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danger at all to be apprehended from any Catholicism, it is that which comes in from abroad, mixed with foreign ignorance and vice, and subject to priestly and demagogical control. This we get rid of, or deprive of harmful power, by carrying out the principles of anti-foreignism. The true policy is to cut off the source of supply, and then gradually educate and republicanize the mass we have received. We must keep in view the idea of progression, and human improvability.
But the most serious idea on the score of expediency is, that this distinction induces tens of thousands, all over the country, who have no religion, and whose political garments are foose, and perhaps easily changed, to say: “ We agree with you on foreignism, but cannot sanction your religious test.”
Moreover, there are thousands in our order, entirely opposed to any discrimination in any way, between native Protestants and Catholics, and who will withdraw from affiliation, if it be not abolished.
But, brethren, suppose the objections we have urged, and many others which might be mentioned, to be untenable ; the very fact that the special portion of the eighth article of the Philadelphia platform, is calculated, without the proper gloss, to place the American party in a false position ; the fact that it forces us into an interminable politicoreligious argument with those who would otherwise agree with us; the fact that it makes people fear that the spirit which prompted its adoption, was one of religious bigotry and intolerance, (for the full extent of partizan feeling is never expressed in a platform ;) the fact that it divides us among ourselves, on a question of paramount importance not necessary to the issue ; and, above all, the fact that it enables our enemy to bring us to battle on narrow and most disadvantageous fields, so that we can be wore ried and made to expend our strength and ammunition, before we reach that broad and true field, on which Americanism and foreignism shall be drawn up in battle array, and where we can fight a decisive battle, with ample room and full force, and with a prospect of victory ;—these facts alone, we say, should determine us to discard this test or distinction, as well as every thing else but nativism ;-for on this we are all agreed ; and any thing else might cause dissension.
We say, then, to our brethren of the other States, let us confine ourselves to antiforeignism, which we all agree upon ; and not meddle with what will cause dissension among us. ' By carrying out this principle, we affect the only class of Catholics that we need fear-if there are any such—we mean foreigners, who are ignorant, vicious, bigoted, and politically controllable by priests—controllable not so much through their religion, as through their ignorance. At all events, this one issue is an all-sufficient basis for a party—as was the same issue for our fathers in the Revolution ; and its importance should prompt every patriot to desire that it should be disencumbered, and presented nakedly to the American people.
Equally obnoxious are, and ever mast and will be, all efforts to cultivate and develop American sentiment and feeling, by means of secret and oath-bound political organizations. Publicity is the very first necessity of republicanism; and if those engaged in the attempt to redeem American institutions from foreign influence, would speedily accom. plish their laudable and patriotic object, they must do so in the true spirit of Americans and with republican means. They must move in an American manner, with an open organization, permitting the light of day to shine upon all their acts, and not by adopting the very system and the
use of the very instrumentalities of those whose power and influence they seek to curtail and destroy. Secret confederacies, especially for political purposes, are of foreign origin, and should meet with no countenance nor support from those who are Americans by birth, and republicans in feeling and sentiment.
The warning voice of Washington, in his Farewell Address, on this subject, cannot be disregarded, without departing from his principles and precepts, and coming in conflict with the true principles of our gov
“ All combinations, and associations," says he in that memorable document, “under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force-to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprizing minority of the community; and according to the alternate triumphs of different parties to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests." And he continues further, and says: "However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reigns of governmentdestroying, afterwards, the very engines which had lifted them to unjust dominion."
Exclusiveness, secrecy, and implicit oath-bound submission are a reproach to Americanism, and savor too much of the leading characteristies of foreign Jesuitism ever to become popular in a nation of liberalminded and enlightened freemen, who are regulators of their own thoughts, masters of their own actions, and vindicators of their own manhood. They are foreign to the genius of free institutions, at variance with the spirit and character of our government, and cannot be moulded by any false movement of expediency into a republican principle. They can never be blended, and never ought to be, with republicanism, so as to be productive of public good. True devotion to country and its institutions needs no such aid of foreign origin. Americanism can, without such means, stand before the world as it really is—the panoplied champion of the sacred heritage of freedom.
The following views, expressed by A. B. Ely, Esq., of Boston, himself a prominent member of the American Order, in a récent speech at New
In the report of the Massachusetts Convention which adopted the Constitution, we find the following note in relation to this subject:
“In the conversation on Thursday, on the sixth article, which provides that.no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office,' &c., several gentlemen urged that it was a departure from the principles of our forefathers, who came here for the preservation of their religion; and that it would admit deists, atheists, &c., into the general government; and, people being apt to imitate the examples of the court, these principles would be disseminated, and, of course, a corruption of morals ensue. Gentlemen on the other side applauded the liberality of the clause, and represented, in striking colors, the impropriety, and almost impiety, of the requisition of a test, as practiced in Great Britain and elsewhere.” Elliott's Debates, vol. üs, p. 117.
Col. Jones (of Bristol) “ thought, that the rulers ought to believe in God or Christ, and that, however a test may be prostituted in England, yet he thought, if our public men were to be those who had a good standing in the church, it would be happy for the United States, and that a person could not be a good man without being a good Christian.” Ibid., 119.
In the Connectieut Convention, Oliver Wolcott said he could not see the necessity for such a test as some gentlemen contended for. The Constitution enjoins an oath upon all the officers of the United States. This is a direct appeal to that God who is the avenger of perjury. Such an appeal to Him is a full acknowledgment of His being and providence. An acknowledgment of these great truths is all the gentlemen contend for." Ibid., 210. In the North Carolina Convention, Mr. Abbott said that many suppose that if there be no religious test required, pagans, deists and Mahometans might obtain offices,” and that they desired to know
how and by whom they are to be sworn." Mr. Iredell, in reply, said " it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially