in the Church of Rome
This page contains Chapters 61-67 and Footnotes
Table of Contents
Chapter 61 . . . Abraham Lincoln a true Man of God, and a true Disciple of the Gospel- The Assassination by Booth- The Tool of the Priests- John Surratt's House- The Rendezvous and Dwelling Place of the Priests- John Surratt Secreted by the Priests after the Murder of Lincoln- The Assassination of Lincoln known and published in the Town Three Hours before its occurrence Chapter 62 . . . Deputation of Two Priests sent by the People and the Bishops of Canada to persuade us to submit to the will of the Bishop- The Deputies acknowledge publicly that the Bishop is wrong and that we are right- For peace' sake I consent to withdraw from the Contest on certain conditions accepted by the Deputies- One of those Deputies turns false to his Promise, and betrays us, to be put at the head of my Colony- My last Interview with him and Mr. Brassard Chapter 63 . . . Mr. Desaulnier is named Vicar-General of Chicago to crush us- Our People more united than ever to defend their Rights- Letters of the Bishops of Montreal against me, and my Answer- Mr. Brassard forced, against his conscience, to condemn us- My answer to Mr. Brassard- He writes to beg my Pardon Chapter 64 . . . I write to the Pope Pius IX, and to Napoleon, Emperor of France, and send them the Legal and Public Documents proving the bad conduct of Bishop O'Regan- Grand-Vicar Dunn sent to tell me of my Victory at Rome, and the end of our Trouble- I go to Dubuque to offer my Submission to the Bishop- The Peace Sealed and publicly Proclaimed by Grand-Vicar Dunn the 28th March, 1858 Chapter 65 . . . Excellent Testimonial from my Bishop- My Retreat- Grand-Vicar Saurin and his Assistant, Rev. M. Granger- Grand-Vicar Dunn writes me about the new Storm prepared by the Jesuits- Vision- Christ offers Himself as a Gift- I am Forgiven, Rich, Happy, and Saved- Back to my People Chapter 66 . . . The Solemn Responsibilities of my new Position- We give up the name of Roman Catholic to call ourselves Christian Catholics- Dismay of the Roman Catholic Bishops- My Lord Duggan, co-adjutor of St. Louis, hurries to Chicago- He comes to St. Anne to persuade the People to submit to his Authority- He is ignominiously turned out, and runs away in the midst of the Cries of the People Chapter 67 . . . Bird's-eye View of the Principal Events from my Conversion to this day- My Narrow Escapes- The End of the Voyage through the Desert to the Promised Land Foot notes Footnotes
CHAPTER 61 Back to Table of Contents
Every time I met President Lincoln I wondered how such elevation of thought and such childish simplicity could be found in the same man. After my interviews with him many times, I said to myself: "How can this rail-splitter have so easily raised himself to the highest range of human thought and philosophy?"
The secret of this was, that Lincoln had spent a great part of his life at the school of Christ, and that he meditated his sublime teachings to an extent unsuspected by the world. I found in him the most perfect type of Christianity I ever met. Professedly, he was neither a strict Presbyterian, nor a Baptist, nor a Methodist; but he was the embodiment of all which is more perfect and Christian in them. His religion was the very essence of what God wants in man. It was from Christ Himself he had learned to love God and his neighbour, as it was from Christ he had learned the dignity and the value of man. "Ye are all brethren, the children of God," was his great motto.
It was from the Gospel that he had learned his principles of equality, fraternity, and liberty, as it was from the Gospel he had learned that sublime, childish simplicity which, alone, and for ever, won the admiration and affection of all those who approached him. I could cite many facts to illustrate this, but I will give only one, not to be too long: it was taken from the Memoirs of Mr. Bateman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois.
"Mr. Lincoln paused: for long minutes, his features surcharged with emotion. Then he rose and walked up and down the reception room, in the effort to retain or regain his self-possession. Stopping at last, he said, with a trembling voice and his cheeks wet with tears: I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready! I am nothing, but truth is everything! I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right: for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and Christ and reason say the same thing, and they will find it so. Douglas does not care whether slavery is voted up or down. But God cares, and humanity cares, and I care. And with God's help, I will not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I shall be vindicated; and those men will see that they have not read their Bible right! Does it not appear strange that men can ignore the moral aspect of this contest? A revelation could not make it plainer to me that slavery, or the Government, must be destroyed. The future would be something awful, as I look at it, but for this ROCK on which I stand (alluding to the Gospel book he still held in his hand). It seems as if God had borne with slavery until the very teachers of religion had come to defend it from the Bible, and to claim for it a Divine character and sanction. And now the cup of iniquity is full, and the vials of wrath will be poured out.'"
Mr. Bateman adds: "After this, the conversation was continued for a long time. Everything he said was of a very deep, tender, and religious tone, and all was tinged with a touching melancholy. He repeatedly referred to his conviction 'that the day of wrath was at hand,' and that he was to be an actor in the struggle which would end in the overthrow of slavery, though he might not live to see the end. After further reference to a belief in Divine Providence, and the fact of God, in history, the conversation turned upon prayer. He freely stated his belief in the duty, privilege, and efficacy of prayer; and he intimated, in no unmistakable terms, that he had sought, in that way, the divine guidance and favour."
The effect of this conversation upon the mind of Mr. Bateman, a Christian gentleman whom Mr. Lincoln profoundly respected, was to convince him that Mr. Lincoln had, in his quiet way, found a path to the Christian standpoint, that he had found God, and rested on the eternal truth of God. As the two men were about to separate, Mr. Bateman remarked: "I had not supposed that you were accustomed to think so much upon this class of subjects; certainly your friends generally are ignorant of the sentiments you have expressed to me."
He quickly replied: "I know they are, but I think more on these subjects than upon all others, and I have done so for years; and I am willing you should know it."*
More than once I felt as if I were in the presence of an old prophet, when listening to his views about the future destinies of the United States. In one of my last interviews with him, I was filled with an admiration which it would be difficult to express, when I heard the following views and predictions:
"It is with the Southern leaders of this civil war as with the big and small wheels of our railroad cars. Those who ignore the laws of mechanics are apt to think that the large, strong, and noisy wheels they see are the motive power, but they are mistaken. The real motive power is not seen; it is noiseless and well concealed in the dark, behind its iron walls. The motive power are the few well-concealed pails of water heated into steam, which is itself directed by the noiseless, small but unerring engineer's finger.
"The common people see and hear the big, noisy wheels of the Southern Confederacy's cars; they call they Jeff Davis, Lee, Toombs, Beauregard, Semmes, ect., and they honestly think that they are the motive power, the first cause of our troubles. But this is a mistake. The true motive power is secreted behind the thick walls of the Vatican, the colleges and schools of the Jesuits, the convents of the nuns, and the confessional boxes of Rome.
"There is a fact which is too much ignored by the American people, and with which I am acquainted only since I became President; it is that the best, the leading families of the South have received their education in great part, if not in whole, from the Jesuits and the nuns. Hence those degrading principles of slavery, pride, cruelty, which are as a second nature among so many of those people. Hence that strange want of fair play, humanity; that implacable hatred against the ideas of equality and liberty as we find them in the Gospel of Christ. You do not ignore that the first settlers of Louisiana, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, South California and Missouri were Roman Catholics, and that their first teachers were Jesuits. It is true that those states have been conquered or bought by us since. But Rome had put the deadly virus of her antisocial and anti-Christian maxims into the veins of the people before they became American citizens. Unfortunately, the Jesuits and the nuns have in great part remained the teachers of those people since. They have continued in a silent, but most efficacious way, to spread their hatred against our institutions, our laws, our schools, our rights and our liberties in such a way that this terrible conflict became unavoidable between the North and the South. As I told you before, it is to Popery that we owe this terrible civil war.
"I would have laughed at the man who would have told me that before I became the President. But Professor Morse has opened my eyes on that subject. And now I see that mystery; I understand that engineering of hell which, though not seen or even suspected by the country, is putting in motion the large, heavy, and noisy wheels of the state cars of the Southern Confederacy. Our people is not yet ready to learn and believe those things, and perhaps it is not the proper time to initiate them to those dark mysteries of hell; it would throw oil on a fire which is already sufficiently destructive.
"You are almost the only one with whom I speak freely on that subject. But sooner or later the nation will know the real origin of those rivers of blood and tears, which are spreading desolation and death everywhere. And then those who have caused those desolations and disasters will be called to give an account of them.
"I do not pretend to be a prophet.But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightning, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone, such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south. After it is over, there will be long days of peace and prosperity: for Popery, with its Jesuits and merciless Inquisition, will have been for ever swept away from our country. Neither I nor you, but our children, will see those things."
Many of those who approached Abraham Lincoln felt that there was a prophetic spirit in him, and that he was continually walking and acting with the thought of God in his mind, and only in view to do His will and work for His glory. Speaking of the slaves, he said one day before the members of his cabinet:
"I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but I hold the matter under advisement. And I can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by day and by night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God's will, I will do."*
A few days before that proclamation, he said, before several of his counselors: "I made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves."**
But I would have volumes to write, instead of a short chapter, were I to give all the facts I have collected of the sincere and profound piety of Abraham Lincoln.
I cannot, however, omit his admirable and solemn act of faith in the eternal justice of God, as expressed in the closing words of his last inaugural address of the 4th of March, 1865.
"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's 520 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as we said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said: The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
These sublime words, falling from the lips of the greatest Christian whom God ever put at the head of a nation, only a few days before his martyrdom, sent a thrill of wonder through the whole world. The Godfearing people and the upright of every nation listened to them as if they had just come from the golden harp of David. Even the infidels remain mute with admiration and awe. It seemed to all that the echoes of heaven and earth were repeating that last hymn, falling from the heart of the noblest and truest Gospel man of our days: "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether" (Psalm xix. 9).
The 6th of April, 1865, President Lincoln was invited by General Grant to enter Richmond, the capital of the rebel states, which he had just captured. The ninth, the beaten army of Lee, surrounded by the victorious legions of the soldiers of Liberty, were forced to lay down their arms and their banners at the feet of the generals of Lincoln. The tenth, the victorious President addressed an immense multitude of the citizens of Washington, to invite them to thank God and the armies for the glorious victories of the last few days, and for the blessed peace which was to follow these five years of slaughter.
But he was on the top of the mountain of Pisgah, and though he had fervently prayed that he might cross the Jordan and enter with his people into the Land of Promise, after which he had so often sighed, he was not to see his request granted. The answer had come from heaven, "You will not cross the Jordan, and you will not enter that Promised Land, which is there, so near. You must die for your nation's sake!" The lips, the heart, and the soul of the New Moses were still repeating the sublime words, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether," when the Jesuit assassin, Booth, murdered him, the 14th of April, 1865, at ten o'clock p.m.
Let us hear the eloquent historian, Abbot, on that sad event: "In the midst of unparalleled success, and while all the bells of the land were ringing with joy, a calamity fell upon us which overwhelmed the country in consternation and awe. On Friday evening, April 14th, President Lincoln attended Ford's Theater, in Washington. He was sitting quietly in his box, listening to the drama, when a man entered the door of the lobby leading to the box, closing the door behind him. Drawing near to the President, he drew from his pocket a small pistol, and shot him in the back of the head. As the President fell, senseless and mortally wounded, and the shriek of his wife, who was seated at his side, pierced every ear, the assassin leaped from the box, a perpendicular height of nine feet, and as he rushed across the stage, bare-headed, brandished a dagger, exclaiming, 'Sic semper tyrannis!' and disappeared behind the side scenes. There was a moment of silent consternation. Then ensued a scene of confusion which it is in vain to attempt to describe.
"The dying President was taken into a house near by, and placed upon a bed. What a scene did that room present! The chief of a mighty nation lay there, senseless, drenched in blood, his brains oozing from his wound! Sumner, Farwell, and Colfax and Stanton, and many others were there, filled with grief and consternation.
"The surgeon, General Barnes, solemnly examined the wound. There was silence as of the grave, the life and death of the nation seemed dependent on the result. General Barnes looked up sadly and said, 'The wound is mortal!'
"'Oh! No! General, no! no!' cried out Secretary Stanton, and sinking into a chair, he covered his face and wept like a child. Senator Sumner tenderly held the head of the unconscious martyr.
"Though all unused to weep, he sobs as though his great heat would break. In his anguish, his head falls upon the blood-stained pillow, and his black locks blend with those of the dying victim, which care and toil has rendered gray, and which blood has crimsoned. What a scene! Sumner, who had lingered through months of agony, having himself been stricken down by he bludgeon of slavery, now sobbing and fainting in anguish over the prostrate form of his friend, whom slavery had slain! This vile rebellion, after deluging the land in blood, has culminated in a crime which appalls all nations.
"Nobel Abraham, true descendant of the father of the faithful; honest in every trust, humble as a child, tender-hearted as a woman, who could not bear to injure even his most envenomed foes: who, in the hour of triumph, was saddened lest the feelings of his adversaries should be wounded by their defeat, with 'charity of all, malice towards none,' endowed with 'common sense,' intelligence never surpassed, and with power of intellect which enabled him to grapple with the most gigantic opponents in debates, developing abilities as a statesman, which won the gratitude of his country and the admiration of the world, and with graces and amiability which drew to him all generous hearts; dies by the bullet of the assassin!"*
But who was that assassin? Booth was nothing but a tool of the Jesuits. It was Rome who directed his arm, after corrupting his heart and damning his soul.
After I had mixed my tears with those of the grand country of my adoption, I fell on my knees and asked my God to grant me to show to the world what I knew to be the truth, viz., that that horrible crime was the work of popery. And, after twenty years of constant and most difficult researches, I came fearlessly today before the American people, to say and prove that the President, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated by the priests and the Jesuits of Rome.
In the book of the testimonies given in the prosecution of the assassin of Lincoln, published by Ben Pitman, and in the two volumes of the trial of John Surratt, in 1867, we have the legal and irrefutable proof that the plot of the assassins of Lincoln was matured, if not started, in the house of Mary Surratt, No. 561, H. Street, Washington City, D.C. But who were living in that house, and who were visiting that family? The legal answer says: "The most devoted Catholics in the city!" The sworn testimonies show more than that. They show that it was the common rendezvous of the priests of Washington. Several priests swear that they were going there "sometimes," and when pressed to answer what they meant by "sometimes," they were not sure if it was not once a week or once a month. One of them, less on his guard, swore that he seldom passed before that house without entering; and he said he never passed less than once a week. The devoted Roman Catholic (an apostate from Protestantism) called L.J. Weichman, who was himself living in that house, swears that Father Wiget was very often in that house, and Father Lahiman swears that he was living with Mrs. Surratt in the same house! * * *
What does the presence of so many priests in that house reveal to the world? No man of common sense, who knows anything about the priests of Rome, can entertain any doubt that, not only they knew all that was going on inside those walls, but that they were the advisers, the counselors, the very soul of that infernal plot. Why did Rome keep one of her priests, under that roof, from morning till night and from night till morning? Why did she send many others, almost every day of the week, into that dark nest of plotters against the very existence of the great republic, and against the life of her President, her principal generals and leading men, if it were not to be the advisers, the rulers, the secret motive power of the infernal plot.
No one, if he is not an idiot, will think and say that those priests, who were the personal friends and the father confessors of Booth, John Surratt, Mrs. and Misses Surratt, could be constantly there without knowing what was going on, particularly when we know that every one of those priests was a rabid rebel in heart. Every one of those priests, knowing that his infallible Pope had called Jeff Davis his dear son, and had taken the Southern Confederacy under his protection, was bound to believe that the most holy thing a man could do, was to fight for the Southern cause, by destroying those who were its enemies.
Read the history of the assassination of Admiral Coligny, Henry III. and Henry IV., and William the Taciturn, by the hired assassins of the Jesuits; compare them with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and you will find that one resembles the others as one drop of water resembles another. You will understand that they all come from the same source, Rome!
In all those murders, you will find that the murderers, selected and trained by the Jesuits, were of the most exalted Roman Catholic piety, living in the company of priests, going to confess very often, receiving the communion the day before, if not the very day of the murder. You will see in all those horrible deeds of hell, prepared behind the dark walls of the holy inquisition, that the assassins were considering themselves as the chosen instruments of God, to save the nations by striking its tyrant; that they firmly believed that there was no sin in killing the enemy of the people of the holy church, and of the infallible Pope!
Compare the last hours of the Jesuit Ravaillac, the assassin of Henry IV., who absolutely refuses to repent, though suffering the most horrible torture on the rack, with Booth, who suffering also the most horrible tortures from is broken leg, writes in his daily memorandum, the very day before his death: "I can never repent, though we hated to kill. Our country owed all her troubles to him (Lincoln), and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment."*
Yes! Compare the bloody deeds of those two assassins, and you will see that they had been trained in the same school; they had been taught by the same teachers. Evidently the Jesuit Ravaillac, calling all the saints of heaven to his help, at his last hour; and Booth pressing the medal of the Virgin Mary on his breast, when falling mortally wounded,** are both coming out of the same Jesuit mould.
Who has lost his common sense enough to suppose that it was Jeff Davis who had filled the mind and the heart of Booth with that religious and so exalted fanaticism! Surely Jeff Davis has promised the money to reward the assassins and nerve their arms, by the hope of becoming rich.The testimonies on that account say that he had promised one million dollars.***
That arch-rebel could give the money; but the Jesuits alone could select the assassins, train them, and show them a crown of glory in heaven, if they would kill the author of the bloodshed, the famous renegade and apostate the enemy of the Pope and of the Church Lincoln.
Who does not see the lessons given by the Jesuits to Booth, in their daily intercourse in Mary Surratt's house, when he reads those lines written by Booth a few hours before his death: "I can never repent; God made me the instrument of His punishment!" Compare these words with the doctrines and principles taught by the councils, the decrees of the Pope, and the laws of holy inquisition, as you find them in Chapter LIX. of this volume, and you will find that the sentiments and belief of Booth flow from those principles, as the river flows from its source.
And that pious Miss Surratt who, the very next day after the murder of Lincoln, said, without being rebuked, in the presence of several other witnesses: "The death of Abraham Lincoln is no more than the death of any nigger in the army" where did she get that maxim, if not from her church? Had not that church recently proclaimed, through her highest legal and civil authority, the devoted Roman Catholic Judge Taney, in his Dred Scot decision, the Negroes have no right, which the white is bound to respect! By bringing the President on a level with the lowest nigger, Rome was saying that he had no right even to his life; for this was the maxim of the rebel priests, who, everywhere, had made themselves the echoes of the sentence of their distinguished co-religionist Taney.
It was from the very lips of the priests, who were constantly coming in and going out of their house, that those young ladies had learned those anti-social and anti-Christian doctrines. Read in the testimony concerning Mrs. Mary E. Surratt (pp. 122, 123), how the Jesuits had perfectly drilled her in the art of perjuring herself. In the very moment when the government officer orders her to prepare herself, with her daughter, to follow him as prisoner, at about ten p.m., Payne, the would-be murderer of Seward, knocks at the door and wants to see Mrs. Surratt. But instead of having Mrs. Surratt to open the door, he finds himself confronted, face to face, with the government detective, Major Smith, who swears:
"I questioned him in regard to his occupation, and what business he had at the house at this late hour of the night. He stated that he was a labourer, and had come to dig a gutter at the request of Mrs. Surratt.
"I went to the parlour door, and said, 'Mrs. Surratt, will you step here a minute?' She came out, and I asked her, 'Do you know this man, and did you hire him to come and dig a gutter for you?' She answered, raising her right hand, 'Before God, sir, I do not know this man; I have never seen him, and I did not hire him to dig a gutter for me.'"*
But it was proved after, by several unimpeachable witnesses, that she knew very well that Payne was a personal friend of her son, who, many times, had come to her house, in company of his friend and pet, Booth. She had received the communion just two or three days before that public perjury. Just a moment after making it, the officer ordered her to step out into the carriage. But before doing it, she asked permission to kneel down and pray; which was granted.**
I ask it from any man of common sense, could Jeff Davis have imparted such a religious calm and self-possession to that woman when her hands were just reddened with the blood of the President, and she was on her way to trial!
No! such sang froid, such calm in that soul, in such a terrible and solemn hour, could come only from the teachings of those Jesuits who, for more than six months, were in her house, showing her a crown of eternal glory if she could help to kill the monster, apostate Lincoln the only cause of that horrible civil war! There is not the least doubt that the priests had perfectly succeeded in persuading Mary Surratt and Booth that the killing of Lincoln was a most holy and deserving work, for which God had an eternal reward in store.
There is a fact to which the American people have not yet given a sufficient attention. It is that, without a single exception, the conspirators were Roman Catholics. The learned and great patriot, General Baker, in his admirable report, struck and bewildered by that strange, mysterious and portentous fact, said:
"I mention, as an exceptional and remarkable fact, that every conspirator, in custody, is by education a Catholic."
But those words which, if well understood by the United States, would have thrown so much light on the true causes of their untold and unspeakable disasters, fell as if on the ears of deaf men. Very few, if any, paid attention to them. As General Baker says, all the conspirators were attending Catholic Church services and were educated Roman Catholics. It is true that some of them, as Atzeroth, Payne and Harold, asked for Protestant ministers, when they were to be hung. But they had been considered, till then, as converts to Romanism. At page 437 of The Trial of John Surratt, Louis Weichman tells us that he was going to St. Aloysin's Church with Atzeroth, and that it was there that he introduced him to Mr. Brothy (another Roman Catholic).
It is a well authenticated fact, that Booth and Weichman, who were themselves Protestant perverts to Romanism, had proselytized a good number of semi-Protestants and infidels who, either from conviction, or from hope of the fortunes promised to the successful murderers, were themselves very zealous for the Church of Rome. Payne, Atzeroth and Harold, were among those proselytes. But when those murderers were to appear before the country, and receive the just punishment of their crime, the Jesuits were too shrewd to ignore that if they were all coming on the scaffold as Roman Catholics, and accompanied by their father confessors, it would, at once, open the eyes of the American people, and clearly show that this was a Roman Catholic plot. They persuaded three of their proselytes to avail themselves of the theological principles of the Church of Rome, that a man is allowed to conceal his religion, nay, that he may say that he is a heretic, a Protestant, though he is a Roman Catholic, when it is for his own interest or the best interests of his church to conceal the truth and deceive the people. Here is the doctrine of Rome on that subject.
"It is often more to the glory of God and the good of our neighbour to cover the faith than to confess it; for example, if concealed among heretics, you may accomplish a greater amount of good; of if, by declaring our religion more of evil would follow for example, great trouble, death, the hostility of a tyrant."*
It is evident that the Jesuits had never had better reasons to suspect that the declaration of their religion would damage them and excite the wrath of their tyrant, viz., the American people. Lloyds, in whose house Mrs. Surratt concealed the carbine which Booth wanted for protection, when just after the murder he was to flee towards the Southern States, was a firm Roman Catholic. Dr. Mudd, at whose place Booth stopped, to have his broken leg dressed, was a Roman Catholic, and so was Garrett, in whose barn Booth was caught and killed. Why so? Because, as Jeff Davis was the only man to pay one million dollars to those who would kill Abraham Lincoln, the Jesuits were the only men to select the murderers and prepare everything to protect them after their diabolical deed, and such murderers could not be found except among their blind and fanatical slaves.
The great, he fatal mistake of the American Government in the prosecution of the assassins of Abraham Lincoln was to constantly keep out of sight the religious element of that terrible drama. Nothing would have been more easy, then, than to find out the complicity of the priests, who were not only coming every week and every day, but who were even living in that den of murderers. But this was carefully avoided from the beginning to the end of the trial. When, not long after the execution of the murderers, I went, incognito, to Washington to begin my investigation about its true and real authors, I was not a little surprised to see that not a single one of the Government men to whom I addressed myself, would consent to have any talk with me on that matter, except after I had given my word of honour that I would never mention their names in connection with the result of my investigation. I saw, with a profound distress, that the influence of Rome was almost supreme in Washington. I could not find a single statesman who would dare to face that nefarious influence and fight it down.
Several of the government men in whom I had more confidence, told me: "We had not the least doubt that the Jesuits were at the bottom of that great iniquity; we even feared, sometimes, that this would come out so clearly before the military tribunal, that there would be no possibility of keeping it out of the public sight. This was not through cowardice, as you think, but through a wisdom which you ought to approve, if you cannot admire it. Had we been in days of peace, we know that with a little more pressure on the witnesses, many priests would have been compromised; for Mrs. Surratt's house was their common rendezvous; it is more than probable that several of them might have been hung. But the civil war was hardly over. The Confederacy, though broken down, was still living in millions of hearts; murderers and formidable elements of discord were still seen everywhere, to which the hanging or exiling of those priests would have given a new life. Riots after riots would have accompanied and followed their execution. We thought we had had enough of blood, fires, devastations and bad feelings. We were all longing after days of peace: the country was in need of them. We concluded that the best interests of humanity was to punish only those who were publicly and visibly guilty; that the verdict might receive the approbation of all, without creating any new bad feelings. Allow us also tell you that this policy was that of our late President. For you know it well, there was nothing which that good and great man feared so much as to arm the Protestants against the Catholics, and the Catholics against the Protestants."
But if any one has still any doubts of the complicity of the Jesuits in the murder of Abraham Lincoln, let him give a moment of attention to the following facts, and their doubts will be for ever removed. It is only from the very Jesuit accomplices' lips that I take my sworn testimonies.
