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Title: History of the Jesuits: Their origin, progress, doctrines, and designs

Author: G. B. Nicolini

Release date: June 10, 2019 [eBook #59723]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Clarity and the Online Distributed Proofreading
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Rubens. Hinchliff.








I trust that in the following pages I have succeeded in the task I proposed to myself, of conveying to my readers a just and correct idea of the character and aims of the brotherhood of Loyola. At least I have spared no pains to accomplish this end. I honestly believe that the book was wanted; for liberal institutions and civil and religious freedom have no greater enemies than that cunning fraternity; while it is equally true, that although the Jesuits are dreaded and detested on all sides as the worst species of knaves, there are few who are thoroughly acquainted with their eventful history, and with all those arts by which the fathers have earned for themselves a disgraceful celebrity. The fault does not altogether lie with the public; for, strange to say, there is no serious and complete history of this wonderful Society. I have done my best to supply the deficiency; and I indulge[iv] the hope that, if the book is fortunate enough to challenge public attention, it may be productive of some good. In no other epoch of history, certainly, have the Jesuits been more dangerous and threatening for England than in the present. I am no alarmist. I refuse to believe that England will relapse under the Papal yoke, and return to the darkness and ignorance of the middle ages, because some score of citizens pass over to the Romish communion; but at the same time I do believe that many bold and less reflective persons make too light of the matter, and are wrong in refusing to countenance vigorous measures, not for religious persecution, but to check the insolence and countermine the plots of these audacious monks. It is true that there exists a great difficulty in deciding what measures are to be adopted for accomplishing this end. It is repugnant, doubtless, to a liberal and generous mind, and it is unworthy of a free and great nation, to persecute any sect, and to make different castes in the same body of citizens. But, it may fairly be asked, are monks, and especially Jesuits, really English citizens, in the strictest sense of the word? Do they recognise Queen Victoria as their legitimate sovereign? Are they prepared to yield a loyal obedience to the laws of the land? To all[v] these questions I answer, No! Even when born in England, they do not consider themselves Englishmen. They claim the privileges which the name confers, but will not accept the obligations it imposes. Their country is Rome; their sovereign the Pope; their laws the commands of their General. England they consider an accursed land; Englishmen heretics, whom they are under an obligation to combat. The perusal of this work will, I imagine, prove beyond the possibility of contradiction that, from their origin, the Jesuits have constantly and energetically laboured towards this object. I cannot too much impress upon the minds of my readers that the Jesuits, by their very calling, by the very essence of their institution, are bound to seek, by every means, right or wrong, the destruction of Protestantism. This is the condition of their existence, the duty they must fulfil, or cease to be Jesuits. Accordingly, we find them in this evil dilemma. Either the Jesuits fulfil the duties of their calling, or not. In the first instance, they must be considered as the bitterest enemies of the Protestant faith; in the second, as bad and unworthy priests; and in both cases, therefore, to be equally regarded with aversion and distrust.

Can no measure, then be taken against these[vi] aliens, who reside in England purposely to trouble her peace? Cannot a nation do something to protect itself, without incurring the reproach of being intolerant? What! When some English writers and newspapers insist that measures should be taken against certain other foreigners, who trouble not the peace of Great Britain, though they may disturb the imperial dreams of a neighbouring tyrant; and when the local authorities in Jersey have, to a certain extent, resorted to such measures, shall England be denied the right to take steps against the enemies of her faith, her glory, and her prosperity? The important point of the question which I submit to the consideration of those who, indifferent in matters of religion, care very little whether Jesuits convert a half of the nation to Romanism, is this: In England, the religious question involves also the question of national peace, greatness, and prosperity. If one-half of England were Papists, Queen Victoria, in given circumstances, could not depend upon the allegiance of her subjects, nor the Parliament on the execution of the laws. It may be that the priests (to be liberal in my hypothesis) will teach the ignorant and bigoted Popish population to respect and obey the Queen—but most assuredly they will also command them, and, moreover, under[vii] penalty of eternal damnation, to obey, in preference, the orders of the Pope, if they are in contradiction to those of the Sovereign. Their cry will be:—the Pope before the Queen; the canon laws before the civil code! Now, I ask, if the Pope were sure of being obeyed by half the English population, would England long enjoy her liberties, would she prosper in her enterprises, and continue to be, without contradiction, the first and most powerful nation of Europe? Can it be imagined that that admirable combination of rights and duties embodied in the constitution, that respect of the Sovereign for the rights of the citizens, and that unaffected love of the people for the Sovereign, which form the real strength and power of Britain, could long be preserved? I need not insist further on this point. I believe, however, I have said enough to shew that, whether any other measures can be taken against this insidious Order or not, the clause in the Emancipation Act concerning the religious communities should be rigorously executed.

I am sensible that the above remarks would perhaps have been more appropriate to the Conclusion of the work; but, as they have not a general character, but are considerations more particularly submitted to an English public, I[viii] have thought it better to consign them to the Preface, which may be modified, according to place and circumstances, without altering the general features of the work to which it belongs.

In the compilation of this work, I have studiously kept my promise not to advance a single fact for which I could not produce unquestionable authority; and, while I expect that my deductions will be impugned, I can safely defy any one to contradict the facts upon which they are based. When I have quoted original authors, on the authority of others, I have never done so without ascertaining, by my own inspection, or by that of friends—when the works were not to be had here—that the quotations were correct. I have entered somewhat minutely into details in the first part of the History, partly, perhaps, a little influenced by the interminable prolixity of the Jesuit authors I consulted, and partly because I deemed it necessary, in order that my readers might form a correct idea of the mechanism, the principles, and the proceedings of the Society. Once persuaded that the reader was acquainted with the acts and ways of the fraternity, I have abandoned detail, and given such broad features of the principal events as might afford instructive lessons. I have endeavoured to reject from the narrative all that is[ix] extraneous to the subject. I have overlooked embellishments. I do not claim the merit of being an elegant or eloquent writer, still less in a language which is not my own, and in which I was often at a loss to express my ideas. But I must confess that I have some hope that in the eyes of an indulgent reader the consequences I have deduced from the facts will be found to be logical, the language intelligible, and the work not altogether wanting in order.

In the course of the publication, I have received many letters—some friendly, others insulting; but, as they were all anonymous, I could answer neither. In any case, I should only have answered my friends, and thanked them for their advice; while, in regard to the second class of my correspondents, even although the “modest authors” had not deemed it prudent “to conceal their names,” I should assuredly not have condescended to furnish a reply, contenting myself with the simple reflection that it is naturally unpalatable to the culprit to have his crimes dragged into the light of day.

I cannot conclude this Preface without expressing my warmest gratitude to the librarians of the different public establishments in Edinburgh, and especially to the librarian of[x] the Advocates’ Library, and his assistants, for the liberal manner in which they have put at my disposal the books contained in their collections.

Finally, as I am sensible (from a conviction of my own insufficiency) that the work cannot be productive to me of either renown or consideration, my chief hope is, that it may prove useful and beneficial to some portion at least of the English community, otherwise I should indeed have cause immensely to regret my pains and my labour.

Edinburgh, December 4, 1852.



Preface, iii
The Author dissuaded from writing the History of the Jesuits—Reasons for undertaking the Work—Difficulty of well delineating the Character of a Jesuit—The Author pledges himself to be Impartial, 1
State of Europe in the Sixteenth Century—Italy the Centre of Civilisation—Alexander VI.—Julius II.—Leo X.—His Indifference in matters of Religion—Obliged by the Court to Excommunicate Luther—Reformation in Germany, England, and Switzerland—Ignatius of Loyola—His Birth and Education—Wounded at Pampeluna—He decides upon becoming a Saint—The Spiritual Exercises—Origin of the Book—Crétineau—Joly—Analysis of the Spiritual Exercises by Cardinal Wiseman—Some Quotations from it—Pilgrimage of Loyola to Palestine—His Return—His Attempts at Proselytism in Barcelona—In Alcada—In Paris—The First Ten Companions of Loyola—They take the Vow of Obedience at Montmartre in 1534—They depart for Italy—Projected Missions in the Holy Land—Pierre Caraffa, afterwards Paul IV.—Loyola and his Companions in Rome—They conquer all Opposition, and the intended Society is approved of by a Bull of Paul III., 1540, 5
State of the Roman Church at the Epoch of the Establishment of the Society—Adrian VI.’s extraordinary Avowal—Loyola’s remarkable Cleverness in framing the Constitutions—Analysis of this Work—Passive Obedience—Poverty—Instruction given gratis, and why—Ways by which the Jesuits get at Wealth, 30
The Members of this Society are divided into Four Classes—Gioberti and Pellico upon a Fifth Secret Class—The Novices—Their Trials—Their Vows—Scholars—Qualities they must possess—Coadjutors Temporal and Spiritual—Their several Duties—Their Vows—Professed Members—The First Class in the Society—They take a Fourth Vow of implicit Obedience to the Holy See—Ceremony in taking the Vows—They as well as the Coadjutors are bound to live by Alms—The General of the Order—How Elected—His Attributions—His Powers—The Provincial and other inferior Officials of the Order—Their Attributions, 45
Ignatius elected General, at first refuses the office—Afterwards accepts of it—His Zeal and Activity in promoting the Interests of the Order—Charitable Institutions in Rome—He co-operates in re-establishing the Inquisition—The Albigenses—Rules of the Tribunal—Terror which it spread through Italy—The Jesuits in Missions in various parts of Europe—The first Jesuits in Great Britain—Instructions given them by Loyola—Their Proceedings, 57
Their origin—Donna Isabella—Rosello—Trouble which they gave to Ignatius—He refuses to take charge of them—Attempts of some Women to establish the Order of Female Jesuits—They are Suppressed in 1631—They Revive as the Sisters of the Holy Heart, 71
Charles V.—His Interim—He banishes Bobadilla, who opposes it—Cano, a Dominican Friar—His Opposition to the Jesuits—He is made Bishop of the Canaries—He renounces his Bishopric to return to Europe—His Prediction concerning the Society—The Archbishop of Toledo lays an Interdict on the College of the Jesuits—Disturbance in Saragossa to prevent the Jesuits from opening their Chapel—The Jesuits in Portugal—Their Idleness and Debauchery—Recall of the Provincial Rodriguez—New Superiors—Stratagem to reduce the Members to their Duty—The Jesuits in France—Du Prat, Bishop of Clermont, their Protector—Henry II., at the recommendation of Cardinal Guise, wants to Establish the Jesuits in France—The Parliament refuses to Register the Ordinances—Their Establishment opposed by the Sorbonne—Also by De Bellay, Archbishop of Paris—Reasons adduced by them for their Opposition—The Jesuits obliged to leave Paris—Accused at Rome of Heresy—Remarkable unanimity of the different Nations in opposing the Establishment of the Order—The Jesuits conquer all Opposition—The Order Established in direct Opposition to the Reformed Religion—Character of Loyola—His Correspondence with the different Sovereigns—His Illness and Death, 1556—Partiality of Macaulay, Taylor, Stephen, and others, for Loyola and the Jesuits—Reason of this Partiality, 75
Jesuit Authors who write about them—Mission of East India—Francis Xavier—Zeal and Devotedness of the First Missionaries—Sketch of the Life and Character of Xavier—He Arrives at Goa—Moral State of the Town—Efforts of Xavier to Reform it—He Succeeds but Partially—Xavier on the Coast of Malabar—His Conduct there—He goes to Malacca—To Japan—His intended Mission to China—Opposition of Don Alvarez, Captain General of Malacca—Xavier lands at Sancian—His Illness and Death, 1552—Appreciation of Xavier’s Merits—Prevarication of the Missionaries after Xavier’s Death—Father Nobili introduces Idolatry into the Christian form of Worship—He gives himself out as a Brahmin—The Jesuits maintain the Distinction of Castes among the Converts—Their way of making Christians—They greatly exaggerate the number of Converts—Scandalous Idolatry—The Court of Rome condemns it—Cardinal de Tournon, Pope’s Legate in India—He solemnly condemns the Malabar Rites—Incredible Impudence and Audacity of the Jesuits, to elude the Ordinance of the Legate—The Pope and the Inquisition confirm the[xiv] Decree of De Tournon—He proceeds to China—His Conduct there—He is Expelled from Pekin—His Imprisonment—Cruel Treatment to which he is subjected—His Death, 1710—The Jesuits the Authors of his Misfortunes—The Pope’s Eulogium on De Tournon—Repeated Decrees of the Holy See against the Jesuits—Decline of their Influence in India—Principal Feature of Missions—Why the Pope Condemned the Malabar Rites—Popish Idolatry—Procession of Good-Friday, 96
Lainez is chosen Vicar-General—Difficulties of holding a General Congregation—Paul IV.—His Hatred against the Spaniards—Revolt of Bobadilla—How subdued—War between Paul IV. and Philip II.—The Duke of Alva in Rome—General Congregation—Interference of the Pope—Lainez chosen General—The Pope orders that the General should only stay in Office for Three Years—Death of Paul IV.—Election of Pius IV.—The Nephew of the late Pope Executed—The Jesuits suspected of having Participated in that Act of Revenge—The Jesuits accused of various Misdemeanours—Lainez in France at the Congress of Poissy—He goes to Trent—The Council of Trent—Its Opening and Close—Its Results—Influence of the Jesuits—Lainez returns to Rome—He Dies, 1565—His Character—Borgia, ex-Duke of Candia, elected Third General—His History—Pius V. Cruel and Sanguinary—He subjects the Jesuits to Monastic Duties—Borgia in Spain and France—Battle of Lepanto, 1571—Defeat of the Turks—Eve of St Bartholomew—Death of Borgia, 1572—Mercurianus Fourth General—The Jesuits Inherit the Wealth of the Bishop of Clermont, 133
Jesuits in England under Elizabeth—William Allen establishes Colleges at Douay and in Rome for Englishmen—The Jesuits direct them—Bull of Pius V. Excommunicating Elizabeth—Character given of her by the Jesuits—Campion and Parson at the Head of a Jesuit Mission in England—Their Biography—They arrive in England—Encourage the Roman Catholics to Disobey the Queen—Proclamation against the Jesuits—Their Answer to it—Enmity of Gregory XIII. to England—His Character—He Encourages all the Insurrections against the Queen—Parson and Campion eagerly sought by the Government—Elude the Search—Capture of Campion—Divers Opinions concerning his[xv] Trial—Execution of three Jesuits, Campion, Sherwin, and Briant—Parry’s Project for Assassinating the Queen—Encouraged by the Jesuits and the Pope’s Nuncio, Ragazzoni—The Jesuits attempt to justify Parry—Absurdity of their Vindication—Severe Laws against the Jesuits—The most of them leave England—Hume on Babington’s Conspiracy—The Jesuits along with the Great Armada—The Jesuits actually Troubling the Peace of England—Duplicity of their Conduct—A Jesuit, pretending to be an ardent Republican in Rome in the last Revolution—Is thrown into the Tiber, 151
Conduct of the Jesuits in Portugal—They prevent Don Sebastian from Marrying—Pasquier accuses them of having aspired to become Kings of Portugal—The Accusation repeated throughout all Europe—They suggest to Don Sebastian the Expedition to Morocco—Death of the King—The Jesuits place the Crown on the Head of Philip II. of Spain, 171
The Jesuits at last admitted into France—Under what Restrictions—Principal Doctrines of the Gallican Church—The League—Henry III. of France—His Indolence—His Tolerance—Ambition of the Duke of Guise—He is declared Chief of the League—Makes a Treaty with the King of Spain—Day of the Barricades—The King causes Guise to be Murdered—The Jesuits Preach against the King—Clement, a Dominican Friar, stabs him, 1589—The Council of Seize order the Preachers to praise Clement’s Deed—Henry of Bourbon, King of Navarre, assumes the Title of King of France—Opposed by Cardinal de Bourbon—Civil War—Henry IV. abjures Calvinism—Siege of Paris—Conduct of the Jesuits—Henry Acknowledged as King—Part taken by the Jesuits in the League—Barrière attempts to Assassinate the King—The Jesuits are his Accomplices—John Chastel—Stabs the King—Instigated by the Jesuits—The Jesuits expelled from France—Execution of Chastel, and of the Jesuit Guinard—The House of Chastel is pulled down—A Pyramid erected to perpetuate the Memory of his Crime—Inscription on the Pyramid concerning the part the Jesuits had in it—Horrible Doctrines of the Jesuits—Reflections upon them, 175
Immense Influence exercised by the Jesuits in Germany—What Requisites they had for success—Their Schools and Colleges—Their Method of giving Instruction—Even Protestants send their Children to their Schools—The Sovereigns of Germany support the Jesuits—Albert V. of Bavaria obliges his Subjects to subscribe the Professio Fidei—Rodolph II. Emperor of Germany—Is directed by Father Maggio—Persecutes the Protestants, and re-establishes the Roman Catholic Worship, 194
The Jesuits in Poland—Sigismond the King of the Jesuits—The Jesuits’ Paramount Influence employed in re-establishing Popery, 202
Attempt of the Jesuits to convert to Romanism John III. of Sweden—The Jesuit Possevin in Stockholm in Disguise—John promises to become a Roman Catholic—Haughty Conduct of Gregory XIII.—John remains a Protestant, and expels the Jesuits—Sigismond succeeds John—War between Sweden and Poland—The Jesuits are the Authors of it, 203
The Jesuits in Switzerland and Piedmont—Canisius founds the College of Friburg—The Waldenses—Their Simplicity and Innocence—Persecution and Cruelties exercised against them by Possevin—He hunts them as Wild Beasts—Pretends that many abjure[xvi] Protestantism—Reflexions on the Influence and Conduct of the Jesuits throughout Europe, 205
Acquaviva chosen General—His Character—The Spanish Jesuits refuse to obey him—Philip II. takes part with them—Sixtus V. supports Acquaviva—Prudence of the latter—His Letter—Ratio Studiorum—Admirable Plan of Education—Influence which it gave them—Origin of the Congregations, 1569—Its rapid Increase—Directed by the Jesuits—Who derive immense Power from it—Its various Denominations—Internal Life of the Jesuit Colleges—Their Studies—The Instruction more Specious than Solid—Distinctive Character of Jesuit Writers—They are Affected—Exceptions—Bartoli—Segneri—Bourdaloue—Great Change in the Policy of the Society—They become Attached to the French Interest—Henry IV. re-establishes them in France, 1603—Reasons which he adduces to his Minister Sully—He writes to the General Congregation in favour of Acquaviva—Affair of Venice—The Jesuits leave the Territory of the Republic—Henry IV. sues for their Return—Spain opposes it—The Jesuits not allowed to re-enter Venice till 1657—Acquaviva’s Success in mastering the revolted Province of Spain—Proves ultimately the Ruin of the Order, 209
Acquaviva’s opinion of St Thomas’s Theology—Molina’s Doctrine on Free-will—The Dominicans oppose Molinism—The two parties hold thirty-seven Disputations in presence of the Pope—Clement VIII. adverse to the Doctrine of the Jesuits—Why he did not condemn it—He imposes silence on the two parties—Origin of Jansenism—Jansenius—Du Verger de Hauranne, Abbot of St Cyran—Jansenius composes the “Augustinus” and dies—St Cyran Chief of the School—The Nuns of Port-Royal and the D’Arnauld family—St Cyran Prisoner at Vincennes—The Jesuits embody the essential Doctrines of the Augustinus in five Propositions, and oblige the Pope to condemn them—The Jansenists deny that such Propositions are contained in the Book—Alexander VII. declares by a Bull that they are contained in it—The Pope’s Infallibility in Matters of Fact—Why the Jansenists took such pains to persuade people that they were good Roman Catholics—How the Jesuits had become such a powerful Brotherhood—They are no more needed as Theologians—Many Kings and Nobles have each his own Confessor—Contrivances of the Jesuits to be chosen to this Office—Their very accommodating Doctrines—Escobar and his Moral Doctrines of the Jesuits on Sin—Invincible[xvii] Ignorance—Pascal the Provincial—Probable Opinion—Mental Reservation—Impiety—Easy way to go to Paradise—The Book of Father Barry—Extracts from it—The Month of Mary—Ridiculous Ceremonies in honour of the Virgin during the Month of May—Secreta Monita—How originated—Why we believe them to be Apocryphal, 230
New Phase of the History of the Order—The Jesuits contend for Supremacy wherever they are established—Their Influence in various Courts—They become Confessors of the Kings of France—Assassination of Henry IV.—The Jesuits accused by the Parliament of being the Accomplices of Ravaillac—Apologetic Letters of Father Cotton, the late King’s Confessor—The Anti-Cotton, a Pamphlet against the Jesuits—Cotton, Confessor of Louis XIII.—Death of Acquaviva, 1615—His Acts—With him ends the prestige exercised by the Generals—Election of Vitelleschi—His Character—Canonisation of Loyola and Xavier—Rules to be observed in making Saints—Quantity of Saints found in the Cemetery of St Lorenzo fuor delle mura—They are at last discovered to have been dug up from a Pagan Burial-place—Feasts on the Canonisation of Loyola and Xavier—Impious Panegyrics in their Honour—Solemnisation of the Secular Year of the Establishment of the Society—Imago Primi Sæculi—Some Extracts from it—How Crétineau excuses the Extravagancies of the Imago—The Book expresses the real Feelings of the Jesuits—The greatest Houses have one of their Members a Jesuit—The Jesuits under Richelieu—Under Mazzarini—Louis XIV. assumes the Government—Beginning of the extraordinary Influence of the Order—Louis XIV. and Philip II. both bigoted Papists—Both wage War against the Pope—Servility of the Jesuits towards Louis XIV.—They are allowed to persecute the Protestants—De la Marca’s Formula to be subscribed by the Jansenists—They refuse to do so—Persecution raised against them—Edict of Nantes—Father Lachaise—His Character—He becomes the King’s Confessor—His Ascendancy over the King—Revocation of the Edict of Nantes—Massacre of the Huguenots—Their Bodies exhumed from the Tombs—Numberless Families obliged to leave France—Lachaise becomes an important Personage—His Residence—He disposes of Lettres de Cachet—What these were—He unites in Secret Marriage the King and Madame de Maintenon. The Right of disposing of all the Livings and Bishoprics attached to the Office of the King’s Confessor—Immense Power which it confers upon the Order—Letellier succeeds Lachaise as King’s Confessor—His Character—His Persecuting Spirit—By his orders, Port-Royal Destroyed from the Foundation, the Tombs Violated, and the Bodies of the Deceased given to be Devoured by the Dogs, 253
The Jesuits in Spain—Their Influence under Philip III. and IV.—Olivarez[xviii] leaves them little share of Authority—They resolved to be Revenged—Their Conspiracy in Portugal—Father Corea and the Duke of Braganza—Crétineau confesses the part they took in the Revolution—The House of Braganza ascend the Throne of Portugal—Paramount Influence of the Jesuits—Lisbon the Centre of their Commerce—Decrees of the General Congregations forbidding the Jesuits to mix in Political or Commercial Matters—Whether observed or not—Why enacted, 274
The Jesuits in Germany—They are the most able Auxiliaries of Ferdinand in destroying the Protestants—Tilly, Wallenstein, and Piccolomini, their Pupils—Conduct of the Jesuits in the Thirty Years’ War—Advantages which they derived from it, 278
Influence of the Jesuits in Poland—They used it against the Protestants—Letter of the University of Cracow to that of Louvain on the Jesuit Cruelties—Cassimir, King of Poland, formerly a Jesuit—He is on the point of losing his Kingdom—Commits it to the care of the Virgin Mary, 280
The Jesuits and Christina of Sweden—Father Macedo converts her to Romanism—She Abdicates the Crown and goes to Rome, 282
The Jesuits in England under James I.—Gunpowder Plot—What part the Jesuits had in it—Difficulty of arriving at the Truth—The Jesuits from first to last the Contrivers of all the Plots against Elizabeth and James—Parson disposes of the Crown of England—He obtains from the Pope a Bull which forbids the Roman Catholics to take the Oath of Allegiance—Percy reveals to Father Gerald the Gunpowder Plot—Garnet pretends not to have known the Conspiracy but under the Seal of Confession—This Plea cannot exculpate the Jesuits from being Accomplices in the Plot—Reasons why—Imprisonment of Garnet—The Government violates all the Laws of Justice and Humanity—Punishment of Garnet—Moral Torture he is made to endure on the Scaffold—Execution of Father Oldcorne—The Jesuits are not discouraged from Plotting—Struggle of Charles I. with his Parliament—The Jesuits accused of fighting in both Camps—Absurdity of the Recital of Jurieu to prove the Accusation—The Author’s opinion upon the Fact—The Jesuits’ Discouragement under Cromwell—They re-appear under Charles II.—Crétineau on a Treaty to Re-establish the Roman Religion—Popish Plot—Oates and Bedloe—Their infamous Character —Their absurd Inventions—Credit they obtain—Persecution of Papists—Father Ireland executed—Reign of James II.—Influence of the Jesuits—Father Peter, Member of the Privy Council—Revolution of 1688, 283
Our Opinion of the Missions—Praises awarded to the Fathers—Difference between the Indian and American Missions—State[xix] of the two Countries—Cruelties exercised by the Spaniards against the Indians—Humane and Christian-like Conduct of the Jesuits—They Differ from other Monks—The Indians receive the Jesuits as their Protectors—Wandering of the Jesuits in making Proselytes—Acquaviva Traces to them a Plan of Proceeding—They Establish themselves in Paraguay—The Reductions—Conduct of the Jesuits—The Indians Idolise them—Form of Government of Reductions—Communism—Mode of Life in the Reductions—The Indians forbidden to leave the Reductions, and Strangers to enter them—The Indians drilled to Arms—The Jesuits accompany and direct them in their Expeditions—Criticism of the Jesuits’ System in the Reductions—Opinion of Quinet—Our Opinion differs from that of this celebrated Professor—Well-founded Reproaches addressed to the Jesuits on account of the Superstitious Practices Introduced by them into Religion—They are reproved even by Roman Catholics—Palafox, Bishop of Angelopolis—He attempts to exercise his Authority over the Fathers—Privileges of the Jesuits—Letter of Palafox to the Pope, asking for a Reform of the Society—Persecution raised against him by the Jesuits continued after his Death—They Oppose his Canonisation—What are the Causes of Discord between the Jesuits and the other Orders—Opinion of Gioberti—The Jesuits want to Domineer over Bishops and Legates—Their Conduct towards them—Divers Bulls of different Popes on the Disobedience and Revolt of the Order against the Holy See, 295
A Spirit of Independence pervades the Order—The Aristocratic Class of the Professed refuse Obedience to the Generals—Incapacity of the latter—Under Vitelleschi, the Spirit of the Constitution is quite Changed—Letters of Vitelleschi and Caraffa to deprecate the Ruin of the Order—Piccolomini and Gottifredi, Generals—Nickel, the elected General, attempts a Reform—General Congregation depriving him of all Authority—Oliva Vicar-General—He becomes General after the Death of Nickel—His Character—His Epicurean Habits—Relaxation of Discipline—Political Influence which the Society acquired at such an Epoch—Its Causes—The Jesuits, blinded by Prosperity, become less Cautious—Noyelle, Gonzales, and Tambourini, Generals—The Company follow a Road which leads to Ruin—They excite the Jealousy of all the other Monastic Orders—They sell a Passport against the Evil Spirit—Mastrilli sends a Message every day by an Angel to Xavier, and receives Answers, 315
Gradual March of the Order—It attains the Height of its Power—Causes of Decay—The Instruction no more Gratuitous—The Princes of Germany limit their Unrestricted Authority—Rome begins to frown upon them—Benedict XIV.’s injurious Description of them—Hatred which they incur in France—Its Causes—After the Death of Louis XIV., they are attacked from every Quarter—The Jesuits have Identified themselves with all the Absurd and Idolatrous Practices of the Roman Church—They are attacked by the Encyclopædists—Offer no Efficient Resistance—Philip of Orleans, Regent of France—He refuses to protect them—They attempt in vain to regain their Influence under Louis XV.—The Ministers of various Sovereigns of Europe undertake Reform—Choiseul—Tanucci—Squillace—Carvalho—The Fall of the Jesuits ought not to be attributed to Private Causes—Epitome of the History of the Jesuits in Portugal—Carvalho, Marquis of Pombal—His Character—His Hatred of the Jesuits and the Aristocracy—Portugal and Spain exchange their Possessions in America—The Indians of the Reduction refuse to Obey—They take up Arms—Are Defeated—The Jesuits Accused by Pombal of having Excited the Revolt—Denial of the Fathers—Earthquake of Lisbon—Intrepid and Heroic Conduct of Pombal—He becomes All-powerful—He Removes from the Court the three Jesuit Confessors—Manifesto against them—Benedict XIV. subjects them to a Visitation—Commerce of the Company in Europe—In both Indies—The Visitor, Cardinal Saldanha, Censures the Commercial Pursuits of the Order—Death of Benedict XIV.—Clement XIII.—His Character—His Partiality for the Fathers—Cardinal Torrigiani, the Pope’s first Minister, is bribed by the Jesuits—Joseph I. of Portugal—Attempt to Assassinate, while returning from his Nocturnal Visit to a Lady—Measures taken by Pombal—The Duke d’Averio, the Marquis of Tavora’s Family, and some of their Relations, are thrown into Prison—They are accused of being Accomplices in the Attempt—Illegal and Inquisitorial Proceedings—The Prisoners are Condemned and Executed—Horrible Mode of Execution—It tarnishes Pombal’s Fame—The Jesuits are Imprisoned as Accomplices—New Manifesto of Pombal against them—Decree Expelling all the Jesuits from the Portuguese Dominions, 1559—France strikes the second Blow against the Order—Affair of Lavallette—The Order is held by the Tribunals as answerable for all his Debts—Unaccountable Blindness of the Jesuits, in appealing to the Parliament against this decision—Cardinal de Luynes and the Assembly of Bishops—They declare the Obedience due by the Jesuits to their General to be Incompatible with the Duties of a Subject—Louis XV.—His Character—Pressed by Choiseul and Madame de Pompadour, demands a Reform of the Order—Character of Choiseul—There was no Agreement between him, the Philosophers, and Pombal, to Destroy the Jesuits—Answer of Ricci, the General, to the Demand for Reform—The Parliament Abolish the Society, 1762—Its Members Expelled from France, 1764, 326
[xxi]The Jesuits meet with a Greater Calamity in Spain—Charles III., his Character—Uncertainty as to the Motives which induced him to abolish the Order—Emeute des Chapeaux—Royal Proclamation Abolishing the Order of the Jesuits, 1767—Motives adduced by Charles for this Measure—Motives ascribed to him by the Jesuits and Ranke—Our own Conjectures on this matter—The way in which the Decree was executed—Clement XIII.’s Useless Protection of the Jesuits—His Praises of the Order—Ricci’s Desperate Efforts to Save the Society—His Character—By his orders, the Jesuits, expelled from Spain, are refused Admittance into the Papal Dominions—They are repulsed from Leghorn and Genoa—After Six Months’ Wandering on the Sea, they are received in Corsica—Naples and Parma Expel the Jesuits from their States—The Pope Excommunicates the Duke of Parma—Indignation of Charles III. at the Boldness of the Pope—Louis XV. unites with him in Remonstrating against the Act—The Pope refuses to receive the Remonstrance—The French Troops take Possession of Avignon—The Neapolitans of Benevento—The Pope has no Friend left to whom he can apply for Aid—The Courts of France, Spain, and Naples, demand the Suppression of the Order—Death of Clement XIII.—His Monument by Canova, 349
The Court of Rome is divided into Zelanti and Regalisti—Intrigues of the two Parties to Insure the Tiara to one of their own Adherents—Cardinal de Bernis—His Character—His Insinuations to the Conclave—Answer of the Opposite Faction—Charles III. Refuses to give his Support but to a Candidate who would promise to Abolish the Order—Joseph II., Emperor of Germany, and Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in Rome—Veneration of the Romans for the names of Republic and Emperor—Joseph is courted by both Parties—His Visit to the Gesù—His Words to the General—Consternation which they produce—He affects an Indifference as to the Election of the Pope—He Visits the Conclave—His Haughty Behaviour there—The Spanish Cardinals enter the Conclave—They succeed in bringing it to a close—Lorenzo Ganganelli—His Birth—First Education—Character—Habits before and after being elected Pope—Ranke and others exaggerate the Virtues of Ganganelli—His Ambition—His Equivocal Conduct in order to gratify it—How he was chosen to the Throne—Written Opinion concerning the Abolition of the Jesuits, given by him to the Spanish Cardinals—Whether this constitutes the Sin of Simony—Specious part played by De Bernis in the Intrigues for the Election—Joy of Ganganelli at being elected Pope—His Liberal and Tolerant Policy—The Affair of the Jesuits Poisons all his Joy—His Perplexities on the Measure of Abolishing them—He flatters De Bernis, in order to obtain some delay in coming to a Decision—He obtains some Respite—He goes to Castel-Gandolfo[xxii] to enjoy this short Triumph—Charles III. and Choiseul press De Bernis to bring the Pope to a Speedy Decision—Bernis’ Urgency with the Pope—Letter of Ganganelli to the King of Spain to obtain some Respite—The Jesuits assert that Ganganelli was Forced by the Sovereigns to Abolish the Order—How far this Assertion is true—Very Plausible Reasons why he Hesitated so long to Abolish the Order—Some of them less honourable—The Pope is afraid of being Poisoned by the Jesuits—Menacing Attitude of the Sovereigns of the House of Bourbon toward the Court of Rome—Florida Blanca, Spanish Ambassador—Clement resists all Importunities till he is persuaded that the Abolition is an Act of Supreme Justice—His Foreboding in Signing the Bull of Suppression—A Short Analysis of the Bull—Gioberti’s Opinion of it—The Bull Dominus et Redemptor, 362
Proceedings against the Jesuits immediately after the Publication of the Bull—A Retrospective Glance at the Progress of the Order—Its Humble Origin—Its Increase—Its Considerable Power—Number of Houses, Colleges, and Fathers at the Epoch of the Suppression—Approximate Estimate of their Wealth—Different Sources of it—Ricci’s Denial that the Order possesses any Money—Reasons for believing otherwise—Ricci and some other Jesuits sent Prisoners to the Castel St Angelo—Slanders of the Jesuits on Ganganelli’s Conduct, 407
After the Issuing of the Bull, Clement re-assumes his gay humour—His Health is perfect—Unanimity of the Authors on this point—The Jesuits have his Death Predicted—The Pythoness of Valentano—Sudden Illness of the Pope—Symptoms—His Delirium—Compulsus feci—He resumes some Composure—His Death, 1774—The Romans had expected his Death—Indecent Joy of the Jesuits—What was the Nature of Clement’s Illness—The Jesuits assert that he died of Remorse—Untruth of the Assertion—Reason for it—Decomposition of Ganganelli’s Body after his Death—Salicetti, the Apostolic Physician, declares the Rumour False that the Pope Died by Poison—The Romans had no doubt that he perished by the Acqua Tofana—Gioberti’s Authorities for believing the Pope Poisoned—Irrefragable Testimony of De Bernis—His Letter to the Court of France—Character of Ganganelli, 412
Conduct of the Jesuits after the Suppression—Few obey the Bull—They seek an Asylum with Protestant Princes—Strange conduct[xxiii] of Frederick of Prussia—He Protects the Jesuits—Is Ridiculed by his friend D’Alembert—The Jesuits in Silesia—Braschi (Pius VI.) succeeds Ganganelli in the Papal Chair—The Sovereigns of the House of Bourbon press him to see the Bull of his Predecessor executed—Character of Braschi—He fears rather than loves the Jesuits—He writes to Frederick—The Answer of the King—St Priest explains the Conduct of Frederick—The Author differs with him in Opinion, 422
Catherine of Russia protects the Jesuits—Her Motives—The Jesuits Establish themselves in Russia in Opposition to the Pope’s Command—Death of Ricci—The Jesuits in Russia name a Vicar-General—Siestrencewiecz, Bishop of Mohilow—He permits the Jesuits to receive Novices—Remonstrances of the Court of Rome—The Jesuits name a General and act as if the Bull of Suppression had not been Issued—How Crétineau Exculpates them—Chiaramonti (Pius VII.) succeeds Braschi—He Re-establishes the Society in White Russia—Its Progress there—Grouber elected General—His Talents and Prudence—The Jesuits Re-established in Sicily—Grouber Dies in a Conflagration—Imprudent Conduct of the Jesuits after his Death—Alexander Expels them from St Petersburg—The Jesuits persisting in their Criminal Practices, are Expelled from Russia, 1820, 430
Fall of Napoleon—Restoration of different Princes—The Jesuits pretend that all the Evils of the last Revolution were the Consequences of their Suppression—The Princes Believe or feign to Believe it—The Jesuits are the natural Enemies of the Liberals—Restoration of Pius VII.—His Character—He Re-establishes the Order—Why—The Bull of Re-establishment weakens but little that of Suppression—Short Analysis of the Former—Bull of Re-establishment, 1814—The Jesuits flock to Rome from every part—Eagerness of many to become Members of the Society—The King of Sardinia a Jesuit—Italy covered with Jesuits—Their perfect Understanding with the Pope—Hatred of the Italians against the Order—They Invade the principal Countries of Europe—They are Befriended by Ferdinand VII. in Spain—They side with Don Carlos—Are Abolished by the Cortes, 1835—They re-enter, and are soon after Expelled from Portugal—Metternich refuses to admit the Jesuits into Austria—They are permitted to Establish themselves in Galicia—Their Influence there, and its Effects—The Jesuits Excluded from every other part of Germany—The Jesuits in Holland—Ungrateful to King William—Their undutiful Conduct there—They Prepare the Revolution of 1830—Their flourishing state in Belgium—Vicissitudes of the Jesuits in France after 1764—They never quitted the Country—Different Names under which they Concealed themselves—The Sisters of the Sacred Heart—The Congregation of the Sacred Family of the[xxiv] Virgin—Their Object—The Fathers of the Faith Suppressed by Napoleon—Also the Congregation of the Virgin—Intrigues and Conduct of the Jesuits after the Restoration—They court the Favour of the Clergy—Their Mission—They Monopolise the Education—Decree against them in 1828—They disappear from France after the Revolution of 1830—They are again found numerous in 1836—Affairs of Affnaër—Thiers invokes against them the Laws of the Land—Rossi’s Mission to Rome—Its Results—The Jesuits constrained to Abandon their Establishments—Their Colleges of Brugellette and Friburg—Little is known of them for some years—Their Re-appearance in 1849—Their Influence in the present Day—Affairs of Lucerne—The Jesuits guilty of Fomenting the Civil War—Crétineau’s Account of the Jesuits’ Conduct in England—Mr Weld presents the Jesuits with his Property in Stoneyhurst—Their rapid Progress there—Prodigious Increase of the Papists after their Establishment there—Part of the Colony pass over to Ireland—Father Kenny, Vice-President of Maynooth—The Jesuits Disregard the Clause of the Emancipation Act on the Religious Corporations—The Fifth, Secret Class of the Jesuits the most Dangerous of all—Perfidious Arts of the Jesuits in making Converts—The Puseyites—The Papists rely upon them—Their Eulogium by Crétineau—Rome desires the Ruin of England—Has intrusted to the Jesuits the Mission of bringing it about—The Jesuits more Dangerous to Protestantism than all other Monks—Every Roman Catholic Priest is by his Calling obliged to Labour for the Extirpation of Protestants—England ought to awake to a Sense of her Danger, 436
Italy the Seat of Jesuitical Power after the Re-establishment of the Order—State of the Peninsula before the Pontificate of Pius IX.—Auspicious Beginning of his Reign—The Jesuits Oppose his Acts of Benevolence—The Romans decide upon Depriving the Priests of all Civil Authority—Resistance of the Pope—Death of Grazioli, the Pope’s Confessor—Pius falls back to the Errors of former Popes—Hatred of the Romans to the Jesuits—Il Gesuita Moderno—Gioberti in Rome—The Pope’s Menaces against the Enemies of the Order—The Jesuits forced to leave Rome—Mortal Hatred vowed by the Pope against the Liberals—Flight of the Pope to Gaeta—Moderation of the Romans—Plots of the Jesuits and Cardinal Antonelli—Crusade to Replace the Pope on the Throne—Louis Napoleon, who fought in 1831 against the Pope, sends an Army against the Roman Republic—Why—General Oudinot—His Jesuitical Conduct—Gallantry of the Romans in Defending their Country—They are obliged to yield—Reproaches against England for having Abandoned the Cause of Civil and Religious Freedom—Serious Consequences which followed—Whether England could with justice have Interfered in the Affairs of Italy—The French enter Rome—Oudinot goes to Gaeta—Receives the Pope’s Blessing—Acts[xxv] of Revenge of the Clerical Party after their Restoration—Miserable Condition of the Roman States—The Executions at Sinigallia and Ancona—Political Assassinations in those Towns—The Jesuits suspected of being the Instigators—How State Trials are Conducted in the Papal Dominions—a Note upon Simoncelli—The Pope grants £40,000 to his native Town for erecting a Jesuit College—Reception of the Jesuits on their Re-entering Naples—Ridiculous Addresses—The Jesuits All-powerful in the Two Sicilies—Abominable Conduct of the Neapolitan Government—Jesuitism invades Tuscany—Its Effects—Religious Persecution—Jesuits Introduced into Lombardy—The Jesuits Excluded from Piedmont—The Clergy refuse to submit to Equality of Rights—The Priest considers himself a Superior Being—Why—Intrigues and Hatred of the Piedmontese Clergy against the Government—Ominous Influence possessed by the Jesuits in France at the present moment—The Laws of Providence—Popery can never again be the Religion of the Italians—Abject Flattery of the Jesuits to Louis Napoleon—His Character—The Priests help him to grasp the Imperial Crown—His Marriage—Why we do not speak of the Actual State of the Jesuits in England, 469
Conclusion, 493



1. Portrait of Loyola (Frontispiece).
2. Xavier 98
3. Lainez 133
4. Borgia 145
5. Acquaviva 210
6. Lachaise 270
7. Ricci 357
8. Ganganelli 413



When I first intimated to some of my friends my intention of writing the History of the Jesuits, most of them dissuaded me from the enterprise, as from a task too difficult. I am fully aware of all the difficulties I have to encounter in my undertaking. I am sensible that to write a complete and detailed history of the Jesuits would require more time and learning than I have to bestow: neither could such a history be brought within the compass of six or seven hundred pages. It will be my endeavour, however, to give as faithful an account of the Society as I can, to furnish an accurate narrative of facts, and an outline of the principal members of the order. Thus much, at least, with the aid of time, patience, and study, may be achieved by any one.

I confess, too, that I am encouraged by a sense of the intrinsic interest of the subject itself, which may well do much to cast a veil over my own imperfect treatment of it: for, amidst the general wreck and decay of all human things, amidst the rise and fall of dynasties, nay, of empires themselves and whole nations of men, the inquiry may indeed give us pause—Wherein lay the seeds of that vitality in the original constitution of the Jesuits, which has served[2] during three centuries to maintain the ranks of the Society, under many shocks, still unbroken? A sufficient answer to this inquiry will, I trust, be developed during the course of my narrative.

The main difficulty of my subject, as will be readily understood, lies in discovering and delineating the true character of the Jesuits: for, take the Jesuit for what he ought or appears to be, and you commit the greatest of blunders. Draw the character after what the Jesuit seems to be in London, and you will not recognise your portrait in the Jesuit of Rome. The Jesuit is the man of circumstances. Despotic in Spain, constitutional in England, republican in Paraguay, bigot in Rome, idolater in India, he shall assume and act out in his own person, with admirable flexibility, all those different features by which men are usually to be distinguished from each other. He will accompany the gay woman of the world to the theatre, and will share in the excesses of the debauchee. With solemn countenance, he will take his place by the side of the religious man at church, and he will revel in the tavern with the glutton and the sot. He dresses in all garbs, speaks all languages, knows all customs, is present everywhere though nowhere recognised—and all this, it should seem (O monstrous blasphemy!), for the greater glory of God—ad majorem Dei gloriam.

According to my opinion, in order to form a correct estimate of the Jesuits, we must, first, study their code, and, disregarding its letter, endeavour to discover the spirit in and by which it was dictated; secondly, we must be ever on our guard against the deception of judging them simply by their deeds, without constant reference to the results flowing from them—for we may rest assured that, in their case, it will be too often found that the fruit which externally may be fair and tempting to the eye, yields nothing at its core but vileness and corruption.


It is under the guidance of such principles of criticism as these that I shall write my history.

My readers, however, must not look to find my book thick-sown throughout with nothing but vehement and indiscriminate abuse against the order. Such is not the vehicle through which, in the judgment of the impartial, I shall be expected to manifest my disapproval, whenever the occasion for such disapproval shall present itself. It will be my endeavour not to be led astray by any feeling whatsoever, but to give every one his due. Whatever I shall advance against the Jesuits, I shall prove upon their own authority, or by notorious, incontestable facts. Alas! these will prove to be too numerous, and of too dark a character, to require the addition of anything that is untrue; and the Society numbers among its members too many rogues to prevent its historian (if, indeed, one so unjust could be found) from making creditable mention, for poor humanity’s sake, of the few honest, if misguided, ones he may chance to meet on his way.

I hope my readers will be indulgent to me, if I promise that I will spare neither trouble nor exertion to surmount all the difficulties that lie in my path, and to present in as true a light as possible the crafty disciples of the brotherhood of Loyola.





The sixteenth century presents itself pregnant with grave and all-important events. The old world disappears—a new order of things commences. The royal power, adorned with the seignorial prerogatives snatched from the subjugated barons, establishes itself amidst their ruined castles, beneath which lies buried the feudal system. Mercenary armies, now constantly maintained by the sovereign, render him independent of the military services of his subjects, and formidable alike to foreign foes and to turbulent nobles. The monarchs advance rapidly towards despotism—the people subside into apathetic submission, Europe has become the appanage of a few masters. Henry VIII. of England, Francis I. of France, and Charles V. of Spain, share it among them; but, not content with their respective dominions, they fight among themselves for the empire of the whole, or at least for supremacy of power. Henry having retired from the contest after the Electoral Congress of Frankfort,[6] the other two continue the strife with varying success. The gold of the recently discovered western world, and his immense possessions, give to Charles an enormous power. The bravery of a warlike nation makes formidable the chivalrous spirit of the indomitable Francis. Their wars redden Europe with blood, yet produce no decided result.

Meanwhile, as a compensation for these evils, the human mind, casting off the prejudices and ignorance of the Middle Ages, marches to regeneration. Italy becomes, for the second time, the centre from whence the light of genius and learning shines forth over Europe. Leonardo da Vinci, Tiziano, Michael Angelo, are the sublime, the almost divine interpreters of art. Pulci, Ariosto, Poliziano, give a new and creative impulse to literature, and are the worthy descendants of Dante. Scholasticism, with its subtle argumentations, vague reasonings, and illogical deductions, is superseded by the practical philosophy of Lorenzo and Machiavelli, and by the irresistible and eloquent logic of the virtuous but unfortunate Savonarola. Men who for the last three centuries had been satisfied with what had been taught and said by Aristotle and his followers—who, as the last and incontrovertible argument, had been accustomed to exclaim, Ipse dixit—now begin to think for themselves, and dare to doubt and discuss what had hitherto been considered sacred and unassailable truths. The newly-awakened human intellect eagerly enters upon the new path, and becomes argumentative and inquiring, to the great dismay of those who deprecated diversity of faith; and the Court of Rome, depending on the blind obedience of the credulous, anathematising every disputer of the Papal infallibility, views with especial concern this rising spirit of inquiry, and has to tremble for its usurped power.

Fortunately, the three last Popes had bestowed little or no attention on the spiritual affairs of the[7] world, and made no effort to combat the new ideas. Borgia, amid his incestuous debaucheries, had been solely intent upon suppressing by poniard and poison the refractory spirit of the Roman barons, and upon acquiring new territories for his cherished Cæsar—a son worthy of such a father. Julius, in his noble enterprise of ridding Italy from foreign domination, was a great deal fonder of casque and cuirass than of the Somma of St Thomas or any other theological book. Leo, son of that Lorenzo rightly called “Magnifico,” had inherited his father’s love of art and literature, and of every noble pursuit. Magnificent, generous, affable yet dignified in his manners, living amidst every luxury, the centre of the most splendid court in the world, he exhibited the characteristics of a temporal prince rather than those of the supreme pontiff. He took a greater interest in a stanza of Ariosto or a statue by Michael Angelo than in all the writings of the scholastics, of which, in fact, he knew very little. The impartial and accurate Sarpi says of him—“He would have been a perfect pontiff, if to so many excellencies he had united some knowledge in the matter of religion, and a little more inclination to piety, two things about which he seemed to care but little.”[1] He laughed heartily when some of his more bigoted prelates pointed out to him the imminent perils to religion and the Church from the rapid spread of the new and dangerous doctrines. He viewed the quarrels between the Dominican and Augustine Friars much in the same light in which Homer is supposed to have regarded the battle of the frogs and mice, and was at last roused from his indifference only when Luther attacked—not any article of faith, but his pretended right of selling indulgences to replenish his coffers and provide his sister’s dowry. Yet even then he would have preferred a compromise to a religious[8] war. Had his fanatical courtiers participated in his prudent scruples, the Roman Church might have long retained Germany and many other European countries under her yoke. But God in his wisdom had ordained otherwise.

To a very submissive letter which the Reformer addressed to the Pope, appealing to him as to a judge, the Court of Rome replied by a bull of excommunication. Upon this Luther renewed his anxious investigation of the Holy Scriptures with increased ardour; and, becoming more and more powerfully convinced that he had been propounding nothing but the Word of God, fearlessly cast aside all idea of a reconciliation, and stood firm in support of his doctrines. Previously he might have been inclined to keep in abeyance some of his private opinions, but now he had come to consider it a deadly sin not to preach the truth as expressed by God in his Holy Word.

The German princes, partly persuaded of the truth of Luther’s doctrines, partly desirous to escape the exacting tyranny of Rome which drained their subjects’ pockets, supported the Reformer. They protested at Spires, and at Smalkaden made preparations to maintain their protest by arms. In a few years, without armed violence, but simply by the persuasive force of truth, the greater part of Germany became converted to the Reformed faith. The honest indignation of Zuinglius in Switzerland, and, conspiring with the diffusion of the truth, the unbridled passions of Henry VIII. in England, alike rescued a considerable portion of their respective countries from the Romish yoke. In France and in Navarre the new doctrines found many warm adherents; whilst in Italy itself, at Brescia, Pisa, Florence, nay, even at Rome and at Faenza, there were many who more or less openly embraced the principles of the Reformation. Thus, in a short time, the Roman religion—founded[9] in ancient and deep-rooted prejudices—supported by the two greatest powers in the world, the Pope and the Emperor—defended by all the bishops and priests, who lived luxuriously by it—was overturned throughout a great part of Europe.

And let us here admire the hand of Divine Providence! As if with the special view of facilitating the rapid diffusion of the Reformed religion, there was given to the world but a few years before, and in that same Germany where it took its rise, the most wonderful and efficient instrument for the purpose—the Art of Printing. Without the press, Luther’s doctrines would never have spread so widely in so very few months. As at that time this beneficent invention was a powerful agent in advancing religious reformation, so has it since become an effective means of political as well as religious enfranchisement. Hence the hatred of the Popes and their brother despots towards this staunch supporter of liberty.

But while the Word of God was thus rescuing such multitudes from idolatry, the Spirit of Evil, furious at the escape of so many victims whom he had already counted his own, made a desperate effort to retrieve his past, and prevent future losses. He saw, with dismay, Divine truth, like a vast and ever-extending inundation, rapidly undermining and throwing down, one by one, his many strongholds of superstition and ignorance; and, with the despairing energy of baffled malignity, he set about rearing up a bulwark which should check the tide ere its work of destruction was completed. For this bulwark he devised the since famous order of the Jesuits, which arose almost simultaneously with the establishment of the Reformation. So we may say. The Roman Catholic writers, however, ascribe the origin of the Jesuits to a far different influence. They declare, “that, as from time to time new heresies have afflicted the Church of God, so He has raised up holy men to[10] combat them; and as He had raised up St Dominic against the Albigenses and Vaudois, so He sent Loyola and his disciples against the Lutherans and Calvinists.”[2]

It is of this renowned and dreaded Society that I purpose to write the history. As a matter of course, the first few pages will contain a biographical sketch of its bold and sagacious founder, to whom altars have been consecrated, and who is still regarded as the type and soul of the order.

Iñigo, or, as commonly called, Ignatius Loyola, the youngest of eleven children of a noble and ancient family, was born in the year 1491, in his father’s castle of Loyola at Guipuscoa in Spain. He was of middle stature, and rather dark complexion; had deep-set piercing eyes, and a handsome and noble countenance. While yet young he had become bald, which gave him an expression of dignity, that was not impaired by a lameness arising from a severe wound. His father, a worldly man, as his biographer says, instead of sending him to some holy community to be instructed in religion and piety, placed him as a page at the court of Ferdinand V. But Ignatius, naturally of a bold and aspiring disposition, soon found that no glory was to be reaped in the antechambers of the Catholic king; and, delighting in military exercises, he became a soldier—and a brave one he proved. His historians, to make his subsequent conversion appear more wonderful and miraculous, have represented him as a perfect monster of iniquity; but, in truth, he was merely a gay soldier, fond of pleasure no doubt, yet not more debauched than the generality of his brother officers. His profligacy, whatever it was, did not prevent him from being[11] a man of strict honour, never backward in time of danger.

At the defence of Pampeluna against the French, in 1521, Ignatius, while bravely performing his duty on the walls, was struck down by a ball, which disabled both his legs. With him fell the courage of the besieged. They yielded, and the victors entering the town, found the wounded officer, and kindly sent him to his father’s castle, which was not far distant. Here he endured all the agonies which generally attend gunshot wounds, and an inflammatory fever which supervened brought him to the verge of the grave—when, “Oh, miracle!” exclaims his biographer, “it being the eve of the feast of the glorious saints Peter and Paul, the prince of the apostles appeared to him in a vision, and touched him, whereby he was, if not immediately restored to health, at least put in a fair way of recovery.” Now the fact is, that the patient uttered not a syllable regarding his vision at the time; nevertheless we are gravely assured that the miracle was not the less a fact. Be this, however, as it may, Ignatius undoubtedly recovered, though slowly. During his long convalescence, he sought to beguile the tedious hours of irksome inactivity passed in the sick chamber by reading all the books of knight-errantry which could be procured. The chivalrous exploits of the Rolands and Amadises made a deep impression upon his imagination, which, rendered morbidly sensitive by a long illness, may well be supposed to have been by no means improved by such a course of study. When these books were exhausted, some pious friend brought him the Lives of the Saints. This work, however, not suiting his taste, Ignatius at first flung it aside in disgust, but afterwards, from sheer lack of better amusement, he began to read it. It presented to him a new phase of the romantic and marvellous, in which he so much delighted. He soon became[12] deeply interested, and read it over and over again. The strange adventures of these saints—the praise, the adoration, the glorious renown which they acquired—so fired his mind, that he almost forgot his favourite paladins. His ardent ambition saw here a new career opened up to it. He longed to become a saint.

Yet the military life had not lost its attractions for him. It did not require the painful preparation necessary to earn a saintly reputation, and was, moreover, more in accordance with his education and tastes. He long hesitated which course to adopt—whether he should win the laurels of a hero, or earn the crown of a saint. Had he perfectly recovered from the effects of his wound, there is little doubt but that he would have chosen the laurels. But this was not to be. Although he was restored to health, his leg remained hopelessly deformed—he was a cripple for life. It appeared that his restorer, St Peter, although upon the whole a tolerably good physician, was by no means an expert surgeon. The broken bone of his leg had not been properly set; part of it protruded through the skin below the knee, and the limb was short. Sorely, but vainly, did Ignatius strive to remove these impediments to a military career, which his unskilful though saintly surgeon had permitted to remain. He had the projecting piece of bone sawn off, and his shortened leg painfully extended by mechanical appliances, in the hope of restoring it to its original fine proportions. The attempt failed; so he found himself, at the age of thirty-two, with a shrunken limb, with little or no renown, and, by his incurable lameness, rendered but slightly capable of acquiring military glory. Nothing then remained for him but to become a saint.

Saintship being thus, as it were, forced upon him, he at once set about the task of achieving it, with all that ardour which he brought to bear upon every pursuit. He became daily absorbed in the most profound[13] meditations, and made a full confession of all his past sins, which was so often interrupted by his passionate outbursts of penitent weeping, that it lasted three days.[3] To stimulate his devotion, he lacerated his flesh with the scourge, and abjuring his past life, he hung up his sword beside the altar in the church of the convent of Monserrat. Meeting a beggar on the public road, he exchanged clothes with him, and, habited in the loathsome rags of the mendicant, retired to a cave near Manreze, where he nearly starved himself. When he next re-appeared in public, he found his hopes almost realised. His fame had spread far and wide; the people flocked from all quarters to see him—visited his cave with feelings of reverent curiosity—and, in short, nothing was talked of but the holy man and his severe penances. But now the Evil Spirit began to assail him. The tender conscience of Ignatius began to torment him with the fear that all this public notice had made him proud; that, while he had almost begun to consider himself a saint, he was, in reality, by reason of that very belief itself, the most heinous of sinners. So embittered did his life become in consequence of these thoughts, that he went wellnigh distracted. “But God supported him; and the Tempter, baffled in his attempts, fled. Ignatius fasted for seven days, neither eating nor drinking; went again to the confessional; and, receiving absolution, was not only delivered from the stings of his own conscience, but obtained the gift of healing the troubled consciences of others.”[4] This miraculous gift Ignatius is believed to have transmitted to his successors, and it is in a great measure to this belief that the enormous influence of the Company of Jesus is to be attributed, as we shall see hereafter.

Now that Ignatius could endure his saintship without[14] being overwhelmed by a feeling of sinfulness, he pursued his course with renewed alacrity. Yet it was in itself by no means an attractive one. In order to be a perfect Catholic saint, a man must become a sort of misanthrope—cast aside wholesome and cleanly apparel, go about clothed in filthy rags, wearing haircloth next his skin—and, renouncing the world and its inhabitants, must retire to some noisome den, there to live in solitary meditation, with wild roots and water for food, daily applying the scourge to expiate his sins—of which, according to one of the disheartening doctrines of the Catholic Church, even the just commit at least seven a day. The saint must enter into open rebellion against the laws and instincts of human nature, and consequently against the will of the Creator. And although it cannot be denied that some of the founders of monastic orders conscientiously believed that their rules were conducive to holiness and eternal beatitude, nevertheless, we may with justice charge them with overlooking the fact, that as the transgression of the laws of nature invariably brings along with it its own punishment—a certain evidence of the Divine displeasure—true holiness cannot consist in disregarding and opposing them.

Ignatius, however, continued his life of penance, made to the Virgin Mary a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, begged for his bread, often scourged himself, and spent many hours a day in prayer and meditation. What he meditated upon, God only knows. After a few months of this ascetic life, he published a little book which much increased his fame for sanctity. It is a small octavo volume, and bears the title of Spiritual Exercises.[5] As this work, the only one he has left, is the acknowledged standard of[15] the Jesuits’ religious practice, and is by them extolled to the skies, we must say some few words about it.

First of all, we shall relate the supernatural origin assigned to it by the disciples and panegyrists of its author.

“He” (Ignatius) “had already done much for God’s sake, and God now rendered it back to him with usury. A courtier, a man of pleasure, and a soldier, he had neither the time nor the will to gather knowledge from books. But the knowledge of man, the most difficult of all, was divinely revealed to him. The master who was to form so many masters, was himself formed by Divine illumination. He composed the Spiritual Exercises, a work which had a most important place in his life, and is powerfully reflected in the history of his disciples.”

This quotation is from Crétineau Joly (vol i. p. 18), an author who professes not to belong to the Society, but whose book was published under the patronage of the Jesuits, who, he says, opened to him all the depositories of unpublished letters and manuscripts in their principal convent, the Gesù, at Rome; he wrote also a virulent pamphlet against the great Pontiff Clement XIV., the suppressor of the Jesuits. Hence we consider ourselves fairly entitled to rank the few quotations we shall make from him as among those emanating from the writers that belong to the order; and we are confident that no Jesuit would ever think of repudiating Crétineau Joly. This author proceeds to state, that in the manuscript in which Father Jouvency narrates in elegant Latin those strange events, it is said—‘This light shed by the Divine will upon Ignatius shewed him openly and without veil the mystery of the adorable Trinity and other arcana of religion. He remained for eight days as if deprived[16] of life. What he witnessed during this ecstatic trance, as well as in many other visions which he had during life, no one knows. He had indeed committed these celestial visions to paper, but shortly before his death he burned the book containing them, lest it should fall into unworthy hands. A few pages, however, escaped his precautions, and from them one can easily conjecture that he must have been from day to day loaded with still greater favours. Chiefly was he sweetly ravished in contemplating the dignity of Christ the Lord, and his inconceivable charity towards the human race. As the mind of Ignatius was filled with military ideas, he figured to himself Christ as a general fighting for the Divine glory, and calling on all men to gather under his standard. Hence sprang his desire to form an army of which Jesus should be the chief and commander, the standard inscribed—‘Ad majorem Dei gloriam.’

With deference to M. Joly, we think that a more mundane origin may be found for the “Exercises” in the feverish dreams of a heated imagination. Be this as it may, however, we shall proceed to lay before our readers a short analysis of it, extracted from Cardinal Wiseman’s preface to the last edition. He says—“This is a practical, not a theoretical work. It is not a treatise on sin or on virtue; it is not a method of Christian perfection, but it contains the entire practice of perfection, by making us at once conquer sin and acquire the highest virtue. The person who goes through the Exercises is not instructed, but is made to act; and this book will not be intelligible apart from this view.”

“The reader will observe that it is divided into Four Weeks; and each of these has a specific object, to advance the exercitant an additional step towards perfect virtue. If the work of each week be thoroughly done, this is actually accomplished.[6]


“The first week has for its aim the cleansing of the conscience from past sin, and of the affections from their future dangers. For this purpose, the soul is made to convince itself deeply of the true end of its being—to serve God and be saved, and of the real worth of all else. This consideration has been justly called by St Ignatius the principle or foundation of the entire system.” The Cardinal assures us that the certain result of this first week’s exercises is, that “sin is abandoned, hated, loathed....

“In the second, the life of Christ is made our model; by a series of contemplations of it we become familiar with his virtues, enamoured of his perfections; we learn, by copying him, to be obedient to God and man, meek, humble, affectionate; zealous, charitable, and forgiving; men of only one wish and one thought—that of doing ever God’s holy will alone; discreet, devout, observant of every law, scrupulous performers of every duty. Every meditation on these subjects shews us how to do all this; in fact, makes us really do it.[7] ... The third week brings us to this. Having desired and tried to be like Christ in action, we are brought to wish and endeavour to be like unto him in suffering. For this purpose his sacred passion becomes the engrossing subject of the Exercises.... But she (the soul) must be convinced and feel, that if she suffers, she also shall be glorified with him; and hence the fourth and concluding week raises the soul to the consideration of those glories which crowned the humiliations and sufferings of our Lord.” Then, after a highly figurative eulogium upon the efficacy of the Exercises “duly performed,” the reverend prelate proceeds to shew that the one “essential element of a spiritual retreat” (for so the Exercises reduced to action are popularly called) “is direction. In the Catholic Church no one is ever allowed to trust himself in[18] spiritual matters. The sovereign pontiff is obliged to submit himself to the direction of another, in whatever concerns his own soul. The life of a good retreat is a good director of it.” This director modifies (according to certain written rules) the order of the Exercises, to adapt them to the peculiar character of the exercitant; regulates the time employed in them, watches their effects, and, like a physician prescribing for a patient, varies the treatment according to the symptoms exhibited, encouraging those which seem favourable, and suppressing those which are detrimental, to the desired result. “Let no one,” says the Cardinal, “think of undertaking these holy Exercises without the guidance of a prudent and experienced director.”

“It will be seen that the weeks of the Exercises do not mean necessarily a period of seven days. The original period of their performance was certainly a month; but even so, more or less time was allotted to each week’s work according to the discretion of the director. Now, except in very particular circumstances, the entire period is abridged to ten days; sometimes it is still further reduced.”

It will be observed from the above extracts, that the Cardinal, ignoring the fact that the sinner’s conversion must be effected entirely by the operation of the Holy Spirit, seems to regard the unregenerate human soul merely as a piece of raw material, which the “director” may, as it were, manufacture into a saint, simply by subjecting it to the process prescribed in the Exercises.

In regard to the merits of the book, I cannot agree either with Wiseman or a very brilliant Protestant writer,[8] who, speaking of the approbation bestowed on it by Pope Paul III., says—“Yet on this subject the chair of Knox, if now filled by himself, would not be very widely at variance with the throne of St[19] Peter.” The book certainly does not deserve this high eulogium. However, it cannot be denied that, amidst many recommendations of many absurd and superstitious practices proper to the Popish religion, the little volume does contain some very good maxims and precepts. For instance, here are two passages to which I am sure that not even the most anti-Catholic Protestant could reasonably object. At page 16 it is said—

“Man was created for this end, that he might praise and reverence the Lord his God, and, serving him, at length be saved.[9] But the other things which are placed on the earth were created for man’s sake, that they might assist him in pursuing the end of creation; whence it follows, that they are to be used or abstained from in proportion as they benefit or hinder him in pursuing that end. Wherefore we ought to be indifferent towards all created things (in so far as they are subject to the liberty of our will, and not prohibited), so that (to the best of our power) we seek not health more than sickness, nor prefer riches to poverty, honour to contempt, a long life to a short one. But it is fitting, out of all, to choose and desire those things only which lead to the end.” And again, at page 33—“The third” (article for meditation) “is, to consider myself; who, or of what kind I am, adding comparisons which may bring me to a greater contempt of myself; as, if I reflect how little I am when compared with all men; then, what the whole multitude of mortals is, as compared with the angels and all the blessed: after these things I must consider what, in fact, all the creation is in comparison with God the Creator himself; what now can I, one mere human being, be? Lastly, let me look at the corruption of my whole self, the wickedness of my soul, and the pollution of my body, and account myself to be a kind of ulcer or boil, from[20] which so great and foul a flood of sins, so great a pestilence of vices, has flowed down.

“The fourth is, to consider what God is, whom I have thus offended, collecting the perfections which are God’s peculiar attributes, and comparing them with my opposite vices and defects; comparing, that is to say, his supreme power, wisdom, goodness, and justice, with my extreme weakness, ignorance, wickedness, and iniquity.”

But then the above “Exercises” are followed by certain “Additions,” which are recommended as conducing to their “better performance.” Some of these are very strange; for instance—“The fourth is, to set about the contemplation itself, now kneeling on the ground, now lying on my face or on my back; now sitting or standing, and composing myself, in the way in which I may hope the more easily to attain what I desire. In which matter, these two things must be attended to: the first, that if, on my knees or in any other posture, I obtain what I wish, I seek nothing further. The second, that on the point in which I shall have attained the devotion I seek, I ought to rest, without being anxious about pressing on until I shall have satisfied myself.” “The sixth, that I avoid those thoughts which bring joy, as that of the glorious resurrection of Christ; since any such thought hinders the tears and grief for my sins, which must then be sought by calling in mind rather death or judgment.” “The seventh, that, for the same reason, I deprive myself of all the brightness of the light, shutting the doors and windows so long as I remain there” (in my chamber), “except while I have to read or take my food.” At page 55 we find, in the Second Week—“The Fifth Contemplation is the application of the senses to those” (contemplations) “mentioned above. After the preparatory prayer, with the three already mentioned preludes, it is eminently useful to exercise the five imaginary senses[21] concerning the first and second contemplations in the following way, according as the subject shall bear.

“The first point will be, to see in imagination all the persons, and, noting the circumstances which shall occur concerning them, to draw out what may be profitable to ourselves.

“The second, by hearing, as it were, what they are saying, or what it may be natural for them to say, to turn all to our own advantage.

“The third, to perceive, by a certain inward taste and smell, how great is the sweetness and delightfulness of the soul imbued with Divine gifts and virtues, according to the nature of the person we are considering, adapting to ourselves those things which may bring us some fruit.

“The fourth, by an inward touch, to handle and kiss the garments, places, footsteps, and other things connected with such persons; whence we may derive a greater increase of devotion, or of any spiritual good.

“This contemplation will be terminated, like the former ones, by adding, in like manner, Pater noster.”

At page 52, among things “to be noted” is—

“The second, that the first exercise concerning the Incarnation of Christ is performed at midnight; the next at dawn; the third about the hour of mass; the fourth about the time of vespers; the fifth a little before supper; and on each of them will be spent the space of one hour; which same thing has to be observed henceforward everywhere.”

Loyola’s next step towards holiness was a pilgrimage to Palestine to convert the infidels. What he did in the Holy Land we do not know; his biographer tells us only that he was sent back by the Franciscan friar who exercised there the Papal authority.[10]


On his homeward voyage, Ignatius conceived that a little learning would perhaps help him in the task of converting heretics, and thus furnish him with an additional chance of rendering himself famous; so after his return he attended a school at Barcelona for two years, where, a full-grown man of thirty-four, he learned the rudiments of the Latin language, sitting upon the same bench with little boys.

Having failed to make any proselytes to his extravagances at Barcelona, he went to Alcala, and studied in the university newly erected there by Cardinal Ximenes. Here he attracted much public notice by the eccentricities of his fanatical piety. He wore a peculiar dress of coarse material, and by his fervid discourse contrived to win over to his mode of life four or five young men, whom he called his disciples. But he was regarded with suspicion by the authorities, who twice imprisoned him. He and his converts were ordered to resume the common garb, and to cease to expound to the people the mysteries of religion.[11] Indignant at this, Ignatius immediately set out for Paris, where, in the beginning of 1528, he arrived alone, his companions having deserted him.

His persecutions at Alcala had taught him prudence; so that, although his attempts at notoriety in Paris, in the way of dress, manners, and language, brought him before the tribunal of the Inquisition,[12] he nevertheless had managed matters so cautiously as to escape all punishment. Here, while contending with the difficulties of the Latin grammar,[13] he[23] was ever revolving in his vast and capacious mind some new scheme for fulfilling his desires and gratifying his passion for renown. But as yet he knew not what he was destined to accomplish. There seems no ground for supposing that he could already have formed the gigantic and comprehensive project of establishing, on the basis on which it now stands, his wonderful and powerful Society. No; he only contrived, as he had done in Spain, to enlist some followers, over whom he could exercise an absolute control, for the furtherance of any future project. In this his success had far exceeded his expectations. The magnanimous and heroic Xavier, the intelligent and interesting Le Fevre, the learned Lainez, the noble and daring Rodriguez, and some three or four others, acknowledged him as their chief and master.

It may at first sight appear strange that such privileged intelligences should have submitted themselves to a comparatively ignorant ex-officer. But when it is borne in mind that Ignatius had a definite end, towards which he advanced with steady and unhesitating steps, whilst his companions had no fixed plan—that he was endowed with an iron will, which neither poverty, nor imprisonment, nor even the world’s contempt, could overcome—that, above all, he had the art to flatter their respective passions, and to win their affections by using all his influence to promote their interests—it is less surprising that he should have gained an immense influence over those inexperienced and ingenuous young men, on whose[24] generous natures the idea of devoting their lives to the welfare of mankind had already made a deep impression. Loyola’s courage and ambition were strongly stimulated by the acquisition of disciples so willing and devoted—so efficient for his purpose—so attached to his person; and he began to consider how he might turn their devotion to the best account.

After some conferences with his companions, he assembled them all on the day of the Assumption, 16th August 1534, in the church of the Abbey of Montmartre, where, after Peter Le Fevre had celebrated mass, they each took a solemn vow to go to the Holy Land and preach the gospel to the infidels. Ignatius, satisfied for the present with these pledges, left Paris, in order, as he asserted, to recruit his health by breathing his native air at Loyola before setting out on his arduous mission, and doubtless also to find solitude and leisure in which to meditate and devise means for realising his ambitious hopes. His disciples remained in Paris to terminate their theological studies, and he commanded them to meet him again at Venice in the beginning of 1537, enjoining them, meanwhile, if any one should ask them what religion they professed, to answer that they belonged to the Society of Jesus—since they were Christ’s soldiers.[14]

Our saint preceded them to Venice, where he again encountered some difficulties and a little persecution; but he endured all with unflinching patience. Here he became acquainted with Pierre Caraffa (afterwards Pope Paul IV.) This harsh and remarkable man had renounced the bishopric of Theate, to become the companion of the meek and gentle Saint Gajetan of Tyenne, and with his assistance had founded[25] the religious order of the Theatines. The members of this fraternity endeavoured, by exemplary living, devotion to their clerical duties of preaching and administering the sacraments, and ministering to the sick, to correct the evils produced throughout all Christendom by the scandalous and immoral conduct of the regular and secular clergy. To Caraffa, who had already acquired great influence, Ignatius attached himself, became an inmate of the convent he had founded, served patiently and devotedly in the hospital which he directed, and shortly became Caraffa’s intimate friend. This fixed at once the hitherto aimless ambition of Loyola. He conceived the idea of achieving power and fame, if not as the founder of a new order, at least as the remodeller of one already existing. With this design, he submitted to Caraffa a plan of reform for his order, and strongly urged its adoption. But Caraffa, who perhaps suspected his motive, rejected his proposal, and offered to admit him as a brother of the order as it stood. This, however, did not suit Ignatius, whose proud nature could never have submitted to play even the second part, much less that of an insignificant member in a society over which another had all power and authority. He therefore declined the honour, and at once determined to found a new religious community of his own. Aware, however, of the difficulties he might have to overcome, he resolved to proceed with the utmost caution.

Being under a vow to go to convert the infidels in the Holy Land, he gave out that to this work alone were the lives of himself and his companions to be devoted. Accordingly, as soon as they arrived in Venice, he sent them to Rome to beg the Pope’s blessing on their enterprise, as he said; and also, no doubt, to exhibit them to the Roman court as the embryo of a new religious order. The reason assigned by his[26] historians for his not going to Rome along with them, is, that he feared that his presence there might be prejudicial to them.[15] It is just as likely that he was afraid lest, beneath his cloak of ostentatious humility, the discerning eye of Pope Paul might detect his unbounded ambition.

At Rome his disciples were favourably received;—the Pontiff bestowed the desired benediction, and they returned to Venice, whence they were to sail for Palestine.

Here Ignatius prevailed upon them to take vows of perpetual chastity and poverty, and then, under pretext of the war which was raging at the time between the emperor and the Turks, they abandoned their mission altogether. So ended their pious pilgrimage.

Taking with him Lainez and Le Fevre, Loyola then proceeded to Rome, and craved audience of the Pope.

The chair of St Peter was at this time occupied by Paul Farnese—that same Pope who opened, and in part conducted, the Council of Trent; who instigated the emperor to the war against the Protestants; who sent, under his grandson’s command, 12,000 of his own troops into Germany to assist in that war; and who lifted up his sacrilegious hand to bless whoever would shed Protestant blood. He had been scandalously incontinent; and if he did not, like Alexander VI., entirely sacrifice the interests of the Church and of humanity to the aggrandisement of his own family, nevertheless, his son received the dukedom of Placentia, and his grandsons were created cardinals at the age of fourteen, and one of them was intended to be Duke of Milan. However, Paul had some grandeur in his nature. He was generous, and therefore popular, and his activity was indefatigable.[27] But Sarpi says of him, that of all his own qualities, he did not appreciate any nearly so much as his dissimulation.[16]

By this amiable pontiff, Ignatius and his companions were kindly received. He praised their exemplary and religious life, questioned them concerning their projects, but took no notice of the plan they hinted at, of originating a new religious order.

But Loyola was not to be thus discouraged. He summoned to Rome all his followers (who had remained in Lombardy, preaching with a bigoted fanaticism and calling the citizens to repentance), and gave them a clearer outline than he had hitherto done of the society he proposed to establish. This they entirely approved of, and took another vow (the most essential for Loyola’s purpose) of implicit and unquestioning obedience to their superior. Admire here the cautious and consummate art by which Ignatius, step by step, brought his associates to the desired point.

Notwithstanding the repeated refusals of the Court of Rome to accede to his wishes, neither the courage nor the perseverance of Ignatius failed him. After much reflection, he at last thought he had discovered a way to overcome the Pope’s unwillingness. Consulting with his companions, he persuaded them to take a fourth vow, viz., one of obedience to the Holy See and to the Pope pro tempore, with the express obligation of going, without remuneration, to whatever part of the world it should please the Pope to send them. He then drew up a petition, in which were stated some of the principles and rules of the order he desired to establish, and sent it to the Pope by Cardinal Contarini.

This fourth vow made a great impression on the wily pontiff; yet so great was his aversion to religious communities, some of which were just then the objects[28] of popular hatred and the plague of the Roman court, that he refused to approve of this new one until he had the advice of three cardinals, to whom he referred the matter. Guidiccioni, the most talented of the three, strenuously opposed it; but Paul, who perhaps had by this time penetrated the designs of Loyola, and perceived that the proposed Society could not prosper unless by contending for and maintaining the supremacy of the Holy See, thought it would be his best policy to accept the services of these volunteers, especially as it was a time when he much needed them. Consequently, on the 27th of September 1540, he issued the famous bull, regimini militantis Ecclesiæ, approving of the new order under the name of “The Society of Jesus.” We consider it indispensable to give some extracts from this bull.

“Paul, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God, for a perpetual record. Presiding by God’s will over the Government of the Church, &c.... Whereas we have lately learned that our beloved son Ignatius de Loyola, and Peter Le Fevre, and James Lainez; and also Claudius Le Jay, and Paschasius Brouet, and Francis Xavier; and also Alphonso Salmeron and Simon Rodriguez, and John Coduri, and Nicolas de Bobadilla; priests of the Cities, &c.... inspired, as is piously believed, by the Holy Ghost; coming from various regions of the globe; are met together, and become associates; and, renouncing the seductions of this world, have dedicated their lives to the perpetual service of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of us, and of other our successors, Roman Pontiffs; and expressly for the instruction of boys and other ignorant people in Christianity; and, above all, for the spiritual consolation of the faithful in Christ, by HEARING CONFESSIONS; ... We receive the associates under our protection and that of the Apostolic See; conceding to them, moreover, that some among them may freely and lawfully draw up such Constitutions as they shall judge to[29] be conformable to, &c.... We will, moreover, that into this Society there be admitted to the number of sixty persons only, desirous of embracing this rule of living, and no more, and to be incorporated into the Society aforesaid.”

The above-named ten persons were the first companions of Loyola, and, with him, the founders of the Society. But the merit of framing the Constitution which was to govern it belongs solely to Ignatius himself. He alone among them all was capable of such a conception. He alone could have devised a scheme by which one free rational being is converted into a mere automaton—acting, speaking, even thinking, according to the expressed will of another. There is no record in history, of any man, be he king, emperor, or pope, exercising such absolute and irresponsible power over his fellow-men as does the General of the Jesuits over his disciples. In the Spiritual Exercises Loyola appears to be merely an ascetic enthusiast; in the Constitution he shews himself a high genius, with a perfect and profound knowledge of human nature and of the natural sequence of events. Never was there put together a plan so admirably harmonious in all its parts, so wonderfully suited to its ends, or which has ever met with such prodigious success.

Prompt, unhesitating obedience to the commands of the General, and (for the benefit of the Society, and ad majorem Dei gloriam) great elasticity in all other rules, according to the General’s goodwill, are the chief features of this famous Constitution, which, as it constitutes the Jesuits’ code of morality, we shall now proceed to examine, doing our best to shew the spirit in which it was dictated.



The times in which Ignatius wrote the Constitutions were, for the Court of Rome and the Catholic religion, times of anxiety and danger. The Reformation was making rapid progress, and all Christendom, Catholic[18] as well as Protestant, resounded with the “Hundred Complaints” (Centum gravamina) brought forward at the Diet of Nuremberg against the Roman court—complaints and accusations which the wonderfully candid Adrian VI. acknowledged to be too well founded. This pontiff, by his nuncio, frankly declared to the Diet, “that all this confusion was originated by men’s sins, and, above all, by those of the clergymen and prelates—that for many years past the Holy See had committed many abominations—that numerous abuses had crept into the administration of spiritual affairs, and many superfluities into the laws—that all had been perverted—and that the corruption, descending from the head to the body, from the Sovereign Pontiff to the prelates, was so great, that[31] there could hardly be found one who did good.”[19] When a pope confessed so much to Protestant ears, it may well be imagined to what a degree of rottenness the moral leprosy must have arrived.

But, besides this corruption, great confusion reigned throughout the Roman Catholic world. The different monastic orders were at war with one another. The bishops accused the Pope of tyranny; the Pope denounced the bishops as disobedient. The mass of the people were deplorably ignorant, and general disorder prevailed.

Now, mark with what admirable art, what profound sagacity, Ignatius modelled a society, which, by displaying the virtues directly opposed to the then prevailing vices, should captivate the affections and secure the support of the good and the pious, whilst, by underhand practices, and, above all, by shewing unusual indulgence in the confessional, it should obtain an influence over the minds of the more worldly believers.

In order that diversity of opinion and the free exercise of individual will should not produce division and confusion within this new Christian community, Loyola enacted that, in the whole Society, there should be no will, no opinion, but the General’s. But, in order that the General might be enabled profitably to employ each individual member, as well as the collective energy and intelligence of the whole Society, it was necessary that he should be thoroughly acquainted with his character, even to its smallest peculiarities. To insure this, Ignatius established special rules. Thus, regarding the admission of postulants, he says—

“Because it greatly concerns God’s service to make a good selection, diligence must be used to ascertain the particulars of their person and calling; and if the superior, who is to admit him into probation, cannot[32] make the inquiry, let him employ from among those who are constantly about his person some one whose assistance he may use, to become acquainted with the probationer—to live with him and examine him;—some one endowed with prudence, and not unskilled in the manner which should be observed with so many various kinds and conditions of persons.”[20] In other words, set a skilful and prudent spy over him, to surprise him into the betrayal of his most secret thoughts. Yet, even when this spy has given a tolerably favourable report, the candidate is not yet admitted—he is sent to live in another house, “in order that he may be more thoroughly scrutinised, to know whether he is fitted to be admitted to probation.”[21] When he is thought suited for the Society, he is received into the “house of first probation;” and after a day or two, “he must open his conscience to the superior, and afterwards make a general confession to the confessor who shall be designed by the superior.”[22] But this is not all, for—“in every house of probation there will be a skilful man to whom the candidate shall disclose all his concerns with confidence; and let him be admonished to hide no temptation, but to disclose it to him, or to his confessor, or to the superior; nay, to take a pleasure in thoroughly manifesting his whole soul to them, not only disclosing his defects, but even his penances, mortifications, and virtues.”[23] When the candidate is admitted into any of their colleges, he must again “open his conscience to the rector of the college, whom he should greatly revere and venerate, as one who holds the place of Christ our Lord; keeping nothing concealed from him, not even his conscience, which he should disclose to him (as it is set forth in the Examen) at the appointed season, and oftener, if[33] any cause require it; not opposing, not contradicting, nor shewing an opinion, in any case, opposed to his opinion.”[24]

The information thus collected, regarding the tastes, habits, and inclinations of every member, is communicated to the General, who notes it down in a book, alphabetically arranged, and kept for the purpose, in which also, as he receives twice a year a detailed report upon every member of the Society, he from time to time adds whatever seems necessary to complete each delineation of character, or to indicate the slightest change. Thus, the General knowing the past and present life, the thoughts, the desires of every one belonging to the Society, it is easy to understand how he is enabled always to select the fittest person for every special service.

But this perfect knowledge of his subordinates’ inmost natures would be of but little use to the General, had he not also an absolute and uncontrolled authority over them. The Constitution has a provision for insuring this likewise. It declares that the candidate “must regard the superior as Christ the Lord, and must strive to acquire perfect resignation and denial of his own will and judgment, in all things conforming his will and judgment to that which the superior wills and judges.”[25] To the same purpose is the following: “As for holy obedience, this virtue must be perfect in every point—in execution, in will, in intellect; doing what is enjoined with all celerity, spiritual joy, and perseverance; persuading ourself that everything is just; suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of one’s own, in a certain obedience; ... and let every one persuade himself that he who lives under obedience should be moved and directed, under Divine Providence, by his superior, just as if he were a CORPSE (perinde ac si cadaver esset), which allows itself to be moved and[34] led in any direction.”[26] And so absolutely is this rule of submissive obedience enforced, that the Jesuit, in order to obey his General, must not scruple to disobey God. The warnings of conscience are to be suppressed as culpable weaknesses; the fears of eternal punishment banished from the thoughts as superstitious fancies; and the most heinous crimes, when committed by command of the General, are to be regarded as promoting the glory and praise of God.

Read and consider the following blasphemy:—“No constitution, declaration, or any order of living, can involve an obligation to commit sin, mortal or venial, unless the superior command it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, or in virtue of holy obedience; which shall be done in those cases or persons wherein it shall be judged that it will greatly conduce to the particular good of each, or to the general advantage; and, instead of the fear of offence, let the love and desire of all perfection succeed, that the greater glory and praise of Christ, our Creator and Lord, may follow!”[27]

I shudder at the thought of all the atrocities which have been perpetrated at the order of this other “old man of the mountain,” who presents to his agents the prospects of eternal bliss as the reward of their obedience.

But this is not enough. Not content with having thus transferred the allegiance of the Jesuit from his God to his General, the Constitution proceeds to secure that allegiance from all conflict with the natural affections or worldly interests. The Jesuit must concentrate all his desires and affections upon the Society. He must renounce all that is dear to him in this life. The ties of family, the bonds of friendship, must be broken. His property must, within a year after his entrance into the Society, be disposed of at the bidding of the General; “and he will accomplish a work[35] of greater perfection if he dispose of it in benefit of the Society. And that his better example may shine before men, he must put away all strong affection for his parents, and refrain from the unsuitable desire of a bountiful distribution, arising from such disadvantageous affection.”[28]

He must, besides, forego all intercourse with his fellow-men, either by word of mouth or by writing,[29] except such as his superior shall permit. “He shall not leave the house except at such times and with such companions as the superior shall allow. Nor within the house shall he converse, without restraint, with any one at his own pleasure, but with such only as shall be appointed by the superior.”[30] Such was the strictness with which these rules were enforced, that Francis Borgia, Duke of Candia, afterwards one of the saints of the Society, was at first refused admittance into it, because he delayed the settlement of the affairs of his dukedom, and refused to renounce all intercourse with his family; and although, by a special rescript from the Pope, he was enrolled as a member, Ignatius for three years sternly denied him access to the house of the community, where he was not admitted till he had renounced all intercourse with the external world.

But not only is all friendly communication forbidden to the Jesuit, but he is also placed under constant espionage. He is never permitted to walk about alone, but, whether in the house or out of doors, is always accompanied by two of his brethren.[31] Each[36] one of this party of three acts, in fact, as a spy upon his two companions. Not, indeed, that he has special instructions from his superior to do so, but, knowing that they, as well as himself, have been taught that it is their duty to inform the General of every suspicious or peculiar expression uttered in their hearing, he is under constant fear of punishment, should either of them report anything regarding the other which he omits to report likewise. Hence it is very seldom that a Jesuit refrains from denouncing his companion. If he does not do so at once, his sinful neglect becomes revealed in the confessional, to the special confessor appointed by the superior.

Then, in order that these members, so submissive in action to their General, should not differ in opinion among themselves and so occasion scandal in the Catholic world, and to oppose an uniformity of doctrine to that of the free examen of the Protestants, the Constitution decrees as follows:—“Let all think, let all speak, as far as possible, the same thing, according to the apostle. Let no contradictory doctrines, therefore, be allowed, either by word of mouth, or public sermons, or in written books, which last shall not be published without the approbation and the consent of the General; and, indeed, all difference of opinion regarding practical matters should be avoided.”[32] Thus, no one but the General can exercise the right of uttering a single original thought or opinion. It is almost impossible to conceive the power, especially in former times, of a General having at his absolute disposal such an amount of intelligences, wills, and energies.


Now, it must not be imagined that all, willing implicitly to obey the behests of the superior, are indiscriminately admitted into the Society. Such, indeed, is the case with all other monastic orders (I speak more particularly of Italy and Spain). Vagabonds, thieves, and ruffians, often became members of those communities, in whose convents they had found an asylum against the police and the hangman. Ignatius wisely guarded his Society from this abuse. Its members must be chosen, if possible, from among the best. The wealthy and the noble are the fittest for admission; although these qualifications are not essential, and the want of them may be supplied by some extraordinary natural gift or acquired talent.[33] Besides this, the candidate must possess a comely presence, youth, health, strength, facility of speech, and steadiness of purpose. To have ever been a heretic or schismatic, to have been guilty of homicide or any heinous crime, to have belonged to another order, to be under the bond of matrimony, or not to have a strong and sound mind, are insurmountable obstacles to admission. Ungovernable passions, habit of sinning, unsteadiness and fickleness of mind, lukewarm devotion, want of learning and of ability to acquire it, a dull memory, bodily defects, debility and disease, and advanced age—any of these imperfections render the postulant less acceptable;[34] and, to gain admission, he must exhibit some very useful compensating qualities. It is evident that persons so carefully selected are never likely to disgrace the Society by any gross misbehaviour, and will perform with prudence and success any temporal or worldly service they may be put to by the General. I say worldly service, because I should suppose that it must matter very little for the service of God should the servant be lame or of an “uncomely presence.”


