« 이전계속 »
He was evidently stuck in his own native bog. But it was only for a moment. With the same gusto, with the same enjoyment of the lie that helped him, as he thought, out of his difficulty, he said: “ Wasn't it thim botherin' tractmin, to be sure?”
“Oh! the tractmen wished you to say the Protestant Commandments, did they?”
“ To be sure they did.”
“And did they really ask you five thousand times to repeat them?"
“And more, too, for the matther of that.”
“ And the priest forbid you all of five thousand times to repeat them?"
6. That he did, to be sure.”
Poor Wall, no wonder he emigrated, with five thousand Protestant tractmen at one ear shouting the “Ten Commandments,” and five thousand priests, shaven and shorn, at the other, shouting to him: “Be kilt for your religion, man." No wonder he was obliged to emigrate. That is a specimen of his evidence, and I am forced to say that may be Catholic honesty, but it is what we should call very like downright Protestant lying.
But it was a darker, sadder scene than that, when in narrating what was told him by his boy, he stated what we all knew to be false, deliberately, wickedly false. The boy was called to the stand immediately—and there they stood, father and son, convicted of falsehood, convicted of crime—without escape-without excuse—without any possibility of evasion, even through the readiness of Irish wit. I am sure that no one who witnessed that scene will ever forget it. It was a dark and fearful commentary on this fetch and pretence of a tender conscience which would be violated by the Lord's Prayer, which would be sullied and stained by God's holy Commandments.
I turn from that dark scene to ask several questions which, as I said, will throw a flood of light upon the darkness of the
Why was it that on the Sunday before the boy first refused to say the Commandments, a few parents and only a few boys were gathered in a basement room in that Jesuit . Church in Endicott Street ? Why was it that this boy alone on the next day refused to repeat the Commandments which he for months and years had repeated without a murmur ? Was it in order that he might be whipped? Was it in order that the Jesuits might raise the cry of religious persecution ?-might under that cry arouse public feeling, and drive the Bible from the schools ?
If so, they were disappointed. The boy was not whipped ; he was simply told that he must obey the general regulation, or he must bring his father there and have the matter explained. He was sent home. That was on Monday. He did not return, as his father swears, until Wednesday. Why was that delay? Was there any consultation with the priest going on ? What followed is very strange. The boy is brought back. The teacher is told with great care—and the injunction is repeatedthat the boy must say those very Commandments. He is told that the father wants the boy kept at school, and not dismissed if he refuses to respect the commands; but that he must be punished, and punished severely, if he refuses. How did the father know beforehand that the boy would refuse? Why did he wish him punished severely if he did ? No one can fail to see through all this. We see that this was no accidental whim of one parent or one child—it was a deliberate, a concerted plan, in which all were to join, and this strange conduct of the boy and the priest and his father show that their object was to catch the teachers in their snare and compel him to whip the boy.
Do not forget upon this very point the significant evidence that the boys said they intended to refuse to repeat the Commandments, and that they expected to be whipped and expelled from the school. The rest of the story is soon told. On the following Sabbath, the same priest instigated nine hundred pupils to break into open rebellion. The boys go to school, they stamp on the floor and make a disturbance by whistling, loud mutterings, and scraping their feet while the Lord's Prayer is repeated. This Wall boy makes himself the most forward, he is the ringleader to whom all the other boys turn. He cannot be sent away, for his father earnestly requested that he should be kept in school and punished severely.
I think we begin to see the clouds breaking away a little. I think we understand something about the reason of those mysterious visits after dark to the Jesuit's house, the night before the boy was to be a witness. I think we begin to know now how it came to pass that the father should know beforehand that the boy would refuse ; why the father was so anxious, and why he called the second time to repeat that he wanted the boy kept in school and punished severely.
I think we understand now the meaning of that significant confession which I extorted from the boy, that he was angry because his hands were bathed in cold water, after he was whipped, because he wanted to have them all swollen and looking as bad as he could. I think now it is no longer our unanswered question, why was that medal given by the Jesuit Wiget, to this boy alone, among all the nine hundred boys ?
Can any one doubt now that it was the deliberate intention of this Father Wiget and his accomplices, to break up the regulations of the school? That it was their wish and expectation that one or more of the boys should be whipped? Can any one fail now to see the reason of the evasions, the quibbling, the falsehoods, and the pretended forgetfulness of the boy and his father ?