It is evident that a very elaborate plan of escape had been prepared by the priests of Rome to save the lives of the assassins and the conspirators. It would be too long to follow all the murderers when, Cain-like, they were fleeing in every direction, to escape the vengeance of God and man. Let us fix our eyes on John Surratt, who was in Washington the 14th of April, helping Booth in the perpetration of the assassination. Who will take care of him? Who will protect and conceal him? Who will press him on their bosom, put their mantles on his shoulders to conceal him from the just vengeance of the human and divine laws? The priest, Charles Boucher,* swears that only a few days after the murder, John Surratt was sent to him by Father Lapierre, of Montreal; that he kept him concealed in his parsonage of St. Liboire from the end of April to the end of July, then he took him back, secretly, to Father Lapierre, who kept him secreted in his own father's house, under the very shadow of the Montreal bishop's palace. He swears** that Father Lapierre visited him (Surratt) often, when secreted at St. Liboire, and that he (Father Boucher) visited him, at least, twice a week, from the end of July to September, when concealed in Father Lapierre's house in Montreal.
That same father, Charles Boucher, swears that he accompanied John Surratt in a carriage, in the company of Father Lapierre, to the steamer "Montreal," when starting for Quebec: that Father Lapaierre kept him (John Surratt) under lock during the voyage from Montreal to Quebec, and that he accompanied him, disguised from the Montreal steamer to the ocean steamer, "Peruvian."*
The doctor of the steamer "Peruvian," L.I.A. McMillan, swears** that Father Lapierre introduced him to John Surratt under the false name of McCarthy, whom he was keeping locked in his state room, and whom he conducted disguised to the ocean steamer "Peruvian," and with whom he remained till she left Quebec for Europe, the 15th September, 1865.
But who is that Father Lapierre who takes such a tender, I dare say a paternal care of Surratt? It is not less a personage than the canon of Bishop Bourget, of Montreal. He is the confidential man of the bishop; he lives with the bishop, eats at his table, assists him with his counsel, and has to receive his advice in every step of life. According to the laws of Rome, the canons are to the bishop what the arms are to the body.
Now, I ask: Is it not evident that the bishops and the priests of Washington have trusted this murderer to the care of the bishops and priests of Montreal, that they might conceal, feed, and protect him for nearly six months, under the very shadow of the bishops palace? Would they have done that if they were not his accomplices? Why did they so continually remain with him day and night, if they were not in fear that he might compromise them by an indiscreet word? Why do we see those priests (I ought to say, those two ambassadors and anointed representatives of the Pope), alone in the carriage which takes that great culprit from his house of concealment to the steamer? Why do they keep him there, under lock, till they transfer him, under a disguised name, to the ocean steamer, the "Peruvian," on the 15th July, 1865? Why such tender sympathies for that stranger? Why going through such trouble and expense for that young American among the bishops and priests of Canada? There is only one answer. He was one of their tools, one of their selected men to strike the great Republic of Equality and Liberty to the heart. For more than six months before the murder, the priests had lodged, eaten, conversed, slept with him under the same roof in Washington. They had trained him to his deed of blood, by promising him protection on earth, and a crown of glory in heaven, if he would only be true to their designs to the end. And he had been true to the end.
Now the great crime is accomplished! Lincoln is murdered! Jeff Davis, the dear son of the Pope, is avenged! The great Republic has been struck to the heart! The soldiers of Liberty all over the world are weeping over the dead form of the one who had led them to victory: a cry of desolation goes from earth to heaven.
It seems as if we heard the death-knell of the cause of freedom, equality and fraternity among men. It was many centuries since the implacable enemies of the rights and liberties of men had struck such a giant foe: their joy was as great as their victory complete.
But do you see that man fleeing from Washington towards the north? He has the mark of Cain on his forehead, his hands are reddened with blood, he is pale and trembling, for he knows it; a whole outraged nation is after him for her just vengeance; he hears the thundering voice of God: "Where is thy brother?" Where will he find a refuge? Where, outside of hell, will he meet friends to shelter and save him from the just vengeance of God and men?
Oh! He has sure refuge in the arms of that church who, for more than a thousand years, is crying: "Death to all the heretics! death to all the soldiers of Liberty!" He has devoted friends among the very men who, after having prepared the massacre of Admiral Coligny, and his 75,000 Protestant countrymen, rang the bells of Rome to express their joy when they heard that, at last, the King of France had slaughtered them all.
But where will those bishops and priests of Canada send John Surratt when they find it impossible to conceal him any longer from the thousands of detectives of the United States, who are ransacking Canada to find out his retreat? Who will conceal, feed, lodge, and protect him after the priests of Canada pressed his hand for the last time on board of the "Peruvian," the 15th of September, 1865?
Who can have any doubt about that? Who can suppose that any one but the Pope himself and his Jesuits will protect the murderer of Abraham Lincoln in Europe?
If you want to see him after he has crossed the ocean, go to Vitry, at the door of Rome, and there you will find him enrolled under the banners of the Pope, in the 9th company of his Zouaves, under the false name of Watson. Of course, the Pope was forced to withdraw his protection over him, after the Government of the United States had found him there, and he was brought back to Washington to be tried.
But on his arrival as a prisoner in the United States, his Jesuit father confessor whispered in his ear: "Fear not, you will not be condemned! Through the influence of a high Roman Catholic lady, two or three of the jurymen will be Roman Catholics, and you will be safe."
Those who have read the two volumes of the trial of John Surratt know that never more evident proofs of guilt were brought against a murderer than in that case. But the Roman Catholic jurymen had read the theology of St. Thomas, a book which the Pope has ordered to be taught in every college, academy, and university of Rome, they had learned that it is the duty of the Roman Catholics to exterminate all the heretics.*
They had read the decree of the Councils of Constance, that no faith was to be kept with heretics. They had read in the Council of Lateran that the Catholics who arm themselves for the extermination of heretics, have all their sins forgiven, and receive the same blessings as those who go and fight for the rescue of the Holy Land.
Those jurymen were told by their father confessors that the most holy father, the Pope, Gregory VII., had solemnly and infallibly declared that "the killing of an heretic was no murder." Jure Canonico.
After such teachings, how could the Roman Catholic jurymen find John Surratt guilty of murder for killing the heretic Lincoln? The jury having disagreed, no verdict could be given. The Government was forced to let the murderer go unpunished.
But when the irreconcilable enemies of all the rights and liberties of men were congratulating themselves on their successful efforts to save the life of John Surratt, the God of heaven was stamping again on their faces the mark of murder, in such a way that all eyes will see it.
"Murder will out," is a truth repeated by all nations from the beginning of the world. It is the knowledge of that truth which has sustained me in my long and difficult researches of the true authors of the assassination of Lincoln, and which enables me today to present to the world a fact, which seems almost miraculous, to show the complicity of the priests of Rome in the murder of the martyred President.
Some time ago, I providentially met the Rev. Mr. R. A. Conwell, at Chicago. Having known that I was in search of the facts about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he told me he knew one of those facts which might perhaps throw some light on the subject of my researches.
"The very day of the murder," he said, "he was in the Roman Catholic village of St. Joseph, Minnesota State, when, at about six o'clock in the afternoon, he was told by a Roman Catholic of the place, who was a purveyor for a great number of priests who lived in that town, where they have a monastery, that the State Secretary Seward and President Lincoln had just been killed. This was told me," he said, "in the presence of a most respectable gentlemen, called Bennett, who was not less puzzled than me. As there were no railroad lines nearer than forty miles, nor telegraph offices nearer than eighty miles from that place, we could not see how such news was spread in that town. The next day, the 15th of April, I was at St. Cloud, a town about twelve miles distant, where there were neither railroad nor telegraph; I said to several people that I had been told in the priestly village of St. Joseph, by a Roman Catholic, that Abraham Lincoln and the Secretary Seward had been assassinated. They answered me that they had heard nothing about it. But the next Sabbath, the 16th of April, when going to the church of St. Cloud, to preach, a friend gave me a copy of a telegram sent to him on the Saturday, reporting that Abraham Lincoln and Secretary Seward had been assassinated the very day before, which was Friday, the 14th, at 10 p.m. But how could the Roman Catholic purveyor of the priests of St. Joseph have told me the same thing, before several witnesses, just four hours before its occurrence? I spoke of that strange thing to many that same day, and, the very next day, I wrote to the St. Paul 'Press' under the heading of 'a strange coincidence.' Some time later, the editor of the St. Paul 'Pioneer,' having denied what I had written on that subject, I addressed him the following note, which he had printed, and which I have kept. Here it is, you may keep it as an infallible proof of my veracity.
"TO THE EDITOR OF THE ST. PAUL 'PIONEER.'"
"You assume the non-truth of a short paragraph furnished by me to the St. Paul 'Press,' viz:
"A STRANGE COINCIDENCE !
"At 6:30 p.m., Friday last, April 14th, I was told as an item of news, eight miles west of this place, that Lincoln and Seward had been assassinated. This was three hours after I had heard the news."
"St. Cloud, 17th of April, 1865.
"The integrity of history requires that the above coincidence be established. And if anyone calls it in question, then proofs more ample than reared their sanguinary shadows to comfort a traitor can now be given.
"F. A. Conwell."
I asked that gentleman if he would be kind enough to give me the fact under oath, that I might make use of it in the report I intended to publish about the assassination of Lincoln. And he kindly granted my request in the following form:-
State of Illinois,
Cook County. s,s.
Rev. F. A. Conwell being sworn, deposes and says that he is seventy-one years old, that he is resident of North Evanston, in Cook County, State of Illinois, that he has been in the ministry for fifty-six years, and is now one of the chaplains of the "Seamen's Bethel Home," in Chicago; that he was chaplain of the 1st Minnesota Regiment, in the war of the rebellion. That, on the 14th day of April, A.D. 1865, he was in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and reached there so early as six o'clock in the evening, in company with Mr. Bennett, who, then and now, is a resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota. That on that date, there was no telegraph nearer than Minneapolis, about eighty miles from St. Joseph; and there was no railroad communication nearer than Avoka, Minnesota, about forty miles distant. That when he reached St. Joseph, on the 14th day of April, 1865, one Mr. Linneman, who then kept the hotel of St. Joseph, told affiant that President Lincoln and Secretary Seward were assassinated, that it was not later than half-past six o'clock, on Friday, April 14th, 1865, when Mr. Linneman told me this. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bennett came in the hotel, and I told him that Mr. Linneman said the President Lincoln and Secretary Seward were assassinated; and then, the same Mr. Linneman reported the same conversation to Mr. Bennett in my presence. That during that time, Mr. Linneman told me that he had the charge of the friary or college for young men, under the priests, who were studying for the priesthood of St. Joseph. That there was a large multitude of this kind at St. Joseph, at this time. Affiant says that, on Saturday morning, April 15th, 1865, he went to St. Cloud, a distance of about ten miles, and reached there about eight o'clock in the morning. That there was no railroad or telegraph communication to St. Cloud. When he arrived at St. Cloud, he told Mr. Haworth, the hotel keeper, that he had been told that President Lincoln and Secretary Seward had been assassinated, and asked if it was true. He further told Henry Clay, Wait, Charles Gilman, who was afterwards Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, and Rev. Mr. Tice, the same thing, and inquired of them if they had any such news; and they replied that they had not heard anything of the kind.
Affiant says that, on Sunday morning, April 16th, 1865, he preached in St. Cloud, and on the way to the church, a copy of telegram was handed him, stating that the President and Secretary were assassinated Friday evening at about nine o'clock. This telegram has been brought to St. Cloud by Mr. Gorton, who had reached St. Cloud by stage; and this was the first intelligence that had reached St. Cloud of the event.
Affiant says further that on Monday morning, April 17th, 1865, he furnished the "Press," a paper of St. Paul, a statement that three hours before the event took place, he had been informed at St. Joseph, Minnesota, that the President had been assassinated, and this was published in the "Press."
Francis Asbury Conwell.
Subscribed and sworn to be Francis A. Conwell, before me, a Notary Public of Kankakee County, Illinois, at Chicago, Cook County, this 6th day of September, 1883.
Stephen R. Moore, Notary Public.
Though this document was very important and precious to me, I felt that it would be much more valuable if it could be corroborated by the testimonies of Messrs. Bennett and Linneman, themselves, and I immediately sent a magistrate to find out if they were still living, and if they remembered the facts of the sworn declaration of Rev. Mr. Conwell. By the good providence of God, both of these gentlemen were found living, and both gave the following testimonies:
State of Minnesota,
Sterns County, City of St. Cloud.
Horace P. Bennett, being sworn, deposes and says that he is aged sixtyfour years; that he is a resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and has resided in this county since 1856; that he is acquainted with the Rev. F. A. Conwell, who was chaplain of the 1st Minnesota Regiment in the war of the rebellion; that on the 14th of April, 1865, he was in St. Joseph, Minnesota, in company with Mr. Francis A. Conwell; that they reached St. Joseph about sundown on said April 14th; that there was no railroad or telegraph communication with St. Joseph, at that time, nor nearer than Avoka, about forty miles distant. That affiant, on reaching the hotel kept by Mr. Linneman, went to the barn while Rev. F. A. Conwell entered the hotel; and shortly afterwards, affiant had returned to the hotel, Mr. Conwell told him that Mr. Linneman had reported to him the assassination of President Lincoln; that Linneman was present and substantiated the statement.
That on Saturday morning, April 15th, affiant and Rev. Conwell came to St. Cloud and reported that they had been told at St. Joseph about the assassination of President Lincoln, that no one at St. Cloud had heard of the event at this time, that the first news of the event which reached St. Cloud was on Sunday morning, April 16th, when the news was brought by Leander Gorton, who had just come up from Avoka, Minnesota; that they spoke to several persons of St. Cloud, concerning the matter, when they reached there, on Sunday morning, but affiant does not now remember who those different persons were, and further affiant says not.
Horace P. Bennett.
Sworn before me, and subscribed in my presence, this 18th day of October, A.D. 1883.
Andrew C. Robertson, Notary Public.
Mr. Linneman having refused to swear on his written declaration, which I have in my possession, I take only from it what refers to the principal fact, viz, that three or four hours before Lincoln was assassinated at Washington, the 14th of April, 1865, the fact was told as already accomplished, in the priestly village of St. Joseph, Minnesota.
"He (Linneman) remembers the time that Messrs. Conwell and Bennett came to this place (St. Joseph, Minnesota) on Friday evening, before the President was killed, and he asked them, if they had heard he was dead, and they replied they had not. He heard this rumour in his store from people who came in and out. But he cannot remember from whom.
"J. H. Linneman.
"October 20th, 1883."
I present here to the world a fact of the greatest gravity, and that fact is so well authenticated that it cannot allow even the possibility of a doubt.
Three or four hours before Lincoln was murdered in Washington, the 14th of April, 1865, that murder was not only known by some one, but it was circulated and talked of in the streets, and in the houses of the priestly and Romish town of St. Joseph, Minnesota. The fact is undeniable; the testimonies are unchallengeable: and there were no railroad nor any telegraph communications nearer than forty or eighty miles from the nearest station to St. Joseph.
Naturally every one asked: "How could such news spread? Where is the source of such a rumour?" Mr. Linneman, who is a Roman Catholic, tells us that though he heard this from many in his store, and in the streets, he does not remember the name of a single one who told him that. And when we hear this from him, we understand why he did not dare to swear upon it, and shrank from the idea of perjuring himself. For every one feels that his memory cannot be so poor as that, when he remembers so well the names of the two strangers, Messrs. Conwell and Bennett, to whom he had announced the assassination of Lincoln, just seventeen years before. But if the memory of Mr. Linneman is so deficient on that subject, we can help him, and tell him with mathematical accuracy:
"You got the news from your priests of St. Joseph! The conspiracy which cost the life of the martyred President was prepared by the priests of Washington, in the house of Mary Surratt, No. 541, H. Street. The priests of St. Joseph were often visiting Washington, and boarding, probably, at Mrs. Surrat's, as the priests of Washington were often visiting their brother priests at St. Joseph. Those priests of Washington were in daily communication with their co-rebel priests of St. Joseph; they were their intimate friends. There were no secrets among them, as there are no secrets among priests. They are the members of the same body, the branches of the same tree. The details of the murder, as the day selected for its commission, were as well known among the priests of St. Joseph, as they were among those of Washington. The death of Lincoln was such a glorious event for those priests! That infamous apostate, Lincoln, who, baptized in the Holy Church, had rebelled against her, broken his oath of allegiance to the Pope, taken the very day of his baptism, and lived the life of an apostate! That infamous Lincoln, who had dared to fight against the Confederacy of the South after the Vicar of Christ had solemnly declared that their cause was just, legitimate and holy! That bloody tyrant, that godless and infamous man, was to receive, at last, the just chastisement of his crimes, the 14th of April! What glorious news!"
How could the priests conceal such a joyful event from their bosom friend, Mr. Linneman? He was their confidential man: he was their purveyor: he was their right hand man among the faithful of St. Joseph. They thought that they would be guilty of a want of confidence in their bosom friend, if they did not tell him all about the glorious event of that great day. But, of course, they requested him not to mention their names, if he would spread the joyful news among the devoted Roman Catholics who almost exclusively, formed the people of St. Joseph. Mr. Linneman has honourably and faithfully kept his promise never to reveal their names, and today, we have in our hand, the authentic testimonies signed by him that, though some body, the 14th of April, told him that President Lincoln was assassinated, he does not know who told him that!
But there is not a man of sound judgment who will have any doubt about that fact, the 14th of April, 1865, the priests of Rome knew and circulated the death of Lincoln four hours before its occurrence in their Roman Catholic town of St. Joseph, Minnesota. But they could not circulate it without knowing it, and they could not know it, without belonging to the band of conspirators who assassinated President Lincoln.
CHAPTER 62 Back to Table of Contents
When alone, on my knees, in the presence of God, on the 1st of January, 1855, I took the resolution of opposing the acts of simony and tyranny of Bishop O'Regan, I was far from understanding the logical consequences of my struggle with that high dignitary. My only object was to force him to be honest, just and Christian towards my people. That people, with me, had left their country and had bid an eternal adieu to all that was dear to them in Canada, in order to live in peace in Illinois, under what we then considered the holy authority of the Church of Christ. but we were absolutely unwilling to be slaves of any man in the land of Liberty.
If any one, at that hour, could have shown me that this struggle would lead to a complete separation from the Church of Rome, I would have shrank from the task. My only ambition was to purify my church from the abuses which, one after the other, had crept everywhere about her, as noxious weeds. I felt that those abuses were destroying the precious truths which Jesus Christ and His apostles had revealed to us. It seemed to me that was a duty imposed upon every priest to do all in our power to blot from the face of our church the scandals which were the fruits of the iniquities and tyranny of the bishops. I had most sincerely offered myself to God for his work.
From the beginning, however, I had a presentiment that the power of the bishops would be too much for me, and that, sooner or later, they would crush me. But my hope was that when I should have fallen, others would have taken my place and fight the battles of the Lord, till a final victory would bring the church back to the blessed days when she was the spotless spouse of the Lamb.
The great and providential victory I had gained at Urbana, had strengthened my conviction that God was on my side, and that He would protect me, so long as my only motives were in the interests of truth and righteousness. It seemed, in a word, that I could not fail so long as I should fight against the official lies, tyrannies, superstitions, and deceits which the bishops had everywhere in the United States and Canada, substituted in the place of the Gospel, the primitive laws of the church, and the teachings of the holy fathers.
In the autumn of 1856, our struggle against the Bishop of Chicago had taken proportions which could not have been anticipated either by me or by the Roman Catholic hierarchy of America. The whole press of the United States and Canada, both political and religious, were discussing the causes of the probable results of the contest.
At first, the bishops were indignant at the conduct of my lord O'Regan. They had seen with pleasure, that a priest from his own diocese would probably force him to be more cautious and less scandalous in his public and private dealings with the clergy and the people. But they also hoped that I should be paralyzed by the sentence of excommunication, and that the people, frightened by those fulminations, would withdraw the support they had, at first, given me. They were assured by Spink, that I would lose my suit at Urbana, and should, when lodged in the penitentiary, become powerless to do any mischief in the church.
But their confidence was soon changed into dismay when they saw that the people laughed at the excommunication; that I had gained my suit, and that I was triumphing on that very battle-field from which no priest, since Luther and Knox, had come out unscathed. Everywhere, the sound of alarm was heard, and I was denounced as a rebel and schismatic. The whole body of the bishops prepared to hurl their most terrible fulminations at my devoted head. But before taking their last measure to crush me, a supreme effort was made to show us what they considered our errors. The Rev. Messrs. Brassard, curate of Longueuil, and Rev. Isaac Desaulnier, President of St. Hyacinthe College, were sent by the people and bishops of Canada to show me what they called the scandal of my proceedings, and press me to submit to the will of the bishop, by respecting the so-called sentence of excommunication.
The choice of those two priests was very wise. They were certainly the most influential that could be sent. Mr. Brassard had not only been my teacher at the college of Nicolet, but my benefactor, as I have already said. When the want of means, in 1825, had forced me to leave the college and bid adieu to my mother and my young brothers, in order to get to a very distant land, in search of a position, he stopped me on the road to exile and brought me back to the college; and along with the Rev. Mr. Leprohon, he paid all my expenses to the end of my studies. He had loved me since, as his own child, and I cherished and respected him as my own father. The other, Rev. I. Desaulnier, had been my classmate in the college form 1822 to 1829, and we had been united during the whole of that period, as well as since, by the bonds of the sincerest esteem and friendship. They arrived at St. Anne on November 24th, 1856.
I heard of their coming only a few minutes before their arrival; and nothing can express the joy I felt at the news. The confidence I had in their honesty and friendship, gave me, at once, the hope that they would soon see the justice and holiness of our cause, and they would bravely take our side against our aggressor. But they had very different sentiments. Sincerely believing that I was an unmanageable schismatic, who was creating an awful scandal in the church, they had not only been forbidden by the bishops to sleep in my house, but also to have any friendly and Christian communication with me. With no hatred against me, they were yet filled with horror at the thought that I should be so scandalous a priest, and so daring, as to trouble the peace, and destroy the unity of the church.
On their way from Canada to St. Anne, they had often been told that I was not the same man as they knew me formerly to be, and that I had become sour and gloomy, abusive, insolent, and haughty; that also I would insult them, and perhaps advise the people to turn them away from my premises, as men who had no business to meddle in our affairs. They were pleasantly disappointed, however, when they saw me running to meet them, as far as I could see them, to press them to my heart, with the most sincere marks of affection and joy. I told them that all the treasures of California brought to my house would not make me half so happy as I was made by their presence.
I at once expressed my hope that they were the messengers sent by God to bring us peace and put an end to the deplorable state of things which was the cause of their long journey. Remarking that they were covered with mud, I invited them to go to their sleeping rooms, to wash and refresh themselves.
"Sleeping rooms! sleeping rooms!!" said Mr. Desaulnier, "but our written instructions from the bishops who sent us, forbid us to sleep here on account of your excommunication."
Mr. Brassard answered, "I must tell you, my dear Mr. Desaulnier, a thing which I have kept secret till now. After reading that prohibition of sleeping here, I said to the bishop that if he would put such a restraint upon me, he might choose another one to come here. I requested him to let us both act according to our conscience and common sense when we should be with Chiniquy, and today my conscience and common sense tell me that we cannot begin our mission of peace by insulting a man who gives us such a friendly and Christian reception. The people of Canada have chosen us as their deputies, because we are the most sincere friends of Chiniquy. It is by keeping that character that we will best fulfill our sacred and solemn duties. I accept, with pleasure, the sleeping room offered me."
Mr. Desaulnier rejoined: "I accept it also, for I did not come here to insult my best friend, but to save him." These kind words of my guests added to the joy I experienced at their coming. I told them: "If you are here to obey the voice of your conscience and the dictates of your common sense, there is a glorious task before you. You will soon find that the people and priest of St. Anne have also done nothing but listened to the voice of their honest conscience, and followed the laws of common sense in their conduct towards the bishop." But, I added, "this is not the time to explain my position, but the time to wash your dusty faces and refresh yourselves. Here are your rooms, make yourselves at home."
After supper, which had been spent in the most pleasant way, and without any allusion to our troubles, they handed me the letters addressed to me by the bishops of Montreal, London, and Toronto, to induce me to submit to my superior, and offer me the assurance of their most sincere friendship and devotedness if I would obey.
Mr. Desaulnier then said: "Now, my dear Chiniquy, we have been sent here by the people and bishops of Canada to take you away from the bottomless abyss into which you have fallen with your people. We have only one day and two nights to spend here, we must lose no time, but begin at once to fulfill our solemn mission."
I answered: "If I have fallen into a bottomless abyss as you say, and that you will draw me out of it, not only God and men will bless you, but I will also for ever bless you for your charity. The first thing, however, you have to do here, is to see if I am really fallen, with my people, into that bottomless abyss of which you speak."
"But are you not excommunicated," quickly rejoined Mr. Desaulnier, "and, notwithstanding that excommunication, have you not continued to say your mass, preach, and hear the confessions of your people? Are you not then fallen into that state of irregularity and schism which separate you entirely from the church, and to which the Pope alone can restore you?"
"No, my dear Desaulnier," I answered, "I am not more excommunicated than you are. For the simple reason that an act of excommunication which is not signed and certified, is a public nullity; unworthy of any attention. Here is the act of the so-called excommunication, which makes so much noise in the world! Examine it yourself; look if it is signed by the bishop, or any one else you know; consider with attention if it is certified by anybody." And I handed him the document.