But in no part of the Constitution do Loyola’s genius and penetration shine so conspicuously as in the rules regarding the vow of poverty, and the gratuitous performance of the duties of the sacred ministry. The discredit and hatred which weighed upon the clergy and the monastic orders was in great part due to the ostentatious display of their accumulated wealth, and to the venality of their sacred ministry. To guard against this evil, Ignatius ordained that “poverty should be loved and maintained as the firmest bulwark of religion.” The Jesuit was forbidden to possess any property, either by inheritance or otherwise. He was required to live in an inexpensive house, to dress plainly, and avoid all appearance of being wealthy. The churches and religious houses of the order were to be without endowments. The colleges alone were permitted to accept legacies or donations for the maintenance of students and professors. No limit was assigned to these gifts, the management of which was intrusted entirely to the General, with power to appoint rectors and administrators under him. These functionaries, generally chosen from among the coadjutors and very rarely from the professed Society, although debarred by their vow of perpetual poverty from the possession of the smallest amount of property, are yet, by this ingenious trick, enabled to hold and administer the entire wealth of the Society. We shall afterwards see, and especially in the famous process of Lavallette, in what a large sense they understand the word administer. So much for the display of wealth. With respect to the venality of the sacred ministry, they declared that “no Jesuit shall demand or receive pay, or alms, or remuneration, for mass, confessions, sermons, lessons, visitations, or any other duty which the Society is obliged to render; and, to avoid even the appearance of covetousness, especially in offices of piety which the Society discharges for the succour of[39] souls, let there be no box in the church, into which alms are generally put by those who go thither to mass, sermon, confession,” &c.[35] Thus the Jesuit refuses to accept a few paltry sixpences for performing mass, or a fee of some shillings per quarter for teaching boys. He disdains to appear mercenary. He would much rather be poor. He looks for no reward. Yet, those little boys whom he instructs gratuitously, and with such affectionate tenderness that he cannot bring himself to chastise them, but must have the painful though necessary duty performed by some one not belonging to the Society;[36]—these boys, I say, will become men, many of them religious bigots, strongly attached to their kind preceptors, to whom they will then pay the debt of gratitude incurred in their youth.

Alas for such gratitude! How many families have had cause to deplore it! How many children have been reduced to beggary by it! How many ancient and noble houses has it precipitated from the height of affluence and splendour into the depth of poverty and wretchedness! Who can number the crimes committed in the madness of despair occasioned by the loss of the family inheritance? That the parent may suffer a few years less of purgatory, the child has been too often condemned to misery in this life, and perhaps to eternal punishment in the next. But all this is of no consequence. The man who has been led thus to disregard one of his most sacred parental duties, in order to found a Jesuits’ college or endow a professorship, will be saved, because they promise him—“In every college of our Society, let masses be celebrated once a week for ever, for its founder and benefactor, whether dead or alive. At the beginning of every month, all the priests who are in the college ought to offer the same sacrifice for them; and a solemn mass, with a commemorative[40] feast, shall be celebrated on the anniversary of the donation, and a wax candle offered to the donor or his descendants.” Besides this, “the donor shall have three masses while alive, and three masses after his death, by all the priests of the Society, with the prayers of all its members; so that he is made partaker of all the good works which are done, by the grace of God, not only in the college which he has endowed, but in the whole Society.”[37]

By such allurements do these crafty priests, with diabolical cunning, snatch princely fortunes from the credulous and superstitious believers. And so assiduous and successful were they even at the very beginning, that, only thirteen years after the establishment of the order, during Loyola’s lifetime, they already possessed upwards of a hundred colleges very largely and richly endowed.

Now, let not my Protestant readers wonder how sensible men can be induced, by such ephemeral and ill-founded hopes, to disinherit their families in order to enrich these hypocritical monks. They must remember that the Romish believer views these matters in quite a different light from that in which they see them. Masses and prayers are, in his belief, not only useful, but indispensable. For lack of them he would writhe for centuries amid the tormenting fires of purgatory, the purifying pains of which are described by his priest, with appalling eloquence, as being far more excruciating than those of hell. According to the doctrine of his Church, every soul (one in a million only excepted) who is not eternally damned, must, ere it enter heaven, pass a certain time in this abode of torture for the expiation of its sins. And let him not take comfort from the fact that his conscience does not reproach him with the commission of any heinous crime. The catalogue of sins by which he may be shut out from eternal blessedness is made[41] artfully long, and detailed with great minuteness. The most upright and pious of men must condemn himself as a presumptuous sinner if he for an instant harbours the hope of escaping the purifying fire. So he becomes quite resigned to his fate, and all his care in this life is, how to appease the Divine anger, and shorten the period of his exclusion from heaven. This he is taught to do—not by trusting to the righteousness of Jesus Christ, with the true repentance which manifests itself through a holy life, but by accumulating on his head hundreds of masses and millions of days of indulgence. Hence the innumerable masses and prayers which he sends before him during his life, as if to forestall his future punishment, and bribe the Divine justice. And when the terrible moment arrives—that moment in which he is about to appear before the awful Judge, beneath whose searching eye his most secret thoughts lie bare—when, trembling at the strict account that is about to be demanded of him, his fears represent to his excited imagination the most trifling shortcomings as mortal sins—when, with the decline of bodily strength, his enfeebled mind becomes more easily worked upon—then does his Jesuit confessor, his generous master, his kind, disinterested friend, come to give him the last proof of his ever-growing affection. He seats himself at his bedside, and, serpent-like, under pretence of inducing him to repent of his sins, he draws him a fearful and impressive picture of the torments which await the damned. He descants to him with oily sanctity upon the enormity of offending the Divine Saviour, who shed his precious blood to redeem us. He terrifies him with the Almighty’s implacable vengeance; and when his victim, choked with heart-rending agony, distracted, despairing of his ultimate salvation, is ready to curse God, and set his power and anger at defiance—then, and not till then, does the Jesuit relent. Now he raises in the sufferer’s heart the faintest hope that the Divine justice may possibly[42] be disarmed, and mercy obtained by means of masses and indulgences. The exhausted man, who feels as if he were already plunged amid the boiling sulphur and devouring flames, grasps with frantic eagerness at this anchor of salvation; and, did he possess tenfold more wealth than he does, he would willingly give it all up to save his soul. It may be that his heart, yearning with paternal affection, shrinks at the thought of condemning his helpless ones to beggary; but nevertheless, as if the welfare of his family were necessarily connected with his own perdition, and that of the Jesuits with eternal beatitude, the family is invariably sacrificed to the Jesuits.

It is notorious that the most diabolical tricks have been resorted to in the case of dying men whose better judgment and natural sense of duty have withstood such perfidious wiles.

Alas! the punishment of such criminal obstinacy was always near at hand; the sick-chamber has been suddenly filled with flames and sulphureous vapour as a warning to the impenitent sinner. And if he still resisted, the Evil Spirit himself, in his most frightful shape, has appeared to the dying man, as if waiting for his soul. Ah!—one’s hair stands on end while listening to such sacrilegious manœuvres. The immense wealth of the Jesuits has been bequeathed to them by wills made at the last hour!

In order that all classes of Jesuits may better attend to their peculiar occupations, Ignatius relieved them from the obligation, incumbent on all other religious communities, of performing the Church service at the canonical hours.

Jesuits of every class may be expelled from the order, either by the general congregation or by the all-powerful General. In such cases, however, it is enacted, that great care be taken to keep secret the deeds or crimes which necessitate the dismissal, in[43] order that the ex-Jesuit may suffer the least possible disgrace; also, that he shall be assisted by the prayers of the community, together with something more substantial, to the end that he may harbour no resentment against the order.[38]

No Jesuit, without the consent of the General, is allowed to accept any ecclesiastical dignity or benefice; and the General is required to refuse such consent, unless the Pope command him in the name of holy obedience to grant it. By this rule Ignatius designed to avoid exciting the animosity and jealousy of the other monastic orders, and of the clergy in general. Besides, Ignatius knew well that any ecclesiastical dignity would confer lustre and power on the individual, but be detrimental to the order. A bishop or a cardinal would be less disposed than a poor priest, to obey the General, and to work for the Society. He himself most rigidly enforced it, and would permit neither Lainez nor Borgia to receive the cardinal’s hat, which the Pope offered them. Since his time, the Jesuits have very seldom broken this rule, and that most often only to undertake some bishopric in far distant countries where no one else would desire to go.

The dress of the Jesuits consists of a long black vest and cloak, and of a low-crowned broad-brimmed hat, all of the greatest simplicity, and of good but common material. In their houses and colleges there reigns the most perfect order, the most exemplary propriety. The banqueting, revelling, and licence which so disgrace the establishments of the other monastic orders, are strictly prohibited.[39] They are[44] very frugal in their habits, and prudently avoid all display of wealth. It is said that the General occasionally relaxes the rules in favour of some of the most trusty of the professed and coadjutors, in order that, disguised as laymen, they may enjoy a few holidays as they please, in some distant place where they are not known.

We shall now proceed to examine that part of the Constitutions which concerns the hierarchy. Our readers must always bear in mind what we have already said, that the Constitutions were not finished till the year 1552, and it may perhaps be that some rules were added even after. The Society at first consisted only of professed members, and of scholastics or scholars, a sort of Jesuit aspirants who were trained up for the Society, into which they were admitted or not, according to the proofs which they had given of their fitness. In the year 1546, Paul III. approved of the introduction of the class of the Coadjutors, and in the year 1552 was erected at Lisbon the first house for the novices. We may further observe that, under the first three Generals, those Constitutions were scrupulously observed. And those were the heroic times of the Society. But from that moment, internal discord at first, and afterwards the more worldly and political character assumed by the Society, were its ruin, and the cause of its suppression as well as of its re-establishment. But let us not anticipate events.



The government of the Company of Jesus is purely monarchical, and the General is its absolute and uncontrollable king.

The members of the Society are divided into four classes,—the Professed, Coadjutors, Scholars, and Novices. There is also a secret fifth class, known only to the General and a few faithful Jesuits, which, perhaps more than any other, contributes to the dreaded and mysterious power of the order. It is composed of laymen of all ranks, from the minister to the humble shoe-boy. Among the individuals composing this class are to be found many ladies, who, unknown and unsuspected, are more dangerous in themselves, and more accurate spies to the Company. These are affiliated to the Society, but not bound by any vows. The Society, as a noble and avowed reward, promises to them forgiveness for all their sins, and eternal blessedness, and, as a more palpable mark of gratitude, protects them, patronises them, and, in countries where the Jesuits are powerful, procures for them comfortable and lucrative places under government, or elsewhere. If this is not sufficient, they are paid for their services in hard cash, according to an article of the Constitution, which empowers the General to spend money on persons who will make themselves useful. In return for these favours, they act as the spies of the order, the reporters of what goes on in those classes of[46] society with which the Jesuit cannot mix, and serve, often unwittingly, as the tools and accomplices in dark and mysterious crimes. Father Francis Pellico, brother to the famous Silvio, in his recent quarrel with the celebrated Gioberti, to prove that the order is not so very deficient of supporters as his opponent asserts, candidly confesses that “the many illustrious friends of the Society, prelates, orators, learned and distinguished men of every description, the supporters of the Society, remain occult, and obliged to be silent.”[40] This avowal, coming from the mouth of a Jesuit, must be specially noted. Now, reversing the order of the classes, we shall begin by describing


We have already seen the process a candidate must go through before being admitted into the House of First Probation. After undergoing a still more searching scrutiny there, he passes to the House of Noviciate. The noviciate lasts two years, and may be shortened or prolonged at the General’s pleasure. There are six principal exercises by which the Novice is tried; they are as follows:—

“1. The Novices are to devote a month to the spiritual exercises, self-examination, confession of sins, and meditation, and to a contemplation of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.

“2. They are to serve for another month in one or more of the hospitals, by ministering to the sick, in proof of increasing humility and entire renunciation of the pomps and vanities of the world.

“3. They must wander during a third month without money, begging from door to door, that they may be accustomed to inconvenience in eating and sleeping, or else they may serve in an hospital for another month, at the discretion of the Superior.


“4. They must submit to be employed in the most servile offices of the house into which they have entered, for the sake of shewing a good example in all things.

“5. They are to give instruction in Christian learning to boys, or to their untaught elders, either publicly, privately, or as occasion may be offered.

“6. When sufficient proof has been given of improvement in probation, the Novice may proceed to preach, to hear confessions, or to any exercise in which circumstances may direct him to engage.”[41]

“While a Jesuit is thus fulfilling the several trials of his fitness, he may not presume to say that he is one of the Society.[42] He must only describe himself as wishing to be admitted into it; indifferent to the station which may be assigned to him, and waiting in patient expectation until it be determined how his services may be most advantageously employed.”

At the expiry of the biennium, if he has gone through all his trials satisfactorily, he takes the vows, of which the following is the formula:—

“Almighty, everlasting God, I, N., albeit every way most unworthy in Thy holy sight, yet relying on Thine infinite pity and compassion, and impelled by the desire of serving Thee, in the presence of the most holy Virgin Mary, and before all Thine heavenly host, vow to Thy divine Majesty perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of Jesus, and promise that I will enter the same Society, to live in it perpetually, understanding all things according to the Constitutions of the Society. Of Thy boundless goodness and mercy, through the blood of Jesus Christ, I humbly pray that Thou wilt deign to accept this sacrifice in the odour of sweetness, and, as Thou hast granted Thine abundant grace to desire and offer, so Thou wilt enable me to fulfil the same. At Rome, or elsewhere, in such a place, day, month, and year.”


“Then shall they take, as the others, the most holy body of Christ, and the rest of the ceremony shall proceed as before.”[43]

After the Novice has taken the vows, he must remain in an undeterminate state until the General has decided in what capacity he can best serve the Society. To this he must be wholly indifferent, and on no account endeavour to obtain, either directly or indirectly, any particular employment, but must await in silence the General’s decision.

Those are the written precepts; but the sly and abominable acts to which the Jesuits resort in order to model the man to the standard of the Society, are numerous, and differ according to circumstances and to the character of the Novice. But, in all cases, before the biennium is elapsed, either the man is dismissed, or he has lost all ideas, all hopes, all desires of a personal nature; he is a man without will, submitting blindly to obey any order, and devoting soul and body to the aggrandizement of the Society.


To promote the objects of their Society, the Jesuits rely in a great measure upon the talent and learning of its members. Hence their decided preference for candidates with superior mental endowments, and their assiduous attention to the prosperity and good management of their colleges and universities, which were at one time the best regulated and most efficient in Europe. Their judicious arrangement of the studies, their admirable superintendence, their exemplary discipline, their many inducements to application, rendered the Jesuit colleges the resort of all those who aspired to eminence in the literary or learned world. The greatest men in all the Catholic countries of[49] Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were educated by the Jesuits.

All the property bequeathed or given to the Society is made over to the colleges and universities, which, however, have not the power of administering it. In these colleges are trained the Scholars, of whom there are two sorts—the Received and the Approved. The former are candidates for membership, who are being tried for their skill in learning previous to entering upon the noviciate; the latter are those who have completed their noviciate, and taken the vows. Every Novice and Scholar aspires to enter the class of the Coadjutors, or that of the Professed, in which two classes reside all the power and authority of the order. The vows of the Scholars are the same as those of the Novices.


The third class of Jesuits consists of Temporal and Spiritual Coadjutors. The Temporal Coadjutors, however learned they may be, are never admitted to holy orders. They are the porters, cooks, stewards, and agents of the Society. The Spiritual Coadjutors are priests, and must be men of considerable learning, in order that they may be qualified to hear confessions, to teach, preach, &c. The rectors of the colleges, and the superiors of the religious houses, are appointed from this class. They are sometimes permitted to assist in the deliberations of the general congregation, but have no voice in the election of the General.

Besides undergoing the first probation, and the noviciate, the Coadjutors must submit to a third year of trial, in order to afford a stronger proof of their aptitude. It is here worthy of remark, that in the case of a porter or a cook, there is required a year of trial more than is thought necessary to qualify the scholar who is to preach, and teach the Catechism.[50] The porters and cooks must know something of worldly business, and, consequently, there is the greater need that they should be faithful and trustworthy. Here is the formula of the vow taken by the Coadjutors:—“I, N., promise Almighty God, before His Virgin Mother, and before all the heavenly host, and you, reverend father, General of the Society of Jesus, holding the place of God, and of your successors; or you, reverend father, Vice-General of the Society of Jesus, and of his successors, holding the place of God, perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience, and therein, peculiar care in the education of boys, according to the manner expressed in the Apostolical Letters, and in the Constitutions of the said Society. At Rome, or elsewhere, in such a place, day, month, and year.

“Then let him take the most holy body of Christ; and let the rest of the ceremony be the same as in the case of the Professed.”[44] The clause, “peculiar care in the education of boys,” is omitted in the vow when taken by the Temporal Coadjutors.


This fourth class, the first in order of power and dignity, may be said to constitute, alone, the Society. The probation required for it is longer and more rigorous than that of any of the other classes. Two additional years of trial must be endured, in order to gain admission into it. This is partly to prevent the class becoming too numerous. The Professed must, in terms of the Constitutions, be priests, above twenty-five years of age, eminent in learning and virtue. In addition to their acquirements in literature and philosophy, they must devote four years specially to the study of theology. Their admission is the immediate act of the General, who seldom delegates his power for that purpose, as he generally[51] does for admitting to the other classes. Solemn vows are taken by this class only; those of the other classes are designated merely as simple vows. Besides the three ordinary vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Professed take a fourth—to obey the Holy See, and to go, as missionaries, into whatever part of the world the Pope pro tempore chooses to send them. My readers will remember, that it was this fourth vow which overcame the crafty Pope Paul’s objections to sanction the order. But this pontiff, with all his cunning, was no match for Loyola, who quite nullified this vow by the formula in which he embodied it. According to this formula, the vow is made only in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. Now, the Constitution enacts, “that the General shall have all power over every individual of the Society, to send any one on a mission, to recall missionaries, and to proceed in all things as he thinks will be best for the greater glory of God.”[45] Thus, obedience to the Pope depends entirely on the will and pleasure of the General. Hence the General’s preponderating influence with the Court of Rome.

The ceremony of taking the vows of the Professed is more solemn than that of the others. It must take place in the church, which with the others is not imperative. “First of all, the General, or some one empowered by him to admit to Profession, when he has offered the sacrifice of the public Mass in the church, before inmates and others there present, shall turn to the person who is about to make profession with the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist; and he, after the general confession and the words which are used before the communion, shall, with a loud voice, pronounce his written vow (which it is meet that he should have meditated on for several days), whereof this is the form:—

“I, N., make profession, and promise Almighty[52] God, before His Virgin Mother, and before all the heavenly host, and before all bystanders, and you, reverend father, General of the Society of Jesus, holding the place of God, and your successors; or you, reverend father, Vice-General of the Society of Jesus, and of his successors, holding the place of God, perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience, and therein peculiar care in the education of boys, according to the form of living contained in the Apostolic Letters of the Society of Jesus, and in its Constitutions. Moreover, I promise special obedience to the Pope in missions, as is contained in the same Apostolic Letters and Constitutions. At Rome or elsewhere, on such a day, month, and year, and in such a church.

“After this, let him take the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. Which being done, the name of him who makes profession shall be written in a book which the Society shall keep for that purpose; the name of the person to whom he made it—the day, month, and year, being also set down; and his written vows shall be preserved, that an account of all the particulars may appear for ever, to the glory of God.”[46]

It is this class, and that of the Coadjutors, who are wont to live by alms, and who, for appearance’ sake, sometimes go begging from door to door—(this is the case in Italy, at least). But, either from pride or roguery, they never ask, in our day, anything in their own name, but always in the name of the poor, the hospitals, and the prisoners, and thus they win for their order the veneration of the credulous and the ignorant.

To the Professed alone are confided the missions, and the management of the more important affairs of the order, into the secrets of which they are admitted farther than any other class. Hence they were never, except in urgent cases, to be appointed rectors of colleges, or superiors of the House of Probation. It[53] was the strict observance of this rule which, perhaps more than anything else, contributed to the ruin of the order.

The General, as we have already said, is at the head of the hierarchy, the absolute master of persons and things. He is elected for life, by a General Congregation of the Society, the decision requiring a majority of votes, and the observance of certain rules. But sometimes, when “elected by general inspiration, those rules may be dispensed with,” for the Holy Ghost, who inspires such an election, supplies the want of every form of election.[47] To this Congregation there are convened two Jesuits of the Professed class residing in Rome, all the Provincials, and also two Professed members chosen in every province by a Provincial Congregation. The formalities of the election are very much the same as those observed in the election of the Pope.[48] After attending mass, the electors are confined in an apartment, where they cannot communicate with any one from without; and, to compel them to decide within a reasonable time, they are allowed no better aliment than bread and water until a General is chosen. When this fortunate occurrence takes place, and the new General is proclaimed, every one present must come forward to do him reverence, and, kneeling on both knees, kiss his hand.[49] The same Congregation which elects the General appoints also four assistants, to reside near him in Rome. At the period when the Constitution was ultimately defined, toward 1552, the Jesuits had divided the world into four provinces, viz. India, Spain and Portugal, Germany and France, and Italy and Sicily. Each of the four assistants attend separately to the affairs of one of these four provinces, and all of them together, when[54] required, assist the General in the general business of the Society. At the same Congregation there is also appointed a pious man as admonitor to the General, whose duty is to be near the General, to watch him, and, “should he perceive him swerving from the right path, with all possible humility to advise him, after earnest and devout prayer to God, what he considers to be the best course to follow.”

In the event of the death or prolonged absence of any of these officials, the General may appoint some one to the vacant post, provided his choice be approved by the majority of the Provincials. All these officials are given to the General by the Constitution, partly to assist him in the fulfilment of his duties, and partly to be constant and keen surveyors of his conduct. “And should the General sin in copula carnalis, wounding any one, applying to his own use or giving away any of the revenues of the colleges, or holding depraved doctrines, as soon as the charge is proved by adequate evidence, the four assistants immediately call forth the General Congregation.”[50] However, with the exception of alienating any real property of the colleges, the General has full and unlimited power, even to the granting of a dispensation for any of the rules of the Constitution. He appoints and disposes of all the subaltern officials of the Society, and receives into it, or dismisses from it, any person whom he pleases, and that at any time he may choose. He buys or exchanges property for the order by his own authority, and has the superintendence of its whole administration.

The Provincials send him, once a year, an elaborate and detailed account of every member of the order, the correctness of which is ascertained by private investigation through different and opposite sources, because (as is thought) he does not place implicit confidence even in them. The Constitutions say—“The[55] General scrutinises as far as possible the character of those who are under his control, and especially Provincials, and others to whom he intrusts matters of importance.”[51]


The Provincials are elected by the General from the class of the Professed. They are appointed for three years, but may be confirmed or dismissed at the General’s will. The importance of the province over which he is set depends upon the number of houses or colleges established within its bounds. The Rectors, Administrators, or local Superiors, write to the Provincials monthly a full and correct account of the inclinations, opinions, defects, propensities, and characters of every individual under their charge. Confidential persons, and especially Confessors, are of great assistance to them in the drawing up of their reports, from which the Provincials extract theirs, which are yearly sent to the General.


The Rectors are intrusted with the superintendence of the colleges. The General chooses them from the class of the Spiritual Coadjutors, but appoints them for no determinate period, which leaves him at liberty to dismiss them whenever he pleases.

The Superiors, elected from the same class and by the same authority, have the oversight of the Houses of the First and Second Probation. Each of these officials, Superior, Rector, and Provincial, has in his respective sphere as absolute a power over his subordinates as the General has over any member of the Society.

The Administrators are chosen by the General from[56] the Temporal Coadjutors under his control. They have the entire management of the temporal concerns both of houses and colleges.

The Rectors and Superiors are forbidden to have anything to do with any temporal matter whatever; because it forms a conspicuous part of the admirable Jesuitical system, to have prescribed for every class of Jesuits its particular duties, from which it is not to be diverted by any occupation whatever. This has largely contributed to the aggrandisement and success of the Society, as long as the rules were observed.

All these functionaries have subaltern officers, who assist them in the discharge of their duties. Provincials, Rectors, Superiors, and some of the Professed, compose the Provincial Congregations, where the affairs of the district are discussed, and whence the delegates which are to be sent to the General Congregation are chosen.

Having thus given a general outline of the origin and constitutions of the Society, and the limits of this work forbidding me to enlarge to any great extent upon this part of my subject, I shall now proceed to examine its progress.



Ignatius had no sooner obtained a bull from the Pope approving of the Society, than he thought it expedient to give it a chief, or, to speak more correctly, to be himself formally elected as such, being de facto its master already. In order, therefore, to proceed to the election of the General, he summoned to Rome his companions, who were scattered through different parts of Europe. Six came. Bobadilla, Xavier, and Rodriguez sent their votes written. Both absent and present were unanimous in their choice, which (as one may well imagine) fell upon Ignatius. He, however, had the modesty (so we are told) to refuse the honour, and insisted that they should proceed to a new election. The second trial had the same result, but Ignatius still declined to accept of the office. At last, however, on being much importuned to do so, he exclaimed—“Since you persist in choosing me, who know well my infirmities, I cannot in conscience subscribe to your judgment. It only remains, then, that we refer the contested point to my confessor, whom, as you know, I consider the interpreter of the Divine will.”[52] The good fathers consented to this arrangement the more willingly, as they had no doubt whatever (I should think not) that Father Theodose[58] would approve of their selection. Nor were they deceived.[53]

On Easter-day, therefore, in the year 1541, he assumed the government of the Society, and on the following Friday he and his disciples, in the magnificent Basilica of St Paul’s at Rome, renewed the four vows to which they had bound themselves, with extraordinary pomp and ceremony.

We candidly admit, however, that Ignatius, after reaching the height of his ambition, relaxed nothing in the strictness of his conduct, nor allowed that zeal which he had manifested in order to attain it, to cool down. On the contrary, he seemed to redouble his energy, and gain additional strength in his new dignity. The days in which he lived were days of battle, and Ignatius, not forgetting his first vocation, was impatient to enter the melée. Protestantism, a giant in its infancy, standing in a menacing attitude, with the Bible in one hand and the sword in the other, bid defiance to the impugners of the Sacred Volume. Catholicism, old in the debauch of power, discredited by the vices of its ministers, could only oppose his formidable antagonist with a scattered and undisciplined army of monks and priests, rendered effete by a life of effeminacy and debauchery. At this critical moment, Ignatius rushed to the rescue with an army, small indeed in number, but composed of brave and resolute souls, learned, eloquent, passionate, trained to fight, fully persuaded, as almost every soldier is, that theirs was the just cause, and that to them the victory ought to belong. The disciples of Ignatius took the field high in spirits, and prepared, if need be, to sacrifice their liberty, their blood, their lives, their all, for the cause they had embraced, which was in their eyes the cause of God. They dispersed to every part of Europe. Lefevre, from the Congress of Worms, proceeded to Spain;[59] Lainez and Lejay succeeded him in Germany. Bobadilla went to Naples, Brouet and Salmeron to Ireland, Rodriguez and Xavier to Portugal. Everywhere these rigid and fanatic monks were, on the one hand, engaged in theological discussion, while, on the other, they preached repentance to the people and reform to the clergy, and paid no regard to the hatred evinced towards them both by Protestants and Catholics. It seems as if they courted persecution, and wished to wear the martyr’s crown. When the infuriated populace of Vienna threatened to throw Lejay into the Danube, he smiled scornfully, and calmly answered—“What do I care whether I enter heaven by water or land!”

From Rome, Ignatius, as an able general, directed the movements of all those soldiers of Christ, as they styled themselves. He praised one, admonished another, inspired all with his zeal and fanaticism. Nor was this enough for his ardent and indefatigable spirit. He turned his attention to less unquestionable acts of religion and charity. Many of the hospitals erected in the middle of Rome, were the fruits of his zealous exertions. The Convent of Santa Martha was opened for abandoned women, who wished to repent, and pass an upright and easy life. In that of Santa Catherine, poor and honest young girls found an asylum against temptation and seduction; fatherless children of both sexes were received, and carefully educated, in two hospitals which yet exist in Rome; and the inmates of which, on the 31st of July of every year, go in procession to the Church of Gesù, to pray to the shrine of the saint, and to give thanks to their benefactor.

However, the gratitude which we owe to Loyola for those charitable institutions cannot restrain our indignation and abhorrence towards the man who had so great a share in reviving the infamous tribunal of the Inquisition. The Jesuits reckon it among the glories of their order, that Loyola supported, by a special[60] memorial to the Pope, a petition for the reorganising of that cruel and abhorred tribunal.

In the 13th century, the Inquisition had been diabolically active. 25,000 Albigenses perished for bearing testimony to the Word of God. Dominique, that wholesale butcher of these unfortunate Christians, by his barbarous inhumanities, struck horror throughout Europe, and gained for himself a place among the Roman saints. But, as is always the case, its very excess prepared a reaction. The tribunal, as if satiated with human suffering, gradually relented, and, in the epoch of which we are speaking, had almost fallen into decay. Besides, the inquisitors, chosen from among the monastic orders, were little inclined to enforce strict and severe laws against practices or opinions with which they themselves were in many cases chargeable.[54] Above all, the See of Rome, under the Alexanders, the Juliuses, the Leos, plunged in political affairs, and, extremely lax in matters of religion and morality, had little or no inclination to enforce the almost forgotten edicts of the Inquisition. But the new doctrines spread in Germany with amazing rapidity; and the outcry raised against the morals of the Catholic clergy produced two immediate effects—the partial reform of the more flagrant abuses of which the clergy were guilty, and the revival of a tribunal, which should destroy by fire and sword whoever dared to impugn the doctrines of the Popes, and the canonical laws. Caraffa, whom we have already mentioned, was the principal author of this dreadful tribunal. Through his exertions, and those of Loyola, an edict appeared on the 21st of July 1542, appointing six cardinals commissioners of the Holy See and general inquisitors, with power to delegate their authority to any person they pleased. All ranks of citizens, without exception, were subjected to these inquisitors. Suspected persons[61] were immediately imprisoned, the guilty punished with death, and their property confiscated. No book could be printed or sold (and such is still the case through nearly the whole of Italy) without the authority of the inquisitor. Hence a catalogue of prohibited books, the first issue of which, containing seventy works, appeared at Venice.

In order that the tribunal might be made more efficient, Caraffa drew up, himself, the following stringent rules:—

First, When faith is in question, there must be no delay; but, on the slightest suspicion, rigorous measures must be resorted to with all speed.

Secondly, No consideration is to be shewn to either prince or prelate, however high his station.

Thirdly, Extreme severity is to be exercised against all those who attempt to shield themselves under the protection of any potentate; and those only are to be treated with gentleness and fatherly compassion, who make a full and frank confession of the charges laid against them.

Fourthly, No man must debase himself by shewing toleration towards heretics of any kind, and above all to Calvinists.”[55]

This terrible tribunal, in the hands of the relentless and unforgiving Caraffa, spread desolation and dismay throughout Italy, from its very commencement. Thousands were arraigned before it, whose only crime consisted in becoming the unhappy victims of such as were actuated by the fell rage of revenge, or the thirst for power or wealth—in a word, by any or all of those foul passions which degrade and brutalise humanity. As sacerdotal ferocity then called to its aid the might of the secular arm, and thus became all-powerful, death assumed a new and more terrible aspect. And he who should invent new instruments of torture to dislocate the limbs of the victims with the most exquisite and[62] excruciating pains possible would be rewarded!!! Throughout Italy, and in various parts of Europe, you might have seen, whilst the infernal flames of the pile were ascending, the sinister and diabolical smile of the Jesuits, who were aiming at the increase of their order, under the shade of this all-mastering power!

But we must resume our history. The first college of the order was founded in Coimbra, in 1542, by John III. of Portugal. The same year twenty-five of his subjects were admitted into it under the superintendence of Rodriguez.

Lainez, aided by the Lipomana family, erected another at the same time in Venice. A third was built in Padua. After that Italy became studded with them. Those youth whom Loyola, in the beginning of 1540, had sent to Paris to study, and receive a degree in its university, being expelled from France, went to Louvain, and there, under the direction of Lefevre, became the inmates of a college afterwards famous. The Jesuits had already many colleges established in Germany, one of which was nursing in its bosom Peter Canisius, who became most notorious for his cruelties. In Spain, also, the new order met with prodigious success. Besides being the birthplace of Ignatius and six of the founders of the order, it succeeded, at its very commencement, in making a conquest of no less a person than Francis Borgia, Duke of Candia, and vice-king of Barcelona. The authority of his name, his exertions, and the eloquence of Father Araoz, soon covered Spain with houses and colleges. Since the year 1543, the order already counting nine houses, and more than eighty Professed members, Paul III., who at first had limited the number of the Jesuits to sixty, being highly satisfied with these new champions of the Roman See, issued another bull on the 15th of March 1543, by which he empowered the order to receive an unlimited number of members.

In speaking of the different countries into which the[63] Jesuits had intruded themselves, we have purposely passed over England; and that for two reasons:—First, Because, writing in England, and for English readers, we consider it but fair to expatiate all the more on what particularly concerns their own country. Secondly, Because the two first Jesuits who entered England were intrusted with a special political mission—the first one of the kind, and which we are going to relate:—

The severe and somewhat capricious edicts of Henry VIII., even after Moore and Fisher had perished by the hands of the executioner, while but partially obeyed in England, were totally disregarded in Ireland. True it is, that a great part of the aristocracy, for fear of proscription and confiscation, had yielded to Henry’s orders, and even supported him in his despotic policy; but the bulk of the nation, more perhaps out of hatred to their oppressors than from real attachment to their religion, refused to subscribe to a creed violently enforced by a hated and despotic power. Not content with opposing Henry in his religious ordinances, they, under the very pretence of religion, caused partial insurrections, with the view of shaking off the yoke of their masters. But the power of Henry bore down all opposition; and, as Dr Lingard says, “the English domination over Ireland never appeared to be more firmly established.” In such a state of things, the Archbishop of Armagh, a Scotchman by birth, abandoning the flock confided to his care, fled to Rome to implore the assistance of his master the Pope. Paul had already evinced great anger against Henry for his apostacy. His anger was increased by the fact, that not only was he unable to prevail on either Francis I. or Charles V. to invade England, but, that these monarchs had, in the face of his express commands, made, successively, a treaty with the excommunicated king. Accordingly his resentment knew no bounds. However, the means[64] which Paul had at command to contend with Henry were inadequate to gratify the hate which rankled in his bosom towards him. Determined, nevertheless, not to remain inactive, he thought of despatching some emissaries into Ireland, in order that, by working upon the ignorant and bigoted minds of its fanatic inhabitants, he might excite them to a civil war. With this pious end in view, he turned his eyes to this newly established society, and asked from the General two of its members, to be sent thither. From that day, down to the recent mission of Cardinal Wiseman, the Court of Rome has striven, more or less openly, more or less eagerly, to exasperate the Irish Catholics against the English Protestants, and has made Ireland a sore thorn to the sister island. Many a time did Pius V. exclaim, that he would willingly shed his blood in a war against England; and Gregory XIII. was seriously meditating to march in person, and head the insurrection which broke out in Ireland during the reign of Elizabeth!

The two Jesuits whom Ignatius gave to the Pope for this mission were Salmeron and Brouet, who received secret instructions from the Pope, and were honoured with the name of Papal Nuncios. “They accepted with joy the perils of the embassy, but were in no way ambitious of the lustre and honour which the title conferred.”[56] So modest they were, according to Mr Crétineau.

The fact is, that they could not and would not have dared to assume in public the title of the Pope’s Legates, or Nuncios, and were obliged to content themselves to be simple and secret emissaries. Ignatius also gave them private instructions, and we may thank Orlandini for having sent down this document, which, if well examined, clearly shews that the crafty and mysterious policy for which the Society has earned such merited notoriety and execration, is as[65] old as the order. Here is the precious document, which, however, shews a remarkable knowledge of human nature:—

“I recommend you to be, in your intercourse with all the world in general—but particularly with your equals and inferiors—modest and circumspect in your words, always disposed and patient to listen, lending an attentive ear till the persons who speak to you have unveiled the depth of their sentiments. Then you will give them a clear and brief answer which may anticipate all discussion.

“In order to conciliate to yourselves the goodwill of men in the desire of extending the kingdom of God, you will make yourselves all things to all men, after the example of the apostle, in order to gain them to Jesus Christ. Nothing, in effect, is more adapted than the resemblance of tastes and habits to conciliate affection, to gain hearts.

“Thus, after having studied the character and manners of each person, you will endeavour to conform yourselves to them as much as duty will permit,—so that, if you have to do with an excitable and ardent character, you should shake off all tedious prolixity.

“You must, on the contrary, become somewhat slow and measuring in speech, if the person to whom you speak is more circumspect and deliberate in his speech.

“For the rest, if he who has to do with a man of irascible temperament has himself that defect, and if they do not agree thoroughly in their opinion, it is greatly to be feared lest they permit themselves to be hurried into passion. Therefore, he who recognises in himself that propensity ought to watch himself with the most vigilant care, and fortify his heart with a supply of strength, in order that anger should not surprise him; but rather that he may endure with equanimity all that he shall suffer from the other, even should the latter be his inferior. Discussions and[66] quarrels are much less to be apprehended from quiet and slow tempers than from the excitable and ardent.

“In order to attract men to virtue, and fight the enemy of salvation, you shall employ the arms he uses to destroy them—such is the advice of St Basil.

“When the devil attacks a just man, he does not let him see his snares; on the contrary, he hides them, and attacks him only indirectly, without resisting his pious inclinations, feigning even to conform to them;—but by degrees he entices him, and surprises him in his snares. Thus it is proper to follow a similar track to extricate men from sin.

“Begin with praising what is good in them, without at first attacking their vices; when you shall have gained their confidence, apply the remedy proper for their cure.

“With regard to melancholy or unsettled persons, exhibit whilst addressing them, as much as you can, a gay and serene countenance—give the greatest sweetness to your words, in order to restore them to a state of mental tranquillity—combating one extreme by another extreme.

“Not only in your sermons, but also in your private conversation, particularly when you reconcile people at variance, do not lose sight of the fact that all your words may be published—what you say in darkness may be manifested in the light of day.

“In affairs anticipate the time, rather than defer or adjourn it; if you promise anything for to-morrow, do it to-day. As to money, do not touch even that which shall be fixed for the expenses which you shall pay. Let it be distributed to the poor by other hands, or employ it in good works, in order that you may be able, in case of need, to affirm on oath that in the course of your legation you have not received a penny. When you have to speak to the great, let Pasquier Bruet have the charge. Deliberate with yourselves in all the points touching which your sentiments[67] might be at variance. Do what two persons out of three would have approved, if called upon to decide.

“Write often to Rome during your journey—as soon as you shall have reached Scotland, and also when you shall have got over to Ireland. Then give an account of your legation monthly.”[57]

Now, examine well these instructions, and you will find that the true Jesuit must be crafty, insinuating, deceitful, even whilst pretending to be a most sincere Christian, and as if raised by God to defend his holy religion. Their sacrilegious maxim, “that no means can be bad when the end is good,” sanctifies in their eyes the most atrocious crimes.

At first sight, these precepts which Ignatius gave to the two emissaries of Paul, although not very honest, appear in themselves prudent instructions for proceeding in what they considered a most holy cause—the maintenance of the Catholic religion. But apply them to political purposes—and Ignatius knew that this was the case—and you will at once perceive the extent of the Jesuit immorality, and the artful way in which, in the name of the most sacred of all things—religion, they accomplish the most heinous offences.

But listen to the ingenious Mr Crétineau:—“In these instructions,” says he, “Loyola takes care to be silent about those which the Pope had given them; he keeps aloof from politics. Salmeron and Brouet are the Pope’s legates, and have his confidence. Ignatius endeavours to make them worthy of it, but he does not go beyond.”[58] Good! You confess, then, that Paul—Christ’s vicegerent—is plotting revenge under the garb of religion, and that he has sent the Jesuits on a political mission. Ignatius, confident in Paul’s abilities, confined himself to the prescribing of rules calculated to insure success in their undertaking; you[68] prize him for that, and boast that he keeps aloof from politics? Good!

Salmeron and Brouet set out on their mission, and, as they were ordered, visited Holyrood on their way to Ireland. James V. was then on the throne of Scotland, who, “there is reason to believe,” says the author of the Tales of a Grandfather, “was somewhat inclined to the Reformed doctrines—at least he encouraged the poet Lindsay to compose bitter satires against the corruptions of the Roman Catholic clergy.” His uncle, Henry VIII., encouraged him in this disposition, strongly advised him to take possession of the immense wealth of the religious orders; and desired an interview with him at York in the beginning of the year 1542. Henry went there, and waited six days for his nephew, but he never made his appearance. There can be little doubt that the Jesuits, who had arrived in Scotland some time before with the Pope’s letter for the king, to whom they were introduced by Beaton, of cruel and tragic memory, who had known Loyola at Rome, used their utmost influence to prevent this meeting. Nor do I think it presumption to assert that the two Jesuits, and the letter which they brought from Paul, who exhorted the king to remain faithful to the religion of his fathers, were the chief cause that detained him at home. The war which followed soon after, with disastrous consequences to both nations, and especially to Scotland, as well as the torrents of blood shed during a long course of religious struggles, would, in all likelihood, have been avoided had James resisted the influence of the Jesuits.

Meanwhile Paul’s two emissaries arrived in Ireland about the month of February 1542. There, according to Jesuitical historians, they wrought prodigies, reforming and stirring up the people, and confirming them in the tenets of the true religion; celebrating masses, hearing confessions, and especially granting many[69] indulgences;[59] exacting from the people a very moderate tax, which, according to the instructions of Ignatius, was not gathered by themselves, but by a stranger.[60] The people flocked around them, and poured out benedictions upon their head. Their adversaries, on the other hand, assert that they plotted to stir up one class of citizens against another, and drained the pockets of the credulous Irishmen so forcibly, that at last they became so odious in the eyes of the people, that they threatened to deliver them into the hands of Henry’s officers.[61] We ourselves believe that both of these versions are in part true. No doubt they, to keep up appearance, said masses, heard many confessions, granted millions of indulgences, but there is as little doubt that they excited the people against their excommunicated sovereign, whom, to be faithful to their religion, they must execrate, and use all their efforts to dethrone. That they collected money from the people, either party confess; but whether that money was employed for the repairing of the churches and the supporting of widows and orphans, as the one pretends, or as an aliment to foment civil war, as the other asserts, is not sufficiently ascertained. We leave our readers to judge for themselves. Certain it is, however, they only continued in Ireland for thirty-four days, and during that time they wandered about from place to place in disguise, never sleeping two successive nights under the same roof, afraid every moment of being seized. Upon leaving, they formed the noble complot (says Mr Crétineau, illustrating Orlandini) of going to London, and finding means of being admitted into Henry’s presence, when, by their eloquence and tenderness, they would disarm the anger of the king, in pleading the cause of the Catholic religion[70] at the tribunal of his conscience.[62] It was as well for Henry, and England too, that their plan was found to be “impracticable.” We must not forget that they were the emissaries of that Paul who thought the sword and the stake, for the conversion of heretics, to be the most effectual and conclusive arguments. Neither must we forget, that some years after, James Clement and Ravaillac adopted a more expeditious way than eloquence for the converting of Henrys III. and IV. Salmeron and Brouet thought it advisable, in the circumstances, to retire into France, and being ordered by Paul to return again into Scotland, they refused to obey, and went direct to Rome.

Thus ended the first mission into England. Would to God it had been the last!



Before proceeding further, we think it proper to make a few observations on the Female Jesuitical Institution which was established at this period, especially as the order still exists, though under a different name.

When Ignatius was living at Barcelona, he received many kindnesses and favours at the hand of a lady called Rosello. But after he had left this place, his mind was so absorbed in devising so many and lofty projects, that he entirely forgot her. She did not, however, forget Ignatius. Hearing of his increasing sanctity, of his having become the founder and general of a new order, and “being then a widow, she resolved to abandon the world, and live in accordance with his evangelical councils, and under the authority of the Society. With this pious resolution, and being joined in her holy enterprise by two virtuous and noble Roman ladies, she asked and received from Paul permission to embrace this kind of life.”[63] Ignatius had the perception to see that these ladies would be an incumbrance to him and his order, “yet the gratitude which he owed to his kind benefactress weighed so much upon his heart, that he consented to receive them under his protection.” But he soon had reason to repent of this act of condescension; the annoyance was so great, that he confessed himself that they gave him[72] more trouble than the whole community, because he could never get done with them. At every moment he was obliged to resolve their strange questions, to allay their scruples, to hear their complaints, or settle their differences;[64] and as, notwithstanding all his sagacity, Ignatius did not foresee of what advantage women could one day be to the order, he applied to the Pope to be relieved of this charge, writing, at the same time, the following letter to Rosello:—

Venerable Dame Isabella Rosello—my Mother and my Sister in Jesus Christ,—In truth I would wish, for the greater glory of God, to satisfy your good desires, and procure your spiritual progress by keeping you under my obedience, as you have been for some time past; but the continual ailments to which I am subject, and all my occupations which concern the service of our Lord, or his vicar on earth, permit me to do so no longer. Moreover, being persuaded, according to the light of my conscience, that this little Society ought not to take upon itself, in particular, the direction of any woman who may be engaged to us by vows of obedience, as I have fully declared to our Holy Father the Pope, it has seemed to me for the greater glory of God, that I ought no longer to look upon you as my spiritual daughter, and only as my godmother, as you have been for many years, to the greater glory of God. Consequently, for the greater service, and the greater honour of the everlasting Goodness, I give you as much as I can into the hands of the sovereign Pontiff, in order that, taking his judgment and will as a rule, you may find rest and consolation for the greater glory of the Divine Majesty.—At Rome, the first of October 1549.”

The Pope complied with the request, and exempted the order from the superintendence of women; and Ignatius enacted in the Constitutions, “that no member of the Society should undertake the care of souls,[73] nor of Religious, or of any other women whatever” [Loyola’s disciples thought proper to differ from him], “so as frequently to hear their confessions, or give them directions, although there is no objection to their receiving the confession of a monastery once, and for a special reason.”[65]

Dame Rosello and her two companions, being deprived of their spiritual father, not wishing to change him for another—so faithful were they—desisted at once from their pious undertaking, and for a time nothing more was heard of female Jesuits; but, about the year 1622, some females, more meddling than devoted, took upon themselves the task of reviving the institution, although they were not authorised to do so. Nevertheless, they united into different communities, established houses for noviciates and colleges, chose a general under the name of Proposta, and made vows into her hands of perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience. Not being restrained by any law of seclusion, they went from place to place, bustling with gossip, and causing confusion and scandal throughout the Catholic camp. The community soon spread over a great part of lower Germany, France, Spain, and was especially numerous in Italy, where it originated.

Urban VIII., after vainly endeavouring to impose upon them some rules of discipline, by a brief of the 21st May 1631, suppressed them.[66]


Thus ended the Society of Female Jesuits under this name and form. But another afterwards sprung up in its place, under the appellation of Religieuse du Sacre Cœur, having special rules very like those of the Jesuits, under whose absolute directions they now are.

In Catholic countries—above all, in France, and, we are sorry to say, in Piedmont also—very many of the highest rank in society send their daughters to be educated in these monasteries. Had Ignatius known what powerful auxiliaries these worthy nuns were likely to prove to his order, he would, in all likelihood, have borne with those petty annoyances caused to him by good Dame Rosello. Ladies educated by these nuns bring into their homes all those dissensions and cause all those evils which are so ably described by the French professor, Michelet, who lost his chair the other day for daring to attack these all-powerful auxiliaries of Napoleon—the Jesuits.



The order of Jesuits, which had hitherto progressed so favourably, was now surrounded with difficulties and enemies. While the rapid increase of the Society, the influence it had acquired, and the wealth which it had already accumulated, combined to render the Jesuits less cautious and more authoritative, they caused also a great deal of envy, especially among those classes menaced by the company in some of their privileges. At the first opportunity an attempt was made to crush the order in the bud.

This opportunity was offered by the emperor, Charles V., who had at no time been very favourable to the institution, and who, no matter how bigoted a Catholic he may have become in his latter days, was then just as much Catholic as was necessary to extend his dominions and to consolidate his despotic power.

In 1548, Charles, indignant at the cunning policy of Paul III., who set the emperor to war with the Reformers, and who deserted him when he feared that, being master of the Protestant league, he would also become his dictator—Charles, we say, when the Pope recalled his troops, not wishing to drive the Protestant princes to extremities, published the famous Interim, a sort of compromise between the two[76] creeds, and a tacit acquiescence in the more commonly received doctrines of the Reformers, leaving, besides, in their hands, the confiscated ecclesiastical properties. Paul became furious at the audacity of a layman mingling in matters of faith, and loudly exclaimed against the prince. Cardinal Farnese, the Pope’s legate and nephew, told the emperor that his book contained at least ten propositions which were heretical, and for which he might be called to account. Besides his legate, the Pope had in Germany a staunch and faithful partisan in the person of Bobadilla. Bobadilla was a bold and thorough Jesuit. He went to the war, and attached himself as a sort of commissary to the troops which the Pope’s grandson had led into Germany. At the battle of Mulberg he received a wound, but this gave him little concern. Some days afterwards, he was to be seen at Passau, a Protestant town, preaching the Catholic tenets, and announcing a day of thanksgiving for the victory that the Catholics had gained over the Protestants.

You may well believe that such a man would not hesitate to attack the Interim. In fact, by writing, by preaching publicly and privately, Bobadilla boldly denounced the book, and that even in the presence of the emperor himself, as a sacrilegious composition. The emperor, frustrating the Jesuit’s desire to gain renown by means of persecution, simply expelled him from all his estates.

Bobadilla hastened to Rome to receive, he hoped, the deserved ovation. But, alas! how bitterly was he deceived! Ignatius, “fearing that Bobadilla in impugning the Interim may have gone beyond due bounds, thought it better at first not to receive him into the house.”[67] So Orlandini. Our Mr Crétineau, who generally transcribes literally, here, with more zeal than prudence, thus reports the passage of the Jesuit writer:—“Loyola seized hold of this circumstance[77] to revenge the majesty of kings, which, even in the height of the dispute, one ought never to attain.”[68] We understand you well, Mr Crétineau! you have lost much of your influence over the people, too well educated to repose much faith, either in your sanctity or your miracles, and you intend to preserve some of your domineering influence, by clinging to these same kings against whom, when they were adverse to you, you directed the poniard of the assassin!

Bobadilla’s expulsion seemed to have been the signal for the outburst of a violent war against the order, especially in Spain. The fight began at Salamanca. Three Jesuits, Sanci, Capella, and Turrian, arrived there in 1548, for the purpose of establishing their Society. They entered the town in the most pitiable condition, and were so poor, that, “having no image to adorn the altar of their private chapel with, they in its stead put a piece of paper, upon which was delineated, I do not know what figure—‘Impressam nescio,’ says Orlandini, ‘quam in papyro figuram, pro scite picta tabula collocarent.’”[69] And Crétineau thus translates it:—“In consequence” (of having no picture), “one of them simply sketched on a piece of paper an image of the Virgin, and this paper, stuck on the wall, was the only ornament of the high altar.”[70]

I must say I feel surprised at their candour! You confess, then, that you worship a dirty scrap of paper, upon which you do not know what sort of figure was represented, or you scratch four lines and make it the object of your cultus—the indispensable ornament of your altar, upon which you are going to renew the sacrifice of the Cross! Ah! we already knew that your religion only consisted in externalities—in blind and absurd superstitions. Yet we register this other example to prove your own idolatry, and your constant[78] practice, to represent Christ the Lord in the background, while adoring images and statues which you have made according to your hearts’ wishes, as our great poet says, of gold and silver—

“Fatto v’avete Dio d’oro e, d’argento.”—Dante, Inferno, cant. xix.

However, there lived at that time at Salamanca a Dominican friar, famous for his eloquence, his learning, and particularly for his uprightness of purpose—Melchior Cano. He had known Loyola, and formed a bad opinion of him, because he never ceased speaking of his revelations, his visions, his virtues, his undeserved persecutions.

After his disciples came to Salamanca, equipped only with their bigoted fanaticism, and of doubtful morality, he resolved to oppose them, and poured forth against them, from his chair and pulpit, torrents of eloquent invectives. He represented them as crafty, insinuating; living in palaces, deceiving the kings and the great; declaring them to be soiled by every species of crime; capable of all kinds of excesses; and dangerous both to religion and society.

We may perhaps say that the picture which he, in his passionate eloquence, drew of the members of the order, which he also called the pioneers of Antichrist, was then somewhat exaggerated. The Jesuits at that time were not so perverse as he represented them to be, for they had as yet only existed for a few years. But it would seem that Cano had spoken in the spirit of prophecy, of the character which it assumed in after generations, the germ of which he may have seen beginning to develop itself.

If the letter which we are about to transcribe, written by him in 1560, two days before his death, is not to be numbered among the prophecies, it is nevertheless an extraordinary prediction, which came to be fulfilled in every point. Here is this remarkable letter:—“God grant that it may not happen to me as[79] is fabled of Cassandra, whose predictions were not believed till Troy was captured and burned. If the members of the Society continue as they have begun, God grant that the time may not come when kings will wish to resist them, but will not have the means of doing so.”[71]

But we have anticipated.—The hideous colours in which he pourtrayed the disciples of Loyola made such an impression in Salamanca, that the Jesuits were not allowed to establish themselves in it. In vain did the Pope, taking up the cause of the Jesuits, by a bull reprove the conduct of Cano. In vain did the General of the Dominicans issue a circular to all his subordinates, in which, after a long eulogium on the Society, he says that “it ought to be praised and imitated, and not assailed with calumnies.”[72] Cano, disregarding both the Papal brief and his general’s circular, and being supported, at least secretly, by the civil authorities, boldly held out against the order. What could his adversaries do? Persecution and revenge were impossible against a subject of the emperor, who was then at war with the Pope, and yet Cano must be got rid of. Well, one fine morning he was strangely and agreeably surprised with the news, that that same Pope who had threatened and censured him had now conferred upon him the bishopric of the Canaries. Dazzled and flattered, the friar yielded at first to the temptation, and left Salamanca for his bishopric. But soon, very soon, he perceived why he had been sent so far away. Resolved, therefore, to baffle his enemies’ cunning, he resigned the Episcopal dignity, and returned to Salamanca, the undoubted and indefatigable adversary of the order. He died Provincial of his order, and much respected.

About the same epoch, 1548, the University of Alcala also declared against the order. The contest lasted for a considerable time; and even after many[80] of the doctors were, by the usual mysterious arts, gained over to the cause of the company, Dr Scala persisted in his opposition, and did not refrain from attacking them till he was called before the Inquisition, and threatened with an auto-da-fé.[73]

The opposition which the Jesuits encountered in Toledo, where they had already established themselves, was a more serious affair. They had found here the population docile, and easy to be imposed upon. They had introduced sundry abuses, and many superstitious practices. Nay, their devotees—horrid to say!—went to the communion table twice a day! In the year 1550, these scandalous enormities forced themselves upon the attention of the authorities. Don Siliceo, Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, once tutor to Philip of Spain, wishing to repress them, published an ordinance, reproving and condemning them, and in which, after bitterly reproaching the Jesuits for their many usurpations, he forbids the people, under pain of excommunication, to confess to any Jesuit, and empowers all curates to exclude them from the administration of all sacraments; furthermore, laying an interdict upon the Jesuit College of Alcala.

This ordinance produced a great excitement among the Jesuits and their partisans, and nothing was left untried to make the archbishop relent. But neither the influence that the Society already possessed, nor the intercession of the Papal nuncio, and of the Archbishop of Burgos, nor even the Pope’s own authority, could vanquish the archbishop’s hostility. Then the bold Loyola had the impudence to institute a process against the archbishop, before the Royal Council of Spain. Paul III. was dead, and was succeeded by Julius III., who, as Ignatius well knew, was on the best terms with Charles. The Royal Council condemned the prelate, who thereupon recalled the interdict[74]—not that his opinions were changed, but to avoid,[81] perhaps, the fate which encountered his successor, the learned but unfortunate Carranza—twelve years of torture in the dungeons of the Inquisition.

A still fiercer tempest was gathering over the heads of the Jesuits at Saragossa. Instructive is the cause of the quarrel. The town of Saragossa was so full of convents and monasteries, that, to observe the rule which forbade any religious house to be built within a certain distance of another, it was impossible for the Jesuits to find a spot unforbidden. However, after thoroughly surveying the town, they imagined they had found a spot at the requisite distance. They there erect a house and a chapel, which is to be consecrated on Easter Tuesday 1555. Great preparations are made to make the pageant pompous and attractive, when, alas! Lopez Marcos, Vicar-general of Saragossa, on the complaint of the Augustine Friars, who pretend that the chapel was built on their grounds, intimated to Father Brama, the superior of the house, that the ceremony might be deferred. Brama refused to obey. Lopez, at the very moment the Jesuits were performing the solemn ceremony, issued a proclamation forbidding the chapel to be entered under pain of excommunication. Anathemas were poured upon the fathers, and the clergy, accompanied by a great crowd of people, march through the town, singing the 109th Psalm, the people repeating—“As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones;” and, to unite the ludicrous with the terrible, they carry along images with hideous faces, representing the Jesuits dragged to hell by a legion of demons still more hideous. A funeral procession, with the image of Christ covered with a black veil, singing lugubrious songs, march towards the house of the Jesuits. From[82] time to time, the cry, “Mercy! Mercy!” burst from the crowd, as they wished to avert the curse of God from an interdicted city. The poor Jesuits, shut up in their own house, patiently wait for a fortnight, until the tempest should pass away. But this ignoble goblin representation, worthy only of Jesuits and of their opponents, not yet ending, Loyola’s disciples, as usual, gave way, feeling assured that, if actual force would be of no avail in making good their claim, intrigues and cunning would in the end win the day. Nor were they deceived.[75]

In Portugal, dangers of another kind menaced the Society. It seemed as if Portugal were to be the theatre where the Jesuits were to perform the principal act of their ignoble drama.

The protection of John III., united with the zeal of Rodriguez, had made this country one of the most flourishing provinces of the Society. But its very prosperity nearly caused its ruin. Having possessed themselves of immense wealth, the Jesuits, yielding to the common law, relaxed in the strictness of their conduct, pursued a life of pleasure and debauchery; above all, their principal college (Coimbra) resembled more a garden of academics than a cloister.[76] Scandal became so great, that the court began to frown upon them, and the people were losing that respect and veneration with which they had before regarded them. Ignatius, of course, was soon informed of the state of things, and took at once the most energetic measures for repressing the evil (in 1552). Rodriguez was recalled and sent to Spain, and a new provincial and rector were sent to Coimbra.

Miron, the provincial, attempted a reform, but the Jesuits—spoiled children—refused to submit to it. Some he dismissed from the college—a greater number abandoned it. Insubordination and disorder were at their height. Fortunately, Ignatius had in the[83] rector Godin a man according to his heart. Godin proved a worthy disciple of the author of the Spiritual Exercises. Stripping his shoulders of their garments, arming himself with a scourge, he rushed, demoniac-like, out into the streets of Coimbra, and flagellated himself, crying for mercy. Breathless, covered with dust and blood, running and screaming, he returned to the college church, where the brethren were assembled, and here he again lashed himself. Strange and uncommon examples fire the imagination and prejudices of imitators. The Jesuits were at first surprised; then, all on a sudden, they beg to be allowed to undergo the same public penance. Godin feigns to refuse; he speaks of the scandal given—he paints in strong colours the enormities of their sins, and dwells at length upon the sufferings and passion of Christ. When he had wrought their feelings to the highest pitch, he granted them the permission solicited, and, like a crowd of Bacchanti, when their deity rages within them, they all rush out of the church, and with lamentable cries run through the streets, scourging themselves in a most merciless manner. When they reached the Church of the Misericordia, they knelt down, whilst the rector begged pardon of the multitude for the scandal they had given them. Some of the people are moved—others laugh loudly—but the intent of the rector is obtained. The disciples become more tractable; the college submits to the necessary reform, and the Jesuits regain their influence.[77]

The Society met with a more serious and durable opposition in France. After their first banishment they had returned to Paris, but there they had no house of their own, neither could they find any. They therefore took up their abode in the College des Lombards, till Du Prat, Bishop of Clermond, offered them his own hotel, to which they immediately repaired.[84] As yet, however, this establishment was neither a house for professed members, since there were none of them, nor a noviciate, since the rules for the noviciate were not established till six or seven years afterwards. The members who repaired to Clermond hotel were only students, or priests aspiring to become members of the Society; but we are told that they were so conspicuous for their learning and piety, that three of them were chosen by Ignatius to establish a new college in Sicily, while Viole, the chief of those aspirants, was named by the university, Procurator of the College des Lombards. This nomination, however, appeared to Ignatius to be of a rather doubtful character, since it proceeded from the university, which had been adverse to the order from the first. It seems as if he feared that these students, seduced by the allurements of honour and emoluments, would renounce their pious determination to become Jesuits; he therefore ordered Viole to give up the appointment, and to take the vows of the order before Du Prat, enjoining at the same time, that all students who may receive any pension from the College des Lombards should instantly renounce it. Although these orders were absolute, they were promptly obeyed. The great secret of Loyola’s influence and power lay in the inflexibility of his character, and in his military education, which rendered him absolute and imperative, and excluded the possibility of others disputing his orders.

Meanwhile the Society in France—we should say in Paris—the only place where it had tried to establish itself, lived in a most precarious state, until the year 1550, when Henry II., stimulated by the too famous cardinal of Guise, thought of establishing the Jesuits in his kingdom, and issued patent letters authorising them to do so.

The ordinances of the French king were not at[85] this time considered binding, until they were registered by the parliament.[78] When those concerning the Jesuits were brought before them, the parliament, after hearing the conclusions of their Advocate-General, refused to register them, on the ground “that the new institute would be prejudicial to the monarchy, the state, and the ecclesiastical hierarchy.”

The contest lasted for two years, when the king, in 1552, sent an order to the parliament to register the patent letters of 1550, authorising the establishment of the Jesuits. The order was formal and imperative, yet the parliament refused to comply with it, although, out of deference to the sovereign will, they advised that further inquiries be made concerning the Society.

After other two years of serious consideration and strict inquiry, the parliament, in 1554, enacted that “the bull establishing the Society, and the king’s patent letters, shall be communicated both to the Archbishop of Paris, and to the Faculty of Theology there, in order that, their opinion heard, the court may come to a sentence.” The archbishop and the faculty were thus called to decide upon a question of their exclusive competence, since the one was the ecclesiastical superior, and the other the natural judge in matters of faith. Both took the case in hand, and after due consideration, they respectively decided against the establishment of the Society. The archbishop, Eustache de Bellay, belonging to one of the most illustrious parliamentary families of France, after mature deliberation, gave out all the reasons why he thought it his duty to oppose the introduction of the order, and concluded in this remarkable and logical way:—“Since the order pretends to be established for the purpose of preaching[86] to the Turks and infidels, to bring them to the knowledge of God; they ought to establish their houses and societies in places near the said infidels, as in the times of old had been done by the Knights of Rhodes, who were placed on the frontiers of Christendom, not in the midst thereof.” But the severe and bitter censure of the Doctors of the Sorbonne was a more explicit condemnation of the order. Here is the document of their famous “conclusion:”—

“As all the faithful, and principally the theologians, ought to be ready to render an account to those who demand the same, respecting matters of faith, morals, and the edification of the Church; the faculty has thought, that it ought to satisfy the desire, the demand, and the intention of the court.

“Wherefore, having perused, and many times re-perused, and well comprehended all the articles of the two bulls, and after having discussed and gone to the depths of them, during several months, at different times and hours, according to custom, due regard being had to the subject, the Faculty has, with unanimous consent, given this judgment, which it has submitted with all manner of respect to that of the Holy See.

“This new Society, which arrogates to itself in particular the unusual title of the name of Jesus—which receives with so much freedom, and without any choice, all sorts of persons, however criminal, lawless, and infamous they may be—which differs in nowise from the secular priests in outward dress, in the tonsure, in the manner of saying the canonical hours in private, or in chaunting in public, in the engagement to remain in the cloister and observe silence, in the choice of food and days, in fasting, and the variety of rules, laws, and ceremonies which serve to distinguish the different institutes of monks;—this Society, to which have been granted and given so many privileges and licences, chiefly in what concerns the administration of the sacraments[87] of penance and the eucharist, and this without any regard or distinction being had of places or persons; as also in the function of preaching, reading, and teaching, to the prejudice of the ordinaries and the hierarchical order, as well as of the other religious orders, and even to the prejudices of princes and lords temporal, against the privileges of the universities,—in fine, to the great cost of the people;—this Society seems to blemish the honour of the monastic state; it weakens entirely the painful, pious, and very necessary exercises of the virtues of abstinences, ceremonies, and austerity. It even gives occasion very freely to desert the religious orders; it withdraws from the obedience and submission due to the ordinaries; it unjustly deprives lords, both temporal and ecclesiastical, of their rights, carries trouble into the government of both, causes many subjects of complaint amongst the people, many lawsuits, strifes, contentions, jealousies, and divers schisms and divisions.

“Wherefore, after having examined all these matters, and several others, with much attention and care, this Society appears dangerous as to matters of faith, capable of disturbing the peace of the Church, overturning the monastic order, and more adapted to break down than to build up.”[79]

Here, as in the denunciations of Cano, the faculty seem to have got a glimpse of the future history of the Jesuits, since, at that epoch at least, the accusation of receiving into the Society indiscriminately was not well founded.

The apologists of the Jesuits have said—and we are partly inclined to admit the truth of their assertion—that as the Jesuits were then in possession of the education of youth in many parts of Europe, the university, jealous of its privileges, condemned the order of the Jesuits, not as an infamous and sacrilegious community, but as a dangerous rival. They have also[88] affirmed, that the expulsion of the famous Postel[80] had irritated the Sorbonne, of which he was a doctor. But this we believe to be a gratuitous supposition.

However, the decisions of the parliament, archbishop, and university, were hailed throughout France with a shout of jubilee. The Jesuits were obliged to leave Paris, and as all the parliaments of France had echoed the resolution of that of the capital, they would be nowhere received, and, as a last and momentary refuge, they went and hid themselves in the Abbey of St Germain des Près.

The more warlike and inconsiderate members of the order would have replied to the terrible sentence of the Sorbonne, but Ignatius was too consummate a politician to yield to their imprudent desires. For open wars, the Jesuits had no predilection. When their opponents were too strong for them, their practice was, and still is, to give way, as if in submission; but then they begin a hidden and mysterious war of intrigues and machinations, that in the end they are always the victors. So acted Ignatius in this affair in France. The Jesuits contented themselves with living for some time in obscurity and complete seclusion from all society, and preparing the way for future triumph. Nor had they long to wait. Soon were they called into France to help and cheer that atrocious and cruel hecatomb, that bloody debauch of priests and kings—the Saint Bartholomew.

But what is worthy of more serious reflection, is the fact, that in Rome—the centre of their power and[89] glory—the Jesuits were also publicly accused as a set of heretics, dangerous and immoral persons; and the famous book of The Spiritual Exercises was submitted to the Inquisition. It is indeed true that this little manual got a certificate for orthodoxy, and that the priest who had traduced them before the tribunal, having to struggle alone against the Society, was condemned (we don’t wonder at it) as a calumniator; but how can you, you subtle sons of Ignatius, explain this concurrence; this accumulation of accusations and hostilities? How is it that nations, separated from one another by diversities of interest, custom, opinion—that citizens of different classes, characters, principles, interests—that all men and nations, widely separated in every thing else, united only by a common tie—the Catholic religion—should exactly agree in this one thing—hatred to and abhorrence of the avowed champion of Catholicism? And remember we don’t speak of Protestant countries, or Protestant opponents. All your adversaries were bigoted Catholics. There is but one way to explain this strange coincidence. We fear that from the very beginning, the Jesuits, notwithstanding all their prudence, could not conceal from the eye of the observer those subtle arts, that duplicity of character, that skill in accomplishing dark and mysterious exploits, for which they were in later times opposed, and at length abolished.

What is still more remarkable, is the fact that the greatest part of those persons who were foremost in opposing the Jesuits, knew Loyola, and, if not as intimately as Caraffa and Cano, at least well enough to be able to appreciate him. We shall adduce as the last, though not the least fact, militating against the order—that Caraffa, a man of the most rigid Catholicism, nay, bigotry—who had nothing so near his heart as the furtherance of the Roman religion—the former friend of Loyola, both as cardinal and as Pope, was constantly and firmly adverse to the order. I[90] should like if some of the reverend fathers would explain this almost inexplicable fact.

However, all these oppositions were sooner or later got rid of by Jesuitical craft; and the Society, in 1556, only sixteen years after its commencement, counted as many as twelve provinces, a hundred houses, and upwards of a thousand members, dispersed over the whole known world. Their two most conspicuous and important establishments were the Collegio Romano and the German College. They already were in possession of many chairs, and soon monopolised the right of teaching, which gave them a most overwhelming influence. We shall speak of the colleges, and of their method of study, after it had received from Acquaviva, the fifth General, a farther development, and nearly the same form in which it is at the present day. The Jesuits also derived great importance from their missions, to the consideration of which we shall devote the next chapter. The reason of the immense success of the Jesuits is the fact, that their order was established in direct opposition to the rising Protestantism, and that both the court of Rome, and those princes whose interest it was to maintain the Catholic religion, and oppose that of the Reformed, were very eager to introduce and uphold the Society of Jesuits into their states. Yet even with this preponderant favourable circumstance, the Society would have either succumbed under the many obstacles it encountered in its beginning, or at least would not have progressed so rapidly, had it not been for Ignatius Loyola. This extraordinary man seems to have united in his own person all the qualities indispensable for succeeding in any undertaking;—unbounded ambition—inflexibility of character—unwearied activity, and a thorough and profound knowledge of the human heart. With such qualities, he could hardly fail to succeed in the accomplishment of any project. Almost every writer of Loyola’s life (I do not speak either of the miracle-tellers[91] or of the pamphleteers) has represented him as most sincere, fervidly devout, and pious. On this point, however, we must observe, that all the historians, not excluding even the Protestant, copied from his two first biographers, Maffei and Rybadaneira.

We also beg to be permitted to give the humble opinion which we have formed of him, after having carefully perused what has been said regarding him—and much more, after a dispassionate examination of the facts connected with his life. Without doubt, Ignatius, during his illness, felt disposed to change his dissipated course of life, and, as happens in every sudden reaction, he, from being a profligate freethinking officer, went to the other extreme, and became a rigid and bigoted anchorite. No penances were too severe to expiate his numerous sins, and no devotion was too fervent to atone for his past irreligion. So he thought at the moment, and, we think, conscientiously. But after the first burst of his devotion—after the deep contemplation into which he was plunged had given place to the felt necessity of acting in one way or another, we are led to believe, and have already expressed that belief, that his natural ambition rose, and that all his thoughts were turned upon the surest method of accomplishing some great and uncommon exploit, by which he might render himself famous. As devotion was the principal requisite for success in the path which he had chosen, Ignatius was a fervent devotee, first by calculation, and then by habit—but not the less zealous for all that. Had his whole thoughts been absorbed with that one object—the salvation of his soul—his devotion would have been less ostentatious, and, without wavering between one project and another, he would have been contented with an humble and retired life, or would have spent it in unquestionable works of charity—in ministering to the sick, as he had begun in the Hospital of the Theatines. It cannot be denied, however, that Ignatius,[92] after his conversion, was very humane, compassionate, and charitable, and that his private conduct, in the later part of his life, was moral and unimpeached. He treated his disciples with much kindness, and never denied them what he could grant without inconvenience. On the other hand, he was imperious to the last degree, and could not endure the slightest contradiction. An old Jesuit priest, who had been once guilty of disobedience, was scourged in his own presence. One instance will perhaps serve to depict Loyola more effectively than words can. He had sent Lainez as provincial to Padua. Lainez, who had had an immense success at the Council of Trent, and who was in fact superior to any one then belonging to the Society, at first refused this secondary post, but at last obeyed. Hardly had he, however, entered upon his functions, before Ignatius drained his province of all the best professors, whom he summoned to Rome. The provincial remonstrated. It was the Lainez, Ignatius’ bosom friend—his right hand—the glory of the company—the man who had been chosen to be a cardinal. But Ignatius disregarded all these considerations, and without even entering into any discussion, simply wrote to him, thus: “Reflect on your proceedings; tell me if you are persuaded of having erred, and if so, indicate to me what punishment you are ready to undergo for the expiation of your fault.”[81] This letter pourtrays the man!

We are also assured, that the general was so humble, that you might have seen him carrying wood on his shoulders—lighting the common fire—or going to the well with a pitcher in his hand. We should be inclined to call such humility ostentation, or, if you prefer it, good policy. Ignatius was, above all, anxious to curb the spirit of his disciples. In his eyes, they could not be humble and submissive enough. The Jesuit ought to value himself, individually, as[93] nothing—the Society as everything. Now, which of his disciples would have dared refuse any undertaking, however humble, after he had seen his general engaged in the meanest services?

But while Ignatius affected these acts of humility, he was seriously giving his attention to the state affairs of different nations. He was holding correspondence with John III. of Portugal, the cardinal his son, Albert of Bavaria, Ferdinand of Austria, Philip of Spain, Ercole of Est, and many other princes. He was the spiritual director of Margaret of Austria. He went to Tivoli, purposely to allay the quarrels of two neighbouring towns, and to Naples to make peace between an angry husband and his wife of rather doubtful morals. All these things tend to prove what we have said regarding his devotion, viz. that it was of a rather meddlesome and ambitious character.

But his career was now drawing to an end. These different occupations—the direction of both the spiritual and temporal matters of the order, which was already widely spread—the anxiety caused by the many conflicts in which the Society was engaged—the fear of defeat—the joy arising from success—his unrelenting activity—his uneasiness at seeing the pontifical chair occupied by Caraffa, always adverse to the order—all these things contributed to shorten his days. His constitution, which had been impaired in his youth, and in the cavern of Manreze, now gradually gave way; and although no symptom of his approaching end was yet visible, “no paleness of countenance, not a sign in all his body,”[82] nevertheless he felt the vital principle fading away within him, and that his last hour was rapidly drawing near. He tried the country air, and for this purpose went to a villa lately given by some friends for the use of the Roman college,[83] but he found no relief. His strength was fast failing him; an unconquerable lassitude crept over his whole frame, and[94] his intellect only remained clear and unchanged. He spoke of his illness, nay, of his approaching end, to nobody. He returned to Rome, and threw himself upon a bed. A doctor was sent for by the alarmed fathers, but he bade them be of good cheer, “for there was nothing the matter with the general.” Ignatius smiled; and when the physician was gone, he gave orders to his secretary, Polancus, to proceed to the holy father straightway to recommend the Society to his care, and to obtain a blessing for himself (Ignatius), and indulgences for his sins.[84] Perhaps he made this last attempt to disarm, by his humility, the inflexible Paul IV. (Caraffa), and so render him favourable to the Society. He was mistaken. Paul sent the requested benison, but he did not change his mind toward the Society. However, Polancus, reassured by the doctor, and not seeing any danger himself, disregarded the order, postponing the fulfilment of his mission till next day. Meanwhile, after Ignatius had attended till very late to some affairs concerning the Roman college, he was left alone to rest. But what was the surprise and consternation of the fathers, on entering his room next morning, to find him breathing his last! The noise and confusion caused by such an unexpected event were great. Cordials, doctor, confessor, were immediately sent for; but, before any of them came—before Polancus, who only now ran to the Pope, returned—Loyola had expired. His demise took place at five o’clock on the morning of the 31st of July 1556, in his sixty-fifth year. So ended a man who is extolled by the one party as a saint, execrated by the other as a monster. He was neither. Most assuredly, in the Protestant point of view, and by all those who advocate the cause of freedom of conscience, and of a return to the purity of the primitive religion of Christ, Ignatius ought to be detested above any other individual. To him and to his order belongs[95] the mournful glory of having checked the progress of the Reformation, and of having kept a great part of Europe under the yoke of superstition and tyranny.

And here we are led to mention a fact which we think has hitherto been unnoticed—the indulgence, we should say the partiality, evinced by Protestant writers for these last ten years towards the Jesuits, and especially the founders of the order. The fact must be explained. The Jesuits, from 1830 to the end of ’48, seemed to have lost all public favour, all influence and authority. Persecuted and hooted in France, Switzerland, Russia, hated in their own dominion, Italy, they were considered as a vanquished enemy, deserving rather commiseration than hatred. A reaction ensued in their favour among their most decided opponents. Generous souls rose up to defend these persecuted men, and stretched out a friendly hand to them, thus trodden upon by all. Carried away with such chivalrous sentiments, they have embellished, with the colours of their fervid imaginations and the graces of their copious style, whatever the Jesuit writers have related of their chiefs, and have represented Loyola and his companions as heroes of romance rather than real historical characters. We leave these writers to reflect whether the Jesuits are a vanquished enemy, or whether they are not still redoubtable and menacing foes. But, with deference to such distinguished writers as Macaulay, Taylor, Stephen, and others, we dare to assert that in writing about the Jesuits they were led astray by the above romantic sentiments; and we should moreover warn them that their words are quoted by the Jesuit writers, Crétineau, Pellico, &c., as irrefragable testimony of the sanctity of their members.



Before we proceed any further, we feel obliged to say a few words regarding the missions which were undertaken by the Jesuits soon after the establishment of their order. To write a complete history would be almost interminable. To analyse Orlandini, Sacchini, Bartoli, Jouvency, the Litteræ Annuæ, and Les Lettres Edifiantes, not to speak of a hundred others, would take up a great many volumes.[85] We think we may fill our pages with more instructive matter.

We shall now confine ourselves to a short chapter on the missions of India. We shall next speak of those of America, and finally, in what condition the missions are at the present day. In speaking of the missions of India, we fear we shall incur the reproach we have addressed to others, because we frankly confess that we are partial to Francis Xavier; but our Protestant readers, to be impartial, must not judge those missions by too rigid a standard, or by too constant a reference to the doctrinal errors of those who undertook them, furthermore, by the consideration of what those missions subsequently became. All human institutions emanating from imperfect beginnings, are necessarily imperfect, and the further they recede from their[97] origin, the more they lose of their primitive character, and the less are they calculated to answer the end for which they were established. The idle and immoral monk—this gangrene of Catholic countries—was at one time the most industrious of men; and Europe owes much to the monastic orders, not only for the preservation of the greatest part of the works of genius of our forefathers, but also for the tillage of its barren wastes. If the monks and priests now bring disorder, confusion, and often civil war into the countries where they are sent under pretence of missions, such was not the case at the discovery of the Western World, and at the conquest of India by the Portuguese. The first zealous and devoted missionaries attempted to civilise and Christianise savage and barbarous populations. And if you object that in their missions they preached the Popish creed, and destroyed one idolatry by introducing another, at least you ought to give them credit for their good intentions. Nor are you to suppose that they undertook the task of civilising these nations in order to acquire dominion over them. No. Such, indeed, has been the case in later times, but in the beginning they were actuated by worthier and more disinterested motives. In going thither they had before their eyes martyrdom rather than worldly establishments. They carried with them no theological books. Having no antagonist to dispute with, they had left behind the acrimony and hatred inherent in almost all theological controversies. They brought with them the essence of the Christian religion—the most consoling and sublime part of it—gratitude to the Creator, with charity and love to their fellow-creatures. Undoubtedly, when we speak of their missions, we must not blindly believe all that the Jesuitical historians, who are often the only chroniclers of these events, relate to us. We shall not give them credit for the prodigies and miracles said to be performed by their missionaries, even though that missionary be Xavier[98] himself. We shall not believe that he raised from the tomb another Lazarus, or that at his bidding the salt waves of the ocean were changed into sweet and palatable water. Yet there are irrefragable proofs of the good done by their exertions, and of their success in introducing Christianity, or at least civilisation, into India and America. The man who first engaged in that glorious work was Francis Xavier—Xavier, whom, if Rome had not dishonoured the name by conferring it upon assassins and hypocrites, we would gladly call a saint.

Francis Xavier


He was the offspring of an ancient and illustrious Spanish family, and was born in 1506, at his father’s castle in the Pyrenees. He was about the middle size, had a lofty forehead, large, blue, soft eyes, with an exquisitely fine complexion, and with the manners and demeanour of a prince. He was gay, satirical, of an ardent spirit, and, above all, ambitious of literary renown. All his faculties, all his thoughts, were directed to this noble pursuit, and so efficiently, that at the age of twenty-two he was elected a professor of philosophy in the capital of France. There he lived on terms of intimacy with Peter Lefevre, a young Savoyard, of very humble extraction, of a modest and simple character, but of uncommon intelligence and industry. It was with Lefevre that Xavier first met Ignatius. Francis was shocked at his appearance, his affected humility, his loathsome dress; and when he spake of spiritual exercises, Xavier looked at his own fair, white arms, shuddered at the idea of lacerating them with the scourge—this principal ingredient of the spiritual exercises—and laughed outright in his face. But Ignatius, having cast his eyes upon such a noble being, was not to be discouraged by a first or second repulse in his endeavours to become intimate with him. He spared no exertions to ingratiate himself with Xavier; and at last, as Bartoli says, “he resolved to gain him over by firing his ambition, just as Judith[99] did with feigned love to Holofernes, that she might triumph over him at the last.”[86] As we have already stated, Xavier was ambitious, and eager for literary renown. Ignatius made himself the eulogist of his countryman. He gathered around his chair a benevolent and an attentive audience, and gratified the young professor in his most ardent wishes. The generous heart of Xavier was touched by this act of kindness, and he began to look upon this loathsome man with other eyes. Ignatius redoubled his efforts. The improvident Xavier was often surrounded with pecuniary difficulties. Ignatius went begging, to replenish his purse. It was not wonderful that Xavier, having fallen under the influence of such a persevering assailant, who was admonitor at once and friend—who flattered and exhorted, rebuked and assisted, with such matchless tact—should gradually have yielded to the fascination. He went through the Spiritual Exercises, and from that moment became a mere tool in the hands of Loyola. This was the first missionary sent to India.

The order had not yet been approved by the Pope, when John III. of Portugal, by means of his ambassador D. Pedro de Mascaregnas, asked of him six missionaries to be sent to the East Indies. The Pope, who was undecided whether he should consent to the establishment of this new order or not, thought this a plausible pretext to get rid of them altogether, and asked Loyola for six of his companions. But Ignatius was not the man to consent to the suicide of the intended Society, and offered the Pope only two members for the undertaking. The choice fell upon Rodriguez and Bobadilla. The first set out immediately, but Bobadilla falling ill, Ignatius called Xavier, and said to him, “Xavier, I had named Bobadilla for India, but Heaven this day names you, and I announce it to you in the name of the Vicar of Jesus Christ. Receive the appointment which his Holiness lays upon you by my[100] mouth, just as if Jesus Christ presented it himself. Go, brother, whither the voice of God calls you, and inflame all with the divine fire within you—Id y accendedlo todo y embrasadlo en fuego divino.” Ignatius often used these words, and in his mouth they were a talisman which fanned the flame of enthusiasm. It is impossible to describe the exultation of Xavier at the thought of the boundless regions which would open before him there, to exercise his unbounded charity and love of mankind. Xavier went to receive the Pope’s blessing, and the very next morning he left Rome—alone—penniless—clothed in a ragged cloak, but with a light heart and joyful countenance. He crossed the Pyrenees without even visiting his father’s castle, and hastened to Lisbon, where he joined his companion Rodriguez. Portugal at this epoch was experiencing the influence of the wealth brought from the recently conquered provinces of India. Eagerness for pleasure, effeminacy of manners, relaxation from every duty, had completely changed the aspect of the nation. These two Jesuits, by exhortation and preaching, endeavoured to stem the onward march of that fast spreading corruption. Their panegyrists assure us that they succeeded in their efforts, but the subsequent history of Portugal gives them the lie. To no man is given the power to stop the propensities or the vices of a nation, when they are in the ascendancy. Xavier may perhaps have made the Portuguese nobility for a moment ashamed of their luxurious and profligate life; but if so, a more complete abandonment to a life of idleness and pleasure succeeded a fugitive shame.

However, the King of Portugal, changing his mind, wished to retain in the capital the two Jesuits whom he had intended for India, but he could only prevail on Rodriguez to remain. Xavier was impatient to be sent on his mission. At length, on the 7th of April 1541, the fleet, having on board a thousand men to[101] reinforce the garrison of Goa, left the Tagus, and spread her sails to the wind. It was under the command of Don Alphonso of Sousa, the vice-king of India. As the fleet sailed on, the eyes of the soldiers were bedimmed with tears; even the bravest of the host could not see without emotion and dismay the shores of their native land receding from their view. Xavier alone was serene, and his countenance beamed with delight. On sailed the fleet, and after five long and weary months, they reached the coast of Mozambique. Under a burning African sun, they found little relief from the fatigues of their tedious voyage, and an epidemic fever spread consternation and death among these European adventurers. Xavier was indefatigable among them, nursing the sick, consoling the dying, and cheering all with his joyful and placid countenance.

After six months’ stay, they left this inhospitable land, and arrived at Goa, the capital of the Portuguese dominions in India, thirteen months after their departure from Lisbon.

There Xavier was horror-struck at the indescribable degradation in which he found, not the Indian idolaters, but the Portuguese Catholics, their own priests foremost in the path of vice. The contempt that these proud conquerors had for a feeble and despised race, the charm of the East, the wealth they found, the climate inspiring voluptuousness—all combined to banish from their breasts every sentiment of justice, shame, and honesty. The history of their debauches and immoralities is really revolting. Thirst for gold and voluptuousness were their two predominant passions; and the gold, acquired by infamous and cruel means, was dissipated in revolting and degrading deeds. Bartoli gives us a fearful picture of the demoralised condition of the Portuguese in India.[87] But, without trusting implicitly to all this historian[102] represents regarding their corruptions and licentiousness, we know by other sources that the corruption was extreme, and that it was their dissolute life that induced the Indians who had been converted to our religion, feeling ashamed of the name of Christian, to return to their idols. Xavier thought it would be useless to attempt converting the idolater before he had reformed the morals of the Christian; but he considered it neither prudent nor useful to attack so great an evil directly and openly. He rightly judged that the children would be most easily worked upon, and he resolved to reach this by exciting their love of novelties and unwonted sights. He arms himself with a hand-bell, which he swings with a powerful hand, throws away his hat, and calls in a loud and impressive tone on the fathers to send their children to be catechised. The novelty of the fact, the noble and dignified countenance of a man dressed in rags, could not fail to excite curiosity at least. Men, women, and children rush out to see this strange man, who draws along with him a crowd to the church, and there, with passionate and impressive eloquence, endeavours to inspire them with shame for their conduct, and lectures to them on the most essential rules of morality. Then he begins to teach the children the rudiments of the Christian religion, and these innocent creatures love to listen to a man who shews himself the kindest and gentlest companion, joyfully mixing in all their pastimes. A number of children soon became his constant auditors, and to say he did not work any good among them would be an untruth. Nor did he confine his apostolic ministry to the instruction of children. He was, on the contrary, indefatigable in his exertions to be of use to every one. He took up his abode in the hospital, visited the prisoner, assisted the dying. With a flexibility characteristic of the system, and often employed for the worst ends, he mixed with all classes, and spoke and acted in the most suitable[103] manner to please them all. Often might you have seen him at the same table with the gamester—often did he by his gay humour rejoice the banquet table—often might he have been seen in the haunts of debauchees; and in all those places exquisite good taste, combined with jest or bitter sarcasm, à-propos to time and place, rendered the vice either ridiculous or loathsome. Many, to enjoy Xavier’s friendship, renounced their profligate habits, and fell back to the paths of virtue. But it is a gratuitous assertion, and contradicted by Xavier himself, that the aspect of the town was changed by his predications and catechisings. We repeat it again—no man has the power to work such miracles. After Xavier had spent twelve months in Goa, he heard that the pearl fishermen on the coast of Malabar were poor and oppressed. Thither Xavier went without delay. He took with him two Malabarese whom he had converted, as his interpreters. But finding this mode of communication slow and ineffectual, he committed to memory the creed, the decalogue, and the Lord’s Prayer in the Malabar language, and repeated them to the natives with passionate and eloquent eagerness. By degrees he began to be able to communicate with them; and here, as elsewhere, Xavier not only acted the indefatigable apostle, but also shewed himself the best friend, the kindest consoler of these poor people, and shared in their fatigues and privations. Many were the favours which he obtained for them from the vice-king, and these grateful fishermen willingly embraced the religion preached by their benefactor. He lived among them for thirteen months, and we are assured that at his departure he had planted no less than forty-five churches on the coast. From Cape Comorin he passed to Travancore, thence to Meliapore, to the Moluccas, to Malacca; and, in short, he visited a great part of India, always vigilant, zealous, and indefatigable in[104] his endeavours to make these idolaters partake of the benefits of the Christian religion.

In 1547 he returned to Goa. Ignatius had sent him in the year 1545 three Jesuits. Xavier had directed two of them to go to Cape Comorin, and named the third, Lancillotti, Professor of the College of Saint Foi. Soon after, nine other Jesuits were sent to assist him. Xavier assigned a place and an occupation to each of them, and he himself returned to Malacca. Here he learned something about Japan. He was informed that the Japanese were moral, industrious, and very eager to acquire knowledge of every kind. Xavier at once determined that neither the distance nor the difficulties of the way should deter him from visiting Japan. Listening to no remonstrance which would have dissuaded him from this undertaking, he named the Jesuit, Paul of Camarino, Superior in his place, and with two companions set out for Japan.

Before leaving Malacca he wrote to Ignatius thus:—“I want words to express to you with what joy I undertake this long voyage, full of the greatest dangers. Although these dangers are greater than all I have yet encountered, I am far from giving up my undertaking, our Lord telling me internally that the cross once planted here will yield an abundant harvest.”

