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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7.
The devotional exercises were conducted by Bishop A. A. Reinke, D. D., of New York, after which Hon. A. H. Colquitt, of Georgia, one of the Vice Presidents of the Alliance, was introduced as the presiding officer of the evening.
REMARKS BY SENATOR COLQUITT.
MY BRETHREN AND FRIENDS: I accepted with pleasure the compliment of an invitation to preside this evening. I accepted it the more readily, because I supposed that it was a position of honor without any responsibility. [Laughter.] My conception of a chairman or presiding officer of a meeting was, that he was to sit composedly, to look grave, to preside with dignity, to introduce the speakers, and to congratulate them when they were through. [Laughter.]
I am abashed to be informed by my friend, the President of this Alliance (Mr. Dodge), that it will be expected that a word or two should be said by the presiding officer. I am abashed because I know that I stand in the presence of men of learning and of eloquence, and that I cannot trust myself to the current of unpremeditated thought. I cannot forget that even this very stand is yet warm and throbbing with the tones that echoed through these halls to-day. If I were to say a word, it would be to bid you Godspeed in this noble, this fraternal work. [Applause.] I believe that the day has come when the workers for humanity, when the lovers of God, when patriots and Christians, should ally themselves against the already allied forces of sin, iniquity, and of the powers beneath. [Applause. It is a small matter that we, brethren of the different denominations, should quarrel with each other about our orthodoxy. It is a very small matter that they, who are the ministers of the gospel, should stand up in the presence of the country and discuss homiletics and evolution, and all that—it is a small matter compared with what we know to exist in this land of ours, this land that we have known to be the land of the patriot, to be talking on these abstract and abstruse questions, when we have been confronted with such thought, action and principles as are avowed on our thoroughfares every day that we live. It may be that I am not orthodox when I say that I believe it is the mission to-day of the ministers, and of Christian laymen in this land, to go out into the fields and highways, and meet the enemies that are seeking to place a barrier in the way of Christian civilization—to meet the foe as he comes.
I like to hear learned sermons and magnificent discoursesappeals purely to the intellect—abstract and abstruse ideas, and all that. That is all very interesting. But looking at the masses of mankind, and reviewing, from the standpoint which I occupy, what are the conflicting emotions of society to-day, it is clear to me that there is a mission given to every lover of Christ, to stand forth as the propagator of that religion which tempers the politics and statesmanship of this country.
I sometimes hear it said that 'ministers ought to occupy their places in the pulpit, and that they have nothing to do with public questions; that “ religion is one thing, and politics another." I do not believe a word of it. [Applause.] Church and state, in a political sense, is not to be thought of for a moment; but religion and politics ought to be wedded like a loving pair. [Applause.] The breath of the Divine should fill the sails of our commerce. The spirit of our Master, who preached peace, should preside at our diplomatic councils. The love of our neighbor and of our friend—these should be the bases, not only of our Christianity and of our patriotism, but of our daily politics.
With these very general utterances, and not intending to enter on any discussion, I proceed now to assume the very grave duty of presiding over this magnificent assembly of good men and women.
