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that had been urged against this bill. He asked attention to the extracts contained in the letter. If the object of this association was to establish a hierarchy, would they make use of such language? This very open and undisguised language contained in itself evidence that no such intention as that imputed to thein was harboured by the members of this association. The first extract says " Your board have felt desirous, therefore, of not only furnishing their own schools with suitable books, but of introducing such books into schools, of a different description, and of rendering them so abundant as to force out of circulation those which tend to mislead the mind.” “They have not been backward, therefore, to assume the high responsibility of revising and altering the books they have published, wherever alterations seemed necessary.” Before the establishment of the Sunday School Union, Mr. D. said, the books used in the Sunday schools were of a character calculated to inculcate sectarian feelings. Since the establishment of the Sunday School Union, the books circulated have not been peculiarly favourable to any one sect, but have been selected with a view to convey religious instruction without reference to the peculiar doctrines of any sect. And why, when the op-. posers of this incorporation had been so industrious in hunting up something to the prejudice of the institution, did they not make some extracts from the books circulated by the Sunday School Union? The reason was at hand, these books did not inculcate the peculiar tenets of any sect. If objections, then, were made to this institution, founded upon letters and reports with which it had nothing to do, instead of bringing into question the books that it had circulated, was not a conclusion the most favorable to be inferred from this very course? The simple fact was, the Sunday School Union only printed and circulated books that could be afforded cheap, for the use of schools: and if one word of sectarianism could be pointed to in them, he would give up the argument: on this issue he would be willing to rest the decision.
As he had before said, before the establishment of the Sunday School Union, books were put into the hands of youth by individuals with a view of spreading the tenets of the religious sect to which they belonged. Now there was not a book circulated by them containing an objectionable passage.
Mr. D. read another extract—"While the committee feel the immense respon- sibility which they assume, in becoming dictators to the consciences of thousands of immortal beings, on the great and all important subject of the welfare of their souls; while they dread the consequences of uttering forgeries, or giving their sanction to misrepresentations of the glorious truth of the gospel, they are not backward to become the responsible arbiters in these high points: rather than tamely issue sentiments which in their consciences they believe to be false or inconsistent with the purity of divine truth, in preparing works for the press, the utmost liberty is used with regard to whatever is republished by them.”
Now, Mr. D. said, it might appear that this passage from a preface to the catalogue of the Sunday School Union, favoured the idea of sectarianism, but by examing the whole preface it was quite manifest that they meant nothing more, by proclaiming themselves dictators to the consciences of thousands of immortal beings, than that the publishing and circulating books filled with moral and religious instruction, would enlighten the minds of thousands, without any reference to sectarian tenets.--Such was the only sense intended at the time by the person who wrote it. Again, another extract in this letter says "These institutions may terminate in an organized system of mutual co-operation between ministers and private christians, so that every church shall be a disciplined army, where every one knows his place, and where every one has a place and a duty in the grand onset against sin."--Could any one, Mr. D. asked, object that an army should be raised, and warfare be waged against sin? Was not this warranted by the language of scripture itself ?-Further, “In ten years, or certainly in twenty, the political power of our country would be in the hands of men whose characters have been formed under the influence of Sabbath Sehools."—Here again, Mr. D.' said, it had been supposed that this sentiment proceeded from the managers of the Sunday School Union: but what was the fact? A clergyman in his zeal writes a letter, filled with the most sanguine predictions with regard to the Sunday Schools: but does the Sunday School Union adopt his language? No such thing
The letter is published, as from a clergyman in Connecticut to a member of the board, it was a mere letter from a clergyman, a member of an auxiliary society in Connecticut, who had nothing to do with the government of the Schools
. But, Mr. Duncan said, a sermon of Dr. Ely had been dissected, and a variety of extracts from it presented in this letter. If every indiscretion committed by clergymen should be be set down as the fault of the Sunday School Union, the case would be a hard one. Dr. Ely was a man of talents and respectability, but he had some eccentricities. The sermon in question was delivered at Norristown on last 4th of July occasion, and went to favor the election of General Jackson. The design appeared to be, to establish the principle that none but religious men ought to be elected as rulers, and to shew that General Jackson was a religious man. This might be indiscreet zeal in Dr. Ely, but the Sunday School Union was not answerable for it. He, Mr. D. had, some time ago seen in a newspaper the account of a debate, in which a member of the house of representatives had laid down the qualifications of a clerk of the house: the first was to be competent, 2d he must have a family-3d it was necessary to be a good Jackson man. Now was the house of representatives to be saddled with this doctrine, because it had been advanced by a member! There would be just the same degree of propriety in that, as if the sentiments of Dr. Ely's sermon should be visited upon the Sunday School Union.
