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Circular letter, 17 September 1840, of John England, Bishop of Charleston
Printed manuscript, 17 September 1840, of John England (1786-1842), Bishop of Charleston, circular letter acknowledging receipt of an invitation to meet with the Vice President of the United States at Detroit on 28 September 1840. Stating that he has "kept aloof" from "political movements," Bishop England nevertheless confides his opinion "that the administration...has acted for the benefit of our Union, and does not deserve the vituperation with which it is assailed." Furthermore, he asserts, "It may perhaps tend to show the spirit of some of its opponents, when so humble an individual as I am, and for so many years a citizen, though I must confess to the crime of having been born in a distant land, and of having voluntarily come hither, dare not express this simple opinion without being denounced in unmeasured terms, and the persons whose religion I teach, threatened with extermination if it be discovered that from any cause there shall be found a majority in favor of Mr. Van Buren, in any district where Catholics are numerous."

"I have suffered insult and oppression under the penal code against my religion in Ireland, and I came hither flattering myself with the expectation that there existed at least freedom of thought, and liberty for any citizen to express his opinion that the public officers of the Union were not guilty of that mal-administration which was imputed to them by their competitors," Bishop England goes on to say. " I have more than once been convinced of my mistake: and if my religion and its professors are to be made the victims of my imagining that in our republic, Catholics, like other citizens, had liberty of political opinion, expression, and action, I would far prefer being again in my former position; for the Orangeism of Ireland is mercy compared to the insolence of those who here insult us by their expressions of kindness and condescension, whilst they threaten us with extermination unless we stoop to be their slaves."

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