BY BISHOP A. CLEVELAND COXE, D. D., LL. D.,
Sincerely do I congratulate myself that the subject on which I am asked to speak enables me to do so, without any reflection upon the Roman Catholic religion. From Roman Catholics themselves we borrow this word, “Ultramontanism,” to express something which for ages they have refused to accept or to identify with their faith. They reject it as a false theory of their relations with the Roman pontiff. In exposing its absolute antagonism to everything American, I shall have no occasion, therefore, to borrow any thoughts from Protestants. I shall say nothing which has not been said by the most eminent of the French divines, by their most learned jurists and canonists; by such as Bossuet, in the prelacy ; by L'Hôpital and D’Aguesseau, among learned laymen; by the Dupins and the Fleurys, among church historians and essayists; by the learned Père Pithou, and by that pure and patriotic king, that heroic crusader, “St. Louis” himself. In fact, were I a patriotic Roman Catholic bishop in America, I should fearlessly assume the positions I support to-day, and should labor to impress upon my people, and upon my brethren in the Episcopate, the great fact that Gallicanism furnishes the only sufficient solution to the problem how the Roman Catholics of America can cease to be a “ foreign colony"-as one of their own writers calls them—and how they may remain faithful to their convictions as to the papal obedience, and yet be true Americans. “Let us be [Roman] Catholics," said the great Bossuet, “but let us be Gallicans." He showed his countrymen how to combine these relations (1) in his Exposition of the Trent Creed, and (2) in his Defense of the Gallican Liberties as professed by all the French bishops in their Council of 1682. I stand to-day just where Bossuet would stand if he were now living in America. If the Roman pontiffs gave official approbation to his Exposition, and retained the French bishops in full communion after their Declaration of 1682, then American Roman Catholics are entitled to like freedoms and privileges. I assert, as I have always asserted, that little as I approve of the Trent dogmas, even as Bossuet expounds them, there is no necessary antagonism between Gallicanism and the constitutional principles of this republic. Gallican Roman Catholics have been and are good citizens ; but Ultramontanists never can be Americans. The distinction is a historic one, and is enforced by the laws of France from the Middle Ages until now, and in the Concordat with the First Consul. In 1801 the pontiff ratified and established Gallicanism as a concession to the republic. And this is my position, therefore : The Roman court must accord nothing less to Roman Catholics in this republic, or it declares war upon our Constitution and renders it impossible for them to be free Americans and honest in their professions of loyalty to the government.
Ultramontanism is a formidable word, but it means just what is popularly known as Jesuitism. The spirit of Northern Europe found it convenient to distinguish between what freemen professed and were willing to accept, in communion with Rome, and what was demanded by the court of Rome itself. They would not submit to what was claimed south of the Alps, “beyond the mountains.” Observe, out of their respect for the pontiff, they distinguished between the pope and the papal court. They venerated him, and attributed to his court the extravagances published in his name. They called it “Ultramontane" doctrine, and rejected it. In later times the Jesuits embodied its maxims in their society, and became an army to enforce it, everywhere and by every means. But is Jesuitism essential to the Roman Catholic religion? How can it be, when every Roman Catholic nation in Europe, one after another, has banished the Jesuits as intolerable enemies of the state? How so, when Clement XIV. suppressed them forever, as not less intolerable to the church? Even Pius the Ninth, in his better days, banished them from Rome. So then, as a Roman Catholic, if I were one, I should quote “Infallibility” for my position, that Ultramontanism is at war with governments, with Christian civilization, and with the peace and integrity of the Roman Catholic church itself. This position I could support from Roman Catholic writers, the most illustrious of modern and more ancient times; and I should say to the Roman court emphatically: “This or nothing—the American Constitution tolerates all that has for ages been conceded to Gallicans, but with Ultramontanism there can be no compromise. It is warfare that cannot be disguised, with all that is dear to the American people.”
Happily, the spirit of the Gallican maxims has its equivalents in our American Constitution, and it is actually embedded in the Naturalization Laws. Let me quote them, in brief, as follows :
“1. The alien seeking to be naturalized must make oath, two years beforehand, of his bona fide intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty ; in particular, that to which he has been subject.
"2. When he applies for naturalization, after the two years thus provided for, he must prove that he has resided in the United States five years at least; that during that time he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.
"3. If he has borne any hereditary title, or been of any of the orders of nobility in the kingdom or state from which he came, he shall, in addition to the above requisites, make an express renunciation of his title or order of nobility.
“4. Finally, he shall, at the time of his application, make oath that he will support the Constitution of the United States, and that he absolutely and entirely renounces and abjures all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, particularly the state or sovereignty of which he has been a subject."*
In brief, then, our Constitution, as interpreted by legislation, asserts Home Rule for Americans. It assumes that no foreign potentate whatever shall be permitted to dictate to us in matters of politics, of society, of legislation, of jurisprudence, of education, or of government in any of its forms. No American citizen shall be subject to any foreign court, so that he may be summoned to a foreign country to answer for his political conduct, or for anything affecting his rights as a citizen. Our country is competent to manage its own affairs; to settle the delicate relations between labor and capital, and to regulate associations and organizations among the people, without inquiring of a foreign court, ignorant of our conditions, our wants and the spirit of our laws, what Americans may lawfully do. Take, for example, the case of a Roman Catholic citizen who happens to be an ecclesiastic,and who assumes a politi
* "Revised Statutes of the United States.”
Title xxx, page 380. Washington, 1875.