After he had examined it, and turned it every way for more than half an hour, with Mr. Brassard, without saying a word, he at last broke his silence, and said: "If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I could never have believed that a bishop can play such a sacrilegious comedy in the face of the world. You have several times published it in the press, but I confess that your best friends, and I among the rest, did not believe you. It could not enter our minds that a bishop should be so devoid, I do not say of every principle of religion, but of the most common honesty, as to have proclaimed before the whole world that you were excommunicated, when he had to offer us only that ridiculous piece of rag to support his assertion. But, in the name of common sense, why is it that he has not signed his sentence of excommunication, or get it signed and countersigned by some authorized people, when it is so evident that he wanted to excommunicate you?"
"His reason for not putting his name, nor the name of any known person at the bottom of that so-called excommunication is very clear," I answered; "though our bishop is one of the most accomplished rogues of Illinois, he is still more a coward than a rogue. I had threatened to bring him before the civil court of the country if he dared to destroy my character by a sentence of interdict or excommunication; and he found that the only way to save himself in the same time that he was outraging me, was not to sign that paper; he thereby took away from me the power of prosecuting him. For, the first thing I would have to do in a prosecution in that case, would be to prove the signature of the bishop. Where could I find a witness who would swear that this is his signature? Would you swear it yourself, my dear Desaulnier?" "Oh! no, for surely it is not his signature, nor that of his grand vicar or secretary. But without going any further," added he, "we must confess to you that we have talked to the bishop, when passing through Chicago, asking him if he had made any public or private inquest against you, and if he had found you guilty of any crime. As he felt embarrassed by our questions, we told him that it was in our public character as deputies of the bishops and people of Canada towards you that we were putting to him those questions. That it was necessary for us to know all about your public and private character, when we were coming to press you to reconcile yourself to your bishop. He answered that he had never made any inquest about you, though you had requested him several times to do it, for the simple reason that he was persuaded that you were one of his best priests. Your only defect, he said, was a spirit of stubbornness and want of respect and obedience to your superior, and your meddling with his dealings with his diocesans, with which you had no business. He told us also that you refused to go to Kahokia. But his face became so red, and his tongue was so strangely lisping when he said that, that I suspected it was a falsehood; and we have now, before our eyes, that document, signed by four unimpeachable witnesses, that it was more than a falsehood it was a lie. He proffered another lie also, we see it now, when he said that he had signed himself the act of excommunication; for surely this is not his handwriting. Such conduct from a bishop is very strange. If you would appeal to the Pope, and go to Rome with such documents in hand against that bishop, you would have an easy victory over him. For, the canons of the church are clear and unanimous on that subject. A bishop who pronounces such grave sentences against a priest, and makes use of false signatures to certify his sentences, is himself suspended and excommunicated, ipso facto, for a whole year."
Mr. Brassard added: "Cannot we confess to Chiniquy that the opinion of the bishops of Canada is, that Bishop O'Regan is a perfect rogue, and that if he (Chiniquy) would submit at once, under protest, to those unjust sentences, and appeal to the Pope, he would gain his cause, and soon be reinstated by a public decree of his Holiness."
Our discussion about the troubles I had had, and the best way to put an end to them, having kept us up till three o'clock in the morning without being able to come to any satisfactory issue, we adjourned to the next day, and went to take some rest after a short prayer.
The 25th of November, at 10 a.m., after breakfast and a short walk in our public square, to breathe the pure air and enjoy the fine scenery of our beautiful hill of St. Anne, we shut ourselves up in my study, and resumed the discussion of the best plans of putting an end to the existing difficulties.
To show them my sincere desire of stopping those noisy and scandalous struggles without compromising the sacred principles which had guided me from the beginning of our troubles, I consented to sacrifice my position as pastor of St. Anne, provided Mr. Brassard would be installed in my place. It was decided, however, that I should remain with him, as his vicar and help, in the management of the spiritual and temporal affairs of the colony. The promise was given me that on that condition the bishop would withdraw his so-called sentence, give back to the French Canadians of Chicago the church he had taken away from them, put a French-speaking priest at the head of the congregation, and forgive and forget what he might consider our irregular conduct towards him, after we should have signed the following document:
To His Lordship O'Regan, Bishop of Chicago.
My Lord:As my actions and writing in opposition to your orders have, since a few months, given some scandals, and caused some people to think that I would rather prefer to be separated from our holy church than to submit to your authority, I hasten to express the regret I feel for such acts and writings. And to show to the world and to you, my bishop, my firm desire to live and die a Catholic, I hasten to write to your lordship that I submit to your sentence, and that I promise hereafter to exercise the holy ministry only with your permission. In consequence, I respectfully request your lordship to withdraw the censures and interdicts you have pronounced against me and those who have had any spiritual communication with me. I am, my lord, your devoted son in Christ,
It was eleven o'clock at night when I consented to sign this document, which was to be handed to the bishop and have any value, only on the above conditions. The two deputies were beside themselves with joy at the success of their mission, and at my readiness to sacrifice myself for the sake of peace. Mons. Desaulnier said:
"Now we see, evidently, that Chiniquy has been right with his people from the beginning, that he never meant to create a schism and to put himself at the head of a rebellious party, to defy the authority of the church. If the bishop does not want to live in peace with the people and pastor of St. Anne after such a sacrifice, we will tell him that it is not Chiniquy, but Bishop O'Regan, who wants a schism we will appeal to the Pope I will go with Chiniquy, and we will easily get there the removal of that bishop from the diocese of Chicago."
Mr. Brassard confirmed that sentence, and added that he also would accompany me to Rome to be the witness of my innocence, and the bad conduct of the bishop. He added that it would not take him a week to raise twice the amount of money in Montreal we would require to go to Rome.
After thanking them for what they had done and said, I asked Mr. Desaulnier if he would be brave enough to repeat before my whole people what he had just said before me and Mr. Brassard in the presence of God.
"Surely, I would be most happy to repeat before your whole people that it is impossible to find fault with you in what you have done till now. But, you know very well, I will never have such an opportunity, for it is now eleven o'clock at night, your people are soundly sleeping, and I must start to-morrow morning, at six o'clock, to take the Chicago train at Kankakee at 8 a.m.
I answered: "All right!"
We knelt together to make a short prayer, and I led them to their rooms, wishing them refreshing sleep, after the hard work of the day.
Ten minutes later I was in the village, knocking at the door of six of my most respectable parishioners, and telling them:
"Please do not lose a moment; go with your fastest horse to such and such a part of the colony; knock at every door and tell the people to be at the church at five o'clock in the morning, to hear with their own ears what the deputies from Canada have to say about past struggles with the Bishop of Chicago. Tell them to be punctual at five o'clock in their pews, where the deputies will address them words which they must hear at any cost."
A little before five the next morning Mr. Desaulnier, full of surprise and anxiety, knocked at my door and said:
"Chiniquy, do you not hear the strange noise of buggies and carriages which seem to be coming from every quarter of the globe. What does it mean? Have your people become crazy to come to church at this dark hour, so long before the dawn of day?"
"What! what!" I answered, "I was sleeping so soundly that I have heard nothing yet. What do you mean by this noise of carriages and buggies around the chapel? Are you dreaming?" "No, I am not dreaming," he answered; "not only do I hear the noise of a great many carriages, wagons, and buggies; but, though it is pretty dark, I see several hundred of them around the chapel. I hear the voices of a great multitude of men, women, and even children, putting questions to each other, and giving answers which I cannot understand. They make such a noise by their laughing and jokes! Can you tell me what this means? I have never been so puzzled in my life."
I answered him: "Do you not see that you are dreaming. Let me dress myself that I may go and see something of that strange and awful dream!"
Mr. Brassard, though a little more calm than Desaulnier, was not, himself, without some anxiety at the strange noise of that multitude of carriages, horses, and people around my house and chapel at such an hour. Knocking at my door, he said: "Please, Chiniquy, explain that strange mystery. Do that people come to play us some bad trick, and punish us for our intruding in their affairs?"
"Be quiet," I answered, "my dear friends. You have nothing to fear from that good and intelligent people. Do you not remember that, last night, a few minutes before eleven o'clock, Desaulnier said that he would be honest and brave enough to repeat before my whole people what he had said before you and me, and in the presence of God. I suppose that some of the angels of heaven have heard those words, and have carried them this night to every family, inviting them to be here at the chapel, that they might hear from your own lips what you think of the grand and glorious battle they are fighting in this distant land for the principle of truth and justice, as the gospel secures them to every disciple of Christ."
"Well! well!" said Desaulnier, "there is only one Chiniquy in the world to take me in such a trap, and there is only one people under heaven to do what this people is doing here. I would never have given you that answer had I not been morally sure that I would never have had the opportunity to fulfill it. Who would think you would play me such a trick? But," he added, "though I know that this will terribly compromise me before certain parties, it is too late to retract, and I will fulfill my promise."
It is impossible to express my own joy and the joy of that noble people when they heard from the very lips of those deputies that, after spending a whole day and two nights in examining all that had been done by their pastor and by them in that solemn and fearful contest, they declared that they had not broken any law of God, nor of His holy church; and that they had kept themselves in the very way prescribed by the canons.
Tears of joy were rolling down every cheek when they heard Mr. Desaulnier telling them, which Mr. Brassard confirmed after, that the bishop had no possible right to interdict their pastor, since he had told them that he was one of his best priests; and that they had done well not to pay any attention to an act of excommunication which was a sham and sacrilegious comedy, not having been signed nor certified by any known person. Both deputies said:
"Mr. Brassard will be your pastor, and Mr. Chiniquy, as his vicar, will remain in your midst. He has signed an act of submission, which we have found sufficient, on the condition that the bishop will let you live in peace, and withdraw the sentence he says he has fulminated against you. If he does not accept those conditions we will tell him, it is not Mr. Chiniquy, but he, who wants a schism, and we will go with Mr. Chiniquy to Rome, to plead his cause and prove his innocence before his Holiness."
After this, we all knelt to thank and bless God; and never people went back to their homes with more cheerful hearts than the people of St. Anne on that morning of the 25th of November, 1856.
At six o'clock a.m., Mr. Desaulnier was on his way back to Chicago, to present my conditional act of submission to the bishop, and press him, in the name of the bishops of Canada, and in the name of all the most sacred interests of the church, to accept the sacrifice and the submission of the people of St. Anne, and to give them the peace they wanted and were purchasing at such a price. The Rev. Mr. Brassard had remained with me, waiting for a letter from the bishop to accompany me and put the last seal to our reconciliation.
The next day he received the following note from Mr. Desaulnier:
Bishopric of Chicago, Nov. 26th, 1856.
"The Rev. Mr. Brassard,
"Monsieur, It is advisable and indispensable that you should come here, with Mr. Chiniquy, as soon as possible. In consequence, I expect you both day after to-morrow, in order to settle that matter definitely.
After reading that letter with Mr. Brassard, I said:
"Do you not feel that these cold words mean nothing good? I regret that you have not gone with Desaulnier to the bishop. You know the levity and weakness of his character, always bold with his words, but soft as wax at the least pressure which he feels. My fear is that the bulldog tenacity of my lord O'Regan has frightened him, and all his courage and bravados have melted away before the fierce temper of the Bishop of Chicago. But let us go. Be sure, however, my dear Mr. Brassard, that if the bishop does not accept you to remain at the head of this colony, to protect and guide it, no consideration whatever will induce me to betray my people and let them become the prey of the wolves which want to devour them."
We arrived at the Illinois Central depot of Chicago, the 28th, at about ten a.m. Mr. Desaulnier was there, waiting for us. He was pale as a dead man. The marks of Cain and Judas were on his face. Having taken him at a short distance from the crowd, I asked him:
He answered: "The news is, that you and Mr. Brassard have nothing to do but to take your bags and go away from St. Anne, to Canada. The bishop is unwilling to make any arrangements with you. He wants me to be the pastor of St. Anne, pro tempore, and he wants you, with Mr. Brassard, to go back quietly to Canada, and tell the bishops to mind their own business."
"And what has become of the promise you have given me and to my people, to go with me and Mr. Brassard to Rome, if the bishop refused that proposed arrangements you have fixed yourselves?"
"Tat! tat! tat!" answered he. "The bishop does not care a straw about your going, or not going to Rome. He has put me as his grand vicar at the head of the colony of St. Anne, from which you must go in the shortest time possible."
"Now, Desaulnier," I answered, "you are a traitor, and a Judas, and if you want to have the pay of Judas, I advise you to go to St. Anne. There, you will receive what you deserve. The beauty and importance of that great colony have tempted you, and you have sold me to the bishop, in order to become a grand vicar and eat the fruits of the vine I have planted there. But, you will soon see your mistake. If you have any pity for yourself, I advise you never to put your feet into that place any more."
Desaulnier answered: "The bishop will not make any arrangements with you unless you retract publicly what you have written against him, on account of his taking possession of the church of the French Canadians of Chicago, and you must publish, in the press, that he was right and honest in what he did in that circumstance."
"My dear Mr. Brassard," I said, "can I make such a declaration conscientiously and honorably?" That venerable man answered me:
"You cannot consent to do such a thing."
"Desaulnier," I said, "do you hear? Mr. Brassard and your conscience, if you have any, tell you the same thing. If you take sides against me with a man whom you have yourself declared, yesterday, to be a sacrilegious thief, you are not better than he is. Go and work with him. As for me, I go back into the midst of my dear and noble people of St. Anne."
"What will you do there," answered Mr. Desaulnier, "when the bishop has forbidden you to remain?"
"What will I do?" I answered. "I will teach those true disciples of Jesus Christ to despise and shun the tyrants and the traitors, even though wearing a mitre, or a square bonnet (un bonnet carre). Go, traitor! and finish your Judas work! Adieu!"
I then threw myself into the arms of Mr. Brassard, who was almost speechless, suffocated in his sobs and tears. I pressed him to my heart and said! "Adieu! my dear Mr. Brassard. Go back to Canada and tell my friends, how the cowardice and ambition of that traitor has ruined the hope we had of putting an end to this deplorable state of affairs. I go back among my brethren of St. Anne, with more determination than ever to protect them against the tyranny and impiety of our despotic rulers. It will be more easy than ever to show them that the Son of God has not redeemed us, on the cross, that we might be slaves of those heartless traders in souls. I will more earnestly than ever teach my people to shun the modern gospel of the bishops, in order to follow the old Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the only hope and life of our poor fallen humanity."
Mr. Brassard wanted to say something; but his voice was suffocated by his sobs. The only words he could utter, when pressing me to his heart, were: "Adieu, dear friend, adieu!"
CHAPTER 63 Back to Table of Contents
It was evident that the betrayal of Mr. Desaulnier would be followed by new efforts on the part of the bishop to crush us. Two new priests were sent from Canada, Mr. Mailloux, a vicar general, and Mr. Campo, to strengthen his hands, and press the people to submit. Mr. Brassard wrote me from Canada in December:
"All the bishops are preparing to hurl their thunders against you, and your people, on account of your heroic resistance to the tyranny of the Bishop of Chicago. I have told them the truth, but they don't want to know it. My lord Bourget told me positively that you must be forced, at any cost, to yield to the authority of your bishop; and he has threatened to excommunicate me if I tell the people what I know of the shameful conduct of Desaulnier. If I were alone I would not mind his excommunication, and would speak the truth, but such a sentence against me would kill my poor old mother. I hope you will not find fault with me if I remain absolutely mute. I pray you to consider this letter confidential. You know very well the trouble you would put me into by its publication."
The French Canadians of Chicago saw, at once, that their bishop, strengthened by the support of Desaulnier, would be more than ever obstinate in his determination to crush them. They thought that the best way to force him to do them justice, was to publish a manifesto of their grievances against him, and make a public appeal to all the bishops of the United States, and even to the Pope.
On the 22nd of January, 1857, The Chicago Tribune was requested by them to publish the following document:
At a public meeting of the French and Canadian Catholics of Chicago, held in the hall of Mr. Bodicar, on the 22nd of January, 1857, Mr. Rofinot being called to preside, and Mr. Franchere,* acting as a secretary, the following address and resolutions being read, have been unanimously approved:
"Editors of the 'Tribune.' Will you allow a thousand voices from the dead to speak to the public through your valuable paper?
"Everybody in Chicago knows that, a few years ago, there was a flourishing congregation of French people coming from France and Canada to this city. They had their priest, their church, their religious meeting. All that is now dispersed and destroyed. The present Bishop of Chicago has breathed his deadly breath upon us. Instead of coming to us as a father, he came as a savage enemy; instead of helping us as a friend, he has put us down as a revengeful foe. He has done the very contrary to which was commanded him by the Gospel. 'The bruised reed He shall not break, and the smoking flax He shall not quench.' Instead of guiding us with the cross of the meek Jesus, he has ruled over us with an iron rod.
"Every Sunday, the warm-hearted and generous Irish goes to his church to hear the voice of his priest in his English language. The intelligent Germans have their pastors to address them in their mother tongue.
"The French people are the only ones now who have no priest and no church. They are the only ones whose beautiful language is prohibited, and which is not heard from any pulpit in Chicago. And is it from lack of zeal and liberality? Ah! no, we take the whole city of Chicago as a witness of what we have done. There was not in Chicago a better looking little church than the French Canadian church called St. Louis. But, alas! we have been turned out of it by our very bishop. As he is now publishing many stories to contradict that fact, we owe to ourselves and to our children to raise from the tomb, where Bishop O'Regan has buried us, a voice to tell the truth.
"As soon as Bishop O'Regan came to Chicago, he was told that the French priest was too popular, that his church was attended not only by his French Canadian people, but that many Irish and Germans were going daily to him for their religious duties. It was whispered in the ears of his Rt. Reverence that, on account of this, many dollars and cents were going to the French priest which would be better stored in his Rt. Reverence's purse.
"Till that time the bishop was not, in appearance, taking much trouble about us. But as soon as he saw that there were dollars and cents at stake, we had the honour to occupy his thoughts day and night. Here are the facts, the undeniable public facts. He (the bishop) began by sending for our priest, and telling him that he had to prepare himself to be removed from Chicago to some other place. As soon as we knew that determination, a deputation was sent to his Rt. Reverence to get the promise that we would get another French priest, and we received from him the assurance that our just request would be granted. But the next Sunday an Irish priest having been sent to officiate instead of a French one, we sent a deputation to ask him where the French priest was that he had promised us? He answered, 'That we ought to take any priest we could get, and be satisfied.' This short and sharp answered raised our French blood, and we began speaking more boldly to his Reverence, who got up and walked through the room in a rage, saying some half a dozen times, 'You insult me!' But seeing that we were a fearless people, and determined to have no other priests but one whom we could understand, he at last promised again a French priest, if we were ready to pay the debt of our church and priest house. We said we would pay them, but our verbal promise was nothing to his Reverence. He immediately wrote an agreement, though it was Sunday, and we signed it. But to attain, sooner or later, his object, he imposed upon that unfortunate priest a condition that he knew no Christian would obey.
"This condition was that he should not receive in his church any one but the French. This was utterly impossible, as many Irish, Germans, and American Catholics had been in the habit, for years past, of coming to our church: it was impossible to turn them out at once.
"We did everything in our power to help our priest in the matter, by taking all the seats in the church, against the will of the respectable people of the different nations who had occupied them for years. Finding themselves turned out of the church, and unable to conceive the reason of so gross an insult from a fellow-Christian people, they said to us, 'Have we not paid for our seats in your church till this day? Double the rent if you like; we are ready to pay for it; but, for God's sake, permit us to come and pray with you at the foot of the same altars.'
"We explained to them the tyrannical orders of the bishop, and they, too, commenced cursing the bishop and the ship that brought him over.
"They continued, however, to come to our church, though they had no seat. They attended divine service in the aisles of the church, and we did not like to disturb them; but our feelings were too Christian for the bishop. He kept a watch over our priest, and, of course, found out that he was receiving many who were forbidden by him to attend our religious meetings.
"The bishop, then, thought once more of his dear French priest, so he came in person to his house, and asked him if he had kept his orders. The priest answered that it was quite impossible to obey such orders, and remain a Christian. He acknowledged that, in many instances, he had been obliged, by the laws of charity, to give religious help to some who were not French people.
"'Well, then,' answered the bishop, 'from this very moment, I silence you, and I forbid you the functions of priest in my diocese.'
"The poor trembling priest, thunderstruck, could not say a word.
"He went to some friends to relate what had just happened him; and he was advised by them to go back to the bishop immediately to beg the privilege of remaining at the head of his congregation till Lent was over. The bishop said:
"'I will consent to your request, if you pay me one hundred dollars.'
"'I will give you the sum as soon as I can collect it, and will give you my note for thirty days,' answered the priest.
"'I want the money, cash down,' said the bishop; 'go to some of your friends, you can easily collect that amount.'
"This poor priest went away in search of the almighty dollars; but he could not find them as soon as he wished, and did not return to his lordship that day. The bishop started that night for St. Louis, but he did not forget his dear French people in his long journey. As soon as he arrived in St. Louis, he wrote to his grand vicar, Rev. Mr. Dunn, that the French priest pay him one hundred dollars or remain suspended.
"This goodwill of the bishop for our spiritual welfare, and his paternal love for our purses, did not fail to strike us. Our priest made a new effort that very day; he went to see an old friend who had been absent from town for some time, and related to him his sad position. This old friend (P.F. Rofinot), seeing that he could redeem a priest for so little a sum (for the priest had collected part of it himself), immediately proceeded with the priest to the house of very Reverend Dunn, with the money in hand, to satisfy the bishop.
"But, alas! that bargain did not last very long; for as soon as the bishop returned, the watch that he had left behind him performed his duty well, and told him that the French priest was going on as before. So the poor priest had to go again to the bishop to explain his conduct. But this time he could not bear the idea of officiating any longer under such a tyrant. He left us to fight the hardest battles ourselves against the bishop.
"As the church and the house of our priest were on leased grounds, the lease had to be renewed or the buildings removed. We went to the bishop, who advised us to buy a lot and remove the church on it, and sell the house to help pay for the lot. Suspecting nothing wrong in that advice, we followed it. We bargained for a lot, agreed to sell the house, and went to report our progress.
"But we were going too fast. The bishop must stop us, or he would be frustrated in his calculations, for he had a lot himself to put the church on: he opposed our removing our church, by telling us that there was another lot adjoining the one we had bargained for; and that we must buy it also. We went immediately and bought the lot on ninety days' time. But he objected to this again, saying that he would not allow us to touch the church, unless we had the whole lot paid for, and put the deed in his hands, and that the deed should be made to himself personally.
"This had the effect desired by the bishop. We had collected all the money that could be collected then, in our small congregation; it was impossible for us to do any more, so we concluded to give up the battle. The bishop then went on, took the money we had sold the house for (one thousand two hundred dollars). A Catholic lady, whose husband had bought the house, had subscribed one hundred dollars for removing the church, providing the bishop would promise that it would remain in the hands of the French, and attended by a French priest. The bishop proffered again to that lady the lie, which he so often uttered to us, everywhere, even from the altar, that upon his word of bishop, it should remain a French church, and that they should have a French priest. (This we shall call lie number one.) He then moved the church to another lot of his own, sent an Irish priest to officiate in it, put the money in his pocket, and made the congregation, which is now Irish, pay for the lot, the moving and repairing of the church, and he takes quarterly the revenues, which are no less than two thousand dollars a year.
"This is the way we have been swindled out of our church, of the house of our priest, and of our all, by the tyrant, Bishop O'Regan; and when a French priest visits our city, he forbids him to address us in our mother tongue. This is the way we French Catholics, as a society, have been blotted out of the book of the living!
"And when Rev. Father Chiniquy has publicly accused Bishop O'Regan to have deprived us most unjustly of our church, he has proffered a truth which has as many witnesses as there are Catholic and Protestants in Chicago.
"We know well that Bishop O'Regan is proclaiming that he has not deprived us of our church, that if it is in the hands of the Irish, it is because the Irish and not the French built it. 'This is lie number two, which can be proved by more than a thousand witnesses.'
"We would like to know if he has forgotten the agreement (mentioned above) which he made us sign in bargaining for a French priest. He has the receipts for every cent that was due up to the time he took possession of our church. He then proffered these words with the French gentlemen who brought him the receipts: "It takes the French to collect money quick these hard times,' (being in the winter).
"We must also add that we, French people, have paid for the very vestments that the bishop uses in his cathedral, which he has taken from our church. But he uses them only on some high feasts, thinking too much of stolen property, to use them on a common day.
"Will it be out of my place here, to say that the cathedral of Chicago was built by the French, and that the lot which it is built on was given by a Frenchman? It is very reluctantly that we expose all these facts before the eyes of the public; but having waited patiently, during two long years, and having used all the influence we could command in France and Canada, to no purpose, we must resort to the sympathy of the public for justice, through the free press of the United States.
"Resolved, 1st. That the Right Rev. O'Regan, Bishop of Chicago, has entirely lost the confidence of the French and Canadian population of Chicago since he has taken away from us our church.
"Resolved, 2nd. That the Right Rev. O'Regan has published a base slander against the French and Canadian population of Chicago, when he said he took our church from our hands on the pretense that we could not pay for it.
"Resolved, 3rd. That the Right Rev. O'Regan, having said to our deputies, who went to inquire from him by what right he was taking our church from us to give it to another congregation: 'I have the right to do what I like with your church, and your church properties; I can sell them and put the money in my pocket, and go where I please with it,' has assumed a power too tyrannical to be obeyed by a Christian and a free people.
"Resolved, 4th. That the nature of the different suits which the Right Rev. O'Regan has had before the civil courts of this state, and which he has almost invariably lost, have proved to the whole people of Illinois that he is quite unworthy of the position he holds in the Catholic Church.
