Summary of the History of the Jesuits — 17th Century
The Cardinal Borromeo expelled ignominiously the Jesuits from the college La Breda. (Annales.) On the second of February 1604, an edict of James I., King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, expelled them from all these States, as beingo authors of plots, conspiracies, etc., directed agrainst him and the Queen Elizabeth, as corrupting his subjects, and exciting them to rebellion.
At the beginning of 1604 the French Parlement sullenly registered the decree for the readmission of the Jesuits which they had previously expelled in 1595, and the fathers all swore a sonorous oath of loyalty to the King “without mental reservation,” as the decree ran. (the Pope had obliged the French King Henry IV. by annulling his marriage a few years previous; and now the Huguenots had been so imprudent as to abuse the Pope, and the Jesuits must be restored for the Pope’s consolation; also, there was a new queen, Marie de Medici, and an amiable Father Coton winning influence over her.)
Fifty-six Jesuit fathers were sent into Peru.
Years 1605 and 1606.
In England, the Reverend Father Jesuits Garnet, Oldercon, Gerard and Tesmond, organized and directed the conspiracy known under the name of the "Gunpowder conspiracy." The Fathers Garnet and Oldercon were hung and quartered in London. The Fathers Gerard and Tesmond escaped this fate only by flying from the kingdom secretly and rapidly. The Gunpowder Plot was conceived with the following idea of blowing up the English Parliament House when the King; the Royal Family, and the Lords and Commons were assembled in it for the opening of Parliament.
The Jesuits in England had carried out the suggestion of Parsons that, instead of putting their faith in the eventual accession and conversion of James of Scotland, they should teach the Catholics to look to Philip of Spain. Queen Elizabeth died on 24th March 1603, and James Stuart peacefully acceded to the throne. James was not to be deceived, and, in his negotiations with Rome, made a point of having the Jesuits excluded. The conflicting counsels in regard to the Catholics ended, as is known, in a decision to tolerate lay Catholics, but not priests, and the bitter agitation began which led up to this famous plot.
Their misdeeds were so numberless in Prussia, and their teaching so dangerous, that, on the twenty-fifth of August, the Consuls and Senate of Dantzick issued a decree expelling them, and forcing them to leave that city within three days. On the twenty-fourth of October, they issued another decree banishing them from Thorn, a city of the same Kingdom.
In England, James I. issued a new Edict expelling the Jesuits from all the Kingdom. The Jesuits having betrayed the Venitians to serve the interests and ambition of the Pope Paul V., the Senate banished them by a solemn decree from all the territory of the Republic.
A feeling of irritation against the Jesuits had lingered in Venice since their inauspicious entry under Ignatius. The secular authorities had been so indignant at the discovery of certain brutal crimes committed by some of the clergy that, in spite of ecclesiastical privileges, they proceeded against the criminals. The quarrel with Rome which followed ended in the Pope placing Venice under an interdict. The Jesuits made a futile attempt to evade it by closing their public churches, but keeping their houses open, and the Council banished them from the city. A crowd of citizens assembled on the banks of the canal when the gondolas, bearing the condemned fathers, left the city, and they do not attempt to represent it as a crowd weeping for their departure. “Ande in mal’ hora” was the scornful reply made to one of their number who appealed to the people. Their very valuable property was confiscated, and they would not re-enter Venice for half a century. The indictment of the Jesuits which the Venetian Senate made accused them of grave intrigue in the quarrel between Rome and the Republic, and it was said that they abused their position as confessors to the noble ladies of Venice to learn the secrets of the Senate and frustrate its aims. It was decreed that they be banished for ever; that if ever the question of recalling them were raised, this indictment must be read again in the Council of Ten, and that any citizen who held communication with the Jesuits should be sent to the galleys. The question of recalling them was, of course, raised at once. Henry IV. was induced to plead their cause at Venice, while Spain used all its power to prevent a reconciliation of the Papacy and the Republic except on condition that the Society be restored. So convinced were the Venetians of the anti-patriotic action of the Jesuits that they peremptorily refused to yield, and Acquaviva had to resign himself to defeat.
Mexico proved, the Jesuits reported, an easy ground; they claimed that half the population was Christian by 1608.
The Jesuits, to defy the friends of the religion of Christ, of the peace and welfare of society, to insult them and deceive the people, solicited and obtained from the Pope Paul V. the Bull of canonization of their worthy father and founder, Ignatius Loyola.
In Paris, the Faculty of Theology condemned solemnly the doctrine of Marianna, Jesuit, who in his book "De Rege," taught regicide.
On the fourteenth of May, the Jesuits, in spite of the forgiveness and numerous gifts in money, gratifications, and privileges granted to them by Henry IV. King of France, killed him by the hands of Ravaillac, in the Laferroniere street.
Thus, within twenty years, the Jesuits had killed two Kings of France and plotted ten times in England. On the tenth of June, James I. revived his Edicts of expulsion against the Jesuits, who, in intriguing and conspiring again in the dark, were as dangerous as formerly. It seems very material to bear in mind that in all these cases of assassination the attitude of the Jesuit apologists is singular: they admit that the Jesuits as a body regarded the assassination of kings who menaced the faith as a just and proper action, yet are remarkably eager to prove that the Jesuits never acted on their belief. On Jesuit principles the murder of Henry IV. was not a crime.
The Jesuits obtained from Philip III. permission to colonise Paraguay, and founded the first of their “reductions,” or industrial settlements. By 1616 there were a hundred and fifty Jesuits in Paraguay, — and more settlements were founded. By the year 1632 there were twenty “reductions,” each containing about a thousand families.
The South American mission, especially among the natives of Paraguay, would see the Jesuits go out in couples or singly, unarmed, into the vast forests and along the great rivers in search of converts. They obtained from the King a declaration that the natives who had been baptized should never be enslaved. Later they obtained for them exemption from military or other service, and from any kind of local taxation. These things at once angered the great body of the Spanish colonists, and attracted the less savage natives to the missions. They therefore next secured permission to colonise independently of the laity, and, in 1610, founded the first reduction. They sent trained natives back into the forests, with axes, knives, mirrors, and other enticing presents, and the fathers themselves boldly penetrated time after time, so that by 1630 they had about 100,000 natives in their reductions. For some years their colonies were then devastated by a hostile tribe; but the Jesuits obtained from the Spanish King permission to arm their pupils, formed an army of several thousand drilled and well-equipped troops, and more than recovered their ground. In the course of time they came to have 300,000 natives in their reductions. No payment was made to the workers in these reductions. Public and harsh penances were inflicted for laziness, and the hours of work, sleep, play, and prayer were rigorously fixed. Rough huts, light clothing, and sufficient cheap food were distributed weekly; festivals were frequent, and were enlivened by the flute, the song, or the dance; morality was so strictly controlled that the natives were watched even during the night. But they were in a far superior position to that of the enslaved, brutalised, wine-sodden natives who fell into the hands of the lay colonists. That they made a large profit out of 300,000 meagrely rewarded workers it is impossible to doubt.
In France, the Parliament passed a sentence against the Jesuits, who had corrupted and enticed away an only son.
The Jesuits were banished from Holland. The secular clergy of Holland pressed for the appointment of a bishop, and the Jesuits used all their resources to prevent such an appointment, since it threatened their ascendancy. When a priest named Sasbold was named for the office, they made a scandalous attack on his character; and when, in 1602, he was appointed Archbishop of Utrecht, they had his name changed to Archbishop of Philippi. Until his death in 1614 they conducted an unceasing intrigue against Sasbold, and they first endeavoured to prevent the appointment of a successor, and then transferred their rancorous hostility to him. The struggle against the archbishop continued all through the period, in spite of several papal injunctions that they were to obey him. By 1628 there were seventy Jesuits in this country.
The famous Secret Counsels (“Monita Privata”) came to light and drew a large amount of odium upon them. It is the general belief that this book was written by a Polish priest and ex-Jesuit, Jerome Zahorowski. Manuscript copies of the work were afterwards discovered in the Jesuit colleges at Prague, Paris, Roermond, Munich, and Paderborn. Was it a secret code of instructions to their professed members, and that Zahorowski merely published what the Society had already circulated in private?
EXCERPTS: The fathers should always settle in wealthy towns, “because the aim of our Society is to imitate Christ, our Saviour, who dwelt mainly at Jerusalem,” it is expressly laid down that “everybody must be brought into a condition of dependence on us,” and that wealthy widows must “be allowed to have secret recreation with those who please them.” Nearly a fourth of the book is occupied with instructions on the way to conciliate wealthy widows: notoriously, one of the chief sections of Jesuit practice. Much of the remainder is devote to the conciliation of princes, and the drastic procedure to be taken against apostates.
When Jesuit General Acquaviva died on the 31st of January 1615, the 5000 members of the Society who had greeted his election had become 13,000 and 550 Jesuit establishments were scattered over the globe, from Peking to the slopes of the Andes. There are said to have been sixty-eight Jesuits in England. In view of the methods of the Society — the direct and at times indelicate seeking of money and the favour of the powerful — this growth cannot be regarded as singular. The Society had adopted new and very effective devices to increase their influence and membership; it is not as if other religious bodies had used the same means, and been less successful. And it is now clear that the distinctive general principles of the Society were rapidly assuming a complexion which the impatient feeling of its critics has expressed in the maxim that “the end justifies the means.”
The election of Father Mutio Vitelleschi to become Jesuit General did not pass without incident. The Spanish electors determined to make an effort to recover the supreme office from the Italians. When they reached Rome, at an early date, they learned that Vitelleschi was the favoured candidate, and they proceeded to describe him to the various voters in most uncomplimentary language. During the long generalship of Mutio Vitelleschi (1615-1645) we find that the year which immediately followed the election was marked by serious disturbances or scandals at Castellone, Genoa, Artois, Paris, Lyons, Freiburg, and Worms, and in Sicily, Beam, Castile, Poland, and Hesse-Cassel. We see a scandalous bankruptcy of the fathers at Seville, a temporary expulsion from Malta, Bohemia, and Hungary, a combined attack upon the Society by the leading universities of Europe, the publication of the Secret instructions, the complete extinction of the great Japanese mission and the new mission in Abyssinia, and a quite normal succession of scandals and tribulations in France and Catholic Germany. It now took more than a hundred decrees of the Jesuit Congregation to regulate the disorderly life of the Society; though it shall still be singularly unaffected by this mass of stern legislation.
By an Edict of the fourth of June, the Jesuits were expelled from Bohemia and Hungary.
Since the period of (1618-1648) coincides with the Thirty Years War — the record of the Jesuits in Germany within that time is full of life and adventure. Their share in bringing about that disastrous and paralysing struggle cannot be measured by the historian. Now that the world realises the baneful effect of that war and of the Catholic policy of intolerance which led to it, in retarding the development of European civilisation, the Jesuit authorities are not likely ever to publish such documents in their archives as would reveal their activity.
The Jesuits were the most earnest and insistent advocates of the harsh Catholic policy which occasioned the war, and they had considerable influence over the Catholic leaders. Ferdinand II., Maximilian of Bavaria, and Wallenstein had been trained in Jesuit schools; Tilly had actually entered the Society, but withdrawn before he had taken the vows.
The war began in Bohemia. When the Protestants cast off the yoke of the Emperor in 1618, they swept the Jesuits from their country and burned some of their colleges. We can very well imagine the plaints of the Jesuits at the courts of Ferdinand and Maximilian, and are not surprised to learn that eighteen Jesuits accompanied Tilly’s troops when they came to subdue Bohemia. It was the beginning of the war.
Jesuit Robert de Nobili, an Italian of noble birth and a nephew of Bellarmine, had joined the Indian mission and initiated a new policy which had initially begun in 1605. He was now in 1618, sent to justify his conduct before the Inquisition at Rome; and many of his own brethren, including his learned uncle, were scandalised at his flame-coloured robe and painted brow. He maintained that there was no superstition whatever in the practices of the salziassi, and, he actually obtained permission from the Pope to return and continue his work on the understanding that the peculiarities of his dress and the rites of his caste had no more than a civic and sanitary significance!
Isolating himself from his colleagues, Robert de Nobili in 1605, before he became known in India, had made a very close study of the customs and sacred writings of the higher caste Hindoos, learned Tamil and Sanscrit, and after a few years appeared before the people of India as a member of the penitential (or highest) caste of the Saniassi. He lived apart, in a turf hut, and abstained rigorously from flesh and fish. His head was shaved, save for a single tuft of hair, and he had the yellow mark of the caste on his forehead. Dressed in a flame-coloured robe and tiger-skin, with the peculiar wooden sandals of the caste on his feet, he posed in all things as one of the devout Saniassi, and attracted the veneration of the natives. He produced a document certifying that he was the Tatuva Podagar Swami whom he pretended to be. This document was itself a gross imposture, and we may be further quite sure that the Brahmans would not pass him, as they did, until he had made very plain professions of belief in the Vedas and the Hindoo gods, and practised the idolatrous rites of his adopted caste. Then, like his forerunner, the Swedish Jesuit Nicolai, he began to attract a few impressible Brahmans, and cautiously to initiate them to the Christian faith. Other missionaries were now aware of this action, and he was summoned to appear before the archbishop at Goa. From Goa he was then sent to appear before the Inquisition at Rome.
