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PROPOSED MISSION TO ROME.
On the Bill making appropriations for Chargé des Affaires to the Papal States, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Ecuador,
Mr. BROWN said:
Mr. SPEAKER: I have not risen to pursue the general discussion of the propriety of establishing diplomatic relations with the Papal and other States, provided for in the bill; for this has been more ably presented to the House by my colleague [Mr. C. J. INGER soli..] than I could do it, if I were so disposed. My object, sir, is to notice in a particular manner that portion of the remarks of my other colleague [Mr. LEviN] which relates to matters and things nearer home than those States, and of more interest to his constituents and mine than any mission to Rome or other place.
But before I proceed to this, allow me, sir, to put myself right before the House in regard to some observations made by me the other day on this subject, declared by the committee to be out of order, and for the utterance of which I was not permitted then to proceed. I was expressing my strong disapprobation of the introduction of any religious opinions into the discussions of this House, or elsewhere, as connected either with our foreign or our domestic relations. I said that the Constitution of the United States, as well as the consti. tutions of nearly or all of the States, prohibited any legislation on this subject; that they required no religious test for any station under them, and, in fact, both by their spirit and letter, intended to guard against their introduction in any way into the political affairs of the country. I condemned their introduction among us anywhere, as incendiary. And, sir, was I not right? Are not the pages of history filled with the melancholy record, that in all countries and ages, wherever religion has been the ground of political contest, it has kindled the fires of discord in the hearts of brethren of the same family and country, and drenched the fairest portions of the earth with human blood? Who can read the fearful records of the millions who have been sacrificed to religious bigotry, and for religious supremacy, and not shrink from anything that would rekindle their unholy fires in this our happy land?
It ever has been, is, and I trust ever will be, a deep and abiding principle of the American people, and of their Government, that the religious opinions of mankind are above and beyond the scrutiny and
control of human governments. Such, certainly, has always been the action of the Government of the United States. It has never before been made an objection to the establishment of diplomatic or commercial relations with any people or nation, that their religion was Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mohammedan, or Heathen—that they had any religion or no religion. We have diplomatic or commercial agents in countries where all these religions prevail; and one of the last countries, if not the very last, to which we have sent our commissioner, is China, whose religion we all condemn. Yes, sir, this is the first time, in the whole history of our Government, when, in forming amicable relations with any people, their religion has been made an objection; and least of all could it have been expected against any branch of the great family of Christians. First as it is, the decision of this House to-day, I have no doubt, will make it the last. I said, however, I had risen for a particular purpose. In his published remarks of Saturday, my colleague [Mr. LEviN] says:
“Am I not right? Look back to the past. I ventured during the first session of the 29th Congress to tell our sister States of the South that a cloud was gathering over their I knew that the Jesuits were actively at work, ready to seize upon any question that threatened to shake the Union or lead to its dissolution. “I remembered then, as I do now, the encyclical letter of Pope Gregory against slavery—not in Spain, Portugal, or Italy, but slavery in the United States I remember, too, that it was followed up by Daniel O’Connell’s celebrated letter to the repealers of Cincinnati, in which he told them, * Where you have the electoral franchise, give your votes to ‘mone but those who will assist you in carrying out the pious ‘ intentions of his Holiness the Pope.” “Sir, I quote him word for word. Here was a double appeal. As subjects of the Pope, you must advocate repeal, and as members of his church, you must oppose slavery in the United States, although the Popes of Rome had given it their pious countenance and protection for a period of fourteen hundred years. “O’Connell had felt the aid that abolitionism had given him in England. He had over calculated its power and influence in this country, and yet he was willing to combine the Irish Catholic and abolition vote in the United States, in order to hold the balance of power, and bring both in subjection to the dictation of the Pope of Rome ! “At this crisis a body of patriotic Americans at the North, viewing souther m rights and southern institutions as a part of Jämerican rights and Jämerican institutions, planted themselves in self-defence. They resisted the right of the Pope or his demagogue to interfere with any American institution which existed under the Constitution of their country. They called public meetings to denounce this wanton and gross outrage; and it was under such circumstances that ten American citizens were shot down in cold blood, by the
