reason the archbishop assigned. There is and can be no conscience against God, and conscience is oppressed, and its freedom violated only when one is forbidden by the civil law to conform to the law of God infallibly promulgated. But the archbishop, we suppose, did not judge it wise or prudent to adopt this line of defense; for it was directly in face and eyes of the American doctrine of the liberty of conscience, which he seems on all occasions to have studiously avoided contradicting. The syllabus had not been published before his last sickness, which was to terminate in his lamented death, though Gregory XVI. Of immortal memory, had condemned in one of his encyclicals the false doctrine of liberty of conscience, as asserted by this heretical and infidel age, and defended even by so-called liberal Catholics.

"We accept what is called civil toleration, at least as a necessity of our times and country, and are satisfied where the church in the civil order is placed, as with us, on an equality with the sects; but nothing shall induce us ever to defend the sects as having any rights of conscience before God or against his church. In the spiritual order heresy, infidelity, error, has no rights, whatever they may have in the civil order. They may in certain cases, as we have said, be excusable through invincible ignorance or invincible necessity; but everyone is morally bound to believe the truth, to obey the law of God, and to have a good conscience. We know no error more fatal to the soul and to society itself than that which resolves truth into each man's opinion of what it is, and the law of God into what each one for himself judges it to be. We respect and defend the real liberty of conscience, but we are aware of no error which it is more necessary to opposed outrace than the false doctrine of liberty of conscience, only another name for indifferentism, which our age and country so generally profess.

The greater part of the archbishop's writings were called Forli in the discharge of his official duties, and have a permanent value as historical documents, as throwing light on the difficulties our bishops have had to contend with, even down to the present moment, and the severe trials they have had to undergo in order to place the church in the United States in its present healthful and prosperous condition. Their trials and difficulties are not yet over and never will be so long as human depravity remains, and men retain their free-will. But we think they have been lessened, and there is probably no country in which the church is freer and her pastors have more to encourage or more to console them, than in these United States; and that it is so is due, as far as our knowledge goes, to no one man more than to the late Most Rev. Dr. Hughes, the first archbishop of New York. He was a man for his day, and for the important city in which was his see. His memory will long remain in the church, and his labors will only be the more highly appreciated as time goes on. We trust that he still remembers the people of his charge, and aids them by his prayers in the goodly company of the angels and the spirits of just men made perfect.

We have not written his panegyric, a task to which we are not competent; we have only attempted to give a few traits of his character, chiefly as they came under our own personal observation, or were brought out by our personal relations with him. We were no blind admirer of his during his life, and we frankly confess that we often did him injustice in our thoughts and words too freely spoken. We have written what we have from a desire to repair as far as possible any injustice we did him, as well as to show our high appreciation of his character in its external relations. The task was for us a delicate one, for it is well known that, though we never fell under his official censure, we did fall under the lash of the archbishop's unofficial criticism, which was not at all pleasant, and the perfect candor and impartiality of our judgment may reasonably be distrusted. But we have aimed to be just, and we certainly cherish the memory of the late archbishop as that of a large-hearted man, in most respects an eminently great man and a prelate of rare energy and activity untiringly devoted to the interests of religion.