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The Know-Nothings, part I (freemasonry)


[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for 1854-5.]



            Our readers have no need to be informed that there is a secret anti-Catholic organization throughout the Union, bearing some resemblance to the Orange lodges of Ireland, of persons who very appropriately call themselves Know-nothings.  The party that is represented by this organization is substantially the late anti-Catholic native American party, and is led on, avowedly or unavowedly, under the direction of foreign anarchists, and apostate priests and monks, by men of desperate fortunes, fanatics, bigots, and demagogues, some of home and some of foreign production.  The party reduced to its own elements would have little or no importance, but, affecting to be national, it is, in the actual state of the country and of national, religious, and political passions and prejudices, somewhat formidable, and demands the grave consideration of every true American, and especially of every Catholic citizen.


            The Know-nothing party, taken in a general rather than in  special sense, rely for their success on two powerful sentiments;--the sentiment of American nationality alarmed by the extraordinary influx of foreigners, and the anti-Catholic sentiment, or hatred of the Catholic Church, shared to a greater or less extent by the majority of our countrymen, and which, by the anti-Catholic declamations of Protestant England, Exeter Hall, and apostate priests and monks, and by the extension and consolidation of the church, and the freer, bolder, and more independent tone of Catholics, in the United States, has been quickened just now into more than its wonted activity.  The strength of the party consists in the appeals it is able to make to these sentiments, especially to that of American nationality, for with the American people this world carries it over the other, and politics over religion.


            From neither of these two sentiments should we as Catholics have much to apprehend, if they were not combined and acting in concert.  Our obvious policy is, then to do all we lawfully can to keep them separate in the public mind, and prevent them from combining.  This can be done, humanly speaking, only by satisfying the sounder portion of our non-Catholic countrymen,--as every Catholic knows to be true,--that there is no incompatibility between Catholicity and the honest sentiment of American nationality, and that whatever of foreignism attaches for the moment to Catholics in this country attaches to them in their quality of foreigners, and not in their quality of Catholics.  This is certain, for the sentiment of nationality is as strong in the bosom of the American Catholic as in the bosom of the American Protestant.  Nothing seems to us more important at this crisis in relation in the Know-nothing movement, than for us clearly to distinguish the sentiment of nationality from the anti-Catholic sentiment, and to be on our guard against offering it any gratuitous offence, and by our indiscretion enlisting on the side of that movement the large class of respectable non-Catholics who love their country more than they hate popery.


            It cannot be denied that the immense majority of our Catholic population have emigrated from various foreign states, principally Ireland and Germany, and have brought with them, as it could not otherwise happen, foreign sentiments, attachments, associations, habits, manners, and usages.  They bear not on coming here the stamp of the American mint, and are to the American people foreigners in feeling and character.  This is not said by way of disparagement to either party, but as a fact, and a fact that gives to our church something of a foreign aspect, and prevents her from appearing to the natives as a national or integral element in American life.  They are apt, therefore, to conclude from it, not only that the mass of Catholics are foreigners, or of foreign birth and manners, tastes and education, but that Catholicity itself is foreign to the real American people, and can never coalesce with our peculiar national sentiment, or prevail here without altering or destroying our distinctive nationality.  This conclusion, all unfounded as it is, is nevertheless honestly entertained by many, and directly or indirectly enlists on the side of the Know-nothing movement, not simply the anti-Catholic bigots and demagogues of the country, but a very considerable portion of the more sober non-Catholic body of Americans, who, though they love not our religion, would otherwise stand by the religious liberty recognized and guarantied by our constitution  and laws.


            It was to meet this view of the case, that we wrote the article on "The Native Americans".  We saw, or thought we saw, the sentiment of American nationality fearfully excited against Catholics; we saw a storm gathering and ready to break in fury over our heads; we saw anti-Catholic mobs and riots taking place in a large number of the states; we saw that Catholics could be attacked, their persons and property endangered, and their churches desecrated or demolished, with impunity; we saw that the authorities were in most places favorable to our anti-Catholic assailants, and indisposed to afford us protection, and that Catholics, a feeble minority as we are, could, however brave and resolute, do little to protect ourselves in a hand to hand fight.  We found a secret sympathy with the Know-nothing movement where we least expected it, and men secretly encouraging it who would naturally loudly condemn it, actuated by dislike to foreignism rather than by any active hostility to Catholicity as distinguished from the foreign elements accidentally associated with it.  We wrote mainly for these, to show them that they had no reason for their secret of open sympathy, for we, a stanch Catholic, were a natural-born American citizen, and as truly and intensely American as the best of them.


            Some of our friends, mistaking our purpose and wholly misconceiving the drift of our argument, construed our remarks into an attack on our foreign population, and as an especial insult to Irish Catholics,--not stopping to reflect that a Catholic American publicist could not possibly dream of insulting the Irish Catholics in the United States, unless an absolute fool or madman, neither of which will any of our Catholic or non-Catholic friends readily believe us to be.  We deeply regret the misapprehension of our friends, and their hasty and uncalled for denunciations of us; because they have thereby, unwittingly, played for the moment into the hands of the Know-nothings; because they have as far as they could, given a practical refutation of our argument, and confirmed in the minds of our non-Catholic countrymen the very impression which we wished to efface,--that an American cannot become a Catholic, be a good Catholic, and maintain his standing among his Catholic brethren, without virtually renouncing his nationality, ceasing to feel and act as an American, and making himself a foreigner in the land of his birth.  We fear the denunciations of us, under the circumstances, by the larger portion of the Catholic press in the English tongue, will hereafter, when it is no longer an object with them to excite Catholics against us personally, be used by the Know-nothings with terrible effect against the Catholic population of the country.  We hope, however that the candid among our non-Catholic countrymen--and we trust that there are many such--will not fail to perceive, what is the real fact, that these denunciations, after all, do not make any thing against our position, for the offence which our Catholic friends took was taken in their quality of foreigners, not in their quality of Catholics.


            The misapprehension of our article, as it seems to us, has been extreme, and we can explain it only on the ground been extreme, and we can explain it only on the ground that Almighty God has suffered it to remind us that he has his own method of defending his cause and protecting his children, and to impress upon our heart, what in our pride we were perhaps in danger of forgetting, that his church does not stand in human policy, human wisdom, human sagacity, or human virtue; that he will prosper no policy, however wise or just it would otherwise be, which might in him who devises and urges it rob God of his glory, or render his supernatural providence less visible and striking.  He has permitted a momentary delusion to blind and mislead the judgements of our friends, for his greater glory and our spiritual good.  We bow therefore in humble submission, and cheerfully kiss the rod that chastises us.


            But while we murmur hot against Providence, we may, we trust, be permitted to say that the animus of our article has been wholly misapprehended, and an interpretation given to our remarks which was not intended, and which, with all deference to our critics, we do not believe warranted by any recognized rule of construction.  For what we said, fairly construed, we hold ourselves responsible; but we do not, and will not, hold ourselves responsible for what we did not say, and what, with our known sentiments, our character, position, and antecedents, it must be obvious on the slightest reflection we could not have meant. Our article was written by one who combines in his own person the character of a stanch Catholic and a natural-born American citizen, who wrote to reassure his non-Catholic countrymen, to prove practically to them, that there is nothing in Catholicity to offend their nationality, and to caution his Catholic friends of foreign birth and education against so obtruding the foreignism, which as a matter of course adheres to them, as to offend the national sensibility;--to separate in the minds of both parties the Know-nothing movement from the question of nationality, and to make it obvious to every one that the Know-nothings are not a national party, and have not the slightest claim to be regarded as such, though, through an ordinary confusion of ideas, they are just now able to enlist on their side, to some extent, the honest feeling of American nationality.  Had our friends understood us, we feel sure that they would have stood by us, and seconded our efforts.  If they had done so, we think Know-nothingism would have received a deadly wound.  But God has ordered it otherwise, and we submit.


            Questions which touch national feelings and habits are no doubt, delicate things to deal with, but we believe it the wisest way, when they must be dealt with, to approach them in a bold, straightforward, and manly manner, and deal them such a blow that no second blow will need to be struck.  This is our policy.  No Catholic can consent to be impeded in his free speech or independent action, so far as they are lawful and necessary to promote the cause of truth and virtue, by the tyranny of any nationality, whether his own or another's.  Every Catholic knows that there are among Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, diversities of race and nation, and that these diversities do not pertain to Catholicity.  No Catholic can confound them with his religion itself, without falling into the modern Protestant heresy, that diverse races and nations demand diverse religions,--the old pagan doctrine, which generated national religions, and imposed on each individual, as bot Plato and Cicero taught, the obligation to follow the religion of his nation.  Catholicity stands directly opposed to this doctrine of national religions, and teaches that there is one religion and only one for all men; for God has made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.  Protestantism, it is well known, originated to a great extent in nationalism, and it had latterly become a favorite doctrine with many liberal Englishmen and Americans that, while Catholicity is adapted to the Celtic nations, Protestantism is the religion adapted to the Anglo-Saxon race.  For the former Romanism, as they call it, is the true religion, for the latter, Protestantism,--not considering that in this they concede that their religion is not Christian, for Christianity breaks down the partition-walls of nationality, and is adapted alike to all races and nations, as is evident from the commission which our blessed Lord gave to his apostles, which was, "Go ye and teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."


