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or assume that this is a Catholic country or a Protestant country. * * * I have reviewed the validity of the imaginary claims on which it is assumed that this is a Protestant country, and as yet I confess I have not discovered the first fact or document which could warrant any man, possessed of an ordinary amount of true information, to assume that this is a Protestant more than a Catholic country. Catholic Chapter.
ARTICLE VII. Protestantism is incompatible with liberty.
“The object of his (Dr. Brownson's) lecture was to show, that Protestantism was opposed to intellectual, religious, and civil liberty.” * * * “It has no legal possession of the Bible; it has erected no standard by which right and wrong, truth and error may be determined.” * * * “It is inconsistent with religious freedom, because it always subjects religion to the civil power, and that is despotism." * * * “Protestants have not established liberty here in these United States. They only brought some portions of it here, and have not destroyed it !" Boston Pilot.
Just after collating and completing the foregoing creed at the expense of no little time and trouble, we found one made exactly to our hand by a Roman Catholic Lecturer recently at Pittsburgh. 1. “Catholicism has had the greater share in forming the civil institutions of the United States.” 2. “ The institutions of the United States, glorious as they are considered to be, are substantially the work of Roman Catholic hands.” 3. “In Catholicism is found the origin and type of the great vivifying principle of the noblest portion of our institutions.” 4. “All the principles which have ever been considered the cardinal points of our constitution, came down from popish times.” 4. “The independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, and the sacredness of personal liberty, are truly popish in their origin.” 6. “Every important principle of liberty is derived from the papacy.” This out-Brownsons Brownson himself!
If, however, it be objected by our readers that Dr. Brownson is not good authority in settling articles of faith, that his periodic and pyrotechnic changes of opinion are matters of amusement, rather than those of serious ratiocination, we are obliged to suggest to them, in the words of the Catholic editor, that “Our countrymen do not know whom they have in the midst of them, and it may be they will not know, until Brownson shall have gone to his rest. In Europe it is not so. He was, and is, well known to such men as Jeffrey, Carlyle, Brougham, Montalembert, and many other celebrities whom we might name. Long ago he was called by Cousin, and by other European philosophers, the greatest metaphysician in the new world.”* The opinions of a mind more profound and acute than that of Jonathan Edwards certainly deserve our most candid consideration.
The single difficulty in the way of modern American Romanism, is the utter want of evidence. As yet every separate article of it is baseless as the fabric of a vision. Those stubborn things that men call facts, constitute a sort of Thermopylæ in public opinion, through which Romanism is not to pass without a deadly conflict. The ipse dixit of Dr. Brownson, albeit the greatest metaphysician of the new world, is but a slender foundation to substitute for the national annals. Hughes, the Bishop, we know: Hughes, the Archbishop, we also know: but who is Hughes the HISTORIAN? If he claims the right to entertain his own opinion as to who and what were our Albani Patres atque altæ moenia Romæ, we have no objection. We yield the same right to Dr. Johnson to say, that “the Americans are a race of convicts, who ought to be thankful for any thing we allow them, short of hanging;” or to the equally well informed reviewer, when he affirms, that “our Adam and Eve emigrated from Newgate!” That is their own individual opinion. But when Bishop Connor asserts as an historical fact, that “ Catholic principles are the foundation of American institutions ;" when Archbishop Hughes refers to a Catholic chapter in the history of the United States, with a view to the destruction of our public schools, we arraign them in the name of the nation, and of the nation's history, and ask them for their proof. Destroy the integrity of our annals, and we have no legacy to bequeath to posterity that is worthy of their acceptance. “The libels of
• Boston Pilot.
the present day,” said Mr. Burke to the Duke of Bedford, “are just of the same stuff as the libels of the past. But they derive an importance from the rank of the persons from whom they come, and the gravity of the place where they are uttered. In some way or other they ought to be noticed.” We think and reason thus in reference to the calumnies with which our Protestant forefathers have recently been assailed by the Catholic press generally. We must not tire in defending truth, so long as others do not tire in attacking it. We must at least be as faithful to the truth, as our opponents are to error. The Catholic chapter in the history of the United States can only be written with any credit to that denomination by ignoring the Protestant chapter in the history of the world!
By way, then, of drawing the line still more clearly in this discussion, we are now prepared to state and to defend the following, as ARTICLES OF THE AMERICAN PROTESTANT FAITH.