We shall not relate the various extraordinary incidents or miracles which we are told he performed whilst on the way, and we shall conduct him at once to that cluster of islands, with mountains barren of fruits and grain, but rich in mines of all sorts, which we call Japan, where he arrived in the summer of 1549. The Japanese of those days were partly atheists, partly idolaters. Xavier endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the Bonzes, those crafty priests of Japan. He succeeded in converting some of them, and by their influence a great many more of the idolaters, and prepared the ground which should afterwards[105] have produced an abundant harvest, if this father’s successors had possessed a little more of his uprightness and charity.

But Xavier’s vivid imagination and restless activity made him soon desert Japan for a more ample and splendid theatre. He formed the project of penetrating into the Celestial Empire. Leaving his two companions in Japan, he returned to Goa to settle the affairs of the Society, which had increased in numbers, influence, and authority; and this duty performed, he returned to Malacca, to embark from thence for China.

Better to succeed in his undertaking, he had obtained for a Portuguese merchant, Pereyra, the title of ambassador to the emperor. Pereyra, according to custom, had purchased many presents, in order to obtain a more cordial reception for himself and his friend Xavier. The vessel in which the two friends were to take a passage was on the point of sailing, when Don Alvarez, Captain-General of Malacca, opposed their departure, and, effectually to prevent it, laid an embargo on the Saint Croix, the only vessel which was bent thither. Xavier remonstrated in vain. The captain persisted in opposing the embassy of Pereyra. Xavier shewed him the commission of John III., which conferred upon him great and almost unlimited power, and also his commission as the Pope’s legate. Alvarez still refused to consent to their departure, and Xavier fulminated against him the anathemas, but without any effect.

Pereyra was thus obliged to remain, and Xavier, after having lost much time, took a passage in this same vessel, which was now ordered for the island of Sancian. There they at length landed, to the inexpressible joy of Xavier, who saw himself within a few leagues of this promised land of his own. But, alas! his hopes were frustrated. It was ordained that his praiseworthy ambition should not be gratified, and[106] that he should not see the vast empire he aspired to conquer to Christianity, but at a distance. Others might attempt this difficult mission; Xavier, a victim to fatigue and fever, lay powerless on the inhospitable shore of Sancian. In a very few days his illness made fearful progress, and on the 2d of December 1552, Xavier, in the forty-sixth year of his age, breathed his last. Thus ended the adventurous life of this noble and extraordinary man, which we have merely sketched.

We pass over the absurd and miraculous facts which the panegyrists of the saint have coupled with his name. We think they have injudiciously smothered, in ridiculous and supernatural legends, the many noble exploits and the great qualities of Xavier. In respect for his memory, we shall therefore make no mention of his miracles. Besides, Xavier’s miracles are as nearly as possible the same as those performed by other saints. We really believe that the biographers of any saint might do like that gentleman who, after having written a long letter without either comma, colon, period, or point of interrogation, put down a great quantity of these at the close of the epistle, and enjoined his correspondent to insert them in their requisite places. Our biographers should, in like manner, place at the end of their panegyrics some hundreds of miracles performed on the sick, or the blind, or those possessed with devils, and let the judicious reader insert them in those parts of the narrative they may think proper.[88]

No one, however, will deny to Xavier uprightness[107] of purpose, sincerity of conviction, mildness and intrepidity of character, self-denial, and a fervid zeal for the propagation of the Christian religion. But while we gladly give him praise for his excellent qualities, we cannot overlook some of his defects. Thus, for example, we cannot approve of his continual wandering, and we think, that in undertaking his voyages, he was actuated, perhaps, as much by the love of novelty as by the desire of propagating Christianity. His way of making Christians was also in the highest degree inconsiderate and hasty; for, most assuredly, the 10,000 idolaters whom he christened in a single month, had no more of the Christian than the baptism.

But we must impute to him a still greater fault, and one which seems to be inherent in the character of the Romish priests—the absolute authority which they claim over all men, and their unscrupulous proceedings against any one who is bold enough to resist their orders—nay, their very wishes. Observe. Don Alphonso de Sonza, vice-king of India, although an exemplary Roman Catholic, because he does not yield to all Xavier’s wishes, the Jesuit writes to the king and procures his recall! Alvarez opposes the embassy of Pereyra, which Xavier had contemplated, and for this the Jesuit priest excommunicates him! These two acts are characteristic of the Romish priests, and we quote them to shew that even the mildest does not hesitate at anything, in order to carry his point.

However, in the time of Xavier, and for some fifty years afterwards, the missions, if they were far from what they ought to have been, as instrumental for propagating the gospel, were nevertheless conducted in a manner not altogether unpraiseworthy. The missionaries were laborious, energetic, indefatigable. They submitted to every kind of privation, persecution, even death itself, with a courageous and sometimes joyful and willing heart. Had they simply preached the gospel, and not mingled with it the diffusion of the[108] superstitious practices of the Church of Rome, no praise would be adequate to their deserts. But, alas! the noble qualities which they brought to work were soon perverted, and directed to interested and impure motives, so that we fear the good which they did at first can hardly compensate for the evil which they at length produced.

The man who after Xavier had the greatest success in India, but who also perverted the character of the mission, and introduced the most abominable idolatry, was Father Francis Nobili. He arrived at Madura in 1606, and was surprised that Christianity had made so little progress in so long a time, which he attributed to the strong aversion which the Indian had for the European, and to the fact, that the Jesuits, having addressed themselves more especially to the Pariahs, had caused Christ to be considered as the Pariahs’ God.[89] He therefore resolved to play the part of a Hindoo and a Brahmin. After having learned with wonderful facility their rites, their manners, and their language,[90] he gave himself out as a Saniassi, a Brahmin of the fourth and most perfect class; and, with imperturbable impudence, he asserted that he had come to restore to them the fourth road to truth, which was supposed to have been lost many thousands of years before. He submitted to their penances and observances, which were very painful; abstained from everything that had life, such as fish, flesh, eggs;[91] respected their prejudices, and, above all, the maintenance of the distinction of classes. It was forbidden the catechumen Pariah to enter the same church with the Sudra or Brahmin converts. All this was the beginning of those heathen ceremonies and superstitions with which the Christian religion was contaminated.

Great care was taken by these Roman Saniassi[109] that they might not be taken for Feringees,[92] and still greater care not to hurt the prejudices of the Hindoos. We might multiply quotations ad infinitum to prove our assertions, but we shall content ourselves with two. “Our whole attention,” writes Father de Bourges, “is taken up in our endeavour to conceal from the people that we are what they call Feringees; the slightest suspicion of this would prove an insurmountable obstacle to our success.”[93] And Father Mauduit writes,—“The catechist of a low caste can never be employed to teach Hindoos of a caste more elevated. The Brahmins and the Sudras, who form the principal and most numerous castes, have a far greater contempt for the Pariahs, who are beneath them, than princes in Europe can feel for the scum of the people. They would be dishonoured in their own country, and deprived of the privileges of their caste, if they ever listened to the instructions of one whom they look upon as infamous. We must, therefore, have Pariah Catechists for the Pariahs, and Brahminical catechists for the Brahmins, which causes us a great deal of difficulty.” “Some time ago, a catechist from the Madura mission begged me to go to Pouleour, there to baptize some Pariah catechumens, and to confess certain neophytes of that caste. The fear that the Brahmins and Sudras might come to learn the step I had taken, and thence look upon me as infamous and unworthy ever of holding any intercourse with them, hindered me from going! The words of the holy apostle Paul, which I had read that morning at mass, determined me to take this resolution,—‘Giving no offence to any one, that your ministry might not be blamed’ (2 Cor. vi. 3). I therefore made these poor people go to a retired place, about three leagues from here, where I myself joined them during the night, and with the most careful precautions, and there I baptized nine!”[94]


We appeal to every impartial man, if these were apostles and teachers of the gospel. But it seems by all their proceedings, that they considered the conversion of these idolaters to consist in the mere fact of their being baptized. To administer baptism to a man volens nolens, was the Jesuits’ utmost ambition, and this ambition they satisfied per fas et nefas. Let them relate the facts themselves:—

“When these children,” says Father de Bourges, “are in danger of death, our practice is to baptize them without asking the permission of their parents, which would certainly be refused. The catechists and the private Christians are well acquainted with the formula of baptism, and they confer it on these dying children, under the pretext of giving them medicines.”[95]

Women were also found very useful in the case of newly born infants, when none other could obtain access. Father Bouchet mentions one woman in particular, “whose knowledge of the pulse and of the symptoms of approaching death was so unerring, that of more than ten thousand children whom she had herself baptized, not more than two escaped death.”[96] In like manner, during a famine in the Carnatic, about A.D. 1737, Father Trembloy writes, that according to the report of the catechists and missionaries, the number of deserted and dying children baptized during the two years of death, amounted to upwards of twelve thousand. He adds, that, as every convert knew the formula of baptism, it was rare, in any place where there were neophytes, for a single heathen child to die unbaptized.[97]

The logical consequence of this mode of making Christians was, that at the first opportunity these converts repudiated the name of Christian with as much facility as they assumed it. This was seen on many occasions, and more particularly, perhaps, in 1784:—


“When Tippoo ordered all the native Christians in Mysore to be seized, and gathered together in Seringapatam, that he might convert them to Mahometanism, amidst that vast multitude, amounting to more than 60,000 souls,” says the Abbé Dubois, “not one—not a single individual among so many thousands—had courage to confess his faith under this trying circumstance, and become a martyr to his religion. The whole apostatised en masse, and without resistance or protestation.”[98]

But even when these converts retained the name of Christian, we are much at a loss to distinguish them from the pagans, either in their manner of worship, or in their moral conduct. And what is still more disheartening, is to see that the Jesuits, who nourished them in those idolatrous and diabolical superstitions make light of them—nay, even seem to approve of them.

Listen to M. Crétineau:—

“The Malabar rites consist in omitting some ceremonies in the administration of baptism, respecting, however, the essence of the sacrament; in disguising the name of the Cross, and of the objects of the Catholic religion, under a more common and vernacular appellation; to give them heathen names; to marry children before the age of puberty, seven years; to allow the women to wear the Taly (bijou),[99] which they receive the day of their nuptials, and upon which is engraved an idol, the Greek god Priapus; to avoid assisting the Pariahs in their illness, and to refuse them certain spiritual succours—the sacraments of confession and communion.”[100] He might have added that these rites consisted also in the use of burned[112] cows’ dung applied to the body,[101] in a joyous feast, at an occasion which decency forbids us to name, in dancing and playing instruments of different kinds, in idol processions, in ablutions according to the Brahminical rites, and in sundry other pagan superstitions. Now, listen to what Crétineau and the Jesuits think about these abominable acts of idolatry:—

“The Jesuits of Madura, Mysore, and the Carnatic found themselves surrounded by so many superstitious practices, that they thought best to tolerate those who in their eyes did not cause any prejudice to the Christian religion.”[102] Now, these practices which in their eyes “did not cause any prejudice to the Christian religion,” were exactly those which we have named; which the Jesuits pertinaciously maintained even after they were condemned by three successive Popes, and which they still considered “innocent ones.” Really, we don’t know whether we ought most to execrate their wickedness, or to lament their blindness. We could almost regret that they do not deny these facts. A lie more or less would not matter much in the sum total, and would, at least, shew that they are still alive to some sense of shame. Mycio, seeing Eschinus blush at his remonstrances, looks complacently aside, and says, “Erubuit, salva res est!” Terentius was right. Eschinus was capable of feeling shame, and amended; but the Jesuits blush not. Either they have lost all shame, and you would not find—

“Chi di mal far si vergogni”—


“any one blush at doing wrong,” or they consider as innocent the most abominable profanation of our holy religion. In both cases, I fear, we must renounce all idea of seeing them change till their impenitent heads be visited by the wrath of God. May their conversion avert it!

Complaints of these scandalous profanations were sent to Rome, even in the lifetime of Nobili. Paul V. delegated the Archbishop of Goa to inquire into the nature of these practices, which the prelate utterly condemned. The Jesuits stirred themselves up in their own defence, and represented to Gregory XIII., Paul’s successor, that those rites were merely civic ceremonies, and not at all religious ones. Gregory, either little scrupulous or persuaded by their misrepresentations, by a brief, dated 1623, approved conditionally of some of those practices, such as absolution, painting with sandal-wood, and some others, which, as we said, were represented by the Jesuits to be merely civic ceremonies. This success confirmed the Jesuits in pursuing the same line of policy; and as they were also at that time at war with other monks to acquire, each for his order, paramount influence over the Indians, they thought that nothing could be more efficient to accomplish their ends than to flatter the prejudices of their neophytes, to be liberal in their concessions, and, in fact, to tolerate almost all the pagan usages. They acted in India, in all respects, as they did in Europe, where, to be the confessors of kings and of the powerful, they invented the doctrines of probableism, of mental reservation, and others of a character as immoral, which we shall examine by and by. For eighty years, therefore, they went from one abomination to another, till the scandal became so great and so universal, that the Roman See was again moved to interfere. Accordingly, Clement XI. delegated Charles Maillard de Tournon, Patriarch of Antioch, with unlimited authority to investigate into and settle the[114] matter. The patriarch is described by Clement XI. as “a man whose well-known integrity, prudence, charity, learning, piety, and zeal for the Catholic religion made him worthy of the highest trust;” and, according to Crétineau, “a man who possessed the highest virtues and best intentions, which, however, should have been directed by a less intemperate zeal.”[103]

He landed at Pondicherry on November 6, 1703, and immediately commenced a thorough and minute investigation of the whole affair. After eight months, he, on June 23, 1704, published the famous decree condemning and prohibiting all these idolatrous practices; although the noble prelate, a good Roman Catholic as he was, is not altogether free from superstition, as may be seen in the decree itself. Here are some extracts from it:—

“Charles Thomas Maillard de Tournon, by the grace of God ... Legate a latere, &c.... having maturely examined all things, ... having heard the above mentioned fathers (the Jesuits), having by public prayers implored divine aid; we, ... in our capacity of Legate a latere, have enacted the present decree:—

“And to begin by the administration of the sacrament. We expressly forbid that, in administering baptism, any of the Christian rites are to be omitted.... We command, moreover, that a name of the Roman martyrology be given to the catechumen, and not an idolatrous one.... We order that no one, under any pretext whatever, shall change the signification of the names of the cross, of the saints, or of any other sacred thing....

“Further, as it is the custom of this country that children, six or seven years old, and sometimes even younger, contract, with the consent of their parents, an indissoluble marriage, by the hanging of the Taly, or golden nuptial emblem, on the neck of the bride,[115] we command the missionaries never to permit such invalid marriages among Christians.

“And since, according to the best informed adherents of that impious superstition, the Taly bears the image, though unshapely, of Pullear, or Pillear, the idol supposed to preside over nuptial ceremonies; and since it is a disgrace for Christian women to wear such an image round their necks, as a mark that they are married, we henceforth strictly prohibit them from daring to have the Taly with this image suspended from their necks. But, lest wives should seem not to be married, they may use another Taly, with the image of the holy cross, or of our Lord Jesus Christ, or of the most blessed Virgin, marked on it!

“The nuptial ceremonies also, according to the custom of the country, are so many, and defiled by so much superstition, that no safer remedy could be devised than to interdict them altogether; for they overflow with the pollutions of heathenism, and it would be extremely difficult to expurge them from that which is superstitious....

“In like manner, we cannot suffer that these offices of charity which Gentile physicians, even of a noble race or caste, do not consider unworthy (for the health of the body) to be given to those poor people, the Pariahs, although in the most abject and lowest condition, be denied, for the sake of souls, by spiritual physicians. Wherefore, we strictly enjoin the missionaries, as far as they can, to see that no opportunity for confession be awanting to any sick Christian, although he be a Pariah, or even of a more despised race, if there were. And lest they should be compelled to consult for their eternal welfare, when the disease is increasing, and their temporal life is in evident danger, we charge the missionaries not to wait till those in this weak condition are brought to church, but, as far as they are able, to seek for them at home, to visit them, and to comfort them with pious discourses and[116] prayers, and with sacramental bread; and, in short, to administer extreme unction to them, if they are about to die, without making any distinction in persons or sexes, expressly condemning every practice contrary to the duty of Christian piety....

“We have learned with the greatest sorrow, also, that Christians who can beat the drum, or play on a flute, or other musical instruments, are invited to perform during the festivals and sacrifices in honour of idols, and sometimes even compelled to attend, on account of some species of obligation supposed to be contracted towards the public by the exercise of such a profession, and that it is by no means easy for the missionaries to turn them from this detestable abuse; wherefore, considering how heavy an account we should have to render to God did we not strive, with all our power, to recall such Christians as these from the honouring and worshipping of devils, we forbid them,” &c.

“The missionaries also shall be held bound, not only to acquaint them with the aforesaid prohibition, but also to insist on its entire execution, and to expel from the Church all who disobey, until they repent from the heart, and by public marks of penitence expiate the scandal they have caused.”

In like manner, the legate expressly prohibits the heathen ablutions and superstitious bathings, at set times, and with certain ceremonies, to all, and more especially to the preachers of the gospel, whatever pretence they allege, were it even to pass themselves off as Saniassi, who were distinguished by their manifold and multiplied washings—‘ut existementur Sanias seu Brachmanes, præ ceteris dediti hujusmodi ablutionibus.’

“We, in like manner, prohibit that the ashes of cow-dung, a false and impious heathen penance instituted by Rudren, should be blessed and applied to the foreheads of those who have received the sacred unction[117] of Chrism; we also proscribe all the signs of a red and white colour, of which the Indians are very superstitious, from being used for painting their face, breast, and other parts of the body. We command that the sacred practice of the Church, and the pious usage of blessing the ashes, and of putting them upon the head of the faithful, with the sign of the cross, in order to recall their own unworthiness, be religiously observed, at the time and after the manner prescribed by the Church, on Ash-Wednesday, and at no other time.

“And, lest from those things which have been expressly prohibited in this decree, any one may infer or believe that we tacitly approve of or permit other usages which were wont to be practised in these missions, we absolutely reject this false interpretation, and we explicitly declare the contrary to be our intention. We will, also, for just causes known to us, that the present decree should have full force, and should be considered as published, after it has been delivered up by our Chancellor to Father Guy Tachard, Vice-provincial of the French Fathers of the Society of Jesus in India; and we command him, by virtue of holy obedience, to transmit four similar copies to the Father-provincial of the province of Malabar, to the Superiors of the Mission at Madura and Mysore, and of the Carnatic, who after two months, and all the other missionaries after three months, from the day in which this decree shall be notified to Father Tachard, shall be bound to consider it as having been made public, and notified to every one.

“Given at Pondicherry, this day, 23d June 1704.”

Nothing can more effectually prove the culpability of the Jesuits, and their sacrilegious crime, in encouraging such abominable idolatry, than this decree, emanating from so high a Roman Catholic authority, and from a man who reproaches himself for being too lenient[118] towards the fathers. This document is a terrible and overwhelming proof against the order’s orthodoxy, and M. Crétineau himself can find no fault with it. His only complaint is, that the different historians who have quoted the prelate’s decree, have omitted to speak of the preamble, in which the patriarch declares that he had been assisted in the investigation by two of the Jesuits, from which fact he (M. Crétineau) seems anxious that we should infer that the Jesuits themselves have condemned these practices. This, besides being contradictory to what M. Crétineau has just said, is by no means true in the sense in which he wishes us to receive it. According to Father Norbert’s version,[104] it seems that the patriarch arrived at the truth of the whole matter by making use of a little Jesuitical cunning. He called two of the fathers to a private conference, received them with great kindness and urbanity, praised their zeal, pitied them in their difficult position, and so overcame them, that they frankly confessed every thing to him. Now, their confession was written down by two secretaries, who were concealed in a closet for the purpose. The superior, to whom the Jesuits related what had taken place, was indignant and alarmed at their wonderful ingenuousness, and sent them back to the prelate to retract what they had said.[105] But it was too late. The legate, to give more weight to the decree, begins somewhat maliciously by saying, that he had been helped in his investigation by Fathers Venant Bouchet and Charles Bartolde, “learned and zealous men, who had resided long in the country, were perfectly acquainted with its manners, language, and religion, and that from[119] their lips he had got a right understanding regarding the real state of matters, which rendered the vine and branches feeble and barren, from adhering, as they did, rather to the vanities of the heathen than to the real vine, Christ Jesus.”

What makes us believe in the veracity of Father Norbert in this case is, that the Jesuits never submitted to the decree, that they still continued to persist in their old practices, and that neither Father Bouchet nor Bartolde was punished or dismissed, one or other of which would most certainly have taken place had they deliberately and openly denounced these diabolical practices. On the contrary, Father Bouchet was one of the two Jesuits who were sent to Rome to get the decree abrogated.

The Jesuits, however, did their utmost to parry the blow. Faithful to an essential rule of Jesuitical cunning, they at first feigned to submit, only entreating the patriarch to suspend for a time the censures attached to the non-execution of the decree, which the good prelate granted for three years, hoping that they would obey, and abolish these abominations gradually. But they were far from intending to do such a thing. On the contrary, they, as we have already said, immediately despatched two Jesuits to Rome, for the purpose of getting the patriarch’s decree abrogated by the Holy See. Father Tachard, the vice-provincial of the India missions, thought that it would perhaps make a great impression in Rome if, to the opinion of the legate De Tournon they could oppose the opinion, not only of all the Jesuits residing in India, but also of the other priests along the Malabar coast. With this end in view, he sent many emissaries round with a sort of circular containing a number of questions, to which he solicited answers, and these, as might be imagined, were all found to be according to his wishes. This strange circular is to be found in the eighth and tenth pages of the third volume of the Mémoires Historiques.[120] Did not subsequent facts and the whole conduct of the Jesuits render it credible, we should have hesitated to insert it as an historical truth, so strange does the document appear to us. Here it is:—

“I. Is the frequent use of ashes (burnt cow’s dung) necessary for the Christians of these missions? They answered in the affirmative.

“II. As the Pariahs are looked upon in a civil light as so despicable that it is almost impossible to describe how far the prejudice is carried against them, ought they to assemble in the same place, or in the same church, with other Christians of a higher caste? They answered in the negative.

“III. Are the missionaries obliged to enter into the houses of the Pariahs to give them spiritual succour, while there are other means of arriving at the same end, as is remarked elsewhere? They answered in the negative.

“IV. Ought we, in the said missions, to employ spittle in conferring the sacrament of baptism? They answered in the negative.

“V. Ought we to forbid the Christians to celebrate those brilliant and joyous fêtes which are given by parents when their young daughters ‘ont pour la première fois la maladie des mois?’ They answered in the negative.

“VI. Ought we to forbid the custom observed at marriages of breaking the cocoa-nut? They answered in the negative.

“VII. Ought the wives of the Christians to be obliged to change their Taly or nuptial cord? They answered in the negative.

And he, Father Tachard, was not content with the mere signature; he wanted, also, a solemn oath—

“I, John Venant Bouchet, priest of the Society of Jesus, and Superior of the Carnatic Mission, do testify and swear, on my faith as priest, that the observance of the rites, as set forth in the preceding answers, is[121] of the greatest necessity to these missions, as well for their preservation as for the conversion of the heathen. Further, it appears to me, that the introduction of any other usage contrary to these, WOULD BE ATTENDED WITH EVIDENT DANGER TO THE SALVATION OF THE SOULS OF THE NEOPHYTES. Thus I answer the reverend father superior general, who orders me to send him my opinion as to these rites, and to confirm it by an oath, for assurance and faith of which I here sign my name. Signed, Nov. 3, 1704, in the Mission of the Carnatic. Jean Venant Bouchet.

Fathers Peter Mauduit, Philip de la Fontaine, Peter de la Lane, and Gilbert le Petit took the same oath, and attested it by their signatures, and after like fashion swore all the Portuguese Jesuits in Madura and Mysore.

Whilst two Jesuits were dispatched to Rome with this document, F. Tachard set another battery at work. The Bishops of Goa and of St Thomas were creatures of the Jesuits, and altogether devoted to their interest. At the instigation of the fathers, they, respectively, published an ordinance, by which, on their own authority, they annulled the decree of the legate, under the specious pretext that they were not satisfied that this prelate’s power and authority were sufficient to enact it. The Bishop of Goa, to whom the Pope had sent De Tournon as his representative, to whom he had granted full and unlimited power, went still further, and had the impudence to write to the Pope, telling him that he, the bishop, had annulled the decree of the patriarch, not knowing that he had power to publish it.

The Pope was highly incensed, both against the bishops and Jesuits, and on the 4th January 1707 he fulminated a brief against the bishop’s declaration regarding De Tournon’s decree, giving his full sanction to the legate’s decision in all its parts. At the same time he wrote a terrible letter of admonition to the[122] Bishop of Goa, reproaching him for his impudence, and threatening to depose him.

One would now, perhaps, imagine that the Jesuits are going to acquiesce in these ordinances, which, in fact, are merely directed to abolish Pagan superstition, too abominable even in the eyes of a Popish prelate. Doubtless, these champions of Rome, these devout servants of the Holy See, to which they are bound by a special vow, are going to yield implicit obedience to the supreme head of their Church. Far from it. On the contrary, the Jesuits added perjury to disobedience, and uttered falsehoods so bold and so barefaced, as Jesuits alone are capable of. Fathers Bouchet and Lainez were unsuccessful in their mission to Rome. Before they had even reached the capital, the decree of the legate had been confirmed by a decree from the General Inquisition, dated 6th January 1706. The Pope received them very coldly; and while they were in Rome, he published his brief against the Bishops of Goa and St Thomas, and confirmed the ordinances of the patriarch. Well! can it be believed—would it be credited, that there could be found two men, even among these Jesuits, so lost to all sentiments of probity and honour, as to declare on their return that the Pope had received them with the greatest kindness, and that the decree of the legate De Tournon had been abrogated! Great was the astonishment of the missionaries of the other orders, and of some few Christians who viewed with abhorrence so much idolatry as was introduced into the religion of Christ. But after the first moment of surprise was over, they began to doubt the veracity of the Jesuits’ report, and sent a memorial to Rome to ascertain the whole truth. The Jesuits attempted to intercept this; but the messenger with great difficulty escaped an ambush that had been laid for him near Milan, and at length arrived at Rome. We shall say nothing[123] regarding the indignation of Pope Clement XI. on hearing this. We shall only report part of his brief, which removes all doubt regarding the guilt of the Jesuits:—

To the Bishop of St Thomas of Meliapar, Pope Clement XI. wisheth health, &c.

“We have learned with the greatest sorrow, that it has been divulged in your country (India) that we have nullified and abrogated the ordinances contained in a decree of our venerable brother, Cardinal de Tournon, dated 23d June 1704, Pondicherry, whither he had gone on his way to China; and that we have, moreover, permitted and approved of those rites and ceremonies which in the aforesaid decree are declared to be infected with superstition. Ardently wishing, that in a matter of such importance, not only you, but by your care all the other bishops and missionaries, should know the truth, we have thought proper to send to you the joint documents,[106] authenticated by an apostolical notary, and by the seal of the General Inquisition; and we beg of the princes of the apostles, &c.

Rome, Sept. 17, 1712.

Before we proceed further in our narrative, we must go back some few years, and resume the history of the Patriarch de Tournon, who, after having published his decree at Pondicherry, proceeded to China, where he arrived in 1705. The Jesuits were already there. Before attempting to penetrate into this vast empire, they had carefully studied the habits of that (comparatively) scientific and learned people; and, to succeed in their enterprise, they resolved upon flattering the national prejudices, as well as instructing the natives in the sciences and arts. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, Father Ricci made his first[124] entrance into China, and received a very friendly welcome, because he was an able mathematician, and could repeat from memory the most important passages of Confucius. The emperor esteemed him much for a clock which struck the hours, and which had been made purposely for him by the Jesuit; and still more for a map, far superior to anything the Chinese had attempted in that department of knowledge.[107] But from their too great desire to please the Chinese, the Jesuits did here as they had already done in Madura—they allowed the Christian religion to be contaminated with idolatrous practices, and adapted themselves to all the manners of the Chinese. Ranke says that Ricci died in 1610, not by excess of labour merely, but more especially by the many visits, the long fastings, and all the other duties of Chinese society and etiquette.[108]

The first step of the Patriarch de Tournon, on entering the Chinese Empire, was to summon all the missionaries and priests he was able, to Canton, and to declare to them that he was determined to tolerate no idolatrous superstition whatever. In consequence, he commanded them to remove all idolatrous emblems from their churches. The Chinese Jesuits seem to have shewn more of the hypocrite than those of Madura had done. They manifested no opposition whatever to the commands of the patriarch, and obtained for him a very kind reception from the Emperor Thang-hi. But he enjoyed the imperial favour for a very short time indeed. The Jesuits secretly stirred up the emperor against him, by representing to him that the legate despised the Chinese, their sovereign, and their religion, and that he was the instigator and adviser of the Bishop of Conon, who was apostolic-vicar in the province of Foukin, and who had prohibited some of the heathen superstitions, in compliance with the patriarch’s desire. The emperor, indignant[125] at this, by a decree in August 1706, banished the legate from his dominions, and by a subsequent one, the Bishop of Conon.[109] The Jesuits, these diabolical sons of hypocrisy, exulting in their hearts at the defeat of their enemies, had the impudence—we should say, the cruelty—to insult their grief by a letter full of false condolences and tears, which they sent to De Tournon, while still in Nankin. However, it does not seem that the prelate was the dupe of their arts, as may be perceived from the following noble and pathetic answer to the fathers of the Society residing at Pekin:—

“We have received, reverend fathers, in a letter of your reverences, full of grief, the decree of the 16th December 1706, against the most illustrious Bishop of Conon and others.... You say that this event causes you grief and affliction. Would to God that your affliction would lead you to repentance! I should rejoice at it, because it would be acceptable to God, and might be the means of your salvation.

“Night and day I shed tears before God, not less for the distressed state of the mission, than on account of those who are the causes of its affliction; for, if I knew not the cause of the evil, and the authors of it, I might endure all more cheerfully. The Holy See has condemned your practices; but much more to be detested is that unrestrained licence with which you try to bury your shame under the ruins of the mission. You have not lent your ears to salutary counsel; and now you betake yourselves to means that cause horror (modo ad horrenda confugitis).

“What shall I say? Wo is me! The cause has[126] been determined, but the error continues; the mission will be destroyed sooner than it can be reformed.

“However, your reverences are not in earnest, but merely jesting (ludunt non dolent reverentiæ vestræ), when you represent the emperor as being angry with you—the emperor who does not act but according to your wishes. He would assuredly be angry if he knew (God forbid!) what injuries you have caused to his glory.... What faith can I place upon those who in all their intercourse with me have used nothing but insidious devices?... I pray of Him who has reserved revenge for Himself, not to give you the recompence you deserve, nor to measure to you with the same measure ye have meted to your neighbour.... If you knew the emperor so well as to make you think he deserves the name of Herod, why had you recourse to him?... Why have you malignantly excited his hatred against an apostolic legate?... Would to God that you would repent from your hearts!—Yours, &c.

Nankin, 17th January 1708.

But if the prelate was well acquainted with all the Jesuitical cunning, he did not know the extent of their wickedness. Soon after De Tournon had sent this letter, he was arrested by order of the emperor (we may well suppose at whose instigation), sent to Macao, and delivered up to the Portuguese. The Bishop of Macao, who was another creature of the Jesuits, loaded him with chains, and threw him into prison. It is highly instructive to read the bull of excommunication which Pope Clement XI. fulminated against the Bishop of Macao for this deed. He complained that a Papal legate had been arrested, “not by pagans, but by Christian magistrates and officers, who, forgetful of his sacred character, of his dignity, &c., had dared to lay their hands upon him, and to make him endure such indignities and tortures that the heathen themselves were horror-struck—ipsis exhorrescentibus ethnicis.”


In the same bull the Pope lets us know that De Tournon, for certain causes, had been subjected to the ecclesiastical censures of the Church, the College, and Seminary of the Jesuits, which leaves no doubt as to the authors of the capture and ill treatment of the prelate, who was used like the worst of criminals, all to gratify the revenge of the Jesuits. To console De Tournon for all these hardships, Clemens bestowed upon him the cardinal’s hat; but, alas! the prisoner did not rejoice long in this high honour. His life was near a close. The ill treatment, and, as many say, the fastings, which he endured, brought his troubles to an end. He died in 1710, at the age of forty-two. Oh! one is almost tempted to implore the vengeance of God upon such sacrilegious men, who, calling themselves Christians—nay, most perfect Christians—condemned to exquisite tortures, and to a most miserable and protracted death, this noble-hearted man, for attempting to purify the religion of Christ from pagan superstition. So perished De Tournon, a man certainly one of the best prelates of the Romish Church. Clement XI. eulogised him in a public consistory, and, as we have said, excommunicated the Bishop of Macao. We shall not add a word of observation; the facts speak clearly for themselves.

We shall now resume our narrative about the Malabar rites, and endeavour to bring it to a speedy conclusion; the facts which we have already reported being more than sufficient to give a very clear idea of the religious teaching of the Jesuits in India, and of their deportment there. Clement XI., in 1719; Benedict XIII., in 1727; Clement XII., in 1734 and 1739, published briefs upon briefs to oblige the Jesuits to submit to the decree of Cardinal de Tournon, but in vain. The Jesuits either refused or eluded obedience to them. And when Clement XII., in 1739, forced them to take a very stringent oath[110] to obey the[128] decree, every Jesuit took it, but no one observed it; finding a specious excuse for not doing so in that doctrine of theirs, then in full force, which declares that “the man who makes an oath with his mouth, without the consent of his mind, is not obliged to keep the oath, because he had not sworn, but only jested.”

At last Benedict XIV. resolved to put an end to the contest, by publishing, in 1741, a terrible bull, in which he calls the Jesuits disobedient, contumacious, crafty, and reprobate men (inobedientes, contumaces, captiosi, et perditi homines), and in which he made such stringent and undoubted provisions, that it was a difficult matter to evade obeying it; and especially after the Pope, by another brief in the following year, commanded that the brief of 1741 be read every Sabbath-day in all the houses, churches, and colleges of the Society.

The influence of the Jesuits in India now began to decline rapidly. Their Saniassi were discovered to be[129] impostors. The war that began shortly after between France and England caused still greater damage; and when their order was abolished in 1773, the Jesuits had little or no influence in India.—These are the principal features of the missions in India, properly so called. In Japan, that turbulent and warlike country, the Jesuits adopted a different and more appropriate method to acquire influence among the people. Throwing away somewhat of their cunning and pretended sanctity, they espoused the cause of one or other of the various parties who were disputing for power, were cherished, respected, and permitted to preach their religion, if the party they sided with were triumphant; persecuted, exiled, and put to death if it were vanquished. The hundreds of Jesuits who are represented to us as having perished martyrs for their faith were oftener executed as unsuccessful conspirators. The Japanese were not so bigoted a race as the Indians, and the Bonzes, their priests, were not all-powerful like the Brahmins. The persecutions they exercised against their dangerous rivals, the Jesuits, could not be successful but when the people and the sovereign were offended against them, not as missionaries, but as defeated malcontents and conspirators. The Jesuits maintained their ground in Japan with various vicissitudes, till they were suppressed. In China, also, they maintained their ground by the same means which opened it for their reception—they conformed themselves to the manners and customs of the people as far as they could, and it appears that they partly succeeded in conquering some of their national prejudices; they were at least supported by the higher classes, who held them in much esteem for their learning, and so much respected that some were made mandarins; and even when the Christians were persecuted as dangerous conspirators, the Jesuits were left unmolested. However, we possess few documents, excepting those of the Jesuit historians relating their[130] own deeds, whereby to ascertain the real truth regarding their condition in that country.

The Jesuits assure us that millions of idolaters were converted by them in all these countries, but their fabulous narrations are contradicted by facts. For, when a statistical account was made in 1760, of all the Christians residing in India and Japan, the number was found to be less than a half of what Xavier alone is said to have converted, and more than one hundred times less than had been accomplished by the united labours of all the Jesuit missionaries. This reminds us of the computation made by a witty person of all the Arabians killed by the French bulletins from 1831 to 1841, which three or four times outnumbered the whole Arabian population.

In all these countries the Jesuits derived from their converts great contributions; but of their traffic more anon.

We have thus given an outline of these celebrated missions, and we are sorry that we cannot extend the recital of them any further. A characteristic fact ascertained from an accurate study of their missions is, that the Jesuit missionaries, with the view of domineering over these countries, altogether regardless of the interests of the Christian religion, slandered and persecuted all other missionaries, even although they were Roman Catholics. And so they do still.

We must further observe, that the Jesuits, these so-called fervent and unexceptionable Roman Catholics, lived for more than fifty years in open rebellion against the chief of their Church—God on earth—the infallible vicegerent of Christ—and committed during that same period as many sacrileges as were the sacerdotal functions they performed; for, since by the non-observance of the Cardinal de Tournon’s decree, they incurred a suspension a divinis, which means, suspension from the exercise of their ministry—whatever sacerdotal act they performed, they committed a sacrilege.


But methinks I hear some one say, do you believe that the court of Rome persisted in such a contest because she abhorred such idolatrous practices? By no means. The Popes fought for their authority, for the infallibility of their oracles, and not to uphold the purity of the Christian religion. Superstition—idolatry—they like, they encourage, they live by it. Under their eyes such acts of idolatrous abominations are daily committed, that those of India become insignificant when compared with them. I beg permission to relate only one, which, if the fact could not be ascertained by any one every year in many of the Italian towns, I fear would not be credited, so very sacrilegious is it. In the little town of San Lorenzo in Campo,[111] forty miles distant from Ancona, the following procession takes place on the Good Friday of every year. The line of procession extends from the town, through an almost open country, for about a mile and a half, the whole way having been previously prepared for the purpose. On platforms, erected at certain distances, the different stages of our Saviour’s passion are represented. On one of them you see the judgment-seat, and Pilate condemning Christ to death; on another, Christ crowned with thorns; on a third, Christ falling under the load of the cross on his way to Calvary, and so on. Next comes the crucifixion, represented in four different acts. The first exhibits Christ with one of his hands nailed to the cross; the second, with both his hands nailed; the third, with both hands and feet; and in the fourth, our holy Redeemer is exhibited as expiring, and with his breast pierced by a spear. At the foot of the cross may be seen the three Maries. All these personages chosen to represent our Lord’s passion, are picked out from the very dregs of the people, and are paid more or less, according to the uneasiness of the posture which they[132] are made to assume. He who personates our Saviour receives the greatest pay, a crown; while the respective representatives of Pilate and Mary obtain the smallest named, eighteenpence. All these sacrilegious pantomimers are at their post half an hour before the procession begins, and dressed suitably to the character impersonated by each. The miscreant who hangs upon the cross (we shudder to relate such abominations) has only a belt around his middle, the cross being so constructed as to lessen the difficulty of his posture. About an hour and a half after sunset, the priests, in their pontifical robes, issue from the church, accompanied by all the civil authorities, and by a great concourse of citizens dressed in mourning, and carrying lighted torches in their hands. On their way they kneel down before every platform, offer up a prayer, and sing a part of some sacred hymn! This impious ceremony is performed with becoming gravity so soon as the priests and the bulk of the procession draw nigh to the respective platforms; but before their arrival, and after their departure, the scene presents a most revolting and disgusting spectacle. Many of the lazzaroni go round, laughing and shouting, and address those who impersonate our Saviour and the Virgin, in the most insulting and profane language. You may hear many saying, “Ha, ha! thou art here, Theresa! Thou art the Virgin, art thou not? Ah, ah! you”—(modesty forbids us to repeat the remainder of the sentence). “Ah! Frances, thou art the Magdalen! By my troth, it is not long since thou repentedst”—or, “Oh, Paul! Paul! there is some mistake. Thou oughtest to represent the impenitent robber, and not the Christ, thou arrant thief!” But we must draw a veil over the rest of that infernal scene.

So abhorrent is idolatry to the Court of Rome!

Jacques Lainès.




Many were the trials the Jesuits had to encounter after the death of Loyola. The moment he expired, the professed members who were at Rome appointed Lainez Vicar-General, although he was at the time dangerously ill, fixing, at the same time, the month of November for the election of the new General. No objection could be raised against the nomination of Lainez, he being without contradiction the most prominent living member of the Society. The difficulties only began when the Vicar-General adjourned the General Congregation sine die. Lainez was constrained to take this step because Philip II. of Spain had forbidden any of his subjects to leave his dominions, as he was then at war with the Pope.

Since that fatal epoch in which Clement VII., for the benefit of his family (the Medici), had betrayed the glory and destinies of Italy into the hands of the house of Austria, the unfortunate peninsula (if we except Venice) became an imperial fief, and the subsequent popes the Emperor’s chief vassals. Paul IV., although worn out with years, conceived the bold idea of freeing Italy from the Austrian yoke. “He would sit,” says Ranke, quoting Navagero, “for long hours over the black, thick, fiery wine of Naples, his usual drink, and pour forth torrents of stormy eloquence against these schismatics and heretics—accursed of God—that evil generation of Jew and[134] Moor—that scum of the world, and other titles equally complimentary, which he bestowed with unsparing liberality on everything Spanish.”[112] And so intense was his hatred against the house of Austria, that he made a strict alliance with the Protestant leader, Albert of Brandenburg, and formed his regiments almost entirely of Protestants, to fight against a Roman Catholic king. And, as if this were not enough, the Pope, the so-called chief of Christianity, made proposals to Soliman I., the great enemy of the Christian name, to enter into an alliance with him, in order to destroy the ultra-Roman Catholic and bigoted Philip II.

The Spanish Jesuits thus prevented from going to Rome, the General Congregation, as we have said, was postponed. This began the strife. Private ambition broke forth, and threw the community into great confusion. The revolt was headed by the violent Bobadilla. He prevailed upon Rodriguez, Brouet, and two or three others, to join him in reproaching the tyranny and despotism of Lainez. They pretended that he had no right to possess, alone, the supreme authority, which ought to reside in all the surviving founders of the order till a General was elected. Pamphlets were addressed to the Pope, accusing the Vicar-General of entertaining the design to repair to Spain for the purpose of holding the Congregation, and of establishing the seat of the order in that country. The Pope, upon this announcement, became furious; he thundered imprecations against the Society; and when Lainez presented himself to have an audience, he refused to see him, and ordered him to give up, within three days, all the constitutions and ordinances of the Society, with the name of every professed member resident at Rome, and forbade any one of the latter to leave the capital. The storm, it is evident, was gaining strength, but Lainez was[135] an expert and skilful pilot. Inferior to Loyola in natural gifts, in firmness of character, in boldness and energy, he was his superior in cunning, in reflection, in patience. Ignatius, the imperious ex-officer, in the same circumstances, would have scourged Bobadilla, dismissed some rioters from the Society, and obliged the others to fall at his feet and ask forgiveness. The politician Lainez avoided combat in an open field, hoping to gain the battle by stratagem. He quietly and stealthily got possession of all Bobadilla’s writings on the subject,[113] learned from them what were his enemies’ projects, prepared his means of defence accordingly, detached Rodriguez and Brouet from Bobadilla’s interest by caresses and promises, sent the latter to reform a convent of Franciscan friars at Foligno, and condemned Gorgodanuz, the most pertinacious of the rebels, to say one pater noster and one ave Maria! When a cardinal related this fact to the Pope, Paul crossed himself as at something strange and prodigious.[114] Sacchini pretends that the Pope made the sign of the cross, being filled with wonder at the blindness of the rebels; but assuredly Paul was struck at the supremely cunning policy of the Vicar-General.[115]

The revolt was, however, subdued, the Pope appeased, and soon after the war was also brought to an end. The Duke of Alva, that sanguinary and ferocious[136] butcher of the Belgians, conqueror of the Papal troops and of the allied armies, entered vanquished Rome, craved for an audience of the Pontiff, threw himself at his feet, and implored his forgiveness for having dared to fight against him. What a strange piece of contradiction is man!

The peace established between King Philip and the Pope made a free passage between Italy and Spain. The fathers arrived in Rome, and the General Congregation met on the 19th of June 1558.

On the 2d of July, while the fathers were on the point of proceeding to the election of the General, Cardinal Pacheco presented himself to the conclave in the Pope’s name, and after some trifling compliments, said he was ready to act as secretary and teller of the ballot. We cannot imagine the reason Paul had for taking such a precaution, unless he was afraid lest Borgia should be elected General—Borgia, the companion, the friend of Charles V. and of his son. The Cardinal, however, took his place among the fathers, and prepared to act as secretary. The schedules, which had been put into an urn by each elector, having been withdrawn and examined, the Cardinal announced that Lainez was elected by a majority of 13 to 7. He was in consequence proclaimed General, and the Jesuits went in one after another to pay him homage, and to kiss his hands on their bended knees.

The Congregation then proceeded to dispose of other business. There was first of all a discussion as to whether or not the Constitutions should be modified. This was answered in the negative. It must be observed, however, that Lainez, in the margin of the 16th chapter of the fourth part of the Constitutions, where it is prescribed that in the School of Theology the scholastic doctrine of St Thomas shall be explained, had inserted a declaration, “that if any book of theology could be found more adapted to the times, it shall be taught.” An historian very judiciously remarks,[137] that Lainez appears already to have formed the project of establishing a new doctrine, which was propounded by Molina soon after. The original manuscripts, which were written by Ignatius in Spanish, were next confronted with the Latin version by Polancus. The latter was approved of, and ordered to be printed by the press of the Roman College, and this was immediately executed—the first edition of the Constitutions bearing the date of 1558.

But whilst in the middle of their legislative labours, they were startled by the arrival of Cardinal Trani, who announced to them that it was the Pope’s pleasure that they should perform the choral office, like all the other monastic orders, and that the office of General should only last for three years. The Jesuits remonstrated, and spoke of their Constitutions, and of the papal bull that had been issued in their favour. The cardinal answered that the commands of his holiness must be obeyed. The Jesuits got up a memorial, and Lainez and Salmeron went to present it to the Pope. Paul received them freezingly; and at the first observation of Lainez, exclaimed, “You are contumacious persons. In this matter you act like heretics, and I fear lest some sectarian should be seen issuing from your company. But we are firmly resolved to tolerate such disorders no longer.”[116] This was the second time that Lainez had been abruptly and arrogantly apostrophised by Paul. When he visited him after he had been chosen Vicar-General, he received the volleys of insult which the Pope poured upon him with the greatest submission. But it seems that his patience at this time gave way, and he boldly answered, that he had not sought of his own accord to be made General, that he was ready to give up the office at that very moment, but that his holiness knew well that the fathers, in proceeding to the election, had intended to name a General for life, according to the rules of their Constitutions;[138] for the remainder, “we teach,” added he, “we preach against the heretics; on that account they hate us, and call us Papists. Wherefore your holiness ought to give us your protection, and evince toward us the yearnings of a father, rather than find fault with us.”[117] This was the substance of Lainez’s answer, shaped by the Jesuit historians into a more humble and respectful form. But the irascible and obstinate Paul was unmoved by his appeal. He told Lainez that he would not accept of his resignation, that his orders must be executed, and then dismissed him and his brother envoy. Paul was fierce and vindictive, and not to be trifled with. He had accused his own nephews in a full consistory, and banished them and their families from Rome. His greatest desire was to see the Inquisition at work. Ranke says that he seldom interfered in other matters, but was never so much as once absent from presiding every Thursday over the Congregation of the Inquisition. Having such a man to deal with, the Jesuits were forced to submit to perform the choral office, consoling themselves with the hope that the next Pope would be more lenient toward them; nor were they disappointed. Medici, the successor of Paul, who took the name of Pius IV., shewed himself more favourable to the Company of Jesus; not for love of them, but out of hatred to his predecessor, who had been his enemy.[118] Although he was of a mild and cheerful disposition, he made a fearful example of the nephews of the deceased pontiff. Their crimes assuredly deserved punishment; but as it was not in the disposition of Pius to be cruel or revengeful, he was doubtless instigated to act in this case with unwonted rigour. But who his instigators were, or whence he derived the[139] malignant and retributory inspiration on which he acted, it would be difficult to determine. We only know that the Jesuits had been persecuted by the Caraffas from the beginning, and that “Pius IV.,” as Crétineau affirms, “shewed himself from first to last to be more favourable to the Jesuits than even Paul III. had been.”[119] The Jesuits, it is certain, had then great influence at the Court of Rome. Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Palliano, nephews to the late Pope, along with two of their relatives, were condemned to death. They were denied their own confessors, and Jesuits were called in as their spiritual comforters. Crétineau says, that the Duke of Palliano asked Lainez to send him a Jesuit confessor, while the detractors of the order think that they intruded themselves, to witness the agony and death of their enemies. We let our readers judge for themselves. The unfortunate culprits were executed during the night of the 6th and 7th August 1561. The cardinal never for a moment suspected that they would execute the sentence upon him. He tried to delay his execution by lingering with his confessor. “Make an end, my lord, we have other business on hand,” exclaimed an officer of police. A few minutes longer, and the cardinal was a corpse.

The Society now seemed upon the whole to be in a prosperous condition, and increased rapidly. Lainez did not exercise his authority with an iron hand, like Loyola, but he had great tact, and knew how to govern a community by cunning policy. Some mishaps, however, befel the Society. In Grenada, a Jesuit confessor refused to give absolution to a woman till she had revealed the name of her accomplice in the sin which she had confessed. This made a great noise. But the Jesuits, supported by the archbishop and the Inquisition, braved the opinion of the public so far, that one of them, John Raminius, declared from the pulpit, as an established[140] doctrine, “that although in general no sin of the most holy confession ought to be revealed, there may, nevertheless, be circumstances in which the confessor may oblige the penitent to discover the accomplice of the sin, or to give up the names of the persons infected with heresy, permitting him (the confessor) to denounce the person or persons to the competent tribunal.”[120]

This of itself shews clearly enough the inviolability of the secret of confession, yet we must say that these gentlemen have made great progress since, for now, without asking the penitent’s permission, they betake themselves at once to the officers of police.[121] However, it is only the sins committed against religion or politics which never fail to be disclosed; the ruffian and assassin need not apprehend that their crimes will be brought to light.

The next disaster the order encountered was the displeasure evinced by Philip II. against Francis Borgia, the ex-Duke of Candia, one of his father’s testamentary executors, and who had a very great influence over the other sons of Charles V.[122] The Inquisition, that faithful satellite of the Spanish crown, to please the king, condemned two ascetic books by that same Borgia, who, a few years afterwards, was numbered among the saints who were worshipped; he himself narrowly escaped being captured as a heretic. Borgia bore all this with true Christian humility, as well as some opposition shewn him by his own subordinates, and[141] was consoled by the Pope, who called him to Rome, and received him with the utmost kindness.

Again, in Montepulciano, a town fifteen miles distant from Sienna, the Jesuits were accused of immorality. One was charged with having pressed a woman to go home with him; another, of having issued from a brothel; a third, of having offered violence to a female; and Father Gombar, the Superior himself, of having illicit intercourse with several ladies, and particularly with one whose love-letters were found in his possession. All these were incontestible facts, proved by sworn witnesses. Now listen to the imperturbable impudence of the historian Sacchini upon this matter. The reason he assigns for all these calumnies is, that “the Jesuits confessed almost all the women in Montepulciano; that they induced many young ladies to consecrate themselves to God in monasteries, and married females to be chaste and faithful wives. Hence arose the grief and fury (dolor et furor) of those whose passions could no longer find aliment. They, therefore, plotted the expulsion of the fathers.” What a set of monsters were these citizens of Montepulciano!

But let us proceed. “The man accused of having solicited a woman to go with him, was a simpleton, who, meeting a female on the road, was asked where he was going, and had the imprudence to answer. It was an enemy of the order, dressed as a Jesuit, who was seen to leave the brothel. Gombar, the Rector, did indeed entertain himself rather long in the confessional, but then he was engaged in spiritual conversation with the ladies. Among other penitents, he had two sisters belonging to a very high family; and the father, not being able to undertake the charge of both, was forced to abandon one of them. The one that was dismissed, out of spite and jealousy, accused the other to her brother, who forbade her to confess any longer to Gombar. The letters were falsified, and every other accusation[142] was mere calumny.”[123] After such justifications as these, few will doubt that the Jesuits were guilty. Gombar, at any rate, frightened by the public rumour, fled, and Lainez dismissed him from the Society, in spite of all his entreaties. The town-council stopped paying the Jesuit teacher the allowed salary. The College was deserted—no alms!—no friends! Poor Jesuits! they were starving. And Lainez, after trying in vain to regain for the College its former good name, by sending thither some of the best and most conspicuous of the Jesuits, suppressed it altogether in 1563. Let them after this proclaim their innocence!

Accusations of a like nature were brought against the Jesuits in Venice, and were corroborated by the Patriarch. Some of the senators proposed to expel the Jesuits from the states of the republic, or to make them submit to the Patriarch’s authority; but the authority and interference of the Pope brought matters again to an accommodation.

Further, all the Jesuits in the College of Milan were accused of unnatural crimes. Here, also, the facts were pretty well established. Crétineau himself is forced to admit the occurrence of individual crimes; but, although a certain bishop brought forth many young men as witnesses against the Jesuits, yet the cardinal, chosen by the Pope to examine into the case, absolved them.

Meanwhile, at the end of three years, Lainez thought it would be politic on his part to appear anxious to resign the office. Having consulted his brethren on the subject, they declared that the office should be perpetual. We shall here give Bobadilla’s answer, on account of its originality. The formerly fierce opponent of Lainez writes to him thus from Ragusa:—“My opinion is that the office of General should be perpetual, according to the letter of our Constitutions. Let, then, your reverence keep a firm hold of it for a hundred years,[143] and if after your death you should return to life, my advice is that the office be again conferred upon you, that you may keep it to the day of judgment. And I beg of you, for the love of Christ, to keep it, and be of good cheer,” &c.

Lainez being now assured of the perpetuity of his office, leaving Salmeron to manage the affairs of Italy, set out for France, in order that he might take part in the famous colloquy or conferences of Poissy, of which more hereafter. From France he passed into Belgium, visited the Rhenish provinces, a part of Germany, and crossed the Tyrol on his way to Trent.

In all these places Lainez made good use of both his name and authority, endeavoured to acquire new protectors for his order, to increase its revenues, to establish new houses, never forgetting, either in his sermons or controversies, to throw out slanders, and vehemently to attack the Protestant cause. He at last arrived in Trent for the re-opening of the Council. This famous assembly, which so solemnly consecrated some of the greatest errors that had ever been given to the world—which interposed an impassable barrier between Christian and Christian, but which, nevertheless, the Court of Rome calls most holy, re-opened on the 18th January 1562. This last Council had been called for by Luther, by the Protestants, and all those princes who were desirous to check the despotism of the Court of Rome, and to give peace to the Church by mutual concessions between the opposing parties. Different successive Popes refused this as long as possible, dreading the total ruin of their authority. Yet this assembly, as Fra Paolo, its historian, judiciously remarks, had a result quite opposite from that which was expected. The Protestants took no part in the Council’s proceedings, the authority of the Popes was further extended and more firmly established than ever, and the hope of healing the schism in the Church was altogether blasted.


The Council commenced its sittings in Trent on the 13th December 1545, was thence transferred to Bologna in March 1547, against the will of the German and Spanish prelates, who continued at Trent, was interrupted on the 2d of June of the same year, re-opened in May 1551, was again suspended in April 1552, re-opened in Trent, as we have said, in January 1562, and finally closed on the 3d of December 1563. The Jesuits boast of having had the greatest share in drawing up the decrees and fixing the dogmas as they now stand. Salmeron, Brouet, and especially Lainez, exercised great influence; and, if there were any glory in upholding erroneous doctrines and the tyrannical authority of the Pope, it most undoubtedly belonged to them, nor are we disposed to envy them the distinction they thus gained.[124]

Lainez left Trent for Rome, and his whole journey through Italy was one continued triumph. But, alas! poor Lainez had not long to taste the sweetness of adulation. His health, which had always been delicate, became worse and worse. He fell seriously ill, lingered in his bed for two or three months, and breathed his last on the 19th of January 1565, at the age of 53.

Lainez was under the middle size, had a fair complexion and cheerful countenance, with large bright eyes, but his appearance was very unprepossessing. He was gifted with a great facility of elocution, and a prodigious memory. He left many manuscripts behind him; some were unfinished, and almost all are unintelligible, as his handwriting was execrable.

Francois de Borgia.



The day after Lainez expired, the Jesuits in Rome named Francis Borgia Vicar-General, until a new election should take place. Borgia is one of the saints and glories of the order, and his history is really a most extraordinary one. He was descended from that Alexander VI. who united in his person all the crimes of past and future Popes, and was a stain to humanity itself. Our Borgia was, however, a man of the strictest honesty, and of unblemished honour. He was handsome, brave, the companion in arms and friend of Charles V., was Duke of Candia and Vice-king of Barcelona. In 1546, when he was only 36 years of age, his duchess died. The sight of her beautiful face, altered and disfigured by death, made such a powerful impression upon his mind, that he from that moment resolved to give up all worldly thoughts, and consecrate himself (as the phrase goes) to God. He chose the Society of the Jesuits as the safest retreat, and wrote to Loyola for the purpose. Ignatius’ answer begins thus:—“The resolution you have taken, most illustrious lord, gives me much joy. Let the angels and saints in heaven give thanks to God, for we on this earth cannot be sufficiently grateful to God for the great honour He bestows upon His little Society in calling you to join it.”[125]

This man had nine children, some in infancy, and all under age, whom he left in the wide world unprotected, to enter the Society. And the angels and saints ought to praise God for this! Alas for the moral blindness of perverted human nature! Loyola again wrote to him, saying that he accepted him as his brother, but that, before he could be admitted into the noviciate, he must settle all his temporal affairs, and have nothing more to do with the world; meanwhile, until he was ready to enter the Society, to keep his intention a secret. Borgia was admitted into the house of probation in 1548, and from that moment he[146] became a bigoted fanatic, whose greatest happiness consisted in lacerating his body. Macaulay says, in an article in the Edinburgh Review, “that it is making penitence with him to listen to the recital of his flagellations and his self-inflicted punishments of all kinds.” He had so destroyed his constitution by this absurd way of trying to please God, that he never had a single day of good health, and was even once threatened with a gangrene over his whole body. Such was the man appointed Vicar-General, and afterwards chief of the order. He had no wish for the honour, considered the office a burden, and we believe he was sincere in his humility. The first battle he had to fight was against the Holy See itself. Almost contemporaneously with his nomination, a Dominican friar ascended the Papal throne, under the name of Pius V. A more bigoted, fanatical, cruel, and sanguinary man never existed. Brought up under the wing of the Inquisition, he contracted a sort of blind passion for that bloody tribunal, and never felt so happy as when he heard of some barbarous cruelties inflicted upon the heretics, or when some hecatombs of these accursed enemies of Popery were sacrificed at the altar of his revenge, or when some new instrument of torture was invented against them. Suffice it to say, that when he sent his general, Santafiore, to fight against the French Protestants, he commanded him in the most peremptory manner to take no Huguenot prisoner, but to put them one and all to the sword; and because Santafiore had not rigorously executed his commands, he reproached him in the most bitter manner. And when that monster of cruelty, the Duke of Alva, had spread death and desolation over the entire of the Netherlands, 18,000 of the inhabitants of which he boasted of having delivered up into the hands of the executioners, so pleased was Pius with his deeds, that he sent him the consecrated hat and sword, as marks of his approval.[126] Can this, then, be the religion of Christ? Is it for a[147] moment possible that this should be the true religion, this which erects upon its altars the statues of such monsters of iniquity, and impiously calls them saints, to be worshipped in place of God the Lord? And among the greatest of these modern saintships stands forth the name of Pius V.! This Pope, a most rigorous observer of all the monastic and superstitious ceremonies, gave the Jesuits to understand that they should undertake the choral hours as prescribed by Pius IV., and that no Jesuit should be ordained a priest before he had pronounced the four vows. We shall not repeat the conversation which took place between the Holy Father and the saint Borgia, as given by Sacchini and other historians; we shall only give some extracts of the bold and eloquent memorials which the Jesuits presented to the Pope on this occasion.

After reminding his holiness, in a gentle yet admonitory manner, that their Constitutions had been approved of by three popes, and that they could not be altered without good reasons for so doing, they proceed to state, “that their Society had been established to repel the impious efforts of the heretics, to oppose the infernal tricks which had been had recourse to to extinguish the light of the Catholic truth, and to resist the barbarous enemies of Christ, who were besieging the holy edifice of the Church, undermining it insensibly; that, in order that they might be able to resist this invasion effectually, their holy father Ignatius thought that it would be better for them to leave singing to others.... And did not the same causes still exist, they inquired, for the exercise of their activity, as the signs of the times unmistakably demonstrated? They submitted that a vast conflagration was devouring France; that Germany was in a great measure consumed; that England was one heap of ashes; that Belgium was falling into ruins; that Poland smoked in every quarter; that the flames were already blazing around the confines of Italy.... And they[148] should lose their time in undertaking the choral hours.”[127] On this point the Pope yielded; but, on the other, he was inflexible, saying, that it was requisite that at least as much learning and virtue should be in a priest as in a Jesuit, even of the class of the Professed. This Sacchini denies, affirming that it is more difficult to make one good Jesuit than a thousand priests. The Jesuits, who stood in need of priests, but would not enlarge the aristocratic class of the Professed members, who alone take the four vows, obtained as usual their end by exercising a little cunning. They presented themselves for ordination, not as Jesuits, but as secular ecclesiastics.

We pass over a number of interesting incidents which happened under the generalship of Borgia down to the year 1571, when we find the General, though in very ill health, leaving Rome for Spain and France, for the purpose of soliciting assistance from the respective monarchs of these countries to aid the Venetians in a war against the Turks, who were then threatening to pour their savage hordes over Europe. Philip II. joined the league, and his vessels gained some of the laurels which were won at that ever memorable battle fought at Lepanto on the 7th October 1571, when the descendants of the Prophet suffered a defeat from which they have never recovered. Before Borgia entered Spain, the Inquisition, aware that Philip was on the best terms both with him and the Pope, published, with the highest eulogium, those same works which she had proscribed nine years before when the king frowned upon Father Borgia—a most striking example of the servility of the Spanish Inquisition to the crown. From Spain, Borgia proceeded to Portugal, thence to France, at the very time when Catherine and Charles were plunged in continual feasts and pleasures, the forerunner of what they expected to enjoy on Saint Bartholomew’s eve. But we have no reason to believe that he was at all privy to the[149] plot. It is not at all likely that the cunning and circumspect Catherine of Medicis would be so foolish as to confide so important a secret to such a weak-brained man. Borgia witnessed the massacre in the southern provinces of France, when on his return to Rome, where he arrived on the 28th of September 1572, and where he expired three days after. So ended this extraordinary man, whom the Church of Rome has enrolled among the saints. Would to God that none of them were worse than he!

At the opening of the fourth General Congregation the Pope inquired of the Jesuit deputies, who had gone up according to custom to ask his benison, “How many votes each nation had?” The answer was that “Spain had more votes than all the rest put together.” “And from what nation or nations has the General been hitherto chosen?” “From Spain,” was the reply. “Well,” resumed Gregory XIII., “it would be but just, then, that you should, for this once, elect one from some other nation.” The deputies remonstrated; “but,” said the Pope, “Father Mercurianus is a very good man,” and dismissed them. To another deputation, sent purposely to assert their independence in the choice of their own General, the Pope answered, that he did not impugn their right, that he only requested of them to inform him if their choice should fall upon a Spaniard, before he was officially proclaimed. The reason of all this was national jealousy, united to the aversion evinced by Spain and Portugal to all Christianised Jews and Moors. This aversion was shared in by the Court of Rome, and was now aroused by the fear of seeing Polancus, a Christianised Jew, on the point of being elected General of the order, “and it was not thought desirable that the supreme authority in a body so powerful and so monarchically constituted should be confided to such hands.”[128]


Father Mercurianus was chosen. He was a simple and weak old man, a native of Belgium. He delivered up the government of the Society first to Father Palmio, then to Father Manara. This produced internal troubles and the formation of two parties, which caused great commotion in the days of his successor. Mercurianus exercised very little influence on the destinies of the order, and was the first General whose authority was held in little account. He died on the 1st of August 1580, at which time the Society numbered 5750 members, 110 houses, and 21 provinces. The wealth they had acquired was immense; it did not matter how it was got, as the end with them sanctified the means. For example, when the troops of the ferocious Alva sacked Malines, Father Trigosus freighted a vessel with victuals and sailed to Malines to buy a great part of the booty, under the pretext of giving it back to the proprietors. Doubtless, to deceive the fools, he restored some of it to the proper owners, but then this was only to a trifling amount; the remainder and most valuable portion was employed to adorn the College of Antwerp with regal magnificence. In France the Jesuits were left heirs to the immense fortune of the Bishop of Clermont. In Spain they allured into their Society the representatives of two of the wealthiest families in that country, for which they were brought before the tribunal and condemned. Moreover, Gregory XIII. presented them with enormous sums, and founded no fewer than thirteen of their colleges, every one of which was richly endowed; while in Portugal they were almost masters of the entire kingdom. We shall by and by examine the causes of this unparalleled prosperity.




Many have pronounced it impossible to write an adequate history of the Jesuits, because, being more or less connected with the history of the world, it is no easy matter to pass from one event, and from one country, to another, and yet follow the chronological order, that the reader may have a clear and consecutive narrative. To obviate this difficulty as far as possible, we have, in the preceding chapter, which embraces a period of twenty-five years, related only the facts connected with the internal history of the order; we shall now proceed to those which during nearly the same space of time more or less exercised an influence upon the history of the different countries in Europe.

Let us begin with England. After the first expedition of Brouet and Salmeron in 1541, which we have already noticed, Great Britain was no longer troubled with Jesuitical missions till the “good Queen Mary had expired, to the inestimable damage of the Catholic religion.”[129] In 1550, however, the Pope despatched to Ireland the Irish Jesuit, Davis Wolfe, and after three years more, a bishop, accompanied with other two Jesuits; “while,” as Sacchini says, “Father Chimage, an Englishman, returned home, for the purpose of having his health restored by his own[152] native air.”[130] These satellites of the Pope entered the country under fictitious names, and as stealthily as nocturnal robbers, mendacious in every word they uttered, and exciting the people to rebellion against the “impious” queen. However, the vigilance of Elizabeth’s police prevented them for the time being from doing any material injury. Wolfe, guilty of a thousand immoralities, was dismissed the Society, and the others were obliged to return to Rome.

About this time (1562), Father Gandon was sent into Scotland to exhort and encourage Queen Mary to be faithful to her religion. This was, perhaps, the avowed motive, but, doubtless, he had received similar instructions to those given by Paul III. to Brouet and Salmeron. Mary admitted him by a postern door into her palace, and had three secret conferences with him; but his steps were traced, he was pursued, and a price set upon his head. The Jesuit, who, it seems, had no taste for martyrdom, left Scotland, but not before he had done some mischief. He departed, along with several young noblemen, whom he had seduced, and who accompanied him to be educated in Flanders. “They were hostages to the Church, and were afterwards to return home, carrying thither the faith with them.”[131] About the same period, William Allen, “to perpetuate,” as Butler says, “the Catholic ministry in England,” resolved upon establishing colleges abroad, in which English priests should be educated, preparatory to exercising their calling at home. His exertions were crowned with success. A college, which he consigned into the hands of the Jesuits, was established in Douay in 1568, and Pope Gregory XIII. endowed it with £1500 yearly. When the Jesuits[153] were expelled from Douay, and their college sacked by the people, the Cardinal of Lorraine called them to Rheims. This happened in 1576. The same Pope Gregory established another college in Rome for the education of English youth, and for the purpose of imbuing their minds with hatred to their sovereign and country. The Jesuits had the superintendence of this also. Hence proceeded those priests and Jesuits, who, with brands of discord in their hands, departed to set their country on fire. Many Jesuits were sent to Great Britain between the years 1562 and 1580, and they all received the same instructions, and acted in the same manner. Elizabeth, who at the beginning of her reign had exercised a spirit of toleration towards her Catholic subjects, was now greatly incensed against them, driven, as she was, to extremities by the continual torrent of abuse which was poured upon her head by the sectarians of Rome. The holy Pius V., on the 5th of February 1570, fulminated a bull of excommunication against “Elizabeth, the so-called queen of England, who, after having usurped the throne, has dared to assume the title of supreme chief of the Church, and, moreover” ... [here the bull enumerates all Elizabeth’s crimes]. “We, therefore,” the bull continues, “by the authority which is given to us, declare that the aforesaid Elizabeth, and all her adherents, have incurred excommunication; that she has forfeited her pretended right to the crown of England; and we deprive her of it, and of all other rights, domains, privileges, and dignities. We absolve the Lords and the Commons of the realm, and all others her subjects, from the oath of allegiance which they may have tendered to her, prohibiting them from obeying her commands, ordinances, and proclamations, under the penalty of being excommunicated in like manner.”[132]

The abuses poured upon her by priests and Jesuits[154] were most revolting and insulting. Without referring to ancient writers, we shall quote a passage from Crétineau, a writer of the present civilised and tolerant age, that our readers may have an idea of what must have been the scurrility of those times of fanaticism and intestine commotions. “The Holy See,” says the French historian, “had frequently cursed the heiress and daughter of Henry VIII. The Catholics, on the other hand, having penetrated, along with all England, into her licentious and voluptuous private life, refused to salute the mistress of Leicester with the name of maiden queen, to worship her caprices, or to applaud her hypocritical passions.”[133]

Nor were the Roman Catholics merely contented with attacking Elizabeth by words—their deeds were yet more criminal. Long before this, Allen solicited the General of the Jesuits to establish a house in England. But it seems that the General and the Pope were waiting their own time, and that they did not resolve till the year 1579 to grace Great Britain with a permanent Jesuitical establishment. When this resolution was made known, the most distinguished members of the Society implored, on their knees (as it is reported), to be sent to England to brave the persecutions of Elizabeth; Mercurianus told them, however, that English Jesuits should be preferred for this mission. In consequence of this declaration, Fathers Campion and Parson were chosen to head the mission, which was composed of thirteen members.[134] It arrived at the sea-coast of France, about the month of June 1580. Campion and Parson were both fellows of Oxford University, and not the least among its professors and tutors. It seems that both of them were Catholics at heart, though they pretended to be Protestants. The Jesuits affirm that Parson was dismissed the University because of his Catholic sentiments, while the other party assigns his immoral conduct as the reason.[155] Both took the oath; both, we are assured, repented it all their lives. Both left the university, and after various vicissitudes, and the necessary probation, were received among the sons of Loyola. As we may believe, Cecil’s police knew almost all the movements of these self-invited visitors. Their intended landing in England was announced to all the authorities, their persons were carefully described, and orders were given for arresting them the moment they put foot on shore. But all was to no purpose. The Jesuits eluded every vigilance, and Father Parson, upon arriving at Dover, played to the officer who had the charge of examining the passengers, a trick that would shame any modern Robert Macaire. He gave out that he was a captain returning from Flanders; and being dressed suitably to the character assumed, so well did he perform his part, that the inspecting officer received him with every species of civility and courtesy, shook hands with him, and promised, moreover, to shew every attention to one of the captain’s merchant friends, who, as that impostor intimated, was expected every day from the Continent, and who proved to be no other than Father Campion. When the latter arrived in London, Parson was on the banks of the Thames to receive him, and saluted and cheered him with the air of one meeting a long absent friend, so that no one could have suspected that all was an artifice and a trick.[135]

The Jesuits, once in England, lost no time in commencing operations. A meeting of all the missionaries and secular priests was summoned. Parson presided. He was too cunning to declare publicly the end of their mission, as he did not wish to frighten the timid with the announcement of some dangerous enterprise. He disclaimed all political objects, and said that he only aimed at the conversion of England in co-operation with the secular priests; and swore that this was his only intention.[136] But then appealing to a[156] decree of the Council of Trent, he forbade the Catholics to attend divine service in Protestant churches, and recommended strict nonconformity. In the company of the more faithful, he inveighed most bitterly against the queen, and pointed out with what ease she might be dethroned, by the assistance of the King of Spain and the Pope. Such exhortations as this caused a great ferment among the Roman Catholics.

“Swarms of Jesuits and Papists (from the seminaries of Rome and Rheims), impelled by religious enthusiasm, sedulously cultivated for that very purpose, and desirous of returning to their own country, were constantly pouring into the kingdom.”[137] Parson, who was the Provincial, guided all their movements, and himself went from place to place to excite the worst passions of man’s nature in the breasts of those who sought him, as their spiritual father, to confer peace and consolation. A great stir soon became visible among the Roman Catholics. People talked of nothing else than conspiracy and revolt. Sinister rumours were afloat, and acquired new strength from day to day, as is always the case in times of excitement, when some strange idea always pervades the minds of the multitude. It was now the general belief throughout England that every Roman Catholic was a traitor, and at the bidding of the priests was ready to become an assassin. A general massacre of the Protestants by the Papists, assisted by the invasion of a foreign power, was talked of as a matter of more than probable occurrence. Above all, Elizabeth—the beloved queen—the idol of the people—was in danger every moment of being murdered. Books were daily printed denouncing more or less particularly their abominable machinations. These gave consistency to the popular belief. This belief extended from the lowest to the highest ranks of society, and put the nation into an indescribable state of excitement. The government,[157] satisfied that the Jesuits were the cause of all these troubles, and with the view of quieting the popular commotions, issued a proclamation, which may have been considered just in those days, but which we, who live in a more tolerant age, must unconditionally condemn. Among its other enactments were the following:—“That whosoever had any children, wards, kinsmen, or other relations in parts beyond the seas, should after ten days give in their names to the ordinary, and within four months call them home again, and when they had returned, should forthwith give notice of the same to the said ordinary. That they should not, directly or indirectly, supply such as refused to return with any money. That no man should entertain in his house or harbour any priests sent forth from the aforesaid seminaries, or Jesuits, or cherish and relieve them. And that whosoever did to the contrary, should be accounted a favourer of rebels and seditious persons, and be proceeded against according to the laws of the land.”[138]

The proclamation was boldly answered by pamphlets from each of the Jesuits. Parson’s was full of virulence towards the Protestants, and Campion’s, although written in a more moderate tone, was no less offensive. This last was entitled Ten Reasons. It was a defence of the Church of Rome and its supremacy, and made no little noise.[139] In both of these writings, it was protested that the Jesuits were in England solely for the purpose of exercising their holy ministry, and not for any political end whatever; that, on the contrary, they had come to modify the Bull of Pius V. Crétineau says, that “Parson and Campion would not leave Rome until they obtained from the Holy See this concession (the modification of the Bull), which would greatly facilitate their apostolic mission; even the Protestants[158] themselves mention this in their annals as a fact.”[140] And in a note he cites “Camden.” We shall quote for him the passage of the English annalist.

“Robert Parson and Edmund Campion were authorised by Gregory XIII. in these words:—An explication of the bull issued by Pius V. against Elizabeth and her adherents is sought for from our supreme lord, since the Catholics desire that it be thus understood, that it should always bind her and the heretics, but by no means the Catholics, as matters now stand, but only when the execution of the same bull be publicly ordered. The supreme Pontiff granted the aforesaid grace to Father Robert Parson and Edmund Campion when about to set out to England, on the 13th April 1580, in the presence of Father Oliver Manara assistant.”[141]

We might perhaps say that this pretended concession is rather an aggravation of the bull than anything else; but we shall be generous, and give it the best interpretation possible. But then, if we prove that all this was a wily cunning contrivance, that the Jesuits might have greater chance of success in their treacherous projects, their crime will be still more execrable. Let us examine. The facts, it is true, are far from us, and the actors have long ago departed to their accounts: True; but then the deductions of logic from well-authenticated facts still remain to us, and are equally convincing. The Jesuits assert that the Pope, out of leniency and benignancy towards England and its queen, had ordered them not to[159] force upon the Roman Catholic believers the clause of his predecessor’s bull which forbade them, under pain of excommunication, to consider Elizabeth as their legitimate sovereign. Well, if the rest of the Pope’s conduct leads us to believe in the sincerity of this mandate, we shall absolve them of every crime, and say that the Jesuits proceeded to England with the best intentions, and were martyrs to their faith. But who was this pacific and tolerant Pope? It was Gregory XIII.; that same Gregory who, at the news of Saint Bartholomew’s infernal feast, went in procession to the French Church in Rome, offered up thanksgivings to the Almighty for the blood of 50,000 of His creatures barbarously butchered, and had medals struck to commemorate this glorious event! It was this same Gregory who had on the previous year supplied the ruffian Stukely with money, arms, and troops for the invasion of England, whilst the Catholics in the interior were ordered to rise in rebellion in his favour.[142] It was this identical Gregory who at the same time sent into Ireland the famous Dr. Sanders, as the Pope’s legate, with a bull declaring the invasion a regular crusade with all its privileges! It was that same Gregory who, says Ranke, “excited and encouraged all those insurrections which Elizabeth had to contend with in Ireland.”[143] All these facts, proving Gregory’s inexorable hatred towards the Protestants, and his determined desire to dethrone Elizabeth, happened shortly before and after the mission of the Jesuits. And yet it is pretended that this same man forbade the Jesuits from mixing in political affairs, and that, on the contrary, he charged them to preach obedience to the queen! We believe that few will give the[160] Jesuits credit on that score, but rather will be satisfied they were sent for the purpose of stirring up a rebellion, if possible to find an assassin, and that the injunction was nothing else than a ruse—an act of duplicity wherewith the better to succeed in their treasonable designs.

The government was, however, highly incensed at their audacity, and attached the utmost importance to their capture. Another proclamation was issued, forbidding any one to harbour, protect, or assist the Jesuits to escape, and that he who did so would be considered guilty of high treason. This produced an effect quite contrary to what was intended. Hundreds of persons who, before the proclamation, shewed no liking for the Jesuits, now risked their fortunes, their lives, to protect them. So interesting does persecution render a man—so generous are the instincts of the people. All the activity, all the vigilance of the most energetic and vigilant of governments was for thirteen months baffled by the dexterity and resources of the Jesuits. The history of their escapes, and the daring methods in which they executed them, is both curious and amusing. Space will not permit us to indulge in the recital of more than one of those marvellous escapes. One evening the house in which Parson had sought a retreat was suddenly surrounded by a band who were in pursuit of him. Resistance or concealment was impossible. Parson at once determined on what he would do. He went to the door, opened it, and calmly asked what they wanted. “The Jesuit,” was the reply. “Walk in,” said he, “and search for him quietly;” and as they entered, he went out, and made his escape.[144] The escapes of Campion were no less wonderful. He himself wrote, “My dresses are most numerous, my fashions are various, and as for names, I have an abundance.”[145] The government, enraged at being so often baffled, had recourse, we are sorry to say, to persecution.[161] Thousands of citizens were thrown into prison for nonconformity, or on mere suspicion. Domiciliary visits frequently disturbed even the inoffensive and peaceful Papists, whilst the Jesuit authors of all these disturbances and miseries laughed at the abortive attempts of their enemies to capture them. At last, in July 1581, Elliot, a Papist, betrayed Campion. He was arrested along with two other priests, in a secret closet in a wall of the castle of Yates. They mounted him on the largest horse that could be got, tied his legs under it, pinioned his hands behind his back, and fixed a placard on his hat with this inscription, in great capitals, “Campion, the seditious Jesuit.” He was brought to London, surrounded by a great multitude, vociferating imprecations and curses upon his head. The shouts of jubilee among the Protestants throughout England were deafening, and many a sincere person rejoiced at it, as if by this capture the kingdom was rescued from imminent danger and certain destruction.

The contradiction which exists between the Protestant and Catholic writers, regarding the treatment, trial, and execution of the Jesuits, renders it almost impossible for us to arrive at the exact truth. The one party calls them innocent martyrs, the other infernal traitors. The one complains that they were most unmercifully treated, the other, that they had too much lenity shewn them. It is, however, an incontestible fact that they were put to the torture, and Crétineau is right when he exclaims against the Protestants, who, while professing to abhor the Papal Inquisition so much, now adopted all its barbarous proceedings. It may be also true, that a jury sitting now at Westminster would not find sufficient material from which to condemn them. But we must remind the Catholics, that to judge of these events with impartiality, we must transport ourselves to those times, when Ireland was in an almost continual state of rebellion; when England was daily menaced with invasion; when[162] the Roman Catholics of all Europe spoke of another Saint Bartholomew; when torrents of imprecations were poured out against Elizabeth, her ministers, and all her Protestant subjects. We must go back to those times when the Jesuits persuaded the Roman Catholics that it was a mortal sin for them to acknowledge Elizabeth’s right to the throne; to those times in which the Jesuitical doctrine, that it was lawful, nay meritorious, to kill an excommunicated king, had already been proclaimed; finally, to those times when the contest had come to this,—“Whether England should be Protestant under the sway of Elizabeth, or Catholic under Mary of Scotland, or Philip of Spain.” That the Jesuits and the Pope caused all this agitation, there can be no doubt whatever. Hume, quoting a passage from Camden, and Walsingham’s letter in Burnet, appears to me to assign the most plausible reason for it in the following words:—“And though the exercise of every religion but the established one was prohibited by the statute, the violation of this law, by saying mass, and receiving the sacrament in private houses, was, in many instances, connived at; while, on the other hand, the Catholics, at the beginning of her reign, shewed little reluctance against going to church, or frequenting the ordinary duties of public worship. The Pope, sensible that this practice would by degrees reconcile all his partisans to the Reformed religion, hastened the publication of the bull, which excommunicated the queen, and freed her subjects from their oath of allegiance; and great pains were taken by the emissaries of Rome to render the breach between the two religions as wide as possible, and to make the frequenting of Protestant churches appear highly criminal in the Catholics. These practices, with the rebellion which ensued, increased the vigilance and severity of the government; but the Romanists, if their condition were compared with that of the nonconformists in other countries, and with[163] their own maxims where they domineered, could not justly complain of violence or persecution.”[146]

The truth of this assertion is rendered still more evident by a petition of the English Catholic priests themselves, addressed to the Pope, in which they say, “That those fathers (the Jesuits) were the sole authors of all the troubles which agitated the English Church; that, previous to the Jesuits’ coming to England, no Catholic had been accused of high treason; that they no sooner made their appearance in Great Britain, than the aspect of things began to undergo a change; that their political ambition was manifest; and that they had set a price on the crown, and put the kingdom to auction.”[147] These were the times and the circumstances in which, on the 20th of November 1581, Campion and fifteen other priests were brought to trial at Westminster. They were all condemned, and three Jesuits, Campion, Sherwin, and Briant, were publicly executed. Crétineau and the other Jesuit historians give them the name of martyrs. Hume, on the contrary, following the historians of the epoch, says, that “Campion was detected in treasonable practices, and being put to the rack, confessed his guilt, and was publicly executed.”[148] It is repeatedly affirmed in the Justitia Britannica, and partly proved, that they were convicted of treason and conspiracy against the life of the queen. One strong proof against Campion, was the production of a letter which he had found means to forward to Father Pond, another Jesuit prisoner in the Tower, and in which he writes:—“I feel in myself courage enough, and I hope I shall have the strength, not to let drop from my mouth one single word which may be prejudicial to the Church of God, no matter what may be the torments.”[149] But we repeat, even though proofs had been deficient for a strictly legal condemnation,[164] there is, nevertheless, a strong moral certitude of their having been conspirators, purposely sent into England to cause a revolt, and, if possible, to procure the assassination of the queen. Thus, whatever may be the objection raised against the legality of the form, no one will deny the substantial justice by which they were punished.

After the capture of Campion, Parson, like a prudent general, not wishing to risk his own person, on which so much depended, left England for France, where, feeling himself secure, he gave vent to his hatred, poured out curses and maledictions on the whole English nation, and set on foot new plots and new conspiracies. In conjunction with Dr Allen, the Guises, and the Bishop of Glasgow (Mary’s Resident at the court of France), he sent over to Scotland Father Creighton, for the purpose of converting James VI. to Romanism, and of exciting him to join the Pope and the King of Spain in war against England, promising him money and all sorts of favours from both these monarchs. Creighton frequently crossed over from France to Scotland to effect this league; and once, when on his way, the vessel in which he was conveyed being seized, he tore some papers, with the design of throwing them into the sea, but the wind blowing them back upon the deck, the pieces were arranged together, and brought to light some dangerous secrets.[150]

The famous William Parry was detected about the same time. This man, who had received the queen’s pardon for a crime deserving capital punishment, went to travel. He repaired to Venice, where he was persuaded by Father Palmio, the Provincial of the Jesuits in that locality, that he could not do a more meritorious action than kill his sovereign and benefactress. Campeggio, the Pope’s nuncio, approved of this; and Ragazzoni, the Pope’s legate in Paris, to confirm him in this criminal enterprise, promised him[165] from the Holy See, not only absolution, but also the Pope’s paternal benediction, and a plenary indulgence for all his sins. Morgan, a Catholic gentleman residing in Paris, gave him additional encouragement. Parry returned to England, where, after some delay, he disclosed his design to Nevil, who resolved to have a share in the merit of its execution. Both determined to sacrifice their lives in the fulfilment of a duty which they were taught was agreeable to the will of God, and for the interests of the true religion. But while they were watching for a fit opportunity to put this execrable parricide into execution, the Earl of Westmoreland died in exile; and as Nevil was the next heir to the family possessions, he, in the hope of being put into the family estates and honours, betrayed the whole conspiracy. Parry was arrested, and confessed his guilt both to the ministry and to the jury who tried him. The letter of the Cardinal of Como, in which he announced to Parry that the Holy Father sent him absolution, his blessing, and plenary indulgence, was produced before the court, and put Parry’s declaration beyond all doubt.[151] He was condemned, and received the punishment due to his treason. Parry, among other revelations, said that he had informed Father Creighton of his purpose; and as this Jesuit was in prison at the time, he was examined concerning Parry. At first he denied all acquaintance with him, but he subsequently wrote to Walsingham, confessing that Parry had indeed declared to him his intention of taking the queen’s life, and had also asked his opinion on the matter; that he (Creighton) answered that it was not lawful to do so, omnino non liceret; that, on being pressed by Parry, whether, to save the bodies and souls of many, it was not lawful to take away a single life, he, the Jesuit, answered, that even in this case one ought not to attempt such a deed without, at least, feeling an inspiration from above.[152] This answer, in[166] my opinion, was more apt to inflame the fanaticism of the man than to check him in his parricidal projects. And yet this was all that Creighton could say in his own justification. Now it is astonishing with what impudence Crétineau tries to pervert the truth of this affair. Listen to his narrative. He pretends that Walsingham had sent Parry to the Continent in order to test the fidelity of the Jesuits; that he revealed to many of them his design to murder Elizabeth, and was dissuaded by all from the committal of such an abominable crime; that, being introduced by an English gentleman (Morgan, no doubt) to the Pope’s legate, Ragazzoni, he, Parry, presented to him a petition, craving the holy father’s blessing, and absolution of his sins; that, having returned to England, he was introduced to the queen, to whom he related that the Jesuits, and the partisans of Mary Stewart, had excited him to take away her life; that he was not credited by the queen; that he had subsequently fallen into indigence; that misery and despair had inspired him with the thought of executing in reality the imaginary crime which he pretended to have meditated with the Jesuits.[153] And to explain Cardinal Como’s letter, he adds—“As to the Pope’s indulgences and absolution, no matter how great these favours may appear to the eyes of the pious and the faithful, aux yeux de la pieté, et de la foi, it must, nevertheless, be confessed, that every one may obtain them without being obliged to assassinate a heretic princess.”[154] Although the absurdity of these justifications be already quite manifest, we shall suggest one or two observations. What interest could Walsingham have had in sending Parry to know the opinion of the Jesuits upon the projected murder of the queen? These Jesuits were safe from the minister’s anger, since[167] they were in foreign countries. Parry did not set plots on foot which should involve many persons, whose names it might have been useful to know; he did not ask to be made privy to any secret, or to be sent back to England directed to some Popish partisan to discover and betray him. No—he was only sent for the pleasure of knowing what answer the Jesuits would give to his question—“May I, or may I not, kill the queen?” But Walsingham was not only a stupid, he was also an ungrateful, minister. He employed a man in a most serious and delicate affair, he disclosed to that same man dangerous and rather disgraceful secrets, and that man, immediately after he had accomplished his mission, was driven to extremities for want of food! Alas! Monsieur Crétineau, your attempted justification proves the culpability of your Jesuits more forcibly than any other proof could.