The danger of ecclesiastical tyranny growing out of this institution might he estimated from the variety of sects to which the managers of the Sunday School Union longed. Mr. Duncan named the managers, and stated their respective religious professions, from which it appeared, that there were Episcopalians 9, Presbyterians 8, 4 Methodists and 5 Baptists.-Those he said, who were most active in opposing this incorporation, knew very well that the only way to defeat it was by stirring up sectarian jealousies and to instil into the minds of the credu. lous the belief that the design of this institution was to form a connection of Church and State. The composition of the board of managers fully refuted any design of the sort. For his own part, he cared not what might be the religious tenets of the 'individuals by whom the schools should be conducted, so that the advantages of education were diffused among the people. Children improved in a tenfold degree in these schools more than in common schools.
He did not believe that the instructors attempted to distil sectarian principles into their pupils, as Sunday Schools were now established. If any danger was to be apprehended from these schools, as they had heretofore existed and been conducted, that danger would be removed now that they would be thrown upon the legislature, and obliged to conform to the objects of the institution as cxpressed in their constitution: they would be the mere creatures of the legislative will; they would be in their hands, to be wielded as they pleased, and to be crushed at once if their operations should be considered prejudicial to the public interests.
Mr. Duncan having concluded his Speech, J. Hare Powell, Esq.a Senator from this city, made, according to the report of the Harrisburgh Chronicle, the following oration.
Unhappily I am constrained (said Mr. P.) to contend not only against persons whose motives I cannot condemn, but I am coerced to oppose my personal friends in a misguided effort to promote the cause of religion, important alike to all con (litions of men.
It is not against Sabbath Schools, for of them I honestly approve, nor is it against the patriotic gentlemen whose names are embodied in your bill, that I shall say auglit, which even the cavils of fanaticism can condemn.
id I were to seek security for good intentions, I should find it in their high . standing as individuals, in their good works as members of religious associations
, wherein many of them have been exalted by their charity and christian zeal.! trust sir, I shall be defended from all suspicion of hostility w Sunday School insti. tillions of desire to cast oblique consule upon the partics, who by their influence give countenance, and by thcir purses afford aid, to the rcligious instruction of the
ignorant, fitting them to endure the sad trials of this world, and preparing them for the object of our being-happiness in that which is to come.
When I accuse their agents of machinations, I do it fearlessly-I am prepared to establish that which I utter by their own language-by tracing a systematic effort, to boldly assume the despotism of “dictators,” daringly avowing their objcct, exclusion from “all the political power of the country,” of all men whose consciences have been warped—whose characters have not been formed, whose devotion has not been secured by their system of education—their rites of “baptism”—their modes of worship—their notions of the trinity and of transubstantiation, promulgated by certain blind zealots, who would make all men and all doctrines subservient to an established "orthodox” crccd.
We have had an elaborate and cloqucnt exposition of the wishes of the Sunday School Union—an ingenious attempt, to confütc by anticipation all which it is snpposed the opponents of the bill can adduce in support of the grounds which they have assumed. With great deference for the sagacity, with the utmost respect for the ability of the accomplished advocate of the Sunday School Union, I venture to assert that he will not attempt the refutation of that which I am about to offerthat which they have written--that which they have published—that which they have put upon our desks to enable us to measure the extent of their usefulness, to decide upon the tendency of their efforts, the great object of their plans. He resolutely denies that onc sentence can be shown--that a single fact can be brought in support of the positions, which he has assailed. (Here Mr. Powel turned towards Mr. Duncan saying) permit mo sir, to ask, will you deny that this substantial octavo entitled “the Sunday School Union Magazine" is authentic--that this collection of Sunday School documents: of Sunday School Union reports---of Sunday School prccepts--of Sunday School Union political disquisitions, and plans, is sanctioned by the managers whose names are paraded at length in various parts of the work? Can my friend deny, that it is worthy of belief-that it is a compilation of such miscellaneous papers--of such pathetic aldresses--and of such documents as they consider illustrative of their intentions, or conducive to their ends? I find in this work, 2d report of the American Sunday School Union, page 93, May 1826:--“ These institutions may terminate in an organized system of mutual co-operation, between ministers and private christians, so that every church shall be a disciplined army, where every one knows his place, and where every one has a place, and a duty, in the grand onset against sin." "In ten ycars, or certainly in twenty, the