Other members of the Society now followed his example, and the imposture continued throughout the seventeenth century. At his death in 1656 it was claimed that Robert had made 100,000 high-caste converts, and that one of his colleagues had made 30,000. In a more precise document, however, we read, at a later date, that one of the most insidious of these Jesuit Saniassis baptized nine Brahmans in eight months, and that this was more than his colleagues had done in ten years. The work in India continued on the old lines. Thousands of children were stealthily baptized, to swell the lists published in Europe; the favour and wealth of the Portuguese were assiduously used; and, as we gather from the letters sent to Europe, a great deal of trickery was employed in order to make the ignorant natives believe that the Jesuits could work miracles and control devils. Coloured lights were cunningly placed at times so as to shine on their statues and altars and create a belief in miracles.
Some of the Jesuit-Saniassi did succeed in obtaining considerable prestige. They rode about on fine horses, and were borne in palanquins while natives cooled them with peacock-feather fans, and greatly impressed the ignorant natives. One of them, Beschi, so captivated a local prince that he became his first minister, and rode about with an escort of thirty horsemen and a native band. they laid little stress on the doctrine of redemption, as in China, and made very material concessions to paganism. They omitted parts of the ceremony of baptism which the Hindus disliked (the use of saliva and the breathing on the convert): they did not give saint-names to the converts, and advised them not to call themselves Christians, but (in a familiar Hindu phrase) “followers of the true God”: they married mere children, long before the time of puberty, and they allowed the married girl to wear the taly according to the pagan custom. (Taly: an image representing a Hindu divinity equivalent to the Latin Priapus — When Rome brought pressure to bear on them, they invented a taly with the cross on one side and the emblem of Pillear on the other)
On the fourth of November, the Jesuits were banished forever from hungary, by a decree "Des Etats Generaux."
On the thirtieth of March, the twenty-third and twenty-ninth of May, Henry Louis De Castaigner De la Roche posay, Bishop of Poitiers, and La Rochefoucault, Bishop of Angouleme (France), issued various sentences and ordinances against the Jesuits, who usurped the Episcopal jurisdiction. In 1620 the Jesuits of Poitiers defy the bishop, the bishop then lays an interdict on their church.
The Jesuits were expelled from Poland. De Berulle, Founder and General 'De la Congregation de l'Oratoire de France,' wrote several letters to the Cardinal De Richelieu, complaining and petitioning against the ingratitude and enormities of the Jesuits.
The outstanding event at Rome in this year was the canonisation of Ignatius and Xavier in 1622. The curious student of such matters would find it interesting to trace the appearance of the miracles which were needed to secure canonisation for them. In the case of Xavier, whose life was spent in the Far East, it would be easy to adduce evidence of miracles, and difficult to examine it. The miracles of Ignatius are more interesting. When Ribadeneira, who knew him, first wrote his life, he seemed not to have heard of any miracles; when, however, forty years later, the question of canonisation was mooted, Father Ribadeneira corrected his defect by publishing a shorter life which shone with miracles. As time went on, the monarchs of Europe — wherever the Jesuits had influence — began to press the Pope to canonise Ignatius and Xavier, and in 1622 the Jesuits obtained that supreme assurance of the sanctity of their founders. It need hardly be said that they illuminated Europe with their festivities, and made considerable profit by the honour, which they represented as unsought by themselves.
At Angouleme, in 1622, the Jesuits secure, through Father Coton and by a secret contract with the mayor, the monopoly of teaching and the control of the university. They continue for four years to defy the bishop and stir the people against him, although they are condemned by Cardinal de Sourdis and their contract is declared void by the Parlement, until the bishop is compelled to excommunicate them.
Bethlen Gabor took Hungary in 1622, one of his first measures was to expel the Jesuits.
The Jesuits run into trouble in France, due to their determination to found petty universities at Toulouse, Pontoise, and Tournon, and all the universities of France combine in what the French apologist calls a “ferocious war” against them.
The victorious Swedes expelled the Jesuits from Livonia.
On the twentieth of January, the Reverend Father Louis Sotello, Monk of the Order of Saint Francis, who had been appointed Bishop of Japan by Paul V., protested in a long letter of complaints against the infidelity, the scandals, intrigues, seditious plots and anti-christian principles of the Jesuits in that Empire, where the Reverend Father Jesuit Martinius had solicited and obtained an office of "mandarin."
On the twenty-first of January, took place the law-suit relative to an hideous crime of Francis Martel, parish priest of Estreu (France). The Reverend Father Jesuits Amnbroise, Guyot, and Stephen Chapuy had been his counsellors. At the same time, the Bishops of Poitiers, Langres and Cornouailles (France), published ordinances against the Jesuits, who had usurped their Episcopal jurisdiction.
**************** POLAND ****************
The Jesuits, who, in spite of their banishment from Poland, had succeeded by their artfulness to enter again into that country, were compelled to leave their college in Cracow.
In Cracow the University, conscious that the Jesuits wished to win the control of higher education, kept a jealous eye on their school. In 1622 the fathers endeavoured to evade the restrictions placed on them by including in their celebration of the canonisation of St. Ignatius a public discussion of certain theses. The university professors and students prevented them from doing so, and a long and angry quarrel followed. In 1626 a decree of the States-General of Poland (reproduced in the Mercure Jesuite, ii. 312) closed the Jesuit school, and the University sent a formal report to Louvain and other universities, begging them to unite against the intrigues of the Jesuits. This letter, dated 29th July 1627, contains very grave charges against the Society, and considerably strengthened the opposition to them in the university towns of Europe. It complains that the Jesuits sent their pupils in arms against the university students, and, when a riot occurred, induced the King to send troops against the students. As grave trouble occurred about the same time at Louvain, Douai, Liege, Salamanca, and other universities, there was a general concentration of the professors throughout Europe in hostility to the Society. However much we may suspect partiality or exaggeration in their severe charges, it is clear that the Jesuits made unscrupulous efforts to capture the universities.
In the long and disastrous reign of Sigismund (1590-1632) the decay of Poland was continuous, and the power of the Jesuits sustained. One point is clear; there was a grave lack of virile and unselfish patriotism, and Jesuit teachers were certainly not the men to inspire it. The aim of Jesuit education was to promote the interests of the Church rather than the State. The reign of Wladislas (1632-48) had the same features, and they were more marked than ever when a Jesuit, the late King’s brother, John Casimir, ascended the throne. There was now hardly a wealthy house, a school, or a camp that did not contain its Jesuit. The cause of religion was intensely promoted, but the cause of the country fell lower and lower, and its disastrous and distracted condition compelled the Jesuit monarch to abdicate after four years. The activity of the Jesuits is very well seen in the election of the next king. The Poles were too democratic to admit the hereditary principle; they elected their monarch, and each election was now the occasion for a gathering of candidates from various parts of Europe and a mass of bribery and intrigue. A private letter of a Jesuit, Father Bodler, shows the Jesuits over half of Europe intriguing to secure at the election of 1669 a man who will suit their interests. Father Bodler, confessor to one of the candidates, the Duke of Neuburg, writes of the secret campaign to Father Veihelin of Munich. This letter (from Prince Auersperg) caustically observes that the Jesuits divide their forces at an election, so that some of them are sure to be on the winning side (as we have seen so often). Such documents as this, generally discovered in Jesuit houses after the suppression of the Society, differ very materially from the published writings of the Jesuits.
The Pole, Michael Wisniowiecki, ascended the throne, and the Polish Jesuits held their power amid the decaying nation. He was followed by the great Sobieski, under whom the Society had more political influence than ever. Whether in camp or court Sobieski was surrounded by Jesuits, and some of the most important and disastrous points of his policy were inspired by them. It was his confessor, Father Vota, who prompted him to reject France’s offer of alliance and accept that of Austria; and we know the shameful ingratitude of Austria when Sobieski saved Vienna in 1683, and how greedily it took its share of Poland when the country became weak enough to be dismembered. Frederick Augustus of Saxony succeeded Sobieski. He had qualified for the throne by corrupting half the Diet and abjuring the Protestant faith, and, although he was naturally of a tolerant disposition, he was compelled to allow the Jesuits and other clergy to continue to weaken the country by religious persecution. Father Vota was entrusted with the charge of his accommodating conscience. Augustus III., an orthodox voluptuary and worthless monarch, followed upon the throne of Poland; the Jesuits continued to prosper and the country to decay. History will show, when its helpless frame is torn by its covetous neighbours, the Jesuits are still in full possession of their wealth and power, and are the first to bow to and win the favour of the Russian invader.
**************** AUSTRIA ****************
In Austria, or the Holy Roman Empire, as it was then called, the central and most important fact is the continued influence of the Jesuit confessors at the court. Amongst the interesting manuscripts which were seized at the time of the suppression of the Society was a document, dating from the time of General Acquaviva, giving royal confessors secret instructions as to their duty. These instructions make the confessor a spy not only on the monarch, but upon his ministers and civic officials, and direct that he shall obtain inforrnation even about the private lives of his principal subjects. We know from other confiscated manuscripts which have been published (especially by Dollinger and Reusch) that this information was regularly sent to Rome, and that at every important juncture the confessor sent a secret messenger to Rome (or consulted other Jesuits) and acted on the policy of the Society. In this sense the Jesuits controlled the policy of Austria to a great extent in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The death of Ferdinand II. in 1637 made no difference in the position of the Jesuits. Ferdinand III. had been carefully trained by them, and he was ever ready to endanger the welfare of his Empire and disturb the peace of his subjects by furthering the designs of the Jesuits in the Protestant Provinces. Leopold I., who succeeded in 1657, was an even more fervent pupil of the Jesuits, and had been destined for the priesthood. We may say, in a word, that the Jesuits retained their wealth and power until, to their great anger and disappointment, the Emperor Joseph II. light-heartedly joined the other Catholic monarchs in the campaign for the suppression of the Society, and even Empress Maria Theresa refused to plead for them with the Papacy. At that time their property alone was worth more than 2,000,000, but the Government discovered that they had anticipated the dissolution by investing large sums abroad. It is therefore impossible to estimate their real wealth, but when we add to the income from their vast estates the salaries of royal and noble confessors, the fees of masses and spiritual exercises, the emoluments of university and other teachers, and the very generous and constant inflow of gifts and legacies, we realise that the Austrian Jesuits cannot have been much less wealthy than those of France and Spain.
**************** GERMANY ****************
The learned Oratorian priest Father Theiner, the Prefect of the Vatican Archives, shows in his 'Histoire du Pontificat de Clement XIV.' that in other ways the Jesuits had done grave harm to culture in Catholic Germany. A former director of the Bavarian State Archives, Dr. Karl Heinrich von Lang, examined the Jesuit documents under his care at Munich, and found, in the letters of the Provincial of the Upper German Province to the General, an alarming number of charges of unnatural or other vice. There was clearly an extraordinary amount of sexual corruption in the province in the period he reviews (1650-1723). Dr. von Lang has also written a sketch of the history of the Jesuits in Bavaria (Geschichte der Jesuiten in Baiern, 1819), and we have a picture of degeneration and prosperity as in so many other countries. Von Lang estimates that a little after the middle of the seventeenth century the 585 members of the Bavarian branch of the Society enjoyed a permanent income of 185,950 florins. To this, however, we must add fees, salaries, gifts, and legacies. Dr. von Lang shows that between 1620 and 1700 large donations amounting to 800,ooo florins were made to the Society, often at the suggestion of its members.
We know that the Society prospered more than ever in the eighteenth century. In 1727 there were 875 Jesuits in Bavaria and the Tyrol, and the papers confiscated at the suppression proved that their wealth was enormous. Their college at Ingolstadt alone owned hundreds of farms, or a series of estates worth about 3,000,000 florins. A dozen other colleges were also richly endowed with landed property. As the eighteenth century wore on, however, the hostility to the Jesuits increased. Protestants were never without some serious ground for complaint of Jesuit controversy. As the successive messages of suppression came from Portugal, France, and Spain, their opponents became bolder. The Jesuits so little expected to be disturbed that in 1770 they created a separate Bavarian province, with more than 500 members. Three years later they were secularised and dispersed on account of the suppression of the Society.
**************** HUNGARY ****************
The resistance of Hungary to Jesuit permeation was protracted and heroic. Protestantism made great progress in Hungary after the Reformation, and the emperors looked to the Jesuits to extirpate it in that part of the country which was under their control. Ferdinand II. trusted especially to their educational influence, but Ferdinand III. and Leopold supported the Jesuits in active persecution of the heretics. Dr. Krones (Archiv fir oesterreichische Geschichte) has minutely studied from the manuscript Annual Letters of the Society, the intrigues by which the Jesuits sought to regain power after the Peace of Westphalia, which had ended the Thirty Years War. The most assiduous and secret manceuvres were made by the Jesuits to influence the elections and secure a legal footing in the country. An abortive conspiracy in 1666 served their purpose better. In the general vindictiveness of the Austrian triumph the most drastic measures were taken against the Protestant clergy. A more successful rising in 1675-1679 once more won toleration for the Protestants and checked the Jesuits, and they seem to have maintained this varying campaign of intrigue and coercion and failure until the abolition of the Society.