            The Protestant may boast that Protestantism is the religion of Anglo-Saxons, and deny that Catholicity can prevail among them, but no Catholic can entertain the notion without denying Catholicity and becoming a pagan.  The Catholic religion is for the German or Teutonic family of nations as well as the Celtic, and the Anglo-American can, if he chooses, be as good a Catholic as the warm-hearted son of the Emerald Isle.  Catholicity is not insular, it is continental, universal, and the Teutonic races have played a distinguished part in the history of the church ever since the fall of the Roman empire of the West.  St. Thomas of Aquin, St. Anselm  of Canterbury, St. Boniface the apostle of Germany, Albertus Magnus, the author of De Imitatione Christi, St. Wilfrid, St. Dunstan, St. Thomas of Canterbury, and the long line of Anglo-Saxon saints who won for noble old Catholic England the glorious title of Insula Sanctorum, were all, we suppose, of the Teutonic family.  Charlemagne was a true German; the Franks, who gave to France her name, her laws, her institutions, and her rank among the nations of the earth, were a Germanic tribe, and it was precisely in those parts of France where the Germanic element was weakest that the Albigenses had their seat, and Protestantism erected its strongholds.  For ages nearly all the royal, and the great majority of the noble, families of Europe, who have given so many saints to the church triumphant and to the veneration of the faithful on earth, have pertained to the same family.  Your old Catholic chivalry, so renowned in chronicle and romance, were, for the most part, of Teutonic descent.  If ever there were Catholics, they were the hidalgos of Spain, and their very title, Sons of the Goth, tells you from what race they sprang,--the same race from which have sprung the Anglo-Saxons, the Anglo-Normans, and of course, so far as Saxon or Norman, the Anglo-Americans.  One half of the Germans in Europe are still Catholics, and a large and not the least important portion of the Catholics in the country--as edifying and as devout Catholics, and as dear, we doubt not, to the church and her celestial Spouse, as any amongst us--are Germans; and better Catholics are not in the world than may be found to-day in England, Belgium, and Holland, all, according to the common reckoning, of the Germanic family.


            Why do we say this?  To exalt the Teutonic race at the expense of the Celtic,--to excite a war of races, and to pit race against race?  Nonsense.  Nobody can be silly enough to accuse us of a purpose so insane.  We do it to repel the senseless  pagan doctrine of our modern Protestant gentlemen, who teach that the Germanic family, especially the Anglo-Saxon branch, were intended by Almighty God to be Protestants, and cannot be really Catholics, and to be prove by an appeal to history that Catholicity is Catholicity, and embraces alike all men and nations,--to combat from the high stand-point of Catholicity the narrow prejudices of race and nation and to assert that our holy religion is not, like Protestantism, confined to particular nations, and can advance only as the nation itself advances, as we see in the case of Anglicanism, but is, so to speak, cosmopolitan, independent of all geographical lines and national distinctions.  No race is debarred from entering the church, none is doomed to be Protestant or infidel against its will.  No race or nation has the monopoly of Catholic faith or piety, and nowhere, in order to introduce Catholicity, is it necessary to introduce a foreign nationality.  Father De Smet despairs of finding better Catholics than he finds among his dear  Christian Indians, who yet remain Indians, and the Catholic missionary that true hero, will never tire of telling you of the edifying and consoling examples of Catholic faith and piety that he finds in China, Cochin China, the Corea, Tonquin, Siam, and the South Sea Islands.  Christ died for all men, instituted his church for all men, and adapted his religion to the wants and capacity for all races and nations.  Catholicity asserts the unity of the race, the common origin and brotherhood of all men, and nothing is more repugnant to its spirits than to judge individuals by the race from which they have sprung or the nation in which they were born.  Never should we treat any race with contempt, or claim every virtue under heaven for our own.  Away with these petty distinctions and miserable jealousies.  What is it to the Catholic that the blood that flows in his brother's veins has flowed from Adam down through an Anglo-Saxon or a Celtic channel?  Through whichever channel it has flowed, it is the same blood, and has flowed from the same source. 

All men are brothers, with one and the same Father, and one and the same Redeemer.  We know but one religion, but one sort of Catholicity, and that is not Irish, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, English, or American, but Roman and Apostolic,--Roman, because Rome is the center of its unity on earth, and Apostolic, because Rome--not as a nation, as a city, or state, but as the Holy See--teaches and administers it with the authority of Peter, to whom Christ gave the keys of the kingdom.


         Nevertheless, even under Catholicity, diversities of race and nation, of genius, language, education, tastes, habits, and manners and customs, do and will obtain.  Every nation, in that it is a nation, lives a life of its own, which distinguishes it morally, as well as geographically, from all others.  This distinctive national life, its informing principle, the principle of its unity, of its collective individuality, conversion to Catholicity purifies and exalts, but does not alter or destroy, any more than it does the peculiar traits or characteristics of individuals.  While then, the American respects the nationality of others in so far as it leads them to infringe no principle or precept of justice, he has the right to retain his own, uncensured, unmolested, and to prefer it, as he does his own wife and children, to all others.  Every independent and sovereign nation has the right to preserve its own nationality, its own identity, and to defend it, if need be by war against any foreign power that would invade it; and then, a fortiori, to close its political society, if it sees proper, against all foreign immigrants who, in its judgement would endanger it, or not prove advantageous to it.  In so doing, it exercises only the inherent right of every sovereign state, and persons born citizens or subjects of other states have no right to complain; for naturalization is a boon, not a natural and indefeasible right,--a boon, not in the sense of a simple gratuity, for the sole advantage of him who receives it, with no direct or indirect advantage resulting to the nation, as some of our friends have supposed we must have meant, although we said expressly to the contrary; but a boon in the sense of a grant as contradistinguished from a natural and indefeasible right, and therefore a concession which a nation is free to make or not to make, according to its own views of policy or humanity, without violating any principle of natural justice.  This was obviously what we meant, and all we meant, when we called naturalization "a boon, and not a natural right."  Whether the word was happily chosen or not, we leave to verbal criticism to settle; our meaning was plain enough, and to that we have heard no objection.


         Naturalization is a civil right conferred by our laws, and the rights it confers are held by as valid a title as that by which the natural-born citizen holds the same rights.  Legally and politically considered, with one solitary exception, naturalized citizens stand on a footing of perfect equality with natural-born citizens.  Every foreigner of good moral character, by complying with certain conditions, can enter our civil and political society, except as to the presidency of the United States, on perfectly equal terms with natural-born American citizens.  This we suppose everybody knows.  But the wisdom of this policy is an open question, and a fair subject of discussion.  A party in the country, stronger than we wish it, is agitating for the alteration or repeal of the naturalization laws.  We trust it will fail; but it will not do to oppose this party on the ground that naturalization is a natural right, held antecedently to civil legislation, and therefore a right which congress is bound to recognize and protect, and is not competent to withhold.  No foreigner has a right to demand of our government, antecedently to its own legislation, to be admitted either into our political or our civil society.  Congress is perfectly competent, in case it breaks no faith expressly or tacitly pledged to foreigners already here, though not yet naturalized, to repeal the naturalization laws it has itself enacted, and would in so doing violate no principle of natural justice.  Whether it would be good policy to do so is another question, and one to be discussed on its merits.


         As a general rule, we think the true policy of a nation is to reserve political--we say not civil--citizenship to persons born on its territory, or of citizens temporarily resident abroad, and to distinguished foreign-born individuals, as a reward of eminent services.  We do not believe it sound policy to make political citizenship too cheap, lest we make it valueless, and encourage a neglect of its duties.  But we can have hitherto considered our own country as one of them.  We had, on setting up for ourselves, a large territory, thinly peopled, and in great part uncultivated.  We wanted settlers and laborers from abroad, and we invited them by offering liberal terms of naturalization.  This policy was natural, and in our case, under the circumstances, not unwise and hence we have always hitherto foreign settlers.  If the case stood now as it did ten, or even five, years ago, we should not hesitate a moment to continue to lend to it all the support in our power.  But the case has altered.  From 1790 to 1820, when we most wanted foreign settlers, our naturalization policy attracted but a small immigration, and it is very clear that it is not that policy that has attracted or that attracts the great mass of foreign immigrants to settle among us.  Nevertheless, during that period, the immigration, though comparatively small, was upon the whole advantageous as far as it went.  From 1820 to 1845, the immigration became much larger, and had a sensible effect on the country, and was in our judgement highly advantageous.  It was principally Catholic, and therefore an immense moral and religious as well as material gain.  Since 1845, especially since 1849, when the reaction of conservative principles in Europe became decided, and the revolutionary movements were suspended, if not finally defeated, the immigration has been larger still, but of a different character.  The Catholic element has been relatively smaller, and far less pure, and the anti-Catholic element, the infidel and revolutionary or anarchical element now largely predominates, and is likely to continue to predominate.


