The Visiter held that the law-giver of Mount Sinai knew what was in man, and had not given any such account of him; that the commands, “Thou shalt,” and “Thou shalt not,” were addressed to each individual; that the disease of opening one’s mouth and pouring whisky into it was under the control of the mouth-opener; that drunkenness was a crime for which the criminal should be punished by such terms of imprisonment as would effectually protect society and prevent its confirmation. It told women that that dough ought to be baked in the furnace of affliction; that the coil of an anaconda was preferable to the embraces of a drunken man; that it is a crime for a woman to become the mother of a drunkard’s child; that she who fails to protect her child from the drunken fury of any man, even to the extent of taking his life on the spot, if possible, is a coward and a traitor to the highest impulses of humanity.
These sentiments made a stir in temperance ranks, and there was much defense of the dear fellows. The organization, seemed to be principally occupied in teaching, that among men, only rumsellers are free moral agents, and that they and the women are to bear the iniquity of us all. One Philadelphia woman, engaged in scattering rose-leaf remedies over the great cancer of the land, concluded that the editor of the Visiter horsewhipped the unfortunate man she called husband, once a day, with great regularity. Much sympathy was expressed for that much-abused man; and this was amusing to those who knew he could have tied four such tyrants in a sheaf, and carried them off like a bundle of sticks. But people had found a monster, a giantess, with flaming black eyes, square jaws and big fists, who lived at the top of a very high bean-pole, and ate nothing but the uncooked flesh of men.
However, the man-eating idea came to be useful, and proved that a bad name is better than none.
In ’49, the Visiter began a weekly series of “Letters to Country Girls,” which were seized upon as a new feature in journalism, were very extensively copied, and won golden opinions from all sorts of men. In ’54 they were collected in book form, and “mine ancient enemy,” George D. Prentiss, gave them kindly notice.
THE MOTHER CHURCH.
When the Visiter entered life, it was still doubtful which side of the slavery question the Roman church would take. O’Connell was in the zenith of his power and popularity, was decidedly anti-slavery, and members of Catholic churches chose sides according to personal feeling, as did those of other churches. It was not until 1852, that abolitionists began to feel the alliance between Romanism and slavery; but from that time, to be a member of the Roman church was to be a friend of “Southern interests.”
In Pittsburg there was great harmony between Catholics and Protestants, for the Protestant-Irish, by which Western Pennsylvania was so largely settled, were generally refugees driven from Ireland for their connection with the Union, or Robert Emmet rebellion. Our pastor, Rev. John Black, escaped in the night, and he and the only Catholic priest in Pittsburg, Father McGuire, were intimate friends.