This plot was beautifully arranged. This play of the “ Saint's Tragedy," was put upon the stage with a great deal of scenic effect; but now that we are fairly got behind the scenes and see the wire-pulling and the scene-shifting, it looks a little absurd-does it not?
I very respectfully beg to leave this part of the case, with the parting advice to Father Wiget, that the next time he gets up a sacred drama for public exhibition in our courts, he would remember there is an American institution called cross-examination, which sometimes operates as a “free pass” behind the scenes. I would also affectionately caution him to waste no more medals on doubtful saints, or on those precocious but profane little martyrs, who are ready to die for their religion in the school-house, but in the streets, “ Aint agoin to repate thim damned Yankee prayers.” If any one now believes in the purity of conscience of this boy and his father-if any one really believes that they are any thing but the willing tools and accomplices of more artful men, I have nothing further to say. I have exhibited now the background of the picture, and I think no one will fail now to see or understand who are the real criminals who have usurped the place of accusers.
There are many points that I wished to touch upon which my brief argument does not allow me the opportunity to discuss, but there are two or three which I must not wholly pass by, although I cannot argue them fully.
It is said that all are taxed for the schools, and all should have equal rights in the schools. All are not taxed equally to be sure, but all do have equal rights here. The same regulations apply to Jew and Christian, Protestant and Catholic—the same benefits are given to all, the same burdens are borne by all.
It is idle to say that the Catholics do not have equal rights because we do not give them supreme rights ; that they do not have equal rights because they cannot, at the will of their priests, compel us to forbid the use of the Bible in our public schools.
This question, however, has been so fully determined by the authority of the case of Donahoe vs. Richards, in the 38th volume of the Reports of the State of Maine, that it is no longer necessary to argue it.
Your Honor is familiar with that case; it is an authoritative determination of our courts of law that the Bible can be used in schools without infringing upon the liberty of conscience. I cannot but say, however, that I regret that the decision was not placed upon rather higher grounds. It seems to me that we are to meet this question, not upon the ordinary level of the plain and simple rules for ordinary school discipline and the selection of common school books. It is to be met upon the sunny and serene heiglits of the law, where the grand principles of the science of jurisprudence soar far above the customs and the usages of a busy mercantile world—where the great primeval truths, which are the foundation of government, of society, of morality, alone are taught—where law and religion walk hand in hand.
It is said that the children are compelled by the statute passed in 1852 to attend school. If I lave maintained my proposition,
that nothing illegal is exacted of the pupils, if their freedom of worshipping God, in their own manner, is not taken away, then the objection is immaterial. It should be noticed, however, that the law is by no means so strict as has been supposed. It was intended to prevent vagrancy and crime. No child has been obliged to attend school who has already learned the studies commonly taught there ; no child need attend school who is taught at home; no child need attend school who is too poor ; and above all, any child can attend any school of any kind that his parents may select.
And now in closing, there are few words more to be spoken. It may be said, it has been said, that this question is met with too much of earnestness and zeal. I trust that it will never be met otherwise. It is too great and too vital a question to be passed by lightly. I would wish indeed to avoid all that can give offence, all that can cause heart burnings or alienation to the emigrants whom we admit as free citizens; but they must remember that they come to learn as well as to enjoy our institutions. They must submit to hear very plain speaking on questions so sacred, so vital to our whole country as this.
They know not what they do, or they would never dare to attempt, as they have done, to violate our household gods. This is no question of politics or for politicians—the people will never intrust it to them. It is a question for every fireside, for every heart. I know that there is not a mother throughout our land, from one ocean to the other, who did not feel a sudden thrill of indignation and horror when she first heard that the Catholics were attempting to drive our Saxon Bible from our free schools. Little do they know the spirit of American liberty who think that this can ever be accomplished. Timid men may be found to consent to submission,-politicians may be found who wish to conciliate foreign voters——thoughtless men who do not reflect upon the great interests of their country,—but there is a united will and power of the people which if this movement is persevered in they cannot fail to know,--and I dare to say to all, to bishop and priest and emigrant, that until liberty ceases to be any thing but a shadow and a name, that Saxon Bible will be the companion of the American freeman-his pillar of cloud by day, his pillar of fire by night.