"Resolved, 5th. That the Right Rev. O'Regan is here publicly accused of being guilty of simony for having extorted one hundred dollars from a priest to give him permission to officiate and administer the sacraments among us.
"Resolved, 6th. That the Right Rev. O'Regan, in forbidding the Irish and German Catholics to communicate with the French Catholic Church, and allowing the French and Canadians to communicate with the Irish and German Churches, has acted with a view to deprive the French Church of religious fees and other donations, which acts we consider unjust and against the spirit of the church, and more resembling a mercantile transaction than a Christian work.
"Resolved, 7th. That the French and Canadian people of Illinois have seen with feelings of grief and surprise that the Rev. Mr. Desaulnier has made himself the humble valet of the merciless and shameless persecutor of his countrymen.
"Resolved, 8th. That the Rev. Mr. Chiniquy, pastor of St. Anne, deserves the gratitude of every Catholic of Illinois, for having, at first, put a stop to the rapacious tyranny of the Bishop of Chicago.
"Resolved, 9th. That the French Catholics of Chicago are determined to give all support in their power to the Rev. Mr. Chiniquy, in his struggle against the Bishop of Chicago.
"Resolved, 10th. That a printed copy of these resolutions be sent to every bishop and archbishop of the United States and Canada, that they may see the necessity of giving to the church of Illinois a bishop more worthy of that high position.
"Resolved, 11th. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to His Holiness Pius IX., that he may be incited to make inquiries about the humiliated position of the church of Illinois, since the present bishop is among us.
"Resolved, 12th. That the independent and liberty-loving press of the United States be requested to publish the above address and resolutions all over the country.
"P.F. Rofinot, President,
"David Franchere, Secretary."
That cry of more than two thousand Roman Catholics of Chicago, which was reproduced by almost the whole press of Illinois, and the United States, fell as a thunderbolt upon the head of my lord O'Regan and Desaulnier; they wrote to all the bishops of America, to hasten to their rescue, and for several months the pulpits of the Roman Catholic Churches had no other mission than to repeat the echoes of the Episcopal Fulminations hurled against my devoted head. Many bishop's letters and mandements were published denouncing me and my people as infamous schismatics, whose pride and obstinacy were troubling the peace of the church. But the most bitter of all these was a letter from my lord Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, who thought the best, if not the only way to force the people to desert me, was by for ever destroying my honour. But he had the misfortune to fall into the pit he had dug for me in 1851.
The miserable girl he had associated with himself, to satisfy his implacable hatred, was dead. But, he had still in hand the lying accusations obtained from her against me. Having probably destroyed her sworn recantation written by the Jesuit Father Schnieder, and not having the least idea that I had kept three other sworn copies of her recantations he thought he could safely publish that I was a degraded man, who had been driven from Canada by him, after being convicted of some enormous crime, and interdicted.
This declaration was brought before the public, for the first time, by him, with an hypocritical air of compassion and mercy for me, which added much to the deadly effect he expected to produce by it. Here are his own words, addressed to the people of Bourbonnais, and through them, to the whole world:
"I must tell you that on the 27th of September, 1851, I withdrew all his powers, and interdicted him, for reasons which I gave him in my letter addressed to him; a letter which he had probably kept. Let him publish that letter, if he finds that I have persecuted him unjustly."
I could hardly believe my eyes when I read this ignominious act of perfidy on the part of that high dignitary: it seemed incredible, and surpassed anything I had ever seen, even in Bishop O'Regan. I cannot say, however, that it took me entirely by surprise, for I had anticipated it. When Father Schneider asked me why I had taken four sworn copies of the recantation of the unfortunate girl whose tears of regret were flowing before us, I told him that I knew so much of the meanness and perfidy of Bishop Bourget, that I thought he might destroy the copy we were sending him, in order to pierce me again with his poisonous arrows, whilst, if I kept three other copies, one for him, one for Mr. Brassard, and one for myself, I would have nothing to fear. I am convinced that my merciful God knew the malice of that bishop against me, and gave me that wisdom to save me.
I immediately sent him, through the press, the following answer:
To Monsignor Bourget:
St. Anne, April 18th, 1857.
My Lord: In your letter of the 19th of March, you assure the public that you have interdicted me, a few days before my leaving Canada for the United States, and you invite me to give the reasons of that sentence. I will satisfy you. On the 28th of September, 1851, I found a letter on my table from you, telling me that you had suspended me from my ecclesiastical offices, on account of a great crime that I had committed, and of which I was accused. But the name of the accuser was not given, nor the nature of the crime. I immediately went to see you, and protesting my innocence, I requested you to give me the name of my accusers, and allow me to be confronted by them, promising that I would prove my innocence. You refused to grant my request.
Then I fell on my knees, and with tears, in the name of God, I requested you again to allow me to meet my accusers and prove my innocence. You remained deaf to my prayer and unmoved by my tears; you repulsed me with a malice and air of tyranny which I had thought impossible in you.
During the twenty-four hours after this, sentiments of an inexpressible wrath crossed my mind. I tell it to you frankly, in that terrible hour I would have preferred to be at the feet of a heathen priest, whose knife would have slaughtered me on his altars, to appease his infernal gods, rather than be at the feet of a man who, in the name of Jesus Christ, and under the mask of the gospel, should dare to commit such a cruel act. You had taken away my honour you had destroyed me with the most infamous calumny and you had refused me every means of justification! You had taken under your protection the cowards who were stabbing me in the dark!
Though it is hard to repeat it, I must tell it here publicly, I cursed you on that horrible day.
With a broken heart I went to the Jesuit college, and I showed the wounds of my bleeding soul to the noble friend who was generally my confessor, the Rev. Father Schneider, the director of the college.
After three days, having providentially got some reasons to suspect who was the author of my destruction, I sent some one to ask her to come to the college, without mentioning my name.
When she was in the parlour, I said to Father Schneider:
"You know the horrible iniquity of the bishop against me; with the lying words of a prostitute, he has tried to destroy me; but please come and be the witness of my innocence."
When in the presence of that unfortunate female, I told her:
"You are in the presence of God Almighty, and two of His priests. They will be the witnesses of what you say! Speak the truth. Say in the presence of God and this venerable priest, if I have ever been guilty of what you have accused me to the bishop."
At these words, the unfortunate female burst into tears; she concealed her face in her hands, and with a voice half suffocated with her sobs, she answered:
"No sir; you are not guilty of that sin!"
"Confess here another truth," I said to her: "Is it not true that you came to confess to me with the desire to tempt me than to reconcile yourself to God?"
She said, "Yes, sir, that is the truth." Then I said again, "Continue to say the truth, and I will forgive you, and God also will forgive your iniquity. Is it not through revenge for having failed in your criminal designs, that you have tried to destroy me by that false accusation to the bishop?" "Yes, sir, it was the only reason which has induced me to accuse you falsely."
And all I say here, at least in substance, has been heard, written, and signed by the Right Rev. Schneider, one of your priests, and the present director of the Jesuit College. That venerable priest is still living in Montreal; let the people of Canada go and interrogate him. Let the people of Canada also go to the Rev. Mr. Brassard, who has in his hands an authentic copy of that declaration.
Your lordship gives the public to understand that I was disgraced by that sentence, some days before I left Canada for Illinois. Allow me to give you my reasons for differing from you in this matter.
There is a canon law of the church which says:
"If a censure is unjust and unfounded, let the man against whom the sentence has been passed pay no attention to it. For, before God and His church, no unjust sentence can bring any injury against any one. Let the one against whom such unfounded and unjust judgment has been pronounced even take no step to annul it, for it is a nullity by itself."
You know very well that the sentence you had passed against me was null and void for many good reasons; that it was founded on a false testimony. Father Schneider is there, ready to prove it to you, if you have any doubt.
The second reason I have to believe that you had yourself considered your sentence a nullity, and that I was not suspended by it from my ecclesiastical dignity and honour, is founded on a good testimony, I hope the testimony of your lordship.
A few hours before my leaving Canada for the United States, I went to ask your benediction, which you gave me with every mark of kindness. I then asked your lordship to tell me frankly if I had to leave with the impression that I was disgraced in his mind? You gave me the assurance of the contrary.
Then I told you that I wanted to have a public and irrefutable testimony of your esteem, written with your own hand, and you gave me the following letter:
"Montreal, Canada, October 13, 1851.
"Sir, You ask me permission to leave my diocese to go and offer your services to the Bishop of Chicago. As you belong to the diocese of Quebec, I think it belongs to my lord the archbishop to give you the exact you wish. As for me, I can not but thank you for your labours among us, and I wish you in return the most abundant blessings from heaven. You shall ever be in my remembrance and in my heart, and I hope that Divine Providence will permit me, at a future time, to testify all the gratitude I owe you.
"Meanwhile, I remain your very humble and obedient servant,
"Ignatius, Bishop of Montreal.
I then asked you to give me some other tangible token of your esteem, which I might show everywhere I should go.
You answered that you would be happy to give me one, and you said: "What do you wish?"
"I wish," I said, "to have a chalice from your hands to offer the holy sacrifice of the mass the rest of my life."
You answered: "I will do that with pleasure;" and you gave an order to one of your priests to bring you a chalice that you might give it to me. But that priest had not the key of the box containing the sacred vases; that key was in the hands of another priest, who was absent for a few hours.
I had not the time to wait; the hour of the departure of the trains had come; I told you: "Please, my lord, send that chalice to the Rev. Mr. Brassard, of Longueuil, who will forward it to me in a few days to Chicago." And the next day one of your secretaries went to the Rev. Mr. Brassard, gave him the chalice you had promised me, which is still in my hands. And the Rev. Mr. Brassard is there still living, to be the witness of what I say, and to bring that fact to your memory if you have forgotten it.
Well, my lord, I do believe that a bishop will never give a chalice to a priest to say mass, when he knows that that priest is interdicted. And the best proof that you know very well that I was not interdicted by your rash and unjust sentence, is that you gave me that chalice as a token of your esteem, and of my honesty, ect.
Ten thousand copies of this exposure of the depravity of the bishop were published in Montreal. I asked the whole people of Canada to go to the Rev. Mr. Schneider and to the Rev. Mr. Brassard to know the truth, and many went. The bishop remained confounded. It was proved that he had committed against me a most outrageous act of tyranny and perfidy; and that I was perfectly innocent and honest, and that he knew it, in the very hour that he tried to destroy my character. Probably the Bishop of Montreal had destroyed the copy of the declaration of the poor girl he had employed, and thinking that this was the only copy of her declaration of my innocence and honesty, he thought he could speak of the socalled interdict after I was a Protestant. But in that he was cruelly mistaken, for as I have already said, by the great mercy of God, three other authenticated copies had been kept: one by the Rev. Mr. Schneider himself, another by the Rev. Mr. Brassard, another by one whom it is not necessary to mention, and then he had no suspicion that the revelation of his unchristian conduct, and of his determination to destroy me with the false oath of a prostitute, were in the hands of too many people to be denied.
The Bishop of Chicago, whom I met a few days after, told me what I was well aware of before. "That such a sentence was a perfect nullity in every way, and it was a disgrace only for those who were blind enough to trample under their feet the laws of God and men to satisfy their bad passions."
A few days after the publication of that letter in Canada, Mr. Brassard wrote me:
"Your last letter has completely unmasked our poor bishop, and revealed to the world his malice, injustice and hypocrisy. He felt so confounded by it, that he has been three days without being about to eat or drink anything, and three nights without sleeping. Everyone says that the chastisement you have given him is a terrible one, when it is in the face of the whole world; but he deserved it."
When I received that last friendly letter from Mr. Brassard on the 1st of April, 1857, I was far from suspecting that on the 15th of the same month, I should read in the press of Canada, the following lines from him:
St. Roch De L' Achigan, Le 9 Avril, 1857.
Messieurs:I request you to insert the following lines in your journal. As some people suspect that I am favouring the schism of Mr. Chiniquy, I think it is my duty to say that I have never encouraged him by my words or writings in that schism. I must say that, last November, when I went to St. Anne, accompanied by Mr. Desaulnier, Superior of St. Hyacinthe College, my only object was to persuade that old friend to leave the bad ways in which he was walking. And in Chicago I pressed him to put himself in a canonical way.
I, more than anyone else, deplore the fall of a man whom, I confess, I loved much, but for the sake of whom I will not sacrifice the sacred ties of Catholic unity. I hope that all the Canadians who were attached to Mr. Chiniquy when he was united to the church, will withdraw from him in horror of his schism. For before anything else, we must be truly and faithfully Catholic.
However, we have a duty to perform towards the man who has fulfilled such a holy mission in our midst, by establishing the society of temperance. It is to call back, with our prayers, that stray sheep who has left the true Pastor's fold.
I request all journals to reproduce this declaration. Truly yours,
Moses Brassard, Pastor.
M.M., the Editors of the Courier du Canada.
I felt that there was not a line, not a sentiment of Mr. Brassard in that letter. It smelt Bishop Bourget's hand, from the beginning to the end. I thought, however, that it was my duty to address him the following answer:
St. Anne, Kakakee County, Illinois, April, 23, 1857.
My Dear Mr. Brassard: I have just received your letter of the 9th inst., but no! I will not call it a letter, it will be better named a bitter tear, and a sad wail of a heart as good as it is noble and generous.
You have been a witness how the people and missionary of St. Anne have been betrayed by Mr. Desaulnier. You were at my side as a friend and father, when this traitor said to me, as well as to my brethren, "Sign this act of submission to the Bishop of Chicago; this act alone is enough to make him withdraw the sentence which fills your Canadian friends with anxiety. If the bishop does not give you the place you want, and if he does not withdraw the excommunication after having been presented with this act, I will tell him, 'It is neither the pastor nor the people of St. Anne who wish a schism, they have done that which religion and honour commanded, to prove it; it is you who wishes it.'" Your tears were mingled with mine, and the incense of your prayer ascended with those of my brethren, when on the 26th of November Mr. Desaulnier said to the people of St. Anne, "You cannot be blamed for when you have done since the beginning of your difficulties with your bishop." You were a witness that our first condition to the signing of the act which you and Mr. Desaulnier presented to us, was that you should be the pastor of St. Anne, and that I should remain with you as long as you would find it to the interest of my colony. You know that he gave me his word of honour, in presence of all the people, that if the bishop would not give us peace after the signing of the act, he (Mr. Desaulnier) would go with us to St. Louis and even to Rome, to plead my cause and show the iniquity and unbearable tyranny of the Bishop of Chicago. Did he not assure us that, in case the Bishop should refuse to accept the act of submission we had signed, your mission to St. Anne was finished, and that you both would return to Canada, after your voyage to St. Louis? Is it not true that when in Chicago, in reply to our question, "What news?" Mr. Desaulnier said, "You have only to take your bags and both return to Canada at once." Mr. Desaulnier denies all those facts, with an impudence of which he alone is capable. You are my only witness before our Canada, which wishes and has a right to know the truth in this matter.
I took you as my witness, and you replied in many of your letters, that you could not say the truth without compromising yourself. Is not this an acknowledgment that we, priests of Jesus Christ, are groaning under the weight of the most frightful tyranny; and that we are in the power of men who threaten our honour and life, if we dare speak the truth in favour of an oppressed brother? And this is the system which proclaims itself as the divine and ineffable news which the Messiah brought to the world!! And this abominable oppression, this system of deceit, is the religion which the Son of the God of truth, justice, and mercy, has established to save the world? This is the foundation stone of the church of Christ!!! No! You do not believe that, my dear Mr. Brassard. Neither do I. I never did, and never will believe it.
They tell us it is for the greater good of the church that they act thus; that it is to preserve the respect which is due to the Holy Catholic Hierarchy, that they take those extreme measures against the people of St. Anne!
But I have carefully studied the laws of the church upon these great questions, and I see they say precisely the contrary. I see that the Catholic church said to us, 1. "In the church there is no arbitrary power." 2. "The censures are null when they have been pronounced against sins which have not been committed. 3. Never receive any accusation against a priest, which has not been proven by two or three witnesses. 4. If a sentence is visibly unjust, the condemned must not pay any attention to it; for before God and His Church, no unjust sentence can injure anyone. 5. The unjust excommunication is not binding neither before God nor the people, when that people know its injustice, because the Holy Ghost cannot abandon those who have not deserved it."
You wish me to act according to the canons of the church. I have already told you that if I had been interdicted on the 19th of August, I would have been able to appeal from that sentence, but I had not. I had fifteen days to consider. How could I have appealed from a sentence which had not been pronounced? What witness could I bring against a fact which, I knew, had never taken place? But you will say: "The excommunication? Should it not give you some anxiety?" "Not the least." St. Thomas said positively that an excommunication of which the injustice is known by the people, ought not to prevent a priest from exercising his ministry among them. They will perhaps say, "But where did the people get the right to judge in such things?" St. Thomas must have believed that the people had that right, since he said it. St. Thomas was neither a heretic nor schismatic for believing these things.
Why, then, should I be one for having thought, spoken, and acted, according to the doctrine of him whom the church has named the angel of the school? Besides that, you know that the excommunication was a nullity from want of being signed.
The reason of this surprise about the right which the people has to exercise its judgment upon this question, is that, lately, the bishops have not only stripped the priests, but also the people, of the holy and just rights which Jesus Christ had given them. Those who have carefully studied the history of the church in the first centuries know this as well as I do. But be it known, there are rights against which time does not prescribe. There are rights which the priests and people have never renounced, and which the Church of Christ will always like to see them enjoy. I do not say that the bishops are not appointed by the church to govern the flock according to their caprices, but according to the unchangeable rules of justice, equity, and truth of the gospel. In the primitive church, every time that a bishop forgets this, other bishops reminded him of it.
Do we not see in the gospel, that the first Christians complained bitterly to the apostles themselves of the manner in which they had administered the goods entrusted to them? Were they excommunicated for that? Did they receive in answer the insolent reply that the people receive today? viz.: "You are but the laity, that does not concern you?" No! The apostles listened to the complaints of the people; they found them just, and the people were allowed to choose the administrators of their goods. The people, then, were looked upon as something worthy of attention and respect, and were not tied, as today, to the feet of a dignitary, and obliged to go right and left at the good pleasure of their pretended master. The people were not, then, bridled; were not mere machines to pay tithes, build palaces, raise proud cathedrals; nor were they degraded, demoralized, as today; obliged to believe they had minds, but had no right to make use of them; they were not, then, as now, poor beasts of burthen, whose only duty is to obey their master. But their wants and wishes were consulted, their voice was heard. They had not yet the idea that the Holy Ghost was to enlighten only a certain class of men, and that the rest of humanity were given up to ignorance, only to walk in the light of a few privileged luminaries.
But the spirit of wisdom, charity, and tolerance, this respect for the will and wishes of the people, where do you find them today? On the contrary, we find tyranny on the one side, and stern and necessary resistance on the other; resistances which are but the expression of the law of God. Let the tolerant conduct of the apostles, who listened with so much humility to the complaints of the first Christians, be compared to that of Bishop O'Regan when questioned by the French people of Chicago upon the right he had to deprive them of their church, to give it to another congregation, put them out of doors saying, "You do not know your religion; I have the right to sell your churches, and the grounds attached to them, put the money in my pocket, and eat and drink where I like."
This is what Bishop O'Regan has said and done; and this is what the Bishop of Canada approves and sanctions in the name of the gospel! They try to make you believe that it is the doctrine of Jesus Christ which these high dignitaries peach and practice. Let the poor people of Canada believe this if they wish; as for us in St. Anne, we do not, and never will believe it. Are not these men who cry the loudest to make us respect the canons of the church the very men who publicly trample the most holy laws of the people and of the church under their feet? How easy it would be to put to those powerful personages questions which they would call impertinent, but which would shed great light in the midst of the profound darkness in which a certain corner of the world is kept today? You who overwhelm us with curses and send us to hell if we are not ready to say amen to all you say, what have you done with the canon of the holy Council of Nice, which forbids you to change a priest's charge without his permission? Where is the canon of a general council which allows the bishops to add the words "usque ad revocationem" in the powers given to the priests! While one of the canons of the church says: "It is the authority of the canons and the examination of the conduct of the priests which ought to give or take away the ecclesiastical dignities, and not the will of the prelates."
History has preserved the names of certain tyrants who forced the trembling hand of a father to set fire to the pile which consumed his own child. Ah! why do these bishops of Canada remind us of that lamentable page of past centuries in commanding you to throw burning coals on the pile to which they have led me. You are more than a friend to me. I have the right to call you "Father." When still very young, domestic misfortunes forced me to leave for a strange country in search of a living; you stretched out to me a helping hand. Although poor yourself, you shared your bread with the poor orphan. You opened to me the doors of the college where I studied. And ever since, when a tempest threatened my fragile bark with shipwreck, in your arms I found a sure port. Every time I received a wound in the struggles of life, in your affection I found a remedy. When heaven chose your poor friend to change the face of our dear country, it was beneath your hospitable roof that I found rest. Your hand was the last one which pressed mine, when in 1851 I left Canada to consecrate myself to the service of the emigrants; and lastly, when the thunders of three deluded prelates fell upon my head, I said to myself: I have in Canada a friend, a father. I am so sure of his heart that I do not even need to call him to aid; there is a voice in his soul which cries to him: "Go, go to the aid of thy friend, of thy child!" I was not mistaken. On the 24th of November you pressed me to your heart; your words of peace and charity cheered my broken heart. For the love of God and for your sake also, my dear Mr. Brassard, I have consented to do all you require of me. Ah! why did you not come alone? How easily everything would have been safely settled! But without knowing it, you had with you a traitor, who came to give the people and pastor of St. Anne the kiss of Judas before delivering them into the hands of their enemies. Today you are commanded to add your efforts to those of this traitor, to strike me. They want you to add a new thorn to that crown of shame which the bishops have placed on my forehead. But how can I be guilty for having called you as a witness of the iniquities of my enemies? Have you forgotten with what sincerity and promptitude I signed, as well as my brethren of St. Anne, the act of submission to the Bishop O'Regan? Have you forgotten the desolation of your heart and mine when (on the conditions you well know) I declared to my people that I would no longer be their pastor?
Since the bishops of Canada command you to speak, in the name of the God of truth and justice, I also ask you to speak. Yes, state to the people of Canada how shamefully Mr. Desaulnier has deceived the generous people who surround me here. Yes! tell your surprise, your just indignation, your bitter sorrow when Mr. Desaulnier refused, in Chicago, to fulfill the sacred promise he had made! Tell the nature of the new document which he wanted me to sign at Chicago. Declare honestly that you said to me: "My poor friend, you cannot sign that act without lying and dishonouring yourself for ever."
Since the bishops of Canada command you to speak, raise your voice to say to the Canadian people what you wrote to Dr. Letourneaux and to myself: They do not wish to know the truth in Canada more than at Chicago about the shameful conduct of Mr. Desaulnier in this affair! Yes, speak! Give to my dear Canada the reply which the Bishop of Chicago made when you asked: "Have you any accusation in hand against the character of Mr. Chiniquy?" I need your testimony upon this question for the Bishop of Chicago, forgetting what he confessed to you is circulating, through my enemies, a thousand calumnies against me, which are reproduced today by the Bishop of Montreal. Say to Canada that the Bishop of Chicago assured you that he had interdicted me only because I disobeyed him in refusing to leave St. Anne, whilst, at the very time he held a letter brought by four witnesses, saying that I was ready to obey, and that I would prefer going to the end of the world rather than be interdicted.
If, having said all these things, you are still commanded to strike me, do so, dear friend. Though your blows go more directly to my heart than all the thunders of Bishop O'Regan, they will never shake my constancy, nor make me betray my brethren; they will neither make me change my convictions, nor force me any longer to bend the knee before men who wish us to submit to their caprices and impious commands rather than to the laws of the God of justice, truth and mercy, whose priest I have the honour to be. I have sworn at the foot of the altar to preach truth and justice, nothing will make me break my oath. Do you remember with what dignity you refused one day to bow before one of those modern divinities, who believe that everything is allowed them on earth. Do you not recollect that the Bishop of Ottawa had the audacity to take one of your letters out of the post office and read it, hoping the shameful act would never be known? I shall never forget the noble independence with which you protested against that abuse of power, and with what indignation you threatened to drag that haughty bishop before the courts of justice if he did not ask pardon for that outrage! Were you revolting against the church of Christ then? No! for you knew that her principles of truth and justice could not sanction such brigandage. So I did not revolt against the church of Christ when I resisted the insolence and outrages of the Bishop of Chicago.
Like St. Jerome, I know the rights of the bishops. I respect their authority. The Catholic Hierarchy is to me a holy and venerable institution. But when men, sheltering themselves behind those holy institutions, trample under their feet the principles of justice, truth, and holiness which the Gospel of Christ inculcates, I will fight to the end, with my poor emigrants, for the preservation of their Christian rights. You say that before all, we must be frankly and sincerely "Catholics." I answer, yes. But when one is wrongfully deprived of this glorious name before men because he opposes, as I have done, the brigandage of a bishop who believes all is allowed him, he can remain in peace, and be like St. Paul, who did not care what men said or thought of him. To be anathematized, because I have devoted myself to the welfare of my brethren, is not such a sad destiny as some people think. St. Paul said: "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according the flesh." The favour after which the apostle of the Gentiles signed has been accorded me. I cannot complain of it. Besides, does not Christ Himself say to those who labour to scatter seeds of justice and truth upon the earth, that they ought not expect to be treated better than He?