**************** SWITZERLAND ****************
In the Catholic cantons of Switzerland we have, naturally, the same story as in the Catholic States: a control of education, a determination to cast into the shade the remainder of the Catholic clergy, and a scandalous and enervating material prosperity. Here again we have obtained a very interesting glimpse of the real condition of the Society by the publication of secret documents which were confiscated at the suppression. The chronicle of the Jesuit college at Colmar from 1698 to 1750 was fortunately discovered among their papers and published in 1872. It is a most remarkable ledger or diary of business transactions, displaying on every page that keen instinct for commerce and high profit which the Jesuits are always so anxious to disavow. Vineyards and estates pass steadily into the possession of the college, indignant and disinherited relatives are fought in the law-courts or met by compromise, and the liveliest satisfaction is expressed when some good bargain has been made with the property or the vines have proved fertile. A Lutheran in 1727 has been, in the words of the secret Jesuit chronicler, “simple enough” to pay a substantial rent for a disused cellar belonging to the college; in the same year a pious lady’s executors are not in a position to pay a legacy to the Jesuits in cash and they take saleable goods; in 1730 three fields of small value are let on terms which suggest that some simple Catholic tenant was duped. The whole story tells of keenness in securing legacies, astuteness in the profitable handling of the property they inherit or buy, and a somewhat hypocritical readiness to appeal to public bodies for the free grants which they make to poor individuals or communities. The college of Colmar was a business concern of the sharpest character.
Ferdinand II. ordered the Protestants of his dominions to restore ecclesiastical property; and we learn from the decree of Pope Urban VIII. that the Jesuits were “the chief authors of the imperial edict.” (Father Lamormaini, confessor to Ferdinand II., inspired the decree for the restoration of church-property) — There was no question of importance on which the Emperor did not consult him. — The Benedictines, Cistercians, and Premonstratensians at once began to claim their property, and were not a little agitated when the “chief authors” of the edict succeeded in getting from the Pope an order that they were to share in the division. The Emperor’s confessor was, of course, a Jesuit (Lamormaini), and it is admitted by their apologist that they secured the “best part” of the restored property. To cover their lack of moral or legal title to this property, the Jesuits freely reproached the older orders with corruption and decadence, and a war of pamphlets was maintained for many years.
At Hildesheim, the Jesuits played a comedy against the Comte Tilly and against the King of Sweden.
(see Ferdinand II. 1629) At Voltigerode in Saxony some Bernardine nuns had obtained one of the restored houses. The Jesuit fathers persuaded them that the building was unsafe, and, when the nuns retired, claimed it as “abandoned property.” The nuns returned, however, and a very lively scene was witnessed. The Jesuits brought the police, and the nuns, who clung valiantly to the seats of the chapel, were physically dragged out of the building. The Cistercian monks afterwards took up the case and secured the expulsion of the Jesuits.
At Prague the Jesuits coveted a handsome Cistercian abbey, and persuaded the Emperor that only a half-dozen degenerate monks occupied the vast establishment. An imperial commissary was sent, and found that there were sixty-one monks and thirteen novices in the abbey. The angry Jesuits, who accompanied the commissary, protested that the abbot had put the monastic dress on his farm-labourers; but the Cistercians held their ground and obtained the protection of the Emperor.
The Vicar-General of the Order of Cluny reported a large number of these fraudulent attempts of the Jesuits to obtain the property of his monks; and we have civic and ecclesiastical documents relating to great numbers of similar cases in France, Germany, and Switzerland in the early part of the seventeenth century. Many of the documents are collected in the Annales de La Societe des soi-disans Jesuites. The most familiar procedure of the Jesuits was to accuse the monks of corruption and rely on their influence at court to prevent too close an inquiry. The French Conseil d’etat forced them, as late as 4th August 1654, to restore three abbeys to their lawful owners.
In 1631 and 1632, the Jesuits attacked secretly and openly the Bishops of France and England, and even published injurious and slanderous pamphlets against them, because they had condemned the infamous writings of one of their Theologians, the Reverend Father Sanctarel. Savoy, Spain, and France were governed by the Jesuits.
The Jesuits had previously helped the Chinese to repel the Tartars, but a more formidable invasion occurred in 1636, and, to be quite safe, they divided their forces. Father Adam Schall, joined the Tartars at Peking and read in the stars that they would conquer; some of his colleagues remained with the threatened dynasty, declared that the stars were in their favour, and induced some members of the royal family to accept baptism. The Tartars won, the opposing Jesuits were recalled, and Schall passed into the confidence of the new emperor. He became a mandarin of the first class and president of the tribunal of imperial mathematics.
Richelieu, First minister of France, despised the Jesuits, his correspondence with Father (later Cardinal) de Berulle suggests this. De Berulle, a man of exalted character and piety, was the founder of the Oratorian priests, and a valued friend of the minister. We have a letter that he wrote to Richelieu in 1623, which contains a very painful indictment of the French Jesuits. Their jealousy of the new congregation and determination to prevent its growth led to some extremely unworthy conduct. In town after town, as de Berulle describes in detail, the Oratorians removed the prejudice against the Jesuits, and even surrendered property to them,and the Jesuits then repaid their benefactors with slander and intrigue. At Dieppe the governor refused to allow the Jesuits to found a college, but gladly admitted the Oratorians. A Jesuit then asked the hospitality of the Oratorians, and used the opportunity to intrigue against them, in favour of the Society, among the citizens.
There can be little doubt that Richelieu despised the Jesuits, but preferred to have them under his eye, engaged in the teaching of the young, rather than as open opponents. Richelieu punished them ruthlessly when they interfered in politics. He had Father Monod, confessor to Christiane of Savoy, imprisoned for his political intrigues, and when Father Caussin, who was appointed confessor to Louis in 1637, was discovered by Richelieu’s spies to be making a secret and insidious attempt to turn the king against Richelieu, he was promptly exiled.
In the province of Lorraine, which was annexed for France by Richelieu in 1633, the impetuous young Duke, Charles IV., chose the Jesuit Cheminot as his confessor in 1637, and a week later, although his first wife still lived, he married the Princess Beatrix de Cusance. Instead of retiring from the court, which was at once assailed from all parts of France for the bigamy, Cheminot wrote a casuistic memoir to prove that the marriage was valid, and clung to the duke for six years. The correspondence shows plainly that the Jesuit authorities acquiesced in Cheminot’s position for many years. We find Charles writing to Jesuit General Vitelleschi in 1639, in friendly terms, to complain that some of the other Jesuits are hostile to his accommodating confessor. It was only in 1643, when the scandal was known to all Europe, that the Roman authorities excommunicated Cheminot. They had waited five years in the hope that they would not be compelled to sacrifice a place in a ducal court.
In Holland the Jesuits were found to be implicated in a political plot to introduce the Spaniards, and two of them were tortured and executed.
The Portuguese Jesuit fathers in Brazil were less enterprising than their Spanish colleagues, however, when the Dutch took the town of Maragnon in 1641, and threatened their work, the Jesuits were very active in inspiring the successful rising against them, and they were rewarded by the King with privileges for their protegees.
The Jesuits stirred up the too lamentable dispute, or rather scandalous battle of the Jansenism. Being jealous of the Monastery of Port Royal, they attacked violently Mitrie Angelique Arnaud and her brother, the learned and celebrated Doctor. They attacked too Pascal, Nicole, and most of the French clergy, nor sparing insults, harsh contentions and slander. Their immorality was never more clearly unveiled than in the various periods of this long war; notwithstanding, they were justified and triumphed in Rome, even they were victorious in the court of France, by the intrigues of the Father Annat, confessor of Louis XIV.
The Jesuits were so malevolent in China, that J. B. Morales, a Dominican, was compelled to address a request to the congregation of Propaganda in Rome, to petition against the superstitious and heathen rites practised by the Jesuits against their immorality, and destructive principles.
The bankruptcy of one of the Jesuit houses at Seville, holds serious independent evidence. Their generous patron Philip III., whose dominion they had so materially helped to enlarge, died in 1621, but his successor Philip IV. was even more generous to them. (stories about the Spanish Jesuits of this period can be found in the Teatro Jesuitico, a work published in 1654, it was attributed to a distinguished Dominican monk.) The King, Philip IV., did not have a Jesuit confessor, however, the Jesuits still guided the consciences of most of the nobles and wealthy people.
One of the seven residences which the fathers had at Seville failed in 1644, and acknowledged a debt of two and a quarter million francs. The Jesuit system, it may be recalled, was to place the administration of the house in the hands of a “Lay Coadjutor” (or laybrother, who had not made a vow of poverty), and their defence in this singular case is that Brother Villar, who held this charge at Seville, borrowed large sums of money and invested them in shipping and other concerns, without the knowledge of the fathers. His speculations proved disastrous, and the fathers found themselves bankrupt. The brother was expelled, but no trace can be found that the Jesuits, in spite of their great collective wealth in Spain, ever paid more than a partial dividend. Bishop Palafox, one of their most conscientious adversaries, give a different version in his second letter to Pope Innocent X., but a paper written by one of the creditors and submitted to the King of Spain (who favoured the Jesuits) has survived, and must command some confidence. (reproduced in the: Annales de da Societe des soi-disans Jesuites (iii. 976))
From communities of nuns and the pious laity of the town, both rich and poor, Villar had borrowed sums amounting in all to 450,000 ducats, and invested them in unwise speculations. Villar protested throughout that he had acted under the directions of the fathers, and it would be quite impossible for him to borrow so extensively among their admirers without their knowing it; even if we could suppose that, contrary to all custom, they left their affairs blindly in the hands of a lay-brother. In 1644 the fathers summoned their creditors, declared themselves bankrupt, and proposed a settlement. Some of the creditors endeavoured to secure — a payment in full by representing that the Jesuits would suffer severely in credit if they did not draw on the immense resources of their Society to discharge the debt. “The loss of our credit does not trouble me,” said the rector; “as the proverb says, the raven cannot be blacker than its wings.” The creditors, however, refused to yield, and a receiver was appointed. The petition to the king affirms that this official found among their papers certain letters which plainly showed that they had directed Villar, and secret instructions for the dishonest diversion of legacies they had received on condition of paying out certain monies.
The next step of the Jesuits was to secure the appointment of a judge who would favour themselves. Though there was grave distress among the poorer creditors, this official declared that three-fourths of the Jesuit assets were sacred funds, and that little remained for division. The creditors appealed to the Royal Council, the judge was dismissed for corrupt procedure, and the whole of the property was declared to be “lay” for the purpose of the case. Indeed, the higher court declared that the action of the Jesuits was “infamous,” and would, on the part of a private individual, merit a capital sentence. Yet in 1647 we find this petitioner still appealing for a discharge of the debt, and complaining that the Jesuits are trying to induce the more pious of their creditors to agree to a composition.
The significance of this ugly episode does not consist in its illustration of the conduct of a single community of Jesuits. As such it would not be entitled to lengthy consideration in serious history. The more unpleasant feature is that it involves the whole of the Jesuits of Castile, and, in spite of the fact that — the petitioner says — they owed a collective debt of two million ducats, they formed one of the most numerous and wealthy provinces of the Society and dwelt in most imposing establishments. They clearly trusted that their colleagues would evade the discharge of a legitimate debt, and they incurred a storm of anger and disdain. The Roman house itself had taken vast sums from Spain, yet it permitted the local Jesuits to resist their obligations for several years, relying on a purely legal and worldly view of the local responsibility.
The Cardinal Henry de Sourdis, Archbishop of Bordeaux, (France,) issued ordinances against them on account of their usurpations, the wicked behavior of the Reverend Father Marianna and others, and the immorality of all the Jesuits who lived in Bordeaux and other towns of his diocese. They were expelled from Malta. They undertook commercial operations on an immense scale, — witness the contract of association between the Reverend Father Jesuits who were their agents, and the merchants Robin and De Liancourt. The matter of this contract was the lading of ships sent to Canada.
On the 25th of May, they became bankrupt in Seville, (Spain.) They denied that the Reverend Fathers who acted for them were their agents, and avoided the obligation of paying their creditors.
Don Juan Palafox, Bishop of Angelopolis, sent the Doctor Silverio Pineda to Innocent X., and Juan Martinez Guyatro to Philip IV., King of Spain, with letters detailing the enormities and misdeeds of the Jesuits in the East Indies; exposing their avarice, the low means employed by them to make money, their tithes, and their usurpations on the episcopal jurisdiction.
Dom Bernardine de Cardenas, a Franciscan monk who became Bishop of Paraguay, sent Friar Villalon to the Spanish court and the Vatican to complain of the Jesuits. I state the facts as they are given in Villalon’s memorial to Philip of Spain. The two predecessors of Cardenas had had much trouble with the Jesuits, but for a year or two after his consecration he was on very friendly terms with them. They did not from the first affect to regard his consecration as invalid, as their apologist says; that idea (afterwards refuted by the Papacy) occurred to them in the course of the quarrel. In 1644, Cardenas announced that he was about to visit the reductions, which formed part of his diocese, and the Jesuits offered him 20,000 crowns to omit that part of his visitation. He refused, and they discovered a scruple about the validity of his consecration. As Cardenas insisted, they spread the report in the reductions that Spanish priests were coming who would interfere with the women, raised a troop of eight hundred Indians, and advanced toward the episcopal town of Assumption. The governor, a brutal man, had previously quarrelled with the bishop, and one would imagine that it hardly needed a bribe of 30,000 crowns to secure his cooperation. It is at least quite certain that, as he travelled, the bishop was seized by the governor at the head of the Jesuit soldiers, brutally treated, and sent into exile 200 miles away.