advice and counsel of the very Jesuit priesthood whom this appropriation proposes to encourage in their murderous assaults upon the lives of the native-born sons of the soil. “Sir, the Jesuits are busily at work. Driven out of France, Portugal, and Spain, they are making their stronghold here in our midst. The provisoes and firebrands flung here into this House day after day are traceable to the secret operations of that order, which is now striking for the mastery of the world.” From these remarks it is apparent enough that the gentleman is now very desirous of forming an alliance with the Whig party of the South, and for this purpose is endeavoring to prove to his new allies the long and active friendship of himself and his Native American party for their rights and interests. Indeed he would have them believe that he and they were their only advocates and defenders at the North against foreign or domestic aggression. To show the sincerity of their zeal for southern rights, I would casl the especial attention of the southern members opposite to some curious facts to be found on the records of this House. On the 3d of March, 1847, a little after the gentleman tells us that he warned “our sister States of the South that a cloud was gathering over them,” the first of these “FIREBRANDs” and “provisoes,” that he says have been flung into this House by the Jesuits, was offered by our colleague [Mr. WILMoT.] On the 501st page of the Journal of the 2d session of the twenty-ninth Congress, the “Wilmot Proviso’’ will be found recorded. And did my colleague [Mr. LEviN] tell his southern friends that this was the cloud that he had warned them the Jesuits had prepared to overwhelm them 2 Did he oppose it then, as he says he did? Oh, no. He not only let the cloud burst in silence on their devoted heads, but, as the records prove, he—LEwis C. LEVIN– and all his “ Native” friends on this floor, to the number of five or six, recorded their names in its favor Were they influenced by the secret operations of the Jesuits? Does he charge my colleague, who proposed it, with acting under the influence of the Jesuits Or was he acting under their influence when he himself voted for it? Thus stood my colleague and his Native American party about a year ago; and how stand they now Within the last two weeks I have received what purports to be “instructions” from a very respectable body of gentlemen, representing half my dis. trict, called Commissioners of Spring Garden, all of whom are pure, unadulterated Native Americans, and in intimate political brotherhood with my colleague. They read thus: “Resolved, That our immediate Representative in Congress, Charles Brown, be requested to use his influence against the execution of any treaty, by which territory may be acquired to this Union, if it do not expressly prohihit slavery, or involuntary servitude, (except in the punishment of crime,) forever in such territory.”
Mr. B. continued: Have the Jesuits moved these Native American commissioners to send this “firebrand” into this Hall? I think, before the southern gentlemen on the opposite side enter into alliance with my colleague and his Native American party, they ought to have these matters explained. Or, it may be the Native party, if any such party shall be found, may require some explanations also before they are transferred to the South. Certainly my Spring Garden constituents, who have instructed me how to vote, will require to know of my colleague why he charges them with acting under the influence of the Jesuits; and
as a part of their celebration.
whether they are to be thus sold and transferred to the Whig party of the South, as for or against slavery. These official records prove clearly, that if the Jesuits have been busily at work to introduce those “firebrands and provisoes '' into this Hall, the gentleman himself and his Native American friends have been giving them very efficient aid. But he refers to the letters of Pope Gregory and O’Connell, and says the Native American party, or, as he calls them, “a body of patriotic Americans,” called public meetings to denounce this wanton outrage, this interference of the Pope and his demagogue, with American institutions. Now, sir, there is no more truth in this assertion than in their opposition to the Wilmot proviso in this House. It is too notorious to require proof, that nearly if not quite all the leaders of the Native American party in Philadelphia, and most of its members, are Abolitionists of the strongest character. Meetings may have been held by the gentleman and his party, but they were not to sustain southern rights, but to denounce foreigners and Catholics. But more of this hereafter. It was not the gentleman and his Native American party that thus met to repel the abolition notions of O’Connell, but the Democratic party, and among them and foremost were many Irish Catholic Democrats. . “All of which I saw, and part of which I was.” The gentleman says, “we have lived to see the Bible driven from our public schools and BURNT IN THE PUBLIC STREETs.” I suppose he refers to Philadelphia. , t Mr. LEVIN was understood to say he referred mostly to New York. Mr. MURPHY denied that anything of the kind had ever taken place