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and to act for themselves on the subject of our rights than we are, and I believe there is not any portion of the American family more jealous of foreign influence, or more ready to resist it. We have brethren of our church in every part of the globe, under every form of government. This is a subject upon which each of us is free to act as he thi
ne thinks proper. We know of no tribunal in our church which can interfere in our proceedings as citizens. Our ecclesiastical authority existed before our constitution, is not affected, by it; there is not in the world a constitution which it does not precede, with which it could not co-exist; it has seen nations perish, dynasties decay, empires prostrate; it has co-existed with all, it has survived them all, it is not dependent upon any one of them; they may still change, and it will still continue.
We now come to examine what are called the persecuting laws of our church. In the year 1215, at the council of Lateran, certain heresies were condemned by the first canon; and amongst other things this canon recites as Catholic faith, in opposition to the errors of those whom it condemned, that there was but one God the Creator of all things, of spirits as well as bodies; the author of the Old Testament and of the Mosaic dispensation, equally as of the New Testament and of the Christian dispensation; that he created not only the good angels, but also the devil and the bad angels, originally coming good from his hand, and becoming wicked by their own malice, &c. In its third canon it excommunicates those heretics, and declares them to be separated from the body of the church. Then follows a direction, that the heretics so condemned, are to be given up to the secular powers, or to their bailiffs, to be duly punished. This direction con. tinues to require of all bishops and others having authority, to make due search within their several districts for those heretics, and if th vill not be induced to retract their errors, desires that they should be delivered over to be punished. There is an injunction then to all temporal lords to cleanse their dominions by exterminating those heretics: and if they will not, within a year from having been so admonished by the church, cleanse their lands of this heretical filth they shall be deprived if they have superior lords, and if they be superior lords and be negligent, it shall be the duty of the metropolitan and his provincial bishops to excommunicate them, and if any one of those lords paramount so excommunicated for this negligence shall continue during twelve months under the excommunication, the metropolitan shall certify the same to the pope, who, finding admonition useless, shall depose this prince, and absolve his subjects from their oaths of fealty, and deliver the territory over to Catholics, who having exterminated the heretice shall remain in peaceable possession.
This is the most formidable evidence adduced against the position which I have laid down, that it is not a doctrine of our church, that we are bound to persecute those who differ from us in belief. I trust that I shall not occupy very much of your time in showing, that this enactment does not in any way weaken that assertion. I shall do so, by satisfying you that this is a special law for a particular case; and also by convincing you that it is not a canon of the church respecting any of those points in which we admit her infallibility; nor is it a canon of the church.
The doctrines condemned in this first canon originated in Syria, touched lightly at the islands of the Archipelago, settled down in Bulgaria, and spread into the south of Europe, but were principally received in the vicinity of Albi, in France. The persons condemned held the Manichean principle of there being two creators of the universe; one a good being, the author of the New Testament, the creator of good angels, and generally of spiritual essence; the other an evil being, the creator of bodies, the author of the Mosaic dispensation, and generally of the Old Testament. They stated that marriage was unlawful, and co-opera. tion with the principle of evil was criminal. The consequences to society were of the very worst description, inimoral, dismal, and desolating. The church examined the doctrine, condemned it as heretical, and cut off those who held or abetted it, from her communion. Here, according to the principles which I have maintained before you, her power ended. Beyond this we claim no authority: the church, by divine right, we say, infallibly testifies what doctrines Christ has revealed, and by the same right, in the same manner, decides that what contradicts this revelation is erroneous; but she has no divine authority to make a law which shall strip of their property, or consign to the executioner, those whom she convicts of error. The doctrine of our obligation to submit does not extend to force us to submit to an usurpation; and if the church made a law upon a
subject beyond her commission for legislation it would be invalid; there would be no proper claim for our obedience: usurpation does not create a right. The council could by right make the doctrinal decision; but it had no right to make the temporal enactment: and where there exists no right to legislate on one side, there is no obligation of obedience on the other. If this was then a canon of the church, it was not one in making which she was acting within her constitutional jurisdiction, it was an usurpation of temporal government, and the doctrine of infallibility does not bear upon it.
