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the act. The principle that authorizes the invasion of the sanctity of a Catholic dwelling will not protect that of a Protestant dwelling. It is the turn of Catholics to-day, it may be that of Unitarians, Episcopalians, Methodists, or Baptists to-morrow. The act of the Legislature proves that the new order hold themselves above the Constitution and laws, that they are prepared to trample on all private rights, and ready to violate when it suits their purpose the sanctuary of our private dwellings. No despotism can go further, and yet they have the singular effrontery to tell us, that they go thus far in the name and in the interests of civil and religious liberty! Let the order accede to power, and it is easy to see that civil and religious liberty would be not so much as an empty name.
The most odious des. potism imaginable would be established.
The appointment of such a committee strikes at the freedom of education. One of the most subtle devices of modern tyranny has been to seize upon education, and to subject it to the absolute control of the public authority. In denying the freedom of education, in subjecting private schools to public inspection, and forbidding any one to teach even in his own house without a license or certificate from public authority, the order or party strike at the rights of parents, and make war on family, the basis of the whole social fabric. If parents wish to be deprived of the right of selecting schools and instructors for their children, and have carried out in practice the principle that children belong not to their parents, but to the state, or rather to a self-created secret society, let them support the Know-Nothing order. They will soon see family ties rudely broken, and the family itself in ruins. They may introduce into our hitherto free country the worst features of European despotism, and fully rival Russia, Prussia, and Austria, and surpass in the suppression of freedom the present imperial régime of France. To take from parents the liberty of education, and to place education under the control of the state, involves all the principles of a religious establishment, or of a state religion.
The committee of the Legislature, in its inspection of the private school kept by some estimable and highly accomplished Catholic ladies in their private residence in Roxbury, proved by their conduct that they were deficient in the feelings, manners, and breeding of gentlemen, and that they were ignorant or disregardful of all the proprieties and decencies of civilized life. They seem to have been wholly under the influence of their lecherous tastes and prurient fancies, and to have imagined they were sent to visit a brothel, and not the residence of reputable and highly respectable ladies. Their presence, their looks, their words, their motions, were all so many gross insults, and sufficiently proved to be so. But the Legislature approves their conduct, especially the conduct of Mr. Joseph Hiss, who seems to have been the most offensive in his language and manners amongst the number. It is true the Representatives expelled him from their body, as unworthy to sit with them, but not for gross insult to the Catholic ladies at Roxbury. In the question between him and Catholic ladies, they believe all he says, and indorse all he does. It is for other matters, which we need not specify, that they expel him. The truth is, public opinion ran high against the committee and the Legislature, and it was necessary to do something to appease it, and the House resolved to sacrifice Mr. Hiss. In this they acted, no doubt, cunningly, but hardly fairly towards their colleague, who offered to prove that, in the matters which so shocked the pure feelings of the House, he was not much more censurable than other members of the committee. The whole proceedings of the Legislature to redeem itself, after public opinion had condemned it, were marked by great unfairness, by a total want of high-minded and honorable feeling, and even of common justice. As they of course in the whole matter acted under the direction, and even orders, of the secret order, the order is responsible for those unfair, unmanly, and dishonest proceedings. Those proceedings serve, then, not merely to characterize the Legislature, but the whole Know-Nothing order. In this sense an additional point might be given to the following Epigram from an unknown author :
“ One after one the honored Bay-leaves fade,
And ancient glories wither in the shade.
The world has hissed the Legislature too." This is very true, but if the world will be just, it will hiss the whole Know-Nothing Order, of which the Legislature was but the creature and pliant tool.
Of course we are mortified that such things as we have touched upon could have occurred in this ancient Commonwealth ; but to those who would throw them in our face we answer, that nowhere have they been more severely or effectually condemned than here in our own State and city. The proceedings have excited very general disgust and reprobation, and we have not seen a man that does not regard the Know-Nothing Legislature as utterly disgraceful to the State. Here we Catholics have not had to appear in our own defence. The secular press has nobly defended our rights, as well as the rights of other citizens, and that sense of justice which has never forsaken the heart of our people, whether Catholic or Protestant, has proved sufficient for the crisis. Know-Nothing stock was at a heavy discount here before we heard the news of the election of Mr. Wise in Virginia, and there are now no sales. Our people have recovered from a momentary folly and confusion, and we need not doubt but they will prove themselves not unworthy of the ancient fame of our Commonwealth.
