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Joseph C. (Joseph Cammet) Lovejoy.

Memoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 online

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to familiar, unrestrained intercourse with its inmates.
But who is the Catholic Priest ? Is he aged, venerable ?
Is he even a married man ? No ; he is (or may be) a
young man, and like those whom he visits bound by his
vow to a life of celibacy. And whatever his vow may
have been, his looks show abundantly that fasting, pen-



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 107

ance, and mortifying of the body make no part of his
practice. His is not the lean and subdued countenance of
the penitent, but the jolly visage of the sensualist rather.
Alas! for the ladies of the convent, if his vow of chastity
is kept no better than his vow of poverty and penance.
And what reason have we to suppose it is ? If he vio-
late it in one case, why not in the other ? The tempta-
tion is, at least, as great.

We will present this subject in a little difTerent light. —
Suppose a dozen young ministers from the Theological
Seminary of Princeton, having just been ordained, should
come out and take up their abode in the city of St. Louis.
Supposing some one of our wealthy citizens, or, if you
please, citizens of Boston, or New York, should furnish
them with the funds requisite to put up a building in some
retired place in the outskirts of the town — supposing the
building finished — furnished — enclosed with a high wall,
evidently intended for exclusion. Suppose now the
young gentlemen advertise in the newspapers of the city,
that they have brought with them from Boston a dozen
young ladies, who have each made a solemn promise
that they will never marry, and that these ladies are now
in the newly erected building, prepared to open a school,
and to receive female pupils as boarders. Suppose they
also should make it known that these young ladies had
chosen one of their own number — or perhaps the arrange-
ment might be that they should take turns in performing
this office, but always so that but one at a time should be
at the house — to be their father confessor, and that he
was to have access to their dwelling at any or all times,
coming and going unquestioned, and that he, or certainly
his fellows, were to be the only males who should have
access to, or authority in, the establishment. All this
being perfectly understood, let us, for the last tim.e, sup-



108 MEMOIR OF THE

pose that one of these young gentlemen should go round
to the respectable families of our city, and solicit that
their daughters might become the inmates, as pupils, of
their establishment. What reception would he be likely
to meet with ? How many young ladies would he be
likely to collect for his school ?

Yet, gentle reader, suppose all the above conditions
fulfilled, and you have a Protestant Convent, or Nun-
nery, formed, in all its essential features, on the most
approved model of the Romanists. Who would trust a
dozen Protestant ministers, under such circumstances as
these ? No one. And, indeed, the very fact, that they
asked to be trusted would prove them all unworthy. But
do the annals of the Church show that the Popish priest-
hood are more worthy of trust, purer, holier than the
Protestant clergy? Read ' Scipio de Ricci,' and' Blan-
co White ;' read ' Secreta Monita' of the Jesuits, ' Bow-
er's History of the Popes,' and ' Text Book of Popery,'
or if these will not convince, read Hume, Gibbon, Rob-
ertson, and even Lingard himself — read Roscoe's Leo
the Tenth ; nay their own approved manuals of faith and
practice. Read these and know that corruption, rank
and foul, has always steamed and is now steaming from
the thousand monasteries, convents, and nunneries, that
are spread, like so many plague spots, over the surface
of Europe.

We do not say, for we do not believe, that they have
reached the same degree of pollution in this country.
Far from it — and yet we are no advocates of, or believ-
ers in, their immaculate purity. But what we say is this,
that so long as human nature remains as it is, so long
will the tende7ici/, the unavoidable tendency, of such in-
stitutions be to iniquity and corruption. We care not in
whose hands they are, Popish or Protestant, they tempt



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 109

to sin all who are connected with them. We might
even admit that they were founded with good intentions —
which, in many instances, we have no doubt has been
the case — and still our objections to them would be no
whit lessened. Talk of vows of chastity, in chambers of
impenetrable seclusion, and amidst bowers of voluptuous-
ness and beauty ! 'Tis a shameful mockery, and especi-
ally with the records of history spread out before us.
For that informs us that the Nunnery has generally been
neither mOre nor less, than a seraglio for the friars of the
monastery."

WHY DISCUSS THE SUBJECT OF POPERY?

