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Title: Fifty Years in the Church of Rome
Author: Chiniquy, Charles Paschal Telesphore
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_.

Errors, when reasonably attributable to the printer, have been
corrected. Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for
details. Corrections made to the text are summarized there.

French passages did not include diacritical marks (with a single
appearance of ‘ç’ on p. 54), and are presented here as printed.


[Illustration: C. CHINIQUY]

                              FIFTY YEARS
                                 IN THE
                            CHURCH OF ROME.


                            FATHER CHINIQUY,



                       FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY,

             NEW YORK.          CHICAGO.           TORONTO.

                _Publishers of Evangelical Literature._





                      TO COLONEL EDWIN A. SHERMAN.

Allow me to mention your name the first among the many to whom I
dedicate this book.

I owe this to you as a token of gratitude for your help in my researches
after the true murderers of our martyred President Abraham Lincoln.

I found you as wise and honorable in your counsels as our country found
you brave on the battlefields of Liberty.

                          AND NEW ZEALAND,[A]

this book is also dedicated by the humblest of their brethren.

Orangemen! Read this book: you will not only understand Romanism as you
never did, but you will find many new reasons to be, more than ever,
vigilant, fearless and devoted, even to death, in the discharge of the
sacred duties imposed upon you by your love for your country, your
brethren and your God.


Footnote A:

  L. O. A. B. A. BOYNE L. O. L. No. 401.

                                             Montreal, 20th Sept., 1878.

  This is to Certify that Bro. C. Chiniquy was duly initiated into Boyne
  L. O. L. No. 401, and is a member in good standing, and we do
  therefore request all Brethren to receive him as such, whereof witness
  our hand and seal hereto affixed.

                                   MASTER No. 401.

                                             JOHN HAMILTON, Secretary.


                             UNITED STATES,

I also dedicate this book.

Americans! You are sleeping on a volcano, and you do not suspect it! You
are pressing on your bosom a viper which will bite you to death, and you
do not know it.

Read this book, and you will see that Rome is the sworn, the most
implacable, the absolutely irreconcilable and deadly enemy of your
schools, your institutions, your so dearly bought rights and liberties.

Read this book, and you will not only understand that it is to Rome you
owe the rivers of blood and the unspeakable horrors of the last civil
war: but you will learn that Romanism and Liberty can not live on the
same ground. This has been declared by the Popes, hundreds of times.

Read this book: And you will not only see that Abraham Lincoln was
murdered by Rome, but you will learn that Romanism, under the mask of
religion, is nothing but a permanent political conspiracy against all
the most sacred rights of man and the most holy laws of God.

In those pages you will not learn to hate the Roman Catholics. No! But
you will learn to be more than ever watchful in guarding the precious
treasures of Freedom bestowed upon you by your fathers. You will learn
never to let them fall into the hands of those who, with the sacred name
of Liberty on their lips, and the mask of Liberty on their faces, are
sworn to destroy all Liberty.


I also, dedicate this book.

Venerable Ministers of the Gospel! Rome is the great danger ahead for
the Church of Christ, and you do not understand it enough.

The atmosphere of light, honesty, truth and holiness in which you are
born, and which you have breathed since your infancy, makes it almost
impossible for you to realize the dark mysteries of idolatry,
immorality, degrading slavery, hatred of the Word of God, concealed
behind the walls of that modern Babylon. You are too honest to suspect
them; and your precious time is too much taken up by the sacred duties
of your ministry, to study the long labyrinth of argumentations which
form the bulk of the greater number of controversial books. Besides
that, the majority of the books of controversy against Rome are of such
a dry character that, though many begin to read them, very few have the
courage to go to the end. The consequence is an ignorance of Romanism
which becomes more and more deplorable and fatal, every day.

It is ignorance which paves the way to the triumph of Rome, in a near
future, if there is not a complete change in your views, on that

It is that ignorance which paralyzes the arm of the Church of Christ,
and makes the glorious word “Protestant” senseless, almost a dead and
ridiculous word. For who does really protest against Rome, to-day? where
are those who sound the trumpet of alarm?

When Rome is striking you to the heart by cursing your schools and
wrenching the Bible from the hands of your children; when she is not
only battering your doors, but scaling your walls and storming your
citadels, how few dare go to the breach and repulse the audacious and
sacrilegious foe?

Why so? Because modern Protestants have not only forgotten what Rome
was, what she is, and what she will forever be: the most irreconcilable
and powerful enemy of the Gospel of Christ; but they consider her almost
a branch of the church whose corner-stone is Christ.

Faithful ministers of the Gospel! I present you this book that you may
know that the monster Church of Rome, who shed the blood of your
forefathers, is still at work, to-day, at your very door, to enchain
your people to the feet of her idols. Read it, and for the first time,
you will see the inside life of Popery with the exactness of
Photography. From the supreme art with which the mind of the young and
timid child is fettered, enchained and paralyzed, to the unspeakable
degradation of the priest under the iron heel of the bishop, everything
will be revealed to you as it has never been before.