         While the Catholic element predominated, we were in favor of our liberal naturalization laws.  The really Catholic immigration we certainly greet with a most hearty welcome, from whatever foreign country it comes.  Through it we have obtained a large Catholic population, and the church has been, not introduced indeed, for that honor belongs to one of the "Old Thirteen," the noble colony of Maryland, but extended through the Union and consolidated.  We need not say that we regard this as an immense gain in a national as well as in a religious point of view, for as our readers know, our sole reliance for the preservation of American liberty and American institutions, and therefore for the success of what is called the American experiment in self-government, is on the Catholic Church.  Catholicity, so far from being opposed to republicanism, as so many of our countrymen believe or pretend, is absolutely essential to its wholesome working and successful maintenance.  Hence, identifying genuine republicanism with genuine Americanism, we regard real Catholics as by far the truest Americans amongst us.  We expressed this when we placed the Catholic population, whether Irish or German at the head of American people, as the most truly conservative body in the country.  This we should think, might have spared us the unjust accusations which have been so liberally, and, we will say, so inconsiderately, brought against us, of setting up one race against another, of insulting Irish Catholics, and of being hostile to the foreign Catholic immigration.


         With regard to the mass of non-Catholic, or merely nominally Catholic, revolutionary, socialistic, and radical immigrants, now pouring in upon us at a frightful rate, we confess that we are opposed, we do not say to their coming here, but to their admission into the bosom of our political society.  We are not opposed even to these on the ground of their foreign origin, but solely on the ground of their well-known character, and the abominable principles which they avow, and labor with all their might to carry into effect.  These, we confess, with the present filibustering, ultrademocratical, fanatical, philanthropical, and abolition tendencies of so many of our natural-born countrymen, make us fear for our American republicanism, such as it was in the minds of our fathers, and we do not believe it wise or safe to open to them the entrance into our political society.  We do not in fact, believe them entitled to be admitted even under our present naturalization laws, for they are to a fearful extent banded together in secret societies, affiliated to the terrible secret societies of Europe, and directed by foreign demagogues and revolutionists, such as Kossuth and Mazzini.  Their riotous proceedings in many parts of the country during last winter, in what are called the Bedini riots, their revolutionary programmes, and their avowed intention to revolutionize American society, prove to us that they have no intention or disposition to be quiet, orderly and loyal American citizens.  As an American citizen and and American republican, we cannot but be opposed to their naturalization, and a fortiori as a Catholic; for they are the worst enemies of the church in this country, are hand and glove with the Know-nothings taken generically, and may be regarded as the real instigators and most effective supporters of the Know-nothing movement.  Know-nothingism is no Yankee invention, no American production, but an imported combination of Irish Orangesism, German radicalism, French socialism, and Italian astuteness and hate.


         But the country cannot, certainly will not, discriminate in our favor against these mauvais sujets, naturalize Catholic immigrants, and refuse to naturalize the non-Catholic.  We cannot ask it to do so, for the dominant religious sentiment of the country is in favor of these and against us.  Considering the danger from them both to our country and our religion, considering that the Catholic immigration is diminishing, and will most likely cease before many years altogether, we threw out by the way a suggestion, that it might become a question with Catholics, whether it would not be well for them, that is in the case of future Catholic immigrants, to forego the privilege of naturalization, if by so doing they could prevent these non-Catholic immigrants from being naturalized; that is, whether is would not be well for us to consent to the prospective repeal of the naturalization laws, in order to exclude from American political society the dangers class of non-Catholic foreigners.  If it would have that effect, we do not think the sacrifice would be too dear on the part of Catholics.  But we did not advocate it; we merely said, that in case there was no discrimination against us, we should not oppose, as we would not advocate, a repeal or alteration of the naturalization laws.  Here was nothing at which Catholic adopted citizens, or Catholic immigrants not yet naturalized, could reasonbly take offence, because the distrust expressed was not distrust of them, but of non-Catholics,--not of foreigners as such, but of a particular class of foreigners, with whom they could not expect us to sympathize, and with whome we could not suppose that even their Catholic countrymen could make common cause with a good conscience.  We do not insult an American Catholic when we denounce an American radical, if we denounce him because he is a radical, not because he is an American.  Why then do we insult Irish Catholics because Irish radicals, when we denounce Irish radicals, when we denounce them simply as radicals, and not as Irishmen?


         Although constitutionally and legally adopted citizens are equal members of our political and civil society, it does not follow that the country, that is, the dominant sentiment of the country, makes no distinction between them and natural-born citizens, and it is going a little too far to say that their position here, with the solitary exception specified in the constitution, is in no respect inferior to that of natural-born citizens.  The title by which they hold their rights is not inferior, but no man can be acquainted with the prevailing sentiments of the country without being well aware that things will be tolerated or suffered to be done without offence in the natural-born citizens, that will not be in naturalized citizens; for the country, when these last do not please her judgement, fancy, or caprice, is sure to remember that they are not her natural-born children, and to throw their foreign birth in their face.  We do not say that this is right; we did not and do not pretend to justify it, for we are not democrat enough to believe the country either infallible or impeccable, but we do say that it is fact and human nature.  In reality, and the country, not by her laws, but by her sentiments, always regards even naturalized citizens in the light of guests enjoying her hospitality, and exacts of them the modesty and reserve expected in well-bred guests.  Therefore there are some things permitted to natural-born citizens from which adopted citizens must abstain if they would avoid unpleasant collisions, from which they can gain nothing, and may lose much.  Theory is all very well, but a prudent regard to actually existing facts is seldom amiss in regulating our conduct.  We did but describe facts as they are, put into the mouth of the country the language which expresses, so far as not restrained by religion, her actual sentiments.  Our friends, with a liberality which will prove its own reward, have done us the honor to ascribe those sentiments to us personally, and to conclude that we described them only because we approved them.  We have been in the habit, however, of considering the historian not responsible for the crimes he narrates, unless expressly or implicitly indorsing then, and also that one may counsel prudence in the exercise of rights without denying or calling in question the rights themselves.  Knowing the sentiments of the country with regard to the class of persons concerned, where was the harm in  our stating them?  Or where was the harm, since it never entered into our head that our friendship to that class could or would be questioned, in offering them such advice as those sentiments, whether just or unjust, made proper and necessary?


         But it is not the country alone that makes a practical distinction between adopted citizens and natural-born citizens, and they who study our article will perceive that the gist of our complaint was, that the foreign-born population make and insist on it themselves.  It is their insisting on this distinction, their keeping it in various ways constantly fresh in the minds of the American people, that constitutes the gravamen of their offence.  It is unjust for those who insist on this distinction to blame us for calling attention to it.  If adopted citizens make no distinction between themselves and natural-born citizens, why is our highly esteemed friend of The American Celt, at the moment we are writing, publishing a series of essays addressed to adopted citizens, as a distinct class, and advising them to abstain from voting in the next presidential election?  Why do their own demagogues, as well as ours, always address them as a distinct class?  And why are our American ears saluted with such unpleasant sounds as "the foreign vote," "the Irish vote" the German vote," "the vote of adopted citizens"?  If no distinction is made, why have they special organs, and why are they not through these organs addressed as simple American citizens?  If they themselves make no distinction in their own minds and hearts, why did our remark that it is for them to conform to our nationality, not for us to conform to theirs, strike a portion of our Irish Catholic friends as so unjust and so insulting?


         That adopted citizens do to a great extend look upon themselves as a distinct and separate class in the American community, and that their leaders, their demagogues and ours, labor to keep them so, for selfish and political purposes, is a notorious fact.  A man who can bring ten, twenty, or fifty thousand votes to a party by addressing adopted citizens as a distinct class, when he could bring only his own, if he addressed  them simply as American citizens, had very obvious interest in keeping them a distinct and separate class; and it is the facility with which they can be so kept, and influenced by appeals to their old national interests or affections, foreign to the American, that creates no small share of the hostility felt towards them, and that provokes native American movements against them.  Would our excellent friend--and such we really hold him--address the advice to American citizens generally to abstain from voting, which he is giving to adopted citizens?  Does he not see that he regards them as a distinct class of citizens with interests and duties other that those of American citizens generally?  For ourselves, we have uniformly studied to avoid a recognition of such distinctions, except to rebuke them.  We have addressed Catholics as a distinct class, for in religion they are so; but we have never urged upon them a political policy which we have not equally urged upon all citizens, whether of our religion, or of the Protestant, or of none.  We have opposed always every such thing as a Catholic party in politics, and have always refused to recommend any man for an office on the ground of his being or not being a Catholic.  We have wished the Catholic press to abstain from committing Catholics as such either to the Democratic party or to the Whig party, and to leave them free as Catholics to vote for either party according to their own judgement as free and independent American citizens.  We have wished to keep the Catholic element separate from the conflicts of party politics.  We wish always to do the same with regard to the foreign element.