A severe law was now passed by parliament against the Jesuits. The law enacted that they should depart the kingdom within forty days; that those who should remain beyond that time, or should afterwards return, should be guilty of treason; that those who harboured or relieved them should be guilty of felony; that those who were educated in seminaries, if they did not return in six months after notice given, and did not submit themselves to the queen, before a bishop, or two justices, should be guilty of treason; and that, if any so submitting themselves, should within ten years approach the court, or come within ten miles of it, their submission should be void.[155]

Of fifty or sixty Jesuits, a part being frightened, left England of their own accord, while the rest were discovered and sent away, but only to become still more dangerous enemies. We beg to quote a passage from Hume regarding the too famous conspiracy of Babington, which passage exactly expresses our ideas upon the subject:—


“The English seminary at Rheims had wrought themselves up to a high pitch of rage and animosity against the queen. The recent persecutions from which they had escaped; the new rigours which they knew awaited them in the course of their missions; the liberty which at present they enjoyed, of declaiming against that princess; and the contagion of that religious fury which everywhere surrounded them in France;—all these causes had obliterated within them every maxim of common sense, and every principle of morals or humanity. Intoxicated with admiration of the Divine power and infallibility of the Pope, they revered his bull, by which he excommunicated and deposed the queen; and some of them had gone to that height of extravagance as to assert, that the performance had been immediately dictated by the Holy Ghost. The assassination of heretical sovereigns, and of that princess in particular, was represented as the most meritorious of all enterprises; and they taught, that whoever perished in such attempts, enjoyed without dispute the glorious and never-fading crown of martyrdom. By such doctrines they instigated a man of desperate courage, who had served some years in the low countries under the Prince of Parma, to attempt the life of Elizabeth; and this assassin having made a vow to persevere in his design, was sent over to England, and recommended to the confidence of the more zealous Catholics.”[156]

It would be too tedious to follow the Jesuits in all their machinations against both the queen and the state, neither would it afford any additional instruction. We shall pass in silence the efforts of Father Garnet to raise a revolt when the Invincible Armada was approaching. We shall not even quote a passage from Crétineau, where he confesses without the least hesitation that Philip II. had sent a host of Jesuits along with the Armada, while Father Solarez[169] by his order went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to implore Divine aid for its success. We shall not further demonstrate, that if they were not the prime movers of every plot, they were at least implicated less or more in them all. Nor shall we detain our readers with details of the deeds they performed in Scotland, where their influence depended in great part, as the Jesuits assert, upon the state of friendship between James and Elizabeth. We shall merely translate a single passage from their historian:—“After the death of Mary Stuart,” says Crétineau, “James seemed disposed to break up all intercourse with England; and, that this rupture might be the better publicly attested, James not only granted to the Jesuits a free access into his dominions, but also himself invited them to come.”[157] We give this quotation as we find it, without being responsible for its veracity; but it will be sufficient to prove that the Jesuits, even from the confession of their own party, were the most perfidious and dangerous enemies that England ever had to contend with. And as they were then, so they are still. If they hated England and Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century, they bear no less hate to England and Queen Victoria in the 19th. Let an opportunity present itself, and you shall see them again heading the rebellion, and preaching murder as the most meritorious of all actions. Nor do they remain inactive while waiting for the opportunity. Their evil genius is constantly present and active. Many are the parents whose last days are saddened with the thought that their children have forsaken the green pastures and the untainted waters of pure gospel truth, for the turbid waters of adulterous Babylon,—these children, once the worshippers of God, now the idolaters of man, whom some disguised son of Loyola, skilfully insinuating himself into their young minds and unsuspecting hearts, has seduced from the right path. These riots,[170] that blood spilt at Stockport, Dublin, Belfast, and elsewhere—the attempted beginning of a civil war—believe me, is due to the Jesuits, some of whom, while in the confessional or in the midst of private circles they speak with feigned devotion of the infallibility and supremacy of their Church, always find means, at the same time, of exciting, indirectly it may be, the ignorant and the bigoted against the Protestants; while the hypocritical occupation of others in the public streets will be to pour out torrents of bitter invectives against the abominations of the Court of Rome, and stir up the worst passions of the Protestants against their fellow-citizens the Papists! What, it may naturally be asked, could prompt the latter to such infernal wickedness? The accomplishment, I answer, of their mysterious designs, though this should be at the cost of the blood of thousands of their unoffending fellow-beings. Such demoniacal perfidy might well, to the honour of mankind, be scarcely credited; but listen to what I am going to relate. The fact is unfortunately too notorious to be contradicted, and will go far to afford an insight into the character of the Jesuits. In our last struggle, in that mortal combat which we, poor and inexperienced as we were, fought single-handed against the Pope and all his supporters, for civil and religious liberty, when Rome was besieged and the trumpet sounded daily for battle, a man of prepossessing appearance, wearing a beard and moustache, was seen going about from place to place, praising the soldiers for their valour, encouraging the citizens not to desert their walls, inflaming the minds of the youth with the glory of dying for one’s country, and cursing the French, the Pope, and especially the Jesuits. No one knew who he was, but many a one admired him, and gave him credit for being an ardent patriot. One day, however, some of the National Guards perceived a sort of telegraph on a house behind the Quirinal, almost over the wall of the[171] city, and which belonged to the Jesuits. They forced an entrance into the premises, and there found three persons making signals to the enemy. These three were Jesuits, and one of them was recognised as the very incognito who, a few hours previously, was encouraging the people to fight. They were arrested, and when on their way to the state prison, the Jesuit wearing the moustache being recognised by some women, they tore him from the hands of the escort, stabbed him, and threw both him and his companions into the Tiber. Five persons were afterwards taken and executed under suspicion of being accomplices in this criminal action. I beg to be excused for having indulged in these remarks. They are wrung from a man who has witnessed many of their iniquities, and experienced much of their perfidy. I may, however, assure the reader that the narrator will not be influenced by these recollections.


If the conduct of the Jesuits in Portugal was not of so criminal a nature as in England, it was certainly far more bold, and productive of more disastrous consequences to the Portuguese nation. We have already seen that the Jesuits had, from the very first, acquired great influence in that country, an influence which, after the death of John III., became paramount. During and after the minority of Don Sebastian, the Jesuits were the confessors of all the royal family. Consalves de Camera was first the tutor and afterwards the confessor of the young king, and possessed such an ascendancy over his mind, that nothing important was done without his consent or that of his brother Martin, Count of Calhette. Catherine of Austria, sister of Charles V., and grandmother to the king, a wise and clear-sighted princess, dismissed her confessor, and[172] complained to General Borgia of the domineering spirit of the Jesuits. For this she was deprived of the regency, which devolved on Cardinal Henry, devoted both soul and body to the order. Meanwhile Don Sebastian had reached manhood, and the nation was impatient to see him married, that the line of royal descent might be unbroken. A French princess, and a daughter of the emperor Maximilian, were considered fit matches, but were both rejected. The Jesuits were accused of preventing Don Sebastian from marrying, with the design of making a Jesuit of him, and then becoming heirs to his throne. Strange as this accusation may appear, yet it is true in its principal part. Let us first listen to what Pasquier, a contemporary historian, and a celebrated advocate of the Parliament of Paris, says on the point:—“The Jesuits, shrewd and well advised as they were, saw that this territory (Portugal) was a proper soil to make their vine-tree fruitful, and, in order that they might the better succeed in their projects, on their very entrance into the kingdom they caused themselves to be called not Jesuits, but apostles, comparing themselves with those who followed our Lord, and they are there still designated by the same name. The sovereignty having fallen into the hands of Don Sebastian, these good apostles thought that the kingdom of Portugal would soon become the property of their community; and they frequently solicited him that no one should in future be King of Portugal except a Jesuit, and chosen by their own order, in the same way that the Popes at Rome are elected by the College of Cardinals. And because the king, although superstitious as superstition itself, could not, or, to speak more correctly, dared not, subscribe to their wishes, they persuaded him that it had been so ordered by God, as he himself would hear by a voice from heaven near the sea-shore. This poor prince was so misled as to go there two or three times, but they could not act their part so well as to make him hear the voice.[173] They had not as yet in their company an impostor to rival Justinian, who in Rome was able to counterfeit the leprous. These gentlemen, perceiving that they could not gain their ends by this way, did not, however, give up the pursuit. This king, Jesuit from his soul, would not marry. In order to render themselves still more important, they advised him to march against the kingdom of Fez, where he was killed in a pitched battle. This was the fruit which Don Sebastian reaped for having believed the Jesuits. What I have just related I learned from the deceased Marquis of Pisani, an excellent Roman Catholic, and the French ambassador at the Spanish court.”[158] For our own part, while we are convinced of the truth of the selfish plot, we do not entirely agree with Pasquier in regard to the end which he attributes to them. Bold and daring as they are, they would not have braved popular opinion with such impudence. They were too clear-sighted not to be aware that the European courts would not permit them to have the possession of the throne. Yet Pasquier did not invent this piece of romance himself. The same, or nearly the same, story was repeated throughout all Europe. And this is so true, that Father Maggio, Provincial of Austria, wrote to Borgia from Prague, in the year 1571, in the following manner:—“Here the people talk of nothing else than of the Portuguese affairs. Despatches come from Spain, announcing that the king often acts so as to alarm the whole nation. They add, that our brethren (les nôtres) are the instigators of such conduct; that they wish to make a Jesuit of the king; and there are not wanting those who assert, that they (les nôtres) have alone prohibited him from marrying the French king’s sister.”[159]

This letter evidently shews that all Europe believed that the Jesuits were masters of Portugal, and that they had the disposal of the crown almost entirely[174] at their will. Moreover, as we have seen, the Jesuits were accused of having instigated the impetuous king to undertake the conquest of Morocco, in which attempt he lost both his life and his kingdom.

Let us, however, to be impartial, listen to their justification. Crétineau asserts that these accusations were calumnies, and gives us the following as proof:—On the marriage question, he produces part of a letter written by the accused Father Consalves himself, in which, after having contradicted most of the calumniations which had been heaped upon him, he adds—“So, if I have anything to reproach myself with, it is for insisting too much that the marriage might take place. Those who told the Pope that the heart of the king was in my hands, and that I can direct his affections as I please, think of Sebastian what they would believe of any other young man of his age.... But he is obstinate, and in this matter he remains immovable to all my advices.”[160] We shall scarcely be blamed, however, if we confess ourselves sceptical regarding the truth of these justifications.

To exculpate the fathers for having induced the king to undertake the expedition against Morocco, Crétineau quotes a passage from Mendoza, a man entirely devoted to the Jesuits, in which he simply asserts, “That all the Jesuits were opposed to the expedition to Africa.” These two lines, written long after the event, and by a partisan of the order, constitute the only proof of their innocence which the Jesuits can adduce.

After such attempted justifications, there can remain no doubt that the Jesuits wrested the crown from the head of Don Sebastian, to place it upon that of Philip II. Philip was at that time the friend and the most powerful supporter of the Jesuits. He was the chief of the Roman Catholic party—the hope of the Papists—the dread of the Protestants. These reasons, I believe, induced the Jesuits to accomplish this abominable[175] treachery. At the death of Don Sebastian, Cardinal Henry assumed the name of king, and asked from the estates of Portugal that Philip should be declared his successor. They refused. Philip invaded Portugal. The Jesuits used all their influence in his favour, excommunicated Don Antonio de Crato, the legitimate heir of the crown, and placed Philip on the throne of their benefactors. We must observe, that we believe that neither the honest and conscientious Borgia nor the old and insignificant Mercurianus were privy to this treacherous transaction. They were persons in no way to be trusted with such secrets. It thus happened that the Portuguese monarchs, who first nursed these sons of Loyola in their bosoms, found that they had been giving life to a serpent, which now stung them to the heart. But unfortunately the example was lost; the Portuguese monarchs continued to submit to the Jesuits, and one of them, Joseph I., barely escaped falling under the poniard of the assassin hired by the fathers.


We have seen the Jesuits executed in England as traitors. We beheld them in Portugal, as successful conspirators, dispose of a sceptre wrested from the hands of their benefactors. We shall now see them in France acting the part of traitors, conspirators, and regicides, and the principal cause of an indescribable evil. We have already mentioned the famous arrêt (decision) of 1554, by which the parliament of Paris refused to admit the Jesuits into the kingdom. From this time, down to the year 1562, the disciples of Loyola had repeatedly obtained from the French sovereign letters patent authorising their establishment; but the parliament by repeated arrêts refusing to register them, rendered these letters nugatory,[176] and the contest went on, with no prospect of decision. The king, the Guises, and a party of the nobles, sided with the Jesuits. The parliament, the university, the Bishop of Paris and his clergy, were against them. The principal objection to the admission of the Jesuits which was advanced by their adversaries was, that they had obtained from the Court of Rome privileges[161] which made them independent of the ordinary and of every other ecclesiastical authority. To obviate this objection, the Jesuits, in 1560, determined to carry their point, presented a petition to the king, in which they renounced their privileges, and solemnly engaged to respect the laws of the realm and those of the Gallican Church, and to submit to the jurisdiction of the ordinaries.[162] The court now imperatively commanded the parliament to admit the Jesuits. The Archbishop de Belley, vanquished by “the urgency of the court, from which he expected the Cardinal’s hat,”[163] partly withdrew his opposition, and gave his consent, but under so many restrictions, that, as Crétineau says, it was rather a protest against them than anything else. The parliament, which till now had withheld its consent, leaning on the archbishop’s opposition, now registered the king’s letters patent, but under the same restrictions; adding, that the Jesuits might appeal to the next national council or assembly. At this very time a national council was convened at Poissy, to put an end, if possible, to religious dissension, and heal the wounds of the Church. Catherine de Medici, whose favourite maxim was, divide et imperia,[177] shewed herself impartial in this contest, thinking to retain the obedience of one party by the fear it had of the other. She herself, therefore, along with the king and the whole court, assisted at the Council of Poissy. We shall not enter into the theological discussions of this assembly. We shall only say, that although a Roman Catholic cardinal presided over and directed it, and although the Roman Catholics had a large majority, yet the eloquence of the Calvinistic divines, and especially that of Beza, was so overpowering, that Lainez, after having had a thrust or two at the redoubted champion, declared it to be almost a mortal sin to admit Protestants to a discussion; and by his advice, the Council broke up without any result.

The assembly, before it broke up, after a great deal of debating, decided that the Jesuits should be admitted on the condition that they submitted to the laws of the nation and of the Gallican Church, that the ordinary bishops should have all authority over them, and that they should renounce all their privileges, and take another name than “The Society of Jesus,” or “Jesuits.” By this decision, the Jesuit question was at last settled. Now, to shew with what facility these wily monks can renounce their most approved doctrines, and invent a new principle for every contingency, that they may succeed in any of their undertakings, we shall set forth the principal points of doctrine of the Gallican Church, which were already received in France, and which were more solemnly sanctioned in 1662.

“The Pope is the chief of the Roman Catholic religion, but he can neither excommunicate the king, nor lay an interdict upon the kingdom; nor has he any jurisdiction over temporal matters; nor can he dismiss the bishops from their office, who hold their power from Christ as his successors, and who, when he ascended up into heaven, bade them go and preach[178] the gospel to every creature. The Pope’s legate cannot exercise any authority in France, unless empowered by the king. An appeal from the sentence of the Pope is permitted to be made to a general council, which possesses a power superior to that of the Pope; but even the decrees of council are not received in France, when they attack the rights of the king, or those of the Gallican Church; for which reason the Council of Trent itself was received in France regarding articles of faith, but not regarding matters of discipline.”[164]

These were the principal points to which the Jesuits swore conformity. How despicable must be the man who is ready to take a special oath for every occasion, and to invoke the God of truth to witness his perjury and infamy!

The Jesuits had no sooner set their foot in France than they began to spread rapidly over the country, and soon after aspired to enter the university and monopolise the whole of the education of the youth. With part of the immense fortune bequeathed to them by the Bishop of Clermont, of which they at last got possession, notwithstanding the opposition of the parliament, they built a college in the Rue St Jacques, near the Sorbonne, and, pretending to obey the orders of the parliament, which enjoined them to renounce the name of the Society of Jesus, they inscribed on the front of it, “College of the Society of the Name of Jesus.” But the university would not admit them into its bosom, notwithstanding all the intrigues of the fathers and the orders of the Court. Of this protracted contest, which terminated in favour of the Jesuits in 1616, we shall only transcribe part of an apology[179] addressed by the university to Pope Gregory XIII.—“We do not,” wrote the university, “vex either churches or private persons; we do not trouble the order of succession; we do not solicit testaments in prejudice of the heirs, or appropriate the profits to our own interest; we do not plot devices to seize upon the benefices of the monasteries, or of any other ecclesiastical establishment, to enrich ourselves with their property, without being subject to the conditions imposed by the founders; we do not make use of the name of Jesus to deceive the consciences of princes, affirming that no one remains longer than ten years in purgatory.”[165]

Our history is becoming too pregnant with grave events to allow us to relate matters of secondary importance. We shall therefore bring down our readers to the year 1577, when was formed the celebrated league which gave occasion to the bloody and protracted civil wars of France, and of which the Jesuits were the chief instigators.

Remorse for the massacre of St Bartholomew had deprived Charles IX. of his reason, and brought him to an early grave. His brother, Henry III., who succeeded him, either awed by the fate of Charles, or occupied only with his pleasures, allowed those same Protestants whom, as Duke of Anjou, he had defeated at Moncontour and other places, to live in peace. Henry’s indolence favoured the ambitious views of the Duke of Guise, who aspired at nothing less than the throne of France. He and his partisans, particularly the Jesuits, stirred up the fanaticism of the more bigoted of the citizens against the king, who, although a scrupulous observer of all those external[180] practices in which the Popish religion chiefly consists, was considered by the Church party a bad Catholic. A remedy was to be found, lest France should become a Protestant country. An association was accordingly set on foot, which took the name of the League, or “Holy Union.” The vulgar saw in it the bulwark of the faith—Philip of Spain, indirectly the sovereignty of France—and Henry of Guise, the throne. The members of this association took the following oath:—“I swear to God, the Creator, and under penalty of anathema and eternal damnation, that I have entered into this Catholic Association, according to the form of the treaty which has just been read to me, loyally and sincerely either to command, or to obey and serve; and I promise with my life and my honour, to continue therein to the last drop of my blood, without resisting it or withdrawing from it, at any command, or any pretext, excuse, or occasion whatsoever.”[166] In 1577, Guise was declared chief of the League; and in 1584, he, a subject, had the audacity to enter publicly into a confederacy with Philip II. of Spain. The Articles of Alliance purported, “that a confederacy, offensive and defensive, was entered into betwixt the king and the Catholic princes in behalf of themselves and their descendants, for the maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion in France as well as the Low Countries: and, on the death of Henry III., to take measures that Cardinal de Bourbon should be appointed his successor; the heretic and relapsed princes being for ever excluded from the right of succession.”[167]

Henry III.’s position became very precarious. The Guises were in possession of many of the chief towns, and Duke Henry was the idol of the people. The king, to avoid the impending danger, feigned to adhere to the League—declared himself its chief—waged war with the Protestants—and consented to[181] give more towns and places of security into the hands of his enemies. Nevertheless the king’s opponents remitted nothing of their hostility, and filled the nation with hatred of his person, venting itself in curses and imprecations. In Paris, the stronghold of the League, the question was publicly discussed whether Henry should be deposed. The king advanced towards the capital with some troops. Guise hastened to it against the king’s express command. The people took up arms—barricades were erected—the royal army was defeated—and the king obliged to fly.[168] Maffei and Crétineau reproach the Duke of Guise for allowing him to escape uninjured. Henry, concealing his hatred, feigned again to submit, summoned a parliament to meet at Blois, and conferred upon Guise almost unlimited power over the kingdom. But in the very moment in which he saw within his grasp the prize which he so eagerly sought, he fell, along with his brother the cardinal, in the royal palace, a victim of the king’s revenge. Thus Guise perished, not, as he deserved, by the sword of justice, but by the poniard of an assassin. The deed cannot be excused. The League thundered anathemas against the king; the University of Paris excommunicated him; and the parliament declared that “the aforesaid Henry of Valois should be condemned to make honourable amends, dressed only in his shirt, with a rope about his neck, assisted by the executioner, and holding in his hand a lighted torch weighing thirty pounds; that from that moment he should be deposed, and declared unworthy of the crown of France; and that, renouncing all right to it, he should be afterwards banished and placed in a convent of the Hieromites, there to fast on bread and water for the rest of his days.”[169]

Priests and Jesuits from every pulpit poured out[182] volleys of curses upon that tyrant, who deserved to be swept from the face of the earth. And while the king, now in league with Henry of Navarre, was marching towards Paris, Clement, a Dominican friar, stabbed him at St Cloud, on the first of August 1589.

Great was the consternation of the royalists, and greater the rejoicing of the adverse party, at this tragic event. The Council of Seize[170] met on the 6th of September, and addressed a letter to all the preachers, in which, among other things, was the following exhortation:—“You must justify Jacques Clement’s deed, because it is the same as that of Judith, which is so much commended in Holy Writ.”[171] Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre, the legitimate heir, after the death of Henry III., assumed the title of king of France, and was supported by the less bigoted of the Roman Catholics and by all the Calvinists. The Cardinal de Bourbon, on the other hand, also took the title of king, and was supported by the fanatic Papists, headed by all the priests and monks in the kingdom. Philip of Spain, the life and guardian of the League, sent an army to its aid; and the Pope despatched Cardinal Cajetan, accompanied by two Jesuits, with large sums of money, to foment and maintain the revolt against the excommunicated Henry IV.

Sixtus V. at first shewed great zeal in opposing the right of the heretic Henry of Navarre.[172] He promised to send 18,000 infantry and 700 horse into[183] France. He threatened the Venetians with excommunication for having acknowledged Henry IV. as king, and for once relaxed the reins of his well-known parsimony, by sending his legate a sum of money to continue the war in France. But, when he perceived what were the projects of Philip; when he learned that that monarch proposed to marry his daughter the Infanta to the young Duke of Guise, who was to assume the title of king; and when Les Seize, instigated by the Jesuits, renouncing every national feeling, went so far as to proclaim Philip king of France, Sixtus, afraid of the domineering spirit of Philip, and the absolute power he would acquire if successful in his design, relaxed in his enmity towards Henry—expressed regret for having excommunicated him—and gave other tokens of the change his opinion had undergone. The legate, however, disregarding the Pope’s intentions, carried out his first instructions with unremitting zeal.[173]

The civil war, with all its horrors, lasted for five years. To shorten it, Henry descended to an act which has tarnished his glory, and the fame of his virtue. He abjured the doctrines of Calvinism to enter into communion with the Church of Rome, which he despised, and excused himself by saying, “Paris vaut bien une messe”—Paris is well worth a mass.[174]

But his apostasy availed him little. The Parisians continued firm against him. The monks, and especially[184] the Jesuits, encouraged them in their resistance. Priests and soldiers simultaneously, they passed from the pulpit to the besieged walls, replacing the sacerdotal robes by a coat of mail, the crucifix by a spear. Solemn processions crossed the town and called upon the people to be firm in defence of their faith, trusting in God to protect them and to bless their impious enterprise. The Pope’s legate, dressed in his pontifical robes, was foremost in these processions, and supported the fanaticism of the multitude, to whom he dispensed a thousand benisons. On the other hand, Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, the same who, after the assassination of Henry, wrote to his master, “We must ascribe this happy event to the Almighty alone”—Mendoza, to divert the hunger of the deluded Parisians, distributed, in the name of his Most Catholic Majesty Philip, some Spanish coin to the populace, who, thus encouraged, raised the shout, “Long life to our king Philip!” It is painful to think of all the horrors which this misguided people endured while they listened to the persuasions of the priests to persist in their rebellion. At last hunger, all-powerful hunger, proved stronger than the king’s army. Famished Paris yielded, and Henry ascended the throne of his ancestors.

Thus ended the League. Let us now see what share the Jesuits had in it. Mezarai, speaking of the League, says, “The zealous Catholics were the chief instruments in it; the new monks (the Jesuits) the paranymphs and trumpeters; and the nobles of the kingdom the authors and chiefs.”[176] From its very beginning, the Jesuits were the most ardent promoters of the League. They ran from place to place, from country to country, to enlist new supporters, and to strengthen the tie of the holy union. Claude Matthieu, the Provincial, went several times from Paris to Rome, to obtain the[185] Pope’s approval of the holy union.[177] He was called the messenger of the League; and Pasquier, in his old, quaint style, in speaking of another Jesuit, says, “As the Company of the Jesuits was composed of all sorts of people, les uns pour la plume, les autres pour le poil, so they had among them one Father Henry Sammier, a man inclined and adapted to all kinds of daring.[178] He was sent by the League in 1581 to various Catholic princes pour sonder le gué, to sound the ford; and, to speak the truth, they could not have chosen a fitter man, for he changed himself into as many different forms as the different affairs he had to undertake—sometimes dressed as a trooper, sometimes as a priest, sometimes as a simple beggar. He was acquainted with cards, dice, ... as well as with his canonical hours; and in doing this, he said that he could not sin, since it was to arrive at a good end.”[179] But, without referring to ancient authors, two lines from Crétineau will say more than we could. “It was at this epoch” (1584), says he, “that the League acquired all its consistency, and it is at the same epoch that you may see the Jesuits in Paris, Lyons, Toulouse, joining the insurrection and organising it.”[180] And of this insurrection, or civil war, Pasquier, an eye-witness, says,—“It was less a civil war than a coupe-gorge—a cut-throat. The colleges of the Jesuits were, as was notorious, the general rendezvous of persons hostile to the king. There were fabricated their gospels in cipher—se forgoient leurs Evangiles en chiffre—which they sent into foreign countries. There their[186] apostles were distributed among the different provinces, some, to keep the troubles alive by their preaching, as did Father Commolet in Paris, and Father Rouillet at Bourges; others, to preach murder and assassination, as did Father Varade and the same Father Commolet.”[181] But we need not multiply quotations to prove that they had a great share in exciting these troubles. They themselves confess it with pride. In their Litteræ Annuæ of 1589, they represent the murder of the king as a miracle which happened the very day they were expelled from Bordeaux. When Clement’s mother came to Paris, the Jesuits called upon the people to worship her; the portrait of the assassin, now called a martyr, was exposed on the altars to public veneration, and they even proposed to erect a statue to him in the cathedral of Notre Dame.

We will, however, admit that all the Jesuits were not fanatic Leaguers; not because they disapproved of the League, but simply from good policy, or from interested motives. Auger, the king’s confessor, and who wished to be provincial, sided with his penitent; and the General Acquaviva, the ablest and most profound politician of his time, disapproved of the Society’s engaging so deeply with one party as to cause the ruin of the order if the other triumphed. He forbade the Jesuits who were in France to take part in the contest (which advice, however, they disregarded), and begged permission of the Pope to command his subordinate Father Matthieu to leave France, and betake himself to a distant country—which clearly proves, that the Jesuits in France acted under the Pope’s own authority. “But Sixtus V.,” says Crétineau, “was not so gentle as Gregory XIII.; when he met an enemy, he fought with him; accordingly he answered the General that the Leaguers acted very rightly, and only did their duty.”[182] Acquaviva, however, was as jealous of his authority as the imperious[187] and terrible Sixtus. When Father Matthieu arrived at Loretto on his return to France, the General ordered him not to leave the town without his consent; and the poor messenger died a few months after, from sheer inactivity. Auger, for reasons unknown to us, was recalled. Another provincial, Father Pigenat, was sent to France—a man who, in the language of De Thou, “was a furious Leaguer, and as fanatic as a Corybante,” and who, according to Arnauld, “was the most cruel tiger that prowled through Paris.” In fact, after his arrival, the Jesuits became still more audacious, and engaged in more criminal proceedings.

After Henry IV. had abjured the Protestant faith, and when he was at Melun, a man was arrested on suspicion of having come thither to make an attempt upon his life. Barrière—such was the assassin’s name—to escape the torture, acknowledged his guilt. He confessed that having consulted with Aubrey, a curate of Paris, regarding his project, he was highly commended, and sent to Varade, the rector of the Jesuits, who confirmed him in his praiseworthy resolution, and gave him his benediction; that next morning he confessed to another Jesuit, and received the communion. Barrière repeated on the scaffold the declaration he had already made; and Pasquier, who was at Melun at the time, declares that he had examined the culprit, had read the informations and depositions, and even handled the knife with which the crime was to have been perpetrated.[183] Mezarai confirms the testimony of Pasquier in the most unequivocal manner. “When the king,” says he, “had reduced Paris to submission, he gave a safe-conduct to the Cardinal of Plaisance, who had acted with so much energy against him, and granted him permission to take with him Aubrey, curate of St André des Arcs, and the Jesuit Varade, although[188] culpable of participating in the horrible assassination of Barrière.”[184]

Barrière was executed, but his fate did not deter other fanatics from making similar attempts, nor the Jesuits from giving them encouragement. A few months after Henry had made his entrance into Paris, a youth of nineteen, named John Chastel, raised an impious hand against the king. The blow was aimed at his throat, but happening to bend his head at the instant to salute one of his courtiers, it only wounded his lips. Chastel was a student of philosophy in the Jesuits’ College under Father Gueret. He confessed that “in the Jesuits’ house, he had been often in the chamber of meditation, into which the Jesuits introduced the greatest sinners, where they were shewn the pictures of devils and other frightful figures to induce them to lead a better life, and, by working upon their spirits, to induce them by these admonitions to perform some extraordinary deed.” He further confessed that he had heard the Jesuits say “that it was lawful to kill the king, since he was out of the Church; and that no one ought to obey him, or acknowledge him as king, till he should be approved of by the Pope.”[185] The murderer, on his examination, boldly maintained this last proposition; and “this avowal,” says Mezarai, “joined to the injurious libels against Henry III. and the reigning king; joined to the ardour which the Jesuits had shewn for the interests of Spain, and to the doctrines their preachers had propounded against the security of the king, and against the ancient law of the kingdom; joined also to the opinion held of them,[189] that by means of their colleges and auricular confession, they directed the minds of the youth and timid consciences to whatever they pleased, gave an opportunity to the parliament to involve the Society in his punishment.”[186] In fact, the parliament, by the same arrêt (29th Dec. 1594), by which Chastel was condemned to the punishment of the parricide, enacted that “the priests and scholars of Clermont College, and all others of the so-called Society of Jesus, as corrupters of youth, disturbers of the public peace, enemies to the king and the state, shall, three days after the present intimation, be obliged to leave Paris and other towns and places where they have colleges, and, within a fortnight after, the kingdom; under the penalty, if found in France after that time, of being punished for high treason. Their property, movable and immovable, shall be employed for charitable purposes, and all the king’s subjects, under the same penalty, are forbidden to send pupils to the colleges of the Society which are beyond the territories of the kingdom.”[187]

All the Jesuits, except Fathers Gueret and Guinard, who were arrested, were expelled from France. Gueret, against whom no substantial proofs of being an accomplice with Chastel, could be produced, was soon after liberated from prison and banished. This is a striking proof of the justice and rectitude of the parliament. Guinard, in whose possession were found most abominable writings, subversive of every principle of justice and morality,[188] was condemned and executed; in conformity[190] with a proclamation issued some months before by the king, in which it was ordered that all books and writings referring to the past troubles should be burned, under pain of death. Crétineau confesses the fact, but exculpates the man, by saying that these writings were composed in the time of the League in the year 1589. But this assertion is contradicted by the quotation we have given in the note, which shews that some of them at least were composed after Henry’s abjuration, which occurred four years later, in 1593. And again, if they had been written at the time specified, why did he not burn them, in obedience to the king’s commandment?

Great horror was now felt throughout France at these repeated acts of regicide, with an abhorrence of the Jesuits, as the well-known instigators of such nefarious deeds. The parliament, the interpreter here of the public opinion (Henry having gained over to him many of his former opponents by his clemency and generosity), by another arrêt, January 10, 1595, ordered that Chastel’s house should be destroyed, and a pyramid be erected in its stead, to perpetuate the memory of his infamy and that of his associates. In consequence, four inscriptions were engraved on the four faces of this pyramid, in all of which, the name of Chastel was coupled with that of the Jesuits. In the first inscription, the assassin was described as impelled to the commission of the crime “by the pestilential heresy of that new sect (the Jesuits), which, concealing under the garb of piety the most atrocious crimes, had of late taught that it was lawful to kill the king.” In the second was the arrêt of parliament, condemning Chastel and the Jesuits, part of which we have already given. In the third, the senate and the people of Paris congratulate the king on his having exterminated “that pestilential sect” (the Jesuits). And the fourth inscription was, “A house once stood here, which was destroyed for the guilt of one of its inhabitants,[191] who had been instructed in a school of impiety by perverse masters.”[189] In 1605, the Jesuits were again powerful enough in France, to get the pyramid demolished; and in 1606 a fountain was erected in its place.

And this seems to us to be the proper place to lay before our readers the political creed of the Jesuits. Observe, the following extracts are taken from none but their most approved authors, and such as are held in high estimation among their brethren.

Emmanuel Sa. Aphorismi Confessariorum. (Venet. 1595. Coloniæ, 1616. Ed. Coll. Sion).—“The rebellion of an ecclesiastic against the king is not a crime of high treason, because he is not subject to the king.”

“He who tyrannically governs an empire, which he has justly obtained, cannot be deprived of it without a public trial; but when sentence has been passed, every man may become an executor of it; and he may be deposed by the people, even although perpetual obedience were sworn to him, if, after admonition given, he will not be corrected.”

John Bridgewater. Concertatio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ in Anglia adversus Calvino-Papistas. (Augustæ Trevirorum, 1594.)—“If the kings be the first to break their solemn league and oath, and violate the faith which they have pledged to God, the people are not only permitted, but they are required, and their duty demands, that, at the mandate of the Vicar of Christ, who is the sovereign pastor of all the nations of the earth, the fidelity which they previously owed or promised to such princes should not be kept.”

Robert Bellarmine. Disputationes de Controversiis Christianæ Fidei adversus hujus temporis Hæreticos, tom. I. (Ingolstadii, 1596. Parisiis, 1608. Ed.[192] Mus. Brit.)—“The spiritual power, as a spiritual prince, may change kingdoms, and transfer them from one sovereign to another, if it should be necessary for the salvation of souls.”

“Christians may not tolerate an infidel or heretic king, if he endeavours to draw his subjects to his heresy or infidelity. But it is the province of the sovereign Pontiff, to whom the care of religion has been intrusted, to decide whether the king draws them to heresy or not. It is therefore for the Pontiff to determine whether the king is to be deposed or not.”

John Mariana. De Rege et Regis Institutione libri tres. (Moguntiæ, 1605.... 1640. Ed. Mus. Brit.)—“It is necessary to consider attentively what course should be pursued in deposing a prince, lest sin be added to sin, and one crime be punished by the commission of another. This is the shortest and the safest way;—to deliberate, in a public meeting, if it can be held, upon what should be determined by the common consent, and to consider as firmly fixed and established whatever may be resolved by the general opinion. In which case, the following course must be pursued. First of all, the prince must be admonished and brought back to his senses. If he does not amend, begin by refusing to obey him; ... and, if necessary, destroy with the sword that prince who has been declared a public enemy. But you will ask what is to be done if a public meeting cannot be held, which may very frequently happen. In my opinion, a similar judgment must be formed; for when the state is oppressed by the tyranny of any of the princes, and the people are deprived of the power of assembling, the will to abolish the tyranny is not wanting, or to avenge the manifest and intolerable crimes of the prince, and to restrain his mischievous efforts: I shall never consider that man to have done wrong, who, favouring the public wishes, would attempt to kill him!

Gabriel Vasquez. Comment. et Disput. in primam[193] Partem, et primam secundæ Summæ, S. Th. Aquinatis, tom. II. (Ingolstadii, 1615. Antverpiæ, 1621. Ed. Coll. Sion.):—“If all the members of the royal family are heretics, a new election to the throne devolves on the state. For all his (the king’s) successors could be justly deprived of the kingdom by the Pope; because the preservation of the faith, which is of greater importance, requires that it should be so. But if the kingdom were thus polluted, the Pope, as supreme judge in the matters of the faith, might appoint a Catholic king for the good of the whole realm, and might place him over it by force of arms if it were necessary. For, the good of the faith and of religion, requires that the supreme head of the Church should provide a king for the state.”

Busembaum and Lacroix. Theologia Moralis, nunc pluribus partibus aucta à R. P. Claudo Lacroix, Societatis Jesu. (Coloniæ, 1757. Coloniæ Agrippinæ, 1733. Ed. Mus. Brit.);—“A man who has been excommunicated by the Pope may be killed anywhere, as Fillincius, Escobar, and Deaux teach; because the Pope has at least an indirect jurisdiction over the whole world, even in temporal things, as far as may be necessary for the administration of spiritual affairs, as all the Catholics maintain, and as Suarez proves against the King of England.”

Such were the principles and such the acts of the so-called soldiers of Christ, and such the just punishment inflicted on their crimes. We hardly find in history a sect, bearing the Christian name, convicted of so many and such atrocious crimes—so publicly stigmatised and held up to the just hatred of posterity. For if, in moments of feverish exaltation, political or religious fanatics of every denomination have perpetrated iniquitous and barbarous crimes, no other party has subsequently, in calmer times, accepted the responsibility of these crimes, and praised them as virtuous or meritorious actions. But there is no Jesuit, that I[194] know of, who has ever impugned or disclaimed the doctrines I have just pointed out. My English readers ought seriously to meditate upon this fact, and upon those doctrines, to which the Jesuits still firmly adhere. Queen Victoria is in their eyes as much a heretic as Henry of Navarre, and I have no doubt that they wish her to meet with the same fate. I am an advocate for toleration, and abhor the very idea of persecution; but, most assuredly, without persecuting those priests and Jesuits, the most inveterate enemies of the Protestant religion, I would not countenance them, or encourage and support them by grants of public money. Theirs is not a religion of tolerance. They do not look upon other Christians as brethren, holding different forms of belief, or as, at worst, persons who have been misled by ignorance. No! in their view, every one who is not a Roman Catholic is an accursed heretic, condemned already, and, if he die in this condition, doomed to everlasting damnation. They are not content to be received to the rights of citizenship on terms of equality—they aspire to domination. What rights and privileges can they reasonably claim from persons towards whom they cherish such sentiments? Surely those Papists who would maintain their religion by persecution and tyranny, ought to be thankful, if they are suffered to live at peace and unmolested, in a Protestant country.


While the Jesuits in France and in England, where the monarch was adverse to them, not only propounded the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, but taught that every individual had a right to murder the king if he were disliked by the nation or accursed by the Pope—in Poland, Sweden, and Germany, where the population was adverse and the sovereign friendly to them, they inculcated the contrary[195] doctrine, and did not scruple to enforce it by the most cruel and violent proceedings. In France and in England, Henry and Elizabeth had forfeited their thrones by holding the doctrines of the Reformation. In Sweden, the Jesuits compelled the Roman Catholic Sigismond to swear to maintain the Confession of Augsburg, that he might not be driven from his kingdom.[190] But in those countries, the Jesuits, being in close alliance with the civil power, were the cause of more mischief, and greatly injured the cause of truth and religion. The introduction of the Jesuits into the north of Europe was the signal for a powerful reaction against Protestantism; and they not only checked its progress, but, what is more strange, they succeeded in reviving an obsolete doctrine—the temporal supremacy of the Roman Church, which, after having for centuries governed almost the whole of Europe, had fallen into decay, and ought not, according to the ordinary course of human institutions, to exercise any further influence, since it had not undergone any material change or acquired a new prestige. Yet such was the case. Many were the requisites of success possessed by the Jesuits. Admirable unity of purpose—versatility of character—unscrupulous pliability of conscience—the confessional—the pulpit—the conviction that upon their first success depended the duration of their order, and, it must be added, their unexceptionable outward conduct, all rendered[196] them in the highest degree fit for their task. But, above all, it was by the education of the youth, that they wrought such changes in Germany. It was, in fact, for this purpose that they were first introduced into the country. In one of the autograph letters that Ferdinand I. wrote to Loyola, he declares it to be his opinion, that the only means by which the declining tenets of Catholicism could be restored in Germany was, to supply the youth with learned and pious Catholic teachers.[191] The Jesuits entered into the king’s view with amazing activity and energy. They established themselves in Vienna in 1551, and soon after had the management of the university. Their second important establishment was at Cologne; the third, at Ingolstadt; and from these three principal points, they spread all over Germany. We think we cannot do better than transcribe a passage from Ranke on the project:—

“The efforts of the Jesuits were above all directed towards the universities. Their ambition was to rival the fame of those of the Protestants. The education of that day was a learned one merely, and was based exclusively on the study of the ancient languages. This the Jesuits prosecuted with earnest zeal, and in certain of their schools, they had very soon professors who might claim a place with the restorers of classical learning. Nor did they neglect the cultivation of the exact sciences. At Cologne, Franz Koster lectured on astronomy in a manner at once agreeable and instructive. But their principal object was still theological discipline, as will be readily comprehended. The Jesuits lectured with the utmost diligence even during the holidays, reviving the practice of disputations, without which they declared all instruction to be dead. These disputations, which they held in public, were conducted with dignity and decorum, were rich in matter, and altogether the[197] most brilliant that had ever been witnessed. In Ingolstadt, they soon persuaded themselves that their progress in theology was such as would enable the university to compete successfully with any other in Germany. Ingolstadt now acquired an influence among Catholics similar to that possessed among Protestants by Wittemberg and Geneva. They next established schools for the poor—arranged modes of instruction adapted to children—and enforced the practice of catechising. Canisius prepared his catechism, which satisfied the wants of the learners by its well-connected questions and apposite replies.

“This instruction was imparted entirely in the spirit of that fanciful devotion, which had characterised the Jesuits from their earliest establishment. The first rector in Vienna was a Spaniard named Juan Victoria, a man who had signalised his entrance into the Society by walking along the Corso of Rome, during the festivities of the carnival, clothed in sackcloth, and scourging himself as he walked, till the blood streamed from him on all sides. The children educated in the Jesuit schools of Vienna were soon distinguished by their steadfast refusal of such food as was forbidden on fast-days, while their parents ate without scruple. In Cologne it was again become an honour to wear the rosary. Relics were once more held up to public reverence in Treves, where for many years no one had ventured to exhibit them. In the year 1560, the youth of Ingolstadt belonging to the Jesuit school walked two and two on a pilgrimage to Gichstadt, in order to be strengthened for their confirmation ‘by the dew that dropped from the tomb of St Walpurgis.’ The modes of thought and feeling thus implanted in the schools, were propagated by means of preaching and confession through the whole population.”[192]

We add to all this, that their instructions were[198] gratuitous, and that the pupils made such rapid progress, that they were found to have learned more in six months in a Jesuit school, than in two years anywhere else. Many were the Protestants who sent their children to the Jesuit colleges: and these children were kindly received by the masters, treated with great indulgence, and premiums were freely bestowed upon them even in preference to the Roman Catholic children. The Jesuits thus acquired an immense influence, especially over the female part of the population, who were proud of their children’s learning; while these imperceptibly acquired a tinge of their masters’ doctrines and modes of thinking, although in countries where the majority were Protestants, they were expressly forbidden openly to propound them. Yet, notwithstanding all these advantages, the Jesuits could not have hoped for such prodigious success had it not been for the support they received from divers sovereigns of the country. Perhaps we should be more correct in saying, that these sovereigns called in the Jesuits to re-establish the ancient religion.

At the commencement of the Reformation, even those German princes who had not unreservedly embraced the new doctrines were exceedingly glad to shake off the yoke of the Romish See; and, without separating themselves from its communion, they made many concessions to their subjects, which amounted in many places to toleration. Subsequently, however, the Popes made them understand that by these concessions their sovereign authority was greatly diminished, and that temporal princes and the head of the Church were bound by a common interest to support each other. The princes were easily persuaded to a policy which flattered their inclination to despotism, and from that moment they not only resisted every new demand for reform, but, to the utmost of their power, withdrew the concessions they had formerly made. The first who entered upon[199] this reactionary path was Albert V. of Bavaria. Being in continual want of money to pay his enormous debts, the estates would grant him no supplies without obtaining in exchange some concessions, mostly of a religious kind. In this state of things, Pius IV., through the medium of the Jesuits, and especially of Canisius, persuaded him that any new concessions would diminish the obedience of his subjects; and, in order to render him less dependent on the estates, the Pope abandoned to him the tenth of the property of his clergy.[193] The duke perceiving what advantage he might derive from a closer alliance with the Court of Rome, decided at once to resist any further demand, and firmly declared his intentions at the diet of 1563. He found the prelates well disposed to second him; “and, whether it was that the doctrines of a reviving Catholicism, and the activity of the Jesuits, who insinuated themselves everywhere, had gained influence in the cities, or that other considerations prevailed, the cities did not insist as formerly upon religious concessions.”[194] The nobles only kept up an opposition; but the duke, catching the opportunity of a sort of conspiracy which he had discovered, deprived them of their right to seats in the diet, and so became the almost absolute and uncontrolled master of his people’s franchises. Then commenced the reaction. Encouraged by the Jesuits, who had now acquired an unlimited influence over him, Albert resolved not to leave a vestige of those new doctrines which for the last forty years had been spreading so fast in his kingdom. All the professors, all his household, all the civil officers—in a word, all the public functionaries—were compelled to subscribe the Professio Fidei of the Council of Trent, and on their refusal, were immediately dismissed. To obtain a recantation from the common people, he sent through all his provinces swarms of Jesuits, accompanied by bands of troopers, whose[200] bayonets came to the aid of the preachers, when their eloquence was unsuccessful in converting the heretics. The mildest treatment the obstinate Protestants could expect, was to be expelled from the duke’s estates without delay. Prohibited books were sought for in the libraries, and burned in large numbers; those of a rigidly Catholic character, on the contrary, were highly favoured. Relics were again held in great veneration; and, in short, throughout the whole country were revived all the ancient practices, all the absurd superstitions, of the Popish religion. “Above all,” says Ranke, “the Jesuit institutions were promoted; for by their agency it was, that the youth of Bavaria were to be educated in a spirit of strict orthodoxy.”[195]

Duke Albert was now spoken of as the most bigoted Roman Catholic in Germany, and became the protector of all those petty sovereigns who wished to tread in his footsteps.

In Austria, although the reaction had long begun, coercive measures against the Protestants were not resorted to till somewhat later. As we have already said, Ferdinand invited the Jesuits to Vienna, and delivered up to them the university as early as the year 1551. Soon after, he established another Jesuit college at Prague, to which he sent his own pages, and to which resorted all the nobility belonging to the Roman communion. Colleges, and schools of less consequence, were established throughout all the Austrian dominions, and great efforts were made to win back the Protestants to the Romish faith. Yet, under the prudent and conciliating Ferdinand I., and during the reign of the wise Maximilian, the Jesuits could not obtain any severe persecuting measure against the followers of the Reformed religion, but were more successful with Rodolph II. Father Maggio, the Provincial of the Jesuits, was held by the emperor in great estimation, and consulted in[201] every matter of importance. He was continually pressing the monarch to come to the resolution of completely extirpating heresy from his dominions. The Pope’s legate and the Spanish ambassador backed him in his intolerant demand. This bigoted prince at last, under the pretence of a popular tumult, which took place on the occasion of the procession of the Corpus Domini in 1578, banished from his estates Opitz, a Protestant preacher, and all his assistants; and this measure was the signal for a general persecution of the Lutherans. The greatest atrocity and the utmost rigour were displayed in destroying every trace of Protestantism.

In the first place, it was determined to extirpate Protestantism from the imperial cities. The towns east of the Ens, which had separated from the estates of the knights and nobles twenty years before, could offer no resistance; the Reformed clergy were removed, and their places filled by Catholic priests; private persons were subjected to a close examination. A formula, according to which the suspected were interrogated, has come into our possession. ‘Dost thou believe,’ inquires one of its articles, ‘that everything is true which the Church of Rome has laid down as the rule of life and doctrine?’ ‘Dost thou believe,’ adds another, ‘that the Pope is the head of the one Apostolic Church?’ No doubt was to be endured. The Protestants were to be expelled from all offices of state; none were admitted to the class of burghers who did not declare themselves Catholics. In the universities, that of Vienna not excepted, all who applied for a doctor’s degree were first required to subscribe the Professio Fidei. A new regulation for schools was promulgated, which prescribed Catholic formularies, fasts, worship, according to the Catholic ritual, and the exclusive use of the Catechism of Canisius. In Vienna, all Protestant books were taken away from the booksellers’ shops, and were carried in heaps to the Episcopal court.[202] Search was made at the customhouses along the river; all packages were examined, and books or pictures not considered purely Catholic were confiscated.[196]

All throughout Germany the same proceedings were resorted to, and everywhere we find the Jesuits foremost in the reaction. There was no bishop, no prince, who went to visit a province upon religious concerns, who did not bring with him a troop of Jesuits, who, on his departure, were often left there with almost unlimited powers.


If from Germany we pass to Poland, there also we meet the ominous influence of the disciples of Loyola. “The Protestant cause,” says Count Krasinski, in the fourth of his admirable Lectures on Slavonia, “was endangered by the lamentable partiality which Stephen Batory had shewn to the Jesuits; and the Romanist reaction, beginning under his reign, had been chiefly promoted by the schools, which that order was everywhere establishing.” Stephen, however, either too prudent to attack openly the religion then professed, in Lithuania at least, by a great majority of his subjects, or anxious to maintain, to a certain extent, religious liberty, had recourse to no extraordinary measures for the furtherance of this reaction, and contented himself with ordering that in future none but strict Roman Catholics should be appointed to bishoprics. But under the bigoted Sigismond—under that king, who, as the same learned Count says, “gloried in the appellation of the king of the Jesuits, which was given him by their antagonists, and who indeed became a mere tool in the hands of the disciples of Loyola”—the reaction made fearful and continued progress. Although Sigismond could attempt nothing by main force against the liberties of his Protestant subjects, he had it in his[203] power to give, and he at last effectually gave, a mortal blow to the Reformed religion. The chief prerogative of the Polish kings—we should perhaps say, the only real power possessed by these nominal sovereigns—was the right of conferring all dignities and official appointments. Twenty thousand offices were at their disposal; and Sigismond declared that none but strict Roman Catholics should be named to them. The favour of the Jesuits was an essential condition of obtaining a situation under the Government; and “the Starost Ludwig von Montager became Waivode of Pomerellia, because he presented his house in Thorn to the Society of Jesus.”[197] Many of the nobles who had professed the doctrines of the Reformation, were induced to recant, depending exclusively as they did on the king’s favour for the maintenance of their rank, and having no hope for preferment while out of the pale of the Romish Church. The influence of these examples, seconded by the rigorous measures subsequently taken against the Lutherans, and, above all, by the diabolical cunning and artifice of the Jesuits, in a short time brought back the great majority of the Polish nation under the yoke of the Church of Rome.


In Sweden, the efforts of the Jesuits against Protestantism, although no less active and vigorous, were less successful. John III., son of the heroic Gustavus Vasa, on ascending the throne, published a ritual, in which, to the great amazement and dismay of the Protestants, were to be found not only ceremonies, but even doctrines of the Church of Rome.[198] The Pope, apprised of this prince’s good disposition towards his[204] Church, despatched to Stockholm in all haste and secrecy, as his legate, the famous Possevin, one of the cleverest and least scrupulous among the Jesuits. To obviate the difficulty of obtaining admission into the country and court of Sweden as Pope’s legate, Possevin, in passing through Prague, induced the widow of the emperor Maximilian to send him to Stockholm as her extraordinary ambassador. He assumed, in consequence, another name, a splendid costume, and girded himself with a sword, but, “to do penance in advance for these transient honours, he went the greatest part of the way on foot.”[199] Acting publicly as the envoy of the empress, he found means secretly to inform the king of his real name and mission, and had several conferences with him. The result was, that John was persuaded to make the Professio Fidei, according to the formula of the Council of Trent, promising at the same time to take measures, and to use all his endeavours, to induce the nation to follow in the same path, provided the Pope would second him by making certain concessions, the most essential of which were, that the sacramental cup should be administered to the laity, and mass performed in the language of the country. Possevin said that the Pope should be apprised of his majesty’s will, and asked him whether he would submit to his decision in this matter. John having answered in the affirmative, was absolved of his sins, and received the sacrament according to the Roman Catholic ritual.[200]

The Jesuit departed in high glee at his success, far surpassing his most sanguine hopes. He hastened to[205] Rome, and assuming a privilege in use among ambassadors, he boasted of having achieved more than he had really done, assuring Gregory XIII. that Sweden and its king were at his Holiness’s mercy. He then laid before the Pope the conditions on which John had insisted, but Gregory, either too intolerant to make any concession, or considering it unnecessary to grant honourable terms to an enemy who threw himself at his feet, refused to listen to such proposals, and sent back the Jesuit to Stockholm, with letters to the king, in which he required the monarch to declare himself a Catholic without restriction.

This imperious conduct saved Sweden from falling back under the Popish rule. John, indignant at being held in so light account—indignant at the assurance of Possevin, who unceremoniously entered Stockholm and the court in the garb of his order as the Pope’s legate, and accompanied by other Jesuits, as if Sweden had already become a Roman Catholic country—moved by the remonstrances of the Protestant princes and divines, who, in the interval of Possevin’s departure and return, had entreated him to remain in their communion—dismissed the Pope’s ambassador, and returned to the Reformed worship.

The attempts of the Jesuits to convert Sweden to the Roman faith were revived with new vigour under John’s successor, Sigismond, the Polish king. Fortunately, Charles of Sandermania, the king’s uncle, headed the nation in its resistance to Sigismond’s Popish propensities; and although the Jesuits had the sad glory of plunging Poland and Sweden into a bloody war, the last-mentioned country remained Protestant.


The Jesuits experienced some difficulty in entering Switzerland, and in some parts of it they could not[206] get footing; but towards the year 1574, they established themselves in Friburg and Lucerne. They succeeded in keeping back these two towns from the Alliance of Berne, and scattered the flames of that religious discord between these cantons which was not extinguished even by the blood that was shed at the instigation of the Jesuits in 1845-47. The famous Canisius was the principal promoter and founder of the College of Friburg, the resort, till lately, of a great number of young men of the highest families, sent thither for education from divers parts of Europe.

The cruelties exercised by Possevin against the inhabitants of the Alps were most barbarous and revolting. Many Christians, driven out of other countries by Popish persecution, had sought a refuge in these almost inaccessible mountains, where the Waldenses still preserved the religion of Christ in its primitive purity. They had hoped, in the simplicity of their hearts, that there, far from the scene of conflict, they would be permitted to worship God according to their consciences. They were not dangerous persons—they were no chiefs of sects eager to make proselytes—they were single-hearted people, seeking to please God by living a pure and Christian life. It might have been expected that their poverty, their innocence, their peaceful conduct, would have sheltered them from any persecution; and, in fact, for a time they lived unmolested. Unhappily for them, the Jesuits were watching them, and, urged on by that persecuting spirit which led them to seek for victims everywhere, were resolved to trouble them in their retreat, and, if possible, to destroy them. Lainez, in 1560, despatched Possevin to Nice, to Emmanuel Philebert, Duke of Savoy, to excite him to persecute those heretic mountaineers. The Jesuit represented to the Duke that a Catholic prince ought not, even though his own personal interest required it, to tolerate that the heresy should establish itself in his dominions, and that the[207] mountains of Piedmont and the Alps, in particular, served for a retreat to the sectaries of Luther and Calvin.[201] Possevin succeeded in bringing the duke into his abominable views. Ferrier, the governor of Pignerol, commenced a chase against these inoffensive people, who were hunted from one retreat to another, and when taken, were mercilessly and inhumanly consigned to the flames. Driven to despair they took up arms, resolved hereafter to sell their lives at the dearest price. A body of troops was sent against them. The General, the Sieur de la Trinité, placed them at the disposal of Possevin, and the Pope’s nuncio conferred upon him the powers with which he pretended to be invested.[202] The Jesuit, forgetful of his sacerdotal calling, repressing every feeling of humanity, put himself at the head of a chosen body of troops, and hunted down these poor Christians as if they were wild beasts, putting every one who fell into his hands to the sword. Then, when he was tired of the work of slaughter, to procure for himself a sort of triumph, he brought to Vercelli, in solemn procession, thirty-four of those unfortunates, who, not having faith or strength enough to prefer martyrdom to apostasy, publicly abjured their religion in the presence of the duke and the Jesuit.[203] From that day till very lately, the house of Savoy has more or less persecuted the Waldenses.

Our Protestant readers, we presume, have by this time learned what malignant and unrelenting enemies of their religion the Jesuits have always been. They must have learned that all the north of Europe, and France itself, perhaps, would have become Protestant countries, had it not been for the demoniacal arts and ill-employed activity of the disciples of Loyola. They[208] must, further, be aware that the Jesuits did not obtain those results by honest means only, by force of argument, or by active and earnest exertions, which would have at least entitled them to the approbation and esteem of all Roman Catholics, but they had recourse to perjury, to murder, to persecution, to cruelties of every kind—to means, in short, involving the perversion of every principle of morality, for which they at last came to be abhorred by every honest person, even of their own persuasion. Lastly, it clearly appears, from what we have related, that, while pretending to fight for the Roman See, the Jesuits, in reality, fought for their own aggrandisement; that they recognise no religion, but their interest; worship no God, but their order. We must, finally, remind our readers that we have omitted numberless other charges which are generally brought against them, which we consider well founded, but which we cannot satisfactorily prove. All that we have advanced we have proved, according to our promise, by documents of unquestionable authenticity, and we shall continue to observe this rule to the conclusion of our history.



In relating the proceedings of the Jesuits in divers countries of Europe, we have not mentioned Spain; first, because, though firmly established in that country, they, under the absolute Philip II., exercised no influence whatever over its general policy; and, secondly, because we had it in reserve to speak of their proceedings in that country in the present chapter.

In Spain the Jesuits had no heretics to contend with—no zeal or fanaticism to excite. If now and then some Christianised Jew or Moor relapsed into his former belief, the Inquisition was too jealous of her privilege of roasting those accursed of God, in a solemn auto da fè, to permit the Jesuits to meddle in the holy ceremony. Having thus no external enemy to contend with, they, as usually happens, fell out among themselves, and fought with one another.

The so-called Society of Jesus having been mostly established by Spaniards, the Spanish Jesuits pretended that all the honours and dignities of the order were exclusively due to them. A first blow was dealt to these pretensions when, by the interference of the Pope, a General was chosen who was not a Castilian. However, since Mercurianus, the person elected, was old and weak, they submitted without much reluctance to an authority they did not dread. But when the[210] fifth General Congregation chose for General a Neapolitan nobleman, young, active, and enterprising, they broke out into open revolt. This General, elected in 1581, was Claude Acquaviva, son of the Duke of Atri, only thirty-seven years of age at the time of his election. Acquaviva was, and has remained, the beau idéal of Jesuitism. He had grown up in the Court of Rome, where he was chamberlain, and where he acquired a thorough knowledge of men, and of all political intrigues, in which the Roman curia at that epoch excelled all the other courts of Europe. He was crafty, insinuating, persevering. He never uttered a precise command, but never suffered his exhortations to be disregarded. Gentle in appearance, and renowned for the amenity of his manners, he was endowed with an inflexible intrepidity of character. He spoke rarely, never gave a decided opinion, and preserved in all circumstances a placid and calm demeanour. His family had been from of old attached to the French party, and he followed the same line of policy. As we have seen, he disapproved of the League, and gave other tokens of his attachment to the French interest, without, however, openly committing himself with the other party. Such was Acquaviva.

Claude Aquaviva.


At the news of Acquaviva’s election, the old Jesuits of Spain, incensed in the highest degree, broke out in loud complaints first, refused afterwards obedience to his orders, lastly rebelled openly, and asked that the members residing in Spain should be governed by a commissary-general independent of Rome. Philip, to cast a reproach upon Acquaviva, whom he detested on account of his partiality to the French king, sided with the malcontents. The General faced the storm in the best manner he could. First of all, he contrived, by promises of advancement and honours, to retain in his interest some of the less compromised among the rioters; secondly, he sent into the Peninsula new provincials and superiors, the most of whom were Neapolitans,[211] young (a class of Jesuits who worshipped him), and firmly attached to his fortunes, with strict injunctions to enforce obedience to his orders. Some of the Jesuits, in the hope of making their way to preferment, submitted; the most refused obedience, and had recourse to the Inquisition and the king. Philip ordered the Bishop of Carthagena to subject the order to a visitation, and the Inquisition arrested the provincial Marcenius, and two or three more members of Acquaviva’s party; the latter being accused by the other party of absolving the members of their order from certain sins from which the Inquisition only could absolve; and those sins, Sacchini tells us, consisted in the attempt to corrupt the honesty of their penitents. This was rather a serious matter, and menaced the Society in its very existence. Nevertheless, Acquaviva was not appalled. He did not lose his self-command, nor vent his anger in threats. Against such enemies he had but one shield—the Pope. Sixtus V. filled the chair of St Peter; he bore no goodwill to the order, but he was jealous to an extreme degree of his own authority, and wished that that of others also should be respected. Acquaviva persuaded Sixtus, or, to speak more correctly, insinuated to him, that the blow was aimed not so much at him, the General, as at the supremacy of Rome; at the same time skilfully making him understand, that the Bishop of Carthagena was of illegitimate birth, a blemish which he knew the Pope abhorred above all things. Sixtus at once recalled the assent which he had given to the visitation, and commanded the Inquisition to set at liberty the arrested Jesuits, and to remit the whole case to Rome. When he was informed that the holy tribunal refused to obey his orders, Sixtus became furious with anger, and directed a letter to be written to Cardinal Quiroga, the Grand Inquisitor, to which he added, in his own handwriting, “And if you do not obey, I, the Pope, shall immediately depose you from your office of inquisitor, and[212] tear from your head your cardinal’s hat.” This decided language produced the desired effect. Sixtus’s orders were obeyed, and Acquaviva, under the shadow of the Pope’s authority, maintained himself unshaken in his high office during Sixtus’s lifetime.

But the storm, which had been but momentarily quelled, broke out again after the death of Sixtus, with increased violence. In 1592, while the General was absent from Rome, Philip, who never forgave to Acquaviva his partiality for the French interest, sent the Pope a petition from all the Spanish Jesuits, praying for a general congregation of the order; he himself, at the same time, strongly recommending the measure. Clement VIII., the reigning Pope, granted their request, and before even the General could be aware of his enemies’ manœuvres, the Pope issued orders for the meeting of the congregation. Acquaviva, satisfied that the measure was now irrevocable, submitted to it with the greatest possible good grace, and having used his utmost endeavours that the election should not prove too unfavourable to him, the moment the congregation opened, he, without waiting to be accused, requested that his conduct should be examined and judged. A commission was immediately appointed to receive any accusation or complaint that might be brought against the General. But Acquaviva was far too prudent to have violated any essential rule, or to have given his enemies the right of consistently impeaching his private conduct; so that, as no charge could be substantiated against him, he was triumphantly acquitted. Philip, however, insisted that some restraint should be put upon the General’s authority, and, although the congregation refused to comply with the king’s wishes, the Pope, in the plenitude of his apostolic power, ordained that the superiors and rectors should be changed every third year, and that, at the expiration of every sixth year, a general congregation should be assembled. Acquaviva shewed a[213] great readiness to acquiesce in the Pope’s decrees, but he rendered them almost nugatory by other ordinances; and as a new generation of Jesuits, all devoted to his interests, was now grown up, all questions taken up both by the provincial and general congregations, were decided in accordance with his wishes. By his letter on the happy increase of the Society, Acquaviva prescribed new rules to render the superiors more respected by their subordinates, and more submissive to the General. A second letter, ratio studiorum, which contains a complete code of school legislation, was of still greater importance, and productive of more momentous results. As the education of the young has been one of the principal and immediate causes of the Jesuits’ immense power and influence, we feel obliged to devote some few pages to this important matter.

Had the Jesuits devoted themselves to the work of education for the sole and noble end of diffusing knowledge and intellectual culture among the people, no praise would be adequate to their meritorious exertions and unremitting activity. Such, however, was not exactly the case. The Order—that idol which the Jesuit must have constantly before his eyes—was in this, as in every other undertaking, the great object to which their labours were consecrated; and for its honour and advantage they did not hesitate to sacrifice, when necessary, every other consideration. Nevertheless, in a literary point of view, we shall not refuse to them some eulogy.

“The instruction of boys and of ignorant people in Christianity” was one of the ends which they proposed to attain, and for which Loyola asked Paul III. to approve his order. The example of John III. of Portugal, and of the Duke of Candia, who first erected colleges for the fathers, was eagerly imitated by many. Their colleges increased rapidly, and were soon planted all over the world, so that there were no[214] less than 669 of them at the epoch of the suppression of the order. We have already seen (pp. 40, 41) by what allurements wealthy persons were induced by the Jesuits to leave their property to Jesuit establishments. These were of two kinds, seminaries and colleges, the members of the latter being subdivided into gymnasium and faculty-students. In connexion with each college there was a boarding-house, whither parents were happy to send their children as under a safe shelter from the storms of passion, and from the dangerous society of depraved companions. In their seminaries were trained up the Scholars—those members of the order who were thought to be possessed of such talents as to qualify them to fulfil afterwards the office of professor. But the most numerous class, and perhaps the most useful for their purpose, was the class of day scholars. It is well known that all persons, of whatsoever rank, are admitted into the Jesuit schools, and receive the same instructions. At school hours the prince’s son, who is brought up in their boarding-houses, descends and takes his seat on the same bench with the son of a cobbler. And this we consider an admirable and most instructive plan. The only obligation imposed on the day scholars is, that they must give in their names, and promise to observe the rules of the college, which are everywhere uniform, and which oblige the pupil to hear mass every day, and to go to the confessional once every month. In former times, the Jesuits undertook a still more watchful oversight of this class. They visited them at unwonted hours in their abodes, they had them followed in their different movements, and if they were found guilty of any misdemeanour they were reprimanded, and their faults were made an obstacle to their advancement to academical honours. It is, however, worthy of remark, that Loyola, the clear-sighted Loyola, foreseeing that the obligation to follow the rules of the college would deter Protestants from sending their children to it,[215] and wishing above all things to get hold of those children and to try what the Jesuits could do to convert them, had taken care to leave an opening for their admission. To the third paragraph of the thirteenth chapter of the fourth part of the Constitution, in which is enacted that the day scholars shall engage to observe the rules of the college, he added the following note:—“If any of those who present themselves to our schools will neither engage to observe the rules nor give in his name, he ought not for that reason to be prevented from attending the classes, provided he conduct himself with propriety, and do not cause either trouble or scandal. Let them be made aware of this; adding, however, that they shall not receive the peculiar care which is given to those whose names are inscribed in the register of the university or of the class, and who engage to follow its rules.”[204] This is a characteristic specimen of Jesuitical policy. By absolutely refusing to admit the children of Protestants, they would obtain no result; but by admitting them on such terms, they obtain an opportunity of influencing their youthful minds, and bending them to their purpose indirectly. On the one hand, such pupils cannot but imbibe, in the ordinary course of instruction, the principles and spirit of their masters; and on the other, their pride is mortified at never being considered or mentioned at those public exhibitions which form so important a part of the Jesuit system of education. This artful policy is too frequently successful. Oftentimes the parents, jealous of their children’s renown, and anxious to see them surrounded by those affectionate and friendly cares which the Jesuits unsparingly bestow upon the regular pupils, are induced to consent that they shall follow the rules of the college, and go to mass and to the confessional, and even change their own faith, the better to secure for them these desired advantages: and if it should[216] chance that the mother alone is left as guardian, it commonly happens that both mother and son become Roman Catholics.

In the Jesuit schools the greatest order reigned. The Jesuit masters were men of polite and agreeable manners, in general of a comely appearance, with a cheerful and smiling countenance. They descended with a winning affability to the level of their pupils, and accommodated their language and manners to the capacities and dispositions of the class of persons they had to deal with. The parents, who were highly pleased with the polished manners and the high attainments of their children, sounded forth the praises of their kind instructors far and wide, and repaid their gratuitous instructions sometimes by large donations, always by a deference and devotion never withdrawn. It is an incontestable fact, that even Protestants and philosophers, who had been educated in these seminaries, and who afterwards became the most hostile to the Jesuits as a religious community, continued to preserve a grateful recollection of their Jesuit teachers. Voltaire himself dedicated his tragedy Merope to his dear master Father Porée; and the different princes who were brought up by the Jesuits never lost, when on the throne, that affection and veneration which they had conceived for their kind instructors at an age when generous minds are most susceptible of noble and generous impressions.

Nor was this all. Another strong link, that of religion, was added to the chain of sympathy by which they bound their pupils to the order, and insured for themselves in the different nations of Europe an all-powerful and irresistible influence. In 1569 the Jesuit Leon, a teacher, thought of assembling during the interval of studies such of the boys as were willing to sing the praises of the Virgin, and perform certain external acts of devotion, contributing at the same time, monthly, small sums of money, part of which was employed in works of charity, the merit of the action[217] being always attributed, not to the donors, but to the Jesuits. These meetings took the form of associations, and increased so rapidly, that fifteen years after, in 1584, Gregory XIII. erected them into primary congregations, under the title of Congregations of the Holy Virgin. “These congregations, of which the General of the order was the supreme director, soon broke out from the walls of the colleges with those young men who left them to embrace a career, and who wished to remain in a communion of prayers and remembrances with their masters and their fellow-scholars. They became a link of connexion and friendship; they spread in Europe and in India; they united in the same association the east and the west, the populations of the north and of the south. They had statutes, rules, prayers, and duties in common. It was a numerous brotherhood, extending from Paris to Goa, and descending from Rome to the most insignificant hamlet. The congregations of Avignon, of Antwerp, of Prague, of Friburg, were the most celebrated. There were congregations composed of ecclesiastics, of military men, of magistrates, of nobles, of burgesses, of merchants, of artisans, of servants, all occupied in good and meritorious works.”[205] With the exception of this last clause, this description is perfectly true. A Jesuit was at the head of every congregation. At appointed times the members met together to repeat the office of the Virgin, and to listen to whatever exhortation or advice the Jesuit might think proper to give. His influence was greater or less, according to the quality of persons composing the congregation. Over the poor and the ignorant he had an almost absolute control, and whatever he enjoined, they unscrupulously obeyed. If he exercised no such absolute control over members of the higher classes, he still possessed a great influence over them, and had free access to their families, where he more leisurely[218] practised those arts by which the Jesuit very seldom fails to attain his ends. One is amazed when he considers what immense power these congregations must have given the General of the society. His orders, his curses or commendations of a book, of a man, or of a measure, were repeated in the same tone throughout all the world by tens of thousands, who considered it a sin to disbelieve his word, or to disobey his commands. No wonder, then, that the Court of Rome itself was obliged to submit to the ascendancy of the Jesuits, and that the suppression of the order was with difficulty effected by the united efforts of almost all the sovereigns of Europe.

After the order was suppressed, and during the political turmoil and the unsettled state of Europe, the congregations, although kept up secretly by some disguised Liguorist or Jesuit, were thinly attended, and had lost all their importance. But after the restoration of the Pope and of the Bourbons, missionaries of all kinds overran the whole of Italy, Spain, and part of France, and, among other religious exploits, re-established the congregations of the Virgin. Congregations both of men and women are now very numerous, although they perhaps want that unity of purpose and of direction, which in former times rendered them so dangerously powerful. Their denominations are numberless; congregations of the Rosary, congregations of the Assumption of the Virgin, congregations of the Blood of Jesus (del Sangue di Gesù). In those places where there are no Jesuits, they are directed by proxy, some other religious community, as the Liguorist, the Lazarist, the Passionist, or such like idle and corrupted crew, being appointed to that duty. In church affairs, the members of these congregations have, so to speak, privileges above the rest of the citizens. They go foremost in the processions and other exhibitions; they wear a distinctive badge; they are entitled to a greater number of days of indulgence, and so on. Besides[219] these things, which satisfy the devotional feeling, and flatter the vanity, especially that of the common people in small towns, each individual member may count upon receiving the protection and indirect assistance of the father director.

The boarders in the Jesuit college are subjected to almost the same mode of life as that of the Scholars (the second class of Jesuits), which, however, is not strictly conformable to that of the other classes; Loyola having given them a dispensation from some external practices, acts of devotion and of mortification, that they may have more time for study.[206] The boarders are placed in large rooms, called in Italian Camerate, in French Chambres, each of which accommodates from fifteen to twenty, who are under the superintendence of a Prefetto and Vice-prefetto. At six in the morning a bell gives the signal for rising. The prefect immediately chants some prayers, which are repeated by some of the youths who are less asleep than the rest. Half an hour is allowed for dressing; an hour is spent in the chapel, hearing mass, and singing the praises of the Virgin and St Ignatius. Study follows, and after breakfast, for which half an hour is allowed, they descend to the public schoolroom, where they mix with the day-boarders, with whom, however, they have no opportunities of secret converse. Two pupils, and every day different ones, are secretly charged by the prefect to give an account of the behaviour of all the others, and they are punished if they are not accurate in their denunciations. At twelve they sit down to dinner, during which ascetic books are read from a pulpit placed in the refectory. After the evening school, they walk for an hour in winter, two in summer, and almost double that time on holidays. Before supper, half an hour is again spent in the chapel; and what remains of the evening after supper is spent in study and recreation. At nine o’clock, being warned[220] by the ringing of the bell, they prepare for rest, accompanying the prefect in chanting the Litany of the Virgin. No one is allowed to go from one camerata to another, without the express permission of the prefect or vice-prefect, one of whom must accompany him. No one, not even a parent, is allowed to visit a boarder without the consent of the superior, who is almost always present at the interview. No letter can be sent off or received by any boarder but it must pass through the hands of the rector, who stops it if he thinks proper. The boarders never go home except during the holidays in September, and some remain in the college even during that period. The consequence is, that the influence of the family is gradually destroyed, and the Jesuits mould these youthful hearts and intellects according to their own Jesuitical pattern. Every fortnight all the boarders must go to the confessional, and severe punishment is inflicted on those who transgress this principal rule of the college. But no one ever dares to brave the punishment, though many do not scruple to evade the duty by practising a little ruse.[207]


In all the Jesuit colleges, as we have already observed, reigns the greatest decency, and a sort of military order and discipline, which is highly pleasing to the young. “Their colleges were open for all the graceful arts. Even dancing and fencing were not excluded. The annual distribution of prizes was preceded not only by tragedies full of political allusions, but also by ballets composed by the reverend fathers, and executed by the most agile of their pupils.”[208]

No pains were spared by the Jesuits to advance their pupils in their studies. But as the end which they taught them to have in view was not the truth—as it was not their purpose to inspire their young minds with those noble and generous sentiments which form great citizens, but only to instruct them in their peculiar doctrines, and render them subservient to their order, the whole course of instruction was directed to the attainment of these ends, and the progress of their pupils was more brilliant than solid—partook more of a theatrical character than of a serious method of learning that would have developed the power of reason and reflection. In the speculative sciences especially, their instruction was most defective. The student was by no means taught to penetrate the superficial crust of prejudices and appearances on which the mass of mankind build their opinions, and[222] to descend into the deeper essence of philosophy; but his attention was chiefly directed to the art of disputing in pitiable syllogism upon some of their established principles. The most fantastical, and, at the same time, attractive questions, were proposed for public disputation; and to that incessant fencing of nego, concedo, distinguo, &c., the apprentice philosopher was taught to give all his attention, and, in the display of ability in this exercise, to place all his glory. The Jesuits, so celebrated as casuists, cannot boast of any great philosopher. If some of their pupils acquired a great name in science or in literature, they owed it to their own creative power, which broke out from that sort of magic circle which had been described around them. They became great, not because they had had good masters, but, on the contrary, because they had followed no other master than their own inventive genius. And this is always the case—the Dantes, the Bacons, the Shakspeares, had no masters. The Jesuits cultivated, with more success, archæology, numismatics, and the study of languages. They have especially rendered important services to the study of the classics, which they strongly recommended as the most effectual requisite of a good education. But even to their labours in this department of learning we cannot render unqualified praise.

Literature forms the principal part of the education of a people. Greece and Rome owe their civilisation and grandeur to their poets and orators more than to anything else. With the Eschyluses, the Demostheneses, the Horaces, and the Ciceros, disappeared the glory, the liberty, the civilisation, of the two nations. And if now and then some privileged intelligences, such as Tacitus and Plutarch, appeared on the scene, they could not give a tone to the age, both because they stood alone, and because they were the reflection, not of their own, but of bygone times, and that all the elements of the expiring civilisation were[223] concentrated, we may say, in themselves alone. For it is not to the excellence of the form that literature is indebted for its power; it is rather to its being a vivid representation of the thoughts and feelings, the opinions and sentiments, the hopes and fears, which constitute the life of a nation, and which the writers powerfully exhibit because they themselves are powerfully moved by them. It was by their possessing this excellence in the highest degree that the classical writers of antiquity contributed to form the character of their countrymen; and it is this which forms the chief attraction of their works to the modern student, and which renders them so efficient an instrument for developing the powers of the youthful mind. Now, how can a Jesuit, who has no country, no family, no affection, no history, nothing in which to glory but his order—how can such a man impart to young minds those noble sentiments, those inspirations, which form the essential part of classical literature? “How,” exclaims our Gioberti,[209] “how shall the youth love and admire the heroes of Plutarch if they are made known to him by a Jesuit?[210] because,” most judiciously adds the Italian philosopher, “even if the pupils can repeat the half of Demosthenes or of Cicero, the lesson cannot produce any good effect on their tender minds, if it is not assisted by the voice, by the manners, by the examples, of the interpreter; so that the soul and the life of the master ought to be a mirror and image of that ideal[224] world into which he introduces the pupil.” In fact, the Jesuits gave all their attention merely to the external form of their compositions. Purity of language, elegance of style, correctness of expression, are, generally speaking, the distinctive characteristics of the writings of the Jesuits and their pupils. But their writings are devoid of invention, of bold and luxuriant images, of earnest and passionate expressions, and the care they take to publish their style renders them affected and often ridiculous. No doubt there are honourable exceptions; and Bartoli, for example, Segneri, and Bourdaloue, may be classed among the first Italian and French writers. The Jesuits exercised rather the memory than the intelligence of the pupil, who not seldom was able to recite volumes of which he hardly understood a word. Their greatest merit consisted in rendering study pleasing; and many of their pupils owe their fame and greatness, not to the information, but to the love of learning, they had acquired in their schools.

The Ratio Studiorum regulated with great precision the method of instruction in its most minute details, and has ever since been the code followed by the Jesuits to our day.

Meanwhile a great change had taken place in the general policy of the Society. Through Acquaviva’s influence, the order, at least as represented by its officials in Rome, and by the young generation of Jesuits who were devoted to the General, had passed from the Spanish into the French camp; and ever after, the Jesuits were in a great measure opposed by the Spanish and supported by the French court. Let us see how it happened.

The Jesuits had only partially obeyed the arrêt of the Parliament of Paris which expelled them from France. They resided publicly in many provinces: secretly and in disguise everywhere. Following the suggestions of their General, they had[225] changed their language and their conduct, and, from being furious Leaguers, were become zealous partisans of Henry IV. “Cardinal Tolet has done wonders, and has shewn himself a good Frenchman,” wrote the French ambassador, Cardinal du Perron, to the minister Villeroy.[211] In fact, he, more than any other person, had contributed to obtain Henry’s absolution. Acquaviva refused to accept, without Henry’s consent, two new colleges which were offered to the order by some town of Languedoc, where the Jesuits had been maintained by the local parliament. He, the General, and the Pope, the king’s best friends, as they called themselves, pressed him hard to restore the Jesuits, who, on their part, promised him the same obedience, the same devotion, they had till then shewn to the King of Spain. Above all, they offered to uphold his royal authority in all its extent, which was then impugned by the Huguenots. Henry was in a very perplexing position. He stood in need of the Pope’s support against the rival house of Austria. He felt the necessity of shewing himself a zealous Catholic, and he wished to secure, if possible, the support of such men as the Jesuits. On the other hand, he knew what dangerous and perfidious guests they were; and the parliament, the greatest part of the clergy, and all his ministers, were adverse to the Society. Sully, the great minister and faithful friend of Henry, has handed down to us the sentiments of his royal master on this subject. “I do not doubt,” said the prince to Sully, “that you can easily combat this first reason, but I do not think that you will even attempt to refute the second, namely, that by necessity I am compelled to do one of these two things—either simply to recall the Jesuits, free them from the infamy and disgrace with which they are covered, and put to the test the sincerity of their oaths and of their splendid promises; or to expel them in a more absolute[226] manner, using against them all the rigour and severity that can be thought of to prevent them from ever approaching either my person or my estates; on which supposition there is no doubt but that we shall drive them to despair, and to the resolution of attempting my life, which would render it so miserable to me, being always under the apprehension of being poisoned or murdered (for those people have correspondents everywhere, and are very dexterous in disposing the minds of men to whatever they wish), that I think it would be better to be already dead, being of Cæsar’s opinion, that the sweetest death is that which is least expected and foreseen.”[212] In conformity with this opinion, Henry, in 1603, issued letters-patent for the re-establishment of the Jesuits, and forced the reluctant parliament to register them. To Acquaviva he wrote a warm letter, assuring him of his friendship, and expressing to the then convened congregation his wishes that the original Constitutions should not be altered, and this letter in great part checked the influence of the Spanish party, who asked for a reform, and were supported by the Spanish court.[213]

In the affair of Venice, the two courts shewed the same dispositions. It does not enter into the plan of this work to narrate the particulars of this famous contest, except in so far as the Jesuits were concerned in it, and it belongs to their history; and this we proceed to do as shortly as possible.

Long had the difference lasted between the Roman See and the Venetian government, the first asserting many privileges of the Church over state affairs, the latter denying them. The Jesuits upheld the exorbitant pretensions of Rome with the utmost pertinacity. Now, it happened, while both parties were exasperated against each other, two priests, accused of infamous crimes, were, by order of the Venetian government, arrested, and delivered up to the ordinary tribunals.[227] The Pope was highly incensed at this proceeding, and contended that the republic had no right to arrest any ecclesiastic, who was subject to none but ecclesiastical authority. The Jesuits were the most zealous of the clergy in maintaining this principle. The famous Bellarmine asserted, that “the priesthood has its princes who govern, not only in spiritual, but also in temporal matters. It could not possibly acknowledge any particular temporal superior. No man can serve two masters. It is for the priest to judge the emperor, not the emperor the priest. It would be absurd for the sheep to pretend to judge the shepherd.”[214] The republic, on the other hand, asserted her sovereign rights. Paul V. was in the Papal chair, a man who considered the canonical law as the word of God, and was ready to excommunicate whosoever dared to disregard its authority. He laid Venice under an interdict, which, as most of our readers are aware, would have shut up all the churches, and prevented the performance of all religious services within its bounds. The government, however, that the public tranquillity might not be disturbed, summoned before them all the clergy, both regular and secular, and offered them the alternative, either to officiate, as in ordinary times, or to leave the territory of the republic immediately. They did not hesitate for an instant; not a single copy of the Papal brief was fixed up, and public worship was everywhere conducted as before. The Jesuits, however, in obedience to the Pope’s command, transmitted by their General, departed from the Venetian States, ostentatiously carrying with them the consecrated host, as if they would shew, says Gioberti, that God went into exile along with them. When the dispute between Rome and the republic was afterwards settled, the senate refused, though requested, to re-admit the Jesuits. In vain the Pope, and above all, Henry IV., who sent the Cardinal Joyeuse to Venice on purpose, used all their[228] influence to procure the re-establishment of the fathers. The republic, encouraged in her resolution by the court of Spain, would in no way yield on this point, and it was only in 1657 that, in exchange for pecuniary advantages and the support of the Pope in the war of Candia, the Jesuits were allowed, under many restrictions, to re-enter the Venetian states.[215]

By this time Acquaviva had established his authority more firmly than ever. The congregations had supported him; the revolt had been quelled; the rioters punished; and peace for the moment restored to the Society. “Acquaviva, so to speak, had gone through the iron age of the company—his successor was destined to govern in the golden age.... All, during a century, bestowed smiles upon the Company of Jesus. She became the favourite of the Popes and the kings—the confidant of their ministers—the director of the public spirit. All took inspiration from her—all returned to her as to its source.”[216] But, notwithstanding this flattering and in part true picture, the order had received a shock, the effect of which was soon to be made manifest. To govern the revolted province of Spain, Acquaviva, violating the fundamental law of the order, had appointed professed members as administrators of colleges, while, to meet the necessity of the moment, coadjutors fulfilled the duties assigned by the Constitution to the professed. This ultimately proved the ruin of the order. Besides this, Mariana[217] and Henriquez, two influential Spanish Jesuits, out of hatred to Acquaviva, had pointed out many abuses which had crept into the community, and bitterly inveighed[229] against the tyranny of the General and a few of the higher functionaries. This had an immediate result most injurious to the order. Under the successors of Acquaviva, these seeds of revolt and disobedience spread so fast, that when, towards the year 1560, the General, Goswin Nickel, attempted to enforce obedience to the primitive rules, he was solemnly deprived by his disciples of all authority.



Let not our readers imagine that we shall enter into a profound theological discussion about the doctrines of the Jesuits. The thing has been repeatedly done, and we confess ourselves too deficient scholars in divinity, to throw any new light upon it. We shall briefly touch the theological question, and shall rather enlarge on those principles and maxims by which the Jesuits perverted the morals of their votaries, the better to domineer over them.

Acquaviva, in the Ratio Studiorum, had introduced a clause which threw the Roman Catholic world into confusion and alarm. Lainez, as we have observed, had already inserted a note in the Constitution regarding the study of scholastic learning, to this effect, that, “if any book of theology could be found more adapted to the times, it should be taught.” Acquaviva went a step further, and declared, “that St Thomas was indeed an author deserving of the highest approbation, but that it would be an insufferable yoke to be compelled to follow his footsteps in all things, and on no point to be allowed a free opinion; that many important doctrines had been more firmly established and better elucidated by recent theologians than by the holy doctor himself.”[218] This declaration produced a great commotion in the Roman Catholic world, and[231] the Inquisition declared that the “Ratio Studiorum was the most dangerous, rash, and arrogant book that had ever appeared, and calculated to produce many disturbances in the Christian commonwealth.”[219] But a greater scandal and more violent tempest was awakened by Molina, who in 1588 published at Evora a work on grace and free-will,[220] which inculcated a doctrine quite at variance with that taught by St Thomas and received by the Church. He maintained that free-will, even without the help of grace, can produce morally good works, that it can resist temptation, and can elevate itself to various acts of hope, faith, love, and repentance. When a man has advanced thus far, God then bestows grace upon him on account of Christ’s merits, by means of which grace he experiences the supernatural effects of sanctification; yet, as before this grace had been received, in like manner, free-will is continually in action; and as everything depends on it, it rests with us to make the help of God effectual or ineffectual. Molina, in consequence, rejected the doctrine of Thomas and Augustine on predestination, and refused to admit it, as too stern and cruel. This is the substance of Molina’s doctrine.[221]

The Dominicans, a great part of the theologians, and some of the Jesuits, loudly exclaimed against it, and the Inquisition was on the point of condemning it, when, by the influence of Acquaviva, who sided with Molina, the affair was called up to Rome. Sixty-five meetings and thirty-seven disputations were held in presence of the Pope Clement VIII., who took a lively interest in the subject, wrote much upon it himself, and who was resolved to condemn the Jesuits’ doctrine. But when it was reported to him that the fathers spoke of calling a general council, and that in[232] one of their public discussions the thesis to be proved was to this effect, that “it is not an article of faith that such and such a Pope (Clement VIII., for example) is really Pope;”[222] the poor Pope exclaimed, “They dare everything, everything!” paused, and died without having given any decision. The disputations were resumed under Paul V., who also held the doctrine of the Thomists. The Jesuits, however, had given him such proofs of their devotion in the affair of Venice, and were so powerful in the Church, that he had neither the heart nor the courage to condemn them. In consequence, in 1607 he imposed silence on both parties till he should pronounce a decision which would set the matter at rest.[223] As this decision never came, and as the doctrine of the Jesuits was not condemned, they chanted victory, and lost no time in having Molina’s book circulated and taught everywhere.

But a formidable antagonist arose a little later to oppose its progress. This was the sect of the Jansenists, so celebrated for its labours and sufferings, which form so interesting a chapter in the history of the Romish Church. Jansenius, the founder, was born in 1585, in Holland—studied at Louvain—was ordained a priest—and, in 1636, consecrated Bishop of Ypres. Shocked at the doctrine of the Jesuits, he and Du Verger de Hauranne (afterwards Abbot of St Cyran, by which name he is better known) plunged themselves into the study of the ancient fathers of the Church, and especially of Augustine; and, after six years of labour, Jansenius composed a book, in which the ancient doctrine of the Thomists was again propounded, advancing, however, a step towards Luther’s doctrine on grace and justification. Being smitten by the plague, Jansenius, on his death-bed, submitted his manuscript to the judgment of the Roman See; but St Cyran, without waiting for the oracle of the Vatican,[233] published the Augustinus (such was the title of Jansenius’ work), which produced a great sensation. St Cyran became the chief of a school, in which were grouped scores of young ecclesiastics, and some of the most eminent men in France. The nuns of Port-Royal, amongst whom were almost the whole of the Arnauld family, under the guidance of the venerable Mère Angélique, the sister of the famous Arnauld, followed the doctrine of St Cyran. Cardinal Richelieu, jealous that any other person than himself should exercise influence or power, sent St Cyran to the dungeon of Vincennes. On the death of his persecutor, the noble sufferer being set at liberty, returned to his duties, and was received, and almost worshipped as a saint, by the increased number of his disciples. The Jesuits, alarmed at the favour with which the doctrine of Jansenius was received, bestirred themselves in every quarter to impugn it, and filled the world with their clamours and imprecations against the book, as if the Bishop of Ypres had denied the very existence of God. The Pope was applied to to anathematise the impious work; and, when he hesitated, they directed his attention to a passage, in which his infallibility was indirectly called in question. Of course this was a heresy not to be overlooked. Urban VIII. expressed his disapprobation of the book; but this had no effect in checking its popularity. Such men as Arnauld, Le Maître, De Sacy, Pascal, supported Jansenius’ doctrine, and their many followers disregarded the denunciations of its opponents. The Jesuits became furious. They embodied, in their own peculiar way, the essential doctrines of Jansenius in five propositions, and asked Innocent X. solemnly to condemn them. The Pope was a man who abhorred theological controversy, and would not willingly have engaged in this; but it was no longer in the power of the Court of Rome to resist the influence of the Jesuits. The five propositions were condemned, as[234] tainted with heresy. The Jansenists indignantly denied that such propositions were to be found in the Augustinus, and that they expressed the sense attributed to them; but Alexander VII., who was now the reigning Pope, declared, by a bull, that the propositions were really to be found in Jansenius’ book. Of all the extravagant pretensions of the Roman See, this was assuredly the greatest. The Jansenists, in their defence, while they declared themselves good and devout Catholics, asserted, nevertheless, that the Pope’s infallibility did not extend to matters of fact. “Why make such a noise?” they said to their opponents—“we acknowledge that these propositions are heterodox. Shew us them in Augustinus, and we will unite with you in condemning them.” “We need not take the trouble to shew them to you,” was the answer; “the Pope has declared them to be in the book—and the Pope is infallible.” So, if the Pope affirms that a magnificent castle is to be found in the middle of the ocean, according to a doctrine to which the Papist sticks even in the present day, one must believe it, or be excommunicated! The Jansenists endured all sorts of persecution rather than submit to so unjust a decree; and it is a striking instance of human inconsistency, that men so noble and upright, who had approached so near the Protestant doctrine, at least in its most essential part, should continue within the pale of the Roman Church. The fact, we believe, may be partly explained by that pertinacity which men of all parties display in maintaining a position they have once taken up in any controversy, that they may not incur the ignominy of defeat. “The supporters of the Augustinus are heretics,” the Jesuits had said from the beginning; and the Jansenists, in order that the book might be declared orthodox, had indignantly repelled the accusation, and declared themselves good and devout Roman Catholics—and they maintained to the end their first declaration.[235] Alas! how many eloquent pages Arnauld, Nicole, and Pascal have written, to prove themselves the votaries and slaves of the idol of Rome!