Every document respecting this council, the entire of the evidence respecting it, as well as the very mode of framing the enactments, prove that it was a special law regarding a particular case. The only persons whose errors were condemned at that council were those whom I have described. The general principle of legal exposition restraining the application of penal enactments must here have full weight, and will restrain the application of the penalty to the only criminals brought within its view. But the evidence is still more confirmed, by the special words of definite meaning, this, and filth, which were specially des
tive of only those persons; the first by its very nature, the second by the nature of their crime; and the continued exposition of the enactment restrained its application to the special case, though frequently attempts had been made by individuals to extend its application, not in virtue of the statute, but in virtue of analogy. It would then be improperly forcing its constru
uld then be improperly forcing its construction to say that its operation was to be general, as it evidently was made only for a particular case.
"In viewing the preanıble to this council, as well as from our knowledge of history, we discover that this was not merely a council of the church, but it was also a congress of the civilized world. The state of the times rendered such assemblages not only usual but necessary: and each legislative body did its own business by its own authority; and very generally the subjects which were decided upon by one body in one point of view, came under the consideration of the other assembly in a different point of view, and their separate decisions were engrossed upon a joint record.
Sometimes they were preserved distinct and separate, but copyists, for their own convenience, brought together all the articles regarding the same subject, from what source soever they were obtained. Such was precisely the case in the instance before us. There were present on this occasion, by themselves or by their legates, the king of Sicily, emperor elect of the Romans, the emperor of the east, the king of France, the king of England, the king of Arragon, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Cyprus, several other kings, and lords paramount, sovereign states, and princes. Several of the bishops were princes or barons. In the ecclesiastical council, the third canon terminated exactly in one sentence, which was that of the excommunication or separation from the church, of those whom the first canon had condemned, whatever name or names they might assume; because they had in several places several appellations, and were continually dividing off and changing names as they separated. The duty and the jurisdiction of the council came to this; and the ancient records give no more as the portion of its enactments. But the congress of the temporal powers then made the subsequent part as their enactment: and thus this penal and civil regulation was not an act of the council, but an act of the congress : and it is not à canon concerning the doctrine of the church, nor indeed is it by any means a canon, though the copyists have added it to the canon as regarding the very same subject; and as confessedly the excommunication in the third canon re. garded only the special case of those particular heretics, the addition of the penal enactment to this particular canon is confirmatory evidence that those who added it knew that the penalty in the one case was only co-extensive with the excommunication in the other.
Having thus seen that this canon of the Council of Lateran was not a doctrinal decision of our church establishing the doctrine of persecution, and commanding to persecute, but that it was a civil enactment by the temporal power against persons whom they looked upon as criminals, it is more the province of the pol. itician or of the jurist than of the divine to decide upon its propriety. I may, however, be permitted to say that in my opinion the existence of civilized society required its enactment, though no good man can approve of several abuses which were committed under the pretext of its execution, nor can any rational man pretend that because of the existence of a special law for a particular purpose, every case which may be thought analogous to that for which provision was made'is to be illegally subjected to those provisions.
We are now arrived at the place where we may easily find the origin and the extent of the papal power of deposing sovereigns, and of absolving subjects from their oaths of allegiance. To judge properly of facts, we must know ibeir special circumstances, not their mere outline. The circumstances of Christencom were then widely different from those in which we now are placed. Europe was then under the feudal system. I have seldom found a writer, not a Catholic, who, in treating of that age and that system, has been accurate, and who has not done us very serious injustice. But a friend of mine,
ice. But a friend of mine, who is a respectable member of your honorable body, has led me to read Hallan's account of it, and I must xay that I have seldom met with so much candor, and, what I call, so much truth. I'rom reading his statement of that system it will be plainly seen that there existed amongst the Christian potentates a sort of federation, in which they bound themselves by certain regulations, and to the observance of those they were held not merely by their oaths but by various penalties, sometimes they consented the penalty should be the loss of their station. It was of course necessary to ascertain that the fact existed before its consequences should be declared to follow ; it was also necessary to establish some tribunal to examine and to decide as to the existence of the fact itself, and to proclaim that existence. Amongst Independent sovereigns there was no superior, and it was natural to tear that mutual jealousy would create great difficulty in selecting a chjef ; and that what originated in concession inight afterwards be claimed as a right. They were however all members of one cburch, of which the Pope was the head, and, in this respect, their common father : and by universal consent it was regulated that he should examine, ascertain the fact, proclaim it, and declare its conse quences. Thus he did in reality possess the power of deposing monarchs, and of absolving their subjects from oaths of fealty, but only those monarchs who were members of that federation, and in the cases legally provided for, and by their concession, not by divine right, and during the term of that federation and the existence of his commission. He governed the church by divine right, he deposed kings and absolved subjects from their allegiance by human concession. I preach the doctrines of my church by divine rigbt, but I preach from this spot not by that right but by the permission of others.