From every part of Canada and the United States men of distinction cease not to cry, Courage! It is true that several curse us, but it is because they are forced to do it. Many keep silent for fear of their masters, but their prayers and sympathies are for us. The bishops will see, sooner or later, that in order to retain their power on earth that power must be found, as in heaven, upon justice and truth.
When the priests of Canada, to please the bishops, contrary to their convictions, have degraded their own sacerdotal character in my person; when they have burned the effigy of the proscribed, having no more the glorious privilege of burning his body; when the father whom, by the grace of God, I have snatched from an abyss, cursed me; when this dear young man who has, so many times blessed me, because I have shown him the Gospel, the way of honour and virtue, by removing the stumbling block of intemperance offered to his weakness, has been forced to curse me; when that poor woman who, by the grace of God, owes me the bread she eats, and the few days of holy felicity she has enjoyed upon earth, has cursed me; when this fine little child, who has so many times blessed my name, because God made use of me to give him back a father, has cursed me, there will be a silence of sorrow in Canada around my proscribed name. Then a reaction will take place. A great prestige will be destroyed. A great power, holy and benevolent in its origin, but fallen by its excesses, will be destroyed. God grant that, in the midst of those ruins there may be no tears, no blood. This is not prophecy, it is history. Yes, let the Canadian clergy open the records of the past, and they will find where their blind and demoralizing obedience to the bishops leads them and their good and generous people, if not to infidelity and atheism.
You advise me, dear Mr. Brassard, to put myself in the canonical ways; but have I not already done so? Have not the bishops of Canada told you that the letter signed by me had already placed me in that position? Has not Mr. Desaulnier said, in your presence, to my people and myself at St. Anne: "Sign this act, and if the bishop does not take away his sentence of excommunication, I will say to him: 'It is not Mr. Chiniquy, neither his people, who wish a schism; they have done what religion and honour command them; it is the Bishop of Chicago who makes the schism.'" What have we gained by taking that public step? Nothing, but to be cruelly and shamefully betrayed. Was not Jesus Christ betrayed only once by Judas? Do not, then, expect that we will be stronger than the Son of God. The bishops of Canada, by their emissary, have already betrayed us, of which you have been witness. The people and missionary of St. Anne do not feel strong enough to present their cheek again to the smiter. In spite of the clamours which rise around us, we are convinced that we may be good Catholics without submitting to that degradation twice.
The bishops of Canada want you to speak. Very well! my dear Mr. Brassard, I also implore you to speak. In the name of the friendship which has united us for forty years, I implore you to tell the truth. Did you not, after reading the document which the Bishop of Chicago commanded me to sign as the only condition of peace, say to me:
"My dear friend, you cannot sign such a writing without lying and dishonouring yourself for ever?" And behold! Today you cry to my brethren to destroy and abandon me, when you know that the position in which I stand is but the result of my refusal to sign a most infamous, lying, and degrading document. These things, and many others which you know, would serve wonderfully to open the eyes of the people upon the awful abuse of power, which certain bishops are, every day, guilty. This would aid to unmask certain modern divinities who pretend that we cannot go to heaven without their permission; who preach that it is not the blood of Jesus Christ, but a certain passport, of which they hold the patent, which assures us a place among the elect of God. A sentence founded upon a public lie, and which was resisted, cannot constitute a schism. Christian men who, like the Catholics of Chicago, Kankakee, and St. Anne, resist iniquity, may be condemned by men, but not by God.
I was not suspended on the 19th of August, and so I could exercise the holy functions of my ministry the following morning and after. It is the church which assures me of this, through her greatest theologians. As it is not enough to say, "My God! My God!" to be saved; so, it is not enough to cry, "You are lost! you are lost!" for one to be lost. The Son of God, who gave His life to save man, gave us a thousand proofs that the salvation of our soul has a foundation more certain than the capricious will of a sinful being. He has given to no one the power to save or condemn according to his pleasure. If some bishops and priests believe this, it is not the faith of the people of Chicago, Kankakee, and St. Anne.
I will tell you again, my dear Mr. Brassard, that if, in order to obey the Bishop of Montreal, you should strip me of the little honour which surrounds my name in Canada, I shall still never forget the good you have done me. Yes! command my friends to betray me, to trample me under their feet, to turn away from me in horror. Never will you be able to weaken my sentiments of respect and gratitude for you!
I will still love and bless you; for I know the hand which forced yours to do so. I will always know that your own heart was first struck and wounded by the blows they commanded you to give to your friend and son in Jesus Christ,
The effect of that letter upon Mr. Brassard was still more powerful than I had expected. It forced him to blush at his own cowardice, and to ask my pardon for the unjust sentence he had passed upon me to obey the bishop. Here are the parts of the letter bearing on that subject: -
St. Roch, 29 Mai, 1857
Mon cher Chiniquy, Je suis plus convaincu que jamais que tu n'as jamais ete interdit legalement, depuis que j'ai appris par Monseigneur de Montreal, que l'eveque de Chicago t'a interdit de vive voix, dans sa chambre; ce que ligoury dit etre nul et de nul effet."
I am more than ever convinced that you have been legally interdicted, since Bishop Bourget told me that Bishop O'Regan had interdicted you privately, viva voce in his private room. Ligouri says that it is a nullity, and that it can have no effect. I beg your pardon for what I wrote against you. I have been forced to do so. Because I had not yet sufficiently condemned you, and that my name, which you were citing in your writings, was giving you too much power, and a too clear condemnation of Bishop O'Regan, the Bishop of Montreal, abusing his authority over me, forced me to sign that document against you. I would not do it today if it were to be done again. Keep silence on what I tell you in this letter. It is all confidential. You understand it.
Your devoted friend,
No priest in Canada had more deservedly enjoyed the reputation of a man of honour than Mr. Brassard. Not one ever stood so high in my esteem and respect. His sudden and unexpected fall filled my heart with an unspeakable sadness. I may say that it snapped the last thread which held me to the Church of Rome. Till then, it was not only my hope, by my firm conviction, that there were many honest, upright priests in that church, and Mr. Brassard was, to me, the very personification of honesty. How can I describe the shock I felt when I saw him there, in the mud, a monument of the unspeakable corruption of my church! The perfidious Delilah had seduced and destroyed this modern Samson, enchained, as a trembling slave, at the feet of the new implacable Moloch, "The authority of the bishop!" He had not only lost the fear of God, and the respect he owed to himself, by publicly declaring that I was guilty, when he knew that I was innocent, but he had so completely lost every sentiment of honesty, that he wanted me to keep secret his declaration of my innocence, at the very moment he was inviting my whole country, through the press, to abhor and condemn me as a criminal!
I read again and again the strange letter. Every word of it was destroying the last illusions which had concealed from my mind the absolute and incurable perversity of the Church of Rome. I had no hard feelings against this last friend whom she had poisoned with the wine of her prostitutions. I felt only a profound compassion for him. I pitied and forgave him from the bottom of my heart. But every word of his letter sounded in my ears as the warning voice of the angel sent to save Lot from the doomed city of Sodom: "Escape for thy life. Look not behind thee; neither stay thou in all the plain. Escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed" (Gen. xix. 17).
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I had not forgotten the advice given me by Archbishop Kenrick, of St. Louis, April 9th, 1856, to address my complaints to the Pope himself. But the terrible difficulties and trials which had constantly followed each other, had made it impossible to follow that advice. The betrayal of Mons. Desaulnier and the defection of Mons. Brassard, however, had so strangely complicated my position, that I felt the only way to escape the wreck which threatened myself and my colony, and to save the holy cause God had entrusted to me, was to strike such a blow to our haughty persecutor that he would not survive it. I determined to send to the Pope all the public accusations which had been legally proved and published against the bishop, with a copy of the numerous and infamous suits which he had sustained before the civil courts, and had almost invariably lost, with the sentences of the judges who had condemned him. This took nearly two months of the hardest labours of my life. I had gathered all those documents, which covered more than two hundred pages of foolscap. I mailed them to Pope Pius IX., accompanied by only the following words: "Holy Father, for the sake of your precious lambs which are slaughtered and devoured in this vast diocese by a ravening wolf, Bishop O'Regan, and in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, I implore your Holiness to see if what is contained in these documents is correct or not. If everything is found correct, for the sake of the blood shed on Calvary, to save our immortal souls, please take away from our midst the unworthy bishop whose daily scandals cannot longer be tolerated by a Christian people."
In order to prevent the Pope's servants from throwing my letter with those documents into their waste-paper baskets, I sent a copy of them all to Napoleon III., Emperor of France, respectfully requesting him to see, through his ambassador at Washington, and his consul at Chicago, whether these papers contained the truth or not. I told him how his countrymen were trampled under the feet of Bishop O'Regan, and how they were ruined and spoiled to the benefit of the Irish people; how the churches built by the money of the French were openly stolen, and transferred to the emigrants from Ireland. Napoleon had just sent an army to punish the Emperor of China on account of some injustice done to a Frenchman. I told him "the injustice done to that Frenchman in the Chinese Empire is nothing to what is done here every day, not against one, but hundreds of your majesty's countrymen. A word from the Emperor of France to His Holiness will do here what your armies have done in China: force the unjust and merciless oppressor of the French of Illinois to do them justice."
I ended my letter by saying: "My grandfather, though born in Spain, married a French lady, and became, by choice and adoption, a French citizen. He became a captain in the French navy, and for gallant service, was awarded lands in Canada, which by the fate of war fell into the hands of Great Britain. Upon retiring from the service of France he settled upon his estates in Canada, where my father and myself were born. I am thus, with other Canadians who have come to this country, a British subject by birth, an American citizen by adoption, but French still in blood and Roman Catholic in religion. I, therefore, on the part of a noble French people, humbly ask your majesty to aid us by interceding with his Holiness, Pope Pius IX., to have these outrages and wrongs righted."
The success of this bold step was more prompt and complete than I had expected. The Emperor was, then, all powerful at Rome. He had not only brought the Pope from Civita Vecchia to Rome, after taking that city from the hands of the Italian Republicans, a few years before, but he was still the very guardian and protector of the Pope.
A few months later, when in Chicago, the Grand Vicar Dunn showed me a letter from Bishop O'Regan, who had been ordered to go to Rome and give an account of his administration, in which he had said: "One of the strangest things which has occurred to me in Rome, is that the influence of the Emperor Napoleon is against me here. I cannot understand what right he has to meddle in the affairs of my diocese."
I had learned since, that it was really through the advice of Napoleon that Cardinal Bidini, who had been previously sent to the United States to inquire about the scandal given by Bishop O'Regan, gave his opinion in our favour. The cardinals, having consulted the bishops of the United States, who unanimously denounced O'Regan as unfit and unworthy of such a high position, immediately ordered him to go to Rome, where the Pope unceremoniously transferred him from the bishopric of Chicago to a diocese extinct more than 1,200 years ago, called "Dora." This was as good as a bishopric in the moon. He consoled himself in his misfortune by drawing the hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen money he had sent at different times, to be deposited in the banks of Paris, and went to Ireland, where he established a bank, and died in 1865.
On the 11th of March 1858, at about ten o'clock p.m., I was not a little pleased and surprised to hear the voice of my devoted friend, Rev. M. Dunn, grand vicar of Chicago, asking my hospitality for the night. His first words were: "My visit here must be absolutely incognito. In ordering me to come and see you, the Bishop of Dubuque, who is just named administrator of Chicago, advised me to come as secretly as possible." He said: "Your triumph at Rome is perfect. You have gained the greatest victory a priest ever won over his unjust bishop; but you must thank the Emperor Napoleon for it. It is to his advice, which, under the present circumstances, is equal to an order,that you owe the protection of the Cardinal Bidini. His report to the Pope is, that all the documents you sent to Rome were correct. The inquiry of the cardinal has brought facts to the knowledge of the Pope, still more compromising than what you have written against him. Several bishops of the United States have unanimously denounced Bishop O'Regan as a most depraved man, entirely unworthy of his position, and have advised the Pope to take him away and choose another bishop for Chicago. It is acknowledged, at Rome, that all the sentences pronounced by that bishop against you, are unjust and null. Our good administrator has been advised to put an end, at once, to all the troubles of your colony, by treating you as a good and faithful priest.
"I come here, not only to congratulate you on your victory, but also to thank you, in my name, and in the name of the church, for having saved our diocese from such a plague; for Bishop O'Regan was a real plague. A few more years of such administration would have destroyed our holy religion in Illinois. However, as you handled the poor bishop pretty roughly, it is suspected, at a distance, that you and your people are more Protestants than Catholics. We know better here; for, from the beginning, it was evident that the act of excommunication, posted at the door of your chapel by three priests too drunk to know what they were about, is a nullity, having never been signed by the bishop. It was a shameful and sacrilegious comedy. But, in many distant places, that excommunication was accepted as valid, and you are considered by many as a real schismatic. Bishop Smith has thought it advisable to ask you to give him a written and canonical act of submission, which he will publish to show the world that you are still a good Roman Catholic priest."
I thanked the grand vicar for his kind words, and the good news he was giving me, and I asked him to help me to thank God for having so visibly protected and guided me through all these terrible difficulties. We both knelt and repeated the sublime words of gratitude and joy of the old prophet: "Bless the Lord, oh! my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name," ect. (Ps. ciii.) I then said I had no objection to give the renewed act of my faith and submission to the church, that it might be published. I took a piece of paper, and with emotion of joy and gratitude to God, which it would be impossible to express, I slowly prepared to write. But as I was considering what form I should give to that document, a sudden, strange thought struck my mind: "Is this not the golden opportunity to put an end to the terrible temptations which have shaken my faith and distressed me for so many years." I said to myself:
"Is not this a providential opportunity to silence those mysterious voices which are troubling me almost every hour, that, in the church of Rome, we do not follow the Word of God, but the lying traditions of men?"
I determined then to frame my act of submission in such a way that I would silence those voices, and be, more than ever, sure that my faith, the faith of my dear church, which had just given me such a glorious victory at Rome, was based upon the Holy Word of God, on the divine doctrines of the Gospel. I then wrote down, in my own name, and in the name of my people:
"My lord Bishop Smith, Bishop of Dubuque and administrator of the diocese of Chicago:We want to live and die in the holy Catholic, apostolic and Roman church, out of which there is no salvation, and to prove this to your lordship, we promise to obey the authority of the church according to the word and commandments of God as we find them expressed in the Gospel of Christ.
I handed this writing to Mr. Dunn, and said:
"What do you think of this act of submission?" He quickly read it, and answered:
"It is just what we want from you."
"All right," I rejoined. "But I fear the bishop will not accept it. Do you not see that I have put a condition to our submission? I say that we will submit ourselves to the bishop's authority, but only according to the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ."
"Is not that good?" quickly replied Mr. Dunn.
"Yes, my dear Mr. Dunn, this is good, very good indeed," I answered, "but my fear is that it is too good for the bishop and the Pope!"
"What do you mean?" he replied.
"I mean that though this act of submission is very good, I fear lest the Pope and the bishop reject it."
"Please explain yourself more clearly," answered the grand vicar. "I do not understand the reason for such a fear."
"My dear Mr. Dunn," I continued, "I must confess to you here a thing which is known only to God. I must show you a bleeding wound which is in my soul for many years. A wound which has never been healed by any of the remedies I have applied to it. It is a wound which I never dared to show to any man, except to my confessor, though it has often made me suffer almost the tortures of hell. You know well that there is not a living priest who has studied the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Fathers, with more attention and earnestness, these last few years than I have. It was not only to strengthen my own faith, but also the faith of our people, and to be able to fight the battles of our church against her enemies, that I spent so many hours of my days and nights in those studies. But, though I am confounded and ashamed to confess it to you, I must do it. The more I have studied and compared the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Fathers with the teachings of our church, the more my faith has been shaken, and the more I have been tempted to think, in spite of myself, that our church has, long ago, given up the Word of God and the Holy Fathers, in order to walk in the muddy and crooked ways of human and false traditions. Yes! the more I study, the more I am troubled by the strange and mysterious voices which haunt me day and night, saying: 'Do you not see that in your Church of Rome, you do not follow the Word of God, but only the lying traditions of men?' What is more strange and painful is, that the more I pray to God to silence these voices, the louder they repeat the same distressing things. It is to put an end to those awful temptations that I have written this conditional submission. I want to prove to myself that I will obey the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ in our church, and I shall be happy all the rest of my life, if the bishops accept this submission. But I fear it will be rejected."
Mr. Dunn promptly replied:
"You are mistaken, my dear Mr. Chiniquy. I am sure that our bishop will accept this document as canonical, and sufficient to show your orthodoxy to the world."
"If it be so," I replied, "I will be a most happy man." It was agreed that on the 25th of March I would go with him to Dubuque, to present my act of submission to the administrator of the diocese, after the people had signed it. Accordingly, at seven p.m. on that day, we both took the train at Chicago for Dubuque, where we arrived next morning. At eleven a.m. I went to the palace of the bishop, who received me with marks of the utmost cordiality and affection.
I presented him our written act of submission with a trembling hand, fearing he would reject it. He read it twice, and throwing his arms around me, he pressed me to his heart. I felt his tears of joy mixed with mine, rolling down my cheeks, as he said: "How happy I am to see that submission! How happy the Pope and all the bishops of the United States will be to hear of it, for I will not conceal it from you; we feared that both you and your people would separate from the church, by refusing to submit to her authority." I answered that I was not less happy to see the end of those painful difficulties, and I promised him that, with the help of God, our holy church would not have a more faithful priest than myself.
While engaged in that pleasant conversation, the dinner hour came. He gave me the place of honour on his right, before the two grand vicars, and nothing could be more pleasant than the time we spent around the table, which was served with a good and well prepared, though frugal meal. I was happy to see that the bishop, with his priests,were teetotalers. No wine nor beer to tempt the weak. Before the dinner was over, the bishop said to Mr. Dunn: "You will accompany Mr. Chiniquy to St. Anne in order to announce, in my name, to the people, the restoration of peace, next Sabbath. No doubt it will be joyful news to the colony of Father Chiniquy. After so many years of hard fighting, the pastor and the people of St. Anne will enjoy the days of peace and rest which are now secured to them."
Then, addressing himself to me, the bishop said: "The only condition of that peace is that you will spend fifteen days in retreat and meditation in one of the religious houses you will choose yourself. I think that, after so much noise and exciting controversies, it will do you good to pass those days in meditation and prayer, in some of our beautiful and peaceful solitudes." I answered him: "If your lordship had not offered me the favour of those days of perfect and Christian rest, I would have asked you to grant it. I consider it as a crowning of all your acts of kindness to offer me those few days of calm and meditation, after the terrible storms of those last three years. If your lordship has no objection to my choice, I will go to the beautiful solitude where M. Saurin has built the celebrated Monastery, College, and University of St. Joseph, Indiana. I hope that nothing will prevent my being there next Monday, after going next Sabbath in the company of Grand vicar Dunn, to proclaim the restoration of the blessed peace to my people of St. Anne." "You cannot make a better choice," answered the bishop. "But, my lord," I rejoined, "I hope your lordship will have no objection to give me a written assurance of the perfect restoration of that longsought peace. There are people who, I know, will not believe me, when I tell them how quickly and nobly your lordship has put an end to all those deplorable difficulties. I want to show them that I stand today in the same relation with my superiors and the church in which I stood previous to these unfortunate strifes." "Certainly," said the bishop, "you are in need of such a document from your bishop, and you shall have it. I will write it at once."
But he had not yet written two lines, when Mr. Dunn looked at his watch and said: "We have not a minute to lose, if we want to be in time for the Chicago train." I then said to the bishop: "Please, my lord, address me that important document to Chicago, where I will get it at the postoffice, on my way to the University of St. Joseph, next Monday; your lordship will have plenty of time to write it, this afternoon." The bishop having consented, I hastily took leave of him, with Mr. Dunn, after having received his benediction.
On our way back to St. Anne, the next day, we stopped at Bourbonnais to see the Grand Vicar Mailloux, one of the priests who had been sent by the Bishops of Canada to help my lord O'Regan to crush me. We found him as he was going to his dining-room to take his dinner. He was visibly humiliated by the complete defeat of Bishop O'Regan, at Rome.
After Mr. Dunn had told him that he was sent to proclaim peace to the people of St. Anne, he coldly asked the written proof of that strange news. Mr. Dunn answered him: "Do you think, sir, that I would be mean enough to tell you a lie?"
"I do not say that you are telling me a lie," replied Mr. Mallous, "I believe what you say. But, I want to know the condition of that unexpected peace. Has Mr. Chiniquy made his submission to the church?"
"Yes, sir," I replied, "here is a copy of my act of submission."
He read it, and coldly said: "This is not an act of submission to the church, but only to the authority of the Gospel, which is a very different thing. This document can be presented by a Protestant; but it cannot be offered by a Catholic priest to his bishop. I cannot understand how our bishop did not see that at once."
Mr. Dunn answered him: "My dear Grand Vicar Mailloux, I have always been told that it does not do to be more loyal than the king. My hope was that you would rejoice with us at the news of the peace. I am sorry to see that I was mistaken. However, I must tell you that if you want to fight, you will have nobody to fight against; for Father Chiniquy was yesterday accepted as a regular priest of our holy church by the administrator. This ought to satisfy you."
I listened to the unpleasant conversation of those two grand vicars, with painful feelings, without saying a word. For, I was troubled by those mysterious voices which were reiterating in my mind the cry: "Do you not see that in the Church of Rome, you do not follow the Word of God, but only the lying traditions of men?"
I felt much relieved, when I left the house of that so badly disposed confrere, to come to St. Anne, where the people had gathered on the public square, to receive us, and rend the air with their cries of joy at the happy news of peace.
The next day, 27th of March, was Palm Sunday, one of the grand festivities of the Church of Rome; there was an immense concourse of people, attracted not only by the religious solemnity of the feast; but also by the desire to see and hear the deputy sent by their bishop to proclaim peace. He did it in a most elegant English address, which I translated into French. He presented me with a blessed palm, and I offered him another loaded with beautiful flowers, in the presence of the people, as a public sign of the concord which was restored between my colony and the authorities of the church.
That my Christian readers may understand my blindness, and the mercies of God towards me, I must confess here, to my shame, that I was glad to have made my peace with those sinful men, which was not peace with my God. But, that great God had looked down upon me in mercy. He was soon to break that peace with the great apostate church, which is poisoning the world with the wine of her enchantments, that I might walk in the light of the Gospel and possess that peace and joy which passeth all understanding.
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Bishop Smith had fulfilled his promise in addressing to me a testimonial letter, which would show to both friends and foes that the most honourable and lasting peace between us was to succeed the deplorable years of strife through which we had just passed. I read it with Grand Vicar Dunn, who was not less pleased than I with the kind expressions of esteem towards my people and myself with which it was filled. I had never had a document in which my private and public character were so kindly appreciated. I put it in my portfolio as the most precious treasure I had ever possessed, and my gratitude to the bishop who had written such friendly lines, was boundless. I, at once, addressed a short letter to thank and bless him: and I requested him to pray for me during the happy days of retreat I was to spend at the monastery of St. Joseph.
The venerable Grand Vicar Surin, and his assistant, Rev. M. Granger, received me as two Christian gentlemen receive a brother priest, and I may say that, during my stay in the monastery, they constantly overwhelmed me with the most sincere marks of kindness. I found in them both the very best types of priests of Rome. A volume, and not a chapter, would be required, were I to tell what I saw there of the zeal, devotedness, ability and marvelous success of their labours. Suffice it to say, that Grand Vicar Saurin is justly considered one of the greatest and highest intellects Rome has ever given to the United States. There is not, perhaps, a man who had done so much for the advancement of that church in this country as that highly gifted priest. My esteem, respect, I venture to say, my veneration for him, increased every time I had the privilege of conversing with him. The only things which pained me were:
1st. When some of his inferior monks came to speak to him, they had to kneel and prostrate themselves as if he had been a god, and they had to remain in that humble and degrading posture, till, with a sign of his hand or a word from his lips, he told them to rise.
2nd. Though he promised to the numerous Protestant parents, who entrusted their boys and girls to his care for their education, never to interfere with their religion, he was, nevertheless, incessantly proselytizing them. Several of his Protestant pupils were received in the Church of Rome, and renounced the religion of their fathers, in my presence, on the eve of Easter of that year.
While, as a priest, I rejoined in the numerous conquests of my church over her enemies, in all her colleges and nunneries, I objected to the breach of promise, always connected with those conversions. I, however, then thought, as I think today, that a Protestant who takes his children to a Roman Catholic priest or a nun for their education, had no religion. It is simply an absurdity to promise that we will respect the religion of a man who has none. How can we respect that which does not exist?
As a general thing, there are too few people who understand the profound meaning of our Saviour's words to His disciples: "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile." These words, uttered after the apostles had gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things both what they had done and taught, ought to receive more attention, on the part of those whom the Son of God has chosen to continue the great work of preaching His Gospel to the world. I had never before so well realized how good it was to be alone with Christ, and tell Him all I had done, said, and taught. Those few days of rest and communion with my Saviour were one of the greatest favours my merciful God had ever given me.
My principal occupation was to read and meditate on the Gospel. That divine book had never been so precious to me as since God had directed me to put it as the fundamental stone of my faith in the act of submission I had just given to my bishop: and my church had never been so dear to me as since she had accepted that conditional submission. I felt a holy pride and joy at having finally silenced the voice of the enemy which, so often, troubled my faith by crying to my soul: "Do you not see that in your Church of Rome, you do not follow the Word of God, but only the lying traditions of men." My church, through her bishop, had just given me what I considered an infallible assurance of the contrary, by accepting the document signed by me and by my people, where we had clearly said that we would never obey any authority or any superior, except when "their orders or doctrines would be based upon the Gospel of Christ." My soul was rejoicing in those thoughts, when on the 5th of April (Monday after Easter) Grand Vicar Saurin handed me a letter from Mr. Dunn, telling me that a new storm, brought by the Jesuits, and more formidable than the past ones, was about to break on me; that I had to prepare for new and more serious conflicts than I had ever experienced.