June llth, 1835.
" We need not inform our readers that our columns have
been, for some months past, considerably occupied with
the discussion of Popery, in all its bearings, civil, and
religious ; social and intellectual. We now propose
briefly, to state the reasons why we have thought proper
to take such a course.

1. It is not to gratify any personal feelings of our own.
We can truly say that there is not a single individual, a
member of the Romish church, towards whom we have
a single feeling of unkindness. Many of them in this
city, have been our personal friends, and for aught we
know are so still — at any rate we are theirs. With the
Romish clergy, we have no personal acquaintance, and
towards them, as individuals, have none but the kindest
feelings of good will — it being our daily prayer that they
may see, and renounce, the dangerous and deadly errors
of their religious creed.

2. It is not that we distrust the patriotism of the mem-
bers of the Romish church in this city, that we sound the

10



110 MEMOIR OF THE

alarm of danger to our institutions from Popery. There
is no more respectable or intelligent portion of our citi-
zens, than many of those who are of French origin, and
who are either nominally or really members of the Ro-
mish church. We have known them long, and bear our
willing testimony to the high minded and honourable
feelings which actuate them as friends, as men of busi-
ness, and as American citizens. They are republicans,
in the genuine sense of that term, and there is no class
of our citizens to whom we would more readily or confi-
dently entrust the guardianship of our free institutions.
We do not believe they would surrender them to King,
Bishop, or Pope. Many of them are among the wealthi-
est and m.ost influential of our citizens, distinguished for
the urbanity of their manners, the hospitality of their
houses, and those other social virtues that so favourably
characterize the country of their ancestors. It cannot
therefore be for the purpose of injuring any of this class,
that we denounce the tendencies of the religion, so many
of them profess.

3. It is not for the sake of acquiring popularity. With
a great majority of our fellow-citizens, the course we have
taken, and which we intend to pursue, with unabated
vigour, is a most unpopular one. So far as we know,
with some few exceptions, all that class of our citizens
who may be called nominal Protestants, are entirely and
.decidedly opposed to our course. This opposition some-
times — when there are immediate selfish purposes to be
gained — assumes the character of personal hostility, and
an open stand in favour of Popery. In the hearts of the
ignorant, and, of course, bigoted adherents of the Romish
church, and especially in those of its Priests, it has engen-
dered, and still supplies a fountain of the bitterest and
most malignant hatred, which weekly discharges itself



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. HI

upon our head, in an undiluted stream of vulgarity and
abuse. Lastly, there are many of our brethren, who
view the matter in a light different from us, and from
whom we receive no aid, but discouragement rather, and
cold regards. At the East it is different ; but where our
paper circulates, not one half of the members of the dif-
ferent Protestant churches, are awakened to a sense of the
danger that is pressing upon us from the increase of Pope-
ry. By many of our fellow-citizens, whom we respect, and
whose good opinion we highly value, we are called bigot,
fanatic, intolerant, quarrelsome ; and besides have often
to encounter the cold regrets of many of our well-mean-
ing, but timid brethren. These things have all along-
been seen and felt by us ; and it will therefore be read-
ily acknowledged that in espousing the cause we have
chosen, we did it not for the sake of popularity, or of
making our position as Editor, an easy one.

The question now again returns : why then choose
such a position, and why maintain it ? Why continue
these attacks upon the tenets of Popery, when confess-
edly many unpleasant consequences will result ? We
are now prepared to give this question a short and de-
cisive answer. It is this. We maintain our warfare
against the principles and dogmas of Popery, because

WE BELIEVE THE CAUSE OF HUMANITY, OF FREEDOM, OF
VITAL PIETY, IN A WORD, THE CAUSE OF TRUTH, DE-
MANDS IT.

Such being our entire and undoubting conviction, we
should be false to every sentiment we profess, a recre-
ant coward in defence of every principle we hold most
dear, should we lay down our weapons and retire, or
permit ourselves to be driven from the field. The con-
test we admit, is an arduous one ; we have to bear up
against a host of opposing influences, that would long



112 MEMOIR OF THE

since have crushed us, had we not been upheld by an
abiding and controlling sense of duty. Hitherto that has
sustained us, and by the grace of God it shall still sus-
tain us, in our conflict with the ' Man of Sin,' ' whose
coming is after the working of Satan, with all power,
and signs, and lying wonders,' until the Lord shall de-
stroy him ' with the brightness of his coming.' Then —
if it come in our day — will we lay down the ' weapons
of our warfare ;' if not we shall continue to ' fight the
good light' until death, assured that others more worthy
will finish, what we, in common with others, were hon-
oin-ed to begin.