It is not then a doctrine of our church that the pope has been divinely commissioned either to depose kings or to interfere with republics, or to absolve the subjects of the fornier from their allegiance, or interfere with the civil concerns of the latter. When the persecuted English Catholics, under Elizabeth. found the pope making an unfounded claim to this right, and upon the shadow of that unfounded right making inroads upon their national independence, by declaring who should or who should not be their temporal ruler, they well showed how little they regarded his absolving them from their allegiance, for they volunteered their services to protect their liberties, which their Catholic ancestors had labored to establish.' And she well knew that a Catholic might safely be entrusted with the admiralty of her feet, and that her person was ge. cure amongst her disgraced Catholic nobility and gentry, and their per adherents ; although the Court of Rome had issued its bull of absolution, and some divines were found who endeavored to prove that what originated in voluntary concession of states and monarchs was derived from divine institution. If then Elizabeth, of whose character I would not wish in this place to express my opinion, was safe amidst those whom she persecuted for their faith, even when the head of their church absolved them from allegiance, and if at such a moment. they focked round her standard to repel Catholic invaders who came with consecrated banners, and that it is admitted on all hands that in so
ney vio lated no principle of doctrine or of discipline of their church, as we all avow. surely Anierica need not fear for the fidelity of her Catholic citizens, whom she cherishes and whom she receives to her bosom with affection and shelters from the persecution of others. Neither will any person attempt to establish an analogy beiween our federation and that of feudalism, to argue that the pope can do amongst us what he did amongst European potentates under circumstances widely different. 1. My worthy opponent said, that he would only touch on persecution. My friends, persecution had marked me for a victim in my native land, and forced me to seek an Asylum in America, when I was young and friendless! Persecution is there, in full operation at this
very hour. Scarcely a breeze comes across the ocean, without bringing on its wings, fresh tỉdings, of blood, shed under Protestant persecution—by ministers of the Protestant faith.
Widows there kneel in the blood of their own children; and, because excess of grief has made them maniacs, they drink that blood, and curse the authors of their misery. Is not this true? Does not the universe know and shudder at it? And having been compelled to flee from intolerance, having fought against it, must we still see the green-eyed monster, trampling upon the vine and fig tree, here, where we had hoped to sit down under their shade, in safety, and in peace, with our brethren of every denomination ? Must we still fear the midnight knock at the door, and the domiciliary visit, by a brutal soldiery? Must the perishing orphans see the bread taken out of their mouths by rapacious parsons, and their mother's cloak (their only covering of a wintry night) distrained, to pay the tithe proctor? Where will you find tyranny like this? Would this be a better state of things, than what we, in this free country enjoy? Bigots would blast this glorious prospect. They would proscribe one sect after another. The appetite for blood, they have, even now, evinced, and we know, when once indulged, how hard it is to sate it! But I must call upon Protestant testimony for the wrongs of Ireland—and I will only touch upon the persecution. Taylor, a graduate of Trinity College, in his history of Ireland, says:
“ It would be a mere waste of words to reprobate this iniquitous law, or ra. ther this violation of all law, human and divine. No Irish Protestant can peruse its enactments without a blush for the shame thus brought on his religion, when it was thus virtually declared that the reformed system should owe its strength and security, not to the purity of its principles, not to the excellence of its doctrines, but to robbery and oppression, to dissention between father and child, to stimulating one neighbor to seize the fruits of another's industry, to the desecration of a solemn sacrament, by making it a test for office. How can we be surprised that the reformed religion is unpopular in Ireland, when by this and similar laws, a Protestant legislature virtually declared that Protestantism could not be secure unless it entered into alliance with Belial, Mammon and Moloch?” Hist. of Ireland, By W. C. Taylor, Esq. A. B. of Trinity college, Dublin, page 108. Vol. 2nd. New York edit. 1833.