The next morning, Mr. Saurin handed me another letter from the Bishop of Dubuque and with a sympathy which I will never forget, he said: "I am sorry to see that you are not at the end of your troubles, as you expected. Bishop Smith orders you back to Dubuque with words which are far from being friendly." But, strange to say, this bad news, which would have saddened and discouraged me in other circumstances, left me perfectly calm and cheerful on that day. In my dear Gospel, which had been my daily bread, the last eight days, I had found the helmet for my head, the breastplate and the shield to protect me, and the unconquerable sword with which to fight. From every page, I head my Saviour's voice: "Fear not, I am with thee" (Isaiah xlii. 5).
When on my way back to Dubuque, I stopped at Chicago to know from my faithful friend, Mr. Dunn, the cause of the new storm. He said:
"You remember how Grand Vicar Mailloux was displeased with the conditional submission you had given to the bishop. As soon as we had left him, he sent the young priest who is with him to the Jesuits of Chicago to tell them that the authority of the church and of the bishop would be for ever lost if Chiniquy were allowed to submit on such a condition. He wanted them to notice that it was not to the authority of the bishops and the church you had submitted; but only to the authority of the Bible. The Jesuits were of the same mind. They immediately sent to Dubuque, and said to the bishop, 'Do you not see that Chiniquy is a disguised Protestant; that he has deceived you by presenting you such an act of submission. Does not your lordship see that Chiniquy has not submitted himself to your authority, but to the authority of his Bible alone? Do you not fear that the whole body of the bishops and the Pope himself will condemn you for having fallen into the trap prepared by that disguised Protestant?' Our administrator, though a good man when left to himself, is weak, and like soft wax, can be manipulated in every way. The Jesuits, who want to rule the priests and the church with an iron rod, and who are aiming to change the Pope and the bishops into the most heartless tyrants, have advised the administrator to force you to give an unconditional act of submission. It is not the Word of God which must rule us now. It is the old Jupiter who is coming back to rule us under the name of a modern divinity, called 'the authority of the bishops.' The administrator and the Jesuits themselves have telegraphed your submission to several bishops, who have unanimously answered that it must be rejected, and another, without condition, requested from you. You were evidently too correct when you told me, the other day, that your act of submission was too good for the bishops and the Pope. What will you do?"
I replied: "I do not know what I will do, but be sure of this, my dear Mr. Dunn, I will do what our great and merciful God will tell me."
"Very well, very well," he answered; "may God help you!"*
After warmly shaking hands with me, I left to take the train for Dubuque, where I arrived next morning. I went immediately to the bishop's palace. I found him in the company of a Jesuit, and I felt myself as a poor helpless ship between two threatening icebergs.
"Your lordship wants to see me again," I said.
"Yes, sir, I want to see you again," he answered.
"What do you want from me, my lord?" I replied.
"Have you the testimonial letter I addressed to you at Chicago last week?"
"Yes, my lord, I have it with me."
"Will you please show it to me?" he replied.
"With pleasure here it is;" and I handed him the precious document.
As soon as he had assured himself that it was the very letter in question, he ran to the stove and threw it into the fire. I felt so puzzled at the action of my bishop that I remained almost paralyzed; but soon coming to myself, I ran to save from the flames that document which was more valuable and precious to me than all the gold of California, but it was too late. It was in ashes. I turned to the bishop and said: "How can you take from me a document which is my property, and destroy it without my permission?"
He answered me with an impudence that cannot be expressed on paper: "I am your superior, and have no account to give you."
I replied: "Yes, my lord, you are my superior indeed! You are a great bishop in our church, and I am nothing but a poor miserable priest. But there is an Almighty God in heaven, who is as much above you as He is above me. That great God has granted me rights which I will never give up to please any man. In the presence of that God I protest against your iniquity."
"Have you come here to lecture me?" replied the bishop.
"No, my lord, I did not come to lecture you; I come at your command, but I want to know if it was to insult me as you have just done that you requested me to come here again."
"I ordered you to come here again because you deceived me the last time you were here," he answered: "you gave me an act of submission which you know very well is not an act of submission. I accepted it then, but I was mistaken; I reject it today."
I answered: "How can you say that I deceived you? The document I presented you is written in good, plain English. It is there, on your table, I see it: you read it twice, and understood it well. If you were deceived by its contents, you deceived yourself. You are, then, a self-deceiver, and you cannot accuse me of having deceived you."
He then took the document, read it slowly; and when at the words, "we submit ourselves to your authority, according to the Word of God as we find it in the Gospel of Christ," he stopped and said: "What do you mean by this?"
I answered, "I mean what you see there. I mean that neither I nor my people will ever submit ourselves to anybody, except according to the eternal laws of truth, justice, and holiness of God, as we find them expressed in the Bible."
He angrily answered, "Such language on your part is sheer Protestantism. I cannot accept such a conditional submission from any priest."
Then again I seemed to hear the mysterious voice, "Do you not see that in your Church of Rome you do not follow the Word of God, but the lying traditions of men?"
Thanks be to God, I did not silence the voice in that solemn hour. An ardent, though silent prayer, went from the bottom of my heart to God! speak, speak again to Thy poor servant, and grant me the grace to follow Thy holy Word!" I then said to the bishop:-
"You distress me by rejecting this act of submission, and asking another. Please explain yourself more clearly, and tell me the nature of the new one you require from me and my people."
Taking then a more subdued and polite tone, the bishop said:
"I hope, Mr. Chiniquy, that, as a good priest, you do not want to rebel against your bishop, and that you will give me the act of submission I ask from you. Take away these 'Words of God,' 'Gospel of Christ,' and 'Bible' from your present document, and I will be satisfied."
"But, my lord, with my people I have put these words because we want to obey only the bishops who follow the Word of God. We want to submit only to the church which respects and follows the Gospel of Christ."
In an irritated manner he quickly answered: "Take away from your act of submission those 'Words of God,' and 'Gospel of Christ,' and 'Bible!' of I will punish you as a rebel."
"My lord," I replied, "those expressions are there to show us and to the whole world that the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ, and the Bible are the fundamental stones of our holy church. If we reject those precious stones, on what foundations will our church and our faith rest?"
He answered angrily: "Mr. Chiniquy, I am your superior, I do not want to argue with you. You are inferior: your business is to obey me. Give me at once an act of submission, in which you will simply say that you and your people will submit yourselves to my authority, and promise to do anything I will bid you."
I calmly answered: "What you ask me is not an act of submission, it is an act of adoration. I do absolutely refuse to give it."
"If it be so, sir," he answered, "you can no longer be a Roman Catholic priest."
I raised my hands to heaven, and cried with a loud voice: "May God Almighty be for ever blessed."
I took my hat, and left to go to my hotel. When alone in my room I locked the door and fell on my knees, to consider, in the presence of God, what I had just done. There the awful, undeniable truth stared me in the face. My church could not be the church of Christ! That sad truth had not been revealed to me by any Protestant, not any other enemy of the church. It was from her own lips I had got it! It had been told me by one of her most learned and devoted bishops! My church was the deadly, the irreconcilable enemy of the Word of God, as I had so often suspected! I was not allowed to remain a single day longer in that church without positively and publicly giving up the Gospel of Christ! It was evident to me that the Gospel was only a blind, a mockery to conceal her iniquities, tyrannies, superstitions, and idolatries. The only use of the Gospel in my church was to throw dust in the eyes of the priests and people! It had no authority. The only rule and guide were the will, the passions, and the dictates of sinful men!
There, on my knees, and alone with God, it was evident to me that the voice which had so often troubled and shaken my faith, was the voice of my merciful God. It was the voice of my dear Saviour, who was bringing me out of the ways of perdition in which I had been walking. And I had tried so often to silence that voice!
"My God! my God!" I cried, "The Church of Rome is not Thy church. to obey the voice of my conscience, which is Thine, I gave it up. When I had the choice between giving up that church or the Bible, I did not hesitate. I could not give up Thy Holy Word. I have given up Rome! But, oh Lord, where is Thy church? Oh! speak!! where must I go to be saved?"
For more than one hour I cried to God in vain; no answer came. In vain I cried for a ray of light to guide me. The more I prayed and wept, the greater was the darkness which surrounded me! I then felt as if God had forsaken me, and an unspeakable distress was the result of that horrible thought. To add to that distress, the thought flashed across my mind that by giving up the Church of Rome, I had given up the church of my dear father and mother, of my brother, my friends, and my country in fact, all that was near and dear to me!
I hope that none of my readers will ever experience what it is to give up friends, relatives, parents, honour, country everything! I did not regret the sacrifice, but I felt as if I could not survive it. With tears, I cried to God for more strength and faith to bear the cross which was laid on my too weak shoulders, but all in vain.
Then I felt that an implacable war was to be declared against me, which would end only with my life. The Pope, the bishops, and priests, all over the world, would denounce and curse me. They would attack and destroy my character, my name and my honour, in their press, from their pulpit, and in their confessionals, where the man they strike can never know whence the blow is coming! Almost in despair, I tried to think of some one who would come to my help in that formidable conflict, but could find none. Every one of the millions of Roman Catholics were bound to curse me. My best friends my own people even my own brothers, were bound to look upon me with horror as an apostate, a vile outcast! Could I hope for help or protection from Protestants? No! for my priestly life had been spent in writing and preaching against them. In vain would I try to give an idea of the desolation I felt when that thought struck my mind.
Forsaken by God and man, what would become of me? Where would I go when out of that room? Expelled with contempt by my former Roman Catholic friends; repulsed with still more contempt by Protestants: where could I go to hide my shame and drag on my miserable existence? How could I go to hide into that world where there was no more room for me; where there was no hand to press mine; none to smile upon me! Life suddenly became to me an unbearable burden. My brain seemed to be filled with burning coals. I was losing my mind. Yea, death, and instant death, seemed to me the greatest blessing in that awful hour! and, will I say it? Yes! I took my knife to cut my throat, and put an end to my miserable existence! But my merciful God, who wanted only to humble me, by showing me my own helplessness, stopped my hand, and the knife fell on the floor.
Though I felt the pangs of that desolation for more than two hours, I constantly cried to God for a ray of His saving light, for a word telling me what to do, where to go to be saved. At last, drops of cold sweat began to cover again my face and my whole body. The pulsations of my heart began to be very slow and weak: I felt so feeble that I expected to faint at any moment, or fall dead! At first, I thought that death would be a great relief, but then, I said to myself, "If I die, where will I go, when there is no faith, nor a ray of light to illumine my poor perishing soul! Oh, my dear Saviour," I cried, "come to my help! Lift up the light of Thy reconciled countenance upon me."
In that very instant, I remembered that I had my dear New Testament with me, which I used then, as now, to carry everywhere. The thought flashed across my mind that I would find in that Divine book the answer to my prayer, and light to guide me thorough that dark night, to that house of refuge and salvation, after which my soul was ardently longing. With a trembling hand and a praying heart, I opened the book at random but no! not I, my God himself opened it for me. My eyes fell on these words: "YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE. BE NOT YE THE SERVANTS OF MEN" (I Cor. vii. 23).
Strange to say! Those words came to my mind, more as a light than an articulated sound. They suddenly but most beautifully and powerfully gave me, as much as a man can know it, the knowledge of the great mystery of a perfect salvation through Christ alone. They at once brought a great and delightful calm to my soul. I said to myself: "Jesus has bought me, then I am His; for when I have bought a thing it is mine, absolutely mine! Jesus has bought me! I, then, belong to Him! He alone has a right over me. I do not belong to the bishops, to the popes, not even to the church, as I have been told till now. I belong to Jesus and to Him alone! His Word must be my guide, and my light by day and by night. Jesus has bought me," I said again to myself; "then He has saved me! and if so, I am saved, perfectly saved, for ever saved! for Jesus cannot save me by half. Jesus is my God; the works of God are perfect. My salvation must, then, be a perfect salvation. But how has He saved me? What price has He paid for my poor guilty soul?" The answer came as quickly as lightning: "He bought you with His blood shed on the cross! He saved you by dying on Calvary!"
I then said to myself again: "If Jesus has perfectly saved me by shedding His blood on the cross, I am not saved, as I have thought and preached till now, by my penances, my prayers to Mary and the saints, my confessions and indulgences, not even by the flames of purgatory!"
In that instant, all things which, as a Roman Catholic, I had to believe to be saved all the mummeries by which the poor Roman Catholics are so cruelly deceived, the chaplets, indulgences, scapularies, auricular confession, invocation of the virgin, holy water, masses, purgatory, ect., given as means of salvation, vanished from my mind as a huge tower, when struck at the foundation, crumbles to the ground. Jesus alone remained in my mind as the Saviour of my soul!
Oh! what a joy I felt at this simple, but sublime truth! But it was the will of God that this joy should be short. It suddenly went away with the beautiful light which had caused it; and my poor soul was again wrapped in the most awful darkness. However profound that darkness was, a still darker object presented itself before my mind. It was a very high mountain, but not composed of sand or stones, it was a mountain of my sins. I saw them all standing before me. And still more horrified was I when I saw it moving towards me as if, with a mighty hand, to crush me. I tried to escape, but in vain. I felt tied to the floor, and the next moment it had rolled over me. I felt as crushed under its weight; for it was as heavy as granite. I could scarcely breathe! My only hope was to cry to God for help. With a loud voice, heard by many in the hotel, I cried: "O my God! have mercy upon me! My sins are destroying me! I am lost, save me!" But, it seemed God could not hear me. The mountain was between, to prevent my cries from reaching Him, and to hide my tears. I suddenly thought that God would have nothing to do with such a sinner, but to open the gates of hell to throw me into that burning furnace prepared for his enemies, and which I had so richly deserved!
I was mistaken. After eight or ten minutes of unspeakable agony, the rays of a new and beautiful light began to pierce through the dark cloud which hung over me. In that light, I clearly saw my Saviour. There He was, bent under the weight of His heavy cross. His face was covered with blood, the crown of thorns was on His head, and the nails in His hands. He was looking to me with an expression of compassion, love, which no tongue can describe. Coming to me, He said: "I have heard thy cries, I have seen thy tears, I have given Myself for thee. My blood and My bruised body have paid thy debts; wilt thou give Me thy heart? Wilt thou take My Word for the only lamp of thy feet, and the only light of thy path? I bring thee eternal life as a gift!"
`I answered: "Dear Jesus, how sweet are Thy words to my soul! Speak, oh! speak again! Yes, beloved Saviour, I want to love Thee; but dost Thou see that mountain which is crushing me? Oh! remove it! Take away my sins!"
I had not done speaking when I saw His mighty hand stretched out. He touched the mountain, and it rolled into the deep and disappeared. At the same time, I felt as if a shower of the blood of the Lamb were falling upon me to purify my soul. And, suddenly, my humble room was transformed into a real paradise. The angels of God could not be more happy than I was in that most mysterious and blessed hour of my life. With an unspeakable joy, I said to my Saviour: "Dear Jesus, the gift of God! Thou hast brought me the pardon of my sins as a gift. Thou has brought me eternal life as a gift! Thou hast redeemed and saved me, beloved Saviour; I know, I feel it. But this is not enough. I do not want to be saved alone. Save my people also. Save my whole country! I feel rich and happy in that gift; grant me to show its beauty, and preciousness, to my people, that they may rejoice in its possession."
This sudden revelation of that marvelous truth of salvation as a gift, had so completely transformed me, that I felt quite a new man. The unutterable distress of my soul had been changed into an unspeakable joy. My fears had gone away, to be replaced by a courage and a strength such as I had never experienced. The Popes, with their bishops and priests, and millions of abject slaves might now attack me, I felt that I was a match for them all. My great ambition was to go back to my people and tell them what the Lord had done for my soul. I washed my tears away, paid my bill, and took the train which brought me back into the midst of my dear countrymen. At that very same hour they were very anxious and excited, for they had just received, at Kankakee City, a telegram from the Bishop of Dubuque, telling them: "Turn away your priest, for he has refused to give me an unconditional act of submission."
They had gathered in great numbers to hear the reading of that strange message. But they unanimously said: "If Mr. Chiniquy has refused to give an unconditional act of submission, he has done right, we will stand by him to the end." However, I knew nothing of that admirable resolution. I arrived at St. Anne on a Sabbath day at the hour of the morning service. There was an immense crowd at the door of the chapel. They rushed to me, and said: "You are just coming from the bishop; what good news have you to bring us?"
I answered: "No news here, my good friends; come to the chapel and I will tell you what the Lord had done for my soul."
When they had filled the large building, I told them:
"Our Saviour, the day before His death, said to His disciples: 'I will be a scandal* to you, this night.' I must tell you the same thing. I will be, today, I fear, the cause of a great scandal to every one of you. But, as the scandal which Christ gave to His disciples has saved the world, I hope that, by the great mercy of God, the scandal I will give you will save you. I was your pastor till yesterday! But I have no more that honour today, for I have broken the ties by which I was bound as a slave at the feet of the bishops and of the Pope."
This sentence was scarcely finished, when a universal cry of surprise and sadness filled the church: "Oh! what does that mean!" exclaimed the congregation.
"My dear countrymen," I added, "I have not come to tell you to follow me! I did not die to save your immortal souls; I have not shed my blood to buy you a place in heaven; but Christ has done it. Then follow Christ and Him alone! Now, I must tell you why I have broken the ignominious and unbearable yoke of men, to follow Christ. You remember that, on the 21st of March last, you signed, with me, an act of submission to the authority of the Bishop of the Church of Rome, with the conditional clause that we would obey him only in matters which were according to the teachings of the Word of God as found in the Gospel of Christ. In that act of submission we did not want to be slaves of any man, but the servants of God, the followers of the Gospel. It was our hope then, that our church would accept such a submission. And your joy was great when you heard that Grand Vicar Dunn was here on the 28th of March to tell you that Bishop Smith had accepted the submission. But that acceptation was revoked. Yesterday, I was told, in the presence of God, by the same bishop, that he ought not to have accepted an act of submission from any priest or people based on the Gospel of Christ! Yes! yesterday Bishop Smith rejected, with the utmost contempt, the act of submission we had given him, and which he had accepted only two weeks ago, because 'the Word of God' was mentioned in it! When I respectfully requested him to tell me the nature of the new act of submission he wanted from us, he ordered me to take away from it 'the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ, and the Bible,' if we wanted to be accepted as good Catholics! WE had thought, till then, that the sacred Word of God and Holy Gospel of Christ were the fundamental and precious stones of the Church of Rome. We loved her on that account, we wanted to remain in her bosom, even when we were forced to fight as honest men, against that tyrant, O'Regan. Believing that the Church of Rome was the child of the Word of God, that it was the most precious fruit of the Divine tree planted on the earth, under the name of the Gospel, we would have given the last drop of our blood to defend her!
"But, yesterday, I have learned from the very lips of a Bishop of Rome, that we were a band of simpletons in believing those things. I have learned that the Church of Rome has nothing to do with the Word of God, except to throw it overboard, to trample it under their feet, and to forbid us even to name it even in the solemn act of submission we have given. I have been told that we could no longer be Roman Catholics, if we persisted in putting the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ as the foundation of our religion, our faith and our submission. When I was told by the bishop that I had either to renounce the Word of God as the base of my submission, or the title of the priest of Rome, I did not hesitate. Nothing could induce me to give up the Gospel of Christ; and so I gave up the title and position of priest in the Roman Catholic Church. I would rather suffer a thousand deaths than renounce the Gospel of Christ. I am no longer a priest of Rome; but I am more than ever a disciple of Christ, a follower of the Gospel. That Gospel is for me, what it was for Paul, 'The power of God unto salvation' (Rom. i. 16). It is the bread of my soul. In it we can satisfy our thirst with the waters of eternal life! No! no!! I could not buy the honour of being any longer a slave to the bishops and popes of Rome, by giving up the Gospel of Christ!
"When I requested the bishop to give me the precise form of submission he wanted from us, he answered: "Give me an act of submission, without any condition, and promise that you will do anything I bid you.' I replied:
"'This is not an act of submission, it is an act of adoration! I will never give it to you!'
"'If so,' said he, 'you can no longer be a Roman Catholic priest.'
"I raised my hands to heaven, and with a loud and cheerful voice, I said: 'My God Almighty be for ever blessed!'"
I then told them something of my desolation, when alone, in my room; of the granite mountain which had been rolled over my shoulders, of my tears, an of my despair. I told them also how my bleeding, dying, crucified Saviour had brought me the forgiveness of my sins; how He had given me eternal salvation, as a gift, and how rich, happy, and strong I felt in that gift. I then spoke to them about their own souls.
My address lasted more than two hours, and God blessed it in a marvelous way. Its effects were profound and lasting, but it is too long to be described here. In substance, I said: "I respect you too much to impose myself upon your honest consciences, or to dictate what you ought to do on this most solemn occasion. I feel that the hour has come for me to make a great sacrifice; I must leave you! but, no! I will not go away before you tell me to do so. You will yourselves break the ties so dear which have united us. Please, pay attention to these, my parting words: If you think it is better for you to follow the Pope than to follow Christ; that it is better to trust in the works of your hands, and in your own merits, than in the blood of the Lamb, shed on the cross, to be saved; if you think it is better for you to follow the traditions of men than the Gospel; and if you believe that it is better for you to have a priest of Rome, who will keep you tied as slaves to the feet of the bishops, and who will preach to you the ordinances of men, rather than have me preach to you nothing but the pure Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ, tell it to me by rising up, and I will go!" But, to my great surprise, nobody moved. The chapel was filled with sobs; tears were flowing from every eye; but not one moved to tell me to leave them! I was puzzled. For though I had hoped that many, enlightened by the copies of the New Testament that I had given them, tired of the tyranny of the bishops, and disgusted with the superstitions of Rome, would be glad to break the yoke with me, to follow Christ, I was afraid that the greatest number would not dare to break their allegiance to the church, and publicly give up her authority. After a few minutes of silence, during which I mixed my tears and my sobs with those of my people, I told them: "Why do you not at once rise up and tell me to go? You see that I can no longer remain your pastor after renouncing the tyranny of the bishops and the traditions of men to follow the Gospel of Christ as my only rule. Why do you not bravely tell me to go away?"
But this new appeal was still without any answer I was filled with astonishment. However, it was evident to me that a great and mysterious change was wrought in that multitude. Their countenances, their manners, were completely changed. They were speaking to me with their eyes filled with tears, and their manly faces beaming with joy. Their sobs, in some way, told me that they were filled with new light; that they were full of new strength, and ready to make the most heroic sacrifices, and break their fetters to follow Christ, and Him alone. There was something in those brave, honest and happy faces which was telling me more effectually than the most eloquent speech: "We believe in the gift, we want to be rich, happy, free, and saved in the gift: we do not want anything else: remain among us and teach us to love both the gift and the giver!"
A thought suddenly flashed across my mind, and with an inexpressible sentiment of hope and joy, I told them: "My dear countrymen! The Mighty God, who gave me His saving light, yesterday, can grant you the same favour today. He can, as well, save a thousand souls as one. I see, in your noble and Christian faces, that you do not want any more to be slaves of men. You want to be the free children of God, intelligent followers of the Gospel! The light is shining, and you like it. The gift of God has been given to you! With me, you will break the fetters of a captivity, worse than that of Egypt, to follow the Gospel of Christ, and take possession of the Promised Land: let all those who think it is better to follow Jesus Christ than the Pope, better to follow the Word of God than the traditions of men; let all those of you who want me to remain here and preach to you nothing but the Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ, tell it to me, by rising up. I am your man! Rise up!"
Without a single exception, that multitude arose! More than a thousand of my countrymen had, for ever, broken their fetters. They had crossed the Red Sea and exchanged the servitude of Egypt for the blessings of the Promised Land! [Bold emphasis by WStS]
CHAPTER 66 Back to Table of Contents
Where shall I find words to express the sentiments of surprise, admiration and joy I felt when, after divine service, alone in my humble study, I considered, in the presence of God, what His mighty hand had just wrought under my eyes. The people who surrounded the Saviour when He cried to Lazarus to come forth, were not more amazed at seeing the dead coming out of his grave than I was when I had seen, not one, but more than a thousand, of my countrymen so suddenly and unexpectedly coming out from the grave of the degrading slavery in which they were born and brought up. No, the heart of Moses was not filled with more joy than mine, when on the shores of the Red Sea, he sang his sublime hymn:
"I will sing unto the Lord: for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation: my fathers' God, and I will exalt Him" (Ex. xv. 2).
My joy was, however, suddenly changed into confusion, when I considered the unworthiness of the instrument which God had chosen to do that work. I felt this was only the beginning of the most remarkable religious reform which had ever occurred on this continent of America, and I was dismayed at the thought of such a task! I saw, at a glance, that I was called to guide my people into regions entirely new and unexplored. The terrible difficulties which Luther, Calvin and Knox had met, at almost every step, were to meet me. Though giants, they had, at many times, been bought low and almost discouraged in their new positions. What would become of me, seeing that I was so deficient in knowledge, wisdom and experience!
Many times, during the first night after the deliverance of my people from the bondage of the Pope, I said to my God in tears: "Why hast not Thou chosen a more worthy instrument of Thy mercies towards my brethren?" I would have shrank before the task, had not God said to me in His Word: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, the things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Cor. i. 29 29).