Cardenas made his way with great difficulty to La Plata, placed his case before the higher tribunal of the Royal Audience, and was awarded his see. Near the city he was, however, again arrested by the Jesuit troops, and sent back to his wretched exile. In 1647 there was a change of governor, and he returned, to the great joy of the town. The Jesuits, however, intrigued with his clergy, allowed two of his canons to set up a rival chapter in their residence, and turned the new governor against him. He was besieged in his cathedral for fourteen days; but a compromise was accepted, and, when the governor died two years afterwards, the citizens nominated Cardenas himself governor, in accordance with their legal right. The Jesuits then set up a rival for the governorship, secured, by intrigue and bribery, his recognition by the authorities at La Plata, and put 4000 of their armed Indians, under Jesuit leaders, at his disposal. Leaving behind them a trail of outrage which does not harmonise with the Jesuit description of their pupils, these troops flung themselves upon the armed and angry citizens. In the battle that followed 385 Indians and a Jesuit were slain, but the citizens were overpowered.
Meantime the Jesuits made use of an extraordinary privilege which they professed to have received from Pius V. and Gregory XIII. They said that, in case of a dispute between themselves and the bishop, they had the right to nominate a judge (or conservator), chosen by themselves, to arbitrate. It was a gross and ludicrous claim, as the Jesuits always took care to choose a judge who would declare in their favour; indeed, Pope Innocent X. afterwards declared that they had no such right. They chose a friend, a corrupt member of one of the laxer religious congregations, and he excommunicated the bishop. The Jesuit troops then seized the prelate and transported him some 200 leagues from the city. From his exile he sent Father Villanon to Spain, and, though the friar was waylaid and rifled by the Jesuit troops, he succeeded in reaching Madrid and informing the King. It happened that the King had only a few years before received authentic information of a similar outrage in Mexico, and had sent a stern reprimand to the Jesuits. There seemed, however, no prospect of peace, and Cardenas was transferred to another diocese. For the next hundred years the province of Paraguay, the Jesuits and their reductions, enjoyed its prosperity with little interruption.
A book entitled "Monarchia Solipsorum" was published in Venice: the author was the Reverend Father Jesuit Melchior Inchofer, who died in Rome, on the 28th of September, 1648. He had been persecuted by the Jesuits so cruelly, that the Roman Catholic Priest Bourgeois and another Romish Clergyman assure us, that he had been condemned to death by the Jesuits, carried out from Rome at night by the General and his Assistants, and saved only by the intervention of the Pope. The Jesuits attribute falsely this book to Scotti, an ex-jesuit, a learned and conscientious man, who though he had taken the four vows, left the order and taught philosophy and canonical jurisprudence in a university of Italy. This book having at this epoch produced a profound sensation among the public, we give its summary, as a document, an explanation, and a testimony.
In the first chapter, the author reveals the "Monita Seereta," "Secret Instructions;" explains the contents of the fifth Bull (1540,) and of the sixth (1549) of Paul III., which granted to (pp182) the Jesuits even the power of imprisoning the members who should reveal their rules. The eleventh chapter is a summary of the laws of the Jesuits.
"The Jesuits," says he, "being admitted into the order, are bound
1st, to deny all rights, whatever they may be, and to set themselves free from all bonds;
2 to worship God only according to the orders of the General
3 always to approve the words and deeds of the General;
4 to consider as their own enemies those of the Gereral;
5 to avoid any correspondence with strangers;
6 to keep the deepest silence about the words, deeds, and government of the General;
7 to regard the order as being higher than all other things;
8 to accept neither dignities nor employments without the consent of the General, and to inform him of everything;
9 to report immediately the secret crimes to the General;
10 to discard the love of their own reputation, even in the case of reparation of calumny;
11 to confess to the General their own faults, and at request, those of their neighbors;
12 to accept passively the employments fixed by the General;
13 to bind themselves not to examine the secrets of the government of the General;
14 to renounce their own will and judgment."
In 1648, the aforesaid Bishop Don Juan Palafox, again petitioned the Pope against the immoral and anti-Christian doctrines and teaching of the Jesuits in the East Indies. This Bishop expressed himself as follows:
"I have found in the hands of the Jesuits almost all the wealth, all the funds and opulence of South America. They incessantly swell their treasures by dealing artfully; they even hold cattle markets, butcheries, and shops."
All these details are submitted to the Pope in the bishop’s letters, and, in order to make them intelligible, a remarkable account is given of the worldly prosperity of the fathers. They hold, it seems, the greater part of the wealth of Mexico. Two of their colleges own 300,000 sheep, 1 besides cattle and other property. They own six large sugar-refineries, worth from half a million to a million crowns each, and making an annual profit of 100,000 crowns each, while all the other monks and clergy of Mexico together own only three small refineries. They have immense farms, rich silver mines, large shops and butcheries, and do a vast trade. Pope Innocent appointed a commission of cardinals and bishops to examine the appeal of Palafox and counter-appeal of the Roman Jesuits. They declared in favour of the bishop on almost every point, and the Pope issued his first brief in that sense (14th May 1648). On 25th June the King severely condemned them for appointing a judge and defying the bishop. The King had to repeat his warning, and the Pope had twice to repeat his orders, before they abandoned their intrigues in Mexico, Madrid, and Rome.
The alliance of France with the Protestants was a bitter disappointment to the Jesuits, and they were among the few in Europe who profoundly deplored the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years War. This at last gave a just liberty to Protestantism in Germany. The war, as conceived by the Jesuits, was a costly and lamentable failure.
On the fourth of May, the Archbishop of Sens issued ordinances forbidding the Jesuits to exercise the ministry in his diocese, and the faithful, under pain of excommunication, to receive sacrament from them. He ordered public prayers in order that the Church may be rid of the Jesuitical contagion. The sentence was so just that they did not succeed in getting it removed until the death of the prelate in 1675. The Bishop of Pamiers imposed the same heavy punishment on the Jesuits of his diocese.
The general assembly of the clergy in Paris, sent circular letters to the Bishops of France, which condemned the doctrines of the Jesuits, and their irreligious slanders against the Archbishop De Gondrin. (Annales.)
The artful Japanese devised a test of faith which should have defeated the zeal of the missionary; every European immigrant had to spit or trample on the crucifix before landing. It is said by a serious authority, one of the General Commandants of the French East India Company (Martin, of Pondicherry), that the Jesuits found a casuistic way out of this difficulty and insulted the crucifix; they were, they said, merely regarding it as a piece of wood and metal. However that may be, the last Jesuit — an apostate who repented — was executed there in 1652, and the fathers of the “Japanese Province” were scattered over the other eastern missions.
France: On the twenty-sixth of October, the parish priests of Rouen protested against the slanders, bad doctrines, and immiorality of the Reverend Father Jesuit Berard, De La Briere, and of Brisacier Rector of the College.
The Curates of Beauvais and Paris, alarmed at the licentiousness which the Jesuits inculcated from the sacred desk, by the confession and in their colleges, protested many times against the immorality of the casuists of the Jesuits. The curates of Nevers, too, protested against the impiety of these Fathers, who, by a pretended indulgence freeing souls from Purgatory, attracted to their chapels all the faithful, and harvested by this quackery a large amount of money.
Years before in Spain an infant of four years, Charles II., inherited the throne, and this gave the Jesuits an opportunity under the Regency of Maria Anna, daughter of Ferdinand III. Queen Anna had brought with her from her German home a very learned Jesuit, Father Nidhard, who was her confessor. He was not only royal confessor, but became a Councillor of State — in fact, the first minister — and Grand Inquisitor. He had pleaded his rule when the Queen pressed these dignities on him. She obtained a “dispensation” from the Pope, and Nidhard then posed as a Jesuit Ximenes and ruled Spain. In 1668 Spain lost much of the Low Countries in the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, and the independence of Portugal was recognised. Don Juan, a natural son of the late King, seized the opportunity and attacked the Jesuits. Don Juan boldly advanced to Madrid and demanded the dismissal of Nidhard. The troops and people supported him, and, shedding bitter tears, the Queen was obliged to “permit Nidhard to retire from office.” Jesuit Father Nidhard escaped to Rome, where he became Spanish ambassador, and afterwards Cardinal and Archbishop of Edessa. During the next 30 years Spain decayed with frightful rapidity. Piety flourished however — on one occasion fifty heretics were put to death for the entertainment of the Queen.
In 1669 the young Chinese Emperor Kang Hi, son of the Tartar conqueror, attained his majority. Father Verbiest took the place of Father Schall, and as his military services enabled the emperor to quell an insurrection, he obtained permission to summon fresh "mathematicians" from the west. France was now the great expanding Power in Europe, and the new field, with its prospect of a monopoly of commerce, was secured for Louis XIV. Six learned French Jesuits arrived in 1688, and from that time until the end of the century they grew in power and wealth. As artists, astrologers, or mechanicians the priests made themselves indispensable at court, and the lay-brothers brought western skill in medicine and surgery.
Neercassel, the Archbishop of Utrecht and Vicar Apostolic in Holland, complained to Rome of the Jesuit behaviour in 1669, and the Jesuits in turn retorted with the familiar charge of Jansenism. Neercassel was summoned to Rome, but Innocent XI. was on the papal throne and the Jesuits lost.
Year 1675 - 1678.
In England, the Provincial, Father Emmanuel Lobb, had converted the Duke of York to the Roman faith in 1669. French and Catholic agents were now distributing money in the interest of York and Catholicism. A secret and treasonable correspondence was maintained by the Catholics with France. This correspondence was maintained on the English side by a zealous secretary of the Duke of York, named Coleman, a pupil and friend of the Jesuits. We shall see that Coleman was afterwards arrested, and his papers seized, so that there is no dispute about the fact that from 1675 to 1678 Coleman was in treasonable correspondence with the French. French money and, in emergency, French troops were to be employed for the destruction of the Established Church. The letters were generally in cipher, and at times the secret message was written in lemon-juice (which would become legible if held before the fire) between the lines. On the French side the whole correspondence was conducted by the famous Jesuit confessor of Louis XIV., Pere Lachaise.
The conspirators went before a well-known magistrate, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey — a Protestant, but a personal friend of Coleman and well disposed toward the Catholics — and laid information of a ghastly project of the Catholics to destroy the Protestants of London. Then Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was found dead in a ditch at the foot of Primrose Hill, and the city was shaken with frenzy. Three men, who were probably innocent, were hanged for murdering Godfrey in Somerset House (then the Queen’s Palace), and three Jesuits — Father Le Fevre (the Queen’s confessor), Father Walsh, and Father Pritchard — were accused of having hired the assassins. In the end seven Jesuit priests and a lay-brother were executed, a large number of Jesuits, secular priests, and laymen were imprisoned, and a reign of terror fell upon the Catholic population. Evidence pointed to the fact that Godfrey had been murdered and his body had been conveyed to the spot where it was found. There was hardly any trace of blood at the spot, and Godfrey’s sword had been driven through his body in a way which precludes the idea of suicide, It was still clearer that he had not been murdered for the purpose of robbery. The circumstances point to a political assassination, and, as there is ample evidence that Godfrey expected an attack on his life, it is natural to suppose that he was removed lest he should betray some secret of which he had become holder.
A fresh attempt was made in 1677 to induce the Copts of Egypt to recognise the authority of the Pope. The now familiar device was adopted of impressing the monarch with a show of learning and art, and trusting to sow the Christian seed insidiously in his dominions. In twenty years of assiduous labour the scholar-missionaries added much to the slender geographical and archaeological lore of Europe, but their secret religious mission failed.
The Jesuits looked to Louis XIV., as they had once looked to Philip III. of Spain, as the rising sun of the monarchical world, and they suppressed their scruples in their determination to use his power for the furtherance of the aims of their Society. This is singularly illustrated bt the following bit of history. There was in most parts of France an old custom which gave the King the right to promote to benefices as long as the episcopal see was vacant. This profitable “Regale,” as it was called, had never been recognised in the southern provinces, but in 1673 Louis XIV. decreed that in future all dioceses (except a few with special privileges) would have to recognise the royal right. The bishops appealed to Rome, and in 1676 a man ascended the throne of Peter who was in no mood to bow to earthly monarchs or permit Jesuit intrigue.
Pope Innocent XI. sternly insisted on the rights of the Church and condemned the action of Louis XIV. The Parlement and the French hierarchy generally sided with the King, and the papal briefs remained unpublished. The Jesuits of the southern dioceses affected to regard the briefs as spurious, and they maintained the campaign of intrigue and calumny which they had conducted for some time against the Bishop of Pamiers. Pope Innocent then devised a plan by which he expected to defeat the insincere manceuvres of the Jesuits. He handed his briefs to the General of the Society and bade him communicate them to the French Jesuits, through their Provincials. To their great embarrassment the Jesuits of Paris and Toulouse now found themselves in the dilemma of having to disobey the commands either of the Pope or the King, but they extricated themselves with their usual adroitness. The Parlements of Paris and Toulouse were secretly informed that the Jesuit fathers had received copies of the papal briefs and were instructed to publish them. The proceedings of the Parlements show that the Jesuits had themselves given this information, the Jesuits had this information conveyed to the lawyers in defiance of the Pope’s stern command. The men of the fourth vow, the men who professed to be the incorruptible champions of the Papacy, now cast their Ultramontanism to the winds, and gave material assistance to the Gallicans at a time when a very grave conflict with the Vatican was in progress. It was, once more, the price of the favour of Louis XIV. Innocent replied by excommunicating Louis, and he entrusted the brief to the charge of a French Jesuit who was then in Rome. It was, of course, never published. The Jesuit authorities at Paris kept it in their hands until the wrath of the Pope had cooled. Innocent XI. threatened to destroy the Society, and remained bitterly opposed to it until his death in 1689.