ARTICLE I. The 4th of July, 1776, was immediately and
vitally connected with the 19th of April, 1529.
It was only part of the truth when the elder Adams said, that “the Revolution was twenty years old when the war began,” for the principles of that glorious contest were older still. Then indeed at their flood tide, and bursting every opposing barrier, one would scarcely think of tracing the fountain of this tremendous stream to the city of Spires in Germany over two centuries before; but it was even so. From the time that a German Council went so far as to pass an act of toleration on behalf of Luther and his companions, in favor of their liberty of thought and action in their praiseworthy endeavors to reform the notorious corruptions of the church of Rome, it was easy to see that the world stood “on the threshold of some wonderful dispensation.” For a moment, however, the progress of events was stayed. The subtle policy of Rome secures a repeal of the obnoxious act, and to prevent all future attempts at reformation, they endeavor to substitute one precisely the reverse. Let the American citizen read this act of the Diet of Spires, providing that “there shall be no innovation in the established religion; no permission to abstain from the celebration of the mass, or other ceremonies of the Roman Catholic worship; no public preaching against the doctrine and practice of the church; no publication through the medium of the press in any way opposing the popish faith.” Let him then read in contrast, the first amendment to the Federal Constitution; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Let him next ask his heart, how it responds to the Elector of Saxony, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, the Dukes of Lunenburg, six princes of the empire and fourteen representatives of imperial cities, when they entered their solemn PROTEST against this violation of the sacred rights of truth and conscience and humanity, from whom the honored name of PROTESTANT took its origin; and we have no fear what answer he will return as to the principles on which our government was originally founded, or what is still its character at the present time.
ARTICLE II. The real occasion for the establishment of those
Colonies in the New World which now constitute the United States, was the papal and prelatic despotism of Europe. “Nothing came from Europe but a free people. * * * Like Moses they had escaped from Egyptian bondage to the wilderness, that God might there give them the pattern of the tabernacle. Like the favored evangelist, the exiles in their western Patmos, listened to the angel that dictated the new gospel of freedom. Overwhelmed in Europe, popular liberty, like the fabled fountain of the sacred Arethusa, gushed forth profusely in remoter fields.” Bancroft'History, ii., p. 452.
“The policy of Europe has very little to boast of, either in the original establishment, or so far as it concerns their internal government, in the subsequent prosperity of the Colonies of America.” Adam Smith, iv., sec. 7.
“Whether Britain would have had any Colonies in America, if religion had not been the grand inducement, is doubtful.” Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts.
“The Puritang restrained in England, shipped themselves off for America, and laid there the foundations of a government which possessed all the liberty, both civil and religious, of which they found themselves deprived in their native country.” Hume, ch. 52.
“The precious spark of liberty had been kindled, and was preserved by the Puritans alone, and it is to this sect that the English owe the whole freedom of their Constitution.” Hume.
Here too might come in as appropriate testimony the pathetic lamentation of Milton :
“What number of faithful and freeborn Englishmen, and good Christians, have been constrained to forsake their dearest home, their friends and their kindred, whom nothing but the wide ocean, and the savage deserts of America, could hide and shelter from the fury of the bishops. O sir, if we could but see the shape of our dear mother, England, as poets are wont to give a personal form to what they please, how would she appear, think ye, but in a mourning weed, with ashes upon her head, and tears abundantly flowing from her eyes, to behold so many of her children exposed at once, and thrust from things of dearest necessity, because their conscience could not assent to things which the bishops thought indifferent? What more binding than conscience? What more free than indifference? Cruel then must that indifference needs be, that shall violate the strict necessity of conscience; merciless and inhuman that free choice and liberty that shall break asunder the bonds of religion.
“ Let the astrologer be dismayed at the portentous blaze of comets and impressions in the air, as foretelling troubles and changes to States: I shall believe that there cannot be a more ill-boding sight to a nation (God turn the omen from us) than when the inhabitants, to avoid insufferable grievances at home, are enforced by heaps to forsake their native country.” Of Reformation in England, Vol. i., p. 37–8.
“It was a most propitious circumstance that all the first settlers of the United States should have come from Protestant countries.” Albert Gallatin, Hist. Oration, N. Y. 1843.