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ORIGIN OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM

Strange as it may seem, it is a certain undeniable fact that there is not, on the entire continent of Europe, or in the entire world, a single country, Protestant or Catholic, that upholds the Pagan system of education which has been adopted in this free country. In all of them Catholic and Protestant children receive religious instruction, during the school-hours, from their respective pastors. The present system of the Public Schools in the United States professes to exclude all religious exercises. We are often told that this is the American system, and that it is very impertinent for foreigners to wish to bring religion into schools against the American idea. Now the assertion that the exclusion of all religion from the schools is truly American, that it is an essential part of our national system, is utterly false. So far as any system of public schools can be said to have an American idea, the idea will be found to be “education based on religious instruction.”

The first schools established in the Union were religious denominational schools. These schools were supported by the churches with which they were connected, and by their patrons. Religious exercises formed a part of the daily duties of the class-room. The early founders of this Republic were not able to understand how they could bring up their children in the knowledge, love, and service of God by banishing the Bible, prayer, and religious exercises of every kind from the school. Hence religion was reverenced, and its duties attended to in all institutions of learning in the country. The American system of education, in its incipiency, and for a long while, was one founded on Bible-teaching and religious exercises. The present system is un-American, anti-American.

Now how did it happen that the primitive Christian system of education became unchristian and anti-American? To make you understand more clearly the origin of the present system of the Public Schools, I must first show you how Secret Societies seek to spread Irreligious Education in Europe.

These societies profess the most irreligious and anti-social doctrines. Among the chief means employed by them for pushing forward their diabolical principles is Education without Religion. The “International,” one of the most powerful of these organizations, has lately put forward a programme, in which the following points are laid down as most necessary to be insisted upon in the agitation conducted by the socialist democratic party in Switzerland:

“... Compulsory and gratuitous education up to the completion of the fourteenth year of each child’s age.... Separation of the Church from the State, and also of the schools from the Church.”

About three short years ago a pamphlet was published in which we find detailed the efforts made in France to spread irreligion by means of bad education. The letters of eighty of the Prelates of France are appended to the pamphlet. Alas! the sad forebodings of that noble episcopate have been too soon and too terribly fulfilled!

The following lengthy extracts are taken from the late Pastoral of the Bishops of Ireland on Christian Education:

“EFFORTS TO SPREAD IRRELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN FRANCE-- DISASTROUS RESULTS IN FRANCE.

“‘I see,’ says the most reverend author, ’that for some time past the most extraordinary efforts are made in France to spread impiety, immorality, the most anti-social theories, under the pretext of spreading education. No longer as formerly, it is in newspapers and books that religion, morality, and the eternal principles of good order are attacked with the most deceitful and formidable weapon of a corrupt system of education. Under cover of an excellent object and here is the great danger, for we are deluded by this pretext under the pretext of spreading education and waging war against ignorance, infidelity is spread, war is waged against religion; and thus, whether we will or no, we rush on to the ruin of all order, moral and social. And we, the Bishops, who are as desirous as others, and perhaps more desirous than others, to see spread far and wide the blessings of education, the education of children, female education, the education of our whole people, for this is by excellence a Christian work, we are accused of being enemies of education, because we oppose anti-Christian and anti-social education.’”

The first fact mentioned by the learned writer is the existence of schools, which are called “professional schools for females,” into which young girls are received at twelve years of age and upwards, for the purpose of continuing their education and learning a profession. These schools have been founded by women, free-thinkers, who formally and expressly declare it to be their object to train the youth of their own sex in rationalism and infidelity. The following incident shows the impious end for which these schools have been founded: One of the principal teachers died, and over her grave her husband pronounced these words, “I will tell you, for it is my duty to tell you, that if this funeral is that of a free-thinker” [unaccompanied by any religious ceremony], “it is so not only by my wish, but also and chiefly because such was the desire of my dear wife.” He adds that she had devoted herself to “the great work of spreading education and morality without religion, because she had no faith except in learning and in justice; she was of those who, having once seen and comprehended these truths, can have no other beacon to guide them in life, or at the hour of death.” Round that grave, whose occupant had rejected religion and its ministrations in life and in death, stood three hundred girls, pupils of those “professional schools,” holding bouquets in their hands, and throwing flowers on the coffin of their mistress. The schools are of a piece with the teachers. Ten hours are spent in them, but all religious instruction is strictly forbidden, under the pretext that they are free schools, “open to children of all persuasions, without religious distinction.” The founders of these schools propose to give to the girls intrusted to them a moral education without ever speaking to them of religion! And this is the system of education which people are anxious to spread throughout France, and even in this country also. But, though we hope they will not succeed, can we feel fully confident that we shall escape the contagion, when we remember that this system is no other than the “mixed system,” and when we bear in mind the untiring efforts which are made to develop and consolidate that system in Ireland in every branch of education, from the university, through the model-school, down to the humblest village-school? Read the description of the schools in France, of which we are speaking, and say, does it not apply to every school, even in Ireland, where the mixed principle is thoroughly carried out?