in New York. _f Mr. BROWN continued. Well, sir, if my colleague refers to the Bible being burnt in the streets, or treated indecorously in Philadelphia, I pronounce it altogether untrue. No such thing ever occurred there. The only desecration I ever saw or heard of it, was the gentleman and his party, on the 4th of July, carrying it through the streets Once, and once only, they did it; for the public indignation was such that they did not dare to do it again. The well-meaning portion of the community did not want it to be desecrated by being paraded through the streets by men who paid no attention to its precepts, but whose whole conduct was at war with the charitable, tolerant, and benign doctrines of its Author. . Wherever the question of its introduction or retention in the public schools has been agitated, the records show the fact, that a majority of those who opposed either were Protestants and not Catholics. The only question that ever was seriously agitated was, how far it was to be used in the schools; and among those most opposed to its general use as a school book, were those most respected for their religious character and conduct. They said it ought not to be made so common, but that all the religious teachings of the young should be by their parents or their chosen spiritual instructors, and not by young school teachers, selected merely for their literary and scientific attainments. When my colleague, therefore, charges upon the Jesuits the burning of the Bible, or expelling it from the public schools, so far is Philadelphia, is concerned, he speaks against some of his own Protestant constituents and against facts.” The gentleman has endeavored to prove upon the Pope and the Jesuits the design of obtaining control of the Government of the States, and thus establish the Catholic religion as the law of the land; and has given us at some length, for proof of it, his version of a pamphlet, or circular, which he says was handed by Senator Westcott to Mr. Buchanan, and by him suppressed. Mr. LEVIN asked leave to explain. Mr. BROWN. Certainly. Mr. LEVIN said he had not charged Mr. Buchanan with suppressing it, but only said he had lost or mislaid it, and could not find it. Mr. BROWN. The gentleman, Mr. Speaker, is very ready to explain away the direct purport of his words—ready to explain away his allusion to our colleague [Mr. INGER sol1.] and the Jesuitsi–ready to explain away his interrogations to myself in relation to the tinder-box—ready to explain away his fraudulent quotations from Schlegel, and now
ready to explain away his insinuations against Mr. Buchanan. The fact is, the gentleman does not seem to understand the purport of his own words, but I think the House does, and will appreciate fully his knowledge of Jesuitism. As I never heard of this circular before, I have only to say, I do not believe one word of it. I have no doubt it is of a character similar to the rest of my colleague's facts and charges against the Catholics and Jesuits, got up for electioneering purposes, and manufactured, in whole or in part, by the gentleman and his party.” Such was proved to-day to be his quotations from Schlegel and the encycle letter of the Pope, and such was known to the gentleman and his party to be all the stories told, (and sworn to, too,) in 1844, against Governor Shunk; and such, no doubt, was the character of the circular, which, I presume, Mr. Buchanan is to be charged with having suppressed at the instance of the Jesuits. I now come, Mr. Speaker, to the main object I had in view when I rose, to reply to that part of
my colleague's remarks which charges upon the
Jesuit priesthood the commencement of those scenes of outrage, murder, and inceridiarism that disgraced and desolated portions of Philadelphia. Sir, I assert here, without fear of contradiction, that my colleague has not a particle of evidence to prove that any Catholic or Jesuit priest had any, the least part in producing them. On the contrary, they stand before the world, after the most search
* The following extracts from the report (1844) of the Board of Controllers of the Public Schools of the city and county of Philadelphia, composed, as the Board was, of nearly an equal number of each of the respective political parties, and of various religious sects, and all gentlemen of the highest character, settles the question authoritatively:
“The Controllers have observed with some degree of sur“prise, that very erroneous impressions prevail in the public “mind, in regard to what is termed a desire or an attempt to “discontinue the use of the Holy Bible in the public schools * of this disrict. This impression is erroneous, so far as re‘gards any action in the Board of Control, which is the only * body having at thority in the matter of the use of books in * the public schools.” : *k 'k *: * *
“It has been, and is, furnished to all our schools; it has * been, and is, read in them daily. No attempt has ever been ‘made by any one in this Board, nor hive the Controllers ever * been itsked by any sect, person, or persons, to eacclude the Bible ‘ from the schools under their care.”
#From the Debates of the House of Representatives, of March
From the Dehates of the House of Representatives, of March
clical letter against slavery in the United States. Now, sir,
* From the Debates of the House of Representatives, of March