As a Catholic, looking solely to the interests of Catholicity in the Union, we are opposed to this KnowNothing party only as we are opposed to the principle of doing evil that good may come; for its hostility only disposes sensible and liberal-minded Protestants in our favor, while it binds Catholics more firmly together, strengthens their attachment to their faith, and leads them to a more faithful practice of their religion. But as an American citizen, attached to the free institutions and jealous of the honor of our country, we feel it our duty to oppose it in all legal ways to the full extent of our power. pose it, not in the interest of Catholics as such, and still less in the interest of our foreign-born population, but in the interest of American citizens and American institutions. Good sense, good faith, and true American feeling require every American to oppose it, and we think we see, in the defeat of the party in the Virginia election of last May, an indication that all the patriotic and sensible portion of the American people will set their faces against it. The parsons, we think, are not likely to keep the control of the order, and as a purely political order it cannot succeed. Politically considered, the order was cunningly devised to divide the Democratic party, and to restore to
power a party that under its own name and organization had lost all chances of success. Its design was, by appeals to the anti-Catholic and anti-foreign feeling of a large portion of our countrymen, to draw off from the Democratic party a sufficient number, when united with the radical and demagogical portion of the Whig party, to make
up a majority. But all appearances indicate now that it will not succeed. The administration party seems to have taken a decided stand against it, and the administration seems to be taking a course much more satisfactory to the conservative portion of both the old parties than it appeared to have at first decided upon. We are much mistaken if it do not succeed, before the presidential election of 1856, in reorganizing a stronger and a more respectable party than that which elected General Pierce. The old questions which separated Whigs and Democrats are for the most part disposed of or grown obsolete, and we think the honest and patriotic portions of both parties will unite to form a true American party against the party falsely so called. Everything we see indicates to us the probability of such a result. All the signs now are, that the secret order as a political party has culminated, and that it will descend rapidly to the condition of a contemptible faction.
However this may be, there is no cause for our Catholic friends abroad to feel any alarm for American Catholics. Annoyances, vexations, and petty persecutions we have always suffered, and shall continue to suffer; but nothing can justify the desponding tone of those who are advising Catholics to emigrate to Canada, to South America, or to some other country. There is no country where the Church is freer than she is here, and no country, Protestant or even Catholic, where, after all, ecclesiastical property is safer than with us. Look at Mexico, New Grenada, Central America, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Baden, Bavaria, and Austria, and tell us if Catholics are freer, or their church property safer, than in our republic? We can speak as freely in our Review on political and religious topics as we please, and yet the Civiltà Cattolica, published at Rome, an eminently Catholic periodical, is prohibited in the Catholic kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and has lost, we are told, four thousand subscribers by the prohibition. The Corre
spondance, a truly Catholic periodical published in French at Rome, was suppressed, in order not to offend French sensibilities. Nothing of the sort has taken or is likely to take place here, and this is probably the only country where the Catholic press is absolutely free. Let us not be insensible to the advantages we enjoy, nor tolerate without rebuke those misguided journalists, who, under pretence of defending Catholic, but more especially Irish, interests in America, traduce the country abroad. The honor of our country is as dear to us as that of our own mother, and we do not think it the best way for a naturalized citizen like the editor of The American Celt to prove his American patriotism by holding up the country which opened her arms to receive him as a refugee from his own, to the scorn and contempt of foreign nations. When a reaction against Catholicity for her supposed alliance with absolutism is taking place, and the exaggerations of centralized monarchy in France and Austria are preparing the way for another Red-Republican outbreak, to underrate the advantages we enjoy in this, the only free country on the globe, and to blacken the fair name of the republic abroad, is anything but to serve the cause of our religion. We see much to blame in our countrymen, many faults that we deplore, and have no disposition to conceal or extenuate, but we remember that they are faults of our countrymen, and we labor, not as foreigners, but as Americans, to correct them. They are faults in our own family, and as such we seek to treat and remedy them. Our own lot is bound up with those who commit them, and we cannot think of withdrawing it. We have too much patriotism and too little cowardice for that, as we trust is true of American Catholics generally, whether native or foreign-born. Catholics have a mission to perform here, a great and glorious work, and it would ill become them to grow faint-hearted at the first approach of difficulty, and to meditate running away. As men we trust they are made of sterner stuff, and as Catholics they have more confidence in God than that would imply. Mr. D'Arcy McGee may think it wise and prudent to recommend such conduct, and therefore to urge a new exodus of the Irish Catholic settlers in the country, but in doing so he proves that, if naturalized, he is not yet nationalized, and we greatly mistake the genuine Irish character if he
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