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[251] I told him I was aware of the fact, and also that in Dublin and many other parts of Ireland there were many who deeply sympathized with the anti-slavery movement in this country. After expressing the strong desire I had felt to see him during my last visit to Ireland, and my great disappointment in not being able to visit Cork, I said—‘In addition to the pleasure of taking you by the hand, and welcoming you to America, we have come to extend to you, in behalf of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, an invitation to be present at the celebration of the anniversary of British West India emancipation at Worcester, on Friday next. Here is a letter, containing an invitation in an official shape, which you are requested to read at your leisure, and answer as you may think duty requires.’ Taking the letter, with some agitation and embarrassment of manner he said, gesticulating in a somewhat deprecative manner, as though an indecent or unworthy proposition had been made to him—‘I have as much as I can do to save men from the slavery of intemperance, without attempting the overthrow of any other kind of slavery! Besides, it would not be proper for me to commit myself on a question like this, under present circumstances. I am a Catholic priest; but, being here to promote the cause of temperance, I should not be justified in turning aside from my mission for the purpose of subserving the cause of Catholicism.’1 ‘True, you would not,’ I replied, ‘for, in that capacity, you would occupy very narrow-ground, and be acting for a sectarian object. But I do not perceive any analogy in the case supposed, to the one presented to you. The cause of liberty and emancipation, like that of temperance, covers the whole ground of humanity, and is as broad as the whole earth; and, therefore, you may as freely advocate the one as ’


1 The essential jesuitry of this remark will be apparent to any one who reads Henry C. Wright's account of Father Mathew's rebuke of a fellow-priest and philanthropist, Father (John) Spratt of Dublin, for having, in 1846, heeded a popular call from Belfast to preach the gospel of temperance there, in spite of the opposition of the local Catholic hierarchy. Father Mathew, who had equally been prohibited, but had submitted, argued that Father Spratt's insubordination was infinitely more pernicious than his greatest possible conversions to teetotalism could be beneficent (Lib. 19: 145; 20: 40). In accusing, further, Father Spratt of having taught the Catholic people that ‘they can do without their pastors,’ Father Mathew took the ground of priestly monopoly already occupied with reference to abolition lecturers by the Congregational Associations of Connecticut and Massachusetts a decade earlier (ante, 2.130, 131, 135).

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