Not to interrupt our narrative, we have brought the reader far beyond the epoch we are considering. We must now look a little back, and see how the Jesuits had become so powerful a brotherhood. We have already seen what arts they used, and what doctrines they propounded, to get a footing in different countries, acquire an influence over persons of their own persuasion, and a preponderance in the Court of Rome. But as the doctrines and practices by which they had obtained their ends were no longer suited, or, at least, were not the most efficient, for the times, they now changed both doctrines and practices with wonderful promptitude.

When the order was established, the Court of Rome had itself to struggle for existence, and was on the verge of being stripped of its ill-gotten and ill-used authority. The politic Charles V. lent it soldiers—the Jesuits, theologians for the contest. Lainez, Salmeron, Lejay, and Canisius, rendered it as good and unequivocal services as the imperial armies. But such men as those were no longer needed. Not only had the flood of the Reformation been stayed, but Rome was in the utmost exultation at having reconquered many lost provinces; and, as theological controversies were now raging in the camp of her adversary, the Papacy, though emboldened to assert pretensions which, a century before, she would never have dreamt of mentioning, relaxed that activity which she had for a moment displayed, and returned to her former life of intrigues and indolence. However, the great contest with the Protestants had left among the Roman Catholics a tendency, a wish, we do not say to become better Christians, but to make a greater display of their religion. All the external practices of devotion which, in their eyes, constituted[236] the true believer, were more eagerly resorted to; and, above all, the confessional was frequented with unprecedented assiduity. To have a confessor exclusively for one’s self was the surest sign of orthodoxy, and became as fashionable as it is now to have a box at the opera. Sovereigns, ministers, courtiers, noblemen—every man, in short, who had a certain position in society, had his own acknowledged confessor. Even the mistresses of princes pretended to the privilege—and Madame de Pompadour will prove to her spiritual guide that it is dangerous to oppose the caprices of a favourite. The Jesuits saw at once the immense advantage they would derive if they could enlarge the number of their clients, especially among the higher classes. They were already, in this particular, far advanced in the public favour; they were known to be very indulgent; had long since obtained the privilege of absolving from those sins which only the Pope himself could pardon; and Suarez, their great theologian, had even attempted to introduce confession by letter, as a more easy and expeditious way of reaching all penitents.[224]

But by this time they had made fearful progress in the art of flattering the bad passions, and winking at the vices, of those who had recourse to their ministry in order to make, as they believed, their peace with God. Escobar collected in six large volumes the doctrines of different Jesuit casuists, those preceptors of immorality and prevarication; and his book was for a time the only code followed by the generality of the Jesuits.[225] However, I will not assert that they taught downright immorality, to corrupt mankind[237] merely for the sake of corrupting them. No; if this has sometimes been the case with individuals, it was never so with a sect. They had another end in view. As we said, they aspired to be the general confessors, for their own private purposes; concealing their designs under the mask of piety, they gave out that it was essential for the good of religion that they should have the direction of all consciences; and, as an inducement to penitents to resort to them, they offered doctrines in conformity to the wishes of persons of all sorts. Hence all their casuists were not licentious and indulgent to vice. A few of them were strict, severe, and indeed teachers of evangelical precepts, and those they held out to the few penitents who were of a more rigid morality, and quoted them when accused of teaching relaxed doctrines; while for the multitude, who are generally more loose in their morals, they had the bulk of their casuists. Father Petau calls this “an obliging and accommodating conduct.” So, for example, if the Jesuit confessor perceives that a penitent feels inclined to make restitution of ill-gotten money, he will certainly encourage him to do so, praise him for his holy resolution, insist to be himself the instrument of the restitution, taking care, however, that it should be known again. But if another person accuse himself of theft, but shew no disposition to make restitution, be sure that the Jesuit confessor will find in some book or other of his brother Jesuits some sophistry to set his conscience at rest, and persuade him that he may safely retain what he has stolen from his neighbour.

The existence of books to which those pernicious maxims have been consigned, having put it out of the power of the Jesuits to impugn their genuineness; in order to exculpate their Society, they have cast a reproach upon the teachers of their own Church, and even blasphemed Christianity. “The probabilism,” says their historian, “was not born with the Jesuits; at[238] the moment of their establishment probabilism reigned in the schools.”[226] And again, “Ever since the origin of Christianity, the world had complained of the austerity of certain precepts; the Jesuits came to bring relief from these grievances.”[227]

But, that our readers may judge for themselves of the character of Jesuitical morality, we shall lay before them some of their doctrines; and in doing so (be it observed), we shall quote as our authorities none but Jesuit authors, and such as have been approved and are held in veneration by the Society.

It is evident that, in the confessional, everything depends upon the conception formed of transgression and sin. Now, according to the Jesuitical doctrines, we do not sin, unless we have a clear perception and understanding of the sin as sin, and unless our will freely consent to it.[228] The following are the consequences which the Jesuit casuists have deduced from that principle:—

“A confessor perceives that his penitent is in invincible ignorance, or at least in innocent ignorance, and he does not hope that any benefit will be derived from his advice, but rather anxiety of mind, strife, or scandal. Should he dissemble? Suarez affirms that he ought; because, since his admonition will be fruitless, ignorance will excuse his penitent from sin.[229]

“Although he who, through inveterate habit, inadvertently swears a falsehood, may seem bound to confess the propensity, yet he is commonly excused. The reason is, that no one commonly reflects upon the obligation by which he is bound to extirpate the habit; ... and, therefore, since he is excused from the sin, he[239] will also be excused from confession. Some maintain that the same may be said of blasphemy, heresy, and of the aforesaid oath; ... and, consequently, that such things, committed inadvertently, are neither sins in themselves, nor the cause of sins, and therefore need not necessarily be confessed.”[230]

“Wherever there is no knowledge of wickedness, there is also of necessity no sin. It is sufficient to have at least a confused notion of the heinousness of a sin, without which knowledge there would never be a flagrant crime. For instance, one man kills another, believing it indeed to be wrong, but conceiving it to be nothing more than a trifling fault. Such a man does not greatly sin, because it is knowledge only which points out the wickedness or the grossness of it to the will. Therefore, criminality is only imputed according to the measure of knowledge.”

“If a man commit adultery or suicide, reflecting indeed, but still very imperfectly and superficially, upon the wickedness and great sinfulness of those crimes; however heinous may be the matter, he still sins but slightly. The reason is, that as a knowledge of the wickedness is necessary to constitute the sin, so is a full clear knowledge and reflection necessary to constitute a heinous sin. And thus I reason with Vasquez: In order that a man may freely sin, it is necessary to deliberate whether he sins or not. But he fails to deliberate upon the moral wickedness of it, if he does not reflect, at least by doubting, upon it during the act. Therefore he does not sin, unless he reflects upon the wickedness of it. It is also certain that a full knowledge of such wickedness is required to constitute a mortal sin. For it would be unworthy the goodness of God to exclude a man from glory, and to reject him for ever, for a sin on which he had not fully deliberated; but if reflection upon the wickedness[240] of it has only been partial, deliberation has not been complete; and therefore the sin is not a mortal sin.”[231]

The practical consequences of this doctrine have been admirably represented by Pascal in his happiest vein of irony. “Oh, my dear sir,” says he to the Jesuit who had exposed to him the afore-mentioned doctrine, “what a blessing this will be to some persons of my acquaintance! I must positively introduce them to you. You have never, perhaps, in all your life, met with people who had fewer sins to account for! In the first place, they never think of God at all; their vices have got the better of their reason; they have never known either their weakness or the physician who can cure it; they have never thought of ‘desiring the health of their soul,’ and still less of ‘praying to God to bestow it;’ so that, according to M. le Moine, they are still in the state of baptismal innocence. They have ‘never had a thought of loving God, or of being contrite for their sins;’ so that, according to Father Annat, they have never committed sin through the want of charity and penitence. Their life is spent in a perpetual round of all sorts of pleasures, in the course of which they have not been interrupted by the slightest remorse. These excesses had led me to imagine that their perdition was inevitable; but you, father, inform me that these same excesses secure their salvation. Blessings on you, my good father, for this new way of justifying people! Others prescribe painful austerities for healing the soul; but you shew that souls which may be thought desperately diseased are in quite good health. What an excellent device for being happy both in this world and in the next! I had always supposed that the less a man thought of God, the more he sinned; but, from what I see now, if one could only succeed in bringing himself not to think upon God at all, everything[241] would be pure with him in all time coming. Away with your half-and-half sinners, who retain some sneaking affection for virtue! They will be damned, every soul of them. But commend me to your arrant sinners—hardened, unalloyed, out-and-out, thorough-bred sinners. Hell is no place for them; they have cheated the devil, by sheer devotion to his service.”[232]

But if you are not such an arrant hardened sinner but that your conscience warns you of your guilt, then come to the doctrine of probability, the A B C of the Jesuitical code of morality, which will set your troublesome conscience at rest. Listen!

“The true opinion is, that it is not only lawful to follow the more probable but less safe opinion ... but also that the less safe may be followed when there is an equality of probability.”

“I agree in the opinion of Henriquez, Vasquez, and Perez, who maintain that it is sufficient for an inexperienced and unlearned man to follow the opinion which he thinks to be probable because it is maintained by good men who are versed in the art; although that opinion may be neither the more safe, nor the more common, nor the more probable.

“Sotus thinks that it would be very troublesome to a penitent, if the priest, after having heard his confession, should send him back without absolution, to confess himself again to another priest, if he could absolve him with a safe conscience against his own (the priest’s) opinion; especially when another priest might not perhaps be readily found who would believe the opinion of the penitent to be probable.

“It may be asked whether a confessor may give advice to a penitent in opposition to his own opinion; or, if he should think in any case that restitution ought to be made, whether he may advise that the[242] opinion of others may be followed, who maintain that it need not be made? I answer, that he lawfully may, ... because he may follow the opinion of another in his own practice, and therefore he may advise another person to follow it. Still it is better, in giving advice, always to follow the more probable opinion to which a man is ever accustomed to adhere, especially when the advice is given in writing, lest contradiction be discovered. It is also sometimes expedient to send the consulting person to another doctor or confessor who is known to hold an opinion favourable to the inquirer, provided it be probable.”[233]

“Without respect of persons may a judge, in order to favour his friend, decide according to any probable opinion, while the question of right remains undecided?

“If the judge should think each opinion equally probable, for the sake of his friend he may lawfully pronounce sentence according to the opinion which is more favourable to the interests of that friend. He may, moreover, with the intent to serve his friend, at one time judge according to one opinion, and at another time according to the contrary opinion, provided only that no scandal result from the decision.”[234]

“An unbeliever who is persuaded that his sect is probable, although the opposite sect may be more probable, would certainly be obliged, at the point of death, to embrace the true faith, which he thinks to be the more probable.... But, except under such circumstances, he would not.... Add to this, that the mysteries of faith are so sublime, and the Christian morals so repugnant to the laws of flesh and blood, that no greater probability whatever may be[243] accounted sufficient to enforce the obligation of believing.[235]

“Indeed, while I perceive so many different opinions maintained upon points connected with morality, I think that the Divine providence is apparent; for, in diversity of opinions, the yoke of Christ is easily borne.”[236]

“A confessor may absolve penitents, according to the probable opinion of the penitent, in opposition to his own, and is even bound to do so.”[237]

“Again, it is probable that pecuniary compensation may be made for defamation; it is also probable that it cannot be made. May I, the defamed, exact to-day pecuniary compensation from my defamer, and to-morrow, and even on the same day, may I, the defamer of another, refuse to compensate with money for the reputation of which I have deprived him?... I affirm that it is lawful to do at pleasure sometimes the one and sometimes the other.

Those ignorant confessors are to be blamed who always think that they do well in obliging their penitents to make restitution, because it is at all times more safe.[238]

By this abominable doctrine the confessors were made to answer yes or no, as might be most agreeable to their penitents; and these might oblige the confessor to absolve them of their sins, if they only themselves believed that they were not sins. Imagine what an arrant knave the person inclined to do evil must have become, when, to the firm belief that the absolution of the confessor cleanses from all crimes, was superadded[244] the certainty that this confessor must absolve him almost according to his own wishes. We shudder to think of it!

The doctrine of equivocation came in aid of that of probabilism. By the former, according to Sanchez, “it is permitted to use ambiguous terms, leading people to understand them in a different sense from that in which we understand them.”[239] “A man may swear,” according to the same author, “that he never did such a thing (though he actually did it), meaning within himself that he did not do so on such a day, or before he was born, or understanding any other such circumstances, while the words which he employs have no such sense as would discover his meaning.”[240] And Filiutius proves that in so speaking one does not even lie, because, says he, “it is the intention that determines the quality of the action; and one may avoid falsehood if, after saying aloud I swear that I have not done that, he add in a low voice, to-day; or after saying aloud, I swear, he interpose in a whisper, that I say, and then continue aloud, that I have done that, and this is telling the truth.”

With mental reservation and probabilism, they have sanctioned all sorts of crimes. The varlet might help his master to commit rape or adultery, provided he do not think of the sin, but of the profit he may reap from it—so says father Bauny. If a servant think his salary is not an adequate compensation for services, he may help himself to some of his master’s property to make it equal to his pretensions—so teaches the same father. You may kill your enemy for a box on the ear, as Escobar asserts in the following words:—“It is perfectly right to kill a person who has given us a box on the ear, although he should run away, provided it is not done through hatred or revenge, and there is no danger of giving occasion thereby to murders of a gross kind and hurtful to society. And the reason is, that it is as lawful[245] to pursue the thief that has stolen our honour, as him that has run away with our property. For, although your honour cannot be said to be in the hands of your enemy in the same sense as your goods and chattels are in the hands of the thief, still it may be recovered in the same way—by shewing proofs of greatness and authority, and thus acquiring the esteem of men. And, in point of fact, is it not certain that the man who has received a buffet on the ear is held to be under disgrace, until he has wiped off the insult with the blood of his enemy?”

In short, you may be a fraudulent bankrupt, thief, assassin, profligate, impious atheist even, with a safe conscience, provided always you confess to a Jesuit confessor. It is doubtless in this that we are to see the efficacy of that miraculous gift, which we read at page 13 Loyola had received from heaven, and transmitted to his successors—the gift of healing troubled consciences; and this is even boldly asserted by themselves. In the Imago primi Sæculi, S. 3, ch. 8, are words to this effect:—“With the aid of pious finesse and holy artifice of devotion, crimes may be expiated now-a-days alacrius, with more joy and alacrity, than they were committed in former days; and a great many people may be washed from their stains almost as cleverly as they contracted them.” After this quotation, we need not trouble the reader with any more regarding the doctrine of the Jesuits on social duties. We only beg of him, in order that he may well understand all the enormity of these doctrines, to look at them from the point of view of the Papists, who consider the confessional as the only way of salvation, and who blindly obey their spiritual fathers, especially if they flatter their passions, and promise them paradise as the reward of their vices.

It is also of importance that our readers should be made acquainted with the doctrine of the Jesuits regarding religious duties, and the love which is due[246] to God, that they may the better judge of the character of those champions of Romanism, those monks who are labouring hard to make proselytes to their religion—the only true one, as they pretend, out of which there is no salvation.

Father Antony Sirmond, in his book on The Defence of Virtue, has the following passage:—“St Thomas says that we are obliged to love God as soon as we come to the use of reason; that is rather too soon! Scotus says, every Sunday; pray, for what reason? Others say, when we are sorely tempted; yes, if there be no other way of escaping the temptation. Sotus says, when we have received a benefit from God; good, in the way of thanking him for it. Others say, at death—rather late! As little do I think it binding at the reception of any sacrament; attrition, in such a case, is quite enough, along with confession—if convenient. Suarez says, that it is binding at some time or another; but at what time? He does not know; and what that doctor does not know, I know not who should know.”[241]

And father Pinter can crown those execrable doctrines by the impious assertion, that the dispensation from the painful obligation to love God is purchased for us through the merits of Christ’s blood. “It was reasonable,” says that sacrilegious Jesuit, “that under the law of grace in the New Testament, God should relieve us from that troublesome and arduous obligation which existed under the law of bondage, to exercise an act of perfect contrition, in order to be justified; and that the place of this should be supplied by the sacraments instituted in aid of an easier exercise; otherwise, indeed, Christians, who are the children, would have no greater facility in gaining the good graces of their Father than the Jews, who were the slaves, had in obtaining the mercy of their Lord and Master.”[242]


And men guilty of all sorts of crimes—men who pretend that no love is due to God, that not even attrition is necessary for the remission of sins—such men shall be made worthy of the eternal blessedness through some idolatrous practices! Such is the doctrine taught by Jesuits, and, we must add, by most of the Roman Catholic clergy, some of whom we are going to bring under our reader’s eye. We beg permission to quote Pascal again. Our readers will certainly prefer the trenchant, sarcastic style of the celebrated Jansenist to our imperfect manner of narration. In a dialogue which he pretends to have had with a Jesuit, the father addresses him in the following words:—

“‘Would you not be infinitely obliged to any one who should open to you the gates of paradise? Would you not give millions of gold to have a key by which you might gain admittance whenever you pleased? You need not be at such expense; here is one—here are a hundred for much less money.’

“At first I was at a loss to know whether the good father was reading or talking to me, but he soon put the matter beyond doubt by adding:—

“‘These, sir, are the opening words of a fine book, written by Father Barry of our Society; for I never give you anything of my own.’

“‘What book is it?’ asked I.

“‘Here is its title,’ he replied—‘Paradise Opened to Philagio, in a Hundred Devotions to the Mother of God, easily practised.’

“‘Indeed, father! and is each of these easy devotions a sufficient passport to heaven?’

“‘It is,’ returned he, ‘Listen to what follows: “The devotions to the mother of God, which you will find in this book, are so many celestial keys, which will open wide to you the gates of paradise, provided you practise them;” and accordingly, he says at the conclusion, “that he is satisfied if you practise only one of them.”’


“‘Pray, then, father, do teach me one of the easiest of them.’

“‘They are all easy,’ he replied; ‘for example—”Saluting the Holy Virgin when you happen to meet her image—saying the little chaplet of the pleasures of the Virgin—fervently pronouncing the name of Mary—commissioning the angels to bow to her for us—wishing to build her as many churches as all the monarchs on earth have done—bidding her good-morrow every morning, and good-night in the evening—saying the Ave Maria every day in honour of the heart of Mary“—which last devotion, he says, possesses the additional virtue of securing us the heart of the Virgin.’

“‘But, father,’ said I, ‘only provided we give her our own in return, I presume?’

“‘That,’ he replied, ‘is not absolutely necessary, when a person is too much attached to the world. Hear Father Barry: “Heart for heart would, no doubt, be highly proper; but yours is rather too much attached to the world, too much bound up in the creature, so that I dare not advise you to offer, at present, that poor little slave which you call your heart.” And so he contents himself with the Ave Maria which he had prescribed.’[243]

“‘Why, this is extremely easy work,’ said I, ‘and I should really think that nobody will be damned after that.’

“‘Alas!’ said the monk, ‘I see you have no idea of the hardness of some people’s hearts. There are some, sir, who would never engage to repeat, every day, even these simple words, Good day, Good evening, just because such a practice would require some exertion of memory. And, accordingly, it became necessary for Father Barry to furnish them with expedients still easier, such as wearing a chaplet night and day on the arm, in the form of a bracelet, or carrying about[249] one’s person a rosary, or an image of the Virgin. “And, tell me now,” as Father Barry says, “if I have not provided you with easy devotions to obtain the good graces of Mary?”’

“‘Extremely easy, indeed, father,’ I observed.

“‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it is as much as could possibly be done, and I think should be quite satisfactory. For he must be a wretched creature indeed, who would not spare a single moment in all his lifetime to put a chaplet on his arm, or a rosary in his pocket, and thus secure his salvation; and that, too, with so much certainty, that none who have tried the experiment have ever found it to fail, in whatever way they may have lived; though, let me add, we exhort people not to omit holy living. Let me refer you to the example of this, given at page 34; it is that of a female who, while she practised daily the devotion of saluting the images of the Virgin, spent all her days in mortal sin, and yet was saved after all, by the merit of that single devotion.’

“‘And how so?’ cried I.

“‘Our Saviour,’ he replied, ‘raised her up again, for the very purpose of shewing it. So certain it is, that none can perish who practise any one of these devotions.’”[244]

We may, perhaps, mention here also, the greatest of all the Jesuitical devotions to Mary, the one which, according to them, is the sovereign specific for obtaining salvation—namely, the month of Mary.

The month which they have chosen to consecrate to the Virgin is the month of May. I dare not say for what reason. During its long thirty-one days, nothing is to be heard but songs and hymns in honour of the Virgin. Altars are dressed before every niche in which stands a Madonna. Sundry other images are placed around it—as smaller divinities, we may suppose—and, among images and burning lamps,[250] a profusion of flowers of all colours send up their fragrant perfume as an offering to the Virgin. At different hours the devotees prostrate themselves before these altars, and offer their vows and their prayers to the Madonna. The most extravagant language is addressed to her, and she is represented as possessing the most extraordinary attributes. “Any person performing the month of Mary, should he die within the month, will be saved, even if he had murdered his parents.” In the churches and schools of the Jesuits are performed the same ceremonies as in the streets. God for this month is still more forgotten than He generally is.

We could fill volumes with such extracts, but must be content with those we have given, referring such of our readers as wish to know more of the Jesuitical doctrines to Pascal, to the Morale Pratique des Jésuites by Arnauld, and to the Principles of the Jesuits, developed in a Collection of Extracts from their own Authors (London, 1839).

We have also shrunk from polluting these pages by extracts from Lacrois, Sanchez, and such like, whose obscene and revolting lucubrations, the inevitable fruits of the celibacy of the cloister, have left far behind all that has been conceived by the most wanton and depraved imagination. We have omitted, moreover, to extract from the Secreta Monita, and for the following reason:—The Secreta Monita are a collection of precepts and instructions the most nefarious and diabolical, given, it is supposed, by the General of the order to his subalterns, as if to shew them the way how to proceed in all their perfidious plots for the aggrandisement of the Company. The book in which those precepts are collected, came out for the first time in Cracow in 1612, and was reprinted in Paris in 1761. The Jesuits assert that it owes its origin to an expelled Jesuit, Zaorowski, while their opponents contend that the Secreta Monita had been found by[251] Christian of Brunswick in the Jesuit college of Prague or elsewhere. The Secreta Monita were condemned at Rome. But, to confess the truth, our opinion is, that the book is at best apocryphal. The Jesuits were too cunning foxes to expose their secrets to the risk of being discovered, by leaving copies of such a book here and there. They were not yet so firmly established as to risk the very existence of their order, if one of those copies were discovered, or if a member should be tempted to betray the Society. Besides, from the knowledge we have of the Jesuitical character, we feel assured that no superior would ever have inculcated with such barefaced impudence such abominable and execrable rules of roguery. So much are the Jesuits accustomed to dissemble and deceive, that even their conduct towards each other is one continued act of deceit. For instance, if the superior wishes to ruin the fair fame of a man adverse to the order, he will say to his subalterns, “What a pity it is that Mr N. should be guilty of such and such faults (and, generally speaking, he invents some calumny)! it would be well that, for the greater glory of God, others should be apprised that it is unbecoming a Christian to act so. Should you chance to meet any of his or your acquaintance, you may warn them of that, but take care not to slander your neighbour’s reputation.” Again, if a Jesuit chief should covet the wealth of some family, he would say to his subordinates, “It is a pity that so much wealth should pass into the hands of his son or nephew, who will spend it in offending God and gratifying their own evil passions. It would be a pious work if he could be induced to leave it to us, that we might use it to the greater glory of God.” And if a subaltern, less cunning than the rest, should openly and frankly propose to slander the reputation of the honest man, or to make an attempt to snatch the princely fortune of the wealthy, he would be reprimanded, as guilty of an action unworthy of a son of the holy Father[252] Loyola. And, while the superior speaks in this manner, he not only knows that he cants, but he is also perfectly convinced that his hearers know it, and yet he will never speak otherwise. And it is to us altogether inconceivable, that men who are thus mutually conscious that they are playing a part—who, in their common intercourse, and even when forming the basest designs, are careful always to speak in the character of the pious devotee—should so far forget their cue as to give a broad unvarnished statement of their whole system of roguery. For these, and many other reasons which we might adduce, we believe that the book is apocryphal; but, though apocryphal, it certainly gives a true representation of the horrible arts and practices of the Jesuits; and we are inclined to credit the Jesuits when they assert that the book is the work of a discarded brother, so deeply does it initiate us in the secret arts of the Society. However, as we have thousands of unimpugnable testimonies to their impious and infernal doctrines, we shall not weaken the authority of our narrative by adducing contested proofs.



We now enter on a new phase of our history. Up to the period at which we are arrived (the beginning of the seventeenth century), the Jesuits have been obliged more or less to struggle for existence. Now they contend for supremacy and a domineering power in those same countries into which they had been at first refused admittance. Vagrant monks, who had but an hospital for a place of refuge, they now possess all over the surface of the earth hundreds of magnificent establishments, endowed with princely revenues, and in the West Indies are laying the foundations of a kingdom of their own. Cherished by the populace, in league with the nobility, they are become so powerful, that great monarchs themselves are obliged to put the fate of the Jesuits in the same balance in which are weighed the destinies of nations. Two of Ignatius’ disciples have a seat in the College of Cardinals, and the order, by the many exorbitant privileges it has obtained, forms a sort of separate church within the Church—the envy of other religious orders, the rival of bishops, and the dread of the Court of Rome itself. They possess the supreme sway in Portugal, Poland, Bavaria, have the utmost influence in Spain, Austria, Italy, and are rapidly advancing towards that power which they at last obtained in France, and which was productive of so many miseries to the French nation. In fact, the principal[254] seat of the Jesuits’ power will henceforth be in France, as, of the many sovereigns whom the Jesuits more or less govern, the French monarch is the most powerful of them all. Henry IV., as a measure of precaution, in the letters-patent by which he re-established the Jesuits, had enacted that a man of authority in the order should always be near the king’s person, as preacher, and as a warranty for the conduct of his brethren; and the Jesuits made of this offensive clause the very pivot of their fortunes. The preacher became the confessor of the kings, and France will but too soon feel the persecuting power of Fathers Lachaise and Letellier. Before, however, they had attained the height of their power, they had to endure a passing storm. In 1610, Henry IV., while proceeding in his coach to visit his faithful Sully, who was dangerously ill, was stabbed to the heart. The Jesuits were accused by the parliament and the university, and even by some curates from the pulpit, of being the accomplices and the instigators of Ravaillac the assassin; but no proof whatever was adduced in support of this accusation. Public opinion absolved them from any participation in the crime, and to that judgment we ourselves subscribe; unless, indeed, we charge them with being morally accessory to the murder by their doctrines, and the abominable writings commending the murder of Sovening, with which they had covered France at the time of the League. The Jesuits had too great ascendancy over Henry’s mind, they derived from him too many benefits, to render credible the supposition of their connivance in the parricide. Some authors, too eager to find the Jesuits guilty of every crime, and not reflecting that by asserting controvertible facts they diminish the credit of their other assertions, have suggested that, as Henry was preparing to send an army to succour the German Protestants, the Jesuits contrived to have him murdered. But those authors are quite ignorant of the true spirit of[255] Jesuitism. The great end which the Jesuits have ever in their view, the criterion by which alone we are able to judge of the probability of their acting in any particular way, is their own interest, and in no way the advantage of religion or the glory of God; and, as in this instance the interest of the Jesuits, and especially of those of France, was to preserve rather than destroy Henry’s life, we repeat our assertion—we do not believe them guilty. We do not think it necessary to fill our pages even with an analysis of the writings poured forth by both parties on this tragic event. The Anti-Cotton, a virulent pamphlet against the Jesuits, and, above all, against some assertions of Father Cotton, the late king’s confessor, who had addressed some apologetic letters to the queen on the subject, and who had now gone, according to Henry’s testamentary disposition, to deposit that prince’s heart in the Jesuits’ college of La Flèche, was and has continued to be famous in France, more for the sarcastic wit with which it is written than because it gives any proofs of the Jesuits’ guilt; and, therefore, we need not give any account of it.

The Jesuits, protected by the Court and the Archbishop of Paris, after the first commotion had passed away, reassumed their former position; and Father Cotton was appointed to hear the juvenile sins of Louis XIII., as he had formerly heard those of his gallant and profligate father.

But a real though inevitable calamity awaited the Society some few years after. On the 31st January 1615, expired one of their greatest men, Claude Acquaviva, the fifth General of the order. He had been in office thirty-four years, and may be accounted the second founder of the Society, as he has been, undoubtedly, its ablest legislator. During his government, external tempests and internal discord had menaced the very existence of the Society, but he had dissipated and appeased them all with admirable[256] courage and prudence. His death was to the Company an irreparable loss. With him ended the prestige through which the Generals exercised such extraordinary authority over its members. For the future they will still be entitled by the Constitutions to the same blind obedience as before; but their mandates will be implicitly obeyed by none but some simple-hearted Jesuits, or by those far away in distant lands, who venerate their superior in proportion to the distance that separates them from him. And this it may be said is the case with all earthly powers. But the members who have some authority in the order, the provincials, the confessors or favourites of princes, will, generally speaking, act independently and according to their own views, without, however, losing sight of the Society, whose aggrandisement and glory is always the ultimate end which they all keep in view. The consequence will be that their conduct will in many respects be less uniform, and even their solemn assemblies will be wanting in that unanimity of purpose which had marked their former operations. A striking proof of this appeared in the election of Acquaviva’s successor itself. The old Spanish party revived after the General’s death, and hoping to regain the influence and power it had exercised under the first three Generals of the order, made a great stir; and, foreseeing that Vitelleschi, a Roman Jesuit, would be elected, they first intrigued with the French and Spanish ambassadors, and afterwards accused Vitelleschi to the Pope of being guilty of many vices and crimes, which was far from being true, he being, on the contrary, a simple, inoffensive, unpretending man. The contest for the election was very keen, and of seventy-five members who composed the congregation, Vitelleschi obtained only thirty-nine suffrages, being only one more than was necessary for the validity of his election. He assumed the office, but exercised very little influence in the affairs[257] of the Company. It was, however, in the beginning of Vitelleschi’s generalate that measures were taken to get Loyola and Xavier enrolled in the Calendar of Saints. It is true that, even under Acquaviva’s lifetime, Henry IV., to please his father confessor, and render him still more indulgent to his immoralities, had, by an autograph letter, asked the reigning Pope to find a place in heaven for the two founders of the order; but Paul V., thinking, perhaps, that the recommendation of the ex-Huguenot Henry would be rather a suspicious passport for opening the gates of heaven, did not feel inclined to comply. There were, however, other sovereigns, as those of Bavaria, Poland, Spain, &c., who had Jesuits for their confessors; and now that those monarchs united in begging from the Holy See the canonisation of the two Jesuits, Gregory XV., who had been educated in the fathers’ schools, could no longer refuse to comply with their wishes. He accordingly solemnly pronounced them to be saints, but being surprised by death, the glory of having issued the bull for their apotheosis belongs to his successor, Urban VIII.[245]

As the Jesuits, in the short space of less than a century, have furnished eight or ten saints to the calendar, perhaps it will not be extraneous to our work to devote a few pages to shew in what manner, mortals such as we are, and who but yesterday were mere loathsome corpses, are, by the pretended power of another mortal man, transformed into privileged and divine beings, to whom is attributed a power almost equal to that of the Almighty. A word of any Pope, even of an Alexander VI., will change every fragment of those corrupted remains into sacred relics, possessing such miraculous powers, that the worship[258] of them is deemed sufficient to insure eternal salvation.

The practice of investing certain persons with the honours of saintship originated with the people. In the early ages of Christianity, when an individual, whether a truly holy Christian or a consummate hypocrite, had struck the impressible imaginations of the multitude by a pious and extraordinary course of life, he was regarded by them as a supernatural being, and was addressed and worshipped as such. A little later, persons of this description began, with the help of the priests, to work miracles; and when the renown of their holiness and of the prodigies they had performed had spread far and wide, the Court of Rome interfered and gave them a regular patent for saintship.

If they had been extraordinary persons of their own class, their canonisation took place almost immediately on their decease, as was the case with St Francis, the founder of the ragged and beggarly order of monks which bears his name, and St Antony, the great miracle worker,[246] both of whom were ranked among the saints only a year after their death. The trade of saint-making proving very lucrative, from the many offerings presented at their shrines, the priests encouraged the multitude, always ready to believe in the marvellous, to credit extraordinary legends and to find saints everywhere. Above all, as we have said elsewhere, after the Reformation, the priests were creating saints[259] in such alarming numbers, that Urban VIII. fearing, it would seem, that heaven would not be large enough to admit the whole of them, by two bulls, of 1625 and 1634, put a check upon the mania of saint-making, and swept away from churches, convents, and public places, the images of those poor blessed ones who had been patiently waiting in their niches for the supreme oracle of the Vatican to send them up to heaven; and who, doubtless, were now much annoyed at being removed from their places of adoration and worship. The bull ordained that no offering, no burning lamp, nor any sort of worship whatever, should be rendered to any one, no matter how great might have been the fame of his saintship, if he had not been recognised as a saint, either from immemorial time, immemorabilem temporis cursum, or by the unanimous consent of the Church, per communem Ecclesiæ consensum, or by a sort of tolerance of the apostolic see, tolerantiâ sedis apostolicæ. By immemorial time, the Pope says in his bull of 1634 that he means more than a hundred years. In consequence, all those persons who had been called saints, and worshipped as such for only ninety-nine years and some months, were to be discarded, and their images or statues removed from the place of worship;[247] unless, indeed, some money were spent, and a privilege or dispensation obtained from the all-powerful Pope. Alas! how many sinners, who had perhaps chosen those very saints as mediators between them and an offended God, must have been driven to despair by the unmerciful bull!

However, a regular canonisation may be obtained from Rome, and in two different ways. The first is the more simple:—Whosoever is interested in obtaining a canonisation must prove before the Congregation of[260] the Rites,[248] that, for more than a hundred years, the man who is proposed as a candidate for saintship had been worshipped either by a burning lamp before his image or his sepulchre, or by a person praying before it, &c.; and that these signs of veneration had been repeated before they had been prohibited at no greater distance of time than ten years. If the congregation deliver their opinion in a dubious form, that the immemorial worship seems to them to be proved, videtur constare de cultu immemorabili; and, if the omniscient and infallible Pope affirm, constare, “it has been proved,” then the man becomes a beatifice, and mass, prayers, and offerings may be addressed to him with a perfectly safe conscience. This was the mode of canonisation resorted to after the famous bull of 1634.

More difficult is the other way, now generally followed, to obtain a canonisation. The man must pass through many stages—as it were, serve an apprenticeship before he become a saint; first, the name of Servus Dei, servant of God, must be obtained for the candidate; and that is neither difficult nor expensive. Then, if the Congregation of Rites find, on examining his printed life, that his virtues seem to be proved, videtur constare de virtutibus, and the Pope says, constare, the Servus Dei is to be called venerabilis Servus Dei, venerable servant of God. Again, if the authenticity of the life, and of the virtues and miracles, is proved in another congregation, in the same way, then the venerabilis servus Dei assumes the title of blessed, beatus; a feast, mass, prayers, &c., are voted to him, and the Pope goes to St Peter’s Church, to be the first of all to worship that same man who, had he pronounced[261] only those two words, non constare, would have been a Pagan, or little better. That the blessed (beato) should become a saint, nothing more is necessary than that he should have worked three first-class miracles[249] (such as those performed by St Anthony, I suppose), and that there should be paid (not by the blessed—beato—for the offerings are only shewn to him, but by whosoever would make a saint of him) twenty thousand pounds sterling for the diploma. As may be perceived, the degree is somewhat dearer than in any other university; but only consider the difference betwixt a doctor and a saint![250] However, as the expenses are too great, families or religious communities who wish for a saint, now unite together, each proposing a candidate for saintship, and a single proceeding serves to decide the fate of five or six saints, and the expenses are paid in common. Under the last Pope, Rome witnessed two or three of those wholesale canonisations.

We Italians call the proceeding, fare una infornata di Santi, making an ovenful of saints. But under the reign of Leo XII., in 1826, a much more scandalous profanation took place. Saints being wanted by some town or other (almost every Italian borough has got one), and the Congregation of Relics, who dispense those Beati, having none at hand, one of the counsellors, we suppose, thought of a very expeditious way of making saints, and supply what was wanted. A sort of catacomb having been discovered at the church S. Lorenzo fuor delle mura, in which some skulls were found, five of them were extracted, and declared to be[262] the skulls of martyrs. The Pope, with the advice of the Congregation of Rites, by his apostolic authority and certain knowledge, Apostolicâ auctoritate ac certâ scientiâ, declared that they were martyrs; and, two or three months after, they were exposed to the public worship in the Apollinare, the ancient Collegio Germanico, which had belonged to the Jesuits, and where now met the Congregation of the Relics. I have myself seen them thus exposed. Those having been disposed of, other skulls were dug up, and other martyrs made; till, at last, a learned antiquarian (I do not remember whether French or German) proved almost to a certainty that the place where these skulls were found had been a Pagan burial-place. The noise was great, and so great the scandal, that the Pope ordered the catacomb to be shut, and no more martyrs to be made. One may still see the excavation, and some bones may be seen through an iron grating, but they are called martyrs no more. If these were not facts which happened in our own days, and of which all Rome is witness, I would hardly have dared to mention them, so incredible do they appear.

We hope we shall be excused for this digression. The canonisation of Loyola and Xavier took place in 1623. We shall spare the recital of all the feasts, all the gorgeous ceremonies, all the pagan pageantry exhibited on the occasion. At Douay, above all, the whole of this theatrical representation was on a great and magnificent scale. Two galleries, supported by a hundred columns adorned with tapestry, and with no less than four hundred and forty-five paintings, were erected in the two streets leading to their college. The panegyrics in honour of the saints were not only ridiculous, but impious in the highest degree. In one of them it was said that “Ignatius,” by his name written upon paper, “performed more miracles than Moses, and as many as the apostles!” And again, “The life of Ignatius was so holy and exalted, even in[263] the opinion of heaven, that only Popes like St Peter, empresses like the Mother of God, some other sovereign monarchs, as God the Father and his holy Son, enjoyed the bliss of seeing him.” We do not comment on these words; even the Sorbonne, now in league with the Jesuits, condemned them.

Some years after, another extraordinary and fantastic solemnity came to rejoice the Jesuitic world. From the year 1636, Vitelleschi had ordered that preparations should be made to solemnise, in 1640, the secular year of the establishment of the Society. We shall not give any description of it, but must mention a strange publication, which has given to this feast an historical celebrity; we mean the Imago Primi Sæculi Societatis Jesu. It is a huge folio of 952 pages, richly and superbly printed, embellished by hundreds of fantastic and extravagant emblems, and filled with absurd and ridiculous praises of the Society. Many were the contributors to this work, which was printed at Antwerp. “Many young Jesuits,” says Crétineau,[251] “found in the aspirations of their hearts poetical inspiration, accents of love, and words of enthusiasm!” The book is modestly dedicated to—God the Father; and among the poetical inspirations, we read as follows:—“The Society of Jesus is not of man’s invention, but it proceeded from Him whose name it bears, for Jesus himself described that rule of life which the Society follows, first by his example, and afterwards by his Word.”[252] And further on,—“The Company is Israel’s chariot of fire, whose loss Elisha mourned, and which now, by a special grace of God, both worlds rejoice to see brought back from heaven to earth, in the desperate condition of the Church. In this chariot, if you seek the armies and soldiers by which she daily multiplies her triumphs with new victories, you will find—(and I hope you will take it in good part)—you will find a[264] chosen troop of angels who exhibit under the form of animals all that the Supreme Ruler desires in this chivalry.”[253]

“As the angels, enlightened by the splendours of God, purge our minds of ignorance, suffuse them with light, and give them perfection,—thus the companions of Jesus, copying the purity of angels, and all attached to their origin which is God, from whom they derive those fiery and flaming movements of virtue, with rays the most refulgent, putting off the impurities of lust in that furnace of supreme and chastest love in which they are cooked (excoquuntur), until being illuminated and made perfect, they can impart to others their light mingled with ardour—being not less illustrious for the splendour of their virtue than the fervour of charity with which they are divinely inflamed.

“They are angels like Michael in their most eloquent battles with heretics—like Gabriel in the conversion of the infidels in India, Ethiopia, Japan, and the Chinese hedged in by terrible ramparts,—they are like Raphael in the consolation of souls, and the conversion of sinners by sermons and the confessional. All rush with promptitude and ardour to hear confessions, to catechise the poor and children, as well as to govern the consciences of the great and princes; all are not less illustrious for their doctrine and wisdom: so that we may say of the Company what Seneca observes in his 33d epistle, namely, that there is an inequality in which eminent things become remarkable, but that we do not admire a tree when all the others of the same forest are equally high. Truly, in whatever direction you cast your eyes, you will discover some object that would be supereminent if the same were not surrounded by equals in eminence.”[254]

These quotations may suffice to give the reader an idea of the book. It will, however, be instructive to[265] give the opinion of Crétineau upon it. He calls the work, indeed, a dithyrambic, and admits that there are some exaggerations in those academical exercises (he might as well have said that even the Court of Rome condemned the book); “but,” adds he, “the critics would not recollect the extravagances, the impieties even, of the book entitled Conformity of the Life of St Francis with that of Christ, by brother Bartholomew of Pisa, nor the Origo Seraficæ Familiæ Franciscanæ by the Capuchin Gonzalez;” and so on. Indeed we know that other monks are as boastful, as impudent, as impious as the Jesuits; yet it seems a very poor apology to exculpate one’s own faults by proving that our neighbour has committed similar ones. But so it is, we repeat it again, the Jesuits would inculpate God himself to justify their order. All we can say of the book is, that it is a most ingenuous and sincere exposition of the feelings of the Jesuits at such epochs, and of the opinion they had of themselves. They were at the height of their prosperity. The difficulties they had encountered—the battles they had fought—the victories they had obtained—the consciousness of their own strength and power, all combined to make them believe that their ambition had to recognise no limits short of the absolute dominion of the world. This idea is clearly expressed in every page of the Imago; and they struggled hard to realise it. Had the Jesuits united to this consciousness, and to the superlative force of will and perseverance which is characteristic of their order, the conception of some great and magnanimous object, which drew upon itself the interest and admiration of the multitude; and had they by bold and unequivocal conduct contrived to carry into execution the lofty design,—who knows what might have not been accomplished by a society so strongly and so admirably constituted? Such as they were, however, their influence became greater and greater every day.[266] As when of two royal pretenders to a noble kingdom, the conqueror sees the crowd of his courtiers increased, not only by all those prudent persons who had waited for the result of the contest, but by a part of his former adversaries, now the most submissive and humble of all his flatterers; so the Jesuits, after they had mastered all opposition, and were in possession of power, saw themselves surrounded by a multitude of adherents and courtiers, eager to obtain their all-powerful influence. When to be a Jesuit became an honour, and the shortest way to ecclesiastical and secular dignities, persons of every sort, and especially such as were ambitious, resorted to the Society, to find the means of satisfying their several aspirations. Before Vitelleschi, the nobility had protected the Jesuits, but few of them had embraced the institute; but afterwards, the highest families in Europe, princely houses not excepted, had a representative in the Company, who gave to the order a new prestige, and imparted to it the love and veneration with which his name was regarded by the people. The houses of Lorraine, Montmorency, those of Gonzaga and Orsini, Medina-Sidonia and Abouquerque, Limberg, and Cassimir of Poland, and a thousand other great and illustrious families, respectively contributed members to the order of the Jesuits.

Our space will not allow us to enter into details, and to follow the Jesuits step by step in their prosperous course. Let it suffice that we have shewn how the Society developed itself by degrees, and by what means it arrived at the pinnacle of power and greatness. We shall now proceed to shew, in its principal facts, what use the Jesuits made of their ill-gotten influence.

As we have already said, France was now the chief seat of their power, and the field where they reaped their laurels. Under Louis XIII., or, to speak more correctly, under Richelieu, they could not pretend to a[267] great share of authority. The despotic cardinal will only have them as his tools. He will protect them; he will go with his royal slave to lay the first stone of a Jesuit edifice in a faubourg of Paris (St Antoine), but he will cause to be condemned and burnt by the hands of the hangman, the books of Keller and Santarelli, that exalt the papal above the royal authority, which Richelieu considered his own. Cardinal Mazzarini was as little disposed as his predecessor to tolerate any rival domineering influence; and during his administration, the Jesuits had no considerable part in the public affairs. If Mazzarini shewed them some kindness, and afforded them his protection, it was because he wanted their support in opposition to the Jansenists, the partisans of the Cardinal of Metz, Archbishop of Paris, and Mazzarini’s rival in power and in gallant intrigues. But when Louis XIV., on reaching his twentieth year, assumed the government of his kingdom, then really began the reign of the Jesuits. Not that the man who entered the Parliament in his hunting apparel, with his whip in his hand, and was accustomed to say, L’état c’est moi, was much disposed to act by the advice and under the influence of other persons; yet the Jesuits had a great share in all the great events of his reign.

Louis had a Jesuit confessor from his childhood,[255] who, by insidious and daily-repeated insinuations, had rendered him a fanatical bigot, and made him believe that the greatest glory he could achieve would be the upholding of the Popish religion. In this point, as indeed in many others, Louis bears a resemblance to Philip II. of Spain. Both gloried in the appellation of champions of Popery, both had its persecuting spirit, both sacrificed the love of their people to the wish to appear most zealous Romanists; yet both, despotic and[268] jealous of their royal prerogative, waged war against their god on earth when he attempted to impugn it. Philip sent Alva, who, having conquered the Papal troops, entered Rome, and obliged the Pope to subscribe his master’s conditions; while Louis took possession of Avignon, threw the Papal nuncio into prison, and obliged every member of the French clergy to subscribe the four articles of the Gallican Church, expressly got up against the pretensions of Rome. With such a man as Louis, the Jesuits could not succeed in gaining their ends but by the most complete subjection to his orders or caprices. So, accommodating themselves at once to the prince’s character, there was no mark of devotion and servility which they did not shew to him. They supported him in his schism against the Pope, subscribed the articles of the Gallican Church, and refused to publish the bull of excommunication the former had fulminated against the first-born of the Church of Rome,[256] persuading him, however, that he would always remain a good Roman Catholic while they confessed and absolved him. They praised him for his military achievements, and encouraged him in his profligacy, taking great care to abandon the former mistress the moment they saw the inclination of the prince directed towards a new one. For these criminal compliances, they obtained, in exchange, full liberty to persecute the Jansenists and Protestants to their hearts’ content.

The Jansenists were the first who experienced the vindictive hatred of the progeny of Loyola; not because they were considered more dangerous heretics than the Huguenots, but because they had dared to attack the Order openly; because the Provincial Letters had covered it with shame and confusion, and because the most considerable among them were related to that Arnauld who first opposed its establishment in France, and declared its members to be the[269] accomplices of the crime of Jacques Clement. We insist upon that point, because it shews one of the most prominent characteristics of Jesuitism, never to forgive an injury, and to persecute the remotest descendants for the offences they may have received from their ancestors.

It would require volumes to relate all the persecutions to which the inhabitants of Port-Royal were subjected. Hardly had Louis assumed the reins of government than, at the instigation of the Jesuits, he convened an assembly of bishops, and declared his intention to extirpate the Jansenists. The crafty and unscrupulous De Marca, Archbishop of Toulouse, prepared a formula to the following effect:—

“I sincerely submit to the Constitution of Pope Innocent X., of May 31, 1653, according to its true sense, as defined by the Constitution of our holy Father, Pope Alexander VII., of October 16, 1656.[257] I acknowledge myself bound in conscience to obey this Constitution, and I condemn, from my heart and with my mouth, the doctrine of the five propositions of Cornelius Jansenius, which are contained in the book of Augustinus, which both the popes and the bishops have condemned; and the doctrine of St Augustine is not that which Jansenius has falsely set forth, and contrary to the true sense of the holy doctor.” All the clergy, and all persons who were in any way engaged in the tuition of youth, were required to subscribe this formula, and the most severe persecution awaited those who refused to do so. Neither the pure and uncontaminated life of those nuns of whom Bossuet himself said that they were “as pure as angels,” nor the learning, the piety, the austere and exemplary conduct of De Lacy, Arnauld, Nicole, and a hundred others, were a sufficient protection against[270] the persecuting spirit of the Jesuits. Those noble and magnanimous men were dragged from their peaceable retreat, and sent to pine away their lives either in foreign lands or in the dungeons of the Bastille, of which the very passages were crowded with prisoners. Yet the noble resistance of the nuns could not be overcome, and the persecutors could only have amends of Port-Royal by levelling it to the ground.

Père La Chaise.


Fiercer and more sanguinary was the persecution exercised upon the Huguenots, who were very numerous in France at this epoch. Henry IV., after his cowardly apostasy, in order to pacify and calm his Calvinist subjects, had, in 1598, by an edict dated from Nantes, the principal town of Brittany, insured to them the free exercise of their religion; leaving in their hands some strong places as a warranty. This edict had afterwards been disregarded by the French Government on many occasions, and Richelieu almost hazarded the throne in reducing Rochelle, the stronghold of the Calvinists; yet no sanguinary measures were resorted to, from purely religious motives, and the Huguenots lived, we may say, almost unmolested. But after 1660, numberless and incessant petty persecutions, or tracasseries, must have made those Protestants aware of their impending ruin. The Jesuit Lachaise was the principal instrument of all the cruelties exercised afterwards upon them. This Lachaise was a relation of the famous Father Cotton, and confessor to the king. He was the very personification of Jesuitism—handsome, polite, courteous, pleasing in his manners, it seemed as if his whole care were directed to captivate the love of all sorts of persons; he was never heard to utter a word of dissatisfaction against any one. S. Simon says of him, “Il était fort Jesuite—but polite, and without rage;” and Duclos affirms that “he knew how to irritate or calm the conscience of his penitents always with a view to his own interests;” and that, “though he had been a fierce persecutor of every[271] party opposed to his own, he always spoke of them with great moderation.” He became the king’s confessor in 1675, and, by the most skilful and adroit flattery, acquired a great ascendancy over him. But do not imagine that he forgot his Jesuitical cunning. The profligacy and the continual state of adultery in which Louis lived was too great a scandal to be overlooked by such a pious man as Lachaise pretended to be. Sometimes he got angry with his royal penitent, and denied him absolution. “The solemnity of Easter” (the time in which the confession is obligatory), says S. Simon, “gave him the political colic during the king’s passion for Madame de Montespan;” and Crétineau says that “he would not absolve the king, but sent him another Jesuit, who bravely absolved him.” Such was the man who undertook to extirpate the Huguenots.

In 1685 appeared the proclamation which recalled the Edict of Nantes, La révocation de l’édit de Nantes, and from that moment the poor Calvinists were consigned to the tender mercies of the ferocious Jesuits, who, with the help of the dragoons and the lowest of the populace, renewed the horrible scenes of St Bartholomew, carrying the rage of fanaticism and revenge so far as to exhume the buried bodies of the murdered victims, and throw them into the common sewers. How many thousand industrious families were driven naked and penniless into foreign lands! how many children were made orphans! how many decrepid old men were left without a child or descendant to close their eyes! Alas! let us draw a veil over the infernal saturnalia.

Lachaise became now a most important personage of the court of Louis. The king had built for this monk—who, though he made a vow of poverty, never travelled but in a coach and six—a magnificent house surrounded by a garden,[258] where the humble disciple of[272] Loyola received his courtiers and flatterers, and where he freely distributed lettres de cachet.[259] He was the arbiter between Fenelon and Bossuet, between Montespan and Maintenon, between the sovereign and his clergy. It was Lachaise who united by a secret marriage the great king and the governess of his illegitimate children; but Madame de Maintenon never forgave him that he had not obliged his royal penitent to acknowledge her publicly as his wedded queen. But all the influence he exercised was nothing compared to the exorbitant and almost royal power which he possessed as king’s confessor. La feuille des bénéfices, that is, the right of disposing of all the livings of all the bishoprics in the kingdom, was attached to the office.[260] One may well imagine that Lachaise, who, as St Simon says, was fort Jesuite, was not very sparing in conferring rich benefices upon his own order. But a still greater advantage resulted to the Society from the subjection in which they held the French clergy, who, depending exclusively on a Jesuit for favours and advancement, renounced the opposition they had formerly shewn to the Company, and became the most humble and flattering adherents of the fathers. Even the Sorbonne, that fiery opponent, became the supporter of the Society.

To the pleasing and polite Lachaise, in 1709, succeeded[273] as confessor the gloomy Letellier. He was cruel, ardent, and inflexible in his enmities, reserved, mysterious, and cunning in his dark projects,[261] concealing always the violence of his passions under a cold and impassive exterior. His predecessor had left him little to do in the way of wholesale persecution and massacre. The Huguenots had been murdered by thousands, and three hundred thousand Calvinist families had fled from their unrelenting enemies. The Jansenists had been in part disbanded, and death had removed from the contest the Pascals, the Nicoles, the[274] De Lacys, and the whole of the Arnauld family. Only a few nuns, who could no more receive novices or pupils, and with whom, therefore, their order must necessarily be extinguished, remained in the monastery of Port-Royal for the ferocious Letellier. He sent thither a troop of rough and licentious soldiers, who dragged those delicate and feeble women from their abode, and conducted them prisoners as obstinate heretics, to be confined in different monasteries. Yet the dwelling which those sainted nuns had occupied, the church where they had worshipped the Lord, the tombs where many of them lay, and which they had sought in the hope to be delivered from their persecutors, and there to rest their wearied bodies in peace, still remained untouched. Letellier, to glut his revenge, turned his rage against their glorious monuments, had the monastery and church pulled down; and, violating with Vandalic ferocity the asylum of the dead, he caused the bodies to be exhumed and thrown together in a heap, to be devoured by the dogs, and had the plough driven over the sacred edifice.[262]

After such examples as these, it is unnecessary to add more to shew the influence the Jesuits possessed in France, and the abominable use they made of it. We have gone beyond the epoch we have prefixed to this chapter, the facts we have last reported having occurred in 1709, 1711, and 1713. And we have done so, because these events mark the time from which the power of the Jesuits began in France to decline from its ascendancy.

Let us now see what was the conduct and the influence of the Jesuits in other countries.

In Spain, the affairs of the Order were in the most flourishing condition. Their revenues amounted to a very considerable sum. The authority they possessed was almost unlimited. Philip III., who had loaded them with benefices, expired on the arm of a Jesuit;[275] and hardly had Philip IV. taken the government into his own hands than he showered down upon the Society still greater favours than his predecessor.[263] He encouraged his subjects to build colleges for them; and many bishops and noblemen, to please the sovereign, vied with each other in endowing the Society with richly provided establishments, and in investing them with all power and influence. But it seems that when the haughty and imperious Olivarez possessed himself of the supreme power, he ruled with such a despotic hand both king and kingdom, that very little share of authority or influence was left to the reverend fathers. Inde iræ. The affront must be resented, and, although it was rather difficult to attack openly in Spain either the premier or the monarch, surrounded as he was by the devotion and the love of his subjects, yet the Jesuits were not the men to suffer patiently what they considered an injury. They then thought of snatching from the hands of Philip that same sceptre of Portugal which they had placed in the hands of his grandfather. They accordingly set themselves to work, and formed a conspiracy to transfer the crown to the head of the Duke of Braganza. The pulpit, the confessional, the congregations, were all made to subserve their designs; and the minds of the people being sufficiently prepared, they caused the duke to repair to Evora. He took up his abode in the Jesuit college; and when he descended into the church, thronged with people, Corea, a Jesuit father, addressing the duke from the pulpit, exclaimed, “I shall yet see upon your head the crown——of glory, to which may the Lord call us all!”[264] The church rung with plaudits at this well-managed réticence; and the mysterious prediction passed from the church to the street, and from thence throughout Portugal, to strengthen the hopes and inflame the courage of the Portuguese, already impatient[276] to shake off the Spanish yoke. From that moment the conspiracy made rapid progress. The fathers publicly preached the revolt, without, however, altogether forgetting their Jesuitical duplicity. The provincial forbade all his subordinates to mix in political matters, and even imprisoned one of them for having from the pulpit too openly exhorted the citizens to rebel. But the greatest part of the fathers disregarded the order of their superior, who, nevertheless, except in the instance just mentioned, left them unpunished, and in the evening sat down with them at the same table as friendly as ever—a policy which, we must observe, was adopted by the fathers in all doubtful emergencies, in order that, on whichever side the scales declined, there might be a portion of the Jesuits claiming the merit of fidelity, and screening the others from the conqueror’s resentment.

Crétineau confesses frankly that the Jesuits had been the soul of the revolution, and says, “The Duchess of Braganza hoped to make her duke king, even against his own will; but it was necessary to obtain the co-operation, or at least the neutrality, of the Jesuits.”[265] The efforts of the Jesuits were crowned with success. In 1640 a revolution broke out at Lisbon, and was successful. “The house of Braganza did not forget what it owed to the Jesuits for the past and the present; and wishing, through them, to make sure of the future, it awarded to them unlimited influence. The Jesuits were the first ambassadors of John IV.”[266] After those very explicit words, let the Jesuits assert that they are a religious community, detached entirely from worldly interest, and merely occupied in the salvation of souls. It has been asserted that the Jesuits, besides being animated by hatred to Olivarez, were induced to co-operate in the revolution by the instigation and perhaps by the liberal promises of Richelieu, who, as everybody[277] knows, was anxious by every possible means to harass and enfeeble the rival house of Austria. However this was, the Jesuits became the almost absolute masters of Portugal. Nothing was done without their consent. No minister would take any important step without first consulting the Jesuits and obtaining their permission. Lisbon became the seat of their extensive commercial operations, and the centre of their trade between Europe and the Indies; and Ranke says that the Portuguese ambassadors were empowered to draw upon the Jesuits of Portugal for considerable sums. And, strange to say, they at the same time enjoyed some influence in Spain under Philip IV.; and this appears to have increased to such an extent under Charles II., that the testament by which this monarch named a grandson of Louis XIV. to the throne of Spain, was dictated, it is asserted, by the Jesuits.

Here we are led to make a remark which will serve to illustrate the true spirit of Jesuitism. In the fifth general congregation was passed a decree forbidding all Jesuits to mix in any way in political or secular matters; and by the eighty-fourth decree of the sixth general congregation, all operations which have any appearance of being commercial are strictly forbidden to the members of the Society. Notwithstanding these decrees, the Jesuits dispose of the destinies of kingdoms almost at their pleasure, and are the earliest bankers in Europe. The General, who is armed by the Constitution with almost unlimited powers to punish the infraction of his orders, and who can dismiss the delinquent at any time he chooses, not only remains silent when such transgressions are committed, but connives at, and even encourages them, by raising those members who are the most skilful in political affairs to the most important offices in the Society, and by himself using and disposing of that money which has been acquired by a manifest breach of the Constitution.

For what purpose, then, those decrees, if they are[278] not to be observed? What was the purpose contemplated by their framers, we cannot say, but the use the Society makes of them is a very simple one. When they are accused of mixing in political matters or commercial speculations, they answer: “This cannot be; the Constitutions or the decrees expressly forbid such things.” Thus, for example, Crétineau, after mentioning the decree which forbids any sort of operation of a commercial nature, adds, “This is the answer to the partial criticisms and interested injustice of those who will endeavour to attribute to the great work of the missions a sordid cupidity of lucre.”[267] We admire the boldness, not to say the impudence, of this panegyrist of the Order.

All throughout Germany the Jesuits spread desolation and misery whenever the cause of truth and freedom was overcome by the superior material force of despotism and bigotry. “They were the most able auxiliaries of Ferdinand in destroying the Protestants; they were in the imperial cabinet, in his armies, among the defeated sectarians, and they even dared to penetrate into the camp of the Lutherans”[268] (as spies, no doubt). The Jesuits had formed Tilly, Wallenstein, and Piccolomini, the three champions of the Catholic cause in the Thirty Years’ War.

“They (the Jesuits) accompanied the armies in their march, they followed them to the battle-field; and after the victory, they disputed with the Croats the fate of the prisoners of the day.”[269] Such is the version of their historian. How far from the truth! It is unquestionable that they had formed the three champions, and worthy of their masters did they prove by their spirit of revenge and persecution. But it is an impudent falsehood that the Jesuits interposed (as their calling made it their duty) betwixt the executioner and the victim, betwixt the sacred laws of humanity and the barbarous laws of war. No. On the contrary,[279] they preached the extermination of the Protestants, and gave out that no work was so meritorious in the eyes of God as to kill those accursed heretics. They did not calm, but rather excited, the ferocious passions of their pupils the generals, and, above all, of Tilly, over whom they possessed a very great influence. Once, after the battle of Strato, in Munster, I believe the voice of the Jesuits was added to that of the citizens in imploring mercy for some hundreds of unfortunate prisoners on the point of being mercilessly put to the sword; and this single and exceptional instance, whether the act of some human and compassionate persons, or of cunning rogues eager to win for the Order an unmerited reputation for clemency, is reported by the Jesuits as a general practice: while the many acts of brutal Vandalism and revenge perpetrated under their very eyes, and at their instigation, when they cannot be denied, are laid to the account of others. This is a historical truth.

Nor were they disinterested persecutors. They fought here, as elsewhere, not for their faith or their Church, but for their idol—the Order. Let them speak for themselves:—“Corvin Gosiewsky, Palatine of Smolensk, met Gustavus Adolphus near the Dunamunde, defeated him, and, to consecrate the remembrance of this day, he founded a Jesuit house in the town he had delivered. Every victory of that Palatine was for the Jesuits a new mission,”[270] which means the erection of a new house or college. The greatest part of the properties of which the Protestants were iniquitously divested went to enrich the covetous and insatiable disciples of Loyola. The Pope, usurping the right of disposing of those properties, only because they had once belonged to the clergy, by a decree, ordered “that a part of the property which had been recovered be employed in erecting seminaries, boarding-schools, and colleges, as well for the Jesuits who[280] have been the principal authors of the imperial proclamation,[271] as for other religious orders;”[272] which last clause was of course rendered illusory, the Jesuits possessing themselves of whatever portion of those properties was set apart for the aforesaid purpose of building houses and colleges.

We have already seen what influence the Jesuits had acquired in Poland, under Sigismund III., in whose reign “a systematic war of popular riots, excited by the Jesuits or their tools, was begun against the Protestants.”[273] In fact, their temples were overthrown, their burial-grounds profaned, their properties destroyed, their persons injured, and no redress whatever was given or could be expected from judges and magistrates appointed at the recommendation of the Jesuits. Their pupils not unfrequently celebrated Ascension-day by assaulting those of the evangelical persuasion, breaking into their houses, plundering and destroying their property. Woe to the Protestant whom they could seize in his house, or whom they even met on the streets on these occasions!

The evangelical church of Cracow was attacked in the year 1606, and in the following year the church was furiously stormed, the dead being torn from their graves; in 1611, the church of the Protestants in Wilna shared the same fate, and its ministers were maltreated or murdered. In 1615, a book appeared in Posen, which maintained that the Protestants had no right to dwell in that city. In the following year, the pupils of the Jesuits destroyed the Bohemian church so completely, that they left[281] no stone remaining upon another, and the Lutheran church was burnt. The same things occurred in other places; and in some instances the Protestants were compelled by continual attacks to give up their churches. Nor did they long confine their assaults to the towns; the students of Cracow proceeded to burn the churches of the neighbouring districts. In Podlachia, an aged evangelical minister named Barkow was walking before his carriage, leaning on his staff, when a Polish nobleman approaching from the opposite direction, commanded his coachman to drive directly over him; before the old man could move out of the way, he was struck down, and died from the injuries he received.[274]

The University of Cracow, writing to that of Louvain, and referring to one of those expeditions against the Protestants, headed by Jesuits, in 1621, expresses itself as follows: “The Jesuits are very cunning, expert in a thousand artifices, and clever at feigning simplicity; but they were the cause of much innocent blood being shed. The town (Cracow) was deluged with it. The fathers were never satiated with murders, only the arms of those ruffians whom they employed for their crimes were tired; they were moved with compassion, and refused at last to proceed in the massacre.”[275] Indeed, the fiery spirit of intolerance and bigotry which the Jesuits had diffused was so strong and universal, that even Wladislau, Sigismund’s successor, notwithstanding all his efforts, could not arrest the religious persecution and protect his Protestant subjects from the sanguinary fury of the Papists. It is true that Sigismund, in following the Jesuits’ directions, and in attempting to re-introduce Romanism into all his dominions, had lost his hereditary kingdom of Sweden and the magnificent province of Livonia;[282] but that was nothing to the fathers. Protestantism was broken, their opponents were despised or sacrificed, their houses and colleges had received great additional revenues—what did they care for the losses of others?

On the premature death of Wladislau, his brother Cassimir ascended the throne of Poland. He had been a Jesuit, and had sat in the College of Cardinals. The Pope, that he might assume the sceptre, had granted him a dispensation from all his vows. This Jesuit king, by his bad conduct and cowardice, very nigh lost his kingdom; and when his subjects recovered it from the hand of the imperious Charles Gustavus, king of Sweden, he, in gratitude for that fidelity and gallantry, “committed himself and the kingdom to the care of the Virgin Mary, and vowed to convert the heretics;” which meant, says Krasinski, to disperse and extirpate them.

The Jesuits triumphed. We shall not follow those pitiless and relentless monks in all the iniquities they committed, in all the miseries they inflicted on poor Poland, which owes in great part to them the loss of her literature, of her glory, and, in part, of her national existence.

Much has been said and written about the conversion to Romanism, by the Jesuits, of Christina, the daughter of the heroic Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden. But as this event did not produce any material change on that country, we shall be very brief in our account of it. No doubt, the Jesuits had a great share in bringing that capricious and haughty woman into the pale of the Roman Church. The sad glory belongs to Macedo, confessor to the Portuguese ambassador at the court of Sweden. He persuaded her to seek rest to her disquieted mind in the unchanged and unchangeable doctrines of Rome. By her order, Macedo went to Rome to ask the General of the Jesuits to send her some of the most trusted members[283] of the order.[276] Some time after, two very handsome and young Italian noblemen, travelling, as they gave out, for their improvement, arrived at the Swedish court, and were introduced to the queen, and admitted to the royal table. In these two very pleasing young men were to be recognised two Jesuits, sent by the General; and these, being admitted to secret interviews with the princess, achieved the work begun by Macedo. Christina, on her conversion, renounced the crown, and went to Rome to worship on his own pedestal of pride the idol which the bigoted Papists adore in the place of God the Lord.

We must now return to examine the conduct of the Jesuits in England, and we could wish that we were spared the task; for, in connexion with their plots and crimes, we shall have to speak of the shameful and unchristian proceedings of their opponents, which were such as we cannot think of without sadness, and which convey but a poor idea of the goodness of human nature when acting under the influence of exciting passions. By the one party, the conception of a most abominable and infernal crime is extolled as a meritorious and heroic action; while the other, to punish the intended crime, violates the most sacred laws of justice and humanity.

There is no event in the annals of any nation, the memory of which has been so carefully perpetuated as has been in England the gunpowder plot. It is the first page of the national history which is taught to children by its annual commemoration every fifth of November. We therefore shall relate of it only so much as is necessary to demonstrate the part in it that may be attributed to the Jesuits. Here, as in the affair of Campion, it is rather difficult, amidst the many contradictory versions and documents, to arrive at a clear and satisfactory conclusion regarding the degree of culpability of the accused. We shall neither credit[284] the apologists of the Jesuits, Eudemon and Bellarmine,[277] nor Abbott’s Antologia, and the assertions of James VI. himself, who, forgetting the dignity of a king, entered the lists to shew his pedantic learning and love of controversy. Instead of filling hundreds of pages with contradictory quotations, we shall frankly state the conclusions to which we have come after a careful examination of what has been written on the subject.[278]

That the Jesuits were from first to last the contrivers of all the machinations against Elizabeth and James, is an incontestable fact, and we have in part proved it. The notorious and unrelenting Parson, who, after he fled from England, became rector of the English college in Rome, and possessed very great influence at the Papal court, was the chief instigator of these plots. During Elizabeth’s lifetime, he had had the idea of unceremoniously disposing of the English crown in favour of the Duke of Parma, or of Cardinal Farnese, his brother; a ridiculous and absurd project of a fanatic conspirator, which was ridiculed at the time, by Pasquino,[279] in these words: “If any man will buy the kingdom of England, let him repair to a merchant with a black square cap, in the city, and he shall have a very good pennyworth of it.”[280] It was Parson, and his brethren the Jesuits, who obtained from Paul V., against the representation of Henry IV. of France, the bull which[285] forbade all the Roman Catholics to take the oath of allegiance, and which produced so many miseries. It was he, too, who constrained the Pope to disgrace the arch-priest Blackwell for having taken it, and who compelled the secular priests to become rebels and victims against their own will; which circumstance elicited from them the memorial to the Pope which we have reported at p. 163. But, that no doubt may remain about it, listen to the ingenuous Crétineau, who, enumerating the benefits rendered by the Jesuits to Romanism, says, “Have they not preserved in England the germ (of Popery) which is now developing itself with such vigour, and which in Ireland, after three hundred years of martyrdom, BECAME A LEGITIMATE REVOLUTION?”[281] No words can prove better than these that the Jesuits were constantly and actively employed in Great Britain in propagating Romanism, a doctrine which, according to them, confers upon the Pope the right of supremacy, of disposing of the crown at his pleasure, and of releasing the subjects from their allegiance to a heretic sovereign, and which, consequently, amounts to high treason. In this aspect alone can be in part excused those sanguinary laws of persecution and tyranny enacted in the reigns of Elizabeth and James against the Roman Catholics. We insist upon this consideration.

Now, in the particular case which we are examining—the gunpowder plot—we believe that Catesby and Percy, at first, contrived the plot without the knowledge or participation of the Jesuits, as it is not denied that afterwards Gerard, Tezmund alias Greenwall, and Garnet, were made acquainted with it in all its horrid details. The whole question regarding Garnet, who alone suffered for the conspiracy, has hitherto amounted to this—whether he knew of it in[286] any other way than as it was revealed to him by Father Gerard, under the seal of confession. And the Jesuits and Papists insist upon this point, pretending that, in such a case, Garnet could not reveal the conspiracy without committing sacrilege. To speak the truth, we are inclined to believe that he, literally speaking, did not know of it otherwise; and these are the reasons why we believe so. Garnet was not, like Parson, a bold and daring partisan, capable of braving any danger, of attempting any enterprise. He was a very poor conspirator, in no way disposed to earn the palm of martyrdom. Catesby, who had been his associate in the plots during the reign of Elizabeth, must have known him well, so that he and the other conspirators did not trust him at first even with their confession. It was Greenway who, in our opinion, violated the seal of confession by apprising his superior of what was going on. It is not improbable, then, that when afterwards Catesby proposed to disclose to him the whole plan of the plot, Garnet, who had nothing to learn, refused to listen to him, in order that, in case of ill-success, he might not be accused of being an accomplice. That all the Jesuits approved of the plot and wished it success, there is very little doubt, and we even believe that, without speaking openly to the point, Garnet must have indirectly, by cunning, adroit insinuations, encouraged the conspirators to consummate the horrible crime. It is a fact deponed by Bates, and indubitably proved, that Garnet and the other two Jesuits had frequent interviews with Catesby and the other conspirators some few days before that which had been fixed upon for the execution of the plot; and we do not hesitate to say, that had Garnet wished to deter the conspirators from their infernal projects, he might have found a thousand ways of doing so without at all betraying the secrets of the confessional. But suppose that, as we have said, Garnet and Greenway did not know of the conspiracy[287] except under the seal of confession, and that they in no way encouraged and abetted it, yet we cannot acquit them of the charge of being accomplices in the crime.

We have related at p. 140 that at Grenada the Jesuits had propounded a doctrine that there are circumstances in which the confessor may oblige his penitent to discover his accomplices or permit him to inform the competent authorities of the crime. It is true that the crime specified was heresy, but we think that the same may be said of murder or any other crime, and that that doctrine which is good at Grenada must be equally good in England. But let that pass, and let us proceed. The conspirators, at least five of them, declared to the confessor, that they were meditating a horrible crime, that they were taking measures to accomplish it, and that they were sure of success. The confessor granted them absolution, and another Jesuit administered to them the communion. Now, the indispensable condition of the validity of absolution from a sin, is, that the penitent feel repentance or contrition for having committed it. How then could Father Greenway absolve the conspirators from a crime of which they not only did not repent, but which they were proceeding at all hazards to perpetrate? The evil spirit himself expounds this doctrine to the unfortunate Guido, to whom he proves that the absolution he had received from the Pope from a sin he had not yet committed was null.

“No power can the impenitent absolve,
Nor to repent and will at once consist,
By contradiction absolute forbid.”[282]

We conclude from this, that either your confession is merely a snare to entrap fools, or that Greenway considered the conspiracy not a hellish crime, but a meritorious deed!


But we have a still more stringent argument. Suppose that, following some of their probable opinions, the Jesuits thought that they were obliged to absolve the miscreants, and that their ministry obliged them faithfully to keep the secret, had they not the Pope, the omnipotent Pope to apply to, to absolve them from that obligation? Is there any precept, any sacrament, any law human or divine, from the fulfilment of which, according to their doctrine, the Pope cannot grant a dispensation? If there is any, let it be pointed out, and we shall absolve them. But if they cannot deny that the Pope could have released them from the secrecy of confession, and if they cannot prove that they asked such dispensation, it is evident that they did not wish to prevent the crime. And if this was connivance, and if this connivance was a capital crime, then their condemnation was undoubtedly a legal and just sentence, and they met with nothing but deserved punishment. We wonder that James, who was so well versed in theological controversies, did not find out any of these arguments, which would certainly have furnished more plausible grounds for a condemnation than the equivocal confession wrung from the Jesuits by the contrivance of ignoble and disgraceful snares. For if we unreservedly condemn the Jesuits, we exclaim with equal energy against the proceedings of their adversaries. All the forms of justice, all the laws of humanity, were scandalously violated. Garnet is confined in a prison, repeatedly interrogated, and, in order that he may betray himself, assured that his accomplice Father Greenway has been arrested, and that he has confessed everything. Then, after he has been long in a dungeon alone, a jailor, pretending to be touched with compassion, tells the desolate man, that another Jesuit is close by, and that he can converse with, and even see him; and opens a door through which the two friends can see each other. The manner in which his secrets were surprised; the[289] misconstruction of his words; the interception of letters, which he was assured he might in safety write to his bosom friends; the strange imputation of roguery, because he did not consent to accuse himself, in clear and precise words; the promises which were held out to him and never kept; and, above all, the protracted, cruel, and inhuman moral torture which was inflicted upon him on the scaffold;[283] all deserve our severe and unconditional censure. Thank God! in England at least we are now far from those cruel times of injustice and fanaticism, and we sincerely hope we shall never see them back again.

The Jesuits were not appalled nor discouraged by the execution of Garnet, nor by that of Oldcorne, who had suffered at Worcester some days before.[284] We find them in almost all the conspiracies which were got up to impede the regular march of the government, and we find from time to time severe and inquisitorial laws enacted against them, some of which forbade them to set foot in England, under penalty of death. It is an incontestable fact, that the Jesuits, by their turbulent and treacherous conduct, were the cause of most of the rigorous measures taken by the government against the Roman Catholics, who ought therefore to consider those crafty monks as their most bitter enemies. Another inference may be drawn from what we have related, namely—that no danger, not even that of death, can deter a Jesuit from following out his projects, when once they are considered to be profitable to the Order, or necessary to avenge it of its enemies. The moment they could return from exile, the instant they were set free from[290] dangers or untied from the rack, they returned to their plots and intrigues with unabated ardour and most wonderful obstinacy. A striking instance of this was furnished by the Jesuit Fischer, who, the moment he was liberated from the tower, undertook to convert to Catholicism the mother of the brilliant Buckingham, who did in fact abjure Protestantism, and, in union with France and Spain, contrived to render less cruel the laws of proscription against the Catholics.[285]

During the fatal struggle which Charles I. maintained against the Parliament, the Jesuits publicly and openly took part with the cavaliers, because Charles was evidently much better disposed towards them than were the Puritans. It is evident that, by shewing their devotedness to the king, if the contest had ended in his favour, they might not only have hoped for the free exercise of their religion, but for a considerable share of influence over him. But a very grave accusation was brought against them, which, if true, would shew them guilty of the most diabolical iniquity. We have no proofs to establish this accusation, which was produced some years after the event; but, if we are to declare our own conviction, we firmly believe them guilty; not because we credit in all its parts the narrative of Jurieu, but for the reasons we are about to give. Jurieu relates that the Jesuits, to re-establish the Roman Catholic religion, thought that it would be necessary that Charles, then prisoner, should fall, and the monarchy along with him. In consequence, eighteen of them, headed by a lord of the realm, went to Rome to consult the Pope. The matter was discussed in secret assemblies, and it was decided that it was lawful that Charles should die. The deputies, on their return from Rome, shewed to the Sorbonne[291] the response of the Pope, of which many copies were distributed. The Sorbonne approved. On their return to England, the Jesuits set themselves to work, and sent many of the most ardent Catholics among the Independents, dissembling their religion, to inflame still more their passions, and push things to extremities. Their scheme having failed, they wished to have back the copies of the consultation of the Pope and the Sorbonne; but the priest who before abjuring Protestantism had been Charles’s confessor, and who was intimate with the Jesuits, would not give up his copy, and, after the return of the Stuarts, shewed it to many persons who were still living, and could afford actual evidence of the reality of what he narrated.[286]

This statement, literally taken, does not stand examination, and Crétineau, who reports it, triumphantly exclaims, that this manner of writing history renders all discussion impossible.[287] No, certainly not; such infernal projects as to drive the king to extremities, and make the king’s head fall for the fulfilment of their designs, if formed, were neither publicly nor secretly discussed at the Court of Rome in the presence of eighteen Jesuits and a lord, and much less was the conclusion they came to, and their approval of the project, put in writing and freely distributed: we readily acquit them of such foolish contrivances. But, knowing as we do the arts of the Loyolan brotherhood, we repeat that we firmly believe that it is more than probable that the Jesuits did mix among the Roundheads and excite their fanaticism to frenzy. I have recorded (page 171) an almost similar fact which appeared under our own eyes in Rome. And I must further add, that all the more virulent men who, in the beginning of Pius IX.’s reign, were proposing[292] the most daring and extravagant measures, were afterwards discovered to be either in the pay of the fathers, or to be the unconscious tools of their secret agency.

Discouraged a little under Cromwell, the Jesuits took heart again after the restoration of Charles II., and resorted to their usual arts and machinations. If we are to believe what they boast of, it seems that they had plunged into a more dangerous and extensive conspiracy against the Protestant religion and the English liberties than we are aware of. “A secret treaty,” says Crétineau, “had been signed between Louis XIV. and Charles II., to re-establish the Catholic religion in Great Britain. Fathers Annat and Ferrier, successively confessors to the French king, and the English Jesuits, had not been strangers to this negotiation; Colman did not ignore those details, and he spoke of them in his letters to Father Lachaise.”[288] We do not know how far we may credit this assertion; we know that Charles debased himself by asking and receiving money from the French monarch, to whom he betrayed the interests of his allies and of his own kingdom; but, as to having stipulated for the re-establishment of the Romish religion, we would not be bold enough to assert that it was so. However it be, this statement is connected with the famous Popish plot which, in 1678, threw Great Britain into such a state of alarm and excitement, and which, although it was at first the cause of many innocent victims beings sacrificed, ultimately produced an immense and glorious result—the Habeas Corpus Act.

Oates and Bedloe are two names which have come down to posterity abhorred and execrated by every honest man. These infamous and abandoned men accused the Jesuits, the Pope, the Kings of France and Spain, many English noblemen, and some scores of thousands of the English citizens, of a plot so[293] absurd, as to make, in our days, every one ashamed of repeating it. And yet the generality of the common people, and the greater part of the higher classes, at the time believed in its reality. Nothing else was talked of, and all the cares of the government, the activity of the parliament, and the energy of the citizens, were exerted to protect the nation from an imaginary impending ruin. This ought to teach us how the passions and spirit of party deprive us of our right feeling and judgment, and how dangerous it is to give way to the impulse of the moment in times of great commotion. Many noblemen and citizens were arrested upon the deposition of these scoundrels. Many suffered the extreme penalty of the law. Father Ireland, on the deposition of Oates, for which the latter was afterwards condemned for perjury, was sentenced to death and executed; and soon after, the provincial and four other Jesuits met with the same fate upon the same absurd and unjust accusation.

We do not pretend to say, however, that the Jesuits at such an epoch had quite renounced their intrigues and treacherous projects, and were not to be looked after. No; their restless and enterprising spirit rendered, and does still render, them very dangerous, and their conduct in Protestant countries may be said, with justice, to be a permanent conspiracy against the welfare and the interests of all other communities; and they themselves, as we said, confess as much. But they were guiltless of the crime of which they were accused, and for which they suffered. How much more mischief they were the cause of in the reign of the despotic and bigoted James II.! It was at their instigation that this bigoted monarch annulled the test act, imprisoned many Protestant bishops, had as many as four Roman Catholic priests consecrated bishops at a time, and had formed a plan for converting England to the Popish idolatry. Yet all these arbitrary and foolish acts resulted also at last in the great advantage[294] of the English nation. The Jesuits’ influence had grown so powerful under James’s reign, that Father Peter was admitted into the privy council, and we do not hesitate to say, that the favour James shewed to the members of the Company and to the Catholics in general, and the authority they exercised over him, was one of the most efficient causes of raising up the people of England’s feelings of indignation, and to bring them to resolve upon and achieve the glorious Revolution of 1688.



When we reflect that the Jesuits are our fellow-men, that their crimes and iniquities which we are compelled to stigmatise, are in some measure a stain upon the human species, we sincerely rejoice when we find some noble action to record, and when we may write a page of praise and eulogium. We think we have shewn this impartiality in our account of the Indian missions, when, while condemning with all our might the idolatrous practice of later times, we awarded to the first missionaries the praise that was due to their pure and generous intentions, and to their prodigious and unremitting activity. We are placed in much the same predicament in speaking of the American missions, when we find the evil inherent in the spirit of the sect, and in the religion they profess, united with noble and generous endeavours to make the happiness of a barbarous and savage population, by reducing it under benignant and humane laws, and by imparting to it the benefit of Christianity, at least in its effects upon the external conduct and mode of living. No doubt, a Christian Protestant—a man deeply imbued with the true spirit of the gospel, and who abhors any form of worship which consists in mere bodily service—will find much to blame in these missions. No doubt the Jesuits here, as in India,[296] preached and taught superstitious practices and external observances, rather than the sincere devotion of the heart, and the faith to be reposed on the merits of Christ’s blood. No doubt they converted the spiritual and mystic religion of Christ into a sensual worship of material symbols. But, to be just, we think that these reproaches are due to Popery, to the Roman Catholic religion in general, and not to the Jesuits alone, and that we ought not to withhold from them the praise they deserve for any good quality or merits they possess, merely because they are Papists. This would be too invidious, and would render us guilty of capital injustice towards those Romanists or Jesuits who sincerely believe that theirs is the only true religion; and be assured that in all religions, there are some who think thus of their own. On the other hand, the Jesuits are accused of having undertaken these missions solely with a view to their private ends, to aggrandise and enrich the order, and not to advance the interests of religion and the glory of God. This we freely admit, and we have repeatedly said that the Order has always been the ultimate end of their conduct; but to refuse them the merit of having brought a savage population into the pale of civilisation, because they did so for their own private interest, would be the same as to apply the epithet of rogue to a landlord or manufacturer, who treats his dependants with unwonted kindness and humanity, because, by treating them in this manner, he himself receives immense advantage.

Our readers must not infer from what we have just said, that we do not find anything with which to reproach the Jesuits in their American missions. We shall have many things to censure in them, but, on the whole, their proceedings appear to us to be deserving of the greatest praise, and we feel obliged to defend them from the gross abuse which has been indiscriminately poured upon them on this score.


The character of the Western and Eastern missions differ widely, both in the means employed and the results obtained. In East India and China, the principal feature of the missions is the idolatry with which the Jesuits polluted the Christian religion. Having to deal with populations in possession already of more or less civilisation, and deeply imbued with the prejudices of their religion, the Jesuits thought of humouring them in their belief, and sometimes shewed themselves more inclined to idolatry than the pagans they were labouring to convert. Besides, having on one side to contend with the pagan priests, who wanted themselves to work the ignorance and prejudices of the Indians to their own account, and being harassed on the other by the chief of their own religion, who would not admit of any other idolatry than that which was approved by himself, the Jesuits could not obtain in the East Indies any great and permanent result.

Of a quite different character are the missions of America. The Jesuits found there a barbarous and savage population, zealous of their vagabond independence, fierce in their enmities, without any positive notion of a peculiar religion, and, consequently, easy to be subjected to any superior intelligence who should undertake to inculcate upon them no matter what new creed. The chief difficulty there lay in the impossibility of having any intercourse with the persons whose conversion was desired. The Indians, simple and kind when first discovered, had now become ferocious and excessively cunning, having been driven to extremities by the cruel and merciless treatment they had experienced from the rapacious Spaniards, a treatment which had inspired them with mortal hatred against all Christians, and against the very name of Christ, which had been sacrilegiously employed in the massacre of their kinsmen. Yet it was among the same savages, who avoided Europeans more than a ferocious[298] beast, that the Jesuits, without arms or any compulsory means, simply by persuasion and kindness, succeeded in erecting an empire, all the laws of which were based upon the first principles of Christianity. Let us see how they performed such real prodigies.

The Spanish adventurers had brought into conquered America all the vices and the ferocious passions of their Inquisition. It might be said that South America had been transformed into a large inquisitorial tribunal, and that every soldier was an inquisitor and an executioner at the same time. The adventurers, to palliate their crimes, when they murdered the poor, inoffensive Indians, gave out that they did so to honour Christ, whom these obdurate pagans refused to worship. It is not our intention to detail all the crimes of those most Christian assassins, and we shall be contented with saying, that while they butchered tens of thousands of inoffensive people, in endeavouring to convert them to their religion, they succeeded with but very few; and those who, to avoid tortures and death, submitted to be baptized, hated still more than their pagan brethren the very name of Christians.

Ranke gives a very prosperous picture of the state of religion in America, and says, “In the beginning of the sixteenth century we find the proud fabric of the Catholic Church completely erected in South America. It possessed five archbishoprics, twenty-seven bishoprics, four hundred monasteries, and doctrines innumerable.”[289] Now, with all deference to so great a historian, we venture to say, that we admit the veracity of the statement as to the number of monks and monasteries, archbishoprics and bishoprics; but we believe that these establishments were in proportion to the extent of the country, not to the number of Christian inhabitants. Indeed, in every[299] tract of land of which the Europeans had taken possession, there was erected a church, if not for the accommodation of these same Europeans, at least to furnish priests and monks with a pretext to claim a share in the spoils and wealth of the country; but we doubt much that many Indians frequented these churches. The swarms of monks who had flocked to America, finding in the climate a still greater stimulus to their usual propensity to indolence and luxury, indulged in all their vices, and thought only of making converts as far as was necessary to procure some subjects who might enrich their patrons, the soldiers, as well as their monasteries.[290] Such, however, was not the conduct of the Jesuits. There, as in Europe, they wished to be distinguished from other brotherhoods, and affected a more saintly and pious course of life. Concealing their ultimate purposes under the cloak of religion and piety, they spoke of nothing else but of converting infidels, and opposed, in the name of Christ, the sanguinary measures adopted by the conquerors, and approved by other religious communities. Perhaps we are not far from the truth when we assert that the Jesuits adopted a more humane and Christian policy, as well for their private purpose, as to set themselves in opposition to other religious communities. Because, it is a remarkable fact in the history of the Church of Rome, that while every other brotherhood has both friends and foes in the other bodies, the Jesuits alone have none but enemies. However it was, they set themselves to work; and, overlooking for a moment the greater or less holiness of the end they proposed, we repeat, that the means they made use of to acquire a standing among the savages of South America are deserving of the highest encomium.[300] The conquerors of this unfortunate part of the globe, as Robertson remarks, had no other object in view than to rob, to enslave, to exterminate, while the Jesuits established themselves there in the view of humanity. They overran the country to a great extent, and wherever they could find an Indian, they overwhelmed him with so much kindness, shewed him so much affection, spoke so indignantly of the cruelty and avarice of the ferocious conquerors, with so much unction of the mercies of God, that these injured men yielded by degrees to the fascination, and accustomed themselves to look upon a Jesuit as a protector from the oppressions of the other Europeans. And protectors they were, and proved to be. Father Valdiva went purposely to Madrid to obtain from Philip III. orders enjoining officers to treat the poor Indians with a little more humanity, and brought back a decree, that those Indians who had settled within certain precincts ruled by the Jesuits, should neither be reduced to servitude, nor be forced to embrace the Christian religion.[291] In the Tucuman, in Paraguay, in Chili, the Jesuits in their wanderings were making many and devout proselytes, but with no other material advantage to the order except the envy of the other brotherhoods, and the hatred of the Spaniards, whose interests they were damaging. The sagacious and politic Acquaviva perceived at once that this state of things must be mended; and, in consequence, he sent to America, in 1602, a commissioner, who, re-uniting in Salta all the Jesuits dispersed in different countries, apprised them that the General thought it expedient to trace a plan to moderate the eccentricities (écarts) of zeal, and to direct its impetuosity;[292] in other words, to turn such zeal to account. In consequence, it was determined to concentrate all, or at least their greatest efforts, upon a point, and fix there the seat of their power in the New World. After having provided[301] that a sufficient number of the order should remain at the stations throughout all South America, to keep up their schools and colleges, and their commercial establishments, Acquaviva wished that his disciples should employ all their energies in creating a new kingdom which they could call their own.