         In fact, our adopted citizens, at least their leaders, are not always satisfied to be treated simply as Americans, and they would take it as an offence if we refused to recognize their foreign nationality.  This is not indeed the case with all, we trust not with a majority, but it is the case with a large number, and especially with those who figure most in our political contests.  They are willing to be treated as Americans certainly, but it must be as Irish Americans, or as German Americans, which leads to the use of the offensive term Anglo-Americans as designating the mass of the original population of the Union, through whose heart flows the main current of the distinctive American nationality.  Our Irish friends show this in the very titles of their journals.  They would be offended if an American journal should call itself The Anglo-American, and yet they give us The American Celt, and The Irish American.  These titles imply a double nationality, the American and the Irish, and indicate the light in which they who support them regard themselves.  We have no objection to the Irish nationality.  We love and honor it as much as any man can love and honor a nationality not his own.  Personally, we have always been partial to the old Celtic order of society, as we met it among the Scottish Highlanders and the original Irish, and we have wept bitter tears over its disappearance in Ireland before the axe or rope and confiscation of the Anglo-Saxon or the Anglo-Norman, and the extinction of its last hope on the field of Culloden; but our tears wake not the dead, and recall not to life the dear ones we have laid in the grave.  There is no more gathering of the clans, and the stranger revels in the hall of the Irish chieftain.  The old Celtic order of life, even in the Irish Catholic peasantry, is to-day little more than a reminiscence and a regret, and will, if the national schools remain, very soon cease to be even so much.  It cannot be revived; certainly not on American soil, where it has never been even a tradition.  Here a different order of tradition rules, a different--we say not a better, but a different--order of national life predominates, and we have nothing to do but to accept it, and make the best of it.  Those who regret their own old national life are not to be blamed for doing so, and much must be pardoned to them, as the mother in the parozysm of her grief over the lifeless remains of her darling boy; but still they must make up their minds to one thing or another, and not be, as Mrs. Malaprop says, "two gentlemen at once."  We cannot be required to recognize two distinct and mutually repellent nationalities at the same time and in the same persons.  As to our Irish Catholics, we are willing to treat them either as simply Catholics and Americans, if they will permit us, or as simply Cathlics and Irishmen, if they prefer; but we insist that they shall make their election, for we cannot, even if we would, treat them as both at once, because the national type they would bring with them from Ireland--that is, those of them who are called the Irish--is different from the American type, and unity is possible only by the assimilation of the one to the other.


         There need be nothing offensive in this statement, for it is made in no offensive sense, and with no thought of exalting one nationality at the expense of another.  We do not enter into the old quarrel of Saxon and Celt when we say the dominant type of American nationality is Anglo-American, and not Irish American, for we only express a simple fact and call things by their right names.  We do it not to imply that our nationality is any better because it is derived from the English than it would have been if derived from the Irish.  Perhaps it is inferior.  Into that question we have not entered, and will not enter, for, as Dogberry says, "comparisons are odorous," and we have no wish to flatter the pride of the one race or excite the envy of another.  We only assert our American identity as we do our own individuality, which, though very much inferior to another, is yet the best for us, because it happens to be ours.  The colonies, which have grown into the United States, were English colonies, and the great bulk of their inhabitants were of English descent.  When be became an independent nation, we were substantially and English people.  From England we have derived our language, our literature, our laws, our political and social institutions, our habits, manners, and customs, only modified by the incidents of colonial and a subsequent separate national life.  This is simple fact, which nobody in his senses can deny.  There were indeed Dutch in New York, and Germans in Pennsylvania, who had and still have a local influence, but none in determining the national type of the American people regarded as a whole.  There were Irish and Scottish settlers, before the revolution, in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and in most of the other colonies.  They were a valuable accession to the colonial people, and are honorably distinguished in our annals; but they introduced no foreign element, no distinctive or foreign nationality.  They were to a great extent anglicized before leaving home, were assimilated in language, religion, and manners to the English settlers, and formed but one people with them.  It never even occurred to us to distinguish them from the people we called Anglo-American, for we were discussing no question of blood or race, and never dreamed of restricting the Anglo-Americans to the unmixed descendants of the old Anglo-Saxons, who for aught we know, were far enough from being an unmixed race themselves.


         We wish we could convince our friends that the question of blood or race has with us not the least importance in the world.  The English are a distinct people, but not a distinct race.  They are a mixed people, eclectic, like their language, composed of Angles, Saxons, Britons, Danes, Normans, Angevines, Gascons, Irish, Scotch, Flemings, Dutch, French, Italians, and we know not how many others.  These, assimilated to a common national type, are what in modern times we call Anglo-Saxons, but whose proper name is the English.  Now what we mean, when we call the American nationality Anglo-American, is that it is derived from the English type, and all who are assimilated to it we call Anglo-Americans; or simply Americans, except when we are obliged to distinguish between them and those who call themselves Irish Americans or German Americans.  We can conceive nothing offensive in this.  The word itself may be unpleasant to Irish ears, and call up many unpleasant associations in Irish minds, but then do they not call themselves Irish Americans?  Is that a term pleasing to the Anglo-American?  We used the term not as a boast, nor to express a preference.  A blue-eyed man might as well take offence at our saying to him, Sir, your eyes are blue, mine are black, and therefore of a color different from yours; or an Irishman might as well take offence at us for writing our name, after the manner of our ancestors, in the Anglo-Saxon form, Brown-son, instead of the Celtic form, McBrown.  Yet we are quite willing that anybody who dislikes the Saxon termination of our name should drop it, and give it the Celtic prefix.  The only objection we have is, that it might create some confusion and give rise to a question of identity.  But all this is childish, and they wrong the Irish who represent them as so weak and sensitive as to be unable to bear the very innocent epithet Anglo, without imagining an insult is intended them.


         That our national life has been and will continue to be enriched, as we expressed it in our article, by contributions from various foreign sources, we have not the least disposition in the world to deny, but that these flow into the main current of our Anglo-American life, without diverting its channel or essentially altering its type, we consider a "fixed fact."  Such has been the case in the past, as nobody acquainted with our history will gainsay; that it will continue to be the case, we infer from the fact that it is on American soil by far the strongest, and absorbs every foreign nationality that meets it.  It has the digestive power of the ostrich.  It assimilates the very children of foreign parents, unless kept separate by difference of language, who grow up as god Anglo-Americans, in the sense in which we use the term, as the best of us.  There is very little that is distinctively Irish, or that is not distinctively American, in the children of Irish parents born or brought up here, unless they have been kept from all intercourse with the old American people,--we mean the descendants of the English-speaking American people of 1790.


         "Bt suppose you are right, why insist on it, especially in a time of such excitement against foreigners as the present?"  For two reasons.  First, to allay that very excitement, or to calm the fears of the more sober part of our non-Catholic countrymen, alarmed by the influx and movements of foreigners within the last few years.  Secondly, to show our foreign-born population, not yet americanized, that they cannot, if they would, force their foreignism upon the country, and that all efforts on their part to preserve their distinctive nationality on our soil are not only dangerous, inasmuch as they excite the fears and hostility of native Americans, too strong here to be trifled with, but absolutely unavailing.  We think it bad policy, to say nothing else, for foreign settlers in a country, naturalized or not, to tell that country that it had no nationality, that its nationality is not yet formed, and that it is to be, when formed, an "amalgam" of theirs and various foreign nationalities,--foreign, because introduced as distinctive national elements since the country became a nation, and was recognized as such by the nations of the earth.  We think it would be very impolitic, even if it were not an idle dream, to hint, much less to insist on it;  for no people on earth, not restrained by deep and earnest religious principle, which cannot be said of the Americans, will bear it,--especially if these settlers constitute a very considerable portion of the population, and boast that they and their children are over one half of the whole nation, and tell those who have always considered themselves and been considered by the world as constituting the great body of the people, that they are only about one third of its whole white population.  We cannot quiet public excitement against us by insisting on the very things which produce it.  That were in policy--a blunder.  We must be pardoned, then, if, having the good of all the inhabitants of the country at heart, we refuse to adopt that policy, and take what seems to us the more common-sense course of seeking to allay the excitement, by showing that its causes are unreal, that the danger apprehended is imaginary, and that the puerile boasts with which enthusiastic foreigners amuse themselves, or seek to relieve the tedium of their exile, should never be suffered to drive a great people from their propriety.