From every point of view the conduct of the Jesuits in this crisis is unattractive. They discovered that in such conflicts it is the duty of the Society to be neutral, and they retained the favour of the contestants by making such compromises as the successive phases of the struggle imposed on them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hitherto, we have seen the Jesuits lying; slandering; preachitig among the people immoral, incentive and impious doctrines; disuniting families; stirring up insurrections in the cities and provinces; arming Princes against Princes, Kings against Kings, nations against nations; reddening the soil of Europe with human blood; plotting against Bishops and spoiling them; conspiring against Kings, obliging them to choose Jesuits as their confessors and still killing them. We have seen the Jesuits abusing the ignorance and credulity of the Catholics, in order to steal from them innumerable sums of money; dealing everywhere loading ships; becoming bankrupts; denying their agents and robbing their creditors; changing the education and instruction of youth, the sacred desk, the confessional, in short, the religion of Christ into a matter of trade.
All these, under the name of the Society of Jesus; 'of apostles of Christ and his gospel;' the most pious, the most learned, and the most devoted definders of the Roman Catholic Church; as commissioned miraculously by God to support his true church against Protestantism. Finally, we have seen them feared, hated, condemned by all classes of society, and expelled frequently from several countries.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Armed with diplomatic papers from the French court, instead of the crucifix of which they sometimes boast as their only weapon, they entered the dominion of the Turk, and wrangled with Greeks, Nestorians, Armenians, and other Christians over the infallibility of the Pope. They founded residences at Thessalonica, Smyrna, Trebezon, Damascus, etc., and pushed on to the banks of the Euphrates. In 1682, two Jesuits, magnificently equipped and loaded with presents, approached the Shah of Persia as envoys of Louis XIV., and received permission to preach the Christian gospel. After a quarter of a century the Persian ruler turned a hostile eye on the growing body, and it melted more rapidly than it had grown.
The Jesuits, ordered by the Pope and led by the Reverend Father Jesuit Lachaise (confessor of Louis XIV.), caused the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
The Court tried all means to attract the Protestants to the Catholic Church. Favors of every kind were granted to the new converts: exemptions from taxes, from guardianship, from local taxes, from the punctual payment of debts and from other charges. They were freed from the paternal right; and the converted children were allowed to marry without the consent of their Calvinistic parents. Moreover, the new converts were preferred for the charges and offices of the magistracy, finances, commerce, even for military grades.
Whilst these extensive privileges were conceded to the new converts, sentences of exclusion were pronounced against those who persisted in their religious belief. They at first were excluded only firom the lucrative public employments, or merely from the honorable, municipal, judiciary, doctrinal, and mnechanical functions, but after a while, those who held them were obliged to renounce them.
Thus the Protestants were excluded from 'Le corps des metiers,' masterships, apprenticeships, Court, and were not allowed, even to the sergents recors, ushers, register-keepers, procureors, with greater reason, judges and lawyers.
Their names were blotted out of the matriculation books of the Universities, out of the registers of the royal house, out of those of the Princes and of all the Royal family. Not only the Government withheld from the officers, but also from their widows and children faithful to their religion, annual allowances, honors, rights of nobility and other distinctions, ordinarily pertaining to these stations. Finally they were not allowed to practise medicine, surgery, pharmacy, even the art of midwifery.
The Government constrained them only in their individuals and functions. The ministry was forbidden to strangers. They were forbidden to exercise the ministry out of their churches, and longer than three years in the same place; to visit the sick, lest they might hinder them from returning to catholicism. Again the preachers were forbidden to visit the prisoners, to utter in their speeches a single word against the Romish religion; and to solemnnise baptismns, marriages, or burials with a splendor honoring their ministry.
These preambles of the aforesaid rules and more still, declared that they were practised according to the Edict of Nantes; but as soon as it was useless to use this artfulness, Louis XVI. revoked it on the twenty-second of October by another Edict registered that same day, which Edict included eleven articles as follows:
The First Article suppresses all privileges granted to the 'Pretended Reformed' by Henry IV. and Louis XIII.
The Second and the Third forbid the exercise of their religion all over the Kingdom, and without exception.
The Fourth binds the ministers to leave France within fifteen days.
The Fifth and Sixth fix rewards for future converts.
The Seventh forbids them to hold schools.
The Eighth compels the fathers, and mothers, and guardians, to educate their children and pupils in the Catholic religion.
The Ninth and Tenth bestow amnesty and restitution of their property, to emigrants who will return within a few months.
The Eleventh renews menaces of the punishments against relapses. Notwithstanding, it authorises the Calvinists to remain in their own houses; to enjoy their property; to deal without being disturbed, provided they do not meet to exercise their religion.
This last concession which granted a shadow of freedom of conscience, was odiously violated by the wild zeal of many public officers. The King having, in sending his edict through the provinces, ordered the Commandants, Governors, and Lieutenant Governors, to use the greatest severity in executing this edict; many of them employed violence, believing that it would be an easier, shorter, and perhaps more efficacious way to succeed, than to follow strictly the royal instructions. Then they commanded soldiers termed, 'Dragons' to accompany the missionaries.
These men, instead of seeking the Calvinists in order to lead them to the catechism and to mass, invaded the houses, settled there as in an hostile country, wasted the missions, stole the furniture, and often gave themselves up to the worst excesses of indecency and cruelty. These peresecutions convinced the 'Reformed' that the Court intended their general massacre and so they flocked out of the Kingdom. More than 200,000 of them left France, in spite of the ordinances forbidding emigration under the penalty of the galleys, confiscation of property, and annulling the sales made by the emigrants one year before their departure.
Who were this cohort of novel missionaries, or rather apostles of Mahomet, escorted by these soldierly thieves, licentious and murderous, who, with drawn sword compelled the Protestants to walk before them as a flock of cattle, when they led them to the Catholic ceremonies against their consciences ? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope. Who depopulated France? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope.
Who ruined so many Protestant families? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope. Who filled the prisons with Protestants? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope. Who deprived fathers and mothers of their children? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope. Who snatched children from their parents to convert them to Romanism, and with such cruelty that the Edict of Turin forbade to seize lads under twelve years of age, and girls under ten? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope. Who impoverished France by comnpelling the wealthy, the talented, the artists, the learned men to fly to foreign countries (for undoubtedly the Protestants, though the minority, were the most (pp193) enlightened and influential in society)? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope.
Who separated families; converted France into an arena of slanders, of denunciations, of persecutions, of murders, of scaffolds? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope.
Who changed that country of generous sentiments, of arts, of letters, of learning, into a land of tyranny, destroying intellectual liberty, martyring the apostles of religious and social freedom whose only crime was to be gifted, learned, honest, conscientious, lovers of mankind, of Christ and his gospel; to be censurers, by their moral and Christian behavior, of the immoral and antichristian behavior of Kings, Emperors, the Great of the world, secular and regular clergy, and mainly the Jesuits and Popes? Who, say I, introduced into France such an incredible transformation? The Jesuits with the consent of the Pope.
The higher French clergy generally still entertained the persecuting spirit, and had for years pressed for violent measures against the sectarians, who refused to yield to their arguments. Jesuit Father, Pere La Chaise — appointed royal confessor in 1674, was only one of many narrow-minded priests who impelled Louis XIV. to crown a series of unjust measures against the Protestants with this cruel and impolitic act. It was, however, the consummation of the violent policy which the Jesuits had urged from the beginning, and one may justly doubt whether Louis XIV. would, even in his last phase, have adopted such a measure if the court-Jesuits had not pressed for it.
Year 1686 - 1688.
In 1685 six learned “mathematicians” of the great French King Louis XIV. came to Siam, with gorgeous parade and an imposing military escort, to the Siamese court. The Jesuits were now everywhere diplomatic agents for the expansion of French commerce, if not French territory, and the work in Siam was facilitated by a French adventurer, named Phaulcon, who had won the King’s confidence. The King asked for more “mathematicians” and fourteen Jesuits eagerly responded. But with them (in 1687) came a French squadron and several regiments, who proceeded to occupy and fortify positions in Bangkok and Merguy. The King soon detected that the learned mathematicians and the minister Phaulcon and the French regiments had a close and secret understanding, and this remarkable attempt to spread the gospel came to a premature close. Phaulcon lost his head, and the mathematicians were banished.
James II. had become King of England after the death of Charles in 1685. One of his first acts was to lodge Father Edward Petre in the princely chambers of St. James’s Palace, and put the Chapel Royal under his charge. The prisons were opened, the recusants now emerged boldly from their secluded homes, and the Jesuits summoned their continental colleagues to come and share the work of harvesting. New chapels were opened in London; and in more than one case, when other priests proposed to open chapels, royal influence cut short their design and secured the buildings for the Jesuits. Free “undenominational” schools were opened, and hundreds of Protestant, as well as Catholic, boys were attracted to these insidious nurseries of the faith by the unwonted absence of fees.
When Parliament refused to carry out the wishes of the monarch and his advisers, he proceeded by “dispensing power,” and tampered with the judges in order to have his power ratified. Four Catholics were introduced into the Privy Council, and the nobles and officials gradually realised that baptism was the first qualification for higher office. When the Bishop of London refused to suspend a priest for attacking Romanism, an ecclesiastical commission was created to suspend the bishop and stifle the voices of the Protestant clergy. On his own authority James suspended the penal measures, issued a Declaration ,of Indulgence, interfered with the rights of Protestants in Ireland, solemnly received a papal Nuncio at Windsor, and sent the Earl of Castlemaine as ambassador to the Papacy. The civil and military offices were rapidly transferred to Catholics, and before the end of 1686 Oxford and Cambridge began to feel the illegal pressure of the royal authority in favour of the Catholic creed.
As these things coincided with the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and persecution of the Protestants in France (from which James, like his brother, received royal alms) the Protestants saw before them a prospect of violence and persecution. Yet James multiplied his indiscreet and, in many cases, illegal acts with blind fanaticism. James, the monarch, was throughout the three years surrounded by Jesuits and abjectly devoted to them. King James makes the Jesuit Castlemaine a Privy Councillor, and Father Petre takes the Oath of Allegiance (with its supposed heresy) and sits in clerical garb in the supreme council of the land. Like Louis XIV., Pedro I., and Charles II., who then ruled in France, Portugal, and Spain, James II. was surrounded by a junta of Jesuits, and he was even more docile than his fellow-monarchs to their suggestions. There is sufficient documentary evidence that the Jesuits applauded, if they did not inspire, every rash step taken by the King. The Jesuits boasted that in a short time all the magistrates in England would be Catholic. Trinity College, Dublin, was already promised to the Jesuits, and Oxford was mnot showing a very stern resistance to their advance. Soon all education and civil and military government would be in Catholic hands. The Queen had as yet given no heir to the throne, it was true, but they had ground to believe that, if he died childless, James would leave the English crown at the disposal of Louis XIV. Then James, besides sending Judge Jeffreys to deal with insurgents in the provinces, made a bolder attack upon the Church. He ordered the bishops to direct the clergy to read from their pulpits his declaration of liberty of conscience (for failing to proclaim the Catholic faith). It is well known how seven of the bishops refused, were committed to the Tower, and acquitted by the jury, to the frenzied delight of the city.
Just at this time the Queen was delivered of a son, and the announcement was greeted with derision. Another trick of the Jesuits, people said; but, genuine or not genuine, it destroyed Parliament's hopes that the crown would pass to the Protestant children of James' first marriage. Parliament appeals to William of Orange, (his wife was the daughter of James II.), and the Prince of Orange is invited to come and seize the crown. William gathered his forces and set sail in four months and landed in England in November of 1688. William's professional troops and the welcome they received from the English landholders intimidated James. James was captured while fleeing from London, but William ensured him safe passage to France. James, feeling alone and realizing his lack of popular support, abdicated and accepted his exile in France. James and his Jesuits were in exile. Six of them shared his luxurious retreat at St. Germains. James made one attempt to regain the crown, but his French and Irish forces were soundly defeated at the Battle of Boyne and James returned to France to live the rest of his life in exile.
The theologians of Douai received a number of letters bearing the signature of Arnauld; and, in what they understood to be a private correspondence with the Jansenist leader, they committed themselves to phrases which no other occasion would have extracted from them. This correspondence was then published by the Jesuits, and the professors of the Douai University were expelled and replaced by members of the Society. The fraud, however, proved one more detail in the long account which France would presently settle with the Jesuits. Arnauld, who was living in the Netherlands, at once denounced the letters as forgeries, and held up the Jesuits to public contempt as the direct or indirect authors.
