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It is proposed to attaint men for their religion and also for their birth. If this object can prevail, vain are the triumphs of Civil Freedom in its many hard-fought fields; vain is that religious toleration which we all profess. The fires of Smithfield, the tortures of the Inquisition, the proscriptions of non-conformists, may all be revived. It was mainly [219] to escape these outrages, dictated by a dominant religious sect, that our country was early settled, in one place by Quakers, who set at naught all forms; in another, by Puritans, who disowned bishops; in another, by Episcopalians, who take their name from bishops; and in yet another by Catholics, who look to the Pope as their Spiritual Father. Slowly among the struggling sects was evolved the great idea of the Equality of all men before the law without regard to religious belief; nor can any party now organize a proscription merely for religious belief, without calling in question this unquestionable principle.

But Catholics are mostly foreigners, and, on this account, are condemned. Let us see if there be any reason in this; and here indulge me with one word on foreigners.

With the ancient Greeks, a foreigner was a barbarian, and with the ancient Romans, he was an enemy. In early modern times, the austerity of this judgment was relaxed; but, under the influence of feudalism, the different sovereignties, whether provinces or nations, were kept in a condition of isolation, from which they have been gradually passing until now, when provinces are merged into nations, and nations are giving signs that they too will yet commingle into one. In our country another example is already displayed. From all nations people commingle here. As in ancient Corinth, by the accidental fusion of all metals accumulated in the sacred temples, a peculiar metal was produced, better than any individual metal, even silver or gold; so, perhaps, in the arrangements of Providence, by the fusion of all races here, there may be a better race than any individual race, even Saxon or Celt. Originally settled from England, the Republic has been strengthened and enriched by generous contributions of population from Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Germany; and the cry is still they come. At no time since the discovery of the New World has the army of emigrants pressed so strongly in this direction. Nearly half a million are annually landed on our shores. The manner in which they shall be received is one of the problems of our national policy.

All will admit that any influence which they may bring, hostile to our institutions—calculated to substitute priestcraft for religion and bigotry for Christianity—must be deprecated and opposed. All will admit, too, that there must be some assurance of their purpose to become not merely consumers of the fruits of our soil, but useful, loyal and permanent members of our community, upholders of the general welfare. With this simple explanation, I am not disposed to place any check upon the welcome to foreigners. There are our broad lands, stretching [220] towards the setting sun; let them come and take them. Ourselves the children of the Pilgrims of a former generation, let us not turn from the Pilgrims of the present. Let the home, founded by our emigrant fathers, continue open in its many mansions to the emigrants of to-day.

The history of our country, in its humblest as well as most exalted spheres, testifies to the merits of foreigners. Their strong arms have helped furrow our broad territory with canals, and stretch in every direction the iron rail. They have filled our workshops, navigated our ships, and even tilled our fields. Go where you will, among the hardy sons of toil on land or sea, and there you will find industrious and faithful foreigners bending their muscles to the work. At the bar and in the high places of commerce, you will find them. Enter the retreats of learning, and there you will find them too, shedding upon our country the glory of science. Nor can any reflection be cast upon foreigners, claiming hospitality now, which will not glance at once upon the distinguished living and the illustrious dead—upon the Irish Montgomery, who perished for us at the gates of Quebec—upon Pulaski the Pole, who perished for us at Savannah—upon De Kalb and Steuben, the generous Germans, who aided our weakness by their military experience—upon Paul Jones, the Scotchman, who lent his unsurpassed courage to the infant thunders of our navy—also upon those great European liberators, Kosciusko of Poland, and Lafayette of France, each of whom paid his earliest vows to Liberty in our cause. Nor should this list be confined to military characters, so long as we gratefully cherish the name of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies, and the name of Albert Gallatin, who was born in Switzerland, and never, to the close of his octogenarian career, lost the French accent of his boyhood—both of whom rendered civic services which may be commemorated among the victories of peace.

Nor is the experience of our Republic peculiar. Where is the country or power which must not inscribe the names of foreigners on its historic scroll? It was Christopher Columbus, of Genoa, who disclosed to Spain the New World; it was Magellan, of Portugal, sailing in the service of Spain, who first pressed with adventurous keel through those distant Southern straits which now bear his name, and opened the way to the vast Pacific sea; and it was Cabot, the Venetian, who first conducted English enterprise to this North American continent. As in the triumphs of discovery, so, also, in other fields have foreigners excelled, while serving States to which they were bound by no tie of birth. The Dutch Grotius——author of the sublime work, ‘The Laws of Peace [221] and War’—an exile from his own country—became the Ambassador of Sweden, and, in our own day, the Italian Pozzo di Borgo, turning his back upon his own country, has reached the most exalted diplomatic trusts in the jealous service of Russia. In the list of monarchs on the throne of England, not one has been more truly English than the Dutch William. In Holland, no ruler has equalled in renown the German William, Prince of Orange. In Russia, the German Catharine II. takes a place among the most commanding sovereigns. And who of the Swedish monarchs was a better Swede than Bernadotte, the Frenchman; and what Frenchman was ever filled with aspirations for France more than the Italian Napoleon Bonaparte?

But I pass from these things, which have occupied me too long. A party which, beginning in secrecy, interferes with religious belief, and founds a discrimination on the accident of birth, is not the party for us.

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