One word more. It is often said — and it constitutes
the most plausible objection we have heard — that the
discussion of this subject tends to introduce unkind feel-
ings into society, to create jealousies, ill-will, and dis-
trust among neighbours and fellow-citizens. We admit,
and regret, but cannot help this consequence. It proves
nothing, however, either for good or for evil. ' I came
not to send peace on earth,' said the Saviour, ' but a
sword.' Wherever Paul went, preaching the gospel, he
was accused of turning society ' upside down ;' and the
charge, as to the mere fact, though not in the evil sense
intended, was true. Whoever sets himself, firmly, to
breast the current of popular sentiment, will find at once,
its waves breaking around him ; and in proportion to the
strength of the current, will be the violence of their on-
set and the noise of their roaring. If frightened at the
outcry and clamour of those, whose easy onward pro-
gress has been interrupted, or at the gathering fury of the
waters, let him give way and turn and swim with the
stream — he will soon find a perfect calm again. Neither
of these is our own case. We took our stand under the
firmest convictions of duty, coolly, calmly, deliberately ;



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 113

having counted well what it would cost to maintain it.
These same convictions still fix us there — where we ex-
pect and intend to remain, until the Master we serve
shall call us away, to fill our place with one more de-
voted to his interests, and more skilled to contend with
his enemies.

P. S. We were writing the above article, in our
office, on Saturday morning, and had got about two-thirds
of the way through it, when a friend stepped in, saying

as he entered, ' I come at the request of Mr. , to

subscribe, in his name, for the ' Observer.' He says,
that while so many of the Protestant Newspapers and
Clergymen, are fearful and undetermined, he wishes to
give his support and countenance to a paper that has so
boldly set itself to resist the tide of Popery, which is now

flowing in and threatens to overwhelm us.' Mr. is

a Methodist brother, and resides in Michigan Territory.

Now this incident is a small one of itself, but we no-
tice it because of the effect it had upon our feelings, par-
ticularly in reference to the time of its occurrence. We
could not but regard it as a good omen ; as an indication
of Providence, that our course in this matter was ap-
proved."

St. Louis, Aug. 27th, 1835.
" We recommend to the ' Argus' a perusal of the fol-
lowing paragraph copied from the ' National Gazette,'
The ' Argus' has taken the Catholics into his special
keeping. Why ? Simply because he wants their votes.
Now we dp not care on which side the Catholic votes,
nor to which party he belongs. Nor do we wish to
touch any of the rights belonging to any class of citizens^
Catholic or Protestant, Jew or Mahometan. But what
we say, and maintain, and prove by undeniable facts, is,

10*



114 MEMOIR OF THE

that Popery and Freedom, whether civil or religious,
are incompatible with each other — they cannot co-exist.
What we warn our countrymen to be on their guard
against, is, the hordes of ignorant, uneducated, vicious
foreigners who are now flocking to our shores, and who,
under the guidance of Jesuit Priests, are calculated, fit-
ted and intended to subvert our liberties.

But the ' Argus' wishes us to hold our peace because
it wishes rehgion to be kept entirely unconnected with
politics.' Doubtless, doubtless it does. Its conduct
shows that plain enough. But we can tell the ' Ar-
gus' that it is for this very reason that we will not hold
our peace. It is because we see the ' Argus' and other
similar politicians, of all political creeds and complex-
ions, endeavouring to separate religion and politics, that
we labour to prevent this divorce. We wish every man
when he votes, to do it in the fear of God ; and that is
what we call a union of religion and politics. And it is
the only union we desire.

Partisan politics — for why should we not speak out I
— are operating the downfall of our country. Do we
accuse one party more than another ? No. We see a
mournful destitution of moral principle among them all.
They turn with the veering wind. Look at the New York
Courier and Enquirer. Two or three years ago it was
the champion of Irishmen ; it would not sufTer a word
to be said in derogation of them or their priests. And
why ? Simply because it was then attached to that party
to which most of these ignorant foreigners belonged.
But the Courier has since changed its position, and is
now as zealously engaged in proclaiming the dangers of
Popery, as it once was in defending it from all attacks.
And though we believe that it is now on the right side,
so far as Popery is concerned, yet have we any confi-



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 115

dence in such a co-adjutor 1 None at all. Self-inter-
est, real or supposed, placed the Courier where it is,
and at its bidding it would go back to its old position.