Paraguay, an immense and most fertile region, was chosen for a site on which to erect this principality, far from any rivalry, and with the view that the subject should know no other master, no other religion, no other God, than those presented to them by the fathers. The undertaking was difficult, and required a great deal of courage, patience, and intrepidity; but the Jesuits proved equal to the task. By degrees, they succeeded in bringing some tribes to listen to them. The Guaranis were the first who had friendly intercourse with the Jesuits, and who were persuaded by them to renounce their wandering and adventurous life, and to taste the sweets of a well-regulated society. Some houses were built under the direction of the fathers. The lay brothers, or temporal coadjutors, were the artisans who supplied them with what was most essential to render life pleasant and comfortable. Above all, the power of music was brought to bear on the vivid mind of those savages, who were charmed by the melody of the sacred songs repeated by the fathers.

The knowledge the Jesuits had of the art of healing wounds and bodily diseases, contributed also in great measure to procure them friends and admirers. Curiosity further favoured their efforts, while it brought the Indians to view what appeared to them such strange things in the Jesuit settlements, after they were sure that they should meet with nothing but kindness and presents. Where at first stood a few isolated houses, soon sprung up a village, which subsequently became a neat and regular little town. The plan traced for these towns was uniform, and very[302] simple. The streets, of one breadth, extended in straight lines, and met in a central square. The church was built in the most conspicuous situation of the village, and was by far the most handsome and decorated building in the town. Near the church were the house of the fathers, the arsenal, and the storehouses. In every village there was also a workhouse, or a sort of penitentiary for bad women.

These villages were known under the general appellation of Reductions, but each of them was distinguished by a proper name. The first which was established was dedicated to the Madonna of Loretto; the second, to St Ignatius; and others to other saints and Madonnas. As early as the year 1632, the Jesuits possessed twenty Reductions, each containing a thousand families. Two Jesuits, the curate and the vicar, were appointed to the management of each Reduction, which they governed with absolute and unquestioned authority. They were the sovereigns, the friends, the physicians, the gods, of those barbarians who consented to live in the Reductions. They partook of their labours, of their amusements, of their joys, of their sorrows. They visited daily every house in which lay a sick person, whom they served as the kindest nurse, and to whom they seemed to be ministering genii. By such conduct they brought this primitive population to idolise them.

It must not be supposed, however, that the Jesuits obtained at once over the ferocious adult Indians a general and absolute power. Even those who had consented to receive baptism, and to live for some time in the Reduction, often deserted it, and disdaining to live that peaceful and comparatively effeminate life, returned to their forests, and to their former life of constant warfare, in search of their enemies, in order to gratify their cannibal appetites. Often they rebelled against the Jesuits’ authority, and not seldom menaced them with utter destruction. But the second generation—those[303] children who were born within the Reduction, and had been brought up by the fathers—shewed themselves the most submissive and devoted of all subjects. Gratitude for the kindness they had experienced, admiration for the superior intelligence and acquirements of their masters, awe for the religion they were taught, fear of punishment and disgrace—all combined to render them faithful and submissive to the fathers.

When once the Jesuits had raised up a generation so devoted and obedient, they then brought into operation their system of government, and made a successful attempt to realise that republic preconceived of old by Plato, and which, with perhaps more interested views, is held out to us by the Socialists of our own day. In fact, their form of a republic was nothing else than that Communism which the famous Cabet is now trying to establish in nearly the same regions; the only difference being, that the Jesuits substituted themselves for the state or community.

The most perfect equality reigned in the Reductions. No mark of distinction, no difference of dress, of house accommodation, or of food, rendered one envious of the lot of another. In every Reduction there were workshops in which were exercised the most useful arts. The moment the boys were able to work, they were sent there to learn the trade to which they felt most strongly inclined, according to a principle to which the Jesuits invariably adhered—“that the art must be guided by nature.” The Jesuit lay brothers, or temporal coadjutors, were the artisans who instructed the youth, and they and the professed members themselves put their hand to the plough, to encourage the Indians in conquering their repugnance to labour the soil. Every family was assigned a portion of ground, which they were obliged to cultivate; and a severe vigilance insured a good cultivation. The women had also their occupations. Every Monday morning[304] they received a certain quantity of wool or cotton, and every Saturday they were required to bring it back ready for the loom. All the produce, of whatever sort, was deposited in large storehouses, and distributed, by the Jesuits, in equal portions to every individual. Even meat was portioned from the public slaughter-houses in the same manner. In the distribution, the greatest attention was paid to the orphan, the helpless, and the superannuated. The surplus of the produce was exported, and partly exchanged for European wares which were wanted in the Reduction; and the remainder, after having paid a piastra (four shillings) for each individual from eighteen to fifty years of age, as a sort of tribute to the King of Spain, remained at the disposal of the fathers. No coin of whatever sort was permitted or known at the Reduction. A spot of ground attached to every house may be said to have constituted the only property belonging to the individual; and this was done to encourage and recompense industry: for, if he made it productive, he reaped all the profits himself, without diminishing the portion he received from the common store. The daily occupations were minutely regulated. There were fixed hours for work, for amusement, for prayers, and an hour was even fixed in the evening after which every person was obliged to return within the wall of his own habitation. Any transgression of any of the established rules met with public corporal punishment; but, in general, the transgressor feared more the anger of the father, than the castigation that awaited him. General suffrage was exercised in its fullest extent; and it was the people who elected their magistrates, and their civil and military officers. All these public functionaries were invariably chosen from the Indians; but, to flatter the pride, or lull the jealousy, of the Spanish king, they were distinguished by the Spanish appellations, Corregidor, Alcalde, &c. The choice of the people was[305] submitted, pro forma at least, to the approval of the Spanish authorities, who, not knowing either electors or candidates, could not but approve of it; but, in reality, the sanction of the Jesuits was indispensable to the validity of the election.

To keep these people in such a state of dependence and submission, the Jesuits had secluded them from the rest of the world. No individual could leave the Reduction without permission, and no European was allowed to visit these Reductions unaccompanied, or to have free intercourse with the inhabitants. The knowledge of any other than the native language was altogether banished, and aversion and prejudices against the Europeans as carefully cherished as in ancient Egypt.

Nor were the Reductions left unprotected against the possible attacks of foreign enemies. All able-bodied men were drilled to arms, and formed into a militia, having its regulations, its officers, its arsenal, its artillery, its ammunition. The officers were chosen by the soldiers; the arms and ammunition, not excepting the cannon, were manufactured in the Reduction, always by, and under the direction of, the Jesuits. On the afternoon of every Sunday, and other holidays, the militia assembled and executed military exercises and evolutions. When that militia was called forth for the service of the Spanish king, “they had always at their head and among their ranks, Jesuits, who prevented all contact with other Indians or with Europeans, and who answered for their virtue before God, as the Indians answered for their courage before men.”[293] Nor, indeed, did they fail in their duty when an occasion presented itself. Tribes of savages often attacked the Reductions, but were met with undoubted courage, and, generally speaking, were repulsed after sustaining severe loss.

But if, on the one hand, the Jesuits cherished among[306] the people distrust and aversion towards strangers, they, on the other hand, diligently inculcated the exercise of hospitality and friendship among the different Reductions. On the great festival days, and especially on the day of the patron saint of any Reduction, the neighbouring ones went thither in solemn procession, and were received with all possible marks of love and friendship.

Such is a sketch of the civil government of the Reductions, and of the kind of life led by the inhabitants. Objections and reproaches, and perhaps not always unfounded, have been raised against such a system. It has been said that the inhabitants of the Reductions were low and abject slaves, led on by the scourge, deprived even of the faculty of thinking, and confined in a perpetual imprisonment, though within a large space. Quinet, with perhaps more eloquence than reason, exclaims, “Are we sure that it (Paraguay) contains the germ of a great empire? Where is the sign of life? Everywhere else, indeed, one hears at least the squalling of the child in the cradle; here, I greatly fear, I confess, that so much silence prevailing in the same place for three ages, is but a bad sign, and that the regime which can so quietly enervate virgin nature, cannot be any other than that which develops Guatmozen and Montezuma.” All this is very well said, and may be in part true. Doubtless, these people were kept in perpetual infancy. Doubtless, nothing great, nothing of a creating stamp, must be expected from them. Doubtless, they did not develop and expand the new element of life imparted to them, as other nations have done who were more left to themselves; nor did they exercise the noblest part of their nature—the intelligence—in that pursuit for which we think man was created—the search after truth. But surely there are nations who have been placed in worse circumstances, and subjected to more disastrous influences, and more deserving our pity and[307] commiseration. Thus, if a nation, that has, through the free exercise of all its faculties and activities, arrived at a high state of civilisation and refinement, should be at once crushed, as France is at the present moment, under the iron hand of despotism, that people would be really miserable, and such doleful lamentations as those of the eloquent ex-professor of the College of France would not in this case be misplaced. But these Americans, who knew nothing of the pleasures of moral and intellectual refinement but what was presented to them by their instructors, and found therein contentment, we do not know how far they deserve to be pitied. Were these people, we ask in our turn, less happy or more miserable than those tens of thousands who wallow in vices of all sorts in the free and civilised towns of Paris and London? Are, then, squalid poverty, the groans of the oppressed, and reckless sensuality, necessary elements of national happiness? These are questions which in our opinion deserve some consideration; and although we think the human race has been destined by the Creator to greater and nobler purposes than the mere enjoyment of a material life; and although we know that humanity must progress in its career, and that this progress cannot be attained without great commotion and great evil, nevertheless, when we contemplate all the miseries which surround our state of civilisation, we freely forgive the Jesuits for having, in one part of the globe, let civilisation and progress sleep a while, to render these poor Indians happy.

Better founded are the charges brought by the pious and zealous against the Jesuits, with respect to the kind of religion they taught to their neophytes. In fact, though we cannot trace any such permanent system of gross idolatry as was practised by the order in the East Indies, nevertheless it is an undeniable fact, that what was taught by them under the name of the pure religion of Christ, was little else[308] than a series of empty forms and superstitious observances, and that the worship which was rendered to God was little better than a continual and motley masquerade, if we may be allowed the expression. We shall not enter into details, the following passage from Crétineau sufficiently shewing what sort of Christians, if they can be called so at all, were those converted by the Jesuits. “Those Indians had a very limited intelligence; they only understood what fell under their senses; and the missionaries were so alarmed at their stupidity, that they asked themselves whether it was possible to admit them to the participation of the sacraments. They consulted, upon this point, the bishops of Peru assembled at Lima, who came to the decision that, baptism excepted, no act of Christian devotion should be imposed upon them, without infinite precautions.”[294] It is true that the panegyrist of the order adds, that the patience of the Jesuits was not discouraged for all this, and that they endeavoured to render them better Christians, and, we even believe, if the man who fulfilled all the imposed external ceremonies may be called a Christian, that they succeeded in their attempt.

However, it seems that the Jesuits had so completely perverted the true spirit of the Christian religion, that even Roman Catholic bishops, who, as every one knows, are not very scrupulous in these matters, were shocked and indignant at their conduct, and made an attempt to put a stop to it. Bernardin of Cardenas, Bishop of Paraguay, and John Palafox, Bishop of Angelopolis, were the most prominent in their efforts to put a stop to the Jesuitical superstitions; but both were unsuccessful; both were worsted in the contest; both were obliged to wander as poor exiles out of their dioceses; and both were at last compelled to give up their bishoprics. The history of Palafox in particular deserves to be briefly told.


Palafox was a man of the greatest piety, of a pure and uncontaminated life, and, after his death, was even proposed for canonisation. He bore no ill-will to the Jesuits; on the contrary, as a good Papist which he was, he even overrated their merits. In his letter to the King of Spain, he says of them, “The Company of the holy name of Jesus is an admirable institution, learned, useful, sainted, worthy not only of the protection of your majesty, but of all the Catholic prelates.”[295] A man who thus speaks of the order cannot be suspected of enmity; and it must be inferred that he would not have attacked the Society, unless constrained by duty or necessity. He attempted at first to bring them to reason by remonstrance.[296] He afterwards wrote a strong letter to Pope Innocent X., and asked for a reform of the Society, indispensable, he said, for the good of the Christian community. The result was, that the Jesuits raised such a storm, and excited so many bad passions against the virtuous prelate, that he, “not to be imprisoned or murdered, was obliged to fly, and to wander,” as he wrote to the Pope, “through inhospitable mountains and forests; to appease his hunger with the bread of affliction; to quench his thirst with the water of his eyes; to have no other house than caverns and the hard ground; and to pass his life with serpents and scorpions.”[297] Such was the life to which the Jesuits had reduced the poor bishop. But even this did not satisfy them. To satiate their spirit of revenge, they did not scruple[310] to profane the episcopal dignity, and the most sacred mysteries of that religion which they professed to uphold. In 1647, on the day of the festival of their founder Loyola, the pupils of the college got up a procession, of which the following were the principal features. One of the scholars had the crozier hanging from the tail of his horse, and the mitre at the stirrup. Another carried an image of the bishop in caricature; others carried indecent images of highly respectable priests. This one gave a blessing with the horns of a bullock, saying, “Such are the true armorial of the Christians.” That others held up with one hand the image of the Saviour, and with the other an infamous thing which decency forbids us to name. All of them shouted out the Lord’s Prayer, at the end of which they repeated with thundering shouts, “Libera nos a Palafox—Deliver us from Palafox.”[298]

At last, the Court of Rome, in order to protect him, transferred him to the see of Osma in Spain, where he gave such proofs of virtue and piety, that he died in the odour of sanctity, received subsequently the title of Servus Dei and Venerabilis, and, about sixty years after, was proposed for canonization.[299] But can it be believed—would any one imagine—that Jesuits of the third generation would step forward to renew their attack against the ancient opponent of the order, and oppose his canonisation? And yet such was the case. The General of the Company[311] actually interfered, and by the mouth of the promoter of the faith—promotore della fede,[300] calumniated his doctrines, his conduct, his life; and succeeded in postponing the canonisation till the storm which was gathering broke forth, and dispersed for a while the hated Company of Jesus.[301] This example goes far to shew how deeply is rooted in the heart of the Jesuit the spirit of hatred and revenge!

We have reported at some length the incidents connected with Palafox, as peculiarly exemplifying both the character of that individual, and the nature of the facts and the scandal they produced among the Papists themselves, and which is not yet alleged. But this is merely one example, amongst thousands, of the domineering and persecuting spirit of Jesuitism. “The innumerable and continual proceedings that were brought against you at the Court of Rome,” says Gioberti, addressing the order, “bear witness of the kind of concord and good friendship which the Company maintained with their companions in the priesthood and apostolate. The first cause of the quarrel has always been, that your missionaries wanted to be alone, and to exclude the other orders from any participation in the missions; and for this they first of all applied to the Holy See; and when they did not succeed there, they had recourse to all sorts of tricks, insidious calumnies, persecutions, and acts of violence.”[302] So speaks a man who glories in being a truly good[312] Roman Catholic, and who enumerates many bishops, vicar-generals, popes, legates, &c., who had been sorely persecuted by the fathers. In fact, here is the policy adopted by the Jesuits towards the superior ecclesiastical authorities everywhere, and more especially in the East and West Indies. We beg the especial attention of our readers to the following statement, because it serves to explain the apparent anomaly existing among Popish bishops and other functionaries, in respect to the favour or hatred shewn by them to the Jesuits.

The bishop, or legate, or cardinal, or whoever possesses any authority, must be either friendly or adverse to the Company, and this especially in foreign and distant lands far from the control of Rome. In the former case, the Jesuits will load him with praises, whether deserved or not. They will pronounce him a saint, a luminary of the Church, a model of Christian virtue; and leaving to him all the external pomp and ostensible authority of his office, they will command and direct everything in his name. To such men they give the utmost outward respect, and make the most humble protestations of devotion, repeating at every word that they are the most obedient servants of the Holy See, and of its representative. And this same conduct of theirs, and the testimony which those same persons are ready to give to their dutiful behaviour, is held out by the fathers as an answer to those who reproach them with disobedience and irreligion. But if these ecclesiastical dignitaries refuse to submit to the guidance of the fathers, and pretend to exercise their own authority independently, they become profligate heretics, monsters of iniquity; and they may consider themselves fortunate if they escape with treatment short of that bestowed upon Palafox and De Tournon. Indeed, even the very Popes have been treated in nearly the same manner, and have been extolled or slandered,[313] according as they were favourable or adverse to the Society. There are to be found in the Bullarium a quantity of briefs against the Jesuits for their disobedience to the representatives of the Holy See, and for the persecutions these had suffered from them.[303] Their disobedience, and spirit of revolt against the Court of Rome, with respect to their conduct in the missions, in which they persisted, had become so offensive and provoking, that first Innocent X., and then Innocent XIII., had resolved to abolish the Society, not by a bold and decisive measure, as did afterwards Clement XIV., but by forbidding the reception of any more novices. Innocent XIII., after having ordered the Inquisition to collect full evidence of the almost traitorous actions of the Jesuits, in answer to an apologetic letter of the General, who declared the Society to be innocent, or, at least, excused their insubordination and rebellion, issued a bull by which it was expressly forbidden to the General, and the Society, to give the habit to any novice, or to admit any to take vows, whether simple or solemn.[304] But while Innocent was determining to act with extreme vigour against the Society, he died, and by a death which awakened no unnatural suspicion of foul play.[305]

Such are the broad features of the American missions. We may as well add, that the Jesuits thought it prudent to refuse admittance into the Company to all the aborigines, in order that they might not lose the prestige which they exercised over them. We must also warn our readers not to imagine that the Jesuits had confined their establishment[314] to the Reductions of Paraguay. Paraguay was their own private kingdom, we may say, but they had also magnificent establishments of all kinds throughout all South America. Particular incidents, minute details, miracles, wonders, as related by the Jesuits in their histories, and in their letters, annuæl or edifiantes, we shall not repeat; nor shall we record some partial acts of cruelty and wickedness with which some of the Jesuits have been reproached. We think we have given as fair an idea as possible of the general character of the missions, and this is all that can be done in a general history of the order. As we shall afterwards have occasion to speak at some length of the commercial operations of the Jesuits, and of the ultimate fate of the Reductions, we shall now bring this chapter to an end.



We have seen in one of our former chapters, that during Acquaviva’s generalate, there broke out several partial insurrections against the exorbitant power of the General, and that, although they were quelled, they had left in the community seeds of disobedience and a spirit of independence, which it was to be feared would manifest itself again at the first favourable moment. In fact, the instant it was no more restrained by the iron hand of the inflexible Acquaviva, it pervaded all the classes of the order, especially the highest, that of the professed, and a turbulent and haughty aristocracy took, in the management of the Society, the place reserved by Loyola for the all-powerful General. The character of the immediate successors of Acquaviva greatly facilitated such an innovation, which ultimately produced the ruin of the order. Vitelleschi, Caraffa, Piccolomini, Gottifredi, were not the proper men to govern this brotherhood, now ascended to the height of its power and pride. They were neither saints nor rogues enough to succeed in the undertaking. They did not inspire veneration enough by their pious and saintly life as did Borgia, nor respect and admiration by their superior genius in governing the community, as Lainez and Acquaviva had done, and the consciousness of their own insufficiency rendered them still less suited to the task.


Vitelleschi, Acquaviva’s immediate successor, was a well-intentioned man, mild and conciliatory. He was called by his friends the angel of peace, and on his death-bed he found consolation from the conviction that he had never injured any one.[306] But it is evident that such a kind and indulgent man could not oppose any effectual resistance to the fast-spreading corruption of the order, nor to the demands of determined ambition. What under Acquaviva had only been the expedient of the moment, became under Vitelleschi a rule. The professed members became, if not exclusively, at least simultaneously with the coadjutors, the administrators of the temporal concerns of the Society; and the control which the two classes had exercised, the one over the other, according to the wise enactments of Ignatius, was for ever annihilated. While the number of the coadjutors decreased, that of the professed became out of all proportion numerous, but lost some of that veneration which they had earned in former times by a life, in appearance at least, wholly spiritual and ascetic. Besides, as we have said, persons of the highest families, eager for ecclesiastical dignities or temporal power, now sought admission into the order, and Vitelleschi had neither the intention nor perhaps the power to refuse them, whether they were qualified or not. The strict and searching scrutiny to which the candidate ought to have submitted, and to which in fact he had been subjected under Loyola and the two following Generals, had become gradually less severe; but under Vitelleschi it was altogether neglected, and the novices were absolved from many obligations to which the Constitution rightfully subjected them. The abuses resulting from the non-observance of the most essential rules increased so greatly, that Vitelleschi himself was much affected by it, and poured forth his affliction in a most eloquent and deprecatory letter, which he addressed to the[317] members of the order. From this letter we extract the following passage:—“But whence can we suspect our disinclination to Divine things—our feeling of laborious irksomeness in recollection—in checking the wanderings of our vagrant imaginations, frequently tending in that direction which is least to be desired, because we have not repressed them when we could? What is that tenacious and entangling love of the lowest objects—the world, honour, parents, and worldly comforts?—that greater authority conceded to the rebellious flesh and blood rather than to the spirit in action, for I care not for words;—that enervated exhausted weakness in resisting the solicitations of the adversary in our conflicts with the domestic enemy, perhaps not entirely yielding, but still not evincing that alacrity and exaltation of mind to which only victory is granted? These are the fruits of timidity and of a dissolute spirit, which, unless it is raised betimes, and warmed anew, is clearly approaching a fall and destruction.” And the letter concludes with these remarkable words—“I eagerly call all to witness and proclaim to them, that with Bernard I expect an answer to this epistle, but an answer of deeds, not words.”[307] “So that,” says Gioberti, “during Vitelleschi’s government, the spirit of the Constitution was quite changed: the politicians prevailed over the saints, and a worldly spirit over that of mysticism.”[308]

The evil increased under Caraffa, who succeeded Vitelleschi in 1646, and who was still less able than his predecessor to govern the Society. Caraffa was a simple and innocent bigot, not altogether unworthy of commendation. He was remarkable for his humility: he would have no carriage, no servant, no mark of distinction, as to food or raiment, from the humblest of the brethren.[309] He repeatedly begged his disciples[318] to lay aside all political and temporal concerns, and to live a religious and pious life. He was shocked and grieved at heart on account of the pervading spirit of licentiousness and avarice, and predicted that it would be the ruin of the order. In fact, the Society was continually departing more and more from the principles on which Loyola had established it. The rule, that all who entered the order should abandon every temporal possession, had been strictly enforced in former times, but now the act of renunciation was either delayed, or performed under conditions, and that under different pretences, and especially on the ground that any Jesuit was liable at any time to be expelled from the Society. So when a novice now made the transfer of his property to the order, he clearly specified that it was in favour of such and such a college to which he was attached, and often with the reservation of himself administering the property he bequeathed; so that, even when the property remained in the order, it was no more unconditionally at the disposal of the General representing the entire community, but of an individual, who, in a certain measure, still considered it as his own. Nay, many of the Jesuits, having more leisure and skill than their relations, undertook the management of their affairs.

Against those evils Caraffa could do nothing but write letters filled with complaints, and prescribing remedies which were never to be resorted to. Thus, speaking of those Jesuits who wished to retain their property, he says, “Having settled in their own minds in what houses or colleges they are to fix their abode, ... they labour strenuously to obtain for themselves the administration of what they have resigned to the Society.” And again, “Our procurators should be more cautious, for, although they seek what is just by lawful right, still they seem to seek it with avarice and cupidity, and exhibit too much avidity, which[319] smells of the world.”[310] And as to profane conversation and licentiousness, Caraffa says, “Nor can I possibly pass over in silence that these errors are in a great measure the result of the error of the superiors.”[311]

What a poor idea these two generals give of the authority, the prestige exercised by them over the Community! what a contrast with their predecessors! How different would Loyola, Lainez, or even Acquaviva have acted! When a General of the Order, aware of the evils which have invaded the Society, can find no remedy but in complaints, the Society must inevitably perish; and so it happened to the Jesuits.

Piccolomini, who succeeded Caraffa in 1649, and Gottifredi, who succeeded this last in 1652, were men without any energy or capacity, perhaps less jealous than the two former Generals of the purity and morality of the order; and, in their short administrations, they could do nothing but witness its increasing corruption.

Here it is to be remarked, that in the election of the General, the choice of the congregation now invariably fell upon a person without character or authority, that the fathers might have no master over them; and when the next General, Goswin Nickel, attempted to assert, in part, his authority, he was soon made aware that the times of Loyola and Acquaviva were gone by.

Nickel, elected General in 1652, was a rude and obstinate man. He did not, indeed, contemplate any very deep or searching reforms; he suffered things to proceed, on the whole, as they had previously done; but it was his habit to insist on the observance of his orders with peculiar obstinacy, without having any regard to the feelings of others, and he offended so grievously the self-love of the aristocratic part of[320] the Society, that the General Congregation of 1661 adopted measures against him, such as, from the monarchical character of the institution, could hardly have been supposed possible.[312] The Congregation, desirous of setting Nickel aside, and yet unwilling to pronounce a deposition, applied to the Pope for permission to elect a vicar-general, and Innocent X. not only granted their request, but pointed out for the office his friend Oliva, who was accordingly elected. Then the Congregation, having decided that the vicar-general should possess a primitive power, independent of the General, the authority of the latter was wholly superseded, and entirely transferred to the vicar; so that, when some Jesuits went to pay their respects to Nickel, he, in a lamentable tone, said to them, “I find myself here entirely abandoned, and have no longer power to do anything.”[313]

It is curious, if not instructive (the veracity of the Jesuit historians being very well known), to listen to Crétineau’s account of this transaction. “Nickel,” says the French historian, “felt that he was growing old, that his infirmities no longer permitted him to govern with the required vigour; he begged of the Jesuits to discharge him from a responsibility too great for him, by giving him an assistant; and they acceded to his prayers.”[314] Nickel survived his disgrace three years, and Oliva became General.

Oliva was descended from a noble family of Genoa, where his grandfather and his uncle had respectively been Doge of the republic. In Oliva the Jesuits found at last a chief according to their hearts. He worshipped a repose interrupted only by political intrigues, and the pleasures of the table.[315] He spent a great part of his time in the delicious villa near Albano, where he[321] occupied himself with the cultivation of the rarest exotics. When in Rome, he retired to the noviciate of St Andrea, where he seldom condescended to give audience. He never went out on foot. He lived in a most sumptuously and elegantly adorned apartment, enjoying the pleasures of a table furnished with the most select delicacies, such as would have tempted the appetite of a Vitellius.[316] He was only studious of enjoying the position he held, and the power he had obtained. Reserving for his particular attention matters of political importance, he left the affairs of the Society to the entire management of subordinate officials; and from that moment it may be said that every individual (we speak of persons of some consequence, for in every society there are simpletons always ready for obedience) became, in a great measure, his own master. Not that the interests of the Society were neglected; on the contrary, they were never so prosperous.

The members of every religious community are individually great in proportion to the greatness of the society to which they belong, and the esteem in which it is held by the public. This of itself induces every individual member to seek with all his powers the aggrandisement and the splendour of his order; and if this is true of any other association, it is pre-eminently so of the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits of the seventeenth century worshipped the Order with as much idolatry as their predecessors, and, to serve it, were always ready to act the part of hypocrites, deceivers, perjurers, miscreants; but every one served it (except in great general emergencies, in which they all acted in union) according to his own views and his own affections, some of them assuming even an absolute independence; as, for example, Annat, Lachaise, Letellier, &c.

Under Oliva’s government, the Society acquired an immense political importance. Some years before[322] his death, Oliva published his correspondence, which extended to almost all the monarchs of Europe, in which, indeed, he shews himself a consummate politician, and deeply engaged in most serious and important affairs. This already awakened some interest, and made people look upon the Order as a good auxiliary in political intrigues. Besides, the fact that the Jesuits were confessors to all the Roman Catholic sovereigns, and that through them the General had it in his power to become acquainted with the most secret dispositions and plans of these sovereigns, rendered his friendship of inestimable value, and an object to be eagerly sought for by the most potent princes. Again, the confessor, having less or more, but always a great influence over his royal penitent, became also a great personage in the country where he exercised his functions. Annat was a mediator between the great king and the Pope; and Alexander VII. thanked him for his good offices by a brief.[317] Lachaise and Letellier were possessed of still more power than Annat. The Court of Rome itself, at such an epoch, was obliged to succumb to the influence of the Order; and if any Pope, in an unlucky moment, ventured to oppose them in any of their contrivances, he was soon obliged to retract his orders, and to confess implicitly that he had done wrong. The Jesuits call this epoch the golden age of their Society; but we should rather call it the iron one, since it was during this epoch of splendour and glory that they departed furthest from the principles of their institution, and so prepared their own ruin. Possessed of very great wealth, enjoying an immense credit and influence with[323] all classes of society, they yielded to the temptations peculiar to such a situation; and, disregarding every rule of prudence, and the restraints of public opinion, they gave themselves up to the lust of power and riches—prosecuting their ambitious projects by the most questionable means, and thinking of nothing else but reaping the advantage of the position they had attained. As few dared now to oppose them, and as the people were silent on their vices, they thought that these vices were now overlooked; and this encouraged them still more to persist in their reprehensible conduct. It was during the seventeenth century that the Jesuits, lifting up for a while the thick veil of hypocrisy under which they had perpetrated their crimes, allowed the world to penetrate into the heart of their conduct, and to discover what they really were. In vain, when they perceived they were known, did they pull down the veil again. Their faces had been observed, and ever after they were to be recognised, under whatever mask they attempted to conceal themselves. It was during the seventeenth century that they gave to their traffic a scandalous development, and that they set themselves up as dangerous rivals to the largest establishments. It was during the seventeenth century that they set all the other religious orders at defiance, and awakened in them sentiments of hatred and jealousy, which are not yet extinguished. It was during the seventeenth century that they abused, more scandalously than ever, the credulity of their votaries. The example which we are going to quote in this particular will serve for many.

Among the manuscripts in the British Museum, there is a passport given by the Jesuits in 1650, for the consideration of 200,000 florins (£10,000), to Hippolite Braem of Ghent, promising to defend him against all infernal powers that might make attempts upon his person, soul, or goods. Here is a translation of this strange document:—


“The undersigned protest and promise, on the faith of priests and true religious in the name of our Company, sufficiently authorised for that effect, that our Company, takes Master Hippolite Braem, LL.D., under its protection, and promises to defend him against all infernal powers which may make attempts upon his person, his soul, his goods, or his means; that we conjure and shall conjure for this effect (to prevent attempts upon his person, &c.), the most serene Prince our Founder, making use in this case of his authority and his credit, in order that the above-named Braem may be presented by him to the blessed chief of Apostles with much fidelity and carefulness, since our Company is infinitely obliged to him. In faith of which we have signed the present, and authenticated it with the seal of the Society. Given at Ghent, March 29, 1650, and signed by the Rector, Seclin, and two Jesuit priests.”[318]

It seems that in India the Jesuits made a great traffic of such passports. In those distant regions, the impudence of the fathers must have been still greater than it was in Europe. The Father Marcello Mastrilli, when in Japan, boasted that many times a-day he sent his guardian angel to pay reverence and deliver messages to St Francis in heaven, and that he received answers.[319] We are not surprised at the ridiculous and barefaced impudence of Mastrilli, who is celebrated for his ridiculous impostures; but we are surprised that Bartoli, such an accomplished writer, and not altogether despicable historian, should relate with imperturbable gravity such puerile absurdities.

In 1681, Noyelle, “who had not the same brilliant qualities as his predecessors,”[320] succeeded Oliva, and was himself succeeded, in 1687, by Gonzales, a harsh theologian,[325] who died in 1705, and had for his successor Father Tambourini. Nothing remarkable happened during the rule of these generals; at least nothing that presents us with any new feature in the history we are writing. The Company followed the course it had entered upon, and marched with steady step towards its proper ruin. Not that there was any apparent sign of decay. The Society was, on the contrary, more powerful, more courted than ever. But its power did not lie any longer in its intrinsic merits, or its adaptation to the wants of humanity; and the interest and respect by which it seemed to be surrounded was ephemeral, and in some degree compulsory. With a few sincere devotees there was a crowd of courtiers who flattered for their own interest. The Company resembled an all-powerful minister, hated for his personal qualities, but worshipped and extolled to the skies by the crowd of those who fear his power or await his favour, impatient till the sovereign frown upon him, that they may manifest their real sentiments. Such was the state of the Society of Jesus during the seventeenth century.



We have brought down our history to the beginning of the eighteenth century, an epoch in which the power and greatness of the Society of Jesus had, by a gradual march, ascended to a point from which, following the law inherent in all human things, it could not but decline; for institutions, empires, and nations, have, as well as man himself, their successive periods of infancy, youth, manhood, old age, and decrepitude; and if institutions, doctrines, or nations, revive after their moral death, they never regain the same degree of force and vitality which they possessed when rising to the maturity of their power. According to this constant rule, it was evident to any profound observer that the Jesuits had attained that height from which they must inevitably descend; but, as always happens, they never dreamed of their impending fate, and scorned the sinister forebodings of some of their number who foresaw and predicted it. Then, when these predictions proved true, they laid the blame of their fall upon every one but its real authors—themselves; for it is to them that must be attributed the ruin of their institution. To the causes of decay which we have stated, we must add that which was perhaps the principal one—namely, that the Jesuits, once in possession of power, remitted their prodigious activity, for[327] which they had been so remarkable at the commencement of their institution, and even disregarded those arts by which they had obtained that power. Even the Instruction, that all-powerful engine which had so admirably served their purposes, was neglected, and had lost its original character. It was no longer either gratuitous or universal; children of families known to be adverse to the Order, were, on one pretence or another, refused admittance, or sorely annoyed if admitted. Twice a year, at Christmas, and on their patron saint’s (Loyola’s) day, the pupils were obliged to bring presents to the masters; and rewards and marks of distinction were given in preference to the children of wealthy families, or to those who brought the richest present. This naturally produced in these young persons a consciousness of independence, so that they would no longer endure the severity of the ancient discipline.[321] Some of them even went so far as to stab their masters, and the revolts of the pupils of the Collegio Romano became proverbial. Besides, the zeal which the fathers had shewn at first to promote study, had not only cooled away, but was directed to oppose any sort of progress.

To those primary and internal causes which accelerated the downfall of the order, must be added also many external ones, all militating against them.

In those countries in which the Jesuits had had the greatest influence, as Spain, Portugal, and Poland, although they preserved, as yet, the favour of the court, they had lost that of all the other classes of society, who, at least in secret, accused them of being the cause of the abasement and the ruin of their respective countries. On the other hand, those sovereigns of Germany who had sought the Jesuits’ help to oppose their Protestant subjects, after the peace of Westphalia, wishing to calm rather than inflame religious quarrels, though they did not withdraw from the Jesuits that protection[328] they had granted them, at least refused to give them that almost unlimited authority they had formerly enjoyed. But the surest, perhaps, of all the symptoms of their approaching ruin was, that the Court of Rome itself began to frown upon them, and to shew a determination to lower their pride, and to bring them to some sense of their duty. We have already seen (pp. 127, 128) many bulls condemnatory of their conduct in China and India, and that Benedict XIV. had applied to them the very harsh and offensive appellations of “disobedient, contumacious, crafty, and reprobate men.” The same Pope, at this period also accepted the dedication of Father Norbert’s Mémoires Historiques, of which we have already spoken; and encouraged the publication of many other books, all adverse to the Society. All this was ominous to the Jesuits.

It was, however, in France, the former seat of their power and glory during the seventeenth century, that the ruin of the order was most effectually prepared. The overthrow of Port-Royal, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the massacre of the Huguenots, and all the persecutions exercised in that country in the name of religion, were justly attributed to the Jesuits. Nor was this all; the exclusion from every office, civil or ecclesiastical, of every person who was not entirely devoted to the Order, had made their tyrannic yoke to be detested and abhorred in the highest degree.

While the despotic Louis XIV. ruled France with an iron hand, and Lachaise and Letellier had a full disposal of lettres de cachet, few dared openly to give vent to the hatred they bore to the Society; but hardly had the bigoted prince expired, when the long-restrained animosity broke forth, and the Jesuits were assailed on every side. The Jansenists, the other religious orders, the curates, the bishops, all now attacked the monks, who, some months before, had kept them in such awe, and had been masters of their fortunes.[329] It has also been asserted—and the Jesuits repeat it every day—that the abolition of their order was due to the then fast spreading subversive doctrines of the Encyclopædists, and that Ganganelli suppressed this bulwark of the Christian religion to please the atheist Voltaire and his disciples. But this, in the exclusive sense in which the Jesuit takes it, is by no means true. The Encyclopædists were not the Jesuits’ particular enemies, nor the auxiliaries of the Jansenists. They were, perhaps, more opposed to the strict and ascetic character of the recluses of Port-Royal, than to the worldly and accommodating morality of the progeny of Loyola. But the Jesuits had identified themselves with the Roman Catholic religion, and all its bigoted and superstitious practices, and the philosophers were happy that they had introduced into it so many ridiculous superstitions and ceremonies, upon which they could exercise their sarcastic and trenchant wit. Voltaire and his school could not have awakened in the hearts of their contemporaries such dislike, nay, contempt and abhorrence, for the religion of Christ, had not the Jesuits furnished them the means, by having introduced into it contemptible and idolatrous superstitions. The Encyclopædists’ principal aim was to destroy the Christian religion; and for this purpose, coupling with malignant sagacity the sublime doctrines and pure morality of Christ with the ridiculous practices and impure doctrines of the Papists, and especially of the Jesuits, held up the whole to the derision and profanation of a superficial public; who, unwilling to make any distinction, boldly asserted that nothing was true, nothing was holy, nothing respectable, in the Christian code. Again, the philosophers, in their praiseworthy endeavours to introduce the principles of civil and religious liberty, attacked the Jesuits, now become the unconditional supporters of all despotism and tyranny. In this sense, and in this sense alone, it is true that the Encyclopædists largely contributed to the overthrow[330] of the order. The pamphlets and books printed and widely circulated at that time against the reverend fathers were mainly a mass of evidence exposing their iniquity, and tending to effect their ruin in the opinion of Europe.

Nor did the Jesuits, blinded as they were by past success, oppose any efficacious resistance to the torrent which threatened to sweep them away. Without changing their conduct in the least, they had recourse to expedients, and thought that a little patience and cunning would suffice to shelter them from the passing hurricane. This was their general practice. However, not to be altogether passive spectators in the contest, they made an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the sceptical and profligate Philip of Orleans, regent of France, not, indeed, by granting him absolution, which he cared very little for, but by negotiating for him with the Papal Court, by discovering to him the secrets of Philip V. of Spain, who had intrusted to his confessor his intention of abdicating, and by procuring for the libertine and ignoble Dubois an episcopal seat and a cardinal’s hat. But if D’Orleans, for political ends, seemed to be the Jesuits’ friend, he was not assuredly the man to use his authority to defend them; and they were, from 1716 to 1729, deprived of the exercise of every ecclesiastical function, having been interdicted by Cardinal de Noaille. Under the sensual and voluptuous Louis XV., the Jesuits attempted again to regain their lost influence, and, as far as the favourable hearing of the sovereign was concerned, they in part succeeded. They contrived to insinuate to him that their cause was the cause of religion and of the throne, both menaced by the philosophers; and, to a certain extent, they persuaded many that such was the case, and their enemies did not remain unmolested. But while the parliament and the court, in their official capacities, condemned the Encyclopædists to the Bastile,[331] and their works to be burnt, they individually read with avidity whatever epigram was aimed at the Jesuits and the Christian religion, and Louis XV. was not the last to participate in the sneer.

Meanwhile, the new doctrines of political reform and civil liberty had spread so fast, and were so eagerly embraced by the populations of different kingdoms, that their sovereigns thought proper to give some satisfaction to public opinion, and call to their councils reforming ministers. In France, Choiseul; in Spain, Wall and Squillace; in Portugal, Carvalho; in Naples, Tanucci—were placed at the helm of the state, and began to attack the most obnoxious abuses against which people had set their minds. Now, in this disposition of the public opinion, it was evident that, at the first favourable circumstance, the ruin of the Jesuits, who had been so greatly damaged in popular favour, would be actually consummated; because it was to be expected that in this case would happen what generally takes place in political movements, that when once the moral revolution is accomplished, the smallest pretext suffices to achieve the triumph of the material one also.

Either the Jesuits furnished this pretext to Carvalho, prime minister of the King of Portugal; or, at any rate, imagining that he had himself discovered it, he attempted the overthrow of the Order. But the causes of this overthrow were not, as is asserted by the able historian of the fall of the Jesuits, wholly local, and of a private and personal nature.[322] Any other occurrence would have served the purpose as well. It may be that Carvalho accelerated their ruin; but even without him the Jesuits must have fallen. We shall briefly trace the order of events which issued in their expulsion from Portugal.


The Jesuits, from their first entrance into the kingdom, had exercised a great influence over the destinies of Portugal. This influence, which they had in part lost during the interval that Portugal was under the sway of the Spanish monarch, became paramount under the new dynasty. The Jesuits governed in the name of the two queens, the widow of John IV. and the wife of Alphonso VI., who had married her brother-in-law during the lifetime of her first husband, whom she dethroned, and chained to a rock.[323] Under John V., their power reached its climax, and it was while they ruled the nation that “Portugal fell exhausted under the protecting power of England, never again to recover her position.”[324] At the commencement of Joseph I.’s reign, which we are now considering, they possessed an equal and again unlimited power; but at that juncture a man arose to arrest their progress. This man was Carvalho. He was born in 1699, of a family of the middle class, or at the most of the lowest grade of the nobility. He was endowed with many rare qualities, with a great aptitude for business and administration, with unequalled energy and courage, and with a mind vast and capable of great designs; but he was proud, vindictive, cruel, and not seldom unjust. To arrive at power, Carvalho (subsequently Count of Oeyras, and Marquis of Pombal, under which last name he is better known to history, and by which we shall henceforth designate him) had courted the friendship of the Jesuits, and was by them brought into favour. He soon became the favourite, and then the master, of the weak and contemptible Joseph I. Pombal, in appearance, shewed himself grateful to the Jesuits, and to the last moment assured them of his friendship. But whether, in his capacity of statesman, he thought them to be prejudicial to the welfare of the Portuguese nation, or whether[333] he began to hate them, because the fathers, perceiving that they could in no way govern such a man as Pombal, had leagued with the nobility, a class of citizens whom the vindictive minister wished to annihilate, it is unquestionable that at a certain period Pombal resolved, if possible, to rid Portugal of these dangerous monks. But, prudent and crafty, he dissembled his sentiments till a pretext or a favourable moment should arrive.

A first unjust pretext he thought he had found in the conduct of the Jesuits in 1753. At this epoch a treaty between the Kings of Spain and Portugal effected a mutual exchange of provinces in America; and, in order that the inhabitants might remain under their former sovereigns, it was stipulated that they should respectively quit the ceded territories. These people resisted such an unjust and tyrannical order; and the population of the Reductions took up arms and fought bravely for their own country, although in vain. The Jesuits were accused by the minister of having excited them to revolt, which they have denied, even affirming that the General wrote to his subordinate of Paraguay to prepare the neophytes for such a change, and warning them that, if difficulties should arise, he would transport himself to the place, to see that the orders of the kings were obeyed.[325] But, from what we know of the power exercised by the Jesuits in the Reductions, it is evident that these submissive beings would never have dared to stir without the consent and the encouragement of the fathers—encouragement which possibly they may have given them underhand, while preaching, in public, obedience to the sovereign’s orders. By resorting to this duplicity, they incurred the blame of both parties, while, if they had boldly asserted their interference in vindicating the inalienable right of men not to be bartered as cattle at the caprice of every despot, they would[334] have earned the applause and the eulogy of every noble and generous soul.

However, Pombal had not as yet acquired that unlimited power which he afterwards attained, and did not dare, or was not able, to strike the blow he was meditating against the Society, and was obliged to be contented to prepare the way for their ruin. But an event soon occurred which rendered him absolute master of the destinies of Portugal, and left him at liberty to deal with the Jesuits as he pleased.

On the 1st of November 1755, an earthquake destroyed three-fourths of Lisbon. A conflagration added to the desolation, and, that nothing might be wanting in this scene of horrors, an armed band of brigands preyed in open day on the unfortunate victims of the direful calamity. Discouragement and despair had seized on the boldest. The courtiers insisted that the court should emigrate to Oporto, and the king and the royal family ardently desired to leave the desolate Lisbon. Pombal alone refused to let them depart. “The king’s place,” said he to Joseph, “is in the midst of his people; let us bury the dead, and take thought for the living.”[326] Under appalling and difficult circumstances, the power belongs to the most energetic. Pombal seized on the helm of the state as his right, declared himself prime minister, and, unaided and alone, prepared to conquer all the difficulties with which Portugal was at this moment threatened. There was something of antique greatness in the courage which Pombal displayed that excited general astonishment.[327] In fact, he was everywhere; he thought about everything; he provided for every emergency; and soon, by his unequalled energy, a new town sprung up on the ruins of the ancient capital.

And now Pombal, having attained a position which permitted him to attempt everything, thought of putting in execution the two great projects he had[335] conceived—the subjection of the aristocracy, and the expulsion of the Jesuits from Portugal. He had already published a number of edicts to restrain the power and humiliate the pride of the nobility, against whom he had conceived a great hatred, for the scorn they had offered him in refusing to admit him among them. And now the turn of the Jesuits had come. On the morning of the 19th September 1757, without any new motive or circumstance having determined the proceeding, he removed from the court the three Jesuit confessors, and assigned to the royal penitents three ordinary priests. This first act of enmity was immediately followed by manifestoes which soon inundated Europe, in which the premier brought against the Jesuits several terrible accusations. Then, to countenance his accusations, Pombal applied to the Pope, as ecclesiastical chief of these monks, and in his complaint he gave especial prominence to that which was most calculated to displease and provoke the censure of the Court of Rome. He represented to the Holy See that the great mercantile operations of the Society impeded the accomplishment of his commercial plans and the promotion of the national prosperity, and asked for a prompt and efficient measure to put a stop to it. The chair of St Peter was at that time occupied by the amiable, learned, and upright Lambertini. Benedict XIV. did not hesitate a moment to comply with Pombal’s desires, and committed the visitation of the Order to Cardinal Saldanha, a very intimate friend of the minister.

Before we proceed further, we think it necessary in this place to give our readers some general idea of the commercial operations of the Society.

The large donations which, at the commencement of the institution, had enriched the Society, having become less frequent, the Jesuits thought of increasing their wealth by applying themselves to trade. They pretended that there was no material difference between[336] the practice of agriculture, which had formed the principal occupation of the first monastic orders, and the labour of commerce in which they were engaged. The Collegio Romano possessed a manufactory of cloth at Macerata, and though at first they produced it only for their own use, yet they soon proceeded to supply all the other colleges in the provinces, and ultimately the public in general, for which last purpose they attended the fairs. From the close connexion existing between the different colleges, there resulted a system of banking business; and the Portuguese ambassador at Rome was empowered to draw on the Jesuits of Portugal. Their commercial transactions were particularly prosperous in the colonies. The trading connexion of the order extended, as it were, a network over both continents, having Lisbon for its central point.[328] Such is the account given by our contemporary historian. We shall now quote the opinion of an eye-witness, a man high in power in India, and who could certainly have had the best information regarding the facts. M. Martin, general commander of Pondicherry, expresses himself thus:—

“It is certain that, after the Dutch, the Jesuits are the largest and the richest traders in India, richer even than the English, than the Portuguese themselves, who have brought them there.... Those disguised Jesuits intrigue everywhere. The secret correspondence they keep up amongst themselves, apprises them of the merchandises that ought to be bought or sold, and to what nation, in order to make a more considerable profit; so that those disguised Jesuits are of immense advantage to the Society, and are only responsible to the Order represented by other Jesuits, who overrun the world under the true habit of St Ignatius, and who possess the confidence, the secrets, and the orders of their chiefs in Europe. Those Jesuits, disguised and dispersed all over the earth, know each other by signals,[337] like the freemasons, and act all upon the same plan. They send merchandise to other disguised Jesuits, who, having the goods from first hand, realise considerable profits for the order. However, this traffic is highly prejudicial to the interest of France. I have often written about it to the Company (of India), but under Louis XIV. I have received orders very precise, and often repeated, to grant and advance to those fathers all that they may ask. And Father Tashard alone owes at this moment more than 450,000 francs to the Company (of India).”[329] We have reported this document, because it was considered at the time, even in Rome, and by the Papal Court, as of great importance, and as representing the real state of things.

In the West Indies, Jesuits were to be found in all the markets with different kinds of produce; and this they do not even attempt to deny, but excuse themselves by saying that “the ecclesiastical law has never forbidden the sale of the produce of one’s own domains. The Jesuits were the guardians of the Christians, whom they had re-united in society in Paraguay; and in consideration of the inability of these savages to manage their own affairs, many Spanish kings granted to the missionaries the right of selling the produce of the ground cultivated by the neophytes, as well as that of their own industry.”[330] The Jesuits had so well used this liberty of trading, that the largest banking houses in South America belonged to the Company, and one of them[331] alone became bankrupt for more than two millions and a half of francs, an enormous sum at the epoch.

Nor had they been less busy and active speculators in Europe. In Malta, in the year 1639, during a famine, the Jesuits, who had five thousand sacks of[338] corn in their granaries, in order that they might not be obliged to give it up to the government at a lower price than they expected for it, applied to the Grand Master Lascaris for succour to their actual necessities, and were relieved, on account of their supposed poverty, from the public storehouse. But the trick was at last discovered, and they were expelled from the island. But we could not adduce stronger proofs of their eagerness to accumulate wealth than the letters of Vitelleschi, Caraffa, and Nickel, some passages of which we have reported, in which they bitterly complain of that spirit of avarice and speculation which had pervaded all the classes of Jesuits, and which they vainly deprecated.

To return to our narrative; Saldanha, either to satisfy the impatience of Pombal, or because the proofs of the Jesuits’ guilt were too numerous and too clear, soon published a decree severely reprobating the commercial pursuits of the order, and empowering the royal authorities to confiscate all merchandise belonging to those ecclesiastics.[332]

But, in the meanwhile, the man who had ordered the visitation, and to whom belonged the ultimate decision, Lambertini (Benedict XIV.), had departed from this world. Had God granted him a longer life, he would probably have taken energetic and decisive measures against the order; and any other pontiff than the one who succeeded him, would in all likelihood, in one way or another, have given satisfaction to the public opinion. But, unfortunately perhaps for the Jesuits, Benedict XIV. was succeeded by a man wholly blinded in their favour, who declared that, to the last, he would be the protector and the friend of “the holy Company of Jesus.” This man was Raggonico, who assumed the name of Clement XIII. He was pure in soul, and upright in purpose. He was constantly engaged in fervent prayer, and his[339] highest ambition was to obtain a canonisation. But he was a bigoted fanatic—was convinced that the power of the Papacy should be unlimited; and in the Jesuits he beheld the most faithful defenders of the Papal See and of religion. But, besides the disposition of the Pope in their favour, the Jesuits had, in the Court of Rome, a still more efficient supporter in the person of Cardinal Torrigiani, in whose hand actually resided all the power. “He had the reputation,” says Ranke, “of taking a personal interest in the farming of the papal revenues, and was said to be generally fond of power for its own sake.”[333] It is, then, easy to be conceived that the Jesuits, in order to preserve the bulk of their wealth, did not hesitate to sacrifice a part to satiate the avidity of the cardinal; and that to this is to be attributed the partiality, we should say the servility, evinced by Torrigiani towards the order. But this partiality of the Pope and his minister proved fatal to the Company. Had they consented to effect some substantial reforms, the Society might yet have existed for some time longer, or at least have only perished in the general shipwreck produced by the French Revolution, and they would not have had pronounced upon them the terrible and crushing sentence of Clement XIV.

Pombal perceived at once that no hope could be entertained that such a Pope would co-operate in the suppression, or even in the reform and abasement of the Jesuits, but did not, for that reason, renounce his projects; he only waited for a more fitting moment to effect his purpose by his own authority.

Circumstances served Pombal’s designs better than he could have expected. Joseph I. had an intimacy with Dona Theresa, the young wife of the Marquis of Tavora, one of the noblest families in Portugal, and one which, having scorned Pombal’s alliance, was particularly hated by him. Now it happened, on the[340] night of the 3d of September 1758, that the king, returning to the palace from a visit to Dona Theresa, was wounded in the arm by a pistol-shot fired upon him. Next morning the court presented an unusual aspect. The gates of the palace were shut; the king did not make his appearance, and nobody knew exactly what was the cause of these strange measures. It was indeed whispered that an attempt had been made upon the king’s person; but nobody dared to speak it aloud, or knew to what extent it was true. The courtiers were all taciturn and in consternation. Pombal alone appeared calm and serene. This state of things lasted for some days. At last this anxiety was by degrees dispelled, and, a few weeks after, nobody thought any more about the attempt, and many doubted whether it had ever occurred. But on the 12th of September, the Duke of Averio, of the family of Mascarenhas, who, with Tavora, was at the head of the Portuguese aristocracy, the Marquis of Tavora, Dona Eleanor, his mother, and many of their relations and servants, were suddenly arrested and thrown into prison. Our limits will not admit of our examining whether or not the prisoners were culpable, or in what degree. It seems most probable that the young Marquis of Tavora may have attempted to avenge his injured honour; and indeed there is every reason to believe that some of the prisoners arrested were really accomplices of the crime; but, as the trial was not public, as it was conducted by an exceptional tribunal la inconfidenza, and as Pombal has never substantiated, by valid proofs, the accusation brought against them, it would be harsh to form any decided judgment. What is incontestable is, that all forms of justice were violated in the trial, and that the cruel and inhuman way in which the unfortunate prisoners were tortured and executed, would induce us to believe that this sacrifice of human life was offered rather to revenge than to justice. In the night of 12th of January 1759,[341] a scaffold, eighteen feet high, was erected on the square of Belem, fronting the Tagus. At daybreak, this open space was filled with soldiers and the populace, and even the river was covered with spectators. The servants of the Duke of Averio appeared first upon the platform, and were fastened to one of the corners to be burned alive. The Marchioness of Tavora then ascended the scaffold with a rope around her neck, and a crucifix in her hand. She was scantily clad in some tattered clothes, but her whole figure and demeanour were stamped with firmness and dignity. The executioner, in attempting to bind her feet, accidentally raised the hem of her robe. “Stop!” cried she, “forget not who I am; touch me only to kill me.” The executioner fell on his knees before Dona Eleanor, and begged her to pardon him, whereupon she drew a ring from her finger, and said, “Here; I have nothing but this in the world; take it, and do your duty.” This courageous woman then laid her head upon the block, and received her death-blow. Her husband, her sons, the youngest of whom was not twenty years of age, her son-in-law, and several servants, perished after her in frightful torments. The Duke of Averio was led forward the last; he was fastened to the wheel, his body covered with rags, and his arms and thighs naked. Thus was he broken alive, not expiring till after he had endured protracted tortures, making the square and the neighbourhood re-echo with frightful cries. At length the machine was set on fire, and presently wheel, scaffold, bodies, all, were burned and cast into the Tagus.[334] Even if the sentence had been just, the merciless cruelty which Pombal shewed in accomplishing its execution has greatly tarnished his fame, and diminished the admiration due to his other eminent services rendered to Portugal.

Meanwhile, on the night which preceded the execution[342] of the prisoners, the house of the Jesuits was invested, their chiefs were cast into prison, and three of them, Mattos, Alexander, and Malagrida, accused of having fomented the conspiracy. With what degree of truth this accusation was brought against them, it is also difficult to say. According to the sentence passed upon them, the suspicions of their having participated therein were confirmed by their arrogance previous to the attempt, and their desponding after its failure; by their intimate connexion with the chief of the accused (D’Averio), with whom they had formerly been at variance; by a conversation reported of Father Conta, who, it seems, had declared that a man who should murder the king would not be guilty of even a venial sin. Their intercourse with the conspirators was indeed unquestionable. They had been their friends and advisers, and had taken a decided part in the discontent, murmurs, and open opposition of the Fidalgoes.[335] But no other material proof was brought to confirm the charge, and although the three accused were condemned to suffer the highest punishment, the sentence was not executed. Malagrida, who some time after was burned, suffered for the crime of heresy, not for that of regicide. Whatever opinion our readers may form of the Jesuits’ guilt or innocence, Pombal, in his manifestoes, represented them as guilty, and called for the animadversion of Europe upon them, while he himself was taking more decisive measures to destroy the order.

As in Portugal, up to that moment, to the nuncio alone belonged the right of pronouncing judgment upon ecclesiastics, Pombal, although he had already resolved to transfer that right to a commission named by the sovereign, thought proper to solicit the Pope for a nominal authorisation; and as Clement’s answer did not come quick enough for the minister’s impatience, he, on 1st of September 1759, issued a decree for the[343] expulsion of the Jesuits from all the states of his most faithful majesty. All the bishops of Portugal received a command to take the office of instruction out of the hands of the Jesuits, and supersede them instantly in the universities of Coimbra and elsewhere; and immediately after, all the Jesuits residing in Portugal were put on board royal and merchant vessels, and shipped over into Italy;[336] similar orders were given to the governors of all the Portuguese colonies, and immediately executed.

This was the first blow dealt to the Society of Jesus; and, as if it had been a signal, it was followed by a succession, till Ganganelli dealt it the last and mortal one. It seemed as if before no one had dared to attack such a powerful colossus: but when once the people saw with what facility it could be attacked, and even conquered, every one wished to break a spear upon it. France, as was to be expected, struck the second blow. When the minds of men were once bent upon it, any pretext would have been sufficient to expel the Jesuits; and it requires no great insight to perceive that the apparent causes which led to this step were only secondary. It is true that Madame de Pompadour, the king’s mistress, had resolved upon their destruction; but, although it is well known that she harassed the king to obtain it, it is by no means certain that Louis yielded to her influence alone, and we doubt much that she would have been able to effect it at all, had she lived a hundred years before. It seems that the Jesuit confessors of the marchioness and the king refused, we do not know for what reasons, to absolve them, unless the lady should quit the court. She herself has transmitted to us a long[344] recital of her negotiations with the confessor;[337] and when she could not bring him to her wishes, she vowed a mortal hatred against the Society, which, however, remained for some years without result.

But in 1761 a more decisive occasion was offered to the enemies of the order to ask for their expulsion. Father Lavallette, the Superior General of Martinique—a bold and unscrupulous speculator, a priest who, by their own confession, began to operate not only on the produce of the goods belonging to the house, but who purchased large properties, and bought two thousand slaves to work them—was the means of creating this occasion.[338] He entered into vast and complicated speculations with different maritime towns of Europe; and as some of these speculations failed, he stopped payment—a measure which caused the ruin of several houses, among which were one of Lyons and another of Marseilles.

The house of Marseilles, Leoncy, held the Society responsible for the debt of its member, and applied to the General for payment. Ricci, the then chief of the order,[339] committed the irreparable error of refusing to recognise the debt. The Widow Grou & Son, of Nantez, then commenced a process before the consular tribunal of Paris. Leoncy followed the example. The Jesuits having been condemned, were blind enough to bring the cause before the parliament. This supreme court of judicature, the better to estimate the merit of the cause, ordered that the Constitutions of the Society should be brought before the tribunal. The Jesuits consented, and this decided their ruin. After prolonged examination, the parliament gave its judgment, by which the Society was condemned to pay all the engagements incurred by Lavallette, for which, according[345] to the tenor of their Constitution, the whole order was answerable.[340]

Many authors, speaking of this affair, have expressed their astonishment that the Jesuits, who were accounted so cunning, could have committed such blunders. We have nothing to answer to this, except that they may be compared to those generals who, having lost their presence of mind in a difficult and critical moment, have suffered defeat by committing errors that a simple non-commissioned officer would never have been guilty of; or they may be compared perhaps to those consummate criminals who, having long eluded the vigilance of the police with extraordinary dexterity, at last commit such blunders, that one could almost swear they conspired for their own capture. Or it would be more correct to say that God had numbered their days, and their hour was come. Quem Deus vult perdere prius dementat.

From the moment when the Constitutions of this mysterious and dread Society were brought to light, Constitutions which had been kept jealously secret, all minor questions disappeared. Father Lavallette, the bankrupt, the bankers (who were never paid), all were forgotten in the great question affecting the Society itself. “Dogmatic disputes, which had so long been forgotten, now resumed all the force of present interest, and all the attraction of novelty. There was a universal eagerness to discover and apply those mysterious Constitutions. Women, and even children, were animated with the ardour of old practised lawyers. Pascal became the idol of the day, and La Chalatois its hero.”[341] Innumerable writings were daily printed and read with the greatest avidity by all[346] classes of persons; and for a while nothing else was spoken of but the Society of Jesuits.

In these circumstances, fifty-one French bishops, under the presidency of the Cardinal of Luynes, assembled, and, after a prolonged examination of the Constitutions, declared that the unlimited obedience that the General residing in Rome was empowered to exact from every member, was incompatible with the laws of the kingdom, and with the general duties of the subject to his sovereign. Now the opponents of the Jesuits, and Madame do Pompadour at their head, pressed upon the king to take a decisive measure. Louis XV. was an indolent profligate, whose chief characteristic was the love and veneration of himself. Provided royalty did not perish in his own person, he cared little what should become of it after his death. He had no liking for any person but those who could amuse him—a thing in his old age by no means easy. He cared nothing for the Jesuits, but he feared them. He was persuaded that they had been accomplices in the assassination of Henry III. and Henry IV.; he had always before his eyes the poniard of Damiens, and attributed to the fathers both the will and the power to murder him. For this all-important reason, he resisted long all solicitations to expel them from France, but he consented to address a request to the Pope to grant a reform, but to grant it immediately, and without hesitation or subterfuge. Choiseul himself prepared a plan of reform, which, it may be said, centred in this principal point, namely, to propose to the General the appointment of a vicar-general for France, who was to fix his residence in that country, and pledge himself to render obedience to its laws—a measure which was in conformity with the statutes, since these authorised the General, in case of a great emergency, to name a vicar-general.[342] The fact of this most reasonable[347] demand having been made, would of itself be a sufficient answer to the Jesuits and their partisans, who pretend that the destruction of the order was not the consequence of any of these misdemeanours, but that it had been planned long before between the Encyclopædists Choiseul and Pombal. Yet we shall adduce some further proofs to shew how unfounded their assertions are.

Pombal, although he was executing some of the reforms called for by the Encyclopædists, was no way connected with them, and he is perhaps the only man of mark of this epoch whom Voltaire has not favoured with a word of his inexhaustible correspondence. On the contrary, the Patriarch of Ferney often blames the marquis for his affected deference to the Pope and respect for religion, as well as for his cruelty, so displeasing to the naturally humane heart of Voltaire. Choiseul was indeed for a time the friend of Pombal, and acted in concert with him in affairs of general policy. But Pombal was too haughty, he had too exaggerated an opinion of his own capacity, to act under or by the direction of any man whatever. Besides, the well-known character of Choiseul renders it altogether incredible that he could have been long and deeply engaged in a plot to expel the Jesuits from Europe. The duke was the type of the French gentilhommes of the eighteenth century. He possessed the incredulity, the grace, the vanity, the courage, and that levity which would have sacrificed the dearest interests to the pleasure of an epigram, and which was so characteristic of the French noblesse in the former part of Louis XV.’s reign. He was too frivolous to be capable of nourishing in his heart for years a deep scheme of malice; nor did he honour or value the Jesuits enough to make them the object of a mortal enmity. On the contrary, with the Count of Kaunitz, the Austrian minister, he ridiculed the sort of passion with which the Marquis of Pombal persecuted[348] the sons of Loyola. “Ce, Monsieur,” they would say, “a donc toujours un Jesuite a cheval sur le nez.”[343]

However, it is evident that Choiseul could not be the man to protect the Jesuits: it is evident that, to please Madame de Pompadour, and to court public opinion, he must have shewn himself unfavourable to the fathers, and must have pursued them with his sarcasms. It is also certain that afterwards he became their enemy, not out of hatred, but rather to comply with Charles III.’s wishes, and in order to get rid of them, and that he used all his influence to have them expelled from France, and ultimately abolished. The duke renders our assertions incontestable, when, in a memorial addressed to the king, after having reminded him that he had not been the man who had commenced the great measure of the expulsion of the Jesuits, he adds, “Your Majesty knows well that, although it has been said that I have laboured at the expulsion of the Jesuits, ... I have in no way, either at a distance or on the spot, either in public or in private, taken any step with this intent.” And he finishes by saying, that only at a later period, after he had known them, he had become their enemy. When, then, the duke made application to Rome to obtain the nomination of a vicar-general who should reside in France, with authority independent of the General, he was personally indifferent in the question.

It is well known what answer the General, Ricci, made to this application—“Sint ut sunt aut non sint,” Let them be as they are, or be no longer.

The parliament first abolished and suppressed all the congregations, those powerful engines of the order; then, on the 6th of August 1762, it declared that the Institute of the Jesuits was opposed to all authority, spiritual and temporal, ecclesiastical and[349] civil, and was calculated to render them entirely independent of such authority by all sort of means, and even to favour their usurpation of the government; it therefore declared that the order should be irrevocably and for ever expelled from the kingdom.[344] In consequence of this decree, the eighty-four colleges of the Jesuits were shut up. The fathers were expelled from all their houses, their properties were confiscated;[345] each individual, however, being allowed a small income from the public treasury, and being permitted for the moment to reside in France, separately, and as secular clergymen. This permission was withdrawn two years after, and in 1764, the repugnance of Louis XV. having been overcome, the Jesuits were ordered to quit the French territories.

But a more serious and unexpected calamity befel the Company only three years after. Till the present moment, the Jesuits and their partisans had boasted of their defeats and persecution, and had haughtily proclaimed in the face of the world that they were only persecuted by the philosophic spirit which had pervaded Europe, and which, its principal aim being the destruction of the Catholic religion, had begun by attacking its firmest bulwark—the Society of Jesus. Pombal and Choiseul were but the emissaries of Voltaire; Joseph and Louis, indolent and voluptuous monarchs, entirely under the guidance and yoke of the two ministers. But what had they to say, now that they were going to be expelled from the dominions of a king not only adverse to the philosophers, not only a bigoted Roman Catholic, but, till the present moment, the friend and the protector of the Order? What had they to say against this exemplary Christian, Charles III. of Spain, loyal, frank, virtuous, chaste, and irreproachable,[350] as he was? Narrow-minded, indeed, he may have been, but no less clear-sighted, active, and considerate; self-willed rather than disposed to succumb to the influence of any person; and if he can be reproached with anything, it were with the fault of having been rather partial to that nursery of monks and nuns which infested Spain, and for one or other of whom he was continually petitioning Rome for a canonisation. Yet this man, more than any other, contributed to the abolition of the order.

The motives which induced Charles to take such a decided part in the destruction of the Society are not very well ascertained, and the two parties attribute it to different causes. We will try to throw some new light on this obscure affair. As every one, in the absence of proofs, has been obliged to have recourse to conjectures, we beg leave to give our own also. We begin by relating the facts.

The long and ample cloaks, and the low, large-brimmed hats, worn at this epoch in Spain, served to facilitate the perpetration of many crimes, and to conceal the criminals. Squillace, the king’s prime minister, by Charles’s order, issued a proclamation prohibiting the use of them; but the populace of Madrid broke out in insurrection, besieged the minister in his house, pulled it down, repulsed the Walloon guards which had marched against them, and obliged the king, whose exhortation they despised, to retire for the moment from Madrid. The revolt lasted for several days, when the Jesuits, mingling amongst the rioters, appeased them in a moment with the greatest facility. This revolt, which happened in 1766, is known in history as the Emeute des Chapeaux.

This outbreak, which had no result, was entirely forgotten, when, on the 2d of April 1767, appeared a royal proclamation abolishing the Society of the Jesuits in the peninsula, and expelling them from the Spanish monarchy. Let the reader imagine the astonishment[351] which the proclamation produced throughout Europe, and the consternation and despair into which it threw the Jesuits. What had happened that could furnish a motive for such a harsh and most severe measure? No sign of change had been the precursor of the storm; no warning had been given to the Jesuits; no signs of enmity had been shewn to them. The proclamation not only was silent as to the motives which had elicited it, but forbade every man to appreciate and discuss either the measure or its causes; and this redoubled the astonishment and the curiosity. Let us try to penetrate this mystery. First of all we shall give the reasons which, according to the Marquis d’Ossun, French ambassador at the court of Madrid, were adduced to him by Charles himself, as having induced him to the suppression of the order.

“Charles pledged his honour to the Marquis d’Ossun that he had never entertained any personal animosity against the Jesuits; that, before the last conspiracy, he had even repeatedly refused to sanction any measures inimical to them. Notwithstanding that he had been warned by confidential advisers, on whose word he could rely, that, ever since 1759, the Jesuits had incessantly traduced his government, his character, and even his faith; his reply to these ministers had uniformly been that he believed them to be either prejudiced or ill-informed. But the insurrection of 1766 had opened the king’s eyes; Charles was convinced that several members of the Society had been arrested in the act of distributing money among the populace. After they had prepared the way by poisoning the minds of the citizens with insinuations against the government, the Jesuits only awaited the signal to spring the mine. The first opportunity was sufficient, and they were content with the most frivolous pretexts;—in one instance, the form of a hat or cloak; in another, the misconduct of an intendant, or the knavery of a corregidor. The attempt (the émeute of[352] 1766) failed, as the tumult had broken out on Palm Sunday. The time fixed upon had been Holy Thursday, during the ceremonies of visiting the churches, when the king was to be surprised and surrounded at the foot of the cross. Such is the substance of the motives stated by the King of Spain to the Marquis d’Ossun, accompanied by a reiterated protest of the truth of what he had said, and, in proof of this, he appealed to judges and magistrates of the most incorruptible integrity; he even reproached himself with having been too lenient to such a dangerous body, and then drawing a deep sigh, added, ‘I have learned to know them too well.’”[346]

These are the motives assigned for this conduct by the opponents of the Jesuits, and they rest, as may be seen, on very high authority. On the other hand, the Jesuits and their friends assert that the whole affair was an abominable and dishonourable plot of Choiseul. They pretend that the duke had managed to put into the hands of Charles an autograph letter supposed to be written by the General of the order to a provincial in Spain, in which it was asserted that Charles was an illegitimate son of Cardinal Alberoni, and that the throne belonged to Don Louis, the king’s younger brother, and that it was this letter that excited the resentment of Charles. Crétineau affirms that such was the case. “Charles, who remained a fervent Christian, would not have destroyed the institute, but that they affixed upon his royal escutcheon the stigma of illegitimacy.... This fact is certified by other contemporary testimonies, and by the documents of the Company.”[347] Ranke, without accusing either party, seems to incline to this supposition, and says, “Charles III. became persuaded that it was one of the purposes of the Jesuits to raise his brother Don[353] Louis to the throne in his place.”[348] Now, rejecting the absurd accusation of the forgery of this letter, which many reasons render altogether impossible, and which is by no means consistent with the character of Choiseul, and adopting the version of Ranke or of Ossun, there still remains to be explained the enmity of the Jesuits against such a good Roman Catholic as Charles; and this enmity, no historian, as far as we know, has ever attempted to explain. Yet this is the point most necessary to be examined; because, unless we suppose that such a sagacious and clear-sighted man as Charles III., after a year of strict and severe investigation, came to the serious decision of condemning the Jesuits solely on the authority of a forged letter, without any other proof of their ill-will to him, it remains certain that the Jesuits were guilty, and adverse to his person and government. Whence, we repeat, this enmity? By considering a little the well-known character of the Jesuits, we may perhaps be able to answer the query.

Every one who directly, or indirectly even, opposes the wishes or the designs of the Society, is regarded as its mortal enemy, and every enemy must, by whatever means, be broken down. Charles, from the beginning of his reign, had constantly insisted upon the canonisation of Palafox, the abhorred opponent of the Society—first grief. Charles did not shew the Jesuits any particular affection, and had protected and befriended them only as he did all other monastic orders—second grief. Charles would not submit as his predecessors had done to the influence of the fathers, and his confessor was of the order of the Dominicans, the ancient and implacable enemy of the Company—third and most serious grief. Now, if once it is admitted that the Jesuits had reason to dislike Charles, all is easily explained. Then no act of enmity on their part ought to surprise us. They would not have hesitated[354] a moment to spread the report that Charles was a bastard, to raise a conspiracy, to excite the people to revolt, and to endeavour to supplant the king by his younger brother. Thus it becomes clear how Charles, after obtaining the proofs of their machinations, became furious against them; and it may easily be conceived that, from pride and delicacy, he did not mention to the French ambassador, among the other causes of resentment against the Jesuits, that of their having slandered him as a bastard liable to be dethroned. This is the view we take of the matter, and we doubt if the conduct of Charles can be explained in any other plausible way.

Such, in our opinion, were the motives which induced the pious King of Spain to expel the Jesuits from all his estates. The way in which this was accomplished was also most remarkable, and deserves to be mentioned. Immediately after l’émeute des chapeaux, which seems to have awakened Charles’s suspicions, the proceedings against the Jesuits commenced, and were continued for a year with the greatest secrecy. D’Aranda, now the principal minister, conducted them. He neglected no precautions to insure the success of his plan. He took great care, above all, that the Court of Rome should have no suspicion of his projects. The king and his ministers admitted into their confidence only Don Manuel de Roda, an able jurist, and previously an agent of Spain in Rome. D’Aranda conferred with Moniño and Campomanes, two very influential magistrates, in a singular and romantic manner. They repaired separately and unknown to one another, to a kind of ruined house, worked alone, communicating afterwards only with the prime minister, who either transcribed himself their informations or intrusted them to his page, who was too young to be mistrusted. Those informations the minister carried himself to the king.[349] Notwithstanding[355] these precautions, it seems the Jesuits were not altogether ignorant that some strange measures were contemplated against them. In fact, it would have been almost incredible that a judicial investigation, although surrounded with mystery and secrecy, in which many persons, no matter of what measure of discretion, were interrogated, could have been so conducted that not a word should have come to the ears of the fathers. They certainly were ignorant of the real state of things, and were perhaps far from suspecting the calamity impending over their heads. But what proves that they must have had some intimation of what was going on, is, that some short time before their expulsion they had requested of the king the confirmation of their privileges, and had removed their papers and their money.[350]

When all measures were ready, despatches were sent from Madrid to all the governors of all the Spanish possessions of Africa, Asia, America, and throughout all the peninsula. These despatches, signed by the king, and counter-signed by D’Aranda, were sealed with three seals. On the second envelop was written, “Under pain of death, you shall not open this despatch but on the 2d April 1767, towards the closing of the day.”[351] The orders to be executed in the different places, on the 2d of April, were all of the same tenor. The alcaldes were enjoined, on the severest penalties (Crétineau says on pain of death), immediately to enter the establishments of the Jesuits armed, to take possession of them, to expel the Jesuits from their convents, and to transport them within twenty-four hours as prisoners to such ports as were designated. The fathers were to embark instantly, leaving their papers under seal, and carrying away with them only a breviary, a purse, and some apparel.[352] The orders[356] were executed everywhere with the utmost rigour, and six thousand Jesuits were very soon floating at the same time on the waste ocean on their way to the coast of Italy.

Charles had not notified his intentions either to the French Court, the indiscretion of whose minister he feared, or to the Court of Rome, which he knew would thwart the measure with all its might. Neither of these courts was informed of the fact till after it was accomplished. When the news reached Rome, the old and infirm Clement XIII. shed a flood of tears. His spirits were broken down by the misfortunes that had befallen his Jesuits. Already, after their expulsion from France, he had declared that the decree which banished them was null and void, adding, “We repel the grave injury offered to the Church and to the Holy See, and we declare in the plenitude of our certain knowledge, certâ scientiâ, that the institution of the Jesuits is in the highest degree pious and holy.”[353] In the present circumstances he again attempted to shelter the children of his predilection under the mantle of his infallibility, and addressed to the King of Spain a brief, in which we read as follows: “Of all the misfortunes that have afflicted us during the nine years of our unhappy pontificate, the most sensible to our paternal heart has been that inflicted by the hand of your Majesty. So you, too, my son, tu quoque fili mi, so the Catholic King Charles III., who is so dear to our heart, fills up the chalice of our suffering, condemns our old age to a torrent of tears, and precipitates us into the grave. The pious Spanish king ... thinks of destroying an institution so useful, so meritorious for the Church, and which owes its origin and its splendour to those saints and heroes whom God chose in the Spanish nation for His greater glory” (this rather savours of Jesuit composition).... “We call God and men to witness, that the Society is not only innocent of all crime, but that it is pious, useful, holy, in its pursuits, in its laws, in its maxims.”[354] Charles answered that he alone knew the crimes of the Society, and that he would keep them concealed in his own breast, to spare Christendom a great scandal.[355] Clement returned to his tears, and this was all that was left him to do in favour of his children.

Lorenzo Ricci.



However, there was a man in Rome who would not witness the ruin of the Company of Jesus without attempting a desperate effort to save it. This man was Ricci, the General. Ricci was a morose, obstinate, and narrow-minded bigot, extremely jealous of his authority, and altogether incapable of appreciating either circumstances or persons. Unlike Acquaviva, he placed all his glory in never yielding an inch of ground; and to partial loss, he preferred an entire ruin. Acquaviva would have by some timely concession deferred for a while the impending storm. Ricci accelerated its march by his intractability. “Let them be as they are, or not at all”—these words shew the man. And now that his disciples were expelled from a part of Europe, he, to save the Society, if possible, decided upon sacrificing some thousands of individuals. Either the persecution, which he studied to render more cruel, and in some measure effective, would bring the Pope, the other sovereigns, or the different populations, to some acts of energy, to retrieve the affairs of the order, or it must incur the last distressful consequences. He would submit to every extremity rather than to humiliation. In consequence, he obliged Torrigiani, whom he seems to have kept under a severe yoke (if the Cardinal received, or had received money, we can understand it), to write to the Spanish minister that his Holiness would not permit the Jesuits to land on his estates. Charles paid little attention to the letter, and gave orders to[358] the commander of the fleet to land them, if necessary, by force of arms.

Torrigiani obeyed Ricci’s injunction to the letter. When after some days’ sailing the first vessels arrived before Civita Vecchia, they were received by cannon shot. The poor Jesuits, who thought they were near the end of their sufferings, and had smiled at the sight of the promised land, were furious when they saw themselves rejected from a country in which they knew that their General had the utmost influence, and loudly accused him of being the author of all their miseries. The Spanish commander, not wishing to employ violence, and to land by force of arms, coasted away towards Leghorn and Genoa, but there too they were refused a landing. A similar fate was reserved for them on their first approach to Corsica; and only after having been for six long months at the mercy of the winds and waves, were those unfortunate monks, decimated by illness, fatigue, and old age, permitted to disembark in Corsica, lately ceded by Genoa to France, and where Paoli at that same moment had begun to fight for independence.

The King of Naples and the Duke of Parma, both of the house of Bourbon, the former in the month of November 1767, the latter in the beginning of 1768, resorted to the same measures as France and Spain, and the Jesuits were expelled from their estates.

At the news of these repeated outrages, as he considered them, the old Pope, driven to extremities, and instigated by the Jesuits, resolved on an act of vigour, to test what the Supreme Pontiff could do for the sons of his predilection. It seems that he could not summon courage enough to strike the blow against France, Spain, or Naples, but he thought he could dare anything against the Duke of Parma. He did not view him in the light of a grandson of France and infant of Spain, but as a Farnese, over whose dukedom the Roman See had always, if not exercised, at least[359] claimed, the right of suzerainty. In this persuasion, he published a “monitorium,” wherein he pronounced ecclesiastical censures against his vassal, and declared that he had forfeited his estates. Charles and Louis were aghast at the boldness of the old Pope, and although the indolent Louis shewed no great resolution to resent the insult, Choiseul and Charles contrived to stir up his indignation, representing to him the scorn which would fall on the house of Bourbon, if a son of a Venetian merchant (Clement) should insult with impunity a grandson of St Louis.[356] In consequence, the ambassadors of the three courts, France, Spain, and Naples, had orders to present to the Pope a memorial, asking him to revoke the “monitorium,” or to expect to see some of his estates confiscated. Torrigiani and the Jesuit partisans, who knew the demand that was going to be addressed to the Pope, fearing lest the old man should yield, represented to him how glorious it would be to uprear again the tiara, humbled by Benedict XIV., before the secular powers, and made him even descry in the distance the crown of martyrdom, an honour which the enthusiastic and pious Pope would have wished above all things. Clement accordingly, when the ambassadors presented themselves for the appointed audience, would hardly deign to look at the memorial; and when they spoke of reprisals, his whole frame trembled, and he exclaimed, in a broken voice—“The Vicar of Jesus Christ is treated like the lowest of mankind. True that he has neither armies nor cannon, and it is an easy matter to despoil him of all his possessions; but it is beyond the power of man to compel him to act against his conscience.”[357]

The moment this answer was made known to the monarchs, the troops of the French king seized on Avignon, those of the King of Naples on Pontecorvo[360] and Benevento, all possessions belonging to the Roman states.

At such distressful news the poor Pope was overcome by grief, and perceiving that he was unable to offer any material resistance, resolved to endure patiently those injuries, but not to yield to threatening; and he remained firm in his determination, although the Romans loudly murmured against him, and menaced and offered insult to the Jesuit party as the sole cause of the public calamities. The Pope’s position became more and more desperate every day, and he did not know that he had a single friend left. To whom could he now turn for aid? Genoa, Modena, Venice, nay, all the Italian states, took part against him. Once more he directed his eyes towards Austria. He wrote to the Empress Maria Theresa, that she was his only consolation on earth; she would surely not permit that his old age should be oppressed by acts of violence.[358] But the empress answered him that the affair was one concerning not religion, but state policy, and that she could not interfere without injustice.

Nor was this the greatest affliction reserved for the old pontiff. While Clement was so overwhelmed by grief, in the beginning of 1769 the ambassadors of France, Spain, and Naples presented themselves, one after the other, before him, and demanded the irrevocable suppression of the whole Order of the Jesuits. The Pope, on hearing the proposal, was stupified, and remained for some time speechless. When he had recovered some composure, he answered, in a broken and faltering voice, that he would soon make known his intentions, and called a consistory for the 3d of February. But on the evening preceding the day on which that consistory was to assemble, he was seized with a convulsion, in which he expired.[359] The Jesuits have extolled the virtues and the holiness of this Pope[361] to the skies, and consider him as the best friend the order ever had; while the philosophers, in their speculations, have attributed to him the ultimate ruin of the Society, on account of his obstinate resistance to the demands of reform.

Canova has immortalised the memory of Rezzonico by the most beautiful of all the monuments which have a place in St Peter’s. Strangers go there to admire the chaste and pure figure of religion weeping over his tomb, the majestic dignity of the vigilant lion, the imposing calmness of the sleeping one, and the admirable execution of the whole group.

With Clement XIII. the Popes lost all independence as secular princes, and, as such, have been ever after at the mercy of the strongest secular power that has wished to domineer over them.



After the death of Clement XIII., all the influence of the house of Bourbon was employed to secure that the choice of the College of Cardinals should fall on a man adverse to the Company of Jesus, as all the efforts of the members of that body were directed to bring about the contrary result. While D’Aubeterre, the French ambassador, speaking also in the name of Spain and Naples, was reiterating that an election contrary to the wishes of the house of Bourbon would lead to the ruin of the Roman See, thus endeavouring to intimidate the more pusillanimous of the cardinals, Ricci was hurrying about from place to place, imploring the one, threatening the others with the wrath of God, and freely distributing presents and money when necessary. At daybreak he was on foot, traversing every quarter of the city, and mixing with all classes of the people. He visited their eminences, their confessors, their varlets, not omitting some of the fashionable ladies, the——spiritual friends of the Eminentissimi! He and Torrigiani gave out, and repeated with great indignation and affected dignity, that it would be to the eternal shame and confusion of the Sacred College to renounce their independence, and submit to the demands of the imperious sovereigns.

The Court of Rome was divided at the time[363] into two parties;—the Zelanti, who laboured to maintain all the privileges of the Church in their integrity and full extent; and the Regalisti, or the adherents of the crowns, who considered that the welfare of the Church must be sought in wise conciliation. Thirteen days after Clement’s demise, the Conclave assembled, and the Zelanti, notwithstanding D’Aubeterre’s insinuations and menaces, attempted to elect a Pope before the arrival of the French and Spanish cardinals. They nearly succeeded in their attempt. Cardinal Ghigi, one of them, having missed his nomination only by two votes. Then the struggle for the nomination began again more seriously. Choiseul, and still more than he, Charles III., being determined on the abolition of the Jesuits, were resolved not to give their assent to the election of a Pope, unless they should have a good assurance that he would abolish the Society. The French and Spanish ambassadors in Rome, and above all, the French and Spanish cardinals, were ordered to endeavour to effect this result. But the person to whom was assigned, by the Bourbons, the most prominent part in the Conclave, was Cardinal de Bernis. Bernis was a man endowed with many noble qualities, but vain, ostentatious, and devoured above all with the desire of playing a conspicuous part. He had been first minister of Louis XV., had been supplanted by his protégé Choiseul, who sent him back to his Bishopric of Alby, and who now intrusted to him the delicate mission of choosing a successor to St Peter. We say choosing, because, to flatter his vanity, Choiseul told him that such would certainly be his mission, and the cardinal entered the Conclave fully convinced that on him alone rested the choice of the future pontiff. He was confident that the authority of the monarchs of the house of Bourbon, and his own pleasing and insinuating manner, would be irresistible. “His affability,” says St Priest, “which was a little theatrical, but always winning,[364] seemed to transport the Court of Louis XV. into the midst of the gloomy apartments of the Vatican.” On entering the Conclave, Bernis, in the most courteous and modest manner, and without shewing any pretension of a desire to exercise any empire over the holy College, said to his colleagues, “France has only the desire of seeing raised to the papal throne a wise and temperate prince, who may entertain the respect due to the great powers. The choice of the Sacred College can only rest upon virtue, since it shines forth in each one of its members. But virtue alone is not sufficient. Who could surpass Clement XIII. in religion and purity of doctrine? His intentions were excellent; nevertheless, during his reign, the Church was disturbed and shaken to its centre. Let your eminences restore concord between the Holy See and the Catholic States, and bring back peace to Christendom, and France will be content.”[360] As an inducement to the cardinals to comply with the wishes of the sovereigns, Bernis had permission to promise in their names the restitution of Avignon, Pontecorvo, and Benevento; and it may be well supposed that he made the most of the permission. To this, the Zelanti and the Jesuit party answered, that in the election of the supreme chief of the Church, no considerations should be regarded but the good of religion, and that the electors ought to listen to no advice, but implore fervently the Holy Ghost, and follow his inspiration. De Bernis’ position became rather embarrassing. Charles III., it seems, proposed to bind the future Pope by a written promise to abolish the order of the Jesuits. But when D’Aubeterre proposed to Bernis this arrangement, the cardinal drew back; his conscience would not allow him to be an accomplice in lowering so much the Tiara. He refused to make any such proposals, adding, with justice, that nothing could secure the execution of the contract, and[365] that a cardinal who was capable of pledging himself beforehand to such a contract, would dishonour his future pontificate, as everything must ultimately come to light;[361] and although the ambassadors insisted anew with more pressing instances, Bernis remained firm in his opinion, that such conduct was disgraceful and illegal. Aubeterre endeavoured to overcome his repugnance by all sorts of arguments, and in a letter addressed to him on the 11th of April, we find the following passage: “I know well that I am unable to be the casuist of your eminence; but let your eminence consult Cardinal Ganganelli, one of the most celebrated theologians of this country, and who has never been accused of professing a lax morality.”[362]

While the cardinals were thus engaged in the supreme and all-important affair of choosing the chief of their Church, they, the Jesuits, the ambassadors, and all Rome, were on a sudden thrown into a state of anxiety and expectation. Joseph II., Emperor of Germany, accompanied by his brother Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, arrived in Rome. Possessed of real personal merit, Joseph disdained ostentation, and appeared among the citizens of the eternal city with all the studied and striking contrast of an incognito, of which he was the inventor, under the modest title of Count of Falkestein. He mixed among the Romans without a suite, wearing no decoration, and without any pomp. Yet his presence in Rome produced a great sensation.