Now tell me if the annals of Catholicism can produce any thing like a parallel to this! After enumerating the most tyrannical laws that Draco, or Dioclecian ever enacted, can we discover more proscription-more cruelty ?
My friends, I do not blame the Protestant religion for this. It is the spirit of the country and government; and the shame is, that when Catholic governments have ceased to persecute, Protestant ones continue to do so.
My friends, were I to consult my own feelings, I should be better pleased to draw a veil over these horrors; but my opponent made allusions to the inquisition, as an argument that, if ever the Catholics became the most numerous, they would make it a part of their system to persecute; as if the same argument, if argument it can be called, would not be equally strong against all the leading churches of Protestantism; and if the gentleman makes any further extracts, I will meet them just in the same way, and condemn both Catholics and Protestants, for that by which they are alike disgraced. Now, as he brings the account of the inquisition before us, and proves it to be the most bloody tyranny, setting aside all forms of legal procedure &c., I will refer you to Hume's history of England, for an inquisi
tion equally terrible, and more unjust, under Protestant England the famous Star-Chamber, where, upon the least suspicion, without proof, the officer was sent to the houses of the most distinguished men, nay even to their beds, and forced them in the dead of night to a prison. Sir Thomas Moore, bishop Fisher, the aged countess of Salisbury, &c. are instances with which I could fill up some horrific pages.
As to oaths; the gentleman says that I have taken two which are incompatible with each other. This is not so. My ecclesiastical oath is of a purely spiritual nature. The only oath of allegiance, of a temporal character, which I have ever taken, was to the United States. These two oaths cannot be incompatible. The heavens and the earth are not more different from one another, than they are. They cannot possibly interfere with each other. Therefore the bishop's oath is, by no means, what the gentleman has represented it. The pope has abjured the odious sense which the document is made to bear. It is no sin surely, to swear that we will not kill the pope. Would my friend make it such ? Saving my order' is a clause which the gentleman should have expatiated upon, and our order is forbidden, under the most awful penalties, to shed any one's blood, but our own, if we are called upon to suffer martyrdom, and that of the mystic victim of the altar, as a propitiation for our own sins, and those of the entire world. Persequar was never intended to mean persecute. It alludes to moral, not brute force. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual, not carnal. The Latin word means only to follow up with persevering argument, and persuasion, as I am doing this day. Before I took that oath, I read it again and again, and took the decisions of the bishops of America upon it. We all agreed that there was nothing in it contrary to the allegiance due to the United States.
My friend spoke of Catholics violating their oaths. I would ask if there is a nation that has given such splendid testimony of respect for oaths, as Catholic Ireland ? For 300 years of the bloodiest persecution that was ever inflicted, they have steadily refused to take an oath which every thing but conscience urged them to take.
My friends, all this ought to be remembered, not for the gratification of hostile feelings, but for justice, and as a fair offset, to balance the Spanish Inquisition, which is all the while not Catholic.—[Time expired.]
Half past 11 o'clock, A. M. MR. CAMPBELL rises
We have, my friends, had matter of debate thrown before us during the last hour, that would require seven days more to discuss. An ocean instead of a harbor opens to our view. Good policy, however ! Instead of concentrating on the main points, which, above all others, it behooved the bishop to clear up, if, indeed, he had any hopes of being able to defend himself, he gives us a little of every thing, great and small; present, past, and future. Thirty minutes would not be enough
for me to single out, arrange, and state the contrary propositions, to | cover all his last premises. As the gentleman knows what he can best
defend, and what he cannot, and as his time is at his own disposal, I have no right to complain. I proceed, therefore, not to recapitulate my argument, as I expected we both would have done in our last