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The great hopes entertained by the ultra-monarchists of the Old World, and the honest fears of some timid individuals among our own citizens, that the question of slavery would soon produce a disruption of the Union, and that Kansas was destined to prove the grave national prosperity, are both sure to be disappointed. Both make in their estimate too little account of the strength of those bonds which unite the North, South, East and West of our country ; too little account of the deep and abiding love of the Union wbich pervades the breasts of our countrymen, and attribute too much importance to the clamors of demagogues, partisans, and political preachers. The dangers of a dissolution of the Union are diminishing every year, as the bonds which hold it are increased and strengthened, and as the interchange of produce and manufacture, and the social intercourse of our citizens, are more and more facilitated and multiplied. Each geographical section of the country is necessary to all the rest, each would be paralyzed and prostrated without the others to aid and sustain it. Notwithstanding the occasional swaggerings of an idle braggadocio, here and there, during a political contest, our statesmen and people know and feel this condition of mutual dependence in which we are placed by the very physical character of our territory. In the beginning, before the corresponding resources of the North and South were so fully explored, and so thoroughly applied, the duration of the Union might have been with some reason, considered problematical ; but since its advantages and necessity to the development of the natural wealth of all the States, have been so clearly manifested, and since the habits, convictions, and sympathies of the people are so powerfully concentrated in it, there is no need of alarm. So long as our great rivers and mountain chains run in the direction they do, so long as the products of the South shall continue so necessary to the North, and the industry of the North so essential to the prosperity of the South, and above all, so long as the American people shall preserve their national character and their very political life, the Union, we firmly believe, will be growing stronger instead of weaker. The dissolution of the Union is not half so much to be feared as the loss of that liberty which we should so highly prize ; not near so much to be dreaded as the absorption and destruction of individual right in the overgrown majesty of majorities, or in other words, of the State.
We are not insensible to the faults of our countrymen ; peither do we propose to indulge in idle and vain-glorious boastings. But neither are we ashamed to confess that as an American we are proud of our country, and that we entertain the most sanguine hopes that God, in his merciful providence, has great things in store for her. What is there in her past history to discourage these hopes ? Has not the finger of God been visible, ever disposing and shaping events in her favor ? He has given her victory in every battle, energy in every trial, safety in every danger. Notwithstanding the novelty of her position, and the difficulties of her origin amid the wreck of cld feudal manners and ideas, and the opposition of all that was honored in the political systems of the Old World, she now stands, after the lapse of only half a century, a proud, even the proudest, because the most favored political fabric in the world. She only needs the Church to instruct her people in their duty to God, and to themselves, and to her, to insure her duration, and make her in reality, and in every respect, what she is already politically, the happiest nation on the face of the earth.
The objection that the Catholic Church is antagonistic to our republican form of government and the free institutions of our country, has been a thousand times made and as often refuted by the clearest evidence, so that it is now quite stale, and is only repeated by demagogues and fanatical preachers. The great majority of the American people have manifested their confidence in their Catholic fellow-citizens in the most decided manner within the last three years. The statesmen of America are now united in their respect for the Church, and are even beginning to observe the happy influence which her faith and teachings are calculated to have on the minds of the American people, and the tendency which their adoption would have to insure the future preservation of the liberties wbich we now enjoy.
