MF – 1866.03.10 – Fenians – Orangemen – #133 – F12251

We copy the following long article from the Halifax Express, mainly in order to correct the erroneous impressions under which our co[n]temporary appears to be labouring. It is not the Orangemen in this Province who are now labouring to excite religious dissensions. It is a set of unscrupulous partizans, who themselves have neither religion, honour, nor honesty, who strive to trade in the strong religious feelings and prejudices of others, and to destroy the confidence and good will which, fortunately for the Province, exists between Catholics and Protestants – Orangemen as well as others. So far they have failed. The Catholics understand their policy; the Orangemen know them and know how hollow and insincere are the professions they now make, and how wicked are their purposes. To use the words of Mr. M’Gee they know that their motives are bad and their “objects are evil,” and therefore they pay little heed to those hireling agitators.

The Express calls on Mr. Tilley to disavow the conduct of those parties. The Express will call in vain. Mr. Tilley is too prudent to join openly in this new attack on Catholics and Catholicity; but he will never say a word to check is associates while their efforts give the smallest promise of increased political strength. Does not the Express know enough of this Province to be aware that if Mr. Tilley did not approve of the course taken by the Telegraph, the Journal, the Reporter, &c., such course would never have been entered upon, or would have been abandoned long ago. The man who controls the payment usually controls the mercenaries also.

It is a calumny against the Orangemen to say that they are the party who seek to excite prejudices against the Catholics. The Orangemen, like the Catholics, are the distinct victims of the clique who desire to sell the country, and all parties and denominations at once; and who, in order to do this, strive, but strive in vain, to set Protestant against Catholic, and to dupe and deceive all parties. The insults to Archbishop Connolly which offend the Express so deeply, do not come from Orangemen or from any one in the confidence of Orangemen, but from the despicable tricksters who last year sought to win the Catholics through the influence of the Archbishop, and who this year seek to win the Orangemen by abuse of the same Archbishop and of Catholics generally, and who will fail to win the Orangemen this year, as last year they failed to dupe the Catholics:

“It is generally believed that the agitation for Colonial Union has, to some considerable extent, blotted out old land marks or party lines, and there can be little doubt that it has. There have been fusion and amalgamation on both sides, and process throwing out a good deal of heat, and by no means improving the temper of the material. But the partial disappearance of the former has brought into existence new divisions, and in some cases, at least, has served to give intensity to old ones. In this Province the discussion of the subject has happily been kept apart from mere religious animosities, which have nothing to do with it. Such, however, it would seem, is not by any means the case in the neighboring Province of New Brunswick. There is evidently a party there eager advocates of Confederation, in whom the old and degrading spirit of religious rancour is stronger far than the spirit of Union. A degraded faction would seek to make capital out of a feeling which does not exist indeed, but which they are working might and main to create. There is a party in New Brunswick who would clap their hands with joy could they only succeed in the purpose of identifying the Catholic population somehow with Fenianism. They are chagrined beyond measure, that hitherto all their intrigues, insults, and [inuendoes] in that direction, have turned out abortive, and have only created disgust and contempt in the mind of every respectable and loyal subject. With them religious hate is stronger ten thousand times than Christian charity. They profess loyalty, and are at this moment doing their best to sow the seeds of disloyalty or disaffection among a large section of the people. They seek to carry Confederation by working the religious element, and at the same time engender a suspicion of the loyalty of those whom they oppose, and would like to persecute. The principal mover in this direction is the Telegraph newspaper, which never loses an opportunity of having a fling at the Catholic Clergy, and that, too, in the most vulgar and offensive manner.

Now, what is the object of all this? Is it to discourage Fenianism, by showing their fellow subjects its wickedness and folly. Nothing of the kind. The very fact that the Catholic clergy have thrown their whole influence against it, have sued every legitimate effort to crush it, is to the faction gall and wormwood. They would have rejoiced to see or hear of Catholic Priests appearing on the Fenian platforms, no matter what the consequences, because the result might then, perhaps, have been of a character to gratify their ignoble nature. It is nothing in their eyes that such men as Archbishop Connolly, and indeed every ecclesiastic, high or humble, of his denomination, have done everything in their power to strengthen the hands of the Executive, in behalf of law and order, against Fenianism. That is no merit in their eyes, and is worthy of nothing beyond mean insinuation or coarse invective. The Archbishop of Halifax has also done something in behalf of Colonial Union, and one would naturally imagine that the support of such a man would be gratifying to its best friends. And such, we believe, has been to a large extent the case in Nova Scotia, where that vile and truculent spirit has received neither countenance nor support from any party. Nor can we readily believe that it receives much of either from any respectable portion of the community in New Brunswick. Governor Gordon has, with a manliness that does him the highest honour, publicly declared that he places as full and entire confidence in the loyalty and fidelity of the Catholic population as in any portion of Her Majesty’s subjects. Now, what called forth this declaration? Simply the tortuous machinations of the Orange Party in that Province, who were doing their utmost to create disloyalty and indirectly to foster Fenianism. The firm and patriotic action of the Governor has checkmated the plotters considerably, but they are still at work, and at what seems to them a labour of love, that of traducing and vilifying the Catholic clergy. They cannot identify them with Fenianism, they cannot deny that their efforts have been, and are unceasing in order to thwart it. But then “Fenianism is truly the legitimate fruit of their teaching.” Perhaps it is scarcely worth while noticing the sayings or doings of these people. But if they have any influence or tendency at all, it must be a mischievous one and it would perhaps be well to understand what is the source of its strength, or the encouragement it receives. We are told that Mr. Tilley is just now stumping the Province in behalf of Confederation. For the ex-leader of the Government of New Brunswick we have a great deal of respect. We admire his ability and his political courage; we believe him to be above the [pettyness] of pandering to the prejudices of any quasi religious faction. For this very reason we would like to hear from him an authoritative utterance on this subject. We do not think that he would wish, even if he had the opportunity, to float himself into power on the troubled waters of religious fanaticism. And further, we are convinced that he would strengthen his position immensely were he to speak out fair and square, without fear and without faltering, as Governor Gordon has done. But be that as it may, we have no misgivings whatever on the main subject. The statement of Her Majesty in the speech with which she opened Parliament, that “Fenianism was a conspiracy against religion, law and property, and had no countenance from any respectable person of any class or creed,” is true to the letter; and all the taunts, revilings and plottings of the movers of the wires of the New Brunswick Telegraph, and their confreres, will not disturb that truth, – that, we think they may depend upon.