political power of our country, would be in the hands of men, whose characters have been formed under the influence of Sunday Schools.” And in page 5, of the same work: “And the experience of the civilized world demonstrates that the character of the man is built upon the principles instilled into the mind of the child. Your board have felt desirous therefore, not only of furnishng their own schools with suitable book, but of introducing such books into schools of a different description, and of rendering them so abundant as to force out of circulation, those which tend to mislead the mind. They have not been backward, therefore, to assume the high responsibility of revising and altering the books they have published, wherever alterations secm necessary. They have chosen to do this rather than tamely issue sentiments, which in their consciences they believe to be false or inconsistent with the purity of divine truth.” That this is not a vain boast, they have proved by their 3d report of 1827, on the 1st page, I find (Here Mr. Powel read another book which had been laid upon his desk) that “1,616,796 publications which added to those issued by the society in the two preceding years, make a grand total of 3,741,341.". Not satisfied, sir, with this vainglorious display in their regular reports, republished and circulated in their Magazines, they have appended a catalogue to one of their works wherein they have reiterated in stronger terms, if practicable, the great object of their association. (Here Mr. Powel aguin turning to Mr. Duncan said) will the gentleman receive this as a fact? Will he consider their own statements as worthy of regard? Or will he contend, that in the assumption of the power to alter books, to change the ideas of the author, they have contrived to make their advocate consider them possessed of authority to alter the vocabulary of the language which we use. If I were to call them dictators, I should be accused of injustice, yet they say in their catalogue “while the com
mittee feel the immense responsibility which they assume, in becoming dictators to the consciences of thousands of immortal beings, on the great and all important subject of the welfare of their soul; while they dread the consequences of uttering forgeries, or giving their sanction to the misrepresentation of the glorious truths of the gospel, they are not backward to become the responsible arbiters in these high points, rather than tamely issue sentiments which in their consciences they believe to be false or inconsistent with the purity of divine truth.” They continue in the same page to assert, "in preparing works for the press, the utmost liberty is used with regard to whatever is republished by them:" And "in changing even the ideas." They alter the arrangement, mutilate the work, and change the ideas, yet retain the name of the author, thus making established names and forced constructions of received doctrines, subservient to their dictatorial will.
We are told that the managers did not write the passage predicting that political influence which “in ten years is to assume all the power of the country," and in ten years is to turn us all out of our seats. We are told that it was written by a clergy. man: is it on that account of less force? It has been wged that it was written by a Connecticut clergyman. The gentleman has forborne to make comment on this point; he exultingly exclaimed it was only the production of a Sunday School teacher; would he have us infer that it should, therefore, be rejected as futile and unworthy of belief? No sir, he will not venture to tell us this; he has told us much which I did not expect to hear; he has introduced an Episcopal Bishop with some irrelevant and harsh remarks which I shall pass by as unworthy of my regard. I am concerned that my friend in his happy vein of sarcasm, has placed Dr. Ely in a ludicrous light, "poor" Dr. Ely as he calls him! Heaven forbid that I should call him poor, or compare him to "a scare crow,” or to "the pope"—He has coupled him with Gen. Jackson, and attempted to excite the Jackson feeling in this house: I regret that he has donc so, although I well know his appeal will avail nought. I have never seen, sir, any instance, in which that feeling has been excited on this floor, and I am well assured it never will be exerted, except on fit occasions, if such can here arise, in relation to the great contest for political sway. I cannot conceive by what motive he could be impelled to introduce General Jackson's name, unless it be from the connection in his own mind with the views of the agents of the Sunday School Union, and their determination in “ten, or at most twenty years” to establish ecclesiastical domination, and the Union of Church and State (Here Mr. Powel read from the 3d report of the Sunday School Union, May 1827, page 17.) “The annual report of the board of managers was then read by the Rev. Dr. Ely, of the third Presbyterian church, by whom it was written." I will ask my colleague, is not poor Dr. Ely, by this passage identified with the Sunday School Union, as the expounder of their views, as the writer of their report. (Here Mr. Powel read the following extracts from Dr. Ely's sermon.]
“In other words, our Presidents, Secretaries of the Government, Senators, and other Representatives in Congress, Governors of States, Judges, State Legislators, Justices of the Peace, and City Magistrates, are just as much bound as any other persons in the United States, to be orthodox in their faith.”