Though non-Catholic, and though even hostile in sentiment to the Church, the American people are too keensighted, and with all their apparent levity and real worldly
mindedness, too profound to remain long the dupes of Protestantism. They love the world, and because it is fashionable and respectable in the world to adhere to come form of religion, many of them (I speak of the better classes) still attend “worship" in some church, and allow themselves to be called, and even call themselves, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or members of some
sha other of the many sects of Protestantism. But it
But it may be fairly and truly said that most of them have lost all respecte aleen for Protestantism as a system of religion. They adhere to its forms because they were born and educated under their influence, and because it has not yet become entirely fashionable to profess open infidelity. The shallow pretences of Protestantism have not been able to stand their penetrating glance, and the absence of all authority, save that of man, in its teachings has been more or less
clearly discovered. Being merely a negative system, and carrying its own condemnation as a teaching church, in its avowal of private judgment, it has not been able to furnish religious aliment to satisfy the cravings of their souls. This is no more than natural. A human system must be supported by human agencies, and Protestantism, originating in very peculiar circumstances of time, place, and political condition, has ever since been sustained by the arm of the civil power and the force of human prejudice ; or in other words, by the world and Satan warring against the truth. In England, in Scotland, in Northern Europe, wherever it has a foothold to-day, it owes it to persecuting codes and the interested protection of crowned heads, rich nobles, and venal parliaments. Where it wanted these aids, it has made no progress. It has never been able to recommend itself upon its own intrinsic merits, as a divinely commissioned authority. Though backed by millions of money, plenty of talent, learning, and zeal, it has never converted a single barbarous tribe It has always been able to make apostates, but converts, never. The area of civilization has not been extended a square inch solely by its influence or teaching. The world owes nothing to it but innumerable wars, revolutions, the multiplication of sects, and in many countries, both in past times and at present, the loss of liberty. It introduced into the world the doctrine before unknown and unheard of, in the sense in which it incul
cated it, that kings ruled by Divine Right ; a doctrine which lays the axe at the root of all liberty, and inaugurates despotism as the normal character of all government. It has been fashionable here in America and elsewhere, to boast of Protestantism as the parent of liberty, and to stigmatize the Catholic Church as the upholder of tyrants and brute force. It was to be expected that Protestantism would set up this pretence both to justify its own rebellion against Divine authority and to insure its existence ; for in the progress of the love of liberty among its dupes, and after its total discomfiture on theological grounds by such intellects as Bossuet and Bellarmine, it could not maintain itself a single hour without seeming to espouse the cause of freedom and the progress of civilization. In Germany and England, at its origin by the hands and voice of a rebellious monk and the secular princes, it pointed to Rome and cried, Down with the Tyrant; and peoples oppressed, not by Rome, but in spite of Rome, partially caught up the word, threw off the authority of Rome, which was in effect their only resource under the oppression of the civil power, and were, in return for their folly, compelled to witness the spoliation of monasteries, the pillage of their sanctuaries, and the robbery of the clergy, merely to fill the tyrant's coffers and furnish him with all the appliances of human power to enforce the Divine right which Heresy gave him to oppress them! Wherever it obtained the power it inaugurated despotism civil and religious. The great doctrines of civil rights established by our fathers on the shores of America were not of Protestantism, but of Catholicity; and so far is America froin owing any thing of her glorious Constitution to Protestantism, that she was compelled by force of circumstances, directed, we firmly believe, by a special Providence in her behalf, to go back to the Catholic Church for her fundamental political principles. Protestantism had never taught these principles ; it had, as far as in it lay, eliminated them from the codes of Europe. It had given Geneva a theocrat in the person of Calvin, in place of its ancient franchises ; Germany, a line of brutal and arrogant petty princes in place of her ancient constitution, and had established in England a despotism over soul and body which never had a parallel in the worst ages of the past.
The proclamation of freedom by the fathers of Protestantism is therefore clearly shown to have been selfish, hypocritical and insincere by the whole of its after history. They, forsooth, throw off the tyranny of Rome, a tyranny which had never gone farther than to protect the people and the Church from the violence of kingly monsters! By whom in effect was the power of Rome most dreaded in the Middle Ages, by kings or people ? Search the annals of that turbulent period of seven hundred years which intervened between the reign of Charlemagne and the Reformation, and examine whether it was good monarchs or bad, peoples or their oppressors, that uniformly quarrelled with Rome! Where was the arm of a Pope ever raised to strike down the power of a ruler that did not oppress his people and interfere with the freedom of religion ? Echo answers where ? No, the power of Rome, the influence of the Church, her teachings and example, were always on the side of liberty and against the exercise of despotic power. And had it not been so, the history of the Middle Ages would have been written otherwise than it has, if, indeed, it would have been written at all. For had it not been for the Church, with her heavenly commission to instruct and save mankind, it is more than probable that the world would have lapsed into complete barbarism at the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Protestantism has, in writing modern history, formed a vast conspiracy not only against the truth, but even, in some sense, against liberty itself, by calumniating its heroes and espousing the cause of the despots and tyrants of the past. Herein its real genius and its true sympathies are shown to perfection. Protestant historians have not found terms sufficiently strong to stigmatize the course of St. Gregory VII. towards that monstrous tyrant Henry IV. King of Germany, in hearing the cries of his oppressed Saxon and other subjects, and absolving them from their allegiance, nor that of Innocent III., in his disputes with John Lackland of England ; nor in fine, that of the heroic Boniface VIII. in his efforts to teach Philip the Fair that RELIGION MUST BE FREE!
These calumnies have been a thousand times rung both from pulpit and press in the United States, but if we mistake not, they have ceased to be effective. The American people are not distinguished for sympathy with tyrants, and they cannot be induced, as the experience of the last NEW YORK SERIES.-VOL. II. NO, IV.