“The printed prospectus of these schools” [continues the most reverend writer] “clearly explains the advantages of professional education, while it hides the religious danger under vague expressions of an apparent liberality, such as the following: ’The school is open to children of all persuasions, without religious distinction.’ The meaning of which words is no other than that in these schools, where children are kept from the twelfth to the eighteenth year of their age, and for ten hours every day (from eight A.M. to six P.M.), God and the Gospel shall be treated as if they never existed; not only religion shall never be mentioned, but these girls shall be taught morality independent of any dogmatic faith, any religion....

“The second engine used by the enemies of religion in France for the maintenance and spread of infidelity, is the Educational League. This League has been introduced from Belgium into France by the Freemasons and the ’Solidaires’ the members of an impious association, the avowed object of which is to prevent persons from receiving the sacraments, or any of the sacred rites of the Church, in life or in death. The Educational League, with a wonderful spirit of propagandism, has established throughout France libraries and courses of instruction for men and for women, and even for girls and young children. On their banner is inscribed Spread of Education; but under this device is hidden the scheme of propagating irreligion. The founder of the League in France was a Freemason, and both his declarations and those of the organs of Freemasonry leave no doubt of the Masonic origin of the scheme, and of the spirit which animates it. Now the third article of the statutes of the League declares, when speaking of the education to be given by their association, that neither politics nor religion shall have any part in it. And lest there should be any mistake as to the meaning of this article, one of the leading Masonic journals declares that religion is useless as an instrument for forming the minds of children, and that from a certain point of view it is capable of leading them to abandon all moral principles. It is incumbent on us, therefore, concludes this journal, to exclude all religion. We will teach you its rights and duties in the name of liberty, of conscience, of reason, and, in fine, in the name of our society. And again: Freemasons must give in their adhesion en masse to the excellent Educational League, and the lodges must in the peace of their temples seek out the best means of making it effectual. Their influence in this way will be most useful. The principles we profess are precisely in accord with those which inspired that project. In April of the same year, the same organ of Freemasonry contained the following paragraph: ’We are happy to announce that the Educational League and the statue of our brother Voltaire meet with the greatest support in all the lodges. There could not be two subscription-lists more in harmony with each other: Voltaire, the representative of the destruction of prejudices and superstition; the Educational League, the engine for building up a new society based solely upon learning and instruction. Our brethren understood it so.’ In fine, that there may not remain upon our minds the least doubt as to the identity of the principles of this League with those of Voltaire, we find its founder in France proposing, at a great Masonic dinner, a toast to the memory of that arch-infidel; while the newspaper from which we have quoted so largely, informs its readers that at one of the ’professional schools,’ described above, the prize for good conduct (le prix de morale) was awarded to ’the daughters of a free-thinker, who have never attended any place of religious worship.’”

We cannot better conclude our remarks on the efforts made in France to destroy religion in the masses by means of education, than in the following words of warning, not less applicable to good and sincere Catholics in Ireland nowadays, than to those to whom they were specially addressed:

“Good and sincere Catholics (continues the author of the pamphlet already quoted), who, deceived by the motto of the association, have given their names to this Educational League, take part, without knowing it, in a Masonic institution, and in building up this new state of society, from which religion is to be banished. Well may the Bishop of Metz say: ’These persons forget that, like Proteus in the fable, Freemasonry knows how to multiply ad infinitum its transformations and its names. Yesterday it called itself ’Les Solidaires,’ or ‘morality independent of religion,’ or ‘freedom of thought’; to-day it takes the title of an ‘Educational League’; to-morrow it will find some other name by which to deceive the simple.”