         It is all very natural that immigrants should wish to find again their fatherland in the country of their adoption, or should console themselves with the thought, that, if they must ultimately part with something of their own nationality to the country, it, in return, must part with as much or more of its to them.  We would not say a word to deprive them of this source of consolation, if indulged in private, and not paraded before the public, to frighten our timid old women of either sex.  We do not mean to deny that the influx of foreigners has and will have a local and temporary effect on our national character, but what we do mean is, that it will not absorb our nativism, nor dissolve our nationality, or produce a new amalgam.  We look upon it as inevitable that the immigrant population will, in time, become assimilated to the dominant national type, be completely nationalized as well as naturalized, and to become nationalized in a foreign country is to become conformed to its nationality, not its nationality to become conformed to them, which would be to conquer and subdue it.  Believing this to be inevitable, that our immigrant population will americanize even in spite of themselves, we conclude, alike for the benefit of both parties, first, that these pretensions, and these efforts and organizations to preserve a foreign nationality, or to modify the American, which only excite the hostility of the country, will in the long run effect nothing in favor of the foreign-born population; and secondly, that it is very unwise and unmanly for us native Americans to be disturbed by them, or to fear that the foreign elements will absorb the native.


         Here are our reasons for doing what we have done, and for doing it at this particular time.  We can see nothing in it to aid the Know-nothings in their insane movements against foreigners.  We did not in the remotest degree justify their movement, for we labored to prove that in the case of Catholic immigrants, the only class to which they are opposed, the fears they appeal to are groundless.  The storm was gathering, and we wished to avert its fury as far as possible from the heads of the Catholic population of the country, native or foreign born, but more especially from the Irish Catholics, who, as it generally happens, would be the chief sufferers.  In this, we said not one word in disparagement of any one's nationality, we spoke neither in favor of our own countrymen nor against foreigners as such.  We merely said that there is an American nationality,--of which we could not doubt, for we felt it throbbing in our own bosom,--and contended that it had a right to prevail, and would prevail, on American soil.  It seems to us that we had just reasons to think that our readers, who never knew us to boast the superiority of one race over another, to treat any race with pride or contempt, or to disparage any man on account of this birth or nation, would attribute our assertion of Anglo-Americanism or our own personal Anglo-Saxon descent to some motive, even if a mistaken one, less unworthy than that of asserting the superiority of Saxon to Celt, or the supremacy of New England over the rest of the Union.  It is humiliating, indeed, to find such unworthy motives attributed to us, and by men who should know us better.  But there is no reasoning with men who take their ungenerous suspicions or their unmanly fears for their premises.  There is not a man in the country who has given stronger proofs of freedom from national and sectional prejudices than we have.  We have never hesitated to censure our own country, or even New England, whenever we thought her in the wrong, and in the severest terms when we thought them deserved.  We have defended Mexico, we have defended Spain, we have defended Austria, against our own government; we have defended Louis Napoleon against American radicals; Ireland against England; the South against the fanaticism of the North; and spoken of the West in comparison with Massachusetts, in terms by no-means flattering to the pride of our adopted state.  And yet there are men who do not blush to accuse us of being controlled by both national and sectional prejudices, and others silly enough to believe them!  Verily, the race of poets is not extinct, if, as it has been said, the essence of poetry consists in invention.


         In point of fact, the freedom of our censures upon our own country, though made with an American heart, had excited a suspicion of our patriotism, and was beginning to be used as a proof of the anti-American character of Catholicity.  We owed it our brethren and to the cause to which our Review is devoted, to remove this unfounded suspicion, and to show that we can be sufficiently American, whenever the hour comes for the assertion of Americanism.  We have always told our readers that we conducted a Catholic American Review, rigidly Catholic in religion, and in nationality and politics rigidly American.  We have repeated this, time and again, and certainly not without a purpose, and a purpose which we should suppose could be easily divined.  It is, we think, the proper character for a Catholic publicist in this country.  But we have repeated it as our profession of faith, and as indicating a distinct and settled line of policy.  The great controversy with Protestantism is no longer conducted on purely theological grounds, but is now made, as Balmes, Conoso Cortes, Montalembert, and all the great Catholic champions of the day, assure us, a national, a political, or a social question.  Protestantism has virtually yielded the question as a theological question, and now debates it as a question lying within the secular order.  The grounds taken by our non-Catholic countrymen against Catholicity are three:  1.  It is foreign and opposed to our nationality; 2.  It is anti-liberal and incompatible with our republicanism; and 3.  It is anti-industrial, and repugnant to the material growth and prosperity of nations.  It is on these grounds, however humiliating, that the Catholic publicist must now meet the question between Catholics and Protestants, if he would meet it at all, or say any thing to the purpose.


         Now we all know that this first objection is very strong in the non-Catholic American mind, and that it is strengthened by the fact that the great body of Catholics here are immigrants and their children.  The American not a Catholic regards the church as un-American, and to him she comes in and spreads here only in conjunction with a foreign nationality.  For large masses of the American people Catholicity is simply the Irish religion, and to become a Catholic is regarded as the same thing as to become an Irishman.  Of the fact there is no doubt, and that, humanly speaking, it operates unfavorably to the reception of our holy religion by our countrymen, there can be just as little, because it adds to their prejudice against the church the no less strong prejudice against a foreign nationality.  Nothing is therefore more prudent than for one in our position thus to show that he preserves his Americanism.  The most natural thought of an Irish Catholic in relation to this prejudice undoubtedly is to seek to remove it by reminding us of the past glories of the Irish people, and the important services which they have rendered to this country.*  We do not question these glories or these services, but this method, since it presupposes a conversion to Irishism, as the condition of removing prejudices against Catholicity can e relied on only in the case of here and there an individual; for the country, though not prejudiced against the Irish as individuals, yet as much prejudiced against them collectively as against the church herself, and is only irritated by the means they take to vindicate their national glory.  Grant, as we certainly do, that this prejudice is unjust, as are all national prejudices, as are the prejudices of the Irish themselves against the Anglo-Saxons as a race, yet is exists, and nothing that we or the Irish themselves can do or say in their favor will do any thing towards removing it; for nations, as well as individuals, can be unreasonable.  We are grieved and mortified that it is so, but so it is, and the Catholic American must not be required to shoulder this national prejudice, but must be permitted in all freedom to distinguish for his countrymen between Catholicity as Catholicity, and Catholicity as identified with the Irish or any other foreign nationality.  Why should he beat his head against a granite wall?


         *The facts usually alleged by our Irish Catholic friends to prove the claims of the Irish people on American        gratitude are not quite to the purpose.  By the Irish, the American people understand the Catholic Irish of the       poorer classes, in whom only they recognize what they regard as the distinctively Irish nationality.  It is against    these, or more properly against their self constituted leaders, that they are chiefly prejudiced.  The faults, real or          imaginary which they discover in them they charge to Catholicity, and hold the church answerable for.  Now this       difficulty is not met, this prejudice is not removed, but confirmed rather, by proving to us that a large number of         those whom the country delights to honor were Irishmen, but of another order.  To show that Irish Protestants    played a distinguished part in the early history of this country, or in our struggle for independence, is to say   nothing for the Catholic Irish, but in the non-Catholic American mind much against them.  Protestant Ireland         sympathized with us in our struggle, and many of our distinguished men in the civil and military service were      Irish Protestants or Irish Presbyterians; but this lays no foundation for our national gratitude to Catholic Ireland.    Here is the point, and the reason why, as a Catholic, and as the friend of the Catholic Irish, we do not set any       great value on Mr M'Gee's very instructive and interesting work, The Irish Settlers in America.  The Catholic Irish    have rendered our country infinitely greater service than the Irish Protestants, but, unhappily, they are services of   a kind which our non-Catholic countrymen cannot appreciate, and do no not count as services at all, but the          reverse.  These services are those which they have rendered to the cause of Catholicity.  Beyond these,       however, they have rendered immense services in the material order, which our countrymen might, but which     they do not, appreciate.


         In Ireland Catholicity and nationality march hand in hand.  During the long and painful struggle of Catholic Ireland with Protestant England, the two have become as it were identified in the national heart.  Faith has sustained the sentiment of nationality, and nationality has come to the aid of faith by making it a point of national honor not to apostatize.  The priest can appeal to the deep national sentiment to support the church, and the patriot can appeal to religion to keep alive the sacred fire of nationality.  But these appeals, so natural and so effective in Ireland, where the Catholic faith and the national sentiment are so strictly united, cannot be effective here beyond the circle of the Irish immigrants themselves, because here the nationality is American and not Irish, and to appeal to the Irish nationality as an auxiliary beyond that circle is to confirm the very objection we wish to remove.  The more prominent we make the Irish nationality, and the more we identify it with Catholicity, the more do we confirm the prejudices of the American people against our religion.  What we want, so far as our non-Catholic countrymen are concerned, is, that our religion be presented to them free from all association with any foreign nationality whatsoever.  We do not mean by this that the who present it must be of American birth, far from it.  He who presents it may be an Irishman, a Frenchman, an Italian, a Spaniard, a Belgian, a Hollander, a German, for the American people are not as all prejudiced against the foreigner as an individual; but what we mean is, that he must distinguish it from his foreign nationality, if he be a foreigner, and present it as simple Catholicity, superior to all national distinctions and adapted alike to all nations.  It always is so presented when introduced by the missionary into an infidel or an heretical country; yet so it is not easily presented where it is not introduced by the missionary, but by the migration of an old Catholic people, who seldom, if every, distinguish, even if thought, between their religion and their nationality.