There are in almost every nation certain traditions, which are transmitted from generation to generation, tacitly without any apparent effort by any person to transmit them, which, however, pass to the[366] remotest posterity as if by intuition, and form part of the moral life of a people. Such is in Rome the tradition, more or less correct, of a republic, and of emperors, which is at the bottom of the heart of every inhabitant of the metropolis of the world. Very few people are recorded in history to have fought as we Romans lately did. But I doubt much that we would have so fought even for the same prize—liberty and independence—in the name of prince or king, or any title in Christendom, or, indeed, in any name except that of the republic, and it may be that of an emperor.[363] Joseph, although a Roman Catholic, and anxious to respect the scruples of his mother, Maria Theresa, was a philosopher, meditating already part of those reforms he shortly after effected; and the moment he came within sight of Rome, he decided upon humbling her pride, and putting some restraint upon her immoderate pretensions. When in Rome, as may be imagined, he was courted by all parties, and his support was eagerly sought by every one, and especially by the Zelanti and the Jesuits. Every one waited with impatience to see the part he would take in the contest. But the young prince was, or affected to be, indifferent to the paltry question of the Jesuits, which was then paramount; and in speaking of it, he often repeated that he wondered that the fate of some thousand monks should cause so much uneasiness to such powerful sovereigns. Although he spoke of the Jesuits with the greatest contempt, nevertheless the fathers hoped that they might claim him as their partisan; an opinion which Joseph took care soon to dissipate. While visiting the different monuments of Rome, he went also to the Gesù, the principal and most magnificent establishment of the order. The fathers soon gathered round him in the most respectful and[367] humble attitude; and the General, approaching him, and prostrating himself at the emperor’s feet with the most profound humility, was going to address him, when Joseph, without allowing him to go on, abruptly asked him when he was going to relinquish his habit. Ricci turned pale, and muttered some inarticulate words; he confessed that the times were very hard for him and for his brethren, but that they trusted in God and in the future holy Father, whose infallibility would be for ever compromised if he destroyed an order which had received the sanction of so many of his predecessors. The emperor smiled; and being then in the church, and chancing at the moment to fix his regards on a statue of Ignatius of massive silver, and glittering with precious stones, exclaimed against the prodigious sum it must have cost. “Sire,” stammered the Father General, “this statue has been erected with the money of the friends of the Society.” “Say rather,” replied Joseph, “with the profit of the Indies,” and departed, leaving the fathers in the utmost grief and dejection.[364] Joseph, assuming, on the other hand, a marked tone of superiority over the sovereigns of the house of Bourbon, affected the same indifference as to the election of a Pope, which he considered, as he said, of little moment, and unworthy of occupying the attention of a monarch of the eighteenth century; and, to prove by deeds the sincerity of his words, he gave orders to the Cardinal Pozzo-Bonelli, his minister, neither to support nor oppose any candidate.

The cardinals were distressed at this marked indifference of the only Catholic sovereign of rank who was then on good terms with Rome; and wishing to try whether they could not attract the young prince to the Holy See, by shewing him some extraordinary mark of respect and devotion, in general so flattering to the youthful mind, they, violating all their rules[368] and regulations, invited the emperor to do them the honour of visiting the Conclave. Joseph went thither, and was met by all the cardinals in a body, one of whom took him by the hand, and introduced him within those precincts which no man can enter or leave from the commencement of the meeting till a Pope has been elected. The emperor received all those extraordinary advances with cold dignity. He addressed Bernis with rather condescending affability, which much flattered the vanity of the cardinal. But when Torrigiani was presented to him, he merely observed, “I have heard much of you,” and inquired immediately for the Cardinal of York. “Le voici,” answered the grandson of James II. Joseph saluted the last of the Stuarts with a marked expression of feature, and requested to be admitted to his cell. “It is very small for your highness,” said the emperor, after having visited it.[365]

When the emperor was on the point of leaving the Conclave, the demonstrations of the cardinals increased. “Sire,” cried they, “we trust that your imperial majesty will protect the new Pope, that he may put an end to the troubles of the Church.” The emperor replied, that the power to accomplish this rested with their eminences, by choosing a Pope who should imitate Benedict XIV., and not require too much; that the spiritual authority of the Pope was incontestable, but that he ought to be satisfied with this; and that, above all, in treating with sovereigns, he ought never to forget himself so far as to violate the rules of policy and good-breeding.[366] So saying, he left the Conclave,[369] and even abandoned Rome the same evening, and set out for Naples to avoid the fêtes prepared for him.

The cardinals, when the agitation produced by the visit of the emperor was a little subdued, returned to their party intrigues, and vainly endeavoured, during three long months, to give a successor to St Peter. At last the Spanish cardinals, who seem to have purposely delayed their voyage till that moment, in order to decide by their votes and their influence a contest which must have by this time tried both parties, arrived in Rome, and entered the Conclave. La Ceda and De Solis, the latter Archbishop of Seville, and possessing Charles III.’s confidence, began at once to explore the ground, and to take all the necessary measures to succeed in their purpose, Bernis still pretending to be the negotiator of the Conclave. The Spaniards, leaving him to rejoice in this opinion, set themselves quietly to work, and soon succeeded in bringing the matter to a conclusion, by the choice of a candidate who was accepted by both parties. This candidate was Cardinal Ganganelli, of whom we must give some account before proceeding further.

Lorenzo Ganganelli was born in the town of St Arcangelo, on the 30th of October 1705, of a plebeian family, his father being a labourer. Like his predecessor, the goatherd of Montalto, Lorenzo entered at a very early age the order of St Francis (the Cordeliers),[367] and distinguished himself by a constant application, by the love of solitude, and by a calm, equal,[370] and placid conduct. His principal occupation was the study of theology, in which he became a proficient and able professor. But his long meditation upon this science did not inspire him with a spirit of fanaticism and persecution, but, on the contrary, with a spirit of tolerance and love for his fellow-men; and, what appears still more rare, he did not in the least alter his jovial and agreeable manners. Nor did he, plunged as he was in the study of divinity, become insensible to the charms of nature, or to the attractions of the fine arts. He delighted in natural history, and spent many of his leisure hours in dissecting insects, or in collecting plants. He cultivated literature with some success; and if he was not a judicious connoisseur, he certainly was a warm protector of the fine arts, and was passionately fond of music.[368] One of his masters had once said of him in this particular, “No wonder he loves music, seeing that everything in his mind is in harmony.”[369] From his earliest youth, Lorenzo conceived hopes of rising to an extraordinary station in life; and his ambition, which was ardent and persevering, persuaded him that he was destined by Providence to perform extraordinary deeds; which persuasion gave to all his conduct the characteristic turn of a mysterious reliance on the future. When his parents dissuaded him from entering the cloister, Lorenzo, although he was then very young, answered that a monk’s frock had often preceded the purple, and that the two last Sistuses had issued from the convents of St Francis. Indeed, he cherished the memory of Padre Felice, of that Sistus who, even in our own day, is remembered by all the Italians, but, above all, by the lowest classes, with a loving veneration. Like Sistus, Ganganelli shewed little inclination for the aristocracy, and courted[371] the favour of the multitude. Ganganelli, even after he had ascended to the highest dignity, remained an unpretending and popular monk. He was ambitious, and extremely jealous of real authority, but disdained the shows and appearance of it. “Notwithstanding his elevation, Ganganelli preserved his former simple habits. Pomp and ceremony were less to his taste than a frugal meal, long rides into the campagna of Rome, the friendship of Francesco,[370] the visit of a few well-informed strangers, and, above all, the conversation of the fathers of the convent of the Holy Apostles.”[371]

These were, indeed, very amiable and noble qualities, and assuredly Clement XIV. proved one of the most enlightened and well-intentioned Popes that ever ascended the pontifical chair. But almost all the historians, many of them influenced no doubt by the fact that he was the suppressor of the order of the Jesuits, have exaggerated the virtues and merits of Ganganelli, and made of him, either as monk or as Pope, an irreproachable and unexceptionable personage, gifted with almost supernatural qualities.[372] We are not quite so partial to him, and, while we give him credit for his many superior good qualities, we cannot overlook his faults, nor declare his conduct free from reproach. Thus, for example, it is evident that Ganganelli, as a thorough good Franciscan (an order from the first to the[372] last inimical to the Company), and as a tolerant and conciliating man, could not be the friend, or have any regard for the Jesuits; and yet, perceiving how influential the fathers were under Rezzonico, Padre Lorenzo courted their favour, obtained the protection of Ricci, who presented him to the Pope’s nephew, and by their joint interest the poor monk was made an eminentissimo. This certainly does not prove much in favour of his straightforwardness; and his whole conduct during the Conclave proves also that Ganganelli was not over-scrupulous as to the means he adopted to satisfy his deeply-rooted ambition. Gioberti, his warm apologist, seeing that it would be rather difficult to exonerate him from the reproach of ambition, admits that he was indeed an ambitious man, but he says, “If it is true, according to St Paul, that the man who desires the office of a bishop desires a good work,[373] why will it not be permitted in certain cases to wish to obtain the Popedom, which is the supreme priesthood?”[374] And he (Gioberti) proceeds to prove that such ambition is permitted when the man seeks not his own but the public welfare, when he is sure that he is qualified for the task, and when he does not make use of any unworthy means to obtain the object of his ambition; and he pretends that Ganganelli fulfilled all these conditions. We, too, give credit to the poor cordelier for having fulfilled the two first, and we believe that, in aspiring to the supreme See, he had in view the public advantage, the welfare of the Church, and that, moreover, he thought himself perfectly qualified to be a Pope; but we shall leave our readers to judge whether all the means he resorted to were unexceptionable and honest.

During the Conclave of all the cardinals, Cardinal Ganganelli appeared the most unconcerned and indifferent as to the supremely important matter they were[373] engaged in. He kept aloof from the intrigues of all parties, so that each might have considered him as one of its adherents. He ingratiated himself with the party of the sovereigns, by repeating often in public, but with the utmost timidity, just as an observation to be taken into consideration, “Their arms are very long, they reach beyond the Alps and the Pyrenees;” while to the partisans of the Jesuits he repeated, “We must no more think of destroying the Society of Jesus than of pulling down the dome of St Peter’s.”[375] It has been insinuated, and even asserted, by many historians, that while Ganganelli was speaking so ambiguously in public, he had secretly assured the French minister of his adverse disposition towards the Jesuits, and that France, from the beginning, had chosen him as her candidate. St Priest positively denies that this was the case, and affirms that Ganganelli was by no means the man upon whom France rested her confidence. “The cardinal was indeed mentioned in the list of bons sujets, that is to say, of persons who would not be unacceptable to the Bourbons; but his name, as well as that of many others, was accompanied with notes of reservation.”[376] And the French historian proceeds to say that France, far from preferring him to the rest of the candidates, suspected him of intrigues and duplicity; and Ganganelli’s conduct might have well given cause for such suspicion. He had been previously intimate with the French cardinals, and shewed himself rather favourable to their interests, but during the sitting of the Conclave had affected to shun them, evidently with the intention of not giving offence to the other party. He lived alone, shut up in his cell, and seemed as if what was going on did not concern him in the least.

How, then, did it happen that he was chosen to the vacant throne? The Jesuits have accused him of simony, and have asserted that, in exchange for a[374] written promise to suppress their order, the Spanish cardinals gave him all the votes that were at the disposal of the house of Bourbon.[377] The admirers of Clement have, on the other hand, indignantly denied the ignominious traffic, and affirm that he was chosen as the most moderate, tolerant, and virtuous of all the cardinals, and as one who could alone heal the wounds of the Church; and the fact is, that neither party may be said to be altogether wrong in their assertion. It rests on many good authorities; and in our eyes the fact admits of no doubt, that Ganganelli, two or three days before the scrutiny for the nomination of a Pope, gave a written note to De Solis, conceived in the following terms:—“I admit that the Sovereign Pontiff may in conscience abolish the Society of the Jesuits, without violating the canonical regulations.”[378] Now, how far this proceeding may constitute the sin of simony, we do not pretend to decide. Evidently, in the strictest sense of the word, here is no specified contract constituting simony. In this note Cardinal Ganganelli expresses his opinion, as a theologian, that the Supreme Pontiff may, in perfect safety of conscience, abolish the Order of Jesus; and this opinion is perfectly sound and orthodox. But, as plain matter of fact, it may be asked, was this answer intended to win for the adviser the support of Spain, who was firmly resolved not to consent to any nomination without having obtained from the future Pope a written promise to suppress the Society of Jesus? It seems that the Spanish cardinals, with whatever intention Ganganelli may have given the note, took it not as the opinion of the theologian, but as the solemn engagement of the future Pope, so that, soon after the note was written, as if the Holy Ghost had of a sudden[375] decided on the choice, and suggested to the electors the same name, Ganganelli was elected to the chair of the apostles.

However, between the negotiation of the Spanish ministers with Ganganelli and the scrutiny for the nomination, Bernis, who saw that all opinions were growing warm in favour of the Franciscan, and perceived that he had been played upon by his Castilian colleagues, since all had been done without his participation, to save at least appearances, hastened to the probable candidate, and boasted to him that his election would be due to the influence of France. The Spaniards willingly allowed him to play this specious part, so suited to his ostentatious character, and Ganganelli, who perhaps felt embarrassed as to how he should express his pretended gratitude, answered in these strange words, “I bear Louis XV. in my heart, and the Cardinal de Bernis in my right hand.”[379] Bernis then, with a sort of diplomatic importance, requested distinctly to know Ganganelli’s opinions with respect to the Jesuits, and the affair of the Infant of Parma. On the latter point the future Pope answered in the most satisfactory manner, and promised not only to recall the monitorium, but to consecrate himself, in the Basilica of St Peter, the duke’s approaching marriage. But on the Jesuit question he was not so explicit; he admitted that their suppression appeared to be necessary, and that most likely the future Pope would not be satisfied with mere words; and, “in short,” says St Priest, “Ganganelli promised De Bernis all that he desired.”[380] This being so arranged, and the Austrian party, to which also adhered that of the Jesuits, having accepted the candidature of Ganganelli, he was, as we have said, elected Sovereign Pontiff, and assumed the name of Clement XIV.

Ganganelli having at last attained the summit of his ambition, enjoyed for a short moment with rapture[376] his good fortune, and the immense popularity which immediately surrounded him, and gave way to all the naturally good impulses of his heart. On the day of his coronation, upon entering the Basilica of the Vatican, his eye fell upon a stone on which he had once stood when a simple monk, to see the cortege of Pope Rezzonico pass by. “Look,” said he, pointing it out to one of his suite, “from that stone I was driven ten years ago.”[381] The very commencement of his pontificate gave great satisfaction to the sovereigns, and to all the friends of a liberal and tolerant policy. He began by prohibiting the reading of the Bull in coena Domini, so offensive to all monarchs; he suspended the effect of the monitorium against the Duke of Parma; he declared that he would send a nuncio to Portugal; and he extended some concessions made by Benedict XIV. to the King of Sardinia, and which his predecessor had refused to recognise. Had not the question of the Jesuits been at issue, there is no doubt that Ganganelli would have given general satisfaction, and he himself have lived and died a happy and honoured Pope. But this unfortunate affair poisoned all his joy from the commencement of his reign. To whatever side he turned himself, he saw nothing but almost insurmountable obstacles. On the one hand, the sovereigns demanded imperatively the abolition of the order, and Clement had to fear that his refusal to comply would divest Rome not only of the valuable possessions of Avignon and Benevento, but also of the filial obedience of Spain, France, and Portugal. On the other hand, how could he, the supreme chief of the Roman Catholic Church, abolish an order which had been considered the firmest bulwark of this same Church, and, as such, recognised and approved by many of his predecessors? What would be the judgment of posterity and of the followers of his creed? Would they ratify his sentence,[377] and ascribe to him the gift of infallibility at the expense of the other mistaken pontiffs? or would he be accounted peccable, and his predecessors infallible? In both cases the Papal infallibility would be greatly damaged, and the authority it gave to the decisions of the Holy See greatly diminished, which neither Ganganelli nor any other Pope ever wished that it should be; because it is a remarkable fact, that the Popes, elective sovereigns, and who alone of such have no hope whatever of transmitting to their issue or their relatives any portion of their power, have always been, and still are, scrupulously careful not to diminish the splendour and glory of the Papal chair, although they may sometimes foresee that after their death it will be occupied by their bitterest enemy. What then could the poor Pope do in these critical circumstances? Although he liked to be compared to Sistus V., whose memory he dearly worshipped, he was far from possessing the firmness of character and the indomitable energy of the quondam goatherd of the Abruzzi. He did not act as Sistus would have done; like all persons without energy, in perilous and difficult emergencies, he took no decisive measure, but directed all his efforts and artifices to gain time, incessantly promising to the sovereigns to come to a determination, and always evading the fulfilment of his promises at the decisive moment.

To obtain some delay from France, he thought that the best he could do was to flatter the vanity of De Bernis, now the accredited ambassador of the court of Versailles, and to render him an unwilling accomplice in his dilatory system; and Bernis, although an intelligent and shrewd man, was so blinded by his vanity, as to be easily duped by his arts. St Priest has given, from Bernis’ letters to Choiseul, a relation of some interviews which took place between the Pope and the cardinal. “When the cardinal went to pay his respects to the Pope, the latter would[378] not accept the customary homage; he forbade his genuflexion, repeatedly he offered him his snuff-box, and even compelled him to be seated in his presence. Bernis retired with every mark of profound respect, but Clement said, in a familiar tone, ‘We are alone, and no person sees us; let us dispense with etiquette, and resume the old equality of the cardinalate.’”[382] A few days afterwards, when Bernis presented a letter from Louis XV., Clement seized and kissed it with transport, exclaiming, “I owe all to France. Providence has chosen me among the people like St Peter, and the house of Bourbon has, under Providence, been the means of raising me to the chair of the prince of the Apostles. Providence, too, has permitted,” he added, embracing Bernis, “that you should be the minister of the king at the Papal court. I place unlimited confidence in you, my dear cardinal; let there be no indirect intercourse, no mystery, between us.”[383]

These assurances flattered the vanity of Bernis, who was continually asking his court to sanction the delays which the dignity of the Pope rendered necessary, and which he represented to be inevitable in matters affecting ecclesiastical discipline. These representations had some influence upon the mind of Louis XV., who in his profligacy was often assailed by transitory fits of remorse; and he prevailed upon the King of Spain, though with some difficulty, to be a little more patient, and to grant to the Pope some reasonable delay for the settlement of the question.

Clement’s joy at the good success of his policy was irrepressible. Not only did he feel proud of his own cleverness, but he hoped to be able to find fresh pretexts for an indefinite delay. This brief moment of illusion was the happiest in all his pontificate; indeed it was the only happy one. His countenance beamed with contentment, his manner became still more amiable, and nothing could exceed his good-humour. To[379] wrap himself in his happiness, he went to the enchanting residence of Castel-Gandolfo, and spent many happy hours on the charming shore of the Lake of Albano, with no other witness or suite than the old friend of his youth, the poor lay brother, Francesco.

But the felicity was of short duration. Scarcely had Ganganelli returned to Rome, when all his illusion vanished. Ardent and restless in the furtherance of his projects, Charles III. was impatient to see the destruction of the Jesuits accomplished; and seeing that no progress was made towards this end, he accused Bernis to Choiseul either of incapacity, or of connivance with Clement. Choiseul, to whom Charles left all liberty to act as he pleased in the general policy of Europe, was very anxious to comply with his wishes in this affair. He had already, some time before, written to Bernis a letter full of remonstrances, and ending thus:—“And if I was ambassador at Rome, I should be ashamed to see Father Ricci the antagonist of my master.”[384] But now he pressed the cardinal more and more strongly to bring the Pope to a speedy decision. The Spanish king, on his part, not content with stimulating Choiseul, was pressing the Pope harder and harder. First he held out a menace against the Court of Rome; then, when Clement represented that there was some danger that the measure of suppression would cause an outbreak, or the interference of other monarchs, or of the pious friends of the Jesuits, he proposed to land at Civita Vecchia 6000 men to defend the Pope against his enemies; and, to frighten Ganganelli still more, he publicly and explicitly denounced Cardinal de Bernis to the Court of France, and asked for his recall.

Bernis was stunned by the shock, and felt as if his embassy, the thing of all things dearest to his heart, for the pomp and power which it imparted, had already[380] been torn from him. The sympathy which he had for Clement, the desire to be agreeable to him, and to repay the Pope for the confidence which he thought his Holiness placed in him, vanished at once, and all his thoughts were directed to find out how he could constrain the Sovereign Pontiff, his spiritual and immediate chief, to obey his temporal masters, and thus maintain himself in his embassy. Instead of his previous easy acquiescence, he now became stern and exacting; and not seeing any more efficient step to take to calm Charles III.’s impatience, he urged the Pope to write to the king, and to make peace with him.[385] Ganganelli, overjoyed to escape the present evil, consented inconsiderately to what was asked of him, without reflecting that, by pledging himself in writing, he rendered his position still more difficult and perilous for the future. In his letter to the Spanish king, declining the assistance offered by his Catholic majesty, he requested time to accomplish the suppression of the Jesuits, admitting, at the same time, that this measure was indispensable, and announcing, in plain terms, that “the members of the Society had merited their fall from the restlessness of their spirit, and the audacity of their proceedings.”[386] This letter, which was written in 1770, has been denied by some, and by others confounded with the more vague note which, as we have seen, it was asserted that Ganganelli had written previous to his ascension to the pontificate. This is a grave error; and, to dispel any doubt, we shall quote the words of Cardinal Bernis himself, in his despatch of April 29, 1770. They are, as will be seen, of the gravest importance:—“The question is not whether the Pope would wish to suppress the Jesuits; but whether, after the formal promises he has given in writing to the King of Spain, his Holiness can for a moment hesitate to fulfil them? This letter, which I have induced him to write to his[381] Catholic majesty, binds him so firmly, that, unless the court of Spain should alter its opinions, the Pope will be obliged to complete the undertaking. By gaining him, it is true, he might effect something, but the power of delay is limited. His Holiness is a man of too much clear-sightedness not to perceive that, should the King of Spain cause his letter to be printed, he would lose his character as a man of honour, if he hesitated to fulfil his promise, and suppress the Society, a plan for whose destruction he had promised to communicate, and whose members he considered as dangerous, discontented, and turbulent.”[387]

On the existence of this letter, to which they wrongly assign, as we have said, a date anterior to the election of Ganganelli, the Jesuits have founded their system of defence. They have asserted that the Pope was compelled to the act of abolishing their Society, which act Clement personally did not consider either just or necessary; and it cannot be denied that the sovereigns exercised a kind of constraint upon him. But was, then, Ganganelli favourable to the order, and would he, if left to himself, have let the Jesuits live in peace, and protected them against a great part of Europe conspiring for their destruction? No! undoubtedly no. We have already observed that Ganganelli could not be the friend of the Jesuits. The man who took Sistus V. and Benedict XIV. for his models, and with whom he had so many points of resemblance, could only have wished what these his predecessors wished and attempted to do, namely, to put a stop to the Jesuits’ pride and arrogance. But we say more. Had not Clement been pressed too hard by the sovereigns, we are convinced that he would have acted more energetically and with more decision. We must remember that Ganganelli, though little exacting in regard to outward shows of pomp and power, had the highest opinion of the dignity with[382] which he was invested, and was by no means disposed to see the tiara lowered or dishonoured in his person. Once, when Florida Blanca, the Spanish ambassador, in order to support his argument, suggested to the Pope that immediately after the publication of the Brief of Suppression, Avignon and Benevento would be restored to the Holy See, Clement answered with majestic dignity, “Remember that a Pope governs the Church, but does not traffic in his authority,”[388] and, breaking short the conference, retired in indignation. Besides, Ganganelli, though wanting in energy, and though he may be reproached with somewhat equivocal conduct in order to satisfy his ambition, was a man too religious and too noble-hearted, of too sound principles of morality and honesty, to subscribe to a measure which he considered unjust. He would have preferred every inconvenience, martyrdom itself, to such iniquitous and dishonourable conduct. Why, then, did he hesitate so long to accomplish a measure which he considered useful and just? Let Clement answer for himself first, and we shall give our reasons afterwards. In the Brief of Suppression the Pope says: “We have omitted no care, no pains, in order to arrive at a thorough knowledge of the origin, the progress, and the actual state of that regular order commonly called the Company of Jesus.”[389] And Ranke, whom the Jesuits often quote as authority, and who seems to be rather partial to them, says, “Clement applied himself with the utmost attention to the affairs of the Jesuits. A commission of cardinals was formed, the archives of the Propaganda were examined, and the arguments of both sides were deliberately considered.”[390] It is evident, then, that Clement wished to give a judgment with a perfect knowledge of the affair. It must be remembered that there is a wide distance between the opinion that Ganganelli might have entertained[383] of the Jesuits, and the fact of the Supreme Pontiff, the chief of the religion, condemning, by a solemn irrevocable act, a religious order approved and protected by thirteen former Popes. It must be remembered that Clement was himself a monk, and that, at the very beginning of the Brief of Suppression, he informs us what his sentiments were towards the monastic communities. “It is beyond doubt,” says the Brief, “that among the things which contribute to the good and happiness of the Christian Republic, the religious orders hold the first place. It was for this reason that the Apostolic See, which owes its welfare and support to these orders, has not only approved, but endowed them with many exemptions, privileges, and faculties.”[391] Besides these powerful and principal reasons, many other secondary ones must have induced Clement to defer the all-important act. It was repugnant to his mild, benevolent, and conciliating character to have recourse to harsh and severe measures. The nobleness and generosity of his heart, on another side, suggested to him, that to the Jesuits, perhaps, he was indebted for the supreme dignity he had obtained, since it was by their influence that he had been named cardinal; and this leads us to believe that, had the measure been less urgent and indispensable to the welfare of the Church and Christianity, he, in memory of past benefits, would never have suppressed the order. As a last, not least reason, for Ganganelli’s hesitation, it may be adduced that the Roman Catholic world would have received it with astonishment, and not without murmurs, if he had abolished a society for which his benefactor, Rezzonico, whose ashes were yet warm, had nourished such a particular affection, and which he had taken under the protection of his infallibility—an infallibility which, though Clement never spoke, he no doubt would not have liked that others should[384] have called in question. In one word, in judging of Ganganelli’s conduct, the different parties have too often forgotten that he was a Pope and a monk.

All the motives we have adduced to explain and excuse Clement’s delay in suppressing the order, were noble and praiseworthy; but it must be confessed that with them was mingled one that was less noble, and not so creditable to the Pope’s character. He was afraid lest the Jesuits should assassinate or poison him; and his fears were not, as we shall see, without foundation.

The Jesuits, it may be imagined, had spared no pains to influence Clement’s mind, and to deprecate the scheme of their destruction. At first they set at work all the influences they still possessed. In Rome, above all, they were as yet all-powerful among the nobility. They were the agents of the husbands, the confessors of the wives, the tutors of the children; and by means of these nobles they endeavoured to influence the Pope in their favour. But as Ganganelli received few persons of that rank, and listened to none, this expedient of the fathers proved abortive. They obtained afterwards from the sovereigns of Austria, Bavaria, Poland, and Sardinia, letters of recommendation to the Holy Father; and when they perceived that even these proved ineffectual, they had recourse to threats, and, by many ingenious and sly contrivances, conveyed to Clement’s mind the persuasion that they would take away his life, whatever precautions he should take. To make a still stronger impression upon his mind, they had his death predicted by a set of impostors, whose predictions were, as is generally the case, readily believed by the people; and the Jesuits took good care to strengthen this belief. Bernardina Renzi, a peasant of Valentano, giving herself out as a prophetess, predicted the vacancy of the Holy See by the mysterious initials P. S. S. V. (presto sarà sede vacante). Another Pythoness of Montefiascone also put forth similar[385] strange and mysterious predictions.[392] The Pope was too enlightened, too religious, to believe in such impostures; but, just because he did not believe in them, he feared them the more, knowing that those who had put them forth would find the means to accomplish them. Two Jesuits, Fathers Coltraro and Venizza, along with the confessor of Bernardina, were thrown into prison, as having been suspected of being the advisers of the prophetess. In the various circles of society, almost publicly and aloud, the Jesuits and their partisans accused and cursed Clement, heaping reproaches on his name, and even insinuating the possibility of a deposition. Insulting images and hideous figures were put forth, announcing an approaching catastrophe, under the form of vengeance of Providence. Father Ricci, far from feeling any repugnance to the support of such shameless deception, did not even shrink from an interview with the sorceress of Valentino.[393]

Surrounded as he was by treachery, Ganganelli could not long resist the impressions which such a state of things was calculated to make upon him. His natural gaiety gave way; his health became impaired; and evident signs of weariness were stamped on the whole of his countenance. He lived more secluded than ever, and would not taste of any dishes but those prepared by his faithful Francesco, or by his own hands.

On the other hand, the sovereigns became more and more urgent. To Anzpurù succeeded, as Spanish ambassador, that same Muniño who, in his capacity of magistrate, had assisted D’Aranda in the mysterious examination of the Jesuits’ conduct, after the émeute of 1766, and who was now the Count of Florida Blanca. He was stern and inflexible, and pressed hard[386] the poor Pope to take the dangerous leap. The transitory, delusive hope which the Jesuits had enjoyed, of escaping ruin, after the disgrace of Choiseul, and the paramount influence which had been acquired over the king by their friend Madame Dubarry, the successor of Madame de Pompadour, soon vanished. D’Aiguillon, to deprecate the anger of Charles III. for the fall of his friend Choiseul, seconded the Spanish king vigorously in his cherished project of obtaining the Suppression; and, as Austria had abandoned the cause of the order,[394] the ruin of the Jesuits became inevitable. Yet Clement resisted all those importunities and menaces, and held firm, till, after a long and protracted investigation, his conscience was satisfied that the act he was called upon to perform was an act of supreme justice and of immense advantage to Christianity. Then, although he felt sure that he should forfeit his life, he decided upon sacrificing it to the fulfilment of a duty, which gives to the act a more imposing and solemn gravity. On the 23d July 1773, he affixed his signature to the Brief, saying, in the very act of writing his name, “We sign our death”—Sottoscriviamo la nostra morte.[395]

We shall now lay before our readers a great part of this Brief, which we should wish them to attentively read and consider, because, as a Roman Catholic priest observes, “It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and honourable of the Roman Church; and so much[387] so, that I dare assert that there is no ecclesiastical ordinance where shines more brightly the wisdom, the holiness, the moderation, and the true philosophy of the apostolic chair. The idea which is predominant in the Brief is, that of the unity and peace which the Man-God brought to mortals, by establishing his religion,” &c.[396] In fact, the Brief is extremely remarkable in all its parts, and shews with what accuracy, with what patience, Clement had examined the question. It begins by pronouncing a high eulogium on the monastic orders, and on the good intentions of Loyola in founding that of the Jesuits. It then points out many of these orders which were abolished by different Popes. It recapitulates all the favours that the Holy See had bestowed on the Jesuits. Then, in a rapid sketch of the history of the order, it shews in it the principle of discord, of schism; of a continual war waged by it against all other religious communities; the dissensions it excited in various Catholic countries; the obstinacy of the Jesuits in persisting in their reprehensible conduct, notwithstanding a number of briefs and admonitions of the Supreme Pontiff; and, finally, concludes by declaring it to be impossible that the Church could recover a firm and durable peace, so long as the said Society subsisted. Here follows this memorable document,[397] which we give at length, as the most correct epitome of the history of the Company, written by the most high and competent authority:—

Brief for the effectual Suppression of the Order of Jesuits.

Clement XIV., Pope, &c.

“Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer, was foretold by the prophets as the Prince of Peace: the[388] angels proclaimed him under the same title to the shepherds at his first appearance upon earth; he afterwards made himself known repeatedly as the sovereign pacificator; and he recommended peace to his disciples before his ascension to heaven.

“Having reconciled all things to God his Father, having pacified by his blood and by his cross everything which is contained in heaven and in earth, he recommended to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, and bestowed on them the gift of tongues, that they might publish it; that they might become ministers and envoys of Christ, who is not the God of discord, but of peace and love; that they might announce this peace to all the earth, and direct their efforts to this chief point, that all men, being regenerated in Christ, might preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; might consider themselves as one body and one soul, as called to one and the same hope, to one and the same vocation, at which, according to St Gregory, we can never arrive, unless we run in concert with our brethren. The same word of reconciliation, this same ministry, is recommended to us by God in a particular manner. Ever since we were raised (without any personal merit) to the chair of St Peter, we have called these duties to mind day and night; we have had them without ceasing before our eyes; they are deeply engraven on our heart; and we labour to the utmost of our power to satisfy and to fulfil them. To this effect we implore without ceasing the protection and the aid of God, that he would inspire us and all his flock with counsels of peace, and open to us the road which leads to it. We know, besides, that we are established by the Divine Providence over kingdoms and nations, in order to pluck up, destroy, disperse, dissipate, plant, or nourish, as may best conduce to the right cultivation of the vineyard of Sabaoth, and to the preservation of the edifice of the Christian religion, of which Christ is the chief corner-stone. In[389] consequence hereof, we have ever thought, and been constantly of opinion, that, as it is our duty carefully to plant and nourish whatever may conduce in any manner to the repose and tranquillity of the Christian republic, so the bond of mutual charity requires that we be equally ready and disposed to pluck up and destroy even the things which are most agreeable to us, and of which we cannot deprive ourselves without the highest regret and the most pungent sorrow.

“It is beyond a doubt, that among the things which contribute to the good and happiness of the Christian republic, the religious orders hold, as it were, the first place. It was for this reason that the Apostolic See, which owes its lustre and support to these orders, has not only approved, but endowed them with many exemptions, privileges, and faculties, in order that they might be so much the more excited to the cultivation of piety and religion; to the direction of the manners of the people, both by their instructions and their examples; to the preservation and confirmation of the unity of the faith among the believers. But if, at any time, any of these religious orders did not cause these abundant fruits to prosper among the Christian people, did not produce those advantages which were hoped for at their institution; if at any time they seemed disposed rather to trouble than maintain the public tranquillity; the same Apostolic See, which had availed itself of its own authority to establish these orders, did not hesitate to reform them by new laws, to recall them to their primitive institution, or even totally to abolish them where it has seemed necessary.”

[Here follows a long list of religious orders suppressed by different Popes, without giving them the opportunity of clearing themselves from the accusations brought against them. It then proceeds as follows:—]

“We, therefore, having these and other such examples before our eyes, examples of great weight and[390] high authority—animated, besides, with a lively desire of walking with a safe conscience and a firm step in the deliberations of which we shall speak hereafter—have omitted no care, no pains, in order to arrive at a thorough knowledge of the origin, the progress, and the actual state of that regular order commonly called ‘The Company of Jesus.’ In the course of these investigations, we have seen that the holy founder of the order did institute it for the salvation of souls, the conversion of heretics and infidels, and, in short, for the greater advancement of piety and religion. And, in order to attain more surely and happily so laudable a design, he consecrated himself rigorously to God, by an absolute vow of evangelical poverty, with which to bind the Society in general, and each individual in particular, except only the colleges in which polite literature and other branches of knowledge were to be taught, and which were allowed to possess property, but so that no part of their revenues could ever be applied to the use of the said Society in general. It was under these and other holy restrictions that the Company of Jesus was approved by the Pope Paul III., our predecessor of blessed memory, by his letter sub plumbo, dated 27th September 1540.”

[Here Clement enumerates the other Popes who had either confirmed the privileges already granted to the Society, or had explained and augmented them.]

“Notwithstanding so many and so great favours, it appears from the apostolical Constitutions, that, almost at the very moment of its institution, there arose in the bosom of this Society divers seeds of discord and dissension, not only among the companions themselves, but with other regular orders, the secular clergy, the academies, the universities, the public schools, and lastly, even with the princes of the states in which the Society was received.

“These dissensions and disputes arose sometimes[391] concerning the nature of their vows, the time of admission to them, the power of expulsion, the right of admission to holy orders without a sufficient title, and without having taken the solemn vows, contrary to the tenor of the decrees of the Council of Trent, and of Pius V., our predecessor; sometimes concerning the absolute authority assumed by the General of the said order, and on matters relating to the good government and discipline of the order; sometimes concerning different points of doctrine concerning their schools, or such of their exemptions and privileges as the ordinaries and other civil or ecclesiastical officers declared to be contrary to their rights and jurisdiction. In short, accusations of the greatest nature, and very detrimental to the peace and tranquillity of the Christian republic, have been continually received against the said order. Hence the origin of that infinity of appeals and protests against this Society, which so many sovereigns have laid at the foot of the throne of our predecessors Paul IV., Pius V., and Sixtus V.

“Among the princes who have thus appealed, is Philip II., King of Spain, of glorious memory, who laid before Sixtus V. not only the reasons of complaint which he had, but also those alleged by the inquisitors of his kingdom, against the excessive privileges of the Society, and the form of their government. He desired likewise that the Pope should be acquainted with the heads of accusation laid against the Society, and confirmed by some of its own members remarkable for their learning and piety, and demanded that the Society should undergo an apostolic visitation. Sixtus V., convinced that these demands and solicitations of Philip were just and well founded, did, without hesitation, comply therewith; and, in consequence, named a bishop of distinguished prudence, virtue, and learning, to be apostolical visitor, and at the same time deputed a congregation of cardinals to examine this matter.


“But this pontiff having been carried off by a premature death, this wise undertaking remained without effect. Gregory XIV. being raised to the supreme apostolic chair, approved, in its utmost extent, the institution of the Society, by his letter, sub plumbo, dated the 28th of July 1591. He confirmed all the privileges which had been granted by any of his predecessors to the Society, and particularly the power of expelling and dismissing any of its members, without any previous form of process, information, act, or delay; upon the sole view of the truth of the fact, and the nature of the crime, from a sufficient motive, and a due regard of persons and circumstances. He ordained, and that under pain of excommunication, that all proceedings against the Society should be quashed, and that no person whatever should presume, directly or indirectly, to attack the institution, constitutions, or decrees of the said Society, or attempt in any manner whatever to make any changes therein. To each and every of the members only of the said Society, he permitted to expose and propose, either by themselves or by the legates and nuncios of the Holy See, to himself only, or the Popes his successors, whatever they should think proper to be added, modified, or changed in their institution.

“Who would have thought that even these dispositions should prove ineffectual towards appeasing the cries and appeals against the Society? On the contrary, very violent disputes arose on all sides concerning the doctrine of the Society, which many represented as contrary to the orthodox faith and to sound morals. The dissensions among themselves, and with others, grew every day more animated; the accusations against the Society were multiplied without number, and especially with that insatiable avidity of temporal possessions with which it was reproached. Hence the rise not only of those well-known troubles which brought so much care and solicitude upon the[393] Holy See, but also of the resolutions which certain sovereigns took against the said order.

“It resulted that, instead of obtaining from Paul V., of blessed memory, a fresh confirmation of its institute and privileges, the Society was reduced to ask of him that he would condescend to ratify and confirm, by his authority, certain decrees formed in the Fifth General Congregation of the Company, and transcribed word for word in the Brief of the said Pope, bearing date September 4, 1606. In these decrees, it is plainly acknowledged that the dissensions and internal revolts of the said companions, together with the demands and appeals of strangers, had obliged the said companions assembled in congregation to enact the following statute, namely:

“‘The Divine Providence having raised up our Society for the propagation of the Faith, and the gaining of souls, the said Society can, by the rules of its own institute, which are its spiritual arms, arrive happily, under the standard of the Cross, at the end which it has proposed for the good of the Church and the edification of our neighbours. But the said Society would prevent the effect of these precious goods, and expose them to the most imminent dangers, if it concerned itself with temporal matters, and which relate to political affairs and the administration of government; in consequence whereof, it has been wisely ordained by our superiors and ancients, that, confining ourselves to combat for the glory of God, we should not concern ourselves with matters foreign to our profession: but whereas, in these times of difficulty and danger, it has happened, through the fault perhaps of certain individuals, through ambition and intemperate zeal, that our institute has been ill spoken of in divers places, and before divers sovereigns, whose affection and goodwill the Father Ignatius, of holy memory, thought we should preserve for the good of the service of God; and whereas a good reputation[394] is indispensably necessary to make the vineyard of Christ bring forth fruits; in consequence hereof, our congregation has resolved that we shall abstain from all appearance of evil, and remedy, as far as in our power, the evils arisen from false suspicions. To this end, and by the authority of the present decree of the said congregation, it is severely and strictly forbidden to all the members of the Society to interfere in any manner whatever in public affairs, even though they be thereto invited, or to deviate from the institute, through entreaty, persuasion, or any other motive whatever. The congregation recommends to the fathers-coadjutors, that they do propose and determine, with all diligence and speed, such further means as they may think necessary for remedying this abuse.’

“We have seen, in the grief of our heart, that neither these remedies, nor an infinity of others, since employed, have produced their due effect, or silenced the accusations and complaints against the said Society. Our other predecessors, Urban VII., Clement IX., X., XI., and XII., and Alexander VII. and VIII., Innocent X., XII., and XIII., and Benedict XIV., employed, without effect, all their efforts to the same purpose. In vain did they endeavour, by salutary constitutions, to restore peace to the Church; as well with respect to secular affairs, with which the Company ought not to have interfered, as with regard to the missions; which gave rise to great disputes and oppositions on the part of the Company with the ordinaries, with other religious orders, about the holy places, and communities of all sorts in Europe, Africa, and America, to the great loss of souls, and great scandal of the people; as likewise concerning the meaning and practice of certain idolatrous ceremonies, adopted in certain places, in contempt of those justly approved by the Catholic Church; and further, concerning the use and explanation of certain maxims, which the Holy See has with reason proscribed as[395] scandalous, and manifestly contrary to good morals; and, lastly, concerning other matters of great importance and prime necessity, towards preserving the integrity and purity of the doctrines of the gospel; from which maxims have resulted very great inconveniences and great detriment both in our days and in past ages; such as the revolts and intestine troubles in some of the Catholic states, persecutions against the Church in some countries of Asia and Europe, not to mention the vexation and grating solicitude which these melancholy affairs brought on our predecessors, principally upon Innocent XI., of blessed memory, who found himself reduced to the necessity of forbidding the Company to receive any more novices; and afterwards upon Innocent XIII., who was obliged to threaten the Company with the same punishment; and, lastly, upon Benedict XIV., who took the resolution of ordaining a general visitation of all the houses and colleges of the Company in the kingdom of our dearly beloved son in Jesus Christ, the most faithful King of Portugal.

“The late apostolic letter of Clement XIII., of blessed memory, our immediate predecessor, by which the institute of the Company of Jesus was again approved and recommended, was far from bringing any comfort to the Holy See, or any advantage to the Christian republic. Indeed this letter was rather extorted than granted, to use the expression of Gregory X. in the above-named General Council of Lyons.

“After so many storms, troubles, and divisions, every good man looked forward with impatience to the happy day which was to restore peace and tranquillity. But under the reign of this same Clement XIII. the times became more difficult and tempestuous; complaints and quarrels were multiplied on every side; in some places dangerous seditions arose, tumults, discords, dissensions, scandals, which, weakening or entirely breaking the bonds of Christian charity, excited the[396] faithful to all the rage of party hatreds and enmities. Desolation and danger grew to such a height, that the very sovereigns, whose piety and liberality towards the Company were so well known as to be looked upon as hereditary in their families—we mean our dearly-beloved sons in Christ, the Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, and Sicily—found themselves reduced to the necessity of expelling and driving from their states, kingdoms, and provinces, these very Companions of Jesus; persuaded that there remained no other remedy to so great evils; and that this step was necessary in order to prevent the Christians from rising one against another, and from massacring each other in the very bosom of our common mother the Holy Church. The said our dear sons in Jesus Christ having since considered that even this remedy would not be sufficient towards reconciling the whole Christian world, unless the said Society was absolutely abolished and suppressed, made known their demands and wills in this matter to our said predecessor Clement XIII. They united their common prayers and authority to obtain that this last method might be put in practice, as the only one capable of assuring the constant repose of their subjects, and the good of the Catholic Church in general. But the unexpected death of the aforesaid pontiff rendered this project abortive.

“As soon as by the divine mercy and providence we were raised to the chair of St Peter, the same prayers, demands, and wishes were laid before us, and strengthened by the pressing solicitations of many bishops, and other persons of distinguished rank, learning, and piety. But, that we might choose the wisest course in an affair of so much importance, we determined not to be precipitate, but to take due time; not only to examine attentively, weigh carefully, and wisely debate, but also, by unceasing prayers, to ask of the Father of Lights his particular assistance under these circumstances; exhorting at the same time the[397] faithful to co-operate with us by their prayers and good works in obtaining this needful succour.

“And first of all we proposed to examine upon what grounds rested the common opinion, that the institute of the Clerks of the Company of Jesus had been approved and confirmed in an especial manner by the Council of Trent. And we found that in the said Council nothing more was done with regard to the said Society, only to except it from the general decree, which ordained that in the other regular orders, those who had finished their novitiate, and were judged worthy of being admitted to the profession, should be admitted thereto; and that such as were not found worthy should be sent back from the monastery. The same Council declared, that it meant not to make any change or innovation in the government of the clerks of the Company of Jesus, that they might not be hindered from being useful to God and his Church, according to the intent of the pious institute approved by the Holy See.

“Actuated by so many and important considerations, and, as we hope, aided by the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; compelled, besides, by the necessity of our ministry, which strictly obliges us to conciliate, maintain, and confirm the peace and tranquillity of the Christian republic, and remove every obstacle which may tend to trouble it; having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant fruits, and those great advantages, with a view to which it was instituted, approved by so many of our predecessors, and endowed with so many and extensive privileges; that, on the contrary, it was very difficult, not to say impossible, that the Church could recover a firm and durable peace so long as the said Society subsisted; in consequence hereof, and determined by the particular reasons we have here alleged, and forced by other motives which prudence and the good government of the Church[398] have dictated, the knowledge of which we reserve to ourselves, conforming ourselves to the examples of our predecessors, and particularly to that of Gregory X. in the general Council of Lyons; the rather as, in the present case, we are determining upon the fate of a society classed among the mendicant orders, both by its institute and by its privileges;—after a mature deliberation, we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fulness of our apostolical power, suppress and abolish the said Company: we deprive it of all activity whatever, of its houses, schools, colleges, hospitals, lands, and, in short, every other place whatsoever, in whatever kingdom or province they may be situated; we abrogate and annul its statutes, rules, customs, decrees, and constitutions, even though confirmed by oath, and approved by the Holy See or otherwise; in like manner we annul all and every its privileges, indults, general or particular, the tenor whereof is, and is taken to be, as fully and as amply expressed in the present Brief as if the same were inserted word for word, in whatever clauses, form, or decree, or under whatever sanction their privileges may have been conceived. We declare all, and all kind of authority, the General, the provincials, the visitors, and other superiors of the said Society to be FOR EVER ANNULLED AND EXTINGUISHED, of what nature soever the said authority may be, as well in things spiritual as temporal. We do likewise order that the said jurisdiction and authority be transferred to the respective ordinaries, fully and in the same manner as the said generals, &c. exercised it, according to the form, places, and circumstances with respect to the persons and under the conditions hereafter determined; forbidding, as we do hereby forbid, the reception of any person to the said Society, the novitiate or habit thereof. And with regard to those who have already been admitted, our will is, that they be not received to make profession of the[399] simple, solemn, absolute vows, under penalty of nullity, and such other penalties as we shall ordain. Further, we do will, command, and ordain, that those who are now performing their novitiate be speedily, immediately, and actually sent back to their own homes; we do further forbid that those who have made profession of the first simple vows, but who are not yet admitted to either of the holy orders, be admitted thereto under any pretext or title whatever; whether on account of the profession they have already made in the said Society, or by virtue of any privileges the said Society has obtained, contrary to the tenor of the decrees of the Council of Trent.

“And whereas all our endeavours are directed to the great end of procuring the good of the Church and the tranquillity of nations; and it being at the same time our intention to provide all necessary aid, consolation, and assistance to the individuals or companions of the said Society, every one of which, in his individual capacity, we love in the Lord with a truly parental affection; and to the end that they being delivered on their part from the persecutions, dissensions, and troubles with which they have for a long time been agitated, may be able to labour with more success in the vineyard of the Lord, and contribute to the salvation of souls; therefore, and for these motives, we do decree and determine that such of the companions as have yet made professions only of the first vows, and are not yet promoted to holy orders, being absolved, as in fact they are absolved, from the first simple vows, do, without fail, quit the houses and colleges of the said Society, and be at full liberty to choose such course of life as each shall judge most conformable to his vocation, strength, and conscience, and that within a space of time to be prescribed by the ordinary of the diocese; which time shall be sufficient for each to provide himself some employment or benefice, or at least some patron who will receive him into his house,[400] always provided that the time thus allowed do not exceed the space of one year, to be counted from the day of the date hereof. And this the rather, as, according to the privileges of the said Company, those who have only taken these first vows may be expelled the order upon motives left entirely to the prudence of the superiors, as circumstances require, and without any previous form of process. As to such of the companions as are already promoted to holy orders, we grant them permission to quit the houses and colleges of the Company, and to enter into any other regular order already approved by the Holy See. In which case, and supposing they have already professed the first vows, they are to perform the accustomed novitiate in the order into which they are to enter according to the prescription of the Council of Trent; but if they have taken all the vows, then they shall perform only a novitiate of six months, we graciously dispensing with the rest. Or otherwise, we do permit them to live at large as secular priests and clerks, always under a perfect and absolute obedience to the jurisdiction of the ordinary of the diocese where they shall establish themselves. We do likewise ordain, that to such as shall embrace this last expedient, a convenient stipend be paid out of the revenues of the house or college where they reside; regard being paid, in assigning the same, to the expenses to which the said house shall be exposed, as well as to the revenues it enjoyed. With regard to those who have made the last vows, and are promoted to holy orders, and who, either through fear of not being able to subsist for want of a pension, or from the smallness thereof, or because they know not where to fix themselves, or, on account of age, infirmities, or other grave and lawful reasons, do not choose to quit the said colleges or houses, they shall be permitted to dwell therein, provided always that they exercise no ministry whatsoever in the said houses or colleges,[401] and be entirely subject to the ordinary of the diocese; that they make no acquisitions whatever, according to the decree of the Council of Lyons, that they do not alienate the houses, possessions, or funds which they actually possess. It shall be lawful to unite in one or more houses the number of individuals that remain, nor shall others be substituted in the room of those who may die; so that the houses which become vacant may be converted to such pious uses as the circumstances of time and place shall require, in conformity to the holy canons, and the intention of the founders, so as may best promote the divine worship, the salvation of souls, and the public good. And to this end a member of the regular clergy, recommendable for his prudence and sound morals, shall be chosen to preside over and govern the said houses; so that the name of the Company shall be, and is, for ever extinguished and suppressed.

“In like manner we declare, that in this general suppression of the Company shall be comprehended the individuals thereof in all the provinces from whence they have already been expelled; and to this effect our will is, that the said individuals, even though they have been promoted to holy orders, be ipso facto reduced to the state of secular priests and clerks, and remain in absolute subjection to the ordinary of the diocese, supposing always that they are not entered into any other regular order.

“If, among the subjects heretofore of the Company of Jesus, but who shall become secular priests or clerks, the ordinaries shall find any qualified by their virtues, learning, and purity of morals, they may, as they see fit, grant or refuse them power of confessing and preaching; but none of them shall exercise the said holy function without a permission in writing; nor shall the bishops or ordinaries grant such permission to such of the Society who shall remain in the colleges or houses heretofore belonging to the Society,[402] to whom we expressly and for ever prohibit the administration of the sacrament of penance, and the function of preaching; as Gregory X. did prohibit it in the Council already cited. And we leave it to the consciences of the bishops to see that this last article be strictly observed; exhorting them to have before their eyes the severe account which they must render to God of the flock committed to their charge, and the tremendous judgment with which the great Judge of the living and the dead doth threaten those who are invested with so high a character.

“Further, we will, that if any of those who have heretofore professed the institute of the Company, shall be desirous of dedicating themselves to the instruction of youth in any college or school, care be taken that they have no part in the government or direction of the same, and that the liberty of teaching be granted to such only whose labours promise a happy issue, and who shall shew themselves averse to all spirit of dispute, and untainted with any doctrines which may occasion or stir up frivolous and dangerous quarrels. In a word, the faculty of teaching youth shall neither be granted nor preserved but to those who seem inclined to maintain peace in the schools and tranquillity in the world.

“Our intention and pleasure is, that the dispositions which we have thus made known for the suppression of this Society shall be extended to the members thereof employed in missions, reserving to ourselves the right of fixing upon such methods as to us shall appear most sure and convenient for the conversion of infidels and the conciliation of controverted points.

“All and singular the privileges and statutes of the said Company being thus annulled and entirely abrogated, we declare that as soon as the individuals thereof shall have quitted their houses and colleges, and taken the habit of secular clerks, they shall be qualified to obtain, in conformity to the decrees of the[403] holy canons and apostolic constitutions, cures, benefices without cure, offices, charges, dignities, and all employments whatever, which they could not obtain so long as they were members of the said Society, according to the will of Gregory XIII., of blessed memory, expressed in his bull bearing date September 10th, 1548, which Brief begins with these words—Satus superque, &c. Likewise we grant them the power which they had not before, of receiving alms for the celebration of the mass, and the full enjoyment of all the graces and favours from which they were heretofore precluded as regular clerks of the Company of Jesus.

“We likewise abrogate all the prerogatives which had been granted to them by their General and other superiors in virtue of the privileges obtained from the Sovereign Pontiffs, and by which they were permitted to read heretical and impious books proscribed by the Holy See; likewise the power they enjoyed of not observing the stated fasts, and of eating flesh on fast days; likewise the faculty of reciting the prayers called the canonical hours, and all other like privileges; our firm intention being, that they do conform themselves in all things to the manner of living of the secular priests, and to the general rules of the Church.

“Further, we do ordain, that after the publication of this our letter, no person do presume to suspend the execution thereof, under colour, title, or pretence of any action, appeal, relief, explanation of doubts which may arise, or any other pretext whatever, foreseen or not foreseen. Our will and meaning is, that the suppression and destruction of the said Society, and of all its parts, shall have an immediate and instantaneous effect in the manner here above set forth; and that under pain of the greater excommunication, to be immediately incurred by whosoever shall presume to create the least impediment or obstacle, or delay in the execution of this our will: the said excommunication[404] not to be taken off but by ourselves, or our successors, the Roman Pontiffs.

“Further, we ordain and command, by virtue of the holy obedience to all and every ecclesiastical person, regular and secular, of whatever rank, dignity, and condition, and especially those who have been heretofore of the said Company, that no one of them do carry their audacity so far as to impugn, combat, or even write or speak about the said suppression, or the reasons and motives of it, or about the institute of the Company, its form of government, or other circumstance thereto relating, without an express permission from the Roman Pontiff, and that under the same pain of excommunication.

“We forbid all and every one to offend any person whatever on account of the said suppression, and especially those who have been members of the said Society, or to make use of any injurious, malevolent, reproachful, or contemptuous language towards them, whether verbally or by writing.

“We exhort all the Christian princes to exert all that force, authority, and power which God has given them for the defence of the holy Roman Church, so that, in consequence of the respect and veneration which they owe to the Apostolic See, things may be so ordered, that these our letters have their full effect, and that they attentively heeding all the articles therein contained, do publish such ordonnances and regulations as may prevent all excesses, disputes, and dissensions among the faithful, whilst they carry this our will into execution.

“Finally, we exhort all Christians, and entreat them by the bowels of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to remember that we have one Master, who is in heaven, one Saviour, who has purchased us by his blood; that we have all been again born in the water of baptism, through the word of eternal life; that we have all been declared sons of God, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ; all fed[405] with the same bread of the Catholic doctrine, and of the Divine Word; that we are all one body in Jesus Christ, of which we are members, consequently it is absolutely necessary that, united by the common bond of charity, they should live in peace with all men, and consider it as their first duty to love one another, remembering that he who loveth his neighbour fulfilleth the law, avoiding studiously all occasion of scandal, enmity, division, and such-like evils, which were invented and promoted by the ancient enemy of mankind, in order to disturb the Church of God, and prevent the eternal happiness of the faithful, under the false title of schools, opinions, and even of the perfection of Christianity. On the contrary, every one should exert his utmost endeavours to acquire that true and sincere wisdom of which St James speaks in his canonical epistle, ch. iii. v. 13.

“Further, our will and pleasure is, that though the superiors and other members of the Society, and others interested therein, have not consented to this disposition, have not been cited or heard, still it shall not at any time be allowed them to make any observations on our present letter, to attack or invalidate it, to demand a further examination of it, to appeal from it, make it a matter of dispute, to reduce it to the terms of law, to proceed against it by the means of restitutionis ad integrum, to open their mouth against it, to reduce it ad viam et terminos juris, or, in short, to impugn it by any way whatever, of right or fact, favour or justice; and even though these means may be granted them, and though they should have obtained them, still they may not make use of them in court or out of court; nor shall they plead any flaw, subreption, obreption, nullity, or invalidity in this letter, or any other plea, how great, unforeseen, or substantial it may be, nor the neglect of any form in the above proceedings, or in any part thereof, nor the neglect of any point founded on any law or custom, and comprised[406] in the body of laws, nor even the plea of enormis enormissimæ et totalis læsionis, nor, in short, any pretext or motive, however just, reasonable, or privileged, not even though the omission of such form or point should be of such nature as, without the same being expressly guarded against, would render every other act invalid. For all this notwithstanding, our will and pleasure is, that these our letters should for ever and to all eternity be valid, permanent, and efficacious, have and obtain their full force and effect, and be inviolably observed by all and every whom they do or may concern, now or hereafter, in any manner whatever.

“In like manner, and not otherwise, we ordain that all the matters here above specified, and every of them, shall be carried into execution by the ordinary judge and delegate, whether by the auditor, cardinal, legate à latere, nuncio, or any other person who has, or ought to have, authority or jurisdiction in any matter or suits, taking from all and every of them all power of interpreting these our letters. And this to be executed, notwithstanding all constitutions, privileges, apostolic commands, &c. &c. &c. And though to render the abolition of these privileges legal they should have been cited word for word, and not comprised only in general clauses, yet for this time, and of our special motion, we do derogate from this usage and custom, declaring that all the tenor of the said privileges is, and is to be supposed, as fully expressed and abrogated as if they were cited word for word, and as if the usual form had been observed.

“Lastly, our will and pleasure is, that to all copies of the present Brief, signed by a notary public, and sealed by some dignitary of the Church, the same force and credit shall be given as to this original.

“Given at Rome, at St Mary the Greater,
under the seal of the Fisherman, the
21st day of July 1773, in the fifth year
of our Pontificate.”


Immediately after the promulgation of this Brief, the prelates Macedonio and Alfani, accompanied by the Corsican soldiers, presented themselves at the Gesù, called together all the members of the Society, read to them the Brief of Suppression, and dispersed them, for the moment, in different ecclesiastical establishments; the General Ricci being confined to the English College. The two prelates, who were members of a commission appointed to examine and proceed in all this important matter, then took possession of the building, put the seal on all papers and other valuable things, and left the house in the keeping of the soldiers. Other commissioners resorted to the same proceedings in the thirty-one establishments which the Jesuits possessed in Rome; while in the provinces, the bishops received and executed the same orders. Next morning, the Collegio Romano, and all the other different schools of the Jesuits, were taken possession of, and served by the Capuchins. But we must here observe, that even before the Brief was published, the Jesuits had been brought before divers tribunals in Rome, and in other parts of the Papal States, accused and found guilty of various misdemeanours; that several of their houses, as in Bologna Mecerata Frascati, had been, by the bishops, subjected to visitation, and some of them shut up; and that even the possessions, and all the valuable things of the Collegio Romano, had been confiscated to pay creditors. So that it may be said that even had Ganganelli wished to preserve the Jesuits, he would have found it difficult to resist public opinion, which, even in his own dominions, was so decidedly against the order.

It will be perhaps well to take here a retrospective glance, and rapidly examine the progressive march of the famous Society.

As we have seen, ten homeless and penniless enthusiasts, under the guidance of a remarkable and superior intelligence, had decided upon establishing a new[408] religious order in a country already so infested by such leprosy, that the Holy See itself had forbidden the establishment of any new brotherhood. They were without friends, without supporters; they met with many obstacles, which nothing but the courage and indomitable energy of their chief could enable them to overcome. They were obliged to beg, from door to door, a hard piece of bread, and had nothing to shelter their wearied heads but the roofs of hospitals. Yet all difficulties were vanquished, the Society was established, and sixteen years after, in 1556, when Ignatius died, the order numbered more than a thousand members, was established in thirteen provinces, and was in possession of many valuable establishments. A hundred years afterwards, the members of the Society had increased to twelve thousand, the provinces to thirty-four, their wealth and the number of their establishments to a very considerable extent. Already, at this epoch, they boasted of having three saints, eight or ten martyrs, and ten or twelve of Loyola’s disciples had sat in the College of Cardinals. At the time of the Suppression, the Society numbered thirty-nine houses of professed members, 669 colleges, 61 novitiates, 196 seminaries, 335 residences, 223 missions, and 22,782 members, dispersed all over the surface of the earth. The order then reckoned, as its chief glory, in the register of its members, 24 cardinals, 6 electors of the empire, 19 princes, 21 archbishops, 121 titular bishops (so much for the article in the Constitutions which forbids the member to accept of any dignity), 11 martyrs, and 9 saints.

We wish we could give, with an equal degree of exactness, the amount of their fortune, raised by some to a fabulous amount, and by others represented as very insignificant. Nevertheless, we shall try to come to a fair estimate of the whole, from what we know, from their own confession, to have been a part of it.

Crétineau gives a very minute detail of the fortune[409] possessed by the Jesuits in France; and the total sum, according to his calculations, amounted to 58 millions of francs.[398] In the same volume, at page 303, the same historian says that the fortune the fathers possessed in Spain was much more considerable—beaucoup plus considerable—than that they had in France; let us, then, say 80 millions; while that which they possessed in Austria, according to the same authority, amounted to 125 millions.[399] So that the total sum of their fortunes in those three estates amounted, by their own account, to 263 millions of francs. We, who know almost all the establishments they had in Italy, do not hesitate to say that what they possessed there amounted to an equal sum, 263. Now, let us add to these 526 millions their other possessions in Belgium, Poland, in the remainder of Germany, in Portugal, in other small states, and in those rich mercantile establishments in both Indies, and we think it may be boldly asserted that their fortune amounted, in the whole, to a sum certainly not short of 40 millions sterling. So much for the article of the Constitution recommending holy poverty as the bulwark of religion. To this prodigious and almost incredible amount of property—which, however, was not all productive, part of it consisting in houses and colleges—the reverend fathers added the annual income arising from pensions, or incomes assigned by princes, towns, or chapters for the maintenance of divers colleges, some of which assignments were so considerable as to amount to £3000 yearly. Besides this, they had the annual revenues arising from the presents which twice a year they received from two or three hundred thousand pupils; the emoluments received by some of them as private tutors, agents, or stewards of great families; and, lastly, the——alms!!! Is not that a wonderful and astonishing fact, which proves forcibly the cunning and cleverness of those monks, who, to appearance, had nothing at heart but[410] the conversion of souls and the gratuitous education of children, and who were able, in the space of 230 years, to accumulate the immense sum of forty millions sterling?

However, when Ricci was examined, he swore that he had no hidden treasures nor money laid out at interest; and we suppose that the good father, not to tell an untruth, must have added secretly after the words, we have no hidden treasures, “in the places where you have looked for them, or where you supposed them to exist.” We know, however, that after the Jesuits had been driven from France, Spain, Naples, and Parma, “they were so terrified, that Father Delci started instantly for Leghorn, carrying off the treasures of the order, with the intention of transporting them to England; but the General, who was less pusillanimous, stopped him in his flight.”[400] What then became of all the moneys and valuable things which the Jesuits possessed, since little or nothing was found in their establishments? This is a mystery which we are not able to explain. We can conceive, and every one may easily imagine, that the Jesuits, who, during the last twelve years of their existence, expected to be suppressed from day to day, were not so simple as to leave their transportable wealth at the mercy of their enemies; but we would not hesitate to affirm that the Society must have possessed a large treasure at the time, though, what became of it, we cannot say. Indeed they were so cautious, and so eager to accumulate specie, that for many years the revenues of the Collegio Romano were not employed for its maintenance, and the fathers preferred having their immovable possessions confiscated to pay its debts, in lieu of disbursing money. We know also, that when they were re-established in 1814, they at once got up their establishments in the most splendid style, and soon after made many acquisitions.[411] How did they come by the means by which all this was effected? Was it the ancient treasure? and who had it in charge during all the forty years of their legal suppression? This rather resembles a romance than pure historical truth, and we have no means whatever of elucidating it.

Meanwhile a commission was named to commence proceedings against Ricci and some others of his brethren. The old General, when interrogated, answered with sufficient simplicity, and without any apparent resentment. He enlarged on the innocence of the Society, and protested that he had neither concealed nor lent out at interest any money; and of all the accusations that were brought against him, he only admitted that he had a correspondence with the King of Prussia; we shall see afterwards for what purpose.

About two months after, Ricci, the assistants, the secretary of the order, the Fathers Favre, Forrestier, Gautier, and some others, were sent to the Castel St Angelo, the state prison. The crimes of which they were accused and convicted were, that they had attempted, both by insinuations, and by more open efforts, to stir up a revolt in their own favour against the Apostolic See; that they had published and circulated throughout all Europe libels against the Pope, one of which had for its title, De Simoniaca electione fratris Ganganellii in Summum Pontificem—Simoniacal election of brother Ganganelli to the office of Chief Pontiff; while Favre, Forrestier, and Gautier were loudly repeating everywhere that the Pope was the Antichrist, and that the five cardinals of the commission were to be compared to the five propositions of Jansenius.[401] And in the following chapter, we shall see that they did not confine their anger to threatenings and imprecations.



During the struggle which Clement had to undergo before the suppression of the order, his health, as we have seen, had been injured, and his gay, placid humour much altered. But the moment he had affixed his signature to the document, after pronouncing those foreboding prophetic words, “This suppression will cause our death”—wrung from his heart by the knowledge he had of the enemies he was going to offend, as if those words were the last doleful thought he was going to give to the subject—he became an altered man, or, to speak more correctly, he again became the same good-humoured, mild, and affable monk he had ever been. The facility with which his orders were executed filled him also with extraordinary joy. “His health is perfect, and his gaiety more remarkable than usual,” wrote Bernis on the 3d of November 1773. Whatever discontent the nobles and the cardinals may have felt, they remained silent spectators of the event; and the generality of the citizens of Rome, and, in particular, the Trasteverini, hailed the Pope with loud acclamations. In vain did the conquering party foment a revolt; Rome remained tranquil; Clement was delighted; and, as if to compensate for the sad moments he had passed, and the irascible humour he had shewn, his character became still more joyful, and almost infantine. One day, followed by the Sacred College and all the Roman prelates, he went on horseback to the Church La Minerva. Suddenly a heavy rain came on; Porporati Monsignori all vanished, and the light horsemen themselves sought shelter. The Pope, left alone, and laughing at the terrors of his escort, proceeded bravely on his way amidst the storm, and the people were delighted at the sight, and loud in their applause.[402]

Clement XIV. (Ganganelli)



All the authors are unanimous on this point, and agree in representing Ganganelli as full of vigour, and enjoying the most perfect health. “The Pope,” says Botta, “enjoyed rather good health, because he was of a strong constitution, and his natural strength had not been wasted by an intemperate and licentious life; for, on the contrary, he had always lived with frugality and moderation, according to his own natural inclination.”[403] And the ex-Jesuit Georgel, who certainly can be accused of anything but partiality to the suppressor of his order, says “that Ganganelli’s strong constitution seemed to promise him a long career.”[404] Nevertheless, in spite of appearances, sinister rumours were afloat not only in Rome, but throughout all Italy. At the very time that the Pope was seen in the public ceremonies, in all the churches and everywhere else, enjoying the most perfect health and strength, the rumour of his death was widely circulated. The Pythoness of Valentano announced it with a characteristic obstinacy; and a Jesuit, writing to a brother of the order, and relating such impious predictions, says, Aplica ut fiat systema.[405]

Nor was it long before the ominous predictions were realised. This man, represented by everybody[414] as strong and healthy, suddenly, on the approach of the holy week of 1774, some eight months after the signature of the Brief, was taken ill, confined to his palace, and unable to grant any audience, even to the diplomatic body. What had happened to Clement, who, when on the 17th of August the ambassadors of the great powers were admitted into his presence, appeared a MERE SKELETON? Whence such strange and fatal change? The answer to these questions will appear from the following statement of facts.

One day, on rising from table, the Pope felt an internal shock, followed by a great cold; and although he was for a moment alarmed, he soon recovered from his fright, and attributed his indisposition to indigestion. But soon after, the voice of the Pope, which had always been full and sonorous, was lost in a singular hoarseness; an inflammation in his throat compelled him to keep his mouth continually open. He had repeated attacks of vomiting, and felt such feebleness in his limbs, that he was obliged to discontinue his long habitual walks. His step became interrupted by sharp pains, and at length he could not find any rest at all. An entire prostration of strength suddenly succeeded a degree of even youthful activity and vigour; and the sad conviction that his fears were realised, and that his life had been attempted, seized upon Clement, and rendered him strange even to his own eyes. His character was changed as by magic. The equability of his temper gave place to caprice, his gentleness to passion, and his natural easy confidence to continual distrust and suspicion. He saw poison and poniards everywhere. Sometimes, under the conviction that he had been poisoned, he increased his malady by inefficacious antidotes; at other moments, in the hope of escaping an evil which he imagined not yet accomplished, he would feed upon dishes prepared by his own hands. His blood became corrupted, and the close atmosphere of his apartments, which he would[415] not quit, aggravated the effects of an unwholesome diet. In this disorder of his physical system his moral strength gave way; all trace of the former Ganganelli disappeared; and even his reason became disordered. He was haunted by phantoms in his short moments of rest; and, in the silence of night, he started up continually, as if dreams of horror had struck his imagination. Often he ran from one place to another as if he was pursued, exclaiming, as in the act of asking mercy, “Compulsus feci! compulsus feci!”—I have been compelled![406] Indeed, that his reason had abandoned him, is generally believed; and Pius VII., when prisoner at Fontainebleau in 1814, exclaimed that he should die mad, as Clement XIV. These words are reported by Cardinal Pacca, a fellow-prisoner of Pius.[407] Ganganelli passed seven months in this dreadful state; at last his reason resumed its sway. For a while he shewed himself superior to his terrors and infirmities. “He resumed some tranquillity,” says Botta, “as generally happens some moments before man arrives at the last moment of his life, as a warning of God to mortals to think of their own affairs in that last moment. Already the attendants were rejoicing as if their master was returning to life; but the calm was the forerunner of death. The fatal signs soon re-appeared, and on the 22d September Ganganelli breathed his last—giving back his courageous soul to Him from whom he had received it.”[408]

The Romans heard of the Pope’s demise with indifference, as of an event daily expected; but the Jesuits[416] and their partisans gave an indecent and unblushing expression to their joy, conveyed in the most infamous and sacrilegious satires, which they carried themselves from place to place; and this circumstance, together with what was known of Ganganelli’s illness, left no doubts whatever in the people’s minds that the unfortunate Clement had died by poison. “The human mind,” says Gioberti, “is reluctant to believe in certain atrocious crimes, and I confess that I have hesitated to believe the sect guilty of the death of Ganganelli; nor have I consented to believe it till forced by the evidence of the facts.”[409] Although our opinion exactly coincides with that of our illustrious countryman, yet we shall put the facts and documents under the eyes of our readers, and let them form a judgment for themselves.

What was Clement’s illness? How did his strong and healthy constitution undergo such an instantaneous and fatal change? And what complaint brought him to his grave? The partisans of the Jesuits, and some not very well informed historians, as Gorani, for example, Schoël, and others, deny that Ganganelli met with foul play. Georgel pretends that he died of remorse—that he made a full retractation; and, in proof of this, he points to his habitual exclamation, “Compulsus feci!” Of his retractation we shall not speak. It is contested by every historian; no mention is made of it except in the writings of the ex-Jesuit Georgel and his followers, who cannot produce a single proof or witness of their assertion. But is it true, at least, that the remorse, which had rendered him mad, as Crétineau affirms, brought him to the grave? We question whether the Jesuits can make good this other assertion. How can it be affirmed that Clement died of remorse, since, during eight long months after he had signed the Brief, he enjoyed not only his ordinary health and calmness, but was, on the contrary,[417] more playful than ever? How came the remorse at such a late hour? What new crime had he committed in the interval? Does remorse admit of postponement? Does remorse produce all the physical diseases with which Ganganelli was suddenly affected? The extinction of voice, the inflammation of the throat, vomiting, complete prostration of strength—are these the symptoms of remorse? It is true that he often exclaimed “Compulsus feci!” and asked for mercy; but the unfortunate man asked for mercy from his assassins, not from the Supreme Judge. In his delirium, he supplicated his murderers to spare him; not to repeat the dose; or to administer to him some antidote, that his sufferings might cease. “Spare me! spare me!” he repeated; “I have been forced to the act, not so much, indeed, by the sovereigns, as by your own iniquities. Spare me, spare me these horrible sufferings!” he cried to everybody, and called upon his cherished Madonna to entreat for him, and to put an end to his tortures. Are delirium and insanity consequences of remorse, or rather the effects of several poisons—the belladonna, for example?

But let us see what other symptoms preceded and accompanied his death, and we shall be better able to judge of the quality of the illness which brought him to his grave.

“Several days before his death, his bones were exfoliated and withered—to use the forcible expression of Caraccioli—like a tree which, struck at the root, dies away, and sheds its bark. The scientific men who were called in to embalm his body, found the features livid, the lips black, the abdomen inflated, the limbs emaciated, and covered with violet spots; the size of the heart was much diminished, and all the muscles detached and decomposed in the spine. They filled the body with perfumes and aromatic substances; but nothing would dispel the mephitic exhalations. The entrails burst the vessels in which they were deposited;[418] and when his pontifical robes were taken from his body, a great portion of the skin adhered to them. The hair of his head remained entire upon the velvet pillows upon which he rested, and with the slightest friction his nails fell off.”[410] The sight of Ganganelli’s dead body was quite sufficient to satisfy every one as to the sort of death he had met with. It did not even retain those lineaments which nature leaves to our remains at the moment when death seizes upon them, and the funeral obsequies convinced all Rome that Clement XIV. had perished by the acqua tofana of Perugia.[411]

However, Dr Salicetti, the apostolic physician, and Adinolfi, Clement’s ordinary doctor, on the 11th of December, three months after Ganganelli’s death, gave in a long procès verbal, declaring that it was false that the Pope had been poisoned; but they adduced no proofs whatever, and explained the fact of the body’s corruption by such strange and suspicious reasons, as rather to strengthen than diminish the opinion of those who thought differently. The fact is, that in Rome, after the doctors’ statement was made public, even the few who had some doubts as to the cause of this mysterious death, were now firmly of opinion that the Jesuits had poisoned the poor Pope. Gioberti, among other proofs which he adduces of the poisoning of Ganganelli, names a Dr Bonelli, famous for learning and probity, almost an ocular witness of the facts, who had often asserted to many persons still living that there was no doubt that Ganganelli had been poisoned.

But there is a witness far more respectable and trustworthy, who puts the question beyond doubt:[419] that witness is Bernis; and no one that knows anything of the loyalty and nobleness of his character, would ever dare to impugn his testimony in an affair of such magnitude, when he, as ambassador, gives an account to his court of facts of which he was an eye-witness. Bernis, during the illness of the Pope, while every other person believed that Clement had met with foul play, alone had doubts; and his very hesitation, which proves his candour, leads him more surely to the discovery of the truth, which he attains step by step.[412]

On the 28th of August, twenty-four days before Ganganelli’s death, he wrote to the French minister: “Those who judge imprudently, or with malice, see nothing natural in the condition of the Pope; reasonings and suspicions are hazarded with the greater facility, as certain atrocities are less rare in this country than in many others.” Six days after the Pope’s demise, on the 28th of September, he wrote: “The nature of the Pope’s malady, and, above all, the circumstances attending his death, give rise to a common belief that it has not been from natural causes.... The physicians who assisted at the opening of the body are cautious in their remarks, and the surgeons speak with less circumspection. It is better to credit the account of the former than to pry into a truth of too afflicting a nature, and which it would perhaps be distressing to discover.” A month after, Bernis’ doubts are vanished, and on the 26th of October he writes: “When others shall come to know as much as I do, from certain documents which the late Pope communicated to me, the suppression will be deemed very just and very necessary. The circumstances which have preceded, accompanied, and followed the death of the late Pope, excite equal horror and compassion.... I am now collecting together the true circumstances attending the malady and[420] death of Clement XIV.,[413] who, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, prayed, like the Redeemer, for his most implacable enemies; and who carried his conscientiousness so far, as scarcely to let escape him the cruel suspicions which preyed upon his mind since the close of the holy week, the period when his malady seized him. The truth cannot be concealed from the king, sad as it may be, which will be recorded in history.”

But there is another and a more imposing testimony to the fact—that of Pope Pius VI., the successor of Clement XIV.; it is transmitted to us also by Bernis, who speaks in the following cool and dispassionate terms, more than three years after the death of Ganganelli. He wrote on the 26th of October 1777, as follows:—“I know better than any one how far the affection of Pius VI. for the ex-Jesuits extends; but he keeps on terms with them rather than love them, because fear has greater influence on his mind and heart than friendship.... The Pope has certain moments of frankness, in which his true sentiments shew themselves. I shall never forget three or four effusions of his heart which he betrayed when with me, by which I can judge that he was well aware of the unhappy end of his predecessor, and that he was anxious not to run the same risks.”[414]

Such was the end of a man born with the best possible dispositions, and endowed with truly noble and amiable qualities. His spirit of tolerance, above all, deserves the highest eulogium. He tolerated all sorts of opinions, provided they were expressed in decorous language; and although he condemned the doctrines of the philosophers, he kept on good terms with them. He would not, as Benedict XIV. had done, write to Voltaire; but, in answer to some sporting jests made upon his person, which were reported to him, he intimated to the Patriarch of Ferney, through his old[421] friend De Bernis, that he “would willingly take him to his heart, provided he would end by becoming a good Capuchin.”[415]

Ganganelli was, no doubt, a man incapable of governing under difficult circumstances. He had neither energy nor skill enough in handling difficulties, and he placed all his merits in evading them. But his moderation, his genuine spirit of tolerance, the purity of his morals, his modesty, his benevolence, deserve the sincerest respect, and his deplorable death a lasting compassion.[416]



The Brief of Suppression, as our readers may have seen, made a provision by which the Jesuits might, as secular priests and individuals, exercise sacerdotal functions, subject, of course, to the episcopal authority. In consequence, some few of them had settled themselves quietly in different capacities. Others thought to conceal the Ignatian device under the new title of Fathers of the Faith, Fathers of the Cross, &c. But the greater part, the most daring and restless, would not submit to the Brief of Suppression, impugned its validity in a thousand writings, called in question even the validity of Clement’s election, whom they called Parricide, Sacrilegious Simoniac, and considered themselves as still forming part of the still existing Company of Jesus. Regardless, as we have shewn they always were, of the injuries they may cause to the faith, they declared war against Rome, against religion, and surpassed even the school of Voltaire in audacity in mocking and insulting a virtuous Pope.[417] Although overwhelmed on every side, they were not daunted, and their courage was still greater than their misfortunes. Driven from those countries in which they had been nurtured and cherished, and which ought to have been their natural abode, they turned[423] their regards to the camp of their former enemies. As Themistocles, seeking protection from his ungrateful country, under the canopy of that Persian throne which he had shaken and almost destroyed, so those fiery persecutors of all religious sects which were out of the pale of Rome, and especially the Lutherans, had recourse for protection to the Lutheran Frederick of Prussia, and to the schismatic Catherine of Russia; and we do not hesitate to advance that, had those monarchs, in exchange for some advantages and privileges, asked of them to combat the Papal doctrines, they would not have imitated the Athenian hero, but would have fought against the Roman Catholic religion with the same ardour which they had employed in defending it.

But if it is easy to understand the versatile and interested behaviour of the Jesuits, strange must appear the conduct of the sovereigns who gave them protection and help. Above all, the anomalous proceeding of Frederick, the Solomon of the North, as the philosophers called him, ought to be explained.

We have already seen that Ricci, in his examination, confessed that he was in correspondence with his Prussian majesty; and it is a fact that Frederick, even before the suppression of the Society, proved himself its friend and protector, notwithstanding the reproaches and sneers of his friends and masters, the philosophers. D’Alembert, above all, assailed the king in all his vulnerable points; but in vain: Frederick remained firm in his purpose of supporting the Jesuits. “They say,” wrote D’Alembert on the 16th June 1769 to his royal friend, “that the cordelier Ganganelli does not promise sweet meats (poires molles) to the Society of Jesus, and it may be that St Francis of Assisi may kill St Ignatius. It appears to me that the holy father, cordelier as he is, will commit a great blunder in thus disbanding his regiment of guards out of complaisance to the Catholic princes. It seems to[424] me that this treaty resembles much that of the wolves with the sheep, which were obliged, as a principal condition, to give up their dogs. Every one knows how they fared for this. However, it will be singular, sire, that while their most Christian, most Catholic, most Apostolic, and most Faithful majesties endeavour to destroy the grenadiers of the most Holy See, your most heretic majesty should be the only one who wishes to preserve them.”

This letter was written, as may be seen, before the suppression, and many other missives were addressed to Berlin by D’Alembert after the Brief was issued. When the Jesuits of Silesia, refusing to obey the Papal orders, remained in their convents and houses as before, and acted as if nothing had happened, D’Alembert, on the 10th of December 1773, wrote to Frederick, telling him that he “wished that neither he nor his successors might ever have cause to repent of granting an asylum to intriguers, and that these men might prove more faithful than they had been in the last war of Silesia.” Another time, sneering at Frederick’s condescension, he says, that “he much doubted whether the Jesuits would ever pay his majesty the honour of admitting him to their order, as they did the great Louis XIV., though he could well have dispensed with it, and the poor, miserable James II., who was much more fit to be a Jesuit than a king.”—January 1774. And passing from personal arguments to more general considerations, he says: “It is not on your majesty’s account that I dread the re-establishment of these formerly self-styled Jesuits, as the late Parliament of Paris called them. What harm, indeed, could they do to a prince whom the Austrians, the Imperialists, the French, and the Swedes united, have been unable to deprive of a single village? But I am alarmed, sire, lest other princes, who have not the same power as you have to make head against all Europe, and who have weeded out this poisonous hemlock[425] from their gardens, should one day take a fancy to come to you and borrow seed to scatter their ground anew. I earnestly hope your majesty will issue an edict to forbid for ever the exportation of Jesuitic grain, which can thrive nowhere but in your dominions.”[418]

Frederick remained unmoved; and when the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Breslau, thinking it was his duty to see the orders of the Holy See obeyed, attempted to interdict the Jesuits, the king interfered, confiscated the bishopric, and haughtily proclaimed that the fathers were under his protection. Then all throughout Silesia sprung up a great number of houses and colleges, and Jesuits assembled here from all quarters. It was on this occasion that the old Voltaire, laughing at his quondam disciple’s strange conduct, exclaimed that “it would divert him beyond measure to think of Frederick as General of the Jesuits, and that he hoped that this would inspire the Pope with the idea of becoming mufti.”[419]

Meanwhile, the courts of France and Spain were pressing Ganganelli’s successor to execute rigorously the Brief of Suppression, pointing out all the different places, and especially Prussia, where the Jesuits were still in existence and prospering, and asking, not without a certain arrogance, the Pope to comply with their wishes. But the reigning Pontiff was not a man to be easily frightened. To the humble, plain, unpretending monk had succeeded, on the chair of St Peter, Ange Braschi, a prince in the best acceptance of the word. In the Conclave, he, after a long struggle between the two parties, had re-united the votes of both, as a man really indifferent to all political intrigues, but possessing in the highest degree qualities which commanded esteem and admiration, and as one who could restore to the low-fallen tiara some of its ancient[426] splendour; and if any man could accomplish such a miracle, Braschi was indeed the man. In all his personal qualities shone forth something royal and great. Tall, handsome, with a slightly bald forehead, his features were impressed with majesty, tempered by a sweet and serene expression. His expenditure was royal, his magnificence such as Rome had not witnessed since the time of Leo X. His ideas were lofty and great, his love for the arts enlightened and persevering. Many are the monuments which he has left to posterity of his love for the arts and for useful enterprises. He formed and enriched the museum begun under his directions in the Pontificate of Clement, which, as we said, bears the name of Museo Pio-Clementino, and which is the greatest wonder of modern times. He spent an immense sum of money to prevent the entire fall of the Coliseum. He attempted, though with little success, to drain the Pontine Marshes, and was a generous friend and protector of all literary persons. In his capacity of Pope, Pius VI.—such was the name he assumed—was also extraordinary. While he opposed every reform, even the most necessary and urgent, and decided upon taking the singular step of going himself—the Pope—to Vienna to dissuade Joseph II. from accomplishing them, in Rome, the churches and his own chapel were filled with persons of all religions, to whom Pius granted the same protection and favour as to his own subjects.

In regard to the Jesuits, in which we are more particularly interested, Braschi, according to Bernis, neither loved nor hated them. He was persuaded that they had poisoned Ganganelli; and as he set an immense value on his own life, he would not endanger it by following the example of his predecessor. It seems that Pius, naturally of a benevolent disposition, pitied them; and, if he had not feared to irritate the Bourbons, would perhaps have bettered their condition. Under him the Jesuits made Titanic[427] efforts to regain the position they had lost. They assembled in Rome, and set at work every engine which was still at their disposal, to attain their desired object; but in vain. Florida Blanca was implacable in his hatred toward the disciples of Loyola, and, as we have said, made the strongest remonstrances against the favour which he pretended was shewn to the Jesuits by the Court of Rome. Braschia, as we say, was not so pusillanimous as Ganganelli, and those intrigues or diplomatic negotiations were not able to affect him so much as to disturb his constant placid serenity; yet he thought proper to do something to appease the Bourbons, and live on good terms with everybody. He accordingly sent a copy of the remonstrances he had received from Spain and France to Frederick, asking him to withdraw his protection from those monks whom the Holy See had condemned. Frederick’s satiric spirit must have rejoiced to see the Pope implore him to disperse Roman Catholic votaries; but he answered scornfully, as a great monarch aware of his rights and dignity. The Pope insisted anew with infinite management, till at last Frederick, while maintaining the Jesuits in all their revenues and charges, consented that they should change their garb. The Pope, satisfied perhaps with this solution, wrote to the King of Spain: “I have done all in my power; but the King of Prussia is master in his own dominions.”

The accurate and impartial historian of the fall of the Jesuits, in an admirably well written chapter, explains the conduct of Frederick, in supporting the Jesuits, by the fact, that the Prussian monarch had got angry with the philosophers, when the latter, not content with attacking the Christian religion, set to work to destroy monarchy, and ridicule every noble sentiment which had till then been held sacred. He says that not only Frederick, but almost all the ministers of other princes, if not the princes themselves, and the aristocracy, far from[428] restraining the audacity of the philosophers, had, to follow the fashion, made it a point of honour to encourage and protect it while attacking religion and priestcraft; but when they, leaving the churches and cloisters, penetrated into the antechambers and staterooms, and their attacks became personal, then the great of the world, who had treated Christ and the Apostles with irreverence, would not endure the like towards themselves. He says, moreover, that when the school of D’Holbach produced the too famous work, the Système de la Nature, Frederick’s indignation knew no bounds. In this book, in fact, written by thirty clever, daring, and excited individuals, nothing was left standing: “each of them found something to take to pieces; one began upon the soul; another, the body; one attacked paternal love, gratitude, conscience; all subjects were examined, dissected, disputed, denied, condemned loudly without appeal. It was a kind of Old Testament, which prefigured the new by types and symbols.... Frederick read this hideous but prophetic book; a fatal light gleamed across his mind, and made him dread the future.”[420] All this is admirably well said; and by the answer which the King of Prussia made to the Système de la Nature, it clearly appears that Frederick would not go the length of the new school, and wished to have nothing more to do with them.

But, with all deference to the noble writer, we cannot see what connexion existed between the King of Prussia fearing the downfall of monarchical government and the protection he granted to the Jesuits. Does the French historian pretend to affirm that Frederick, the clear-sighted and remarkably sensible Frederick, considered the Jesuits in the light in which they themselves desired to be viewed, namely, as the foremost defenders of the throne and the altar? We scarcely should have believed St Priest capable of attributing[429] to such a man as Frederick so erroneous a notion, yet his words leave little doubt that this is the opinion he attributed to his majesty. But, it may be asked, if this is not the case, how, then, shall we account for the favour bestowed by the Prussian monarch on those detested monks? We believe that, by assigning, as the efficient and principal causes, those which St Priest, in a dubitable tone, esteems only as secondary, we should be nearer the truth. The first of those reasons is to be found in what the king wrote himself to D’Alembert: “I did not offer,” said he, “my protection to the Jesuits while they were powerful, but in their adversity: I consider them as learned men, whom it would be extremely difficult to replace to educate youth. This most important object renders them most valuable in my eyes; for, among all the Catholic clergy in my kingdom, the Jesuits alone are given to letters;” and this was true as regarded the newly-acquired province of Silesia. The other all-powerful and efficient reason, which the French writer little insists upon, is, that Frederick wished, through the agency of the Jesuits, to gain the goodwill of those Poles whom he had so shamefully betrayed. We have seen what immense influence the Jesuits possessed over the Poles. It is known what authority they exercised everywhere over ignorant and bigoted Papists. Frederick knew this, and was very well aware that the Jesuits, who had no other asylum but his estates, would, without being asked, of their own free-will, do their utmost to persuade the unfortunate Poles who had been despoiled of their nationality, and who had been set up in lots as the booty of a conquered town, to endure patiently the yoke of the new master for their own personal interest and the greater glory of God. This was the all-powerful motive which induced Frederick to stand forth as the protector of a brotherhood for which he could not have any sort of esteem, but which he in no way feared.