The efforts to corrupt the youth of unhappy France by means of bad education in its higher branches, have been not less energetic and wide-spread. The lectures of the School of Medicine of Paris were inaugurated in 1865, amid shouts of Materialism forever," and on the thirtieth of December a candidate for degrees was permitted by the Medical Faculty to advance the following revolutionary doctrine, grounded on the materialistic principles he had been taught: “Who still speaks to us of free-will? As the stone which falls to the ground obeys the laws of weight, man obeys the laws which are proper to him.... Responsibility is the same for all, that is to say, none.” And again: “Physicians must not be accomplices of the magistrates and judges, who punish men for acts for which they are not responsible”. Here we have a sample of the teaching of the School of Medicine of Paris, not only the first medical school of France, but among the first schools of Europe. And this sample is, unfortunately, not a solitary one. The Medical Faculty of the University of Paris gave medals in 1866 for two dissertations, in one of which we find a denial of the act of creation and of God the Creator, and a rejection of every metaphysical idea, as useless and dangerous; while human thought is set down as produced by heat! In the other we read the following propositions: “Matter is eternal.” “The action of a First Cause is useless and irrational it is chimerical!” Again: “It is absolutely impossible to explain the existence of a creative power”; and “an immaterial being is not necessary for the production of life.” And, “to attribute the phenomena of life to an immaterial soul, is to substitute a chimerical being for the hypothesis of machinists.” “Materialists have done good service to physiology by eliminating metaphysical entities from this study. The idea of the soul, as an immaterial power, is a mere abstraction; in fact, nothing of the kind exists.”

Unhappily these principles, subversive of all morality, are not advanced by the aspirants only to academical distinctions; most certainly the students would not advance these theories had they not learned them from their masters. Hence we find one of the Professors of the University of France, in Bordeaux, asserting, that “even among civilized nations moral ideas are so relative, contradictory, and dependent on exterior and individual relations, that it is impossible, and will always be impossible, to find an absolute definition of goodness.” And the “Medical Review” published the discourse pronounced by one of the physicians of the Faculty of Paris, M. Verneuil, over the grave of a member of their learned body, Dr. Foucher, in which we find the following:

“’We are reproached with believing with the sages of old, that Fate is blind, and as such presides over our lot. And why should we not believe it?... Humbling and sad as is this admission, still we must make it: imperceptible elements of the great social organization appearing upon this earth as living beings, fragments of matter agitated by a spirit, we are born, we live, and we die, unconscious of our destiny, playing our part without any precise notion of the end, and in the midst of the darkness which covers our origin and our end, having only one consolation the love of our fellow-man.

“‘This simple philosophy alone,’ M. Verneuil continues, ’assuages our grief and ends by drying our tears. By the side of the half-open tomb we ask, whether he whom it contains served the good cause without deceit.... If, by his intelligence or his kindness of heart, he labored in the great work, we say he has paid his part of the common debt, and whether he returns to his original nothing or not, whether he is destroyed or merely changes his form, whether he hears our words or not, we thank him in the name of the past and of the future.’”

Another distinguished Professor published, in 1866, Lectures on the Physiology of the Nervous System, in which we find the following passage:

“We admit,’ he says, ’without any restriction, that intellectual phenomena in animals are of the same order as in man....’ ’As for free-will, we comprehend a certain kind of free-will in the more intelligent animals; and, on the other hand, we may add, that perhaps man is not so free as he would fain persuade himself he is.’ And ’as to feeling the distinction between good and evil, it is a grave question, which we must first study in man himself!’”

Let it not be supposed that these principles are merely announced as abstractions; conclusions are drawn from them which must fill every thinking mind with horror. Eighty students of the Normal School, the great training institution of teachers for the North of France, applauded such conclusions in a public letter. Several of the infidel Professors of the Faculty of Medicine received ovations from crowded class-rooms; millions of immoral and irreligious books were scattered throughout the country. Thus Freemasonry, under the pretext of combating ignorance, wages a deceitful and implacable war against religion. We too, says the organ of Freemasons, “we too expect our Messiah, the true Messiah, of the mind and reason universal education!”