Nearly the whole of the Jesuits taught that, in case of a moral dilemma, a man might act on the opinion of a single casuist against the opinion of the remainder. This famous principle of Probabilism — the theory that one might follow a “probable” opinion in matters of moral guilt against “more probable” opinions — which had been adopted and almost appropriated by the Jesuits, gave great scandal, in view of the laxity of some of their prominent casuists, and at length a number of fathers assailed it and tried to remove the stigma from the Society. The most notable of these reformers was Father Thyrsus Gonzalez de Santalla, an able professor at Salamanca University. About the year 1670 he composed a Latin treatise on “The right use of probable opinions,” and sent it to Rome for examination and approval. The authorities refused to sanction publication, but in 1676 Innocent XI., who frowned on the laxity of the Jesuit casuists, heard of the rejected manuscript and sent for it. Through the Inquisition the Pope then (in 1680) urged Gonzalez to publish the book, and communicated to Jesuit General Oliva a decree. General Oliva drew up a circular embodying the Pope’s commands, which he was ordered to convey to his subjects, respectfully submitted it to the cardinals of the Inquisition, and then — suppressed it. Gonzalez himself was sent to Rome to take part in the election of the next Jesuit General in 1687. He was himself elected by a narrow majority, the Pope intimidating the vote in his favor, and in 1691 he sent to the press his Latin treatise.
The Assistants or Councillors of the General now asserted their power. They threatened their General that, if he did not withdraw the work, they would warn the heads of all the Provinces of the Society of the danger he would bring on them. Gonzalez published anyways, and they denounced their General to the Pope for issuing a theological work without papal authorisation. There was now so fierce a controversy in the Society that the Pope suspended the sale of the book, and remitted the affair to the triennial Congregation of Jesuit Procurators in 1693. Numbers of them were threatening to have Gonzalez deposed. The Pope, however, declared their vote invalid, and the book was published; but his “subjects” — whom so many regard as corpses in the hands of a despotic General — persecuted and assailed Gonzalez until his death.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Charles II, King of Spain, died in his fortieth year (1700), and was persuaded to leave the throne to the Duke of Anjou and thus ensure the protection of Louis XIV. king of France. Philip V., a youth of seventeen, was entrusted by Louis XIV. to the care of the French Jesuit Daubenton. Father Letellier was at that time the spiritual guide of the grand French monarch, and he had recommended his friend and colleague Daubenton for the important post of ruling the Spanish King’s conscience. A very sordid intrigue ran through the whole of the year 1703, and it ended in the recall of a Frenchwoman, the Princess Orsini, back to France. Daubenton was shortly afterwards dismissed from the spanish court in disgrace and the Princess Orsini permitted to return. Another French Jesuit, Father Robinet, succeeded Daubenton. The next ten years, however, passed without notable incident, and the Spanish Jesuits continued to accumulate wealth. Saint Simon tells us that on one occasion a ship from South America discharged at the quays of Cadiz several boxes addressed to “The Procurator-General of the Society of Jesus.” The contents were said to be chocolate, but the weight was extraordinary and the officials decided to open one of the boxes. It was, apparently, full of bars of chocolate, but the weight of each was so mysterious that they were more closely examined. They were bars of solid gold, thickly coated with chocolate.
An experienced missionary and able young prelate, Mgr. (later Cardinal) de Tournon, was sent out in 1703 to examine the Jesuit practices in India and China. From that moment until he died heart-broken, six years afterwards, in a Christian jail, he was thwarted and tormented by the intrigues of the Jesuits. He reached Canton in the spring of 1705, and was informed that the emperor refused to see him. It was twelve months before the legate was permitted to pay the Pope’s respects to the emperor, and, as he politely insisted that the Jesuits were falsely representing the Church, he was driven from the country and committed to the care of the Portuguese authorities, who were controlled by the Jesuits. When he reached Macao, this papal legate found that the Viceroy of India, the Archbishop of Goa, and the Bishop of Macao forbade him to exercise his powers in any country under the Portuguese flag. When he justly replied by excommunicating the Bishop and Captain-General of Macao — and the Pope recognised the integrity of his conduct by making him cardinal in that year (1707) — the Portuguese authorities imprisoned him, He died in prison three years afterwards, at the early age of forty-two.
The only priests in the east whom Cardinal de Tournon had felt compelled to censure were the Jesuits, and the letters of de Tournon himself and of the priests of his suite (one of whom was imprisoned in a Jesuit house) emphatically attribute all the outrages they suffered to the Jesuits, who intercepted their correspondence in order to conceal the facts from the Papacy. It is even stated by some of these priests that the stubborn cardinal was eventually removed by poison.
It must be kept in mind that the Jesuits had now supreme influence at the Portuguese as well as the French court, and officials naturally bowed to their wealth and power. For a considerable time they had received from the Kings of Portugal immense subsidies for their missionary work, and their commerce and intentness on gifts and legacies had added to this wealth. The manager of the French East India Company at Pondicherry tells us that the Jesuits in India surpassed the English and Portuguese merchants, and only fell short of the Dutch, in trading activity. In his time there was a debt of 450,000 Z&es on the books of his company in the name of a Jesuit (Father Tachard). Their wealth was very great, and they did not scruple to use it in the maintenance of their position as well as in attracting converts.
King Pedro of Portugal died in 1706, his son John V. continued to patronise the Jesuit Society and enfeeble the kingdom. There were now more than a dozen Jesuits at the Portuguese court, and for many years it was hardly possible to approach the King without their permission. Within the next few years not only did Jesuits undertake commerce in the colonies and absorb vast sums of money in donations and annuities, but the Church at large is calculated to have received about five hundred million francs, wrung mainly from the decaying colonies, from the priest-ridden monarch. The King would eventually be responsible, with Jesuit influence, of the revival of the burning of heretics and the erection of palatial monasteries.
The Jesuits were expelled in 1708 from the whole of Holland except the privileged Province of Utrecht. When the resentment of the Dutch cooled, however, they crept back into the country and ministered stealthily to their followers. Even after so drastic an experience they continued to lessen the merit of their strenuous and dangerous labours by persistent hostility to, and abuse of, the rival clergy.
In France Louis XIV. excited by the blind hatred of the Jesuits against the nuns of Port Royal and their defenders, expelled these nuns from that convent, on the twenty-ninth of October — the demolition of which he ordered the following year. The tombs were to be violated: the dead bodies dragged out of the chapel and of the church-yard, to be thrown indiscriminately into a common grave.
Year 1710 - 1715.
The Jesuits slandered the Cardinal De Tournon to the Emperor of China, because he had said, talking about their crimes and principles: "If the infernal Spirit had come to China, he could not have been more noxious than the Jesuits." The Emperor being excited by them, killed this Cardinal and banished his Apostolic Vicar. (see 1703)
The Jesuits both of India and China ignored the commands of the Pope’s solemn representative, and clung to their lucrative missions. The scandal was, however, now known throughout Christendom, and on 25th September 1710 Clement XI. solemnly condemned their practices. Again they quibbled, observing that some of their practices were not specifically condemned, and a new papal bull (Ex illa die) was issued on 19th March 1715, enacting that all missionaries must take oath to abandon the forbidden practices. The emperor denounced the bull, and imprisoned the prelate who communicated it to the Jesuits, and a third representative, Mgr. Mezzabarba, was sent to China by the Vatican. Pope Innocent XIII., now fully informed by Mezzabarba, severely condemned them (1723) and we know from a private letter of the Jesuit historian Cordara that he was preparing an “atrocious decree” against the Society when he died in 1724.
In France, The chief Jansenist writer was now Quesnel, who had just published his 'Moral Reflections'. The Jesuits detected much heresy in the innocent work, and at once used their influence to secure a condemnation. The Reverend Father Jesuit Le Tellier had replaced the Reverend Father Lachaise in his office of confessor of the King of France in 1709. In July 1711 a letter was intercepted from which it was clear that Letellier was intriguing with the Jesuits against Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, and there was much indignation among the new party at the French court. Archbishop Noailles not only suspended all the members of the Jesuit Society in his diocese, but condemned about a score of their writers and preachers for lax principles. The intrigue continued, however.
Father Jesuit Le Tellier obtained with the aid of Louis XIV. the dreadful Bull "Unigenitus...." which the Jesuits, and he at their head, had used to be issued from Rome, should be registered on the fourteenth of January, 1715. Pope Clement XI. condemned Quesnel’s book in the bull. Father Le Tellier applying every one of the articles of this Bull in its severest tenor, 80,000 orders of incarceration, were signed against the Jansenists, who were persecuted, imprisoned, and partook to some extent of the fate of the Protestants.
In 1710 and 1715, Pope Clement XI. sternly condemned the practices of the Jesuits, and the Roman Jesuits could do no more than represent, inaccurately, that their missionaries had submitted.
Peter the Great expelled the Jesuits from Russia.
Fifty monks of one province of the Cistercian order were excommunicated and imprisoned by the French authorities. The Jesuits had triumphed once more in their struggle for power and the reign of Louis XV. saw them fully reinstated at Versailles. (in 1722 the office of confessor to the young King had been secured by a Jesuit — Louis XIV. had died in 1715)
In the summer of 1724, in Poland, a Protestant of Thorn refused to lift his hat when a Catholic procession passed, and he was assaulted by a pupil of the Jesuit college. The Protestant authorities arrested the Catholic for assault, and a riot occurred, in the course of which the Jesuit college was stormed and destroyed. The royal authority was now invoked, and the Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and nine other citizens of Thorn were arraigned before the High Court at Warsaw for failing to prevent the destruction of the college. A Jesuit was permitted, in the presence of the judges, to deliver a violently inflammatory sermon on the outrage, and the unfortunate men were condemned to death. A singular clause was added to the sentence: it must not be carried out until a Jesuit and six members of the Polish nobility swore to the guilt of the accused. We know from their own words that the judges trusted in this way to save the accused from the vengeance of the Jesuits. They persuaded the Papal Nuncio to press the Jesuit superior not to send one of his subjects to take the oath, and, when a Jesuit appeared nevertheless at the appointed time, to swear away the lives of the innocent men, they pointed out that a priest could not canonically take any action which would lead to an execution. The Jesuits placidly replied that they had sent a “lay coadjutor,” instead of a priest, to take the oath. The municipality of Thorn was, of course, condemned to compensate the Society for the destruction of the college, and they secured a preposterous award of 36,400 florins. The citizens warmly protested against this scandalous and onerous award, and it was eventually, in spite of the protests of the Jesuits, reduced to 22,000 florins.
In the year 1724 King Philip of Spain handed the crown to his son Louis, and retired to consecrate his life to religious devotions. The Jesuits had taken part in marrying Louis to the daughter of the Duke of Orleans. Louis died a few months later and Philip returned to the throne. Jesuit Father Bermudez would be the King's confessor, until he was dismissed from office when he was found to be intriguing like his predecessors. He was afterwards replaced by Irish Jesuit Father Clarke.
Once more the suppression of the Jesuit order and confiscation of its documents have provided a confirmation of the suspicions of historians. J. Friedrich (Beitrage) has published some of the confiscated documents, including a statement drawn up in 1729 by the Procurator of the Province of Upper Germany, Father Bissel. From this it appears that the German Province of the Society advanced (at a high rate of interest) 262,208 guldens to the Catholic Power for the purposes of the Thirty Years’ War, and the Jesuit college at Liege 200,000 guldens. The Jesuit treasurer appends the remark that these loans must be kept strictly secret, as a disclosure “might bring ruin on our establishments.”
Jesuit General Tamburini died in 1730, and at the Congregation which followed to elect the next General, one of the decrees severely enacted that the fathers of the Society must, in every part of the world, avoid “even the appearance of commerce,” and refrain from violence in attacking their opponents. No one knew better than these rulers of the Society the industrial and commercial system which was then followed everywhere by the fathers, and the devices by which they silenced their critics; yet no effort whatever was made to enforce the decree.
Pope Benedict XIV.'s bulls of 1742 and 1744, sternly condemned their contumacious conduct in India and China, this struck a heavy blow at two of their most profitable missions.
Pope Benedict XIV. fearlessly and peremptorily condemned them. Their apologist would have us believe that they submitted in 1741 (the year before Benedict’s first bull), but that “distance and the difficulty of communication retarded the arrival of their letters at Rome.” Ignoring the foolish remark about the difficulty of communication, we may observe that the year 1741 was seventeen years after their official condemnation by the Pope’s representative; that Clement XII. had condemned them in 1734 and 1739, and they had ignored his decrees; and that, so far from having submitted in 1741, Benedict XIV. found them contumacious to his bull of 1742, and had to issue another in 1744. They submitted in 1745, and the structure they had raised by two hundred years of devotion and dissimulation in Asia rapidly decayed.
Ferdinand VI. succeeded his father King Philip of Spain in 1746 and he brought little relief to the country and no change in the power of the Jesuits. His confessor was Father Rabago.
The King of Portugal John V. died in 1750, and the Jesuits returned to power under his son Joseph. Father Moreira was the King’s confessor, and Father Oliveira the tutor of his children; Father Costa was the spiritual guide of his brother Pedro, Father Campo of his uncle Antonio, and Father Aranjues of his uncle Emmanuel. The junta was completely restored, and the government was again virtually in the hands of the Jesuits. However, within the short space of ten years, the Jesuits would be driven from the Empire in poverty and disgrace. Sebastian Joseph de Carvalho, Count of Oeyras and Marquis of Pombal, had obtained the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He perceived that their rule was as mischievous to the State as it was profitable to their own Society, and, as Foreign Minister and lay man of business, he recognised that their commercial activity in the colonies was injurious to the laity and inconsistent with their professions.
