upon our American prejudices!
The head of the great Catholic Church, surrounded by the ripest scholars of the age, listening to the eloquence” --of whom?--“of the despised negro; and thereby illustrating to the world.” --what?--“thereby illustrating to the world the common bond of brotherhood which binds the human race.”
[Roars of laughter.]
, I appeal to the House
if it does not appear that the author of that pamphlet must have been corrupted by reading the work of my friend from Ohio
But the gentleman goes on to say: “I confess that, at first, it seemed to me a sort of theatrical mummery, not being familiar with such admixtures of society.”
That was the first impression of my young and festive friend from Ohio
, as he wandered through the gilded corridors of St. Peter
's. [Laughter.] “But,” says he, “on reflection, I discerned in it the same influence which, during the dark ages, conferred such inestimable blessings on mankind.
History records that from the time of the revival of letters the influence of the Church of Rome had been generally favorable to science, to civilization, and to good government.
Why, asks my friend from Ohio
, is the Church of Rome so favorable to science, to civilization, and to good government?
Let the gentleman answer: “Because her system held then, as it holds now, all distinctions of caste as odious.”
[Great laughter.] “She regards no man — bond or free, white
— as disqualified for the priesthood.
This doctrine has, as Macaulay
develops in his introductory chapters to his English history, mitigated many of the worst evils of society; for where race tyrannized over race, or baron over villein, Catholicism came between them and created an aristocracy altogether independent of race or feudalism, compelling even the hereditary master to kneel before the spiritual tribunal of the hereditary bondsman.
The childhood of Europe
was passed under the guardianship of priestly teachers, who taught, as the scene in the Sistine Chapel
of an Ethiop addressing the proud rulers of Catholic Christendom teaches, that no distinction is regarded at Rome
save that which divides the priest from the people.”
“The sermon of the Abyssinian”--that is, of this colored person, this Roman citizen of “African
descent” --“in beautiful print, was distributed at the door.
I bring one home as a trophy and as a souvenir of a great truth which Americans
are prone to deny or contemn.”
Now, I ask my friend from Ohio
if he has still got that trophy and souvenir to bring into this Hall