“It is scarcely necessary for us to remind you, dearly beloved brethren, that the seeds of irreligion and anarchy thus sown broadcast over the fair face of France, have already produced a too abundant harvest of evils, perhaps the most disastrous recorded on the page of history. All Europe has been horrified by the atrocities perpetrated within the last few months in the name of liberty in that city, which was looked on as the centre of the civilization of the world. National monuments have been destroyed, peaceable citizens robbed and murdered, the venerable Archbishop, many of the clergy, and leading members of the civil and military authorities, massacred in cold blood. In other cities of France, too, we have seen anarchy and irreligion proclaimed miscreants in arms against the property, and liberty, and lives of their fellow-citizens, often of the helpless and unprotected; and all this at a moment when the country was invaded, and a part of it occupied, by its enemies. The storm had been sown, and in very truth unfortunate France has reaped the whirlwind.

“SPREAD OF INFIDELITY THROUGH BAD EDUCATION NOT CONFINED TO FRANCE.

“And unhappily, dearly beloved brethren, the spread of infidel principles by means of bad education is not confined to France. A few years ago a congress of students was held in Liege, in Belgium, where infidel and anti-social principles in their worst form were proclaimed amidst the plaudits of the assembly. In England irreligion and socialism are publicly taught. Even in our own country it is a matter of notoriety, that a Chair in one of the Queen’s Colleges has been occupied since their foundation by a gentleman, who, in a published work, extolled the first French revolution, and, in another place of the same book, compared our Saviour, whose name be praised forever, to Luther and to Mahomet! Again: In Trinity College one of the Fellows denies the fundamental truth of Christianity respecting the eternity of the punishment of sin; and others call in question the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, or of portions of them, and impugn many truths which constitute the foundation of all revealed religion. In the same University, too, the doctrines of Positivism, a late form of infidel philosophy, have a large number of followers. The nature of that philosophy may be gathered from the following passages in the ’Catechism of Positivism, or Summary Exposition of the Universal Religion,’ translated from the French of Auguste Comte. The preface begins thus:

“’In the name of the past and of the future, the servants of humanity both its philosophical and practical servants come forward to claim, as their due, the general direction of this world. Their object is to constitute at length a real Providence in all departments moral, intellectual, and material. Consequently they exclude, once for all, from political supremacy, all the different servants of God Catholic, Protestant, or Deist as being at once behind-hand and a cause of disturbance.’

“The work consists of ’Thirteen Systematic Conversations between a Woman and a Priest of Humanity,’ and the doctrines contained in it are epitomized in the following blasphemous lines:

“’In a word, Humanity definitely occupies the place of God, but she does not forget the services which the idea of God provisionally rendered.’

“TESTIMONY OF REV. PROFESSOR LIDDON.

“Again, during the last two sessions of Parliament, a Select Committee of the House of Lords sat to inquire into the condition of the English Universities. The Marquis of Salisbury was the chairman. The evidence taken before that committee reveals the appalling fact that infidelity, or doubt as to the first principles of the Christian religion, nay, of belief in God, is wide-spread in the Universities of England, and especially among the most intellectual of the students; and that this sad result is due in a great measure to the teaching and examinations. In the first report for the session 1871, in the evidence of the Rev. Professor Liddon, D.D., Canon of St. Paul’s, London, and Professor of Exegesis in the University of Oxford, we find the following passages:

"Ques. Chairman. ’Very strong evidence has been given to us upon the influence of the Final School’ (the examination for degrees with honors) ’upon Oxford thought, as tending to produce at least momentary disbelief.’

“Witness. ’I have no doubt whatever it is one of the main causes of our present embarrassments.’

“696. ’That, I suppose, is a comparatively new phenomenon?’

“’Yes; it dates from the last great modification in the system pursued in the Honors School of literae humaniores. It is mainly the one-sided system, as I should venture to call it, of modern philosophical writers.’

“697. ’Is there any special defect in the management which produces this state of things, or is it essential to the nature of the school?’

“’I fear it is to a great extent essential to the nature of the school, as its subjects are at present distributed.’

“Again, in answer to Question 706, the same witness says:

“’I ought to have stated to the noble Chairman just now that cases have come within my own experience of men who have come up from school as Christians, and have been earnest Christians up to the time of beginning to read philosophy for the Final School, but who, during the year and a half or two years employed in this study, have surrendered first their Christianity, and next their belief in God, and have left the University not believing in a Supreme Being.’”