The same motive induced Catherine II. to grant them a refuge and protection in her estates, and especially in White Russia, formerly a province of Poland, but which, in the partition, had fallen to the lot of the Russian sovereign.

Nor was Catherine deceived in her expectation. The Jesuits at first proved of immense service to her. Before the first partition of the unfortunate Poland in 1772, the fathers resided at Polotsk, in a magnificent college, surrounded by an immense tract of land, cultivated for the fathers’ benefit by more than ten thousand serfs, partly on the right and partly on the left bank of the river Dwina. After the Brief of Suppression, the Jesuits found themselves either obliged to submit to the sentence of the Holy See, and cease to exist as a body, or to accept the offered protection of Catherine. They embraced the latter alternative, abandoned the left bank of the Dwina, which was still Polish, for the right bank, which was now Russian, and there not only preserved their garb and their name, but obtained the favour that the Brief of Suppression should not be published in all the Russian states. From that moment, setting at defiance the Papal authority, those monks, who, as a religious community, could have no existence without the consent of Rome, established in Russia a sort of patriarchate, a supreme seat of the Roman Catholic religion, represented by individuals who, by a solemn decision of the supreme chief of this same religion, were excommunicated and out of its pale.

Meanwhile, Ricci was dying in the state prison of Castel St Angelo. Pius VI. had not dared to set him at liberty, but had rendered his captivity as supportable as possible. Yet the old man expired in November 1775, making an insignificant testament, exculpating the Society from every charge which had been brought against it.[421]


The Jesuits in Russia, some time after they had heard of the death of Ricci, convened a general congregation to elect a vicar-general, with full authority over all those members who should consider themselves as Jesuits. This being accomplished, they pitched upon a man worthy of their protection, Siestrencewiecz, formerly a Calvinist, now a priest of equivocal orthodoxy, as are all those converts who have left their former religion from motives of personal interest or consideration; and through his agency they trusted to revive the Society. This is the method they adopted: They prevailed upon Catherine to nominate him Bishop of Mohilow, and have one of their number, Benislawski, appointed his coadjutor. The latter, supported by the authority of the empress, proceeded to Rome, boldly presented himself at the Vatican, and required the Pope to grant the Pallium to Siestrencewiecz, the man whom they had chosen as bishop; and as he could not at first get admittance to the Pope’s presence, he firmly declared, that, should he spend his whole life in the antechamber, he would not quit it until he was satisfied on every point. And he succeeded in his mission. Now, this Siestrencewiecz, who was afterwards named Legate for White Russia, at once permitted the Jesuits to erect a novitiate, and to receive candidates for the Society, regardless of any other consideration but that of pleasing his protectors. The Nuncio of Warsaw, and the Court of Rome, on hearing of such an abuse of authority, reproached him with this violation of the Papal decrees, and menaced him with interdiction; but Catherine took him under her protection, and upheld him with all her power. And thus was presented the singular spectacle of a Popish prelate denounced by the Holy See for upholding a sect of priests accounted the most fervent Roman Catholics, while he was defended by a princess for affording protection to these same priests, who, as devotees of Rome, were the bitter enemies of her own[432] faith. The Jesuits, emboldened by the favour they obtained in Russia, acted entirely at their own discretion, conferred upon the Vicar-General the title and the absolute authority of General, named an assistant and an admonitor, received novices and scholastics, and nothing seemed changed in the Society excepting the residence of the General.

To exculpate them from these continued acts of rebellion against the Papal authority, Crétineau, and after him Curci, a Neapolitan Jesuit, assert, that although Pope Pius VI. had not, by any public act, re-established the Society, yet that he had, in the presence of Benislawski (mark!), pronounced the words, “Approbo Societatem Jesu in Alba Russia degentem; approbo, approbo,”—I approve of the Society of Jesus residing in White Russia; I approve, I approve. We suppose we must rely upon the veracity of Father Benislawski for this revelation of the sentiments of the Holy Father.

Three or four obscure and insignificant names[422] succeeded one another as Generals of the Order, while it still laboured under the anathema launched by Clement. At last, Pius VII., who had succeeded Braschi in 1800, authorised the Society to establish itself in White Russia, and to live according to the Constitution of Loyola. This brief bears the date of 1801, and was the forerunner of their re-establishment.

Meanwhile, the Society made wonderful progress in Russia; and, as if all conspired to favour them, there chanced to be among them at the epoch a man whom they had the tact to choose for their General, and who was little inferior to the Lainez and Acquavivas. This man was Grouber, a learned and very able individual, who had long been at the court of St Petersburg, a welcomed guest of Catherine, much esteemed by Paul, and employed by Alexander on some delicate[433] missions. Grouber was a man who had an exact and just idea of the times in which he lived, and repressed the immoderate zeal of proselytism displayed by his subordinates, who already spoke of working miracles, and establishing new missions in the East. Grouber received the congratulations of all the partisans of the Jesuits, and, with admirable dexterity, he made use of the influence and resources the Society still possessed, to obtain the re-establishment of the order in various parts. They had already re-entered Parma, though only on toleration, and in 1804, the Pope granted to the Jesuits of the two Sicilies the same favours he had granted to those of White Russia. He re-established them in Sicily, of course under the authority of the General residing in Russia.

Unfortunately for the Society, Grouber perished in a conflagration in 1805. After his death, the Jesuits, renouncing the wise policy adopted by their late General, and encouraged by partial success, returned to the inveterate policy of the order, and attempted to domineer over a country which had sheltered them during their days of trouble and misery.

No pages of ours could convey to our readers a more accurate idea of the conduct of the Jesuits in Russia, than a passage of the imperial decree by which Alexander expelled them from his capital. We consider this expulsion, and the motives alleged by the sovereign as having impelled him to adopt the measure, as most significant, and as stigmatising more forcibly than any pamphlet or declamation the abominable arts and practices of the incorrigible progeny of Loyola.

Alexander, after having recorded, that while the Jesuits were persecuted in the rest of Europe, Russia alone, from a spirit of humanity and tolerance, had protected them, had showered favours upon them, had put no constraint on the free exercise of their religion, and had confided to their care the education of youth;[434] thus continued in the imperial document: “It has been, however, proved that they have not relished the duties imposed on them by gratitude, and that humility commanded by the Christian religion. Instead of remaining peaceable inhabitants of a foreign land, they have endeavoured to disturb the Greek religion, which, from time immemorial, has been the predominant religion in this country. They began by abusing the confidence they had obtained, and have turned away from our religion young men who had been intrusted to them, and some weak and ignorant women whom they have converted to their own Church. To induce a man to abjure his faith, the faith of his ancestors, to extinguish in him the love of those who profess the same belief, to render him a stranger to his country, to sow tares and animosity among families, to tear the son from the father, the daughter from the mother, to stir up division among the children of the same Church,—is that the voice and the will of God, and of his holy Son Jesus Christ?... After such actions, we are no more surprised that these monks are expelled from all countries and nowhere tolerated. Where, in fact, is the state that would tolerate in its bosom those who sow in it hatred and discord?” For all these reasons, the emperor, in 1815, expelled the Jesuits from St Petersburg, and forbade them to re-enter either that capital or Warsaw. And mark, that to prove that he did not expel them because they were Catholic priests, the emperor, in the same decree, adds, that he has already sent for monks of other orders for the benefit of his Roman Catholic subjects!

But let no one imagine that this severe admonition from a sovereign to whom and to whose ancestors the Jesuits were so deeply indebted, had the effect of bringing them to some sense of their duty. On the contrary, they redoubled their intrigues and their malignant practices; and as their numbers increased, rapidly[435] rising in 1820 to 674,[423] and they might have become dangerous, Alexander, by another decree, of 13th March 1820, expelled them from all his dominions. In the statement of motives which the Minister of Worship presented to Alexander in asking for the expulsion, we read: “The expulsion of the Jesuits from St Petersburg has not made them change their conduct;” and it then goes on to enumerate all the mischiefs caused by the fathers in Russia and Poland. We can hardly imagine what the Jesuits can have to answer to these accusations. It is also to be remarked that their own creature, Siestrencewiecz, Archbishop of Mohilow, was one of the most ardent in procuring their expulsion.

No Jesuits are now in Russia or Poland, except those who, in Galicia, assist the Austrian sovereign to govern that province—every one knows how.



The events which took place in Europe in 1814 are known to every one. Napoleon, who represented abroad that same French Revolution which his military despotism had smothered at home, fell under the united efforts of Europe, favoured by the elements and by the treachery of his former companions in arms, to whom he had given either the staff of the field-marshal or the sceptre of the king. The restoration of all the dethroned sovereigns followed, and on re-entering their dominions, these monarchs directed all their cares to obliterate even the remembrance (foolish and useless attempt!) of all that had been done, said, and published, in the past time of hurricane and revolution, and hurried back with inconsiderate earnestness to their old and primitive system of governing. The Jesuits, skilful in profiting by every circumstance, then stepped forward, and offered to those sovereigns their unconditional services. Already, after their suppression, and during the ascendant march of the French Revolution, they, with infinite address, had persuaded the different sovereigns, either menaced on their thrones or already hurled from them, that their overthrow—the crimes which, it is unfortunately true, in a moment of delirium, had been committed in the name of liberty—the impious and[437] subversive doctrines which had invaded Europe, and extinguished every sense of morality and religion—all were to be attributed to the suppression of the order. They asserted that the Encyclopædists, after the destruction of the Society, the surest bulwark of the throne and the altar, finding no more opposition, and passing from theory to practice, had caused the revolution, and set the whole of Europe in a blazing conflagration; and this is even now repeated by the fathers and their partisans. We must, before proceeding any farther, give the answer Gioberti makes to their assertions. He grants that the Encyclopædists did make the revolution. “But,” says he, “the Society, by altering and disfiguring, in the opinion of many, the Catholic faith, the morality of the gospel, the authority of princes, and all those fundamental laws which form the basis of all states and governments—in fact, by substituting for religion their own sect—had shaken all principles of morality, religion, and good government, and had indeed brought the Encyclopædists into existence; the most conspicuous of whom, in fact, as Voltaire, Diderot, Helvetius, Marmontel, St Lambert, Lametrie, and many others, had issued from Jesuitical colleges, or had had Jesuits as their tutors.”[424]

However, these monks, who, as we have seen, had conspired against the life and independence of almost all the sovereigns of Europe, now had the art to persuade the reigning monarchs that they would be always insecure on their thrones without the assistance and the support of the Company; and, strange to say, some actually believed them, while others feigned to do so. From that moment to our days, in the eyes of such bigoted and short-sighted despots as the Ferdinands of Naples, the Leopolds of Tuscany, the Francis Josephs of Austria, and all the supporters of absolutism, the Jesuits have been considered as the[438] best pillars and supporters of despotism and tyranny. Nor is this belief destitute of foundation so far as the intentions of the fathers are concerned. The Liberals in our time are in their eyes what the Reformers were two centuries back. Against them are now directed all their efforts; the Liberals are now the accursed of God, the impious whom all the courage and ability of the sons of Ignatius can hardly keep at bay. Nor is this the first time that these mendacious and impudent monks have contrived to impose themselves on different states, representing their interference as indispensable to the welfare of society and to the repression of its enemies. Thus they had imposed themselves as necessary to combat the Reformers in the sixteenth century, the Jansenists and Calvinists in the seventeenth, and again, in the eighteenth, the philosophers and the approaching revolution; although it was not till very late, and when the first persecutions had awakened them from their state of beatitude, that they proclaimed themselves the opponents of the Encyclopædists. In the nineteenth century, the adversaries with whom they are wont to contend are, as we said, the Liberals; and the fathers must, indeed, be skilful and powerful instruments for suppressing all ideas of liberty, all free aspiration, all generous sentiments, all personal dignity, and for keeping the people in servitude, since the supremely cunning Louis Napoleon has chosen them as his most useful auxiliaries, and lavished on them all sorts of favours.

Among the sovereigns who, in 1814, re-ascended the thrones from which a daring and unscrupulous conqueror had hurled them, was the old Pontiff, who, after his captivity at Fontainebleau, had, on the 24th of May, re-entered Rome amidst unfeigned marks of love and veneration from his people. Indeed, the man who at this epoch occupied the pontifical chair was, for many reasons, worthy of the greatest admiration and respect. This person was Barnaba Chiaramonti, a[439] Benedictine monk, who assumed the name of Pius VII. His life was pure and uncontaminated; his intentions were good; his character was mild and benevolent; and before his misfortunes, he had shewn some readiness to make concessions required by the times and the circumstances; but after his captivity, after the series of direct miseries which had befallen him and the Sacred College, miseries which he attributed to the spirit of irreligion then prevalent in Europe, Pius VII., now a feeble old man, gave way to all the propensities of a fanatical, bigoted monk, which in his better days he had subdued and restrained by reasoning. His first care, therefore, was to re-establish all the monastic orders he could, and among the first was that of the Jesuits, who had already flocked to Rome from every part, with the certainty of soon re-acquiring their former position and splendour. Nor were they disappointed in their expectations. On Sunday, the 7th of August 1814, Pius VII. went in state to the church of the Gesù, celebrated himself the mass before the altar consecrated to Loyola; heard a second mass, immediately after which he caused to be read and promulgated the bull by which the Society of Jesus was re-established according to the ancient rules.

Party writers, too eager to find Popes in contradiction with each other, and to hold up their pretended infallibility to the ridicule of their readers, have taken up these two acts, and asked, “Who was infallible—Clement XIV., who abolished the Society, or Pius VII., who re-established it?” We do not aspire to so easy a triumph, and we shall consider Chiaramonti’s bull in a somewhat more serious manner.

In our opinion, the bull of Pius VII. is less in contradiction than may be supposed with the brief of Clement. Pius does not in the least condemn either the brief or its author; nor does he say that it had[440] been extorted, as Ganganelli said of the bull of Rezzonico. On the contrary, he speaks of it as of a legal and perfectly authoritative act by which the Company had ceased to exist; and when he is obliged in some sort to annul it, he does not annul it, except in that part which is contrary to his own bull, namely, that which affects the existence of the Society. In the whole bull there is not a word, not a syllable, to contradict or to weaken the long list of terrible accusations brought against them by Clement. If it was an injustice done to the Jesuits, which Pius wished to repair, he ought at least to have mentioned that they had been wronged, and that it was the duty of the Supreme Chief of the Church to reinstate them in the good estimation of Europe. But the bull is silent as to any such wrongs, and is very chary of its commendations of the sons of Ignatius. Why, then, one may ask, did Pius VII. re-establish the Company of Jesus? First, as I have stated, because he was a bigoted monk, and thought that it might be in the power of the fanatical and idle brotherhoods of all kinds to extinguish the light spread by the new doctrines, and to bring humanity back to the blessed darkness of the middle ages. In other words, he thought, and many of the sovereigns, some of them not Roman Catholics, thought with him, that the priests and monks would be able to arrest the progress of civilisation; for it must be remembered that the horrors and acts of barbarity which were committed during the last ten years of the eighteenth century, and which were the consequences of a forced and exaggerated application of the new theories on government and religion, could in no way be laid to the charge of the doctrines themselves, which are calculated to promote the real and beneficent progress of society. Besides Chiaramonti’s predilection for all monks, to whose re-establishment, as he says in the bull, “all his care and all his solicitude are given,”[441] Pius was requested by all the sovereigns to re-establish the Company; and he says that he should consider himself as wanting in his duty if, while the bark of Peter was tossed to and fro amidst dangerous rocks, he should disdain the help of those vigorous and experienced rowers.

Such were the motives, of a purely political nature on the part of the sovereigns, and of a mixed nature on the part of the Pope, which induced the former to request, and the latter to grant, a new existence to the Society of Jesus. But observe, that in the act itself, by which he re-instated the order, Pius reserved to the Holy See the power of modifying it if its provisions were abused. He subjects the members of the Company, in the exercise of all their spiritual functions, to the jurisdiction of the ordinaries, thus despoiling it of the most precious of its privileges, the whole of which he expressly recalls. And the bull is still more significant, when it conjures all the members of the Society to return to the primitive rules of Ignatius, and to take him as their model. The Pontiff does not say, return to your occupation, to those exercises in which you were engaged before the Suppression. But he tells them to return to the primitive spirit of their institution, from which they had so far departed. The noble and virtuous Pontiff hoped that their past misfortunes would have instructed those inconsiderate and wicked monks, and warned them not to incur again the hatred of Christendom. Vain hopes! useless admonitions! Before fifteen years shall pass, the whole of Europe, except, perhaps, some despots and their supporters, will look anxiously for the happy day when the troublesome progeny of Ignatius shall be irrevocably banished from its bosom!

However, as the bull is very short, we shall submit it to the calm and serious consideration of our readers, and we feel confident that they will form the same opinion of it that we have done, namely, that in the[442] act itself, in which Pius re-establishes the Jesuits, he modifies their institutions and condemns their past conduct.

Bull for the Re-establishment of the Order of the Jesuits.[425]

Pius, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God (ad perpetuam rei memoriam).

“The care of all the Churches confided to our humility by the Divine will, notwithstanding the lowness of our deserts and abilities, makes it our duty to employ all the aids in our power, and which are furnished to us by the mercy of Divine Providence, in order that we may be able, as far as the changes of times and places will allow, to relieve the spiritual wants of the Catholic world, without any distinction of people and nations.

“Wishing to fulfil this duty of our apostolic ministry, as soon as Francis Karew (then living) and other secular priests, resident for many years in the vast empire of Russia, and who had been members of the Company of Jesus, suppressed by Clement XIV., of happy memory, had supplicated our permission to unite in a body, for the purpose of being able to apply themselves more easily, in conformity with their institutions, to the instruction of youth in religion and good morals, to devote themselves to preaching, to confession, and to the administration of the other sacraments, we felt it our duty the more willingly to comply with their prayer, inasmuch as the reigning emperor, Paul I., had recommended the said priests, in his gracious despatch, dated 11th August 1800, in which, after setting forth his special regard for them, he declared to us that it would be agreeable to him to see the Company of Jesus established in his empire[443] under our authority; and we, on our side, considering attentively the great advantage which these vast regions might thence derive, considering how useful those ecclesiastics, whose morals and learning were equally tried, would be to the Catholic religion, thought fit to second the wish of so great and beneficent a prince.

“In consequence, by our brief, dated 7th March 1801, we granted to the said Francis Karew, and his colleagues, residing in Russia, or who should repair thither from other countries, power to form themselves into a body or congregation of the Company of Jesus; they are at liberty to unite in one or more houses, to be pointed out by their superior, provided these houses are situated within the Russian empire. We named the said Francis Karew General of the said congregation; we authorised them to resume and follow the rule of St Ignatius of Loyola, approved and confirmed by the Constitutions of Paul III., our predecessor, of happy memory, in order that the companions, in a religious union, might freely engage in the instruction of youth in religion and good letters, direct seminaries and colleges, and, with the consent of the ordinary, confess, preach the Word of God, and administer the sacraments. By the same brief, we received the congregation of the Company of Jesus under our immediate protection and dependence, reserving to ourselves and our successors the prescription of everything that might appear to us proper to consolidate, to defend it, and to purge it from the abuses and corruptions that might be therein introduced; and for this purpose we expressly abrogated such apostolical constitutions, statutes, privileges, and indulgences, granted in contradiction to these concessions, especially the apostolic letters of Clement XIV., our predecessor, which begun with the words Dominus ac Redemptor Nostra, only in so far as they are contrary to our brief, beginning Catholicæ,[444] and which was given only for the Russian empire.

“A short time after we had ordained the restoration of the order of Jesuits in Russia, we thought it our duty to grant the same favour to the kingdom of Sicily, on the warm request of our dear son in Jesus Christ, King Ferdinand, who begged that the Company of Jesus might be re-established in his kingdom and states as it was in Russia, from a conviction that, in these deplorable times, the Jesuits were instructors most capable of forming youth to Christian piety and the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, and to instruct them in science and letters. The duty of our pastoral charge leading us to second the pious wishes of these illustrious monarchs, and having only in view the glory of God and the salvation of souls, we, by our brief, beginning Per alias, and dated the 30th July 1804, extended to the kingdom of the two Sicilies the same concessions we had made for the Russian empire.

“The Catholic world demands with unanimous voice the re-establishment of the Company of Jesus. We daily receive to this effect the most pressing petitions from our venerable brethren, the archbishops and bishops, and the most distinguished persons, especially since the abundant fruits which this Company has produced in the above countries have been generally known. The dispersion even of the stones of the sanctuary in these recent calamities (which it is better now to deplore than to repeat), the annihilation of the discipline of the regular orders (the glory and support of religion and the Catholic Church, to the restoration of which all our thoughts and cares are at present directed), require that we should accede to a wish so just and general.

“We should deem ourselves guilty of a great crime towards God, if, amidst these dangers of the Christian republic, we neglected the aids which the special[445] providence of God has put at our disposal, and if, placed in the bark of Peter, tossed and assailed by continual storms, we refused to employ THE VIGOROUS AND EXPERIENCED POWERS who Volunteer their services, in order to break the waves of a sea which threaten every moment shipwreck and death. Decided by motives so numerous and powerful, we have resolved to do now what we could have wished to have done at the commencement of our pontificate. After having by fervent prayers implored the Divine assistance, after having taken the advice and counsel of a great number of our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, we have decreed, with full knowledge, in virtue of the plenitude of apostolic power, and with perpetual validity, that all the concessions and powers granted by us solely to the Russian empire and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, shall henceforth extend to all our ecclesiastical states, and also to all other states. We therefore concede and grant to our well-beloved son, Tadder Barzozowski, at this time General of the Company of Jesus, and to the other members of that Company lawfully delegated by him, all suitable and necessary powers in order that the said states may freely and lawfully receive all those who shall wish to be admitted into the regular order of the Company of Jesus, who, under the authority of the General, ad interim, shall be admitted and distributed, according to opportunity, in one or more houses, one or more colleges, and one or more provinces, where they shall conform their mode of life to the rules prescribed by St Ignatius of Loyola, approved and confirmed by the Constitutions of Paul III. We declare, besides, and grant power, that they may freely and lawfully apply to the education of youth in the principles of the Catholic faith, to form them to good morals, and to direct colleges and seminaries; we authorise them to hear confessions, to preach the Word of God, and[446] to administer the sacraments in the places of their residence, with the consent and approbation of the ordinary. We take under our tutelage, under our immediate obedience, and that of the Holy See, all the colleges, houses, provinces, and members of this order, and all those who shall join it; always reserving to ourselves and the Roman Pontiffs, our successors, to prescribe and direct all that we may deem it our duty to prescribe and direct, to consolidate the said Company more and more, to render it stronger, and to purge it of abuses, should they ever creep in, which God avert. It now remains for us to exhort, with all our heart, and in the name of the Lord, all superiors, provincials, rectors, companies, and pupils of this re-established Society, to shew themselves at all times, and in all places, faithful imitators of their father; that they exactly observe the rule prescribed by their founder; that they obey with an always increasing zeal the useful advices and salutary counsels which he has left to his children.

“In fine, we recommend strongly in the Lord, the Company and all its members to our dear sons in Jesus Christ, the illustrious and noble princes and lords temporal, as well as to our venerable brothers the archbishops and bishops, and to all those who are placed in authority; we exhort, we conjure them, not only not to suffer that these religions be in any way molested, but to watch that they be treated with all due kindness and charity.

“We ordain, that the present letters be inviolably observed according to their form and tenor, in all time coming; that they enjoy their full and entire effect; that they shall never be submitted to the judgment or revision of any judge, with whatever power he may be clothed; declaring null and of no effect any encroachment on the present regulations, either knowingly or from ignorance; and this notwithstanding any apostolical constitutions and ordinances,[447] especially the brief of Clement XIV. of happy memory, beginning with the words Dominus ac Redemptor Noster, issued under the seal of the fisherman, on the 22d day of July 1773, which we expressly abrogate as far as contrary to the present order.

“It is also our will that the same credit be paid to copies, whether in manuscript or printed, of our present brief, as to the original itself, provided they have the signature of some notary public, and the seal of some ecclesiastical dignitary; that no one be permitted to infringe, or by an audacious temerity to oppose, any part of this ordinance; and that, should any one take upon him to attempt it, let him know that he will thereby incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the holy apostles Peter and Paul.

“Given at Rome, at Sancta Maria Major,
on the 7th of August, in the year of
our Lord 1814, and the 15th of our

(Signed) “Cardinal Prodataire.

Cardinal Braschi.

The moment the bull of 1814 had given to the Society a new existence, nearly two hundred fathers, who had survived the calamities of 1773, re-assembled at the Gesù, and in the novitiate of St Andrea in Rome. Along with the old remains of the Company, many young Jesuits, who during the suppression had been received into the order in their houses in Silesia, Russia, and Palermo, re-entered the abode of their past glory and splendour, and opened their hearts to new and brilliant prospects. Neither were they deceived in their expectations. In those first moments of violent reaction in Italy, the priests and monks were considered as almost saints, and Pius VII. was actually worshipped as God. The overthrow of Napoleon’s empire was in Italy considered as due to the hand of God, who had[448] punished him for laying his impious hand on the anointed of the Lord—the Vicar of Jesus Christ. Napoleon, who was considered in France as the restorer of religion, was in Italy regarded as the greatest heretic who had ever lived—worse than Luther, Calvin, Zuingle. As the ignorant and bigoted people of the peninsula, at such an epoch, made religion consist in monks, nuns, and processions, so the man who had abolished these was in their eyes the greatest enemy of God and religion; and those friars, though held in very little consideration as individuals, were, when re-instated in their convents, cheered and worshipped. Even those whose sentiments were anything but of a religious character, thinking that the clerical party would now re-acquire the supreme sway, and would exercise it in a more absolute and exclusive manner, feigned to be devoted to the reigning power, either to avoid persecution or to obtain favour as devout supporters of the Roman Catholic faith. Thank God, this is no longer the case.

The Order of the Jesuits, above all, fixed the attention of every one, and admission into it was sought with passionate eagerness, as the surest way to fortune and consideration. Many younger brothers of good families entered the novitiate of St Andrea, which had the rare honour to see as a postulant for admission into the brotherhood, a once crowned head. Charles Emanuel of Savoy, who had already renounced the crown of Sardinia in favour of his brother Vittorio, entered the novitiate, fulfilled with unfeigned humility all the duties of a novice, and died some three or four years after, asking, as a last favour, to be buried in his garb of a Jesuit.

Another fortuitous circumstance soon came to relieve the Jesuits from great difficulties. In 1820, the death of General Barzozowski, whom Alexander would never permit to leave Russia, and without whom nothing definitive could be done, put an end to this[449] anomalous state of things. The new election restored the chief of the Company to the metropolis of Christendom; and from the Gesù, where Loyola and Ricci had sat, Fortis, the elected General, now watched over the interests and the prosperity of the Society, which he hoped to see again in all its former glory.

In our peninsula their progress was rapid.

——Come di gramigna,
Vivace terra,[426]

so Italy was soon covered with the noxious weed. Most of their former establishments were given back to them, others they bought; and, in perfect concord with the Court of Rome, as each stood in need of the other, they set to work to reduce the unfortunate country to the lowest possible degree of ignorance and degradation, to extinguish every noble aspiration, to suppress every generous sentiment, and to force us into that mould in which idle, debauched, and corrupt monks are cast. But their united efforts, thank Heaven! proved ineffectual. The genius of ancient Rome, though clad in sable, watched over us from the ruins of the Coliseum, and from the summit of the Capitol, and pointed out to us written on every stone of our cities, a page of glory, an inscription of noble and heroic deeds! Yes! in the very names of our monuments, even when they are not present to our eyes, there is something magical, some mysterious power, which thrills all the fibres of the heart, and makes one long to restore the glories of the past. And in this, we believe, more than in anything else, is to be found the explanation of that historical fact, that while in the middle ages the Popes were almost supreme umpires of the different kingdoms of Europe, they could never obtain a stable footing in Rome, but were often driven from it, often besieged in their castles or made prisoners, while their court and government were generally held in[450] the greatest contempt. So now, though the Jesuits were supported by all the petty Italian despots, and by their master the Emperor of Austria, and though they almost had at their disposal the thunderbolts of the Vatican and the dungeons of the Inquisition, they could only persuade old women, and feeble and bigoted men, but none of the thinking and active population of Italy. The revolution of 1848 proved once more how deeply rooted was the hatred of the Italians against the brotherhood of Loyola, the only religious order among such an immense number which was forcibly expelled from the whole peninsula.

However, the Jesuits, the moment they were re-established, lost no time in invading other countries where they thought they could retrieve their fallen fortunes. Immediately after the restoration, they re-entered Spain, France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and many countries in the New World. We shall endeavour, in the little space left to us, to sketch the history of the fathers in those different countries.

The Jesuits, to the number of about one hundred, mostly members of the Society who had been expelled in 1767, re-entered Spain, and were associated with Ferdinand VII. in all the acts of revenge which that cruel and stupidly ferocious prince exercised upon the unfortunate Spaniards. They increased so rapidly, that as early as 1820, they numbered already 397 members.[427] But at that time the Castilians revolted against the cruelty of the despotic king. Successful in their revolution, they established the Constitution of 1812; and one of the first acts of the Cortes was to enact a law which expelled the Jesuits from all the Spanish dominions. But it was not long before they re-entered in the rear of the French army, conducted by the Duke of Angouleme, to replace Ferdinand on the throne, and became the most efficient instruments[451] of his bigoted and cowardly policy. In 1825, a general military college was established at Segovia, and, strange to say, the Jesuits were made the preceptors of those future officers in all that was not strictly military. In 1827, another college for the nobility and children of courtiers and chamberlains was established, and also delivered to the Jesuits’ direction. But their prosperity was put a stop to by the death of Ferdinand. The right of Isabella, the infant daughter of the late king, was contested by her uncle Don Carlos, and long and murderous civil war was the consequence of this contest. The Jesuits took the part of the Carlists secretly at first, and acting only as informers when they were able. In an émeute in 1834, the people of Madrid murdered some of them, and in 1835 they were legally abolished by a decree of the legislature, sanctioned by the sovereign. But they did not on that account quit Spain. They recovered their standing in those provinces in which the armies of Don Carlos were predominant, and were chosen as tutors to the pretender’s sons. They built a novitiate in Quipuzoa, and seemed to set at defiance the government of the country. After the convention of Vergara, Espartero caused them to be expelled from their new colleges, and ordered them to leave the Spanish territories; but although, since this epoch, they have no legal existence in the land of Loyola and Xavier, according to the best information, in 1845, about 250 Jesuits were to be found there, apparently as single individuals, but in reality forming part of the order, and being attached either to the province of Belgium or to that of South America.

Their history in Portugal may be more summarily narrated. In 1829, some French Jesuits, invited by the usurper Don Miguel, arrived in Portugal, and were honourably received, as they pretend, by the grand-daughter of Pombal, who offered to intrust to[452] them four of her children to be educated.[428] The authorities also contrived to get up a sort of manifestation, given by the other monks on the Jesuits’ entrance into Coimbra, where they stayed two or three years. But hardly was Don Pedro master of Portugal, than, by a decree in 1834, he expelled the fathers from all the dominions of his daughter Dona Maria. We are not aware that there are many Jesuits now in Portugal.

In Germany, the fathers were far from regaining the position they had formerly held. Austria itself refused to re-admit them. Metternich, brought up in the school of Joseph II. and Kaunitz, was not disposed to let the bad seed take root again in the German soil. However, when, in 1820, the Jesuits, expelled from Russia, passed through Vienna, they found means to obtain permission to settle in Galicia, where they soon opened schools and colleges, the principal of which were in Tournow and Lemberg, and where they met with such success, that the latter college, in 1823, counted 400 pupils. The number of Jesuits in the province went on increasing, and their influence, especially over the rural population, who are almost all Papists, is now all-powerful and irresistible. Now, our readers, who remember the atrocious and inhuman acts which desolated the unfortunate country in 1846, may form an estimate of the good which their system of education has produced.

They also attempted to establish themselves in Styria, though with little success. But in 1838, they were at last permitted to re-open their former college at Innspruck, where they are now in the most prosperous and flourishing state. In no other part of the German Confederation have they a legal existence; and the late King of Prussia very wisely forbade any of his subjects to pass into foreign countries to be educated by the Jesuits.


In Holland, the Jesuits acted in very nearly the same way as they did in Russia. It seems as if, at the time of the Suppression, the Protestant countries, forgetful of all prudence, merely to shew their opposition to the Papal Court, vied with each other in cheering and patronising those monks whom Rome was persecuting. Even in England, Jesuits were never so well treated, nor perhaps so prosperous, as during their legal suppression. Some of the Jesuits recovered a standing in Holland, and lived there unmolested and protected, till the French armies drove them away, or obliged them to disguise themselves under another garb; but they re-appeared in 1814, and with their wonted activity they began to erect houses and novitiates. King William of Nassau tolerated them; but it would appear that they were not contented with being tolerated—they aspired to higher destinies. Spreading dissatisfaction among the Roman Catholic population, they encouraged them not to accept of, or submit quietly to, a constitution so unfavourable to their interests, and were preparing materials for a revolution. De Broglio, the Archbishop of Ghent, entirely devoted to the order, wrote in the same sense to all his subordinates. Aware of their intrigues and machinations, the government thought it necessary, by a decree of 1816, to banish them. The audacious monks, instead of obeying, repaired to the archbishop’s palace, as if to brave the laws. But the government maintained its rights. A warrant was issued against De Broglio, who, however, took to flight, and accompanied into France the Rector of the College of the Jesuits. The fathers then left the country, but not all of them. “Some sons of Loyola, nevertheless, remained on the spot directed by Father Demeistre, and, enrolled under the standard of the Church, they fought as volunteers.”[429] In other words, under different disguises, they kept up their intrigues,[454] and breathed the spirit of revolution into the Popish population of Belgium. At the first opportunity, this spirit broke out. “The revolution of 1830 was made in the name of the Catholics and of the Jesuits.”[430] Very well! we like this bold and frank language; and the Jesuits have our felicitation for having helped an oppressed people to shake off a yoke which brutal force had imposed upon them. But then let them never come again and assert they are a religious order, entirely occupied in spiritual concerns, and quite indifferent to political matters.

Since the revolution of 1830, the influence of the Jesuits has greatly increased in Belgium, and this country is now one of the most flourishing provinces of the order, numbering more than 400 members. The extreme prudence and sagacity of Leopold has prevented them from doing much mischief; but they have done their best to acquire a supreme sway in that country, and to extinguish in it every civil and religious liberty. At the very moment we are writing these pages, they are striving hard to prostrate Belgium at the feet of their worthy protector, Louis Napoleon.

In France, the fathers have led a much more agitated and unsettled existence since their expulsion in 1765. Portugal and Spain, in expelling them, had resorted to such rigorous and universal measures, that few or no Jesuits were to be found in the two countries for some time after their banishment. But it was not so in France. No stringent measures had been taken to see the decree of expulsion executed. The Jesuits, it is true, had disappeared from their colleges and houses, and dropped the long mantle and large-brimmed hat; but a great part of them remained in the French territory, changing residences, and many of them metamorphosing themselves into the Fathers of the Faith, or the Brethren of the Doctrine Chretienne. Then,[455] when the opportunity presented itself, they re-appeared everywhere in their own garb, and nobody knew whence they came, or where they had been. We find few traces of them during the first years of the French Revolution of 1789; but the moment Napoleon, for his own political ends, re-established the ancient form of religion, and restored to the clergy some liberty to fulfil their duties, the Jesuits, under the name of the Fathers of the Faith, re-appeared, and set themselves at once to work, endeavouring, by new contrivances, to re-acquire at least some of their lost influence and power. In 1800, the sister of Father Barat, under the direction of her brother, founded the Sisterhood of the Sacred Heart; while Father Baruffe established the Congregation of the Sacred Family; the first to preside over the education of the daughters of the aristocracy, the latter to instruct governesses and servants, whom they distributed especially amongst families whose secrets they were interested in knowing. Father Despuits was still more audacious, and established the Congregation of the Holy Virgin, in which he enrolled all sorts of persons, but particularly those of the upper class of society, and military men as often as he could. The two first institutions are at the present moment very flourishing in France, and almost all the French nobility send their daughters to be educated at the famous convent of Les Oiseaux, in Paris. The Congregation of the Virgin decayed after the revolution of 1830.

However, Napoleon, alarmed at the progress and the intrigues of the Fathers of the Faith, by a decree of Messidor, anno XII. (1804), abolished the brotherhood, and, by another imperial decree of 1810, the Congregation of the Virgin, and for some little time the Jesuits were obliged to be more prudent and less meddling.

But, in 1814, those monks, who had for a moment disappeared from the scene, came forth again[456] more alive and more intriguing than ever. They dropped the borrowed name of Fathers of the Faith, and reassumed that of Jesuits. The congregations received a new impulse, and that of the Virgin, above all, was eminently active in inducing military men to join it. Rendered wise by past experience, they perceived that they should never succeed in their designs without the concurrence, or at least the neutrality, of the secular clergy. To disarm, then, its animosity, which had been so ardent in former times, they spontaneously renounced their privileges, and shewed the utmost deference to the secular priests of all ranks. Father Simpson, the Provincial in 1819, writing to his subordinate, says to him: “Let us remember that we are only the auxiliaries of the secular priests, that we, in our quality of monks, must look upon them as our superiors, and that St Ignatius has given to our Society, as its distinctive title, The Little Society of Jesus.”[431] We wonder whether Lachaise or Letellier would have written so. Then, supported by a great part of the bishops, and encouraged by the government, part of the Jesuits went over to France as missionaries, to try what they could do to restore the reign of superstition and bigotry, and to bring back France to the good old times of civil and religious bondage; part again undertook to monopolise the education of youth; and in both undertakings they were, with certain classes, prodigiously successful.

But the sacrifices France had made to obtain liberty were of too fresh date that it should quietly submit to a priestly domination, which had become now too visible and threatening. Public opinion declared itself so strongly and so irresistibly against all priests in general, and against the Jesuits in particular, that the bigoted Charles X. himself was forced, in 1828, to issue an ordinance which deprived the fathers of the faculty of instructing youth, and providing, moreover,[457] that no person whatever should be admitted to teach without taking an oath that he did not belong to any religious community not approved by law. The Jesuits, however, secretly encouraged by the court, and supported by the aristocracy, eluded these ordinances by a thousand different stratagems; and, although not so openly, they never rested from their intrigues, and from taking an active part in education.

The Revolution of 1830, due in a great measure to the aversion of the French nation to the domination of the priests and Jesuits, again dispersed them for a while. They left the scene; nobody knew when they disappeared, whither they went, and when they returned, till, towards 1836, they came to be spoken of and pointed out as becoming numerous, powerful, and dangerous; they, nevertheless, went quietly and prudently on, continually progressing, till 1845, when an affair of money now, as in 1761, again brought them into momentary trouble. A certain Affnaër—an arch-Jesuit, it would seem, since he cheated his dupes by feigning to be a converted sinner—became their confidential agent, and robbed them of the immense sum of £10,000, of which embezzlement they remained ignorant till he took to flight—(so poor they are!) The fathers had the imprudence to apply to the tribunals. The swindler was indeed condemned, but at the same time was brought to light the existence of the Jesuits, not as private citizens, but as a religious community, already possessing immense wealth and establishments of all kinds, till then almost ignored, or at least overlooked—all this being contrary to the existing laws. Thiers, courting popularity, called upon the government to advert to this subject, and the parliament unanimously declared that it felt confident that the ministry would see the laws of the land strictly executed. To avoid an open rupture with Rome, Rossi was sent thither, to obtain from the Pope and the General of the order a[458] voluntary acquiescence in the wishes of the nation. Roothaan, the then chief of the Society, more prudent than Ricci, granted the request, and ordered his brethren to quit their establishments. However, not to renounce all the advantages they were deriving in educating the rising generation of Frenchmen, the fathers established a college on the very limits of the French territory, at Brugellette, and the French nobility sent their children either there or to Fribourg, where a part of the French fathers had emigrated. Once more the Jesuits were supposed to have left France. Little was seen of them in the last two years of Louis Philippe’s reign, and during the eventful year of 1848; but in ’49 they re-appeared, hesitatingly at first, but more boldly afterwards; and now, in 1852, they possess such an influence, that even the unscrupulous military usurper is obliged to court their friendship. In 1845, the number of the Jesuits in France amounted to 870.

In Switzerland, the bloody and inhuman acts by which the Jesuits sought to enter Lucerne are of too recent and terrible recollection to require to be related by us at length. The expedition of the Corps Franc, their defeats, 112 dead, 300 wounded, 1500 prisoners, the Sonderbund, and all the fraternal blood spilt in Switzerland in 1844, 45, and 46, must be laid to the charge of the Jesuits, who insisted on entering Lucerne against the will of half the population. Had they been true Christians, and religious men, they would have renounced their projects of installing themselves by force where they knew that the attempt would cost the lives of so many of their Christian brethren, and an Iliad of miseries to the unfortunate country.

Although we find few indications of the presence of the Jesuits in England, after the accession of the house of Hanover to the throne, till the last few years of the past century, Crétineau, who may be relied upon as having written his apology of the Society upon the[459] register of the order, and under the dictation of the fathers, informs us that, “from the day on which liberty was no more a deception, the Jesuits perceived that they had no more to fear the extraordinary rigours of past times.... They then began to live in fixed abodes, at first in secret, then a little more openly, and in community. Such were at first the missions of Liverpool, Bristol, Preston, Norwich, and many other towns. A little chapel was annexed to the house (which means, that an altar had been constructed in a room); and without exciting the least suspicion, the faithful could repair thither and pray.”[432] This, according to the French historian, was the way in which they lived till 1795, when the Jesuits of Liège, flying from the victorious republican armies of France, sought a refuge in Great Britain which granted them that hospitality she never refuses to the unfortunate. Then Mr Weld, a wealthy Roman Catholic, with a liberality for which, whatever gratitude the Jesuits may owe to his memory, England certainly owes him none, presented them with an old manor and some property in Stoneyhurst, near Preston, in Lancashire. Thither the worthy fathers instantly repaired, and at first conducted themselves with all humility, avowing it to be their intention to earn a subsistence solely by tuition. As we have said, the Protestants of that epoch seem to have taken a sort of pleasure in protecting these rebellious monks, and the more so, perhaps, because they persisted in being monks against the will of Rome. Hence the Jesuits quietly settled themselves in Stoneyhurst, nemine contradicente. By degrees, finding all sorts of encouragement, they changed the manor into a college, where, besides the boarders and pupils who paid them regular fees, they gave gratuitous instructions to every one who would attend their classes. Improvements to a great extent were made upon[460] the house, by which it was rendered capable of receiving at first 150, and subsequently, by additional buildings, 300 pupils. Weld gave up to them a large tract of land, and one of his sons entered the order. “All the ancient Jesuits flocked to Stoneyhurst. Among the first were Fathers Stanley, O’Brien, Lawson, Church, Jenkins, Plowden, Howard, and some others.”[433] All together consecrated their cares “to make priests, and to form young men equally devoted and learned, who should bring into their families the courage and the faith of which they gave and received the example in the college.”[434] In a little while the college of Stoneyhurst was deemed insufficient for the number of pupils who repaired thither from every part; so that, within a quarter of a mile, at Greenhurst, was established a seminary for boarding and educating boys preparatory to their entering Stoneyhurst. The most striking characteristic of Jesuit education, as we have already frequently remarked, was, and still is, that almost all the persons educated in their colleges consider themselves in a certain way attached to the order, and to the end of their lives work to their utmost for its aggrandisement. And this art of binding to their Society all their disciples, makes the Jesuits powerful and dangerous, especially in those countries where they are adverse to the government or to a class of citizens. We insist upon this consideration.

At Stoneyhurst, the ambition of the fathers rose with their prosperity, and inspired their restless activity with bolder and more extensive plans. The exertions of these same young men who were educated by them, and some of whom had become priests, spread the seed of Jesuitism in all parts of England, and, above all, in the surrounding neighbourhood of Stoneyhurst, where their large properties and considerable annual expenditure gave the fathers[461] an additional influence, so that soon Roman Catholic chapels were to be seen over all the country round; and a modern author[435] affirms, that while, before the establishment of the Jesuits, there were only five Papists near Stoneyhurst, they were now numbered by thousands.

From England, part of the successful colony of Ignatius passed over into Ireland in the beginning of the present century, and at once fixed their regards upon the most important position for acquiring an extensive influence. Father Kenney, one of the three first Jesuits who migrated thither, found means to be appointed vice-president of Maynooth College, of which he became the leading and influential member, and in which have ever since been taught the Jesuitical doctrines both in the matter of theology and of discipline; so that it is a notorious fact, that of all the Roman Catholic clergy, the English are those who profess the most absolute and unrestricted principles of ultramontanism. As to Father Kenney, who was indefatigable in his vocation, and had already acquired an immense authority, some scruples now arose in the morbid consciences of strict Papists, whether he really was a legitimate Jesuit, since he had only taken his vows at Stoneyhurst while the Society had no legal existence. Sensible of the justness of these observations, Kenney hastened to Palermo, where the Society was in some sort re-established. He was there received and recognised as a genuine son of Loyola, and returned to Ireland to resume his office. But, as Maynooth College was established only for the education of priests, Kenney thought of creating another college for laymen. Clongowes was chosen for the purpose. Kenney was appointed president of it, and his exertions were so successful in attracting pupils thither, that, from 1814, the epoch of its opening, to 1819, it already numbered[462] 250 pupils; while, by the liberality of Mary O’Brien, a Popish devotee, another college was erected in the district of King’s County.[436]

The moment the bull of 1814 relieved them from the interdict under which they laboured, the number of Jesuits increased so very rapidly, that, according to a return printed by order of parliament in 1830, Ireland, at that epoch, possessed 58 fathers, and 117 were to be found in England. To what extent their number has increased up to the present moment is rather difficult to ascertain. The clause in the Emancipation Bill, which forbids any man to make vows or to receive vows in England, or to come into it after having made them elsewhere, obliges the Jesuits to observe some moderation and secrecy. Not, indeed, that they pay any attention, or submit to the law, because, as Crétineau expressly says, “the Jesuits felt that such a law (the schedule on the religious communities in the Emancipation Act) was enacted against them; but they made little account of it,”—Ils en tinrent peu de compte.[437] But they use some prudence, to avoid trouble, if possible, and because it is their practice not to oppose boldly any measure, but to find a certain pleasure in eluding the law, and thus shew themselves more cunning than their neighbours. Nevertheless, whoever should inspect the general register kept in the Gesù in Rome, might get at the exact number of the four avowed classes of the Jesuits—novices, scholastics, coadjutors, and professed; but who could tell the number of persons belonging to the fifth secret class, who, by the confession of Father Pellico, constitute the strength and the power of the Society, and who, we may add, render it also very dangerous? Who can count those innumerable agents who, partly intentionally, partly in ignorance, are actively employed in furthering the success of the well-contrived and deeply-laid[463] plans of the fathers—those secret conspirators against the civil and religious rights of mankind? Nobody can; and in this, we repeat, lies the danger. A Jesuit, when known, is as little dangerous as a robber who should give you intimation of his intention to steal your property. Should they present themselves boldly and frankly, and say: “Here we are—we, the Jesuits, the most determined adversaries of the Protestant faith, the most strenuous supporters of the Court of Rome. Renounce your religion, burn your Bible, tear your Thirty-nine Articles, and embrace the doctrine of Rome, which is the only true one; you may believe it on our word.” Should they speak so, they would effect no mischief at all. But the manner in which the Popish missionaries attempt to proselytise is a very different one, and shews that their religion is not in itself forcible, and that it does not possess such irresistible evidence of truth, that the simple and unvarnished exposition of its principles is sufficient to persuade one to embrace it. From the tiny images distributed by monks to little boys, to the gorgeous pageant, to the theatrical representation of the Vatican, all is intended to be the means of proselytising heretics, or of retaining believers in the communion of their Church. Then comes the confessional for those who wish to sin in all surety of conscience; then, again, masses and indulgences for those whose sins could not be cleansed by the absolution, but required the excruciating fires of Purgatory. Formerly, in the good old times of Popery, they resorted to still more persuasive arguments; witness the unfortunate Albigenses, Huguenots, Indians, and many others, who were so blind as not to see in Popery a revelation of Him who is at once the Father of Mercies and the Father of Lights. Nor does the agent of Rome, and, above all, the Jesuit, expound at once the whole system of his religion, such as it is; but, with diabolical dexterity, he first insinuates himself[464] into the confidence of the man he has marked for a proselyte, captivates his benevolence by all sorts of arts, and then, step by step, he leads him as a convert into the fold of the modern Babylon. The same method is resorted to by those individuals who aim at wholesale conversions. They bring one to apostasy in the name, so to speak, of one’s own religion. See, for example, the Puseyites; observe their progressive march from their first tracts, in which loads of abuse were heaped upon Popery, to the recent attempt to introduce auricular confession, and you will discover the same proceeding as that by which the Roman agent—the Jesuit—endeavours to convert—we should say seduce—a single individual. And who would take his oath that Dr Pusey does not belong to that fifth secret class of the Order of Jesus? or that my lord Bishop of Exeter is not one of its members? We could not affirm the fact, of course, but no more would we deny it. What we know, and what ought to be well considered and borne in mind by all English Protestants, is, that the Jesuits are loud in their praises of the Puseyites, and that they frankly confess that this Anglican sect will be the means of bringing back England to the Roman communion. May God avert the ill-omened prediction! Let our readers well ponder upon the following extract from Crétineau, who, after having traced the history of the Puseyites from its origin, and exalted to the skies their principal leader, says:—“The Puseyites, carried away against their wills, by the force of evidence, towards the Roman faith, pretended, it is true, that they would never go over to Rome. Nevertheless they, in fact, embraced one part of her dogmas and even her practices. A certain number of their disciples went frankly back to Catholicism. From April 1841, the publication of tracts had been suspended, it is true, but the party was at no loss for means for propagating its doctrines. It reigned in many seminaries and universities;[465] it spread in America, and even in India. The British Critic went on with its quarterly labours; and renouncing by degrees its attacks against Rome, it exercised its learned hostilities against the Reformation of the sixteenth century.... This school (Puseyism), in its pacific progress, shakes Anglicism from its base. It exercises an immense influence for the extent of its reports and its literature, and makes numberless proselytes. Many Puseyites, carried away by the truth, were not long in renouncing their theories. They sought a logical unity: the Church of Rome offered it to them, and they accepted of it!”[438] We add no comment.

To return to our history, we say that the influence of the Jesuits in the three kingdoms has increased since 1814, and its bad effects may be daily traced. We would almost be bold to assert that every obstacle which has come in the way to impede the progressive march of a free and powerful nation, is, to a certain extent, due to the hidden hand of a Jesuit. It must be borne in mind that Rome, of all things, desiderates the ruin of heretic England, and endeavours, to the utmost of her power, to create troubles and difficulties to that free country; and if this be admitted, we shall remind our readers that all the arduous missions, all the delicate and secret undertakings for that purpose, since the times of Salmeron and Brouet, were always intrusted to the fathers. The secular priest, especially in countries distant from Rome, looks upon the Jesuit as his superior in knowledge of the affairs of religion, as better informed of the intentions of Rome; and is always disposed to shew all deference to his advice, and not seldom to execute his orders. “Already, from 1829,” according to Crétineau, “the Jesuits were the right arm of the bishops, the living models proposed by the prelates to the clergy.”[439] And this renders the Jesuits more dangerous than[466] any other religious community. Indeed, I would rather see all the various species of those parasite animals called monks transplanted into the English soil, than let one Jesuit live in it a single day; and it is not without good reason that we speak so in this Protestant country. The order of the Jesuits was purposely instituted to combat, to extinguish Protestantism; and we have shewn whether the fathers were scrupulous about the means they employed to effect their object. The extirpation of heresy is their principal occupation, the work which renders them meritorious in the eyes of Rome. Deprive the Jesuits of the vocation of annoying, persecuting, or converting heretics, and they become the most insignificant of all corporations, having no end whatever. Every monastic order is distinguished by a peculiar character. Plots and machinations against Protestants, and against all civil and religious freedom, are the characteristics of the Jesuits. A Benedictine monk will sit calmly in his very comfortable room, sip his chocolate, take a hand at whist, and not even dream of converting any one. A Franciscan, of any denomination, will sit jocosely before a succulent dinner, which he has provided by going from door to door, distributing, in return for provisions, snuff and images, without uttering a word about his or your religion, and only relating some pleasing anecdotes of the holy founder of his order, St Francis. A Dominican will assuredly report your conduct to Rome, and will try to convert your daughter to——his principles, but will care very little about the conversion. The Auto-da-fè, in which he formerly delighted, was regarded by him as a means not so much of converting heretics, as of procuring for himself a barbarous pastime. He was forbidden to assist at bull-fighting! The Jesuit, on the contrary, has, as we have said, no other occupation or desire than to make converts; and this we need not take the trouble to prove, since they themselves confess it.[467] They glory in it, and it forms their title to the gratitude of the Holy See, and of all bigoted Papists. We will not say that other Roman Catholic priests will not endeavour to make converts. Nay, they are obliged by their calling to labour hard at it. In their orisons, in their anthems, in all the solemn ceremonies of the Church of Rome, prayers are addressed to the Almighty, not so much for the conversion, as for the extirpation of heretics; and every bishop takes an oath to do his utmost for this purpose; so that a Roman Catholic priest must either neglect the principal duty of his ministry, or become the bitterest enemy of all Protestant institutions, if not of every Protestant. Yet they are not as the Jesuits, prepared to resort to the most criminal arts to bring about conversion.

The conduct of the Jesuits in Holland, Prussia, Russia, clearly proves that no benefits can ever make any impression on that fraternity, or prevent them from conspiring your ruin; and if Protestant England do not soon awake to a sense of her danger, we fear she will repent, too late, of having fostered in her breast those poisonous vipers. Behold what is going on! See whether Romanism has ever been so menacing! See the arrogance of the Court of Rome! Behold the almost uninterrupted state of rebellion in which the priests keep the fanatic Papists of Ireland, and be sure that such would not be the case if you had not Jesuits among them. All our life long we have fought for equality of rights, for civil and religious liberty, and we would not preach intolerance now. We should like to see no difference whatever in respect of civil rights and privileges between Roman Catholic laymen and Protestants; but, most assuredly, we would execute to the letter the clause against the religious fraternities, and think long before we should grant money to bring up a set of priests, who, from the very nature of their calling, are strictly bound to sue for your destruction.

I beg to be excused for having indulged in these[468] remarks. They are not vain declamations; I trust to be believed. I have been born and brought up among monks and Jesuits; and it is because I thoroughly know them, that, grateful for the hospitality afforded me, I warn England to beware of all monks, but especially of Jesuits. They are inauspicious birds, which cannot but infect with their venomous breath the pure and free air of Great Britain.

We shall now conclude our history with a chapter on the present condition of the Company in Europe.



Before the Suppression, the Jesuits, with alternate vicissitudes, possessed less or more influence in all Roman Catholic countries, in some of which, at different epochs, they were all-powerful and domineering. But since their re-establishment, their real effective power, it may be said, is confined to the Italian peninsula. It was my unfortunate country that, from the beginning of their restoration, more than any other part of Europe, experienced the pernicious effects of their revival. As from the first they had stood up as the natural enemy of the liberal party, the sovereigns of the peninsula, who wished to reign despotically, without granting any concession required by the times, countenanced and protected the Jesuits in the most decided manner. Charles Felix had delivered up Piedmont to them, and they had taken possession of it, and governed it, as if they were its absolute masters. Even Charles Albert was unable or unwilling to counteract their influence. In Modena and Parma they possessed an equal authority; while in Naples their dominion was still more tyrannical, inasmuch as it rested not only on the support of the court, but also on the superstition and fanaticism of the populace, the most blindly bigoted of all Italy. But the supreme seat of their power, as may[470] be easily conceived, was Rome—Rome, now in perfect friendship with the fathers. Odescalchi, a Jesuit, was Cardinal Vicar of Rome, the highest ecclesiastical authority in the world after the Pope. The whole of the public administration was filled with persons either belonging to the Society, or protected by them. Public education was entirely in their own hands, or of those protected by them. The nomination of every teacher or professor was submitted to the approval of the bishop. Recommendation from the fathers was listened to as if it were the orders of a superior; and few, if any, of the established authorities dared to oppose them in any of their undertakings. Poor Italy was in a lamentable condition. The different governments of Italy, encouraged by the fathers in their tyrannical and intolerant policy, had spread such dissatisfaction among the higher classes of society,[440] that every other year attempts were made at a revolution, some of which were in part successful, as those of 1821 and 1831. They were, however, always crushed by the overwhelming forces of Austria, and only served to increase the number of victims, and the cruelties of the governments, inflexible in their despotic policy. Yet the population, driven to despair, and preferring death to ignominy, were ready to shed their blood to mend the wretched condition of the country. In the latter part of Gregory XVI.’s reign, matters were brought to such a state, that every moment was expected a new general outbreak throughout all Italy; the consequences of which, from the exasperated state of the popular mind, would have been incalculable. In these circumstances, Gregory XVI. died, and Giovanni Mastai was, after only two days’ conclave, raised to the pontifical chair. It was thought that the meekness of his character, the purity[471] of his life, his decided aversion to every act of tyranny, might in part calm the exasperated state of the population of the Roman states, the most oppressed of all the states of Italy, as well as the readiest for a revolution; and the beginning of Pius IX.’s reign promised to the unfortunate peninsula a new era. Fugitive and deceitful hope! Alas! the new era is now such as to make the future generation curse the day that Mastai ascended the throne!

However, a month after his elevation, Pius IX. granted an amnesty, reformed some gross abuses, discarded the most obnoxious agents of the past tyrannical government, and promised to reign according to just and paternal laws. We extolled his clemency to the sky, and saw in him the palladium of freedom; we celebrated his virtues in a thousand different ways. The world was soon filled with the eulogiums of Pius, and for a brief period Europe prostrated herself at the feet of the idol raised up by our gratitude.

But while we were loud in the praises of Pius IX., hoping that he would prove a reformer and a benefactor to Italy, the Jesuits, united with the old despotic party, which recognised Austria for its chief, contrived, by all sorts of means, to oppose his acts of benevolence, slandered his person, abused his ministers, and openly conspired against him. The Romans feared that he would meet with the fate of Ganganelli; and those fears were not only expressed in all writings and in all pieces of poetry, but when the Pope passed through the streets of Rome, the Trasteverini shouted out, “Holy Father, beware of the Jesuits!” A very significant fact, which shews the opinion in which the fathers are held where they are best known.

The good understanding, however, which existed for some eighteen months between the liberal party and the Pope, began to be shaken when the Romans, tired of benisons and insignificant concessions, asked for liberal organic laws, and wished, above all, to[472] snatch from the hand of the priests and monks their ill-gotten and ill-used authority, extending to all branches of the administration, even to those most inconsistent with their calling. It is well known that no office of any importance in the Roman states was filled by a layman—even the general of the army was a Monsignore. We wished for a radical reform on this point. Unfortunately, at this time, Grazioli—a high-minded and tolerant priest, the Pope’s confessor—died, and Pius fell into the hands of a confessor devoted to the Jesuits, and from that moment his conduct became hypocritical and deceitful, and afterwards cruel and inhuman. To the Jesuits is certainly to be attributed the change in the politics of the Pope. From the beginning, Pius had been displeased when he heard abuse poured upon the Company; but his desire of popularity and applause had modified the propensities of the priest, nay, of the narrow-minded, bigoted chief of the priests. But now, divesting himself of the borrowed character of a tolerant and liberal man, Pius returned to the former error of all Popes, and would not listen to a word about reform touching the priesthood. It was this inflexible opposition to our just and reasonable desires, and not our petulance, which brought things to extremities, and the Jesuits were even the apparent cause of the rupture.

Although the Romans were resolved to be no longer the vassals of the priesthood, and were determined not to leave a vestige of authority in civil matters to any churchman except the Pope, nevertheless, no injury, no abuse, was offered to any secular priest or monk, with the exception of the Jesuits. But against them there was raised a great commotion. Publications of all sorts were daily poured into the streets of Rome against the fathers; and along with the shout for Italy, was mingled the cry, “Down with the Jesuits!”


Gioberti’s book, Il Gesuita Moderno, was in everybody’s hands, and when that courageous priest came to Rome, the people shouted his name as that of a benefactor; a guard of honour was stationed at his hotel, and almost royal honours were rendered to him for having so unreservedly laid bare the iniquities of the fathers.[441] All this irritated the Pope in the highest degree. From the balcony of the Quirinal he reproached the Romans with slandering venerable ecclesiastics; and when the news arrived that the Neapolitans had expelled the Jesuits from their city, he issued a proclamation, in which he threatened us, if we were tempted to imitate them, with his anger, and with the curse of God’s indignation, who would launch His holy vengeance against the assailants of His anointed.[442]

But the Papal protection was no longer sufficient to shelter the Jesuits from public hatred. Pius IX. lost a great part of his popularity, but could not save them. They were expelled from the whole of the peninsula—not as a general revolutionary measure, since all other religious communities lived unmolested, but as a manifestation of the public opinion against the hateful descendants of Ignatius. The Pope’s indignation at this sacrilegious act knew no bounds, and from that instant he vowed an implacable and[474] intense hatred against the liberals of whatever nation.[443]

Not only did Pius now refuse to grant any new concession, but he attempted to recall those which he had been forced to grant; and when he saw that he could not effect his purpose, he fled to Gaeta, in the hope that Rome and Italy would soon fall into a state of anarchy and confusion, so that the great powers of Europe would be obliged to interfere, and restore him to the throne as an absolute master. The wisdom and moderation of the people again disappointed his hopes. Never was Rome more true to her duty than during the absence of the Pope. For a while, even the government was carried on in the name of a sovereign who had abandoned the state, and who refused even to listen to three deputations sent to Gaeta to come to some understanding. This exasperated Pius still more than anything else. From Gaeta he poured forth his curses on his subjects. And while he was giving these manifestations of his paternal heart, the Jesuits and Cardinal Antonelli were laying the plan of that infernal compact between the Court of Rome and almost all the despots of Europe, for crushing and annihilating all seeds of civil and religious liberty, and for murdering, with merciless ferocity, all those who had shouted for reform, in the name and under the auspices of Pius IX.; a just retribution, it should seem, for having trusted in a priest, and thought him capable of being an honest and[475] liberal man. Monsignor de Falloux, a Jesuit, brother of the then all-powerful minister of Louis Napoleon, was notoriously the soul of the negotiation, and it was he who decided the court of Rome to accept the succour of the French. The crusade undertaken against Rome, by four nations so different in character, and having such opposite interests, as Austria and France, Spain and Naples, was the signal of that fiery reaction against the liberty of all nations which still rages, and which, we fear, will not cease till another general outbreak shall teach the tyrants that it is not always safe to try too severely the patience of the people.

Distressful consequences for the people followed the league. The Roman states were first made to feel the rage of the allies. Louis Napoleon, who, in 1831, had fought along with us to overturn the Papal throne, now sent an army in support of the Pope. He thought (I expressed this opinion in my History of the Pontificate, written two years ago) that priests and peasants would assist him to grasp the imperial sceptre, and that he could not better ingratiate himself with them, than by replacing the Pope on the throne; an act which would also be very acceptable to the other despots. In consequence, he hastened to send his troops to crush the new republic. The French army landed at Civita Vecchia. The general chosen to command it was worthy of the end proposed. Oudinot is the type of Jesuitism: and Louis Napoleon himself has, more recently, given him his desert. Hardly had he landed on our shores, when many of the fathers (we here relate facts of which we ourselves were witnesses)—as an envenomed brood, sprung by magic from the soil—put themselves in communication with him. The very proclamation by which he announced the landing of the army was a masterpiece of Jesuitical craft. According to its tenor, every party might have considered[476] the French expedition as coming to its own support. Oudinot informed the first deputation sent by the republican government to inquire about the motives of this unwelcome visit, that the French came as its friends; but, some hours after, when pressed by a second deputation to be more explicit, he at last confessed that they came to replace the Pope on the throne.[444] It would be to our glory, but not to the purpose, to describe the prodigies of valour performed by our inexperienced volunteers, in contending for three months with forty-five thousand of the best troops of Europe. We fought as only citizens combat for home and liberty. Men and women were in the mêlée. Neither wife nor mother attempted by tears and entreaties to stay her husband or son, but with a blessing and a kiss sent him forth against the enemy. O Rome! O my noble country! when I remember thy noble deeds, the readiness with which thou didst sacrifice the noblest of thy children to achieve thy liberty, hope lends me patience to endure the longing and miseries of my exile! Thou canst not be long under the yoke of the priests!

But our valour availed us nothing. Left alone, we could stand no longer. Four nations were leagued against us, and not a friendly hand was stretched forth to succour us. England must reproach herself for having left us to contend, unaided and alone, against four Catholic powers, combined together to re-establish the Pope, who is as much her enemy as ours. She must now feel the consequences of her culpable indifference. The result was—and this is of great importance for England—that at last, masters of our[477] destinies, the Austrians have established a military port at Leghorn, the French one at Civita Vecchia. Englishmen are cut down in broad day in the streets of Florence,[445] condemned to death by an Inquisitorial tribunal at Rome,[446] imprisoned at Verona,[447] and insulted and ill-treated throughout all Italy. An English ambassador sues in vain for the friendly interference of the Pope in English affairs; he is not listened to, and the newspapers of the peninsula, and of the powers adverse to England, laugh at his discomfiture. But there is in the looming a still darker and more serious prospect, threatening to punish England for having abandoned the cause of civil and religious freedom. Eighteen millions of Englishmen live, we will not say in perpetual fear—they are too brave for that—but not without apprehension of seeing their shores invaded by the same army which conquered Rome, and which would carry with it the blessing and the good wishes of Pius IX.—God forbid that it should also have the support of the most fanatical and ignorant portion of the Irish Papists, led by priests and Jesuits. We hope that this will not be the case; yet we must remind our readers, that every time the French speak of a war with England, they count on the Irish as their natural allies.

We are not of those who, possessed by the fixed idea that impending dangers threaten the Protestant religion, believe and affirm that Louis Napoleon will be ready, at the bidding of the Jesuits, to send an expedition against heretic England. On the contrary, we think that, having once possessed himself of the imperial diadem, and having firmly established himself on the throne, through the instrumentality of the priests, and by the magic power which he seems to possess, of making the electoral urn yield exactly the amount of votes asked from it, he will[478] soon put a stop to the insolence of the clergy, which, we are sure, will increase in the direct ratio of the services they are rendering to the usurper, and of the favours he has lavished upon them. But at the same time, we firmly believe that, should Napoleon, in order to give employment to his troops, and to gratify the national animosity, attempt to invade Great Britain, or should he succeed in landing his adventurous battalions on the British shore, then, though England may not have to lament the treachery of the fanatic Papists of Ireland, she must expect to find in her bosom as many spies and allies of her enemy as she has Jesuits on her soil. All this is the result of the indifference shewn by England to the affairs of the peninsula. Had she interfered when the Romans were bravely struggling for their liberties, the Pope and Louis Napoleon would not have cemented with our blood their anomalous alliance, and the before-mentioned disastrous results would have been averted with less difficulties and sacrifices than are now required to check the insolence of that monstrous coalition. And let no one affirm that England could not have justly interfered with the internal policy of other nations. What! shall then intervention only be lawful and commendable when employed to oppress a nation awakened to a sense of its rights, and to extinguish every spark of freedom and patriotism? Shall it only be permitted to outrage humanity, and never to benefit it? And to apply the rule to the case now in question, we ask, shall the ferocious bands of Croats, and the degraded soldiers of Louis Napoleon, trample upon our unfortunate country, and dispose of its destinies at their pleasure, and England remain an indifferent spectatress of their atrocious proceedings? These are considerations which we beg leave to submit to the meditation not only of the statesmen of Great Britain, but also of every free and enlightened English citizen.

To return to our narrative: the French entered[479] Rome (3d July 1849), and with them priests and Jesuits, who had concealed themselves, or assumed different disguises (not unfrequently that of patriots), re-appeared, to enjoy their triumph, and the groans of the unfortunate country. Oudinot, covered with the blood of the brave Romans, hastened to Gaeta to receive the Pope’s blessing and acknowledgment, and was hailed there as an angel of deliverance. The vindictive priests rejoiced at the recital of the slaughter of the flock committed to their paternal care, and made the General repeat the names and the numbers of the victims. Then, when the hero of St Pancrace[448] returned to Rome, the priests, to enjoy a barbarous pleasure, ordered a solemn Te Deum to be sung in all the churches of the state; and those of the unfortunate Italians whose sustenance and liberty were in the power of their relentless enemy, were obliged to assist at the ceremony, and with their lips, at least, thank the Almighty for the slaughter of their best friends and nearest relations.[449] Blasphemous profanation! Then began that ceaseless persecution which is still continued; and the priests gratified their thirst for revenge by crowding the dungeons with victims, and by driving thousands into exile in foreign lands.

I will not prolong the painful history of our miseries. I will not speak of ruined families—of forlorn and wandering children. I will not dwell upon the fate of the ten thousand captives taken by Papal sbirri and French gens-d’armes, and who fill the prisons of the state. I will not implore the reader’s compassion for the many victims who have been again immured in the dungeons of the Inquisition, some of whom, for the last three years, have never seen a friendly face or heard[480] a compassionate word. I will not point out the inhuman and hypocritical conduct of the so-called Vicar of Jesus Christ, who, while speaking with devout emotion of his clemency, his paternal heart, and the mercies of the Christian religion, has not granted a single pardon, dried a single tear, shortened for a single day the torments to which he has condemned thousands of his subjects. I shall only give an account of the wholesale execution which, in the last month, took place at Sinigallia and Ancona, and which has filled Italy and Europe with horror and amazement. As the Jesuits are notoriously the soul and spirit of Popery, and are at the present moment the recognised advisers and ministers of the Court at Rome, this short narrative will not, we hope, be considered extraneous to our subject.

Those who, in times of calm and tranquillity, judge of events that occur in epochs of commotion and revolution, when the passions of men are excited to the highest paroxysm, and the voice of reason imposes a feebler restraint upon their actions, leaving them little liberty to judge of the character of their actions, are apt to commit serious injustice; for they are too prone to brand as criminal, and deserving the highest reprobation, deeds which, although culpable in themselves, were yet committed under the impulse of heroism and devotedness. We do not intend by this to approve or countenance crime, no matter under what pretext it may have been committed. But assuredly there are circumstances that ought to be taken into account which might render it, if not excusable, at least less heinous and worthy of reprobation; and whoever would form a just judgment in such cases, will never lose sight of these considerations.

The first two years of Pius IX.’s pontificate are remarkably characteristic of the nobleness and generosity of the liberal party. Though the liberals had been, for the thirty years previous, so cruelly and mercilessly[481] treated, and though they were now the dominant party in the state, they cannot be reproached with having offered an insult to their late oppressors, nor with a single act of revenge. But it is, unfortunately, true that, latterly, when the Pope had fled to Gaeta for the very purpose of exciting civil war, when the priests were plotting against the republic, calling in strangers to their aid, and menacing us with foreign invasion, many political assassinations were committed in Ancona and Sinigallia. This cannot be denied or palliated; only it is to be remarked, that the crimes were confined to these two towns—the latter the Pope’s birthplace; and both places being the residence of his family, relations, and friends, a suspicion naturally arose in the minds of many that these crimes were committed by persons misled by the advice of some hidden Jesuits and partisans of the Pope, whose endeavour it was to bring matters to the worst. The suspicion acquired strength from the circumstance, that nobody belonging to the Mastai family was injured. Although, as we have already reported, we were witness of the fact that those who, during the late commotion in Rome, proposed the most energetic and revolutionary measures, were, in the end, discovered to be the agents or the tools of the Jesuits, nevertheless we would not like to affirm that the political murders committed at Sinigallia were due to the perfidious instigation of the priests. We do not like to believe in the reality of such hellish perfidy; yet why had Sinigallia and Ancona the sad preference of seeing their streets stained with fraternal blood? Were there not exasperated minds also in other places? Had no other populations of the state good grounds for calling to a strict and severe account the agents and supporters of the past tyrannical government? Why, we repeat, was the sad pre-eminence in guilt assigned to the native town of the Pope?

However it were, after the Papal restoration, about[482] 150 individuals were thrown into prison, accused of being the accomplices or the abettors of these crimes. Some of the accused, perhaps the guilty, were never taken, having fled from the country. About eighty were condemned to the galleys for life, the remainder to death.[450] Forty of the unfortunates have already been executed, and the rest will meet the same fate when the Pope shall find executioners as clement and humane as himself;—the garrison of Ancona having to a man refused to be any longer the accomplices of the Papal revenge.

What is of more importance than all this, is to place before the eyes of our readers and civilised Europe the manner in which political trials are conducted in the Roman states, in order that they may be aware of the justice, charity, and humanity which characterise the acts of him who blasphemously calls himself a god upon earth, the representative of Christ.

Whoever has the misfortune to incur the displeasure or the hatred of his Holiness, his ministers, a policeman, a sbirro, the bishop, the curate, a monk, or any other of such rabble, which form an integral part of the biform Papal government, is thrown into a dungeon, helpless, comfortless, alone, and during several months hears and sees nothing else than the grating sound of the rusty bolts, and the inauspicious face of his guardian, who comes to bring his miserable pittance of food, and to ascertain that the victim cannot make his escape. After a longer or shorter space of time, but never shorter than three or four months, according to the hatred or fear the prisoner has inspired, or the interest possessed by his friends without, he is brought before a cancelliere o giudice processante, a sort of scribe, by whom he is interrogated.[451] In that examination[483] all the care of the man of police—we cannot call him a magistrate—is directed to elicit from the victim a confession of his crime, or the name of his accomplices, if he is supposed to have had any. Promises of liberty, favour, and recompence, are held out to him as an inducement to dishonour or perjure himself. These examinations are repeated every three or four months; and when at last the man of the law has, after some years, obtained what he wished, or despairs of obtaining it, the process is announced to be closed, and the judgment is going to be delivered. Then, and not till then, the accused may confer with a legal adviser, generally assigned to him, ex officio, by the tribunal; and some little space of time is granted to him to prepare his defence. But how can he defend himself? He knows neither the names of his accusers nor of the witnesses who have made the accusation good. He is not allowed to confront and cross-examine them. Even his answers to the different questions put to him by the cancelliere are noted down, not as actually given by him, but as it was desired that they should be given, in order that he may appear a criminal, the only result which the judges wish to obtain. When the advocate has delivered his defence, the secret tribunal pass judgment without even seeing the face of the prisoner; and this judgment is without appeal. Such is the general practice observed in political trials. Robbers are a little better treated. In the peculiar case which we are considering, we have to add, that, as far as has transpired, all the witnesses who were called to give evidence against the accused belonged to the adverse party—the party of the Jesuits, thirsting for revenge, and eager to shew their devotion to the sect. It may be easily understood that those witnesses were not very scrupulous as to the charges they brought against the accused, being assured, as they were, that their names would never be made public, and that they[484] would not be confronted with the prisoner, nor be cross-examined by anybody.

And nevertheless, it was upon such testimony that the tribunal of the Consulta, composed of cardinals and prelates, condemned sixty unfortunate young men to suffer the last punishment of the law. We must further observe that, had those men who composed the tribunal, which they call Sacred, been judges, and not persecutors, had they had any sentiment of humanity in passing the sentence, even though the crime had been proved, they would have borne in mind the time and the motives which led the culprits to commit the murder, and would not have added another red page to the annals of their Church, already overcharged with innocent blood.[452]

Sinigallia, in which the executions were the most numerous, had not yet recovered from the horror inspired by such a bloody tragedy, and had not dried its tears for the cruel fate of its butchered citizens, and especially for the innocent and unfortunate Simoncelli,[453] when, to complete its miseries and insult its grief, there appeared a Papal ordinance, granting to the Jesuits £40,000 sterling to erect a college in the desolate city. Ah! so they reign in the Papal states!


When the Jesuits re-entered Naples in 1849, the superior held a sort of levee, when the generals of the army, the first magistrates of the kingdom, and all the civil and military authorities, went to pay their respects to those very humble monks. The addresses which were delivered on the occasion in praise of these men of Providence, these messengers of God, these restorers of all moral and sainted institutions, were, from their hyperbolical style, amusing in the extreme; and it is curious to find that some of them were repeated almost literally (plagiarism seems to become very fashionable now-a-days) by some bishops to Louis Napoleon, the saviour of society, the man of Providence, the pearl of chastity and virtue—just as was done to the fathers themselves.

If in Rome the Jesuits must shew deference to the chair of St Peter, in Naples they are masters of the situation. St Ignatius has superseded even St Januarius, and both have almost obliterated the name of Christ. The superstition and bigotry of that part of the peninsula exclusively under the sway of the Jesuits is almost incredible; and the government, conducted on those principles, has reached the highest point of immorality and corruption, and is held up by every honest person, no matter of what party, to the execration and contempt of Europe; while, to leave no doubt as to the influence which predominates there, the Pope, the Jesuits, and the priests, their abettors, represent Ferdinand II. as a model of Christian perfection, and the kingdom of the two Sicilies as the best governed in the world; the Roman states being of course excepted.

Unfortunately, the wretched Neapolitans, and the noblest and best amongst them, have to pay with their liberties and their lives for the eulogium awarded by the Jesuits to the merciless Bourbon. The policy of the Neapolitan governments is a disgrace to civilisation. A band of ruffians, under the name of police or government,[486] seize upon all persons who have had the misfortune to displease them; their victims are thrown into prison, and are accused of imaginary crimes; while the accusers, changing themselves into witnesses, often into judges, in order to make good the charge, keep them chained for three or four years in Ischia, as in the case of Poerio and Dragonetti, and finally pass a sentence of death upon them, in order to give the pious and clement Ferdinand and his Jesuit confessor the merit of having commuted the infamous sentence into a horrid and perpetual imprisonment; and to all this complication of iniquities they give the name of a state trial. Such is the Neapolitan government under the conduct of the sons of Loyola.

But the malignant spirit of the Jesuits, in breaking forth from Naples and Rome, has lately made an inroad into a province which, till then, had been spared its pernicious influence. Among all the other provinces of Italy, Tuscany had been favoured with a comparatively just and tolerant government; and this, it was openly asserted, was owing to the absence of the Jesuits from the country. Now, whoever has followed the march of events there, must have been struck by the wide difference that exists between the former policy of the government and the new one introduced after Leopold II. had been some time at Gaeta, under the influence of Antonelli and the Jesuits. From that moment all things changed in Tuscany. The priests re-acquired an influence which they had never possessed since the time of Leopold I., and made it subservient to their unworthy ends. Madonnas became again miraculous. Feasts and processions were got up with the greatest pomp, and were numerously attended by all those who had anything to hope or fear from the government. A furious war was declared against all doctrines but those harmonising with the strictest ultra-Popish principles. Books and newspapers were interdicted, and no efforts were spared to bring the[487] enlightened, lively, and intellectual people of Tuscany to limit their literary pursuits to the perfect knowledge of the Catechisms.

The influence of the too notorious Bocella, by his own confession a Jesuit, was, above all, fatal to the country. While he was the chief adviser of the Grand Duke, the Grand Duchess went in procession to worship a miraculous Madonna at Rimini, and Leopold himself ordered a sumptuous and extraordinary feast for another Madonna in Florence, to whose church he repaired in state. But at the same time, the most respectable citizens of Florence, Count Guicciardini and others, were prosecuted and exiled for the heinous crime of reading the Bible; and two unfortunate and inoffensive creatures—the Madiais—have been condemned to the punishment of malefactors (hard labour), for having in their possession the sacred volume, and for discussing and endeavouring to prove its veracity. Later still, an ordinance of the Grand Duke re-establishes capital punishment, which had long since been abolished; while another ordinance of the minister of police expels from the hospitable soil of Tuscany hundreds of unfortunate Italians, who had sought there a refuge against the ferocious and relentless persecution of the Roman Court. Such are the effects of the influence of the Jesuits.

What will become of Lombardy, already so wretched, now that Austria has decided on re-establishing the Jesuits there on an extended scale, it is disheartening to contemplate; while, on the other hand, it is cheering in the extreme for an Italian, and for every true friend of civil and religious liberty, to see the conduct of the Piedmontese government towards the Jesuits and the priesthood.

The Jesuits, after their expulsion, were never permitted to re-enter the kingdom, and the priests are now subjected, like other citizens, to the laws of the land, and are obliged to submit to that equality which[488] they consider as a disgrace to their privileged caste. For it must be borne in mind that the priest, and the conscientious one more than others, considers himself a superior being, a man far above any layman, even though he were a king. He imbibes this idea from childhood, when he begins to dress in a peculiar garb, and is accosted by a respectful appellation. According to the canonical law (and in Italy that law is universally respected and strictly enforced, except, indeed, in Piedmont), the moment an infant assumes the garb of a priest, and receives the first order (tonsura), he is no more subject to the civil authorities; he is henceforth only amenable to the ecclesiastical court, and whoever strikes him, incurs de facto excommunication. After he has been consecrated priest, he pretends, or in reality believes, that it is in his power to oblige the Almighty to descend from heaven into his hands, and that at his bidding the flesh and blood of the Divine Redeemer is transubstantiated into bread and wine, and in that form goes to sanctify his breast. Again, he believes, or feigns to believe, that it rests with him to open or shut the gates of heaven, and that he has the power of bestowing everlasting beatitude or dooming to eternal damnation, according as he absolves from sin or refuses absolution. In fact, he puts himself in the place of God, of whom he calls himself the Anointed, and whose name he often usurps. When we consider all this, we do not wonder that the priests cannot endure equality of rights with other citizens. We are rather astonished that serious and enlightened people of this country can for a moment entertain the idea that the Irish Roman Catholic priests are sincere when they ask for equality of rights. Look to Piedmont; there the Romish priesthood enjoy this equality—nay, more than equality. Their religion is acknowledged to be the religion of the state; and many are the writers who have lately been condemned[489] for disparaging it. They possess, also, some other less considerable privileges over the other citizens; and yet they are far from being satisfied. On the contrary, they accuse the government of tyranny. The bishops are in open rebellion against the sovereign; priests and curates oppose the laws of the country. The pulpit, the confessional, are made subservient to their hatred of the new state of things; and all this because the legislature attempts, not to deprive them of any right, or subject them to any incapacity, but to introduce equality, and to subject ecclesiastics of all sorts to the common law. The rage of the priesthood at this sacrilegious audacity on the part of the parliament, in seeking to assimilate them to other men, is such, that they have launched a solemn act of excommunication against all those who shall read the newspapers advocating such infamous measures. The Jesuits are at the bottom of all this, and their intrigues brought Piedmont but the other day to the brink of ruin. Fortunately, public opinion declared itself so strongly, and the king shewed such firmness, that their machinations proved abortive. It must be remarked in all this, that when the liberal newspapers reproach the clerical party with their acts or words, they always stigmatise them with the name of Jesuits—so universally is the abhorred name coupled with all that is bad, cunning, and criminal!

Appalling and ominous of incalculable consequences is the influence which the Jesuits have acquired in France—in that country which has prostrated all its past glory and its dignity as a nation, at the feet of an unscrupulous, merciless tyrant; endeavouring, at the same time, to forget its ignominy in the intoxication of feasts and champaigne. The Jesuits and priests are the firmest supporters of Louis Napoleon; and it is worthy of remark, that the bishops who are known for their ultramontane principles and their adherence to the Jesuitical discipline are those who lavish the[490] highest eulogiums on the unprincipled usurper. This affords us another instance of the worldly spirit of the Popish clergy, and may be a salutary lesson for the future. For our own part, indeed, we are inclined to recognise in it the hand of Providence consummating the speedy downfall of the Popish religion. The conduct of Pius IX. has already extinguished in Italy the last lingering sentiments of respect and devotion towards the Papal religion. The Italians had hopes for a moment that Pius would reconcile them to the religion of their forefathers, by shewing that it is not a religion of blood and persecution, but of love and brotherhood, eminently liberal and national. They had hoped that Popery, to which Italy owes all its misfortunes, would now change, and restore to it part of its former glory. And this idea prevented them from renouncing altogether religion such as it is preached to them. But now that no doubt remains as to the true spirit of Popery, now that no one can reasonably entertain the least hope that it will ever change from what it has been—an institution founded on superstition, cemented with blood, and maintained by the axe of the executioner—now that the last testing experiment has shewn to all the world its utter helplessness against free physical force, it may be truly said that Popery has been irrevocably doomed in Italy. It may linger yet a while by the aid of despotic bayonets, but never again will the Italians, of their own free will, repose their faith in the religion of the Popes.

In precisely a similar manner are the priests and Jesuits now giving the last blow to the Popish religion in France. Let the present transient moment of delirium pass over, and the French nation will reconsider the servile and ignominious part played by the clergy in the recent immoral saturnalia. It will remember that the man who had perjured himself—who had caused thousands of citizens to be butchered because they were faithful to the laws—who had been a traitor[491] to all governments from his youth—who had never kept his word—who had been distinguished for immorality and debauchery even among the unscrupulous lions of London and Paris—that this man was exalted by the surpliced emissaries of Rome as the man of Providence, the messenger of God, the restorer of morality and religion, and the benefactor of humanity. Who, need it be asked, will once again believe them, when speaking of the things of heaven, after they have lied so impudently and deliberately in speaking of the things of this world? But till a reaction take place, the Jesuits triumph in France.

As we have had occasion to speak incidentally, in various parts of this work, of the arts and practices employed at the present moment by the Jesuits against England, and as our readers have daily so many means of ascertaining the manners of the fathers in the public prints, we do not think it necessary to add anything more in this place. We have also little to say about the actual missions of the Jesuits in both Indies. They are neither prosperous nor important, and are only distinguished by their intrigues and by the war which they keep up against all other missionaries, whether Popish or Protestant. The actual wealth of the Jesuits, though considerable, is far from approaching the fabulous amount it possessed before the suppression. If our information and calculation are correct, and we believe they are, the total number of the members to be found on the register of the Order amounts to nearly six thousand—an enormous increase since 1814, and such, indeed, as to give to reflective minds serious apprehensions. But we have nearly exhausted the space we had allowed ourselves. We must pass to the conclusion.




We are now at the end of our labours; but, before parting with our readers, we would briefly call their attention to some of the chief points in our History. If we mistake not, the perusal of our narrative, imperfect as it may be, will convince even an indifferently attentive reader that Loyola had but one end in view—one fixed idea—namely, to establish an order which should domineer over society; and that his successors have been arrested by no scruples as to the means to be employed for obtaining this end. With the exception of this fixed rule, to which the Jesuits have adhered with undeviating constancy, it may be asserted that they have no principle whatever. The dogmas of their creed, the precepts of their moral code, their political principles, all these they have changed or modified according to places and circumstances. They have been against or in favour of the Roman See, according as it served or injured the interests of the order. They have proclaimed the unlimited sovereignty of the people, and have been instrumental in bringing many unfortunate persons to the scaffold, for resisting the tyrannical power of absolute monarchs. To accomplish their ends, they have all along thought that money would be the most efficient instrument; hence their insatiable desire of wealth, to accumulate which, they violated all laws, divine and human. The riches got by illicit means have been ever expended for still more culpable purposes. A Jesuit does not desire or spend money for his own personal self; he is frugal in his habits, and parsimonious in expenditure as far as regards mere comforts; but he is no miser. He does not hide his treasures in the bowels of the[494] earth, but spends them freely to increase the influence and power of his order. The secret agent of the Society is handsomely rewarded; the spy liberally paid. Ministers of different sovereigns are bought over by princely largesses; and even the ruling beauties of courts are bribed to serve the order with costly and suitable presents.

The fathers were also persuaded, from the beginning, that it would greatly contribute to the grandeur and power of the order to insinuate themselves into the susceptible minds of the young, and they left nothing untried by which this might be effected. Other schemes—the conversion of heretics, the missions, the outward exercise of many of the Christian virtues—were all directed to the attainment of the same identical end—the aggrandisement of the order.

Two other principal facts are deserving of attention. The first is, that, from the beginning, the establishment of the Society was everywhere opposed, and in all places where it was finally admitted, it was subsequently, at different epochs, persecuted, and convicted of iniquitous and abominable crimes. The second fact is, that the Society of Jesus, though it may at times have disregarded its rules of internal policy, has nevertheless maintained its general primitive character; namely, its relentless domineering spirit, and the abnegation of every personal feeling in favour of the community. The Jesuits of the present day, unlike all other religious fraternities, which have invariably undergone so many modifications, are exactly the same as they were in Loyola’s lifetime. Founded by that bold, despotic, and ambitious man, it seems as if his spirit had transmitted itself into the whole Society, and presided over all its acts. The Company, so to speak, has perpetuated the life of Loyola. If we would personify the order, we might represent it, after his likeness, as an apparently humble and sainted man, deeply absorbed in the contemplation[495] of heavenly things, while in reality revolving in his capacious and daring mind projects of unbounded ambition. There is no record in history of an association whose organisation has stood for three hundred years unchanged and unaltered by all the assaults of men and time, and which has exercised such an immense influence over the destinies of mankind.

This perseverance of the order in its principles and policy is comparable to nothing except the corresponding constancy of the world in the opinion which it formed of the Society at its commencement, and which it still retains. “The moment,” says an author of t