         Here is the difficulty in this country with the great body of their catholics.  Catholicity is their old national religion.  They embrace, cherish, and defend it as the religion of their fathers, and identify it so closely with their own nationality, that they hardly conceive the possibility of the one without the other, and are therefore exceedingly apt in americanizing to lose their Catholicity.  Hence the question has two grave aspects, the one affecting non-Catholic Americans, and the other the Catholic immigrants themselves.  It is necessary to convince the former that they can, so to speak, catholicize without ceasing to be Americans, and to enable the latter to americanize without ceasing to be Catholics.  We know, humanly speaking, no way of effecting this double object out by distinguishing between Catholicity and nationality, and having it practically understood, on both sides, that our religion is bound up with no particular nationality, but can coexist, without collision, with any.  We say practically understood, that is, presented as a living fact here and now; for in the abstract, in theory, no Catholic, at least, denies it.  To this end, the Catholic who embraces the question under both of its aspects is required to present Catholicity solely as the religion of God, and to repulse all appeals to any particular nationality as an auxiliary.  But, unhappily, he cannot do this without coming into frequent collision with those who are more intensely national that Catholic, or who, consciously or unconsciously, take it for granted that their religion and their foreign nationality must extend themselves together; and if of Anglo-Saxon origin, especially if a convert, he will be accused of hostility to foreigners, of arrogating every thing for his own hated race, of being governed by mean and narrow-minded national prejudices, or Anglo-Saxon disdain of the Irish.  Denunciations after denunciations follow as a matter of course.  The poor American Catholic, rejected by this countrymen as a Catholic, and by his Catholic brethren as an American asserting the right of American nationality on American soil, runs but a narrow chance for his life.  Happily, however, if his motives are pure, he has an unfailing resource in God.


         Such a narrow chance seems at the present moment to be ours.  Yet what have we done?  We have simply attempted to prove to our non-Catholic countrymen, that Catholicity is not a foreign religion; that is not hostile to American nationality; that whatever of foreignism is associated with it in the minds of a portion of the Catholic population of the country is accidental, owing to their foreign birth and education; that really Catholic citizens, though adopted citizens, are the most conservative and reliable portion of the American people; and that the only dangerous class of foreigners are non-Catholics, infidels, apostates, radicals, socialists, and revolutionists.  Here is what we have done under one aspect of the question, and here is nothing to which a Catholic can honestly object.  We have called upon our Catholic friends of foreign origin, and who naturally and without thinking of it bring their foreign nationality with them, to accept American nationality such as it is; to forbear making war on it, or setting up their own against it; to be discreet, and on their guard against offering it any gratuitous offence, for here they are the weaker party, and cannot, if lawful to do so, resist it with effect; in a word to study to become nationalized as well as naturalized, and merge themselves in the great American people.  Believing that as an American citizen whose ancestors were among the first settlers of the country, we know the feelings of our non-Catholic countrymen better than any foreigner can know them, we have described the dominant sentiment of the country with regard to adopted citizens, and pointed out to them some of the respects in which they have not in our judgement been prudent, and have unnecessarily offended the nation susceptibility.  We have utterly exploded the national pretensions of the Know-nothings, or the so-called native American party, and denounced them as a miserable anti-Catholic faction, led on by foreign and native demagogues, who care not a straw for Americanism any further than they can use it for their own base and selfish purposes.  Finally, we have reminded our own countrymen of their own faults, greater than those they presume to lay to the charge of foreigners, and called upon them to reflect on the immense services rendered by foreign immigrants to the material prosperity of the nation.  Here, again, is what we have done under the other aspects of the question.  And what is there here that any Catholic, whether native-born, can construe into an insult?  Have we found some faults to reprove in our foreign-born population?  Do they imagine that they are faultless?  or that no one is to speak of them but in terms of high-wrought eulogy?  But have we pretended that they are more faulty than our own countrymen, or have we reproved them with a tithe of the severity that we have native-born American?  Had we said a hundredth part as much against foreigners as we, or many of them, have said against our own countrymen, our life would hardly be worth a year's purchase, judging from the fury with which we have been assailed b a portion of the foreign-American press.  We assure our Catholic friends, that they have in some instances allowed their national feelings to run away with their Catholic charity, and have been far from presenting an edifying example to the American people.  Understanding, indeed, our remarks in the marvellously incorrect manner it seems they did, we can account for much of their wrath, and pardon their fury.  But taking what we have done in the sense obviously intended, we are sure that there was nothing in it that could have reasonably offended a single Catholic in the world, and we should have felt that we were offering a gross insult to our whole Catholic population had we even hinted the possibility of any one's taking offence at it.  But let this pass.


         The Know-nothings, whom it has been said we have joined, are really an anti-Catholic party, and only accidentally and by false pretension a native American or national party; real genuine Americans, in their true national character, whom we distinguish from the Know-nothings, through national, are anti-Catholic only by accident and through ignorance.  To the rue American feeling and the American system of government, Catholicity offers no opposition; but accepts and consecrates them as American.  Consequently, between Catholicity and genuine Americanism there can never be any collision, and our honest non-Catholic countrymen would see and acknowledge it, if they were only well acquainted with our holy religion.  This is what we said, when we asserted that the native American party is only accidentally anti-Catholic, and which some of our friends have, singularly enough, interpreted to mean that the Know-nothing party are only anti-Catholic by accident.  We should suppose our well-known sentiments and character might have saved us from so gross a misapprehension.  If there had been any obscurity or ambiguity in our language, we should suppose it were removed in a subsequent part of our article, where we deny the claims of the Know-nothings to Americanism, denounce them as a miserable anti-Catholic faction, and say tha we utterly repudiate them, bot as a Catholic and as a natural-born American citizen.


         It would seem that we presumed too much on the credit we supposed would be given us for common sense, and we did not therefore enter into as minute explanations as were necessary to save us from the suspicion of being either insane or a downright blockhead.  There has, ever since the second term of Washington's administration, been in the country that me be called a native American party, opposed to the liberal policy of our naturalization laws.  This party was called into existence b the very censurable proceedings of Genet and the French Jacobins, who opposed the neutrality which Washington and the majority of the people sought to maintain in the war then raging between the French republic and the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and was invigorated by the violence of foreign radicals, and their gross libels on the government under the administration of the elder Adams.  To this party we had reference when we said the native American party is only accidentally anti-Catholic, for the foreigners to whom it was opposed were not Catholics, but Jacobins, in the language of that day.  Catholics, whether of native or foreign birth, were not then sufficiently numerous in the country to be counted, and the Catholic element did not enter into the question between nativism and foreignism.


         A native American party, in reality, has always existed in the country.  A few years ago it was separately organized, and made some noise and did some notable things.  This was called the native American party, and on the question of nationality simply continued, under another name, the party that passed the "alien and sedition laws," and was not anti-Catholic in its origin or the first moments of its organization; that is, it did not oppose Catholics in their quality of Catholics, but opposed them only in their quality of foreigners.  It was then only accidentally anti-Catholic.  Now the sentiment which underlies this party, regarded as simply a native American party, is respectable, for it is only a phase of patriotism or nationality, and is shared alike by every natural-born American, whether Whig or Democrat, Catholic or Protestant.  This is what we meant and what we said.


         But we beg our readers to not what it precisely is that we do say.  Our expression was, "the sentiment which underlies the native American party."  A man uses this form of expression only when we approves the sentiment, and disapproves the use of application that is made of it.  The language approves the sentiment, but condemns the party.  The sentiment is that of nationality, or identity of one's own nation, as we say; for in our estimation the sentiment of nationality does not always give the preference to one's own countrymen; when a foreign-born citizen can render the nation more valuable services than the natural-born, it prefers him.  If an Irishman, as well may happen, can do more to develop and preserve our nationality than an American, it is no impeachment of our patriotism to prefer him.  But this sentiment, which underlies the native American party, we have described as shared by all Americans.  The American feeling, we suppose, was as pure and as strong in the bosom of the Jeffersonian or Republican party which supported, as in the bosom of the Federal party which opposed, our liberal naturalization policy.  We do not think the Republicans were less patriotic or less unwilling to sacrifice their national identity than were the Federalists; they thought, and the event has proved that they were right, that the fears of the Federalists were groundless, and that the liberal polity might be adopted with advantage to the country as well as to foreign immigrants themselves.  But there has always been a party that has cherished those fears, and within the last few years not entirely, as we showed in our last Review, without reason,--though by no means with so much reason as some imagine, as we also showed; and this party, a few years ago, organized themselves into the late native American party.  Well, the sentiment which underlies this party as so organized and so named, we said, and we still say, is respectable, and is as strong in the bosom of the American Catholic as in the bosom of the American Protestant.  We did not say, and we do not now say, that we approve the use or application which the party makes of that sentiment.  In its origin the party was not directly anti-Catholic; but even then we did not like it, and wrote against it, though we shared the sentiment of nationality on which it professed to be based.  But the organization had hardly been effected before it ceased to be American, before it was seized upon by nopopery demagogues,--some native and some foreign-born, among whom figured now and then a North-of-Ireland Orangeman, and especially, as the most prominent leader in this section, the ex-priest Hogan, born, we believe, in Ireland,--and perverted to a simple anti-Catholic faction, disgraceful to itself and to the country.  Now native Americanism, in the sense of this miserable anti-popery faction, with its foreign leaders, with an Irishman for its mayor of New York and a New for its representative in congress, is no doubt in bad odor with all our foreign-born Catholics, and with a large portion of non-Catholic Americans.  But it was not of this party, after its perversion, that we said the sentiment which underlies it is respectable, or as strong in the American Catholic bosom as in that of the American Protestant; nor was it of this party after, but before, its perversion, that we said it was only accidentally anti-Catholic, for our expression was, "The native American party in its origin was only accidentally anti-Catholic."