These words calmed my fears and gave me new courage. Next morning, I said to myself: "Is it not God alone who has done the great things of yesterday? Why should I not rely upon Him for the things which remain to be done? I am weak, it is true, but He is strong and mighty. I am unwise, but He is the God of light and wisdom: I am sinful, but He is the God of holiness: He wants the world to know that He is the worker."
It would make the most interesting book, were I to tell all the marvelous episodes of the new battle my dear countrymen and I had to fight against Rome, in those stormy but blessed days. Let me ask my readers to come with me to that Roman Catholic family, and see the surprise and desolation of the wife and children when the father returned from public service and said: "My dear wife and children, I have, for ever, left the Church of Rome, and hope that you will do the same. The ignominious chains by which we were tied, as the slaves of the bishops and the Pope, are broken. Christ Jesus alone will reign over us now. His Holy Word alone will rule and guide us. Salvation is a gift: I am happy in it possession."
In another house, the husband had not been able to come to church, but the wife and children had. It was now the wife who announced to her husband that she had, for ever, renounced the usurped authority of the bishops and the Pope: and that it was her firm resolution to obey no other master than Christ, and accept no other religion than the one taught in the Gospel. At first, this was considered only as a joke; but as soon as it was realized to be a fact, there were, in many places, confusion, tears, angry words and bitter discussions. But the God of truth, light and salvation was there; and as it was His work, the storms were soon calmed, the tears dried, and peace restored.
A week had scarcely passed, when the Gospel cause had achieved one of the most glorious victories over its implacable enemy, the Pope. In a few days, 405 out of 500 families which were around me in St. Anne, had not only accepted the Gospel of Christ, as their only authority in religion; but had publicly given up the name of Roman Catholics, to call themselves Christian Catholics.
A few months later, a Romish priest, legally questioned on the subject, by the Judge of Kankakee, had to swear that only fifteen families had remained Roman Catholics in St. Anne.
A most admirable feature of this religious movement, was the strong determination of those who had never been taught to read, to lose no time in acquiring the privilege of reading for themselves the Divine Gospel which had made them free from the bondage of man. Half of the people had never been taught to read while in Canada; but as their children were attending the schools we had established in different parts of the colony, every house, as well as our chapel, on Sabbath days, was soon turned into a school-house, where our school-boys and girls were the teachers, and the fathers and mothers, the pupils. In a short time, there were but few, except those who refused to leave Rome, who could not read for themselves the Holy Word of God.
But, however great the victory we had gained over the Pope, it was not yet complete. It was true that the enemy had received a deadly wound. The beast, with the seven heads, had its principal one severed. The usurped authority of the bishops had been destroyed, and the people had determined to accept none but the authority of Christ. But many false notions, drank with the milk of their mothers, had been retained. Many errors and superstitions still remained in their minds, as a mist after the rising of the sun, to prevent them from seeing clearly the saving light of the Gospel, it was my duty to destroy those superstitions, and root out these noxious weeds. But, I knew the formidable difficulties the reformers of the fifteenth century had met, the deplorable divisions which had spread among them, and the scandals which had so seriously retarded and compromised the reformation.
I cried to God for wisdom and strength. Never had I understood so clearly, as I did in that most solemn and difficult epoch of my life, the truth that prayer is to the troubled mind what oil is to the raging waves of the sea. My people and I, as are all Roman Catholics, were much given to the worship of images and statues. There were fourteen beautiful pictures hung on the walls of our chapel called: "The Way of the Cross," on which the circumstances of the passion of Jesus Christ were represented, each surmounted with a cross. One of our favourite devotional exercises, was to kneel, three or four times a week, before them, prostrate ourselves and say, with a loud voice: "Oh! holy cross, we adore thee." We used to address our most fervent prayers to them, as if they could hear us, asking them to change our hearts and purify our souls! Our blind devotions were so sincere that we used to bow our heads to the ground before them. I may say the same of the beautiful statue, or rather idol, of the Virgin Mary, represented as a child learning to read at the feet of her mother, St. Anne.
The group was a masterpiece of art, sent to me by some rich friends from Montreal, not long after I had left that city to form the colony of St. Anne, in 1852. We had frequently addressed our most fervent prayers to those statues, but after the blessed Pentecost on which we had broken the yoke of the Pope, I never entered my church without blushing at the sight of those idols on the altar. I would have given much to have the pictures, crosses and things removed, but dare not lay hands suddenly on them, I was afraid, lest I should do harm to some of my people who, it seemed to me, were yet too weak in their religious views to bear it. I was just then reading how Knox and Calvin had made bonfires of all those relics of old Paganism, and I wished I could do the same; but I felt like Jacob, who could not follow the rapid march of his brother, Esau, towards the land of Seir. "The children are tender and the flocks and herds with young are with me. If men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die" (Gen. xxxiii. 13).
Our merciful God saw the perplexity in which I was, and taught me how to get rid of those idols without harming the weak.
One Sabbath, on which I preached on the Second Commandment: "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image," ect. (Exod. xx. 4), I remained in the chapel to pray after the people had left. I looked up to the group of statues on the altar, and said to them: "My good ladies, you must come down from that high position: God Almighty alone is worshipped here now: if you could walk out of this place I would politely invite you to do it. But you are nothing but mute, deaf, blind and motionless idols: you have eyes, but you cannot see: ears, but you cannot hear: feet, but you cannot walk. What will I do with you now? Your reign has come to an end."
It suddenly came to my mind that when I had put these statues on their high pedestal, I had tied them with a very slender, but strong silk cord, to prevent them from falling. I said to myself: "If I were to cut that string, the idols would surely fall, the first day the people would shake the floor when entering or going out." Their fall and destruction would then scandalize on one. I took my knife and scaled the altar, cut the string, and said: "Now, my good ladies, take care of yourselves, especially when the chapel is shaken by the wind, or the coming in of the people."
I never witnessed a more hearty laugh than at the beginning of the religious services, on the next Sabbath. The chapel, being shaken by the action of the whole people who fell on their knees to pray, the two idols, deprived of their silk support, after a couple of jerks which, in former days, we might have taken for a friendly greeting, fell down with a loud crash, and broke into fragments. Old and young, strong and weak, and even babes in the faith, after laughing to their hearts' content at the sad end of their idols, said to each other: "How foolish and blind were we, to put our trust in, and pray to these idols, that they might protect us, when they cannot take care of themselves!" The last vestige of idol worship among our dear converts, disappeared for ever with the dust and broken fragments of those poor helpless statues. The very next day, the people themselves took away all the images before which they had so often abjectly prostrated themselves, and destroyed them.
From the beginning of this movement, it had been my plan to let the people draw their own conclusions as much as possible from their own study of the Holy Scriptures. I used to direct their steps, in such a way, that they might understand that I was myself led with them by the mighty and merciful arm of God, in our new ways. It was also evident to me that, from the beginning, the great majority, after searching the Scriptures with prayerful attention, had found out that Purgatory was a diabolical invention used by the priests of Rome, to enrich themselves, at the expense of their poor blind slaves. But I was also convinced that quite a number were not altogether free from that imposture. I did not know how to attack and destroy that error without wounding and injuring some of the weak children of the Gospel. After much praying, I thought that the best way to clear the clouds which were still hovering around the feeblest intelligences, was to have recourse to the following device:
The All Souls Day (1st Nov.) had come, when it was the usage to take up collections for the sake of having prayers and masses said for the souls in purgatory. I then said to the people, from the pulpit: "You have been used, from your infancy, to collect money, today, in order to have prayers said for the souls in purgatory. Since we have left the Church of Rome for the Church of Christ, we have spent many pleasant hours together in reading and meditating upon the Gospel. You know that we have not found in it a single word about purgatory. From the beginning to the end of that divine book, we have learned that it was only though the blood of the Lamb, shed on the Cross, that our guilty souls could be purified from their sins. I know, however, that a few of you have retained something of the views taught to you, when in the Church of Rome, concerning purgatory. I do not want to trouble them by useless discussions on the subject, or by refusing the money they want to give for the souls of their dear departed parents and friends. The only thing I want to do is this: You used to have a small box passed to you to receive that money. Today, instead of one box, two boxes will be passed, one white, the other black. Those who, like myself, do not believe in purgatory, will put their donations in the white box, and the money will be given to the poor widows and orphans of the parish to help them to get food and clothing for next winter. Those of you who still believe in purgatory, will put their money into the black box, for the benefit of the dead. The only favour I ask of them is that they should tell me how to convey their donations to their departed friends. I tell you frankly that the money you give to the priests, never goes to the benefit of the souls of purgatory. The priests, everywhere, keep that money for their own bread and butter."
My remarks were followed by a general smile. Thirty-five dollars were put in the white box for the orphans and widows, and not a cent fell into the box for the souls of purgatory.
From that day, by the great mercy of God, our dear converts were perfectly rid of the ridiculous and sacrilegious belief in purgatory. This is the way I have dealt with all the errors and idolatries of Rome. We had two public meetings every week, when our chapel was as well filled as on Sabbath. After the religious exercise, every one had the liberty to question me and argue on the various subjects announced at the last meeting.
The doctrines of auricular confession, prayers in an unknown language, the mass, holy water and indulgences, were calmly examined, discussed, and thrown overboard, one after the other, in a very short time. The good done in those public discussions was incalculable. Our dear converts not only learned the great truths of Christianity, but they learned also how to defend and preach them to their relations, friends and neighbours. Many would come from long distances to see for themselves that strange religious movement which was making so much noise all over the country. It is needless to say that few of them went back without having received some rays of the saving light which the Sun of Righteousness was so abundantly pouring upon me and my dear brethren of St. Anne.
Three months after our exit from the land of bondage, we were not less than six thousand French Canadian marching towards the Promised Land.
How can I express the joy of my soul, when, under cover of the darkness of night, I was silently pacing the streets of our town, I heard, from almost every house, sounds of reading the Holy Scriptures, or the melodies of our delightful French hymns! How many times did I then, uniting my feeble voice with that old prophet, say in the rapture of my joy: "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name" (Ps. ciii. 1).
But it was necessary that such a great and blessed work should be tried. God cannot be purified without going through the fire.
On the 27th of July, a devoted priest, through my friend, Mr. Dunn, of Chicago, sent me the following copy of a letter, written by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Illinois (Duggan) to several of his co-bishops: "The schism of the apostate, Chiniquy, is spreading with an incredible and most irresistible velocity. I am told that he has not less then ten thousand followers from his countrymen. Though I hope that this number is an exaggeration, it shows that the evil is great; and that we must not lose any time in trying to open the eyes of the deluded people he is leading to perdition. I intend (D.V.) to visit the very citadel of that deplorable schism, next Tuesday, the 3rd of August. As I speak French almost as well as English, I will address the deluded people of St. Anne in their own language. My intention is to unmask Chiniquy, and show what kind of a man he is. Then I will show the people the folly of believing that they can read and interpret the Scriptures, by their own private judgment. After which, I will easily show them that out of the Church of Rome there is no salvation. Pray to the blessed Virgin Mary that she may help me reclaim that poor deceived people."
Having read that letter to the people on the first Sabbath of August, I said: "We know a man only after he has been tried. So we know the faith of a Christian only after it has been through the fire of tribulations. I thank God that next Tuesday will be the day chosen by Him to show the world that you are worthy of being in the front rank of the great army Jesus Christ is gathering to fight His implacable enemy, the Pope, on this continent. Let every one of you come and hear what the bishop has to say. Not only those who are in good health must come, but even the sick must be brought to hear and judge for themselves. If the bishop fulfills his promise to show you that I am a depraved and wicked man, you must turn me out. You must give up or burn your Bibles, at his bidding, if he proves that you have neither the right to read, nor the intelligence to understand them; and if he shows you that, out of the Church of Rome, there is no salvation, you must, without an hour's delay, return to that church and submit yourselves to the Pope's bishops. But if he fails (as he will surely do) you know what you have to do. Next Tuesday will be a most glorious day for us all. A great and decisive battle will be fought here, such as this continent has never witnessed, between the great principles of Christian truth and liberty, and the principles of lies and tyranny of the Pope. I have only one word more to say: From this moment to the solemn hour of the conflict, let us humbly, but fervently ask our great God, through His beloved and eternal Son, to look down upon us in His mercy, enlighten and strengthen us, that we may be true to Him, to ourselves, and to His Gospel, and then, the angels of heaven will unite with all the elect of God on earth to bless you for the great and glorious victory you will win."
Never had the sun shone more brightly on our beautiful hill than on the 3rd of August, 1858. The hearts had never felt so happy, and the faces had never been so perfectly the mirrors of joyful minds, as on that day, among the multitudes which began to gather from every corner of the colony, a little after twelve o'clock, noon.
Seeing that our chapel, though very large, would not be able to contain half the audience, we had raised a large and solid platform, ten feet high, in the middle of the public square, in front of the chapel. We covered it with carpets, and put a sofa, with a good number of chairs, for the bishop, his long suite of priests, and one for myself, and a large table for the different books of references I wanted to have at hand, to answer the bishop.
At about two o'clock p.m., we perceived his carriage, followed by several others filled with priests. He was dressed in his white surplice, and his official "bonnet carre" on his head, evidently to more surely command the respect and awe of the multitude.
I had requested the people to keep silence and show him all the respect and courtesy due a gentleman who was visiting them, for the first time.
As soon as his carriage was near the chapel, I gave a signal, and up went the American flag to the top of a mast put on the sacred edifice. It was to warn the ambassador of the Pope that he was not treading the land of the holy inquisition and slavery, but the land of Freedom and Liberty. The bishop understood it. For, raising his head to see that splendid flag of stripes and stars, waving to the breeze, he became pale to death. And his uneasiness did not abate, when the thousands round him rent the air with the cry: "Hurrah for the flag of the free and the brave!" The bishop and his priests thought this was the signal I had given to slaughter them; for they had been told several times, that I and my people were so depraved and wicked that their lives were in great danger among us. Several priests who had not much relish for the crown of martyrdom, jumped from their carriages and ran away, to the great amusement of the crowd. Perceiving the marks of the most extreme terror on the face of the bishop, I ran to tell him that there was not the least danger, and assured him of the pleasure we had to see him in our midst.
I offered my hand to help him down from his carriage, but he refused it. After some minutes of trembling and hesitation, he whispered a few words in the ear of his Grand Vicar Mailloux, who was well known by my people, and of whom I have already spoken. I knew that it was by his advice that the bishop was among us, and it was by his instigation that Bishop Smith had refused the submission we had given him.
Rising slowly, he said with a loud voice: "My dear French Canadian countrymen, here is your holy bishop. Kneel down, and he will give you his benediction."
But, to the great disgust of the poor grand vicar, this so well laid plan for beginning the battle failed entirely. Not a single one of that immense multitude cared for the benediction. Nobody knelt.
Thinking that he had not spoken loud enough, he raised his voice to the highest pitch and cried:
"My dear fellow countrymen: This is your holy bishop. He comes to visit you. Kneel down, and he will give you his benediction."
But nobody knelt, and, what was worse, a voice from the crowd answered:
"Do you not know, sir, that there we no longer bend the knee before any man? It is only before God we kneel."
The whole people cried "Amen!" to that noble answer. I could not refrain a tear of joy from falling down my cheeks, when I saw how this first effort of the ambassador of the Pope to entrap my people had signally failed. But though I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for this first success He had given to His soldiers, I knew the battle was far from being over.
I implored Him to bide with us, to be our wisdom and our strength to the end. I looked at the bishop, and seeing his countenance as distressed as before, I offered him my hand again, but he refused it the second time with supreme disdain, but accepted the invitation I gave him to come to the platform.
When half way up the stairs he turned, and seeing me following him, he put forth his hand to prevent me from ascending any further, and said: "I do not want you on this platform; go down, and let my priests alone accompany me."
I answered him: "It may be that you do not want me there, but I want to be at your side to answer you. Remember that you are not on your own ground here, but on mine!"
He then, silently and slowly, walked up. When on the platform, I offered him a good arm-chair, which he refused, and sat on one of his own choice, with his priests around him. I then addressed him as follows:
"My lord, the people and pastor of St. Anne are exceedingly pleased to see you in their midst. We promise to listen attentively to what you have to say, on condition that we have the privilege of answering you."
He answered angrily: "I do not want you to say a word here."
Then stepping to the front, he began his address in French, with a trembling voice. But it was a miserable failure from beginning to end. In vain did he try to prove that out of the Church of Rome, there is no salvation. He failed still more miserably to prove that the people have neither the right to read the Scriptures, nor the intelligence to understand them. He said such ridiculous things on that point, that the people went into fits of laughter, and some said: "This is not true. You do not know what you are talking about. The Bible says the very contrary."
But I stopped them by reminding them of the promise they had made of not interrupting him.
A little before the closing of his address, he turned to me and said: "You are a wicked, rebel priest against your holy church. Go from here into a monastery to do penance for your sins. You say that you have never been excommunicated in a legal way! Well, you will not say that any longer, for I excommunicate you now before this whole people."
I interrupted him and said: "You forget that you have no right to excommunicate a man who has publicly left your church long ago."
He seemed to realize that he had made a fool of himself in uttering such a sentence, and stopped speaking for a moment. Then, recalling his lost courage, he took a new and impressive manner of speaking. He told the people how their friends, their relatives, their very dear mothers and fathers in Canada were weeping over their apostasy. He spoke for a time with great earnestness of the desolation of all those who loved them, at the news of their defection from their holy mother church. Then, resuming, he said: "My dear friends: Please tell me what will be your guide in the ways of God after you have left the holy church of your fathers, the church of your country; who will lead you in the ways of God?"
Those words, which have been uttered with great emphasis and earnestness, were followed by a most complete and solemn silence. Was that silence the result of a profound impression made on the crowd, or was it the silence which always precedes the storm? I could not say. But I must confess that, though I had not lost confidence in God, I was not without anxiety. Though silent and ardent prayers were going to the mercy-seat from my heart, I felt that that poor heart was troubled and anxious, as it had never been before. I could have easily answered the bishop and confounded him in a few words; but I thought that it was much better to let the answer and rebuke come from the people.
The bishop, hoping that the long and strange silence was a proof that he had successfully touched the sensitive cords of the hearts, and that he was to win the day, exclaimed a second time with still more power and earnestness: "My dear French Canadian friends: I ask you, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Saviour and mine, in the name of your desolated mothers, fathers, and friends who are weeping along the banks of your beautiful St. Lawrence River I ask it in the name of your beloved Canada! Answer me! now that you refuse to obey the holy Church of Rome, who will guide you in the ways of salvation?"
Another solemn silence followed that impassionate and earnest appeal. But this silence was not to be long. When I had invited the people to come and hear the bishop, I requested them to bring their Bibles. Suddenly we heard the voice of an old farmer, who, raising his Bible over his head with his two hands, said: "This Bible is all we want to guide us in the ways of God. We do not want anything but the pure Word of God to teach us what we must do to be saved. As for you, sir, you had better go away and never come here any more."
And more than five thousand voices said "Amen!" to that simple and yet sublime answer. The whole crowd filled the air with cries: "The Bible! the Holy Bible, the holy Word of God is our only guide in the ways of eternal life! Go away, sir, and never come again!"
These words, again and again repeated by the thousands of people who surrounded the platform, fell upon the poor bishop's ears as formidable claps of thunder. They were ringing as his death-knell in his ears. The battle was over, and he had lost it.
Bathed in his tears, suffocated by his sobs, he sat or, to speak more correctly, he fell into the arm-chair, and I feared at first lest he should faint. When I saw that he was recovering and strong enough to hear what I had to say, I stepped to the front of the platform. But I had scarcely said two words when I felt as if the claws of a tiger were on my shoulders. I turned and found that it was the clenched fingers of the bishop, who was shaking me while he was saying with a furious voice: "No! no! not a word from you."
As I was about to show him that I had a right to refute what he had said, my eyes fell on a scene which baffles all description. Those only who have seen the raging waves of the sea suddenly raised by the hurricane can have an idea of it. The people had seen the violent hand of the bishop raised against me; they had heard his insolent and furious words forbidding me to say a single word in answer: and a universal cry of indignation was heard: "The infamous wretch! Down with him! He wants to enslave us again! he denies us the right of free speech! he refuses to hear what our pastor has to reply! Down with him!" At the same time a rush was made by many toward the platform to scale it, and others were at work to tear it down. That whole multitude, absolutely blinded by their uncontrollable rage, were as a drunken man who does not know what he does. I had read that such things had occurred before, but I hope I shall never see it again. I rushed to the head of the stairs, and with great difficulty repulsed those who were trying to lay their hands on the bishop. In vain I raised my voice to calm them, and make them realize the crime they wanted to commit. No voice could be heard in the midst of such terrible confusion. It was very providential that we had built the scaffold with strong materials, so that it could resist the first attempt to break it.
Happily, we had in our midst a very intelligent young man called Bechard, who was held in great esteem and respect. His influence, I venture to say, was irresistible over the people. I called him to the platform, and requested him, in the name of God, to appease the blind fury of that multitude. Strange to say, his presence and a sign from his hand acted like magic.
"Let us hear what Bechard has to say," whispered every one to his neighbour, and suddenly the most profound calm succeeded the most awful noise and confusion I had ever witnessed. In a few appropriate and eloquent words, that young gentleman showed the people that, far from being angry, they ought to be glad at the exhibition of the tyranny and cowardice of the bishop. Had he not confessed the weakness of his address when he refused to hear the answer? Had he not confessed that he was the vilest and the most impudent of tyrants when he had come into their very midst to deny them the sacred right of speech and reply? Had he not proved, before God and man, that they had done well to reject, for ever, the authority of the Bishop of Rome, when he was giving them such an unanswerable proof that that authority meant the most unbounded tyranny on his part, and he most degraded and ignominious moral degradation on the part of his blind slaves?
Seeing that they were anxious to hear me, I then told them:
"Instead of being angry, you ought to bless God for what you have heard and seen from the Bishop of Chicago. You have heard, and you are witnesses that he has not given us a single argument to show that we were wrong when he gave up the words of the Pope to follow the words of Christ. Was he not right when he told you that there was no need, on my part, to answer him? Do you not all agree that there was nothing to answer, nothing to refute in his long address? Has not our merciful God brought that bishop into your midst today to show you the truthfulness of what I have so often told you, that there was nothing manly, nothing honest, or true in him? Have you heard from his lips a single word which could have come from the lips of Christ? A word which could have come from that great God who so loved His people that He sent His eternal Son to save them? Was there a single sentence in all you heard which would remind you that salvation through Christ was a gift? that eternal life was a free gift? Have you heard anything from him to make you regret that you are no longer his obedient and abject slaves?"
"No! no!" they replied.
"Then, instead of being angry with that man, you ought to thank him and let him go in peace," I added.
"Yes! yes!" replied the people, "but on condition that he shall never come again."
Then Mons. Bechard stepped to the front, raised his hat, and cried with his powerful voice; "People of St. Anne! you have just gained the most glorious victory which has ever been won by a people against their tyrants. Hurrah for St. Anne, the grave of the tyranny of the Bishops of Rome in America!"
That whole multitude, filled with joy, rent the air with the cry: "Hurrah for St. Anne, the grave of the tyranny of the Bishops of Rome in America!"
I then turned towards the poor bishop and his priests, whose distress and fear were beyond description, and told them: "You see that the people forgive you the iniquity of your conduct, by not allowing them to answer you; but I advise you not to repeat that insult here. Please take the advice they gave you; go away as quickly as possible. I will go with you to your carriage, through the crowd, and I pledge myself that you will be safe, provided you do not insult them again."
Opening their ranks, the crowd made a passage, through which I led the bishop and his long suite of priests to their carriages. This was done in the most profound silence, only a few women whispering to the prelate as he was hurrying by: "Away with you, and never come here again. Henceforward we follow nothing but Christ."
Crushed by waves of humiliation, such as no bishop had ever met with on this continent, the weight of the ignominy which he had reaped in our midst completely overpowered his mind, and ruined him. He left us to wander every day nearer the regions of lunacy. That bishop, whose beginning had been so brilliant, after his shameful defeat at St. Anne, on the 3rd of August, 1858, was soon to end his broken career in the lunatic asylum of St. Louis, where he is still confined to-day.
CHAPTER 67 Back to Table of Contents
The marvelous power of the Gospel to raise a man above himself and give him a supernatural strength and wisdom in the presence of the most formidable difficulties has seldom been more gloriously manifested than on the 3rd of August, 1858, on the hill of St. Anne, Illinois.
Surely the continent of America had never seen a more admirable transformation of a whole people than was then and there accomplished. With no other help than the reading of the Gospel, that people had suddenly exchanged the chains of the most abject slavery for Christian Liberty.
By the strength of their faith they had pulverized the gigantic power of Rome, put to flight the haughty representative of the Pope, and had raised the banners of Christian Liberty on the very spot marked by the bishop as the future citadel of the empire of Popery in the United States. Such work was so much above my capacity, so much above the calculation of my intelligence, that I felt that I was more its witness than its instrument. The merciful and mighty hand of God was too visible to let any other idea creep into my mind; and the only sentiments which filled my soul were those of an unspeakable joy, and of gratitude to God. But I felt that the greater the favours bestowed upon us from heaven, the greater were the responsibilities of my new position.
The news of that sudden religious reformation spread with lightning speed all over the continents of America and Europe, and an incredible number of inquiring letters reached me from every corner. Episcopalians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, of every rank and colour, kindly pressed me to give them some details. Of course, those letters were often accompanied by books considered the most apt to induce me to join their particular denominations.