So here, in our own city. Unconnected with any party,
but an American citizen, and as such, and especially as
an American Christian, deeply interested in the perpetu-
ity of our free institutions, our civil and rehgious freedom,
we saw the encroachments of Popery upon both. We
saw the stealthy, cat-like step, the hyena grin, with
which the ' Mother of Abominations,' was approaching
the Fountain of Protestant Liberty, that she might cast
into it the poison of her incantations, more accursed
than was ever seethed in the Caldron of Hecate. We
saw, too, that as it had been with us, so it still was with
most of our citizens — they were insensible to the danger
awaiting them. We raised the alarm. We have con-
tinued to sound it aloud ; and we have the unspeakable
gratification to know that it has not been wholly in vain.
In the discharge of this sacred duty, owed first to
our God, and next to our country, we have had nothing
but a good conscience to sustain us. Obloquy and re-
proach have been our portion ; and who has ventured to
defend us ? Not a single political press of any party.
Discordant as might be their voices in other matters,
they chimed harmoniously in attacking us, and defend-
ing the Papists. Thus the ' Republican' and the ' Ar-
gus.' And why ? Because each wanted Catholic votes.
Well ; the ' Argus,' it seems, has got them ; and the
* Republican' now says, through its correspondents at
least, the very things against Papists which it abused us
for saying ; while the ' Argus' redoubles its zeal and fury in
their defence. We rejoice at the stand the ' Republican'
has now taken. We hope it will have courage to maintain
it, but we greatly fear the contrary. Let history be consult-



116 MEMOIR OF THE REV. E. P, LOVEJOY.

ed, let the present state of the world be inspected, and the
' Republican' will find that in no way can it render so ef-
fectual a service to its country, as by opposing that tre-
mendous tide of foreign emigration which even now
threatens to sweep away all that we hold dear.

For the * Argus, ' we hope the lesson it has just re-
ceived will not be lost upon it. Let it learn, henceforth,
to pay some regard to principle in the selection of its
leaders. The great mass of the people are of honest
intentions. They may be deceived and deluded, but, in
this country, they cannot w^ell be corrupted. If no
higher principle, therefore, restrain the ' Argus ' from al-
lying itself to Jesuitism, let it at least be restrained by the
fear, even in this, of being thrown into a minority. And
even if victorious, depend upon it, Mr. ' Argus,' the only
reward which Jesuitism would give you, would be the
samew^hich Polyphemus vouchsafed to Ulysses— that of
bjeing the last devoured."



CHAPTER VIII.

We come now to the subject of Slavery. Articles
upon this subject were occasionally found in the " Obser-
ver" from the beginning. It did not, however, occupy a
larger proportion of the entire sheet, than two and a half
inillions hear to ff teen millions. The Editor was, during
this period, thorougly convinced of the sin of Slavery,
and, at the same time, cherished an ardent desire to see
it abolished. But he was seeking a point where these
views, and opposition to immediate abolition might be
coincident. To discover such a point, he framed all the
moral problems, and drew the figures for their illustration,
which a fertile genius, extensive knowledge, and honest
intentions could devise. That point, however, we hardly
need say, he never found. Thousands made the same
experiments before him, and many are continuing these
attempts, destined, we doubt not, to the same disappoint-
ment. It is devoutly to be hoped, that with equal frank-
ness they will acknowledge their mistake, and come
forth and stand upon the immoveable basis of everlasting-
Truth. One thing always gave us pleasure, while we
differed in opinion from our brother upon this subject, —
he ever appeared to act up to the light which shone
upon his path. When, therefore, he saw that immediate
abolition was the only ground on which to stand, and
move the mass of cruelty, injustice, and corruption which
the word Slavery imports, he placed himself upon it, and
here ' he conquered, though he fell.'



118 MEMOIR OF THE

We shall now give such extracts from the editorial
pen as will exhibit his sentiments, and the manner in
which he treated this subject.

SLAVERY.