Now what kind of a being is the infidel, or the man without religion? To have no religion is a crime, and to boast of having none is the height of folly. He that has no religion must necessarily lose the esteem and confidence of his friends. What confidence, I ask, can be placed in a man who has no religion, and, consequently, no knowledge of his duties? What confidence can you place in a man who never feels himself bound by any obligation of conscience, who has no higher motive to direct him than his self-love, his own interests? The pagan Roman, though enlightened only by reason, had yet virtue enough to say: “I live not for myself, but for the Republic”; but the infidel’s motto is: “I live only for myself; I care for no one but myself.” Oh, what a monster would such a man be in society were he really to think as he speaks, and to act as he thinks!

A man who has no religion, must first prove that he is honest before we can believe him to be so. It is said of kings and rulers, they must prove that they have a heart, and it may also be said of the man who has no religion, that he must prove that he has a conscience. And I fear he would not find it so easy a task.

A man without religion is a man without reason, a man without principle, a man sunk in the grossest ignorance of what religion is. He blasphemes what he does not understand. He rails at the doctrines of Christianity, without really knowing what these doctrines are. He sneers at the doctrines and practices of religion, because he cannot refute them. He speaks with the utmost gravity of the fine arts, the fashions, and even matters the most trivial, and he turns into ridicule the most sacred subjects. In the midst of his own circle of fops and silly women, he utters his shallow conceits with all the pompous assurance of a pedant.

The man without religion is a dishonest plagiarist, who copies from Christian writers all the objections made against the Church by the infidels of former and modern times; but he takes good care to omit all the excellent answers and complete refutations which are contained in these very same writings. His object is not to seek the truth, but to propagate falsehood.

The man without religion is a slave of the most degrading superstition. Instead of worshipping the true, free, living God, who governs all things by His Providence, he bows before the horrid phantom of blind chance or inexorable destiny. He is a man who obstinately refuses to believe the most solidly-established facts in favor of religion, and yet, with blind credulity, greedily swallows the most absurd falsehoods uttered against religion. He is a man whose reason has fled, and whose passions speak, object and decide in the name of reason.

The man without religion often pretends to be an infidel merely in order to appear fashionable. He is usually conceited, obstinate, puffed up with pride, a great talker, always shallow and fickle, skipping from one subject to another without even thoroughly examining a single one. At one moment he is a Deist, at another a Materialist, then he is a Sceptic, and again an Atheist; always changing his views, but always a slave of his passions, always an enemy of Christ.

The man without religion is a slave of the most shameful passions. He tries to prove to the world that man is a brute, in order that he might have the gratification of leading the life of a brute. I ask you, what virtue can that man have who believes that whatever he desires is lawful, who designates the most shameful crimes by the refined name of innocent pleasures? What virtue can that man have who knows no other law than his passions; who believes that God regards with equal eye truth and falsehood, vice and virtue? He may indeed practise some natural virtues, but these virtues are in general only exterior. They are practised merely out of human respect; they do not come from the heart. Now the seat of true virtue is in the heart, and not in the exterior. He that acts merely to please man and not to please God, has no real virtue.

The man without religion often praises all religions; he is a true knave. He says: “If I were to choose my religion, I would become a Catholic, for it is the most reasonable of all religions.” But in his heart he despises all religion. He is a man who scrapes together all the wicked and absurd calumnies he can find against the Church. He falsely accuses her of teaching monstrous doctrines which she has always abhorred and condemned, and he displays his ingenuity by combating those monstrous doctrines which he himself has invented, or copied from authors as dishonest as himself. The infidel is a monster without faith, without law, without religion, without God.

There are many who call themselves “free-thinkers,” many who reject all revealed religion, merely out of silly puerile vanity. They affect singularity in order to attract notice, in order to make people believe that they are strong-minded, that they are independent. Poor deluded slaves of human respect! They affect singularity in order to attract notice, and they forget that there is another class of people in the world also noted for singularity. In fact they are so singular that they have to be shut up for safe keeping in a mad-house.

What is the difference between an infidel and a madman? The only difference is, that the madness of the infidel is wilful, while the madness of the poor lunatic is entirely involuntary. The one arouses our compassion, while the other excites our contempt and just indignation.