Feeling too young and inexpert in the ways of God to give a correct appreciation of the Lord's doings among us, I generally answered those kind inquirers by writing them: "Please come and see with your own eyes the marvelous things our merciful God is doing in the midst of us, and you will help us to bless Him."
In less than six months, more than one hundred venerable ministers of Christ, and prominent Christian laymen of different denominations, visited us. Among those who first honoured us with their presence was the Right Rev. Bishop Helmuth, of London, Canada; then, the learned Dean of Quebec, so well known and venerated all over Great Britain and Canada. He visited us twice, and was one of the most blessed instruments of the mercies of God towards us.
I am happy to say that those eminent Christians, without any exception, after having spent from one to twenty days in studying for themselves this new religious movement, declared that it was the most remarkable and solid evangelical reformation among Roman Catholics they had ever seen. The Christians of the cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, ect., having expressed the desire to hear from me of the doings of the Lord among us, I addressed them in their principal churches, and was received with such marks of kindness and interest, for which I shall never be able sufficiently to thank God.
I have previously said that we had, at first, adopted the beautiful name of Christian Catholics, but we soon perceived that unless we joined one of the Christian denominations of the day, we were in danger of forming a new sect.
After many serious and prayerful considerations, it seemed that the wisest thing we could do was to connect ourselves with that branch of the vine which was the nearest to, if not identical with, that of the French Protestants, which gave so many martyrs to the Church of Christ. Accordingly, it was our privilege to be admitted in the Presbyterian Church of the United States. The Presbytery of Chicago had the courtesy to adjourn their meeting from that city to our humble town, on the 15th of April, 1860, when I presented them with the names of nearly two thousand converts, who, with myself, were received into full communion with the Church of Christ.
This solemn action was soon followed by the establishment of missions and congregations in the cities and towns of Chicago, Aurora, Kankakee, Middleport, Watseka, Momence, Sterling, Manteno, ect., where the light of the Gospel had been received by large numbers of our French Canadian emigrants, whom I had previously visited.
The census of the converts taken then gave us about six thousand five hundred precious souls already wrenched from the iron grasp of Popery. It was a result much beyond my most sanguine hopes, and it would be difficult to express the joy it gave me, if left alone, to distribute the bread of life to such multitudes, scattered over a territory of several hundred miles. I determined, with the help of God, to raise a college, where the children of our converts would be prepared to preach the Gospel.
Thirty-two of our young men, having offered themselves, I added, at once to my other labours, the daily task of teaching them the preparatory course of study for their future evangelical work.
That year (1860) had been chosen by Scotland to celebrate the centenary anniversary of her Reformation. The committee of management, composed of Dr. Guthrie, Professor Cunningham, and Dr. Begg, invited me to attend their general meetings in Edinburgh. On the 16th of August, it was my privilege to be presented by those venerable men to one of the grandest and noblest assemblies which the Church of Christ has ever seen. After the close of that great council, which I addressed twice, I was invited, during the next six months, to lecture in Great Britain, France, and Switzerland, and to raise the funds necessary for our college. It was during that tour that I had the privilege of addressing, at St. Etienne, the Synod of the Free Protestant Church of France, lately established through the indomitable energy and ardent piety of the Rev. Felix Monod.
Those six months' efforts were crowned with the most complete success, and more than 15,000 dollars were handed me for our college by the disciples of Christ.
But it was the will of God that I should pass through the purifying fires of the greatest tribulations. On my return from Europe into my colony, in the beginning of 1861, I found everything in confusion. The ambition of the young man I had invited to preach in my place, and in whom I had so imprudently put too much confidence, encouraged by the very man I had chosen for my representative and my attorney during my absence, came very near ruining that great evangelical work, by sowing the seeds of division and hatred among our dear converts. Through the dishonest and false reports of those two men, the money I had collected and left in England (in the hands of a gentleman who was bound to send it at my order) was retained nearly two years, and lost in the failure of the Gelpeck New York Bank, through which it was sent. The only way we found to save ourselves from ruin, was to throw ourselves into the hands of our Christian brothers of Canada.
A committee of the Presbyterian Church, composed of Revs. Dr. Kemp, Dr. Cavan, and Mr. Scott, was sent to investigate the causes of our troubles, and they soon found them. Dr. Kemp published a critical resume of their investigation, which clearly showed where the trouble lay. Our integrity and innocence were publicly acknowledged, and we were solemnly and officially received as members of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, on the 11th of June, 1863. We may properly acknowledge here that the Christian devotedness, the admirable ability and zeal of the late Dr. Kemp in performance of that work, has secured him our lasting gratitude.
In 1874, I was again invited to Great Britain by the committee appointed to prepare the congratulatory address of the English people to the Emperor of Germany and Bismark, for their noble resistance to the encroachments of Popery. I addressed the meetings held for that purpose in Exeter Hall, under the presidency of Lord John Russell, on the 27th of January, 1874. The next several Gospel ministers pressed me to publish my twenty-five years' experience of auricular confession, as an antidote to the criminal and too successful efforts of Dr. Pusey, who wanted to restore that infamous practice among the Protestants of England.
After much hesitation and many prayers, I wrote the book entitled: "The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional," which God has so much blessed to the conversion of many, that twenty-seven editions have already been published.
I spent the next six months in lecturing on Romanism in the principal cities of England, Scotland and Ireland.
On my return, pressed by the Canadian Church to leave my colony of Illinois, for a time at least, to preach in Canada, I went to Montreal, where, in the short space of four years, we had the unspeakable joy to see seven thousand of French Canadian Roman Catholics and emigrants from France, publicly renouncing the errors of Popery to follow the Gospel of Christ.
In 1878, exhausted by the previous years of incessant labours, I was advised, by my physicians, to breathe the bracing air of the Pacific Ocean. I crossed the Rocky Mountains and spent two months lecturing in San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and in Washington Territory, where I found a great many of my French countrymen, many of whom received the light of the Gospel with joy.
After this, I visited the Sandwich Islands, where I preached on my return, crossed the Pacific and went to the Antipodes, lecturing two years in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It would require a large volume to tell the great mercies of God towards me during that long, perilous, but interesting voyage. During those two years, I gave 610 public lectures, and came back to my colony of St. Anne with such perfectly restored health, that I could say with the Psalmist: "Bless the Lord, O my soul." "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Ps. ciii. 1,5).
But the reader has the right to know something of the dangers through which it has pleased God to make me pass.
Rome is the same today as she was when she burned John Huss and Wishart, and when she caused 70,000 Protestants to be slaughtered in France, and 100,000 to be exterminated in Piedmont in Italy.
On the 31st of December, 1869, I forced the Rt. Rev. Bishop Foley, of Chicago, to swear before the civil court, at Kankakee, that the following sentence was an exact translation of the doctrine of the Church of Rome as taught today in all the Roman Catholic seminaries, colleges, and universities, through the "Summa Theologica" of Thomas Aquinas (vol. iv. p. 90). "Though heretics must not be tolerated because they deserve it, we must bear with them till, by a second admonition, they may be brought back to the faith of the church. But those who, after a second admonition, remain obstinate to their errors, must not only be excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular power to be exterminated."
It is on account of this law of the Church of Rome, which is today in full force, as it was promulgated for the first time, that not less than thirty public attempts have been made to kill me since my conversion.
The first time I visited Quebec, in the spring of 1859, fifty men were sent by the Bishop of Quebec (Baillargeon) to force me to swear that I would never preach the Bible, or to kill me in case of my refusal.
At 4 o'clock a.m., sticks were raised above my head, a dagger stuck in my breast, and the cries of the furious mob were ringing in my ears: "Infamous apostate! Now you are in our hands, you are a dead man if you do not swear that you will never preach your accursed Bible."
Never had I seen such furious men around me. Their eyes were more like the eyes of tigers than of men. I expected every moment to receive the deadly blow, and I asked my Saviour to come and receive my soul. But the would-be murderers, with more horrible imprecations, cried again: "Infamous renegade! Swear that you will never preach any more your accursed Bible, or you are a dead man!"
I raised my eyes and hands towards heaven and said: "Oh! my God! hear and bless the last words of Thy poor servant: I solemnly swear, that so long as my tongue can speak, I will preach Thy Word, as I find it in the Holy Bible!" Then opening my vest and presenting my naked breast, I said: "Now! Strike!"
But my God was there to protect me: they did not strike. I went through their ranks into the streets, where I found a carter, who drove me to Mr. Hall, the mayor of the city, for that day. I showed him my bleeding breast, and said: "I just escaped, almost miraculously, from the hands of men sworn to kill me if I preach again the Gospel of Christ. I am, however, determined to preach again today at noon, even if I have to die in the attempt." I put myself under the protection of the British flag.
Soon after, more than 1,000 British soldiers were around me, with fixed bayonets. They formed themselves into two lines along the streets through which the Mayor took me, in his own sleigh, to the lecture room. I could then deliver my address on "The Bible," to at least 10,000 people who were crowded inside and outside the walls of the large building. After this, I had the joy of distributing between five and six hundred Bibles to that multitude, who received them as thirsty and hungry people receive fresh water and pure bread, after many days of starvation.
I have been stoned twenty times. The principal places in Canada where I was struck and wounded, and almost miraculously escaped, were: Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Charlotte Town, Halifax, Antigonish, ect. In the last mentioned, on the 10th of July, 1873, the pastor, the Rev. P. Goodfellow, standing by me when going out of his church, was also struck several times by stones which missed me. At last, his head was so badly cut, that he fell on the ground bathed in blood. I took him up in my arms, though wounded and bleeding myself. We would surely have been slaughtered there, had not a noble Scotchman, named Cameron, opened the door of his house, at the peril of his own life, to give us shelter against the assassins of the Pope. The mob, furious that we had escaped, broke the windows and besieged the house from 10 a.m. till 3 next morning. Many times they threatened to set fire to Mr. Cameron's house, if he did not deliver me into their hands to be hung. They were prevented from doing so only from fear of burning the whole town, composed in part of their own dwellings. Several times they put long ladders against the walls, with the hope of reaching the upper rooms, where they could find and kill their victim. All this was done under the very eyes of five or six priests, who were only at a distance of a few rods.
At Montreal, in the winter of 1870, one evening, coming out of Cote Street Church, where I had preached, accompanied by Principal Mac Vicar, we fell into a kind of ambuscade, and received a volley of stones, which would have seriously, if not fatally, injured the doctor had he not been protected from head to foot by a thick fur cap and overcoat, worn in the cold days of winter in Canada.
After a lecture given at Parramatta, near Sydney, Australia, I was again attacked with stones by the Roman Catholics. One struck my left leg with such force that I thought it was broken, and I was lame for several days.
In New South Wales, Australia, I was beaten with whips and sticks, which left marks upon my shoulders.
At Marsham, in the same province, on the 1st of April, 1879, the Romanists took possession of the church where I was speaking, rushed towards me with daggers and pistols, crying: "Kill him! Kill him!"
In the tumult, I providentially escaped through a secret door. But I had to crawl on hands and knees a pretty long distance in a ditch filled with mud, not to be seen and escape death. When I reached the hospitable house of Mr. Cameron, the windows were broken with stones, much of the furniture destroyed, and it was a wonder I escaped with my life.
At Ballarat, in the same province, three times the houses where I lodged were attacked and broken. Rev. Mr. Inglis, one of the most eloquent ministers of the city, was one of the many who were wounded by my side. The wife of the Rev. Mr. Quick came also nearly being killed while I was under their hospitable roof.
In the same city, as I was waiting for the train at the station, a well-dressed lady came as near as possible and spat in my face. I was blinded, and my face covered with filth. She immediately fled, but was soon brought back by my secretary and a policeman, who said: "Here is the miserable woman who has just insulted you: what shall we do with her?" I was then almost done cleaning my face with my handkerchief and some water, brought by some sympathizing friends. I answered: "Let her go home in peace. She has not done it of her own accord: she was sent by her confessor; she thinks she had done a good action. When they spat in our Saviour's face, He did not punish those who insulted Him. We must follow His example." And she was set at liberty, to the great regret of the crowd.
The very next day (21st of April) at Castlemain, I was again fiercely attacked and wounded on the head as I came from addressing the people. One of the ministers who was standing by me was seriously wounded and lost much blood. At Geelong, I had again a very narrow escape from stones thrown at me in the streets. In 1879, while lecturing in Melbourne, the splendid capital of Victoria, Australia, I received a letter from Tasmania, signed by twelve ministers of the Gospel saying:
"We are much in need of you here, for though the Protestants are in the majority, they leave the administration of the country almost entirely in the hands of Roman Catholics, who rule us with an iron rod. The governor is a Roman Catholic, etc. We wish to have you among us, though we do not dare to invite you to come. For we know that your life will be in danger day and night while in Tasmania. The Roman Catholics have sworn to kill you, and we have too many reasons to fear that they will fulfill their promises. But, though we do not dare ask you to come, we assure you that there is a great work for you here, and that we will stand by you with our people. If you fall, you will not fall alone."
I answered: "Are we not soldiers of Christ, and must we not be ready and willing to die for Him, as He did for us? I will go."
On the 24th of June, as I was delivering my first lecture in Hobart Town, the Roman Catholics, with the approbation of their bishop, broke the door of the hall, and rushed towards me, crying, "Kill him! kill him!" The mob was only a few feet from me, brandishing their daggers and pistols, when the Protestants threw themselves between them and me, and a furious hand-to-hand fight occurred, during which many wounds were received and given. The soldiers of the Pope were overpowered, but the governor had to put the city under martial law for four days, and call the whole militia to save my life from the assassins drilled by the priests.
In a dark night, as I was leaving the steamer to take the train, on the Ottawa River, Canada, twice the bullets of the murderers whistled at no more than two or three inches from my ears. Several times in Montreal and Halifax the churches where I was preaching were attacked and the windows broken by the mobs sent by the priests, and several of my friends were wounded (two of whom, I believe, died from the effects of their wounds) whilst defending me.
The 17th of June, 1884, after I had preached in Quebec, on the text: "What would I do to have eternal life," a mob of more than 1,500 Roman Catholics, led by two priests, broke the windows of the church and attacked me with stones, with the evident object to kill me. More than one hundred stones struck me, and I would surely have been killed there had I not had, providentially, two heavy overcoats, which I put, one around my head, and the other around my shoulders. Notwithstanding that protection, I was so much bruised and wounded from head to feet, that I had to spend the three following weeks on a bed of suffering, between life and death. A young friend, Zotique Lefevore, who had heroically put himself between my would-be-assassins and me, escaped only after receiving six severe wounds in the face. The same year, 1884, in the month of November, I was attacked with stones and struck several times, when preaching or coming out from the church in the city of Montreal. Numbers of policemen and other friends who came to my rescue were wounded, my life was saved only by an organization of a thousand young men, who, under the name of Protestant Guard, wrenched me from the hands of the would-be murderers.
When the bishops and priests saw that it was so difficult to put me out of the way with stones, sticks, and daggers, they determined to destroy my character by calumnies, spread everywhere, and sworn before civil tribunals as Gospel truths. During eighteen years they kept me in the hands of the sheriffs a prisoner, under bail, as a criminal. Thirty-two times my name has been called before the civil and criminal courts of Kankakee, Joliet, Chicago, Urbana, and Montreal, among the names of the vilest and most criminal men. I have been accused by Grand Vicar Mailloux of having killed a man and thrown his body into a river to conceal my crime. I have been accused of having set fire to the church of Bourbonnais and destroyed it. Not less than seventy-two false witnesses have been brought by the priests of Rome to support this last accusation. But, thanks be to God, at every time, from the very lips of the perjured witnesses, we got the proof that they were swearing falsely, at the instigation of their father confessors. And my innocence was proven by the very men who had been paid to destroy me. In this last suit, I thought it was my duty, as a Christian and citizen, to have one of those priests punished for having so cruelly and publicly trampled under his feet the most sacred laws of society and religion. Without any vengeance on my part, God knows it, I asked the protection of my country against these incessant plots. Father Brunet, found guilty of having invented those calumnies and supported them by false witnesses, was condemned to pay 2,500 dollars or go to goal for fourteen years. He preferred the last punishment, having the promise from his Roman Catholic friends that they would break the doors of the prison and let him go free to some remote place. He was incarcerated at Kankakee; but on a dark and stormy night, six months later, he was rescued, and fled to Montreal (distant about 900 miles). There he made the Roman Catholics believe that the blessed Virgin Mary, dressed in a beautiful white robe, had come in person to open for him the gates of the prison.
I do not mention these facts here, to create bad feelings against the poor blind slaves of the Pope It is only to show to the world that the Church of Rome of today is absolutely the same as when she reddened Europe with the blood of millions of martyrs. My motive in speaking of those murderous attacks, is to induce the readers to help me to bless God, who has so mercifully saved me from the hands of the enemy. More than any living man, I can say with the old prophet: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" (Ps. xxiii. 1). With Paul, I could often say: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair: persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but not destroyed: always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our body" (2 Cor. iv. 8 10). Those constant persecutions, far from hindering the onward march of the evangelical movement to which I have consecrated my life, seem to have given it a new impulse and a fresher life. I have even remarked that the very day after I had been bruised and wounded, the number of converts had invariably increased. I will never forget the day, after the terrible night when more than a thousand Roman Catholics had come to stone me, and on which I received a severe wound, more than one hundred of my countrymen asked me to enroll their names under the banner of the Gospel, and publicly sent their recantation of the errors of Rome to the bishop. Today, the Gospel of Christ is advancing with an irresistible power among the French Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. We find numbers of converts in almost every town and city from New York to San Francisco. Rallied around the banners of Christ, they form a large army of fearless soldiers of the Cross. Among those converts we count now twenty-five priests and more than fifty young zealous ministers born in the Church of Rome.
In hundreds of places, the Church of Rome has lost her past prestige, and the priests are looked upon with indifference, if not contempt, even by those who have not yet accepted the light.
A very remarkable religious movement has also been lately inaugurated among the Irish Roman Catholics, under the leadership of Revs. McNamara, O'Connor, and Quinn, which promises to keep pace with, if not exceed the progress of the Gospel among the French.
Today, more than ever, we hear the good Master's voice: "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest" (John iv. 35).
Oh! may the day soon come when all my dear countrymen will hear the voice of the Lamb and come to wash their robes in His blood! Will I see the blessed hour when the dark night in which Rome keeps my dear Canada will be exchanged for the bright and saving light of the Gospel?
At all events, I cannot but bless God for what mine eyes have seen and mine ears have heard of His mercies towards me and my countrymen. From my infancy, He has taken me into His arms, and led me most mercifully, through ways I did not know, from the darkest regions of superstition, to the blessed regions of light, truth and life!
From the day He granted me to read His divine word on my dear mother's knee, to the hour He came to me as "the Gift of God," He has not let a single day pass without speaking to me some of His warning and saving words. I have not always paid sufficient attention to His sweet voice, I confess it to my shame. My mind was so filled with the glittering sophisms of Rome, that many times, I refused to yield to the still voice which was almost night and day heard in my soul. But my God was not repelled by my infidelities, as the reader will find in this book. When driven away in the morning, He came back in the silent hours of the night. For more than twenty-five years, He forced me to see, as a priest, the abominations which exist inside the walls of the modern Babylon. I may say, He took me by the lock of mine head, as He did with the prophet of old, and said:
"Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way towards the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way towards north, and behold, northward at the gate of the altar, this image of jealousy in the entry. He said furthermore unto me: 'Son of man, seest thou what they do, even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? But turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.' And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. Then said he unto me, 'Son of man, dig now in the wall;' and when I had digged in the wall, behold, a door. And he said, 'Go in and see the wicked abominations that they do here.' So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall and round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah, the son of Shaphan, with every man his censor in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. Then said he unto me: 'Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery?' for they say, 'The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth.' He said also unto me: 'Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.' Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house, which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me: 'Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.' And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house; and, behold, at the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the east; and they worshipped the sun towards the east. Then he said unto me: 'Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence and have returned to provoke me into anger; and lo! they put the branch to their nose. Therefore, will I also deal in fury; mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and they cry in mine ears, with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them" (Ezek. viii. 5 18).
I can say with John:
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me: 'Come hither: I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.' So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written: 'Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations Of The Earth.' And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration' (Rev. xvii. 1 6).
And after the Lord had shown me all these abominations, He took me out as the eagle takes his own young ones on his wings. He brought me into His beautiful and beloved Zion, and He set my feet on the rock of my salvation. There, He quenched my thirst with the pure waters which flow from the fountains of eternal life, and He gave me to eat the true bread which comes from heaven.
Oh! that I might go all over the world, through this book, and say with the Psalmist: "Come, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul."
Let all the children of God who will read this book lend me their tongues to praise the Lord. Let him lend me their hearts, to love Him. For, alone, I cannot praise Him, I cannot love Him as He deserves. When look upon the seventy-six years which have passed over me, my heart leaps for joy, for I find myself at the end of trials. I have nearly crossed the desert.
Only the narrow stream of Jordan is between me and the new Jerusalem. I already hear the great voice out of heaven saying: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and be their God, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away....He that overcometh shall inherit all things" (Rev. xxi. 3, 4, 7).
Rich with the unspeakable gift which has been given me, and pressing my dear Bible to my heart, as the richest treasure, I hasten my steps with an unspeakable joy toward the Land of Promise. I already hear the angel's voice telling me: "Come: the Master calls thee."
A few days more and the bridegroom will say to my soul: "Surely I come quickly." And I will answer: "Even so, come Lord Jesus." Amen.
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Page 73 - 78 [All Latin]
* "Hence Sanchez teaches, n. 19, with Cajet. Sot. Covar. Valent, that it is lawful to persuade a man, determined to slay some one, that he should commit theft or fornication." (Mor. Theol. lib. iii. t. ii. cap. 2, p. 175, p. 157. Mech. 1845.)
* In order to be understood by those of my readers who have never been deceived by the diabolical doctrines of the Church of Rome, I must say here, that when young I had learned in my catechism, and when a priest I had believed and preached what Rome says on that subject. Here is her doctrine as taught in her Catechism:-
"Who are those who go to heaven?"
Ans. "Those only who have never offended God, or who, having offended Him, have done penance."
* "The Pope, the Kings, and the People" (Mullan & Son, Paternoster Square), pp. 269-70. Also see (London) Standard, 7th April, 1870.
* Those who would like to know all about the abominations of auricular confession should have my volume "The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional." It is probably the only book ever written on that subject which completely unveils the mask of Rome, by telling the whole truth.
* Psalm xlii. 7, "Deep calleth unto deep." - A.V.
* Those gentlemen, with the exception of Mr. Allaire, are still living, 1885.
* Canon of the Church, by Pope Gelasius.
* Vol. iii., page 139.
** Eccl. Laws, by Hericourt, c. xxii., No. 50
****Eccl. Laws, by Hericourt, c.xxii., No. 51
* The Shepherd of the Valley, official Journal of the Bishop of St. Louis, Nov. 23, 1851.
**New York Freeman, official journal of Bishop Hughes, Jan. 26, 1852.
***Catholic World, April, 1870.
****Catholic Review, June, 1865.
*****Catholic World, July 1870.
******Father Hecker, Catholic World, July, 1870.
*Pope Pius VII, Encyclical, 1808
**St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Vol. iv. p. 90
**Tablet, Oct. 9, 1864.
*Brownson's Review, May, 1864.
**Pittsburg Catholic Visitor, July 1848, official journal of the Bishop.
***Boston Pilot, official journal of the Bishop.
****Brownson's Review, 1849.
*****Brownson's Review, June 1851.
******Roman Catholic Chief-Justice Tany, in his Dred Scot Decision.
*******Western Tablet, official paper of the Bishop of Chicago.
*Encyclical Letters of Pope Pius IX., August, 15, 1854.
***Taledo Catholic Review.
****Suarez, Defensio Fidei; Book VI. c. 4, Nos. 13, 14.
*****Tamburini; General of the Jesuits.
******Busembaum. - Lacroix, Theologia Moralis, 1757.
** Spiritual Exercise, by Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
***Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercise.
****Pope Gregory XVI., Incyclical, August 15th, 1832.
*****Gladstone, Letter to Lord Aberdeen.
*Saint Liguori, The Nun Sanctified.
**Decree of Pope Urban XIII.(signed) by Cardinals Felia, Guido, Desiderio, Antonio, Belligero, and Fabricius.
***Newton's Principia, by Fathers Lesueur and Jacquier, vol iii, p. 450.
****Univers, the official Catholic paper of the Bishop of France, March 28th, 1868.
*Bishop Vaughan's address to the Catholic Club at Salford, England, January 2nd, 1873.
**Secret Plans of the Jesuits, revealed by Abate Leon, p. 127.
***Sully's Memoirs, tom. ii. chap. iii.
****The Secret Plan, pp. 127-128
*****Brownson's Essays, pp. 282-284.
*Memorial of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena, by General Montholon, vol. ii. p. 62.
**Memorial of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena, vol. ii. p. 174.
***Rambler, one of the most prominent Catholic papers of England, September, 1851.
*The Inner Life of Lincoln. By Carpenter. Pp. 193 - 195.
*Six Months in the White House. By Carpenter. P. 86.
*History of the Civil War. By Abbot. Vol. ii., p. 594.
*These two gentlemen are still living in Chicago, 1885.
*That same Mr. Dunn was also excommunicated not long after by his bishop, and died after publicly refusing to be relieved from that sentence.
* [?] "All ye shall be offended because of Me this night" (Matt. xxvi. 31; Mark xiv. 27).
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