         The Know-nothings are generically considered this same party, after its perversion to an anti-Catholic faction, under a new name and organization.  But we can tell our friends, that if they flatter themselves that these same Know-nothings enlist, despicable as they are, nothing of the respectable sentiment of nationality in their favor, they are very much mistaken.  The Know-nothings themselves have not the slightest conceivable claim to be regarded as a national or American party.  They are, if you will, Orangemen, hoping by means of maintaining Protestant ascendency to rule the country, and to share the loaves and fishes of office; they are anti-Catholics, carrying on the war of the world, the flesh, and the devil against the lord and his Christ; they are revolutionists and libertines, who find the church in their way, and who would destroy her and bring back the reign of Night and Chaos.  This is what they are, caring not a straw for Americanism any further than they can use it to accomplish their own infernal purposes.  But they profess to address the honest sentiment of American nationality, and, in the present state of feeling against the church, they are able, we are sorry to say, to enlist sentiment to a very considerable extent on their side, and it was to defeat them in this that we wrote our article.


         There can be no question that there is at this moment a strong public excitement against Catholics and Catholicity in the country.  The very successes of the Know-nothings prove it.  As to the more immediate causes of this excitement, there may be some difference of opinion.  Some Catholic journals have not hesitated to ascribe it to the inconsiderate zeal and ultraism of some converts, among whom the first rank is given to ourselves and our highly gifted friend, Bakewell, editor of the late Shepherd of the Valley.  It is very well, no doubt, to throw the blame upon us, and to make us responsible for the hostility felt towards Catholics.  There is something generous and manly in such a proceeding.  At least, such a proceeding is safe.  But if our Catholic journals had merely said that we and our friends have produced excitement amongst Catholics themselves by our fearless assertion of the absolute necessity of the Catholic faith to salvation, and our high-toned doctrines on the freedom of religion and the supremacy of the spiritual power, they would not have been far out of the way; but if they suppose that we, by the things they allege, have excited the active hostility of the American people against the church, we can tell them that they have fallen into a grave mistake.  Our non-Catholic countrymen would suffer us to advocate the doctrines supposed to be so offensive to them till doomsday, without suffering themselves to e provoked into any thing more than a laugh, or a newspaper squib at our expense.  No assertion we can make of exclusive salvation, or of the power of the pope, can disturb them, because, not being Catholics, the assertion of the former has no force for them, and, having some knowledge of the present state of society, they have no fears of the latter.  It is never safe to ascribe the convictions and feelings of Catholics to non-Catholics, and to suppose that things which often alarms us for them appear to them in the light they do to us.  We feel quite certain, that, had it not been for the fears and the complaints of Catholics themselves, our so much harped upon virulence, and ultraism, which they were the first to proclaim, would never have been detected, certainly never complained of, by our non-Catholic countrymen.  The American people are little moved by any thing that we or anybody else may do, as long as we keep within the region of doctrine and speculation, and they are roused only wen some practical question in which they take an interest is touched practically, or when there is a practical effort made to dismount them from one of their hobbies.


         Yet that we have had something to do, though not in the way alleged, in producing this excitement against Catholics in this country we are not disposed to deny.  There are, if we may so speak, two Americas, Old and Young, conservative and radical.  Old America, or Old Fogie America, is republican to the backbone, but a constitutional as distinguished from a democratic republican.  It is the American of the constitution, of the political and social institutions adopted or founded by the colonists and fathers of our republic.  It places the political sovereignty in the people collectively, existing as civil society, and acting according to constitutional rules, but subjects them to the empire of the laws and recognizes their will as law only when constitutionally expressed.  It recognizes the state as the state, not as a mere association, dissoluble at the will of the members acting individually or outside of the body politic; and, though limiting the sphere of government, and guarding with all possible care against its arbitrary exercise of power, yet allows it to be imperative within its sphere, and arms it with full force to make itself obeyed, whoever or how many may attempt to resist it.  It is the true, genuine, original, political America, whose constitution and principles we have so often and so fully set forth in our pages during the last eleven years.


         By the side of this America has grown up another America, sometimes called Young America, a bastard America, which we have all along contended is not legitimately American, because not warranted by the constitution and institutions of the country, because not consonant to the real genius and habits of the real American people, and because as a matter of fact of foreign, not of American origin.  This is what we call radical or ultra-democratic America, the America of the greater part of American electioneering documents, of American periodicals and newspapers, which is on the tongues of the greater part of us when we speculate, and which many natives and all foreigners, unless German radicals, take to be the real Simon Pure America.  The real American political system, though remarkably simple in its operation, is exceedingly complex in its structure, and can be fully comprehended only by political heads of the first order, after years devoted to its study.  Comparatively few of our own countrymen are able to seize its precise character and give a just account of it, and those who do are laughed at as Old Fogies,--a term, by the way, imported from Ireland, by a Young Irelander, and applied in the Democratic Review to such men as General Cass, the late Judge Woodbury, Mr. Buchanan, and to almost every man of mature age and distinguished services in the Republican or so-called Democratic party.  The great majority of our journals and politicians speak of our institutions as purely democratic, and nearly all foreigners except, as we have just said, the German radicals.  Democracy is a word we do not ourselves use when speaking of our institutions because if does not accurately describe them; for it names one of the simple or absolute forms of government, and our government is not as to its form simple, but complex, and belongs to the order of mixed governments.  But the simple forms of government as they have but a single idea, but a single principle, are much more easily understood than the complex forms.  Any understanding can grasp the idea of simple monarchy, where the will one man is law, of a simple aristocracy, where the will of a particular class is law, and of a simple democracy, where the will of the whole people, or, practically considered, the will of the majority, is law.  But all simple forms of government are governments of mere will, are absolute, arbitrary, and incompatible with freedom, are in reality despotisms; and hence our fathers, who loved liberty no less than they loved order, and were as anxious to secure the freedom of the subject as the power of the state, did not establish any one of the simple forms of government.  They established, however, a government in which the democratic element preponderates.  Hence all superficial politicians and demagogues at home, and nearly all foreigners, take that element to be exclusive, and consider whatever they find opposed to it as an anomaly to be reduced to the rule at the earliest possible moment.  In consequence of this, Young America, which did not derive its political principles from the study of the American institutions, but from abroad, becomes identified with the European democracy, with French Jacobinism, and the universal red-republicanism or revolutionism of the Old World.


         Now as Catholics and conservative Americans we accept and defend the old genuine republican America; but we can neither as Catholics nor as genuine Americans accept or defend the latter.  We are obliged by our religion and by our Americanism to oppose the so-called young America, and all the more earnestly in  consequence of the influx of foreigners, who are sure to adopt on landing here its doctrines, because they are the simpler and more easily to be comprehended, because they are those they most frequently meet in American journals, because they correspond to their previous ideas of Americanism, and because having felt the pressure of authority at home, they are predisposed to them.  These foreigners, having adopted these doctrines, when naturalized naturally seek to carry them out in their practice, unless restrained by their religion, because they have not those interior republican habits which restrain in practice the exaggerations of the democratic theory.  Men at home, and under institutions under which they have been formed, act from habit and routine, and, ordinarily, however they may speculate, in their practice conform without even thinking of it to the established order of things; but when transplanted to another country, placed under a different order, they cannot do it; they get first the theory, and then study to conform their practice to it.  They are like a man speaking a foreign tongue, which he has learned by the study of lexicon and grammar.  His own mother tongue he speaks from habit, and it may be with correctness, though he has never learned its grammar.  But the foreign tongue he speaks not from habit, and can speak it correctly only as he has learned it by study, and if he has had a grammar and lexicon that did not give him the correct rules of the language, he will be continually committing solecisms in his speech.  Now the native American, no matter of what blood he was originally, trained up under our institutions, becomes a practical republican in the American sense, and will when it comes to practice, for the most part, act as an American in the true sense, though he speculates as a foreign radical, for in his practice he acts from American instincts, habit, routine, and he speculates according to a theory.  Ordinarily, we have less fault to find with the political conduct than with the political speculations of natural-born American citizens, but the political conduct of the foreigner will be governed by his political theory.  This explains what we said in our article as to foreigners not being republican in their habits and interior life.  They lack, we said, practical republican training, and are apt to confound republicanism with democracy, and democracy with radicalism, and therefore we concluded that non-Catholic foreigners, in whom religion does not supply, as in the Catholic immigrants generally, the lack of republicanism training, are dangerous to American republicanism.