Finally, the man without religion says: “There is no God.” He says so “in his heart”, says Holy Writ; he says not so in his head, because he knows better. Let him be in imminent danger of death, or of a considerable loss of fortune, and you will see how quick, on such occasions, he lays aside the mask of infidelity; he makes his profession of faith in an Almighty God; he cries out: “Lord save me, I am perishing! Lord have mercy on me!” and the like.

There is still another proof to show that the infidel does not believe what he says: why is it that he makes his impious doctrines the subject of conversation on every occasion? It is, of course, first to communicate his devilish principles to others, and make them as bad as he himself is; but this is not the only reason. The good Catholic seldom speaks of his religion; he feels assured, by the grace of God, that his religion is the only true one, and that he will be saved if he lives up to his religion. This, however, is not the case with the infidel. He is constantly tormented in his soul. “There is no peace, no happiness for the impious,” says Holy Scripture. (Isa. xlvii.) He tries to quiet the fears of his soul, the remorse of his conscience. So he communicates to others, on every occasion, his perverse principles, hoping that he may meet with some of his fellow-men who may approve of his impious views, and that thus he may find some relief for his interior torments. He resembles a timid night-traveller. A timid man, who is obliged to travel during a dark night, begins to sing and to cry in order to keep away too great fear. The infidel is a sort of night-traveller; he certainly travels in the horrible darkness of his impiety. His interior conviction tells him that there is a God, who will certainly punish him in the most frightful manner. This fills him with great fear, and makes him extremely unhappy every moment of his life. He cannot bear the sight of a Catholic church, of a Catholic procession, of an image of our Lord, of a picture of a saint, of a prayer-book, of a good Catholic, of a priest; in a word, he cannot bear anything that reminds him of God, of religion, of his guilt, and of his impiety. So he cries, on every occasion, against faith in God, in all that God has revealed and proposes to us for our belief by the Holy Church. What is the object of his impious cries? It is to deafen, to keep down in some measure, the clamors of his bad conscience. Our hand will involuntarily touch that part of the body where we feel pain. So, in like manner, the tongue of the infidel touches, on all occasions, involuntarily as it were, upon all those truths of our holy religion which inspire him with fear of the judgments of Almighty God. He feels but too keenly that he cannot do away with God and His sacred religion, by denying His existence.

I have given you the true portrait the true likeness of the man without religion. Were you given to see a devil and the soul of an infidel at the same time, you would find the sight of the devil more bearable than that of the infidel. For St. James the Apostle tells us, that “the devil believes and trembles.” Now the Public School system was invented and introduced into this country to turn the rising generations into men of the above description.

Spread of Infidelity through Bad Education in America; or, The Object of the Public School System.

Mr. O. A. Brownson, in his book “The Convert,” gives us the following information on the origin of the Public Schools in this country:

“Frances Wright was born in Scotland, and inherited a considerable property. She had been highly educated, and was a woman of rare original powers, and extensive and varied information. She was brought up in the utilitarian principles of Jeremy Bentham. She visited this country in 1824. Returning to England in 1825, she wrote a book in a strain of almost unbounded eulogy of the American people and their institutions. She saw only one stain upon the American character, one thing in the condition of the American people to censure or to deplore that was negro-slavery.

“When, in the next year, Mr. Owen came, with his friends, to commence his experiment of creating a new moral world at New Harmony, Frances Wright came with him, not as a full believer in his crotchets, but to try an experiment, devised with Jefferson, Lafayette, and others, for the emancipation of the negro-slave.

“Fanny Wright, however, failed in her negro experiment. She soon discovered that the American people were not, as yet, prepared to engage in earnest for the abolition of slavery. On more mature reflection she came to the conclusion that slavery must be abolished only as the result of a general emancipation, and a radical reform of the American people themselves.

“The first step to be taken for this purpose was to rouse the American mind to a sense of its rights and dignity, to emancipate it from superstition, from its subjection to the clergy, and its fear of unseen powers, to withdraw it from the contemplation of the stars or an imaginary heaven after death, and fix it on the great and glorious work of promoting man’s earthly well-being.

“The second step was, by political action, to get adopted, at the earliest practical moment, a system of State schools, in which all the children from two years old and upward should be fed, clothed, in a word, maintained, instructed, and educated at the public expense.

“In furtherance of the first object, Fanny prepared a course of Lectures on Knowledge, which she delivered in the principal cities of the Union. She thought that she possessed advantages in the fact that she was a woman; for there would, for that reason, be a greater curiosity to hear her, and she would be permitted to speak with greater boldness and directness against the clergy and superstition than would be one of the other sex.