"Our rulers, like any other members of the community, who are under law to God as rational beings, and under law to Christ, since they have the light of divine revelation, ought to search the scriptures, assent to the truth, profess faith in Christ, keep the Sabbath holy to God, pray in private and in the domestic circle, attend on the public ministry of the word, be baptised and celebrate the Lord : Supper.** The electors of these five classes of true Christians, united in the sole requisition of apparent friendship to Christianity in every candidate for office whom they will support, coulil govern every public election in our country, without infringing in the least upon the charter of our civil liberties. "The Presbyterians alone could bring half a million of electors into the field.”
“I propose, fellow citizens, a new sort of union, or, if you please, a Christian party in politics, which I am excecdingly desirous all good men in our country should join.”
“I am free to avow, that other things being equal, I would prefer for my chief magistrate, and judge, and ruler, a sound Presbyterian.** It will be objected that my plan of a truly Christian party in politics will make hypocrites. We are not answerable for their hypocrisy if it docs"
We have seen, continued Mr. Powel, that a reverend and erudite gentleman, whose piety and good works might have been taken as guarantee against all danger of clerical violence or sectarian proscription, has boldly exposed the system of tactics, and has designated the modes of attack in which even he, so highly revered, so implicitly obeyed, would employ the “disciplined army, where every one has a place, where every one knows his place,” to exclude from “all the political power of our country," all men whose characters have not been formed by Sunday Schools. If this gentleman, justly elevated by talents, so highly embellished by learning and so much distinguished by religious sway, be so zealous as to consider ecclesiastical domination the dear object of his career, what may we not suspect, what ought we not to expect from ignorant and bigotted satellites, radiating light and heat from a grand luminary, a "retrospective theologian,”a Machiavelian politician, soaring in regions of visionary philosophy, calling on half a million of followers to rally for the exclusion of all men who are not orthodox" from the polls.
This reverend and meek christian, we have seen, is not merely an associate of the Sunday School Union-he is their organ—the person selected to compile their report—to read their report—and I have their own authority, to write their report; thus made the guide of the vast machine, prepared to "force out of circulation,' all works which they do not approve-to force upon “Schools of a different description,” books which they have mutilated, still sanctioned by the authority of the original authors' names, although perverted, and adapted to the tastes of those who are to be trained as implicit believers in that which, the christian pastor happens to deem the orthodox faith.
That the Managers of the Sunday School Union, are full well impressed with the danger of clerical interference, is sufficiently manifest from the clause in their constitution, which admits but laymen as members of their board, and that they apprehend the force of the arguments which such interference would inevitably ad. duce, in opposition to their prayer for a charter is evident from the fact, that they have told you, that all but laymen are excluded from their board. But it happens that notwithstanding the resolution they have evinced, the acumen they have displayed, the sagacity and determination, with which all these movements are fraught, they have been seduced from their purpose by that good feeling—that christian acquiescence—that high degree of humility which religion imposes, and which her pastors can adroitly turn to any end which they deem good.
They have assured us that all men and all children, and of all denominations are alike objects of their fostering care and that no religious creed-no sectarian feel. ing, no desire but that of doing good can operate upon their minds. I believe them: they are incapable of falsehood, it is not possible to make them designedly do wrong. I repeat it is not of them I have fear, nor is it of men remarkable as the reverend pastor, that I have dread: for I am assured that he is stimulated but by an honest desire, to make all men christians after his own fashion—to make them all happy in his own way—to make them all orthodox in his own faith; he has told us this, and he has told us the truth. Nor have I objection to the denomination of christians whom he would lead. I am not one of those who would denounce them as sectarians—who are disposed to deny to them the full measure of good intentions and good works. I am satisfied, Sir, there are no christians whose usefulness here, whose prospects of eternal bliss hereafter, are better established than those of that portion of the community distinguished by that name. Far be it from me to entertain doubt, or tacitly to submit to insinuation which could cast aspersion upon them. I have, Sir, resisted upon this foor, what I conceived to be an attack upon the Trustees and Professors of a neighbouring college, because accidental association and the unalterable affinity of juxta-position, had not failed to operate upon these Presbyterians, as it must do, ever has done and always will do upon all men, whether high churchmen, Mahomedans or Jews.
It is to the casuistical workings of priest craft--the ceaseless efforts of misguided men, whose brains inflamed by any passion, would make them humble and willing tools, prepared either to act as decorated pageants in the grand army, as it is called, in a crusade for political power, or to subinit as ejaculating inartyrs at the stake, to satisfy the vengeance of religious bigotry and mad zeal. This is strong