         Now this Young America, radical America, identical with the European democracy, we have from the first opposed, both an national and religious grounds.  We have opposed the party as un-Catholic, un-American, and anti-social.  We have opposed it wherever we have encountered it, in our own country, in Ireland, in France, in Italy, in Germany in Austria, in Hungary, in a Mazzini, a Kossuth, a Mitchell, or a Meagher, when leagued with the Turk, or when combining against Russia, in principle and detail, in theory and practice, in whatever shape or disguise we detected it, and brought to our opposition all the knowledge and experience acquired by twenty years of service as one of the members and sometimes as one of the subordinate chiefs, of that very party.  Here is our offence, and which has won us the character of "the best-abused man" in all America.  We have been the foremost offender in this way of all American journalists.  We commenced it in 1841, in The Boston Quarterly Review.  We continued it more decidedly in the Democratic Review during the year 1843, and we have continued it on higher grounds, with clearer and more comprehensive views, during the eleven years that we have almost single-handed conducted our present journal, in our essays, in our orations, in our lectures, in our letters, in out conversations.  We have done all that was in our power to detach our own countrymen, and especially our Catholic population, from the un-Catholic, anti-American, and anti-social party, and to enlist every Catholic principle, sentiment, and aspiration on the side of our American institutions, and against destructive radicalism.  We have not been alone in this.  The Catholic press has nobly sustained us and seconded our efforts, at least since the reaction against the youngsters commenced in Ireland and on the continent; nevertheless, ours was the first Catholic journal in the country, so far as our knowledge extends, that took this stand, and for some years we stood alone among our journals, without hearing one single fraternal voice saying, "God speed you, brother."  Latterly, however, the view which we were the first Catholic journalist in our country to assert, has been generally avowed by the Catholic body, we have not the vanity or presumption to think in consequence of any humble services of ours, but because events have made it necessary and proper, and radicalism has met the church at every corner, opposing to it the eternal principles of truth and justice.  Here, we apprehend, together with the things mentioned in our article, is the principle secret of the extraordinary excitement now raging against the Catholic body, an excitement that is fanned and kept alive chiefly by foreign radicals, and not least by Irish radicals, for the most part nominal Catholics, and to whom we personally owe nearly all the abuse we have received since our conversion, and whose obvious policy it is to prevent us from acquiring any influence with the Catholic, especially the Irish Catholic body, whom they regard as their stock in trace, and would keep up as a distinct and foreign body, to be worked for their especial benefit.  The genuine Catholic sentiment has in this country ventured to assert itself, and to take its stand, not on the side of Whig or Democrat as such, but on the side of Old against young America, on the side of conservatism against radicalism, of genuine Americanism against the false and imported pretender who claims its honors; as it could not but do, when so many nominal Catholics, under pretext of exercising their acknowledged political liberty, were doing all in their power to destroy both religion and society.  Hence the extraordinary excitement against the church, and the extraordinary efforts to drive Catholics into the arms of Young America, or to drive them out of the country.


         Now it is this excitement, stirred up against us by the causes we have mentioned, and by the practical measures which the pastors of the church have found it advisable to take the save the children of the faithful from apostasy, of which the Know-nothings, pandering to the basest passions and the silliest prejudices of our countrymen, seek to avail themselves, and which they think will prove strong enough, with the aid from Exeter Hall, the Protestant Alliance, foreign demagogues, and that illustrious class of ill-instructed Catholics who hold political atheism, expressed in the popular maxim, "Religion has nothing to do with politics," and whom we call custom-house Catholics, to enable them to effect their hellish purposes.  In this they are indirectly aided by large numbers of our countrymen, who, though non-Catholics, are not anti-Catholic in an active sense, but who, from the decided stand which the Catholic press has taken against radicalism, foreign movements, and domestic free-soil and fanatical and filibustering movements, in favor of authority, which we have ourselves sometimes appeared to push, as our friends will tell us, too far, and the fact that the church professes to teach with authority, and exact unhesitating obedience to her orders, conclude that Catholicity is hostile to republicanism, although she makes it a point of conscience in the Catholic to support it where, as with us, it is the legally established order; and also, from the fact that the great mass of Catholics here are of foreign birth and education, and that the noisiest portion of them, those who assume to be the leaders of the body, make a very unnecessary display of their foreignism, and talk largely of the numbers and power of the adopted citizens, conclude that practically it cannot coexist here compatibly with American nationality.  Now if our readers have paid any attention to what we have written, they must have perceived that since Louis Napoleon's coup d'etat, we have labored to remove the false impressions as to our love of liberty produced by our necessary war against revolutionism, and to show that we were equally the enemy of despotism.  In accordance with the same thought, we have sought to defeat the Know-nothing movement by showing, what is strictly true, that Catholicity is not with wild Jacobinical democracy, but with genuine American republicanism.  This has been our aim, our policy, if you will, and which should have been divined by our friends without forcing us in self-defense to explain it.  Our end we have believed sacred, our means, we think, are just and honorable, and within the province of the lay editor, especially if writing with the sanction of his bishop or a theologian appointed by him.  If, however, we have overstepped our bounds and trespassed on the province of the pastors of the church, it has been unwittingly and unintentionally, and we doubt not that we shall be pardoned at least by those who have considered it our grossest fault that we are in the habit of pushing the spiritual authority over the temporal too far.


         As to the accusation brought against us of insulting the Irish Catholics, amongst whom are nearly all our friends and associations as a Catholic, we repel it with all the indignation and scorn compatible with Catholic meekness and humility.  For the ten years since we became a Catholic we have labored as a writer and a lecturer with the honestest intentions, and with what ability God gave us, to serve the great body of Irish Catholics, in the only way in which we believed we could serve them.  We have not appealed to their warm sensibilities as Irishmen; we have not bespattered them with praise; we have not addressed them as children who could not endure a rough, manly voice; we have addressed them as men, strong men, full-grown men, who could hear and applaud the plain truth honestly spoken.  We shall continue to address them in the same manner, if we address them at all.  We have aimed to be just and honorable to them, and have been grateful to them for their kindness to us as a Catholic.  We have always respected their nationality, and have regretted and rebuked the Anglo-American prejudice against the Irish immigrants.  We have wished them to stand and to be regarded as standing on a footing of perfect equality with natural-born American citizens.  But we have believed and we still believe that that result can be obtained only in proportion as they become nationalized, assimilated in some degree to the national type, and merged, so to speak, in the general population of the country.  They can never, in our opinion, occupy their true position here, so long as they remain as a foreign colony, or distinctively Irish.  We believe, let them strive as they will to the contrary, they will in time americanize, and become as national character undistinguishable from the mass of our citizens, and therefore that they should give up all attempts to preserve here as it were an Irish organization, and to act, not as Americans, but Irishmen.  We do not ask them to forget Ireland, for which and with which they and their fathers have suffered so much and so unjustly; we do not ask them to cease to love or to succor the friends and kindred they have left behind them; we do not ask them to disown their flood, to be ashamed of their national origin, or to give up their share in the traditions and past glories of the Irish race; but we do ask them not to regard this country as the land of their exile, but to look upon it as their new home, freely chosen, around which are to cluster the affections of their hearts, and with whose fortune, not with that of Ireland, are henceforth bound up their own fortunes, and those of their children and their children's children, and give to it what they owed to the home of their birth.  As Catholics we ask them to americanize, and to suffer their children to americanize, without ceasing to be Catholics.  The greater number of their children, let them do or say what they will, are sure to grow up substantially American, with the American interests and affections predominating over Irish interests and affections, and if they cannot with Catholicity they will without it.


            These remarks have run to a greater length than we intended; but we have considered them necessary for a full explanation and defence of that Americanism which we have uniformly professed and advocated since we became a Catholic, and which has recently been so singularly misapprehended and so imprudently denounced by a portion of the Catholic press.  They were due to that large class of our friends who have honestly mistaken our purposes, and really felt hurt at some things we have said, and whose friendship it would be a sore grief to us to forfeit.  But we have done.  If the Know-nothings try to use the denunciations with which we have been assailed as an argument against the compatibility of Catholicity with our American nationality, or against the American intentions and devotedness of the great body of our really Catholic population, or even their truly American conduct, when not mislead by demagogues, they will only justify their name of Know-nothings.  As for ourselves, we have not forfeited the confidence of our Catholic friends, and we have no doubt that they will stand by us as they have heretofore stood by us.  They are sound at the heart, and love and honor an independent editor, and will sustain him, though they may not accept every thing he says.