“The great measure, however, on which Fanny and her friends relied for ultimate success, was the system of public schools. These schools were intended to deprive, as well as to relieve, parents of all care and responsibility of their children after a year or two years of age. It was assumed that parents were, in general, incompetent to train up their children, provide proper establishments, teachers and governors for them, till they should reach the age of majority.

“The aim was, on the one hand, to relieve marriage of its burdens, and to remove the principal reasons for making it indissoluble; and, on the other hand, to provide for bringing up all children, in a rational manner, to be reasonable men and women, that is, free from superstition, free from all belief in God and immortality, free from all regard for the invisible, and make them look upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interests and enjoyments as their only end. The three great enemies to earthly happiness were held to be religion, marriage, or family and private property. Once get rid of these three institutions, and we may hope soon to realize our earthly paradise. For religion is to be substituted science, that is, science of the world, of the five senses only; for private property, a community of goods; and for private families, a community of wives.

“Fanny Wright and her school saw clearly that their principles could not be carried into practice in the present state of society. So they proposed them to be adopted only by a future generation, trained and prepared in a system of schools founded and sustained by the Public. They placed their dependence on education in a system of Public Schools, managed after a plan of William Phiquepal, a Frenchman, and subsequently the husband of Fanny Wright.

“In order to get their system of schools adopted, they proposed to organize the whole Union, secretly, very much on the plan of the Carbonari of Europe. The members of this secret society were to avail themselves of all the means in their power, each in his own locality, to form public opinion in favor of education by the State at the public expense, and to get such men elected to the Legislatures as would be likely to favor their purposes. This secret organization commenced in the State of New York, and was to extend over the whole Union. Mr. O. A. Brownson was one of the agents for organizing the State of New York. He, however, became tired of the work, and abandoned it after a few months.”

“The attention of so-called philanthropic men in all parts of the country, was directed to the subject. In 1817, and the following years, commenced what has been improperly termed a revival of education. To form public opinion in favor of Public Schools, the following means were employed: Public School societies and organizations were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Worcester, Hartford, Lowell, Providence, Cincinnati, etc.; Thomas H. Gallaudet, James G. Carter, and Walter R. Johnson, made great efforts through the press; there were established the ‘American Journal of Education,’ in January, 1826, and the ‘American Annals of Education.’ Conventions were held throughout New England from 1826 to 1830, in behalf of Public Schools; lectures were delivered in every precinct in the States, on the subject of education; there were also established local school periodicals, as well as others of a more general character, to contribute towards forming public opinion in favor of Public Schools, in every corner of the country. All these means, and the zealous and unwearied efforts of Horace Mann, Henry Barnard, and others, have contributed towards the success in establishing the Public Schools in our country.” American Encyclopaedia.

This is a brief history of the Public Schools. It tells, in clear terms, all that they are, and all that they are to bring about, namely: a generation without belief in God and immortality, free from all regard for the invisible a generation that looks upon this life as their only life, this earth as their only home, and the promotion of their earthly interests and enjoyments as their only end a generation that looks upon religion, marriage, or family and private property as the greatest enemies to worldly happiness a generation that substitutes science of this world for religion, a community of goods for private property, a community of wives for private family; in other words, a generation that substitutes the devil for God, hell for heaven, sin and vice for virtue and holiness of life.

We may, then, confidently assert that the defenders and upholders of Public Schools without religion seek in America, as well as in Europe, to turn the people into refined Pagans. They recently betrayed themselves. They wish, as Dr. Wehrenphennig and Dr. Wirgow openly said, for an equalization of religious contradictories, a religion and an education which stands above creeds, and knows nothing about dogmas; in other words, they wish for a religion of which a certain poet says: “My religion is to have no religion.” The object, then, of these godless, irreligious Public Schools is to spread among the people the worst of religions, the no religion, the religion which pleases most hardened adulterers and criminals the religion of irrational animals. How far this diabolical scheme has succeeded is well known, for there are at present from twenty to twenty-five millions of people in the United States who profess no distinct religious belief. Everywhere the same effects have been observed. Licentiousness, cruelty, and vice “Positivism,” or the substitution of the harlotry of the passions for the calm and elevating influences of reason and religion. How can it be otherwise?