June, 1834.
"This subject is one which has always, since we
have known any thing of the Southern and Slave-holding
Western States, been regarded as exceedingly delicate
and difficult of management. We feel it to be so at the
moment of penning these remarks. Not because — as
some of our Abolitionist brethren will charge us — we fear
the truth, and are unwilling to perform our duty, but, be-
cause there is real difficulty in ascertaining what that
duty is. The man who has been reared in the midst of
Slavery, and acquainted with the system from his earli-
est infancy, who regards the coloured man as part of the
estate bequeathed to him .by his parents, and his right
over him guaranteed by the constitution of his country,
becomes excited, when any one denies this right, and
lays down ethical principles for his government, that, in
their operation, must beggar him. Nor is this all ; he
finds himself the subject of bitter invective and unmea-
sured denunciation. As a man, stripped of all honourable
pretension, and made a participant with the heartless
man-stealer, whose crime he abhors. As a Christian,
denounced and accounted a profaner of the symbols of
his holy religion. Held up to society as a monster in
human shape, a tyrant who delights in the pangs inflicted
upon his fellow-man. We have never wondered that
under such circumstances, it should be an exciting sub-
ject — he must be more than human who would not be
sensible of the recoil in his feelings. He may at the



REV. E. P. LOVEJOY. 119

same time be wrong. But his early associations — his
prejudices, are all upon the side of long established
opinions ; and hence it should hardly be expected, that
at the first glance, he should see the truth as one differ-
ently situated may see it, and instantly espousing the
opinion of the opposite party, give an evidence of his
sincerity that the other was never called to give, by pass-
ing immediately from affluence to poverty. In all con-
troversies there is a strong tendency in the parties to
take extreme ground — so in this — and hence he finds
himself charged with views and feelings, and base mo-
tives for his opposition, which he is at the moment con-
scious he does not possess, and which the very man who
presses the charge against him, in his cooler moments,
would not think of making. Certain it is, that in this
controversy, no one will be persuaded by naked denun-
ciation or misrepresentations — but cool and temperate
argument, supported by facts, must perform the work.

It has been with pain that we have seen recently the
heated and angry meetings and discussions, which have
taken place, amongst our eastern brethren of the Abolition
and Colonization parties. Though we have certainly
our own preference on this subject, yet, eschewing the
papacy, as we do, we are not disposed to set up our
claims to infallibility in his stead, and always regret
when we see good brethren take such a stand. That
the recent movement in Great Britain and the West In-
dies, could take place and leave us unaffected, we never
supposed — that it must work changes in our system, we
did then and do still believe, but the danger is in the
manner in which that change is to brought about. That
Slavery is a curse, politically and morally, to every state
where it exists, is a sentiment to which the South and
West respond. And this response is given by the Slave-



120 MEMOIR OF THE

holder, with a deeper and more experimental conviction
in the South than in the East. The great desideratum
with the reflecting in both sections of the country, is to
get rid of the evil. Now, starting upon the same premi-
ses, it is to be regretted that such widely diflerent con-
clusions should be arrived at, and still more, that angry
feelings should be elicited in the contest.

We have read the declaration of the Abolition Conven-
vention held in Philadelphia, and also of the Lane Semi-
nary, and felt prepared to adopt, in the main, the abstract
principles set forth by them. With the means by which
they declare they wilj seek the accomplishment of their
object — the dissemination of light, thereby creating a
correct public opinion — we are satisfied. But the danger
is, that the friends of abolition will not strictly adhere to
these terms, and thereby excite prejudices and bitterness.
We infer this from the overstrained and highly wrought
picture that was presented at Lane Seminary by some
zealous and heated young men, under the temptation that
it would be popular to make a good speech, and which
statements have gone the length and breadth of the land.
From the examination of Thomas C.Brown, a disappointed
emigrant, in New York, in which he was compelled to
retract much that he had previously detailed to the injury
of the Colony at Liberia — and from the heated speeches
of some good men at the late anniversaries in that city.
When means like these are resorted to, whatever the
effect may be in the East, in the South and West they



Online LibraryJoseph C. (Joseph Cammet) LovejoyMemoir of the Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy; who was murdered in defence of the liberty of the press, at Alton, Illinois, Nov. 7, 1837 → online text (page 8 of 28)