For the last hundred years the province of Paraguay, the Jesuits and their reductions, had enjoyed prosperity with little interruption. The troops which were trained Indians under Jesuit leaders and equipped at the various reductions, amounted in time to an army of 15,000 finely armed men, with the fighting instincts of the savage and the best weapons that Europe could supply, so that neither the unconverted tribes nor the Spaniards could assail them. Heroic efforts were made, though with very moderate success, to extend the area of the missions. Time after time royal or ecclesiastical inquisitors were sent — no voluntary and serious inquisitor was ever admitted — to examine the reductions and draw up a flattering report for the Spanish or the Roman court. The Jesuits were engaged in commerce, they exploited their natives for the benefit of the Society, and they were prepared to adopt the most unprincipled measures to protect their monopoly, this is an historical platitude.
The reductions or colonies of Brazil were not organised and controlled as firmly as those of Paraguay. The luxuriance of the soil dispensed the natives from assiduous labour, but the colonies were not without profit, and, when the Jesuits obtained from the King a declaration that all the natives in his American dominion must pass under their control, the planters and merchants entered into bitter hostility. Twice they expelled the Jesuits, and twice the priest-ridden court secured their return. At last, a few years later Pombal came to power in Portugal (Portugal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs), and the Jesuits were withdrawn and cast upon the shores of the Papal States.
France was no longer the world-power she had been in the golden age of Louis XIV., and her selfish and dissipated monarch was blindly leading her toward revolution. The Jesuits, as before, clung to the prestige of the position of royal confessor, in spite of the flagrant immorality of the King. The Puritans were silenced, rather than annihilated, and the Parlement revived its bitter hostility. The first stroke fell on them in that year. Father Pkrusseau, the King’s confessor, died, and a successful intrigue put in his place a priest who was not a Jesuit. Both Perusseau and his successor refused absolution to a King whose libertinism was so cynically exhibited. In view of the persistent attack on their laxity during the last hundred years, it would have been difficult for a Jesuit to do less.
In 1752 the Portuguese proposed to cede Sacramento to Spain in return for a part of Paraguay in which the Jesuits had seven of their profitable “reductions.” Pombal (Portugal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) drew up and circulated a memoir on the action of the Jesuits and the virtual slavery which they maintained in the reductions. In 1756 the avarice, vexatious, tyranny, murder, crimes of every kind of the Jesuits in Paraguay, had become so odious that the Portuguese arose and expelled them. In spite of all the Jesuit struggles in that delightful country Paraguay escaped from their hands.
Briefly, an army of 15,000 Indians from the reductions — not merely the seven reductions in question, which would not afford more than a few hundred soldiers, but evidently the full force of the Jesuit troops drafted from the whole of their scattered reductions drew up in the path of the Spanish and Portuguese troops, and it was only after many battles, and at the end of three years, that the agreement between the two governments could be carried out. The joint Spanish and Portuguese army finally conquered the insurrection. From sheer cupidity the Jesuits had dealt a fatal blow at their own prosperity. They had just sacrificed seven out of their fifty reductions.
It would be difficult for any impartial person to imagine that this army had been mobilised from the whole area of Jesuit influence and maintained for so long a period against the will of the Jesuit fathers, who so completely dominated the Indians and were accustomed to lead them to battle. Ferdinand VI. (King of Spain) hesitated, but at last Pombal intercepted a secret letter from Father Rabago to the Spanish fathers, in which he urged them to resist. The letters intercepted in 1754 opened the King’s eyes.
In France, the murderer Damiens, brought up, instructed, and confessed by the Jesuits, stabbed Louis XV., intending to kill him. Two Jesuits were hanged with this monster. All France terrified, rose and exclaimed another outcry against the Jesuit Society. Damiens had a Jesuit confessor, and had previously been in the service of the Jesuits, this seems to have been enough to justify a grave suspicion.
King Joseph of Portugal submitted to the Vatican an account of the conduct of the Jesuits in South America and asked that they should be reformed. In the autumn of 1757, Pombal (Portugal's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) persuaded the King that the Jesuits were fomenting disorder in Portugal itself, and an order was signed for the expulsion of all Jesuit confessors from the court. In the night of 19th-20th September the servants and soldiers entered the palace, and Fathers Moreira, Costa, and Oliviera awoke to find themselves sentenced to removal from their comfortable offices.
On 1st April 1758 the Pope signed the decree for an inquiry into the behaviour of the Jesuits, and Cardinal Saldanha was sent to South America to conduct the inquiry. But both the Pope and the Jesuit General died in the spring of 1758, and, when Cardinal Saldanha reported that the Jesuits of South America had been wrongly engaged in commerce, the new Jesuit General, Ricci, appealed to the new Pope, Clement XIII. Clement appointed a commission of inquiry which, being composed of friends of the Society and making no investigation on the spot, declared the Jesuits innocent. In June an interdict was laid on all the Jesuits in the diocese of Lisbon.
On the third of September, as the Portugal King returned from the house of his mistress, the Marchioness Tavora, several shots were fired at Joseph I., King of Portugal; but his arm only was wounded. The authors of this crime were discovered, and on the eighteenth of January, 1759, the Marquis of Tavora and the Duke of Avegro were torn to pieces alive, their bodies burnt, and the ashes thrown into the Tigrus. The Reverend Father Jesuits Malagyrida, Malattos, and Alexander, who were declared instigators of this regicide, were imprisoned. Only one of the Jesuits was executed, but for heresy, not treason.
By the month of April 1759 about 1500 Jesuits were in jail or under guard in Portugal. The King then informed the Pope that he was about to expel the fathers from his dominions. Pope Clement protested and refused to sanction the expulsion. On the feast of St. Ignatius (31st July) six Jesuits were condemned to be broken on the wheel, but this unjust sentence was not carried out. On the first day of September the sentence of expulsion was enforced. The younger Jesuits were offered a dispensation from their vows by Cardinal Saldanha, but few accepted it, and the majority of them were put on ship and conveyed to the Pope’s dominions. They were compelled to embark on board of several ships, which, landing in Italy, left them on that shore. 221 of the Jesuits were kept in the jails of Portugal. One of them, Father Malagrida, an old man of seventy-two, seems to have been a little deranged by his imprisonment, and certain works which he wrote in prison were submitted to the Inquisition. He was condemned to be burned alive by the very tribunal which the Jesuits had been instrumental in establishing in Portugal. It was in Portugal that the Jesuits had first attained power and wealth, and they had enjoyed an almost uninterrupted dominion for two centuries. Such was the tragic issue of Jesuit history in the land which they had been accustomed to regard as the safest and most generous country in which they had taken root.
King Ferdinand of Spain died in 1759, and Charles III., came to the throne. Charles was a devout Catholic and was devoted to the Society, and the ruthless expulsion of the Jesuits from Portugal (in 1759) only increased his benevolence toward them in Spain.
In 1753 the Superior-General of the Jesuits in the Antilles, Father Lavalette, was summoned to Paris to answer the charge of having engaged in commerce on a large scale. Lavalette was one of those men of commercial instinct whom the Society did not scruple to use in augmenting its wealth as long as they were successful. Although he had, in the name of the Society, vast estates in the West Indies and thousands of negro slaves (bought by himself, in disguise, in the public slave-market), and it was known that he had agents in Paris for the sale of his sugar and coffee, he came to Paris with a number of sworn testimonies from local French officers to the effect that the Jesuits had not engaged in “foreign commerce,” and was acquitted. He returned to conduct his flourishing business on a larger scale than ever. He had spacious warehouses, and made a profit of about 280,000 francs a year; and he now — though acquitted on the understanding that he was not to engage in commerce — borrowed large sums of money, and increased the profit by a shrewd, and somewhat sharp, deal on the money-market.
The bankruptcy of the Reverend Father Jesuit La Valette, the amount thereof was three million francs, disclosed their love of money, their incalculable wealth, their insincerity, their hypocrisy, their quackery, their impious profanation of the gospel of Christ which they perverted (as they still do now) to suit their monstrous principles and teaching, to suit all their infernal wickedness and designs, to suit all their tremendous crimes.
For a long while the Jesuits were accused of thinking in their missions, more of their temporal benefit than of the preaching of the gospel. They were accused, too, of concealing under the veil of apostolical zeal their immense commercial operations, and of seducing with money the most influential men, in the Courts, through whom they governed the Catholic Kingdoms. Whatever might have been the use made of the proceeds of their commercial operations, it is certain that they gained a great amount of money.
During four years the bankers tried all means to induce the Jesuits to acknowledge their debt, but these Fathers refused it obstinately till they consented to a kind of composition. As they did not fulfill this last engagement, the creditors, who were a great many, laid their claims before the tribunals. The Jesuits intended to avoid the juridical decision of this affair: but, contrary to their expectation, the suit took place in 1760. All the Order were accused. They pretended at first, that the business of the Father La Valette concerned only their convent of Martinique. Afterwards they said that the Father La Valette ought to be charged alone as a violator of the laws of the church, which forbid the monks to deal, and, thereby, as being culpable only of a personal crime.
The bankers replied, that in the government of the Order of the Jesuits, all is under the direction of the General; that he is the sole owner and dispenser of the property of the Order; and that La Valette according to the Constitutions of the Order was merely the agent of the General. The Jesuits offered to demonstrate, that, according to their Constitutions, their Society considered as a body possesses nothing; that the property belongs to each Convent, or House, or College of the Order, which, consequently, are not security for each other. On the eighth of May, 1761, a sentence of the Parliament condemned the General, and with him all the Society to pay the bills of exchange, all the expenses of the suit, the dammages and interest. The Jesuits were compelled to yield to this judgment. They paid, in six or seven months, more than twelve hundred thousand francs without selling any property of the Order.
In 1761 the Parlement of Paris, France, condemned the Jesuit Society and began the work of repression.
Parlement closes eighty-four Jesuit colleges. On 6th August 1762 the Paris Parlement decreed that the Society must cease to exist in France. The Jesuits were expelled from their residences, and a small pension was allotted them out of the confiscated property. Their entire property in France was valued at nearly 60,000,000 francs, and they had, as it proved, forfeited. this rather than pay the just debts of Lavalette. At the same time the Paris Parlement condemned one hundred and sixty-four works written by Jesuits between 1600 and 1762. The vast majority of the nation applauded the suppression; the country at large, by the mouths of its officials and the great body of its clergy, rejoiced in their fall.
On the sixth of August, the French Parliament expelled the Jesuits from France, annexing to the decree an extract of their odious doctrines,
"which," said they, "are held withlout interruption by the priests, students, and other members of the Order of the Jesuits, even advocated by them in public thesis and in lectures delivered to youth, from the first organization of that Society until this time, with the approbation of their Theologians, the permission of their Superiors and Generals, and with the applauses of the other members of the said Order. These doctrines destroy, by their consequences, the law of nature, that rule of morals which God himself has inscribed upon the heart of man. Their dogmas, too, break all the bonds of civil society, authorising theft, falsehood, perjury, the most inordinate and criminal impurity, and generally all passions and wickedness; teaching the nefarious principles of secret compensation, eqivocation, mental reservation, probabilism, and philosophical sins; extirpating every sentiment of humanity in their sanction of homicide and patricide; subverting the authority of Governments and the principles of subordination and obedience; inculcating regicide among faithful subjects; and, in fine, overthrowing the foundations and practice of religion, and substituting in their stead all sorts of superstition, with magic, blasphemy, irreligion, and idolatry."
In 1764, Louis XV. signed the decree for the abolition of the Jesuit Society in France.
The Jesuits stirred up the mob against Squillace, Minister of Spain, who escaped death only by flying far from Madrid. In this rebellion, a monk, holding a crucifix, led the populace who routed the Guard-Vollone. Charles III., terrified, harangued the people, but they did not listen to him. Then he promised the expulsion of his minister, and the Jesuits calmed the rebels. This sedition was called, 'the sedition of the hats.'
The King and his Court suspected a secret conspiracy of the Jesuits: nor were they deceived in this, for the Superior Provincial had organised a plot for removing the King, in order to crown the Infant Don Ludovico, by seizing him four days afterwards during the stations in the churches, and by shutting him in a monastery.
Year 1767 - 1772.
On the second of April, Spain ruthlessly expels the body to which it had given birth. A royal decree termed 'Fragmatical Sanction,' expelled the Jesuits from Spain and all her colonies. The 6000 Jesuits of Spain and its colonies were mournfully crossing the Mediterranean, in overcrowded vessels, toward the coast of the papal states. A pension was allotted to each out of their confiscated property, but they were informed that the pensions of all would cease if one of their number ventured to assail Spain and defend the Society. King Charles III. of Spain sent word to the Pope that he had found it necessary to banish the Jesuits, and he was committing them to the Pope’s “wise and holy direction.” Clement XIII. was so angry that he took an unpardonable step. Clement was so angry that he refused to receive the wretched exiles. When the first vessel, bearing 600 dejected priests, made for the port of Civita Vecchia, it was warned off by the roar of papal cannon, and for some weeks the miserable men tossed on the waves of the Mediterranean in sight of the inhospitable papal states. In the end they were dispatched to Corsica.
Before the end of 1767 the work began on Italian soil. Charles III. had passed from Naples to the throne of Spain, and he had left that kingdom in the charge of a liberal minister, Tanucci, under the rule of his son Ferdinand IV. On the 3rd of November 1767 the Jesuit houses were surrounded, the papers seized, and the fathers banished from Southern Italy.
The Pope Clement XIII., to reinstate the Jesuits in the political world, reviving an old pontifical claim to the duchy of Parma, annulled the sentence against the Jesuits, and excommunicated those who had banished them. The allies promptly replied; France seized Avignon, and Naples occupied Benevento and Ponte Corvo, of the Papal States. He had issued the Bull 'Apostolicam....' confirming the Jesuits in all their privileges. Having been threatened by Portugal, Spain, and France, he still yielded and resolved to abolish the Society of Jesus. For that purpose, he had ordered a Consistory for the third of February, 1768, when, during the night two days before, he was suddenly seized with all the symptoms of being poisoned, and died with cruel suffering.
The historic struggle over the succession to the papal throne began. On the result of that election the fate of the Society would depend, and Jesuits and anti-Jesuits hurried to the arena and used every means in their power to influence the issue. During the next pontifical election Jesuit General Ricci had issued a pamphlet in which he contended that the Pope had no power to abolish the Society, and it would assuredly not be a serious matter for a cardinal to express his opinion on that point.
Ganganelli, formerly a Franciscan monk, was elected in May at the age of 65, he took the name Clement XIV. The new Pope, on 25th September 1769, gave Cardinal Bernis, now ambassador of France, a written assurance for Louis XV. that he intended to suppress the Society. A little later Charles III. of Spain received the same secret assurance. Thirty-four of the bishops of Spain, led by their cardinals and the Archbishop of Seville, had written to demand the suppression, and prove that it was not merely liberal politicians who opposed the Society.
In June 1771 the secretary of the Portuguese embassy was convicted of collusion with the Jesuits, and banished from Rome; he had communicated to the Jesuits the dispatches which were received from his government, even letters to the Vatican, concerning the Society.
In 1772 the cause of the canonisation of Bishop Palafox was before the Congregation, and, in spite of their extreme peril, the Jesuits made a violent and unscrupulous opposition.
In August 1772 Prussia, Russia, and Austria took the fragments of Poland which they had long coveted, and Catherine the Great entered Polish Livonia and Lithuania with her troops. When the schismatical Catherine came to claim their allegiance, the Catholic clergy generally stood aloof in patriotic sullenness until the Jesuits took the lead. They were currying favour with Catherine and preparing a retreat from Catholic Europe. Catherine’s searching eye at once realised the situation. These two hundred Polish Jesuits had an immense influence over her million and a half new subjects, and their advances must be met generously. Peter the Great had excluded Jesuits from Russia for ever; Catherine at once decreed that this prohibition was repealed as far as her Polish dominion was concerned, and she expressed a flattering admiration of their colleges. Her feeling was, obviously, that they would prove excellent teachers of loyalty to the Poles.
In December Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, was propositioned; Jesuit General Ricci had sent a secret representative to ask him to declare himself “Protector of the Society of Jesus.” Also in September of 1772 the Roman seminary was taken from the Jesuits on the just ground of improper administration.
As the spring of 1773 advanced the conflicting elements at Rome were thrown into a state of intense excitement. The Pope was proceeding with the greatest secrecy, but the secrecy itself plainly shrouded a sentence of death. On the 21st of July, Pope Clement XIV. issued the memorable Brief: "Dominus ac Redemnptor Noster," for the abolition of the Jesuit Society. Clement gives a masterly summary of the irregularities which had been charged against the Society during the two hundred years of its activity. While, however, he is frequently content to speak of these past matters as “charges,” he is careful to add that, time after time, they were endorsed by his predecessors, who were condemned to take drastic action against the Society; and, when he comes to deal with the existing Society, which properly concerns him, he plainly observes that it “can no longer produce the abundant fruits and the considerable advantages for which it was created,” and he therefore abolishes it for ever.
Extracts taken from the Papal brief which would put an end to the Jesuit Society
“The very tenor and terms of these apostolic constitutions [the letters of his predecessors] teach us that the Society, almost from the beginning, produced within it the germs of discord and jealousy, and that these not only rent the Society itself, but impelled its members to rise against the other religious orders, the secular clergy, the academies, the universities, the colleges, the public schools, and even against the monarchs who had received them into their States.”
“A thousand complaints against these religious were made.”
“The most lively controversy arises everywhere about the doctrine of this Order, which many charged with being wholly opposed to sound faith and good morals. The bosom of the Society is torn by internal and external dissensions; amongst other things it is reproached with seeking worldly goods too eagerly.”
“We have observed with the bitterest grief that these remedies, and others applied afterwards, had neither efficacy nor strength enough to put an end to the troubles, the charges, and the complaints formed against the Society, and that our predecessors, Urban VII., Clement IX. X. XI. and XII., Alexander VII. and VIII., Innocent X. XI. XII. and XIII., and Benedict XIV. vainly endeavoured to restore to the Church the desired tranquillity by means of various enactments, either relating to secular affairs with which the Society ought not to concern itself, on missions or elsewhere: or relating to grave dissensions and quarrels harshly provoked by its members, not without a risk of the loss of souls, and to the great scandal of the nations.”
“Recognising that the Society of Jesus can no longer produce the abundant fruits and the considerable advantages for which it was created,” he “suppresses and abolishes the Society for ever.”
This brief was concealed from all but the five cardinals who were to carry out the sentence until 17th August. On that day the Catholic Powers were officially informed of the signing of the brief. At nine o’clock that evening a band of officials and guards entered the metropolitan house attached to the Gesti, and ordered Jesuit General Ricci to summon all his subjects to the refectory. They knew — some of them had witnessed the same scene in Spain and Portugal — that their hour had come. They were forbidden to leave the house until secular costumes were provided for them, and the notaries put the papal seal on their documents. The Roman Jesuits quietly left their homes, day by day, as secular clothes were provided for them. The Pope provided, not only for them, but for the Portuguese ex-Jesuits, as Portugal refused to fulfil its promise, and had every effort made to find situations for them in the service of the Vatican, the secular clergy, or the educational world. Many merely changed their garments, and continued to be the confessors of noble ladies or the tutors of their sons. Large numbers of them lived in community, on their joint pensions, awaiting the death of Clement XIV. and the restoration of the Society.
In Naples, Spain, and Portugal the news was received with great rejoicing. The French received the news with indifference or joy. Austria also at once secularised its Jesuits. It was chiefly in small countries like the Swiss cantons, or on the foreign missions, that the Jesuits tried to resist. We find that from General Ricci downward the Jesuits intrigue or rebel wherever they have large local support and are not subject to a powerful Catholic monarch. At the time of its abolition the Society numbered 22,589 members (of whom 11,293 were priests), and owned 669 colleges and 869 other residences (of which only 24 were “houses of the professed”). However many devoted and austere members there were among the twenty thousand, the Society was incurably corrupt. There was no serious ground to think, after earlier experience, that reform would succeed; they would not reform themselves — the decrees of their Congregations were waste paper — and they resisted every papal effort to reform them. The Society, as a body, was committed to the pursuit of wealth and power, and in this pursuit it acted invariably as if the end justified the means. The germs planted in it by its founder Ignatius had ripened. His followers had sought the wealthy and the powerful, had veiled their actions in secrecy, and had trampled on their own rules and the rules of the Church when the end required it.
After having signed this brief, Clement XIV. said: "There is at length this brief of suppression. I do not repent of what I have done..... I adopted this resolution after mature reflection and examination. I thought it was my duty to resolve this, and, if it were necessary, I would do again the same thing. This supression will bring upon me death." "Ma questa suppressione mi dari la morte." A short time later the following letters were placarded on the walls of his palace: "I. S. S. S. V." — he thus explained their meaning: "In Setteinbre Sara Stle Vacante" — "In September the Seat will Be Vacant." he was not mistaken; having been poisoned, he suddenly died on the 22d of September, 1774.
Year 1774 - 1799.
Catherine the Great of Russia and the Jesuits had enough in common to understand each other. They wished her to forbid them to obey the Pope, and they would prove grateful. Catherine at once refused to allow them to change their names and their coats, and they reported to Rome that the secular power forbade them to comply with the brief, and, in the interest of religion, they must obey her. The situation was so scandalous that a letter from Clement to the Bishop of Warmie (an ex-Jesuit) was published, and in this letter Clement was represented as approving the existence of the Society in Russia. This is not the only untruth that has been traced back to them.
Catherine made a direct application to Rome for a remedy of the Jesuits' inconvenience. The Pope thought that he might escape the importunities of the French and Spanish ambassadors, who were closely watching the new Pope as to his stance on the newly dissolved Society, by conferring on the Bishop of Mohilow full power to deal with the fathers. This friendly prelate had, no doubt, been suggested by the Jesuits themselves, as he at once granted them the desired permission to establish a house for novices. To complete the comedy, the Pope, through his Secretary of State, protested that he had not contemplated this step when the representatives of France and Spain complained. The Jesuits paid no heed to his diplomatic protest, opened the novitiate, and entertained Catherine herself at their new foundation.
The powers of the Bishop of Mohilow had now served their purpose, and the Jesuits asked Catherine to curtail them and permit them to elect a General as their constitutions directed. Catherine (in 1782) issued a ukase in accordance with their wish. Strong in the favour of the Empress and of Prince Potemkin, the Jesuits went on to elect a Vicar-General and Assistants. In order to obtain papal indulgence of this conduct they induced Catherine to send the ex-Jesuit Bishop Benislawski to Rome. Pius VI. dare not issue a written authorisation of their position but Benislawski reported that the Pope had said emphatically to him: “I approve the Society in White Russia. I approve it.” The mendacious bishop was so indiscreet as to make his statement before he had left Rome and have it published at Florence, and the Pope indignantly denied it. The bishop was ordered to leave Rome, and Pius VI. issued two briefs denying that he had approved the Society (January 29th and February 20th). Bishop Benislawski presently returned with the happy assurance that the Pope approved their position. This oral message was to justify the fathers in their consciences. That message was propagated among the ex-Jesuits of Europe, and many of them abandoned their pensions or positions and made their way to Russia.
After 1785 the Russian fathers constructed cloth-factories, a printing press, and all that is necessary for such exploitations: a complete business-system, in other words, It is remarkable that even in these circumstances, when they were pressing for a restoration of their Society, the Jesuits would not abandon their improper practices. The death of Catherine in 1796 did not affect the position of the fathers. She had entrusted the education of her son to Father Gruber, one of the ablest members of the Society in Russia, and when Paul came to the throne he declared that he would maintain the patronage which his mother had given to the Society. Jesuit Father Gruber had, at the Russian court, much the same relation to Paul I. as Father La Chaise had to Louis XIV king of France, or Father Lamormaini to the Emperor. Matters of pure Russian politics were submitted to him, and he was hated and flattered by the Russian courtiers.
The early history of the Jesuits in the United States is one of the most interesting chapters in their modern story. When the Society was abolished and its members momentarily discouraged, John Carroll, a member of the suppressed English Province, led a small group of fathers to the North American Colony. He became friendly with Washington and other leaders of the insurrection, and is said to have had some influence in shaping the Liberal clauses of the new Constitution. In 1789 he became Bishop of Baltimore, and another ex-Jesuit, Father Neale, was afterwards made his coadjutor. This transferred the American mission from the control of the English Vicar Apostolic, and made Carroll head of the Church in the United States.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Jesuits were hated in Spain and Portugal on the ground that, in spite of their high professions, they sought and accumulated wealth, indulged in commerce, lent themselves to political intrigue, wronged other spiritual bodies, were lax in moral principles, and drained the resources of the decaying country without rendering it any proportionate service.
Nowhere, perhaps, is the conflict of evidence so sharp in regard to the Jesuits as when we turn to consider their activity outside of Europe. The Edifying Letters, which the missionaries themselves sent to their Roman authorities for publication in Europe, which so plainly announce their purpose, are “pious lies”; that they wilfully exaggerate conversions and martyrdoms, and convey a wholly false picture of Jesuit activity; that the Jesuits are engaged in a vast commercial activity all over the globe, are utterly unscrupulous in protecting their monopolies and in accumulating wealth, and make the most scandalous concessions to paganism in order to obtain numbers and influence. These things, moreover, are said by Catholic priests and prelates, not by jealous merchants and free-thinking politicians. Prelates of indisputable sanctity send to Europe the sternest and gravest charges against the Jesuits, and declare that they have been subjected by the Society to the most virulent and unprincipled persecution.
The blows which were inflicted on the Jesuits by the Catholic monarchs of Portugal, Spain, and France during the eighteenth century are historically insignificant in comparison with the suppression of the Society by the papacy. Definite, grave, and irremediable grievances were proved against the Jesuits in each country in which they were suppressed. The action of Pope Clement XIV. was the natural culmination of the attitude of the best Popes toward the Jesuit Society, that it was represented by him as such, and that, in condemning the Society, he collected all the grave charges which were urged against it, and endorsed them with the papal authority.
Such has been the dreadful history of the Jesuits from their origin to their suppression, including two hundred and twenty-three years.