The superstitions, the ridiculous and humiliating practices, the secret
and mental agonies of the monks, the nuns and the priests, will be shown
to you as they were never shown before. In this book, the sophisms and
errors of Romanism are discussed and refuted with a clearness,
simplicity and evidence which my twenty-five years of priesthood only
could teach me. It is not in boasting that I say this. There can be no
boasting in me for having been so many years an abject slave of the
Pope. The book I offer you is an arsenal filled with the best weapons
you ever had to fight, and, with the help of God, conquer the foe.

The learned and zealous champion of Protestantism in Great Britain Rev.
D. Badenoch, who has revised the manuscript, wrote to a friend: “I do
not think there is a Protestant work more thrilling in interest and more
important at the present time. It is not only full of incidents, but
also of arguments, on the side of truth with all classes of Romanists,
from the bishops to the parish priests. I know of no work which gives so
graphically the springs of Roman Catholic life, and at the same time,
meets the plausible objections to Protestantism in Roman Catholic
circles. I wish with all my heart that this work would be published in
Great Britain.”

The venerable, learned and so well known Rev. Dr. Kemp, Principal of the
Young Ladies’ College of Ottawa, Canada, only a few days before his
premature death, wrote: “Mr. Chinqiuy has submitted every chapter of his
‘Fifty Years in the Church of Rome’ to me: I have read it with care and
with the deepest interest; and I commend it to the public favor in the
highest terms. It is the only book I know that gives anything like a
full and authentic account of the inner workings of Popery on this
continent, and so effectively unmasks its pretence to sanctity. Besides
the most interesting biographical incidents, it contains incisive
refutations of the most plausible assumptions and deadly errors of the
Romish Church. It is well fitted to awaken Protestants to the insidious
designs of the arch-enemy of their faith and liberties, and to arouse
them to a decisive opposition. It is written in a kindly and Christian
spirit, does not indulge in denunciations, and, while speaking in truth,
it does so in love. Its style is lively and its English good, with only
a delicate flavor of the author’s native French.”


this book is also dedicated.

In the name of your immortal souls, I ask you, Roman Catholics, to read
this book.

By the mercy of God, you will find, in its pages, how you are cruelly
deceived by your vain and lying traditions.

You will see that it is not through your ceremonies, masses,
confessions, purgatory, indulgences, fastings, etc., you are saved. You
have nothing to do but to believe, repent and love.

Salvation is a gift! Eternal life is a gift! Forgiveness of sin is a
gift! Christ is a gift!

Read this book, presented by the most devoted of your friends, and, by
the mercy of God, you will see the errors of your ways—you will look to
the GIFT—you will accept it—and in its possession you will feel rich and
happy for time and eternity.

                             SPECIAL NOTICE
                            TO NEW EDITION.


Since the publication of the second edition of “Fifty Years in the
Church of Rome,” the incendiary torch of the foe has twice reduced into
ashes the electrotype plates, with many volumes already printed, and
about to be delivered to subscribers.

Though those two disasters have completely ruined me financially, they
have not discouraged me, for my trust was in God, and in Him alone.
Relying on His divine and paternal protection, I offer this New Edition
to my brethren, with the prayerful hope that the Good Master will bless
it for His glory, and the good of His elect, wherever it may go.

I have no words to sufficiently bless the friends who have extended to
me a helping hand to raise the book from its fiery grave; and I cannot
sufficiently thank the Press, both religious and secular, of Europe and
America, for the kind appreciation given, almost everywhere, to my
humble labor.

May this book, with the help of God, be the means of giving liberty to
those who are held in the bondage of ignorance, superstition and
idolatry, is the sincere desire of their friend,

                                                        C. CHINIQUY.

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



       ”             ”             ”     IN PRIEST’S

     FESTIVITIES IN A PARSONAGE,                                54

     GRAND DINNER OF THE PRIESTS,                              205

     CARDINAL NEWMAN,                                          405

     FALL OF THE “HOLY FATHERS,”                               436

     LEO XIII., PRESENT POPE,                                  676

     ABRAHAM LINCOLN,                                          693



     TITLE                                                       1

     DEDICATION                                                3-7

     PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION                                    8

                              CHAPTER I.

     The Bible and the Priest of Rome                         9-13

                              CHAPTER II.

     My first school-days at St. Thomas—The Monk and         14-21

                             CHAPTER III.

     The Confession of Children                              22-30

                              CHAPTER IV.

     The Shepherd whipped by his Sheep                       31-40

                              CHAPTER V.

     The Priest, Purgatory, and the poor Widow’s Cow         41-48

                              CHAPTER VI.

     Festivities in a Parsonage                              49-56

                             CHAPTER VII.

     Preparation for the First Communion—Initiation to       57-60

                             CHAPTER VIII.

     The First Communion                                     61-65

                              CHAPTER IX.

     Intellectual Education in the Roman Catholic            66-74

                              CHAPTER X.

     Moral and Religious Instruction in the Roman            75-85
       Catholic Colleges

                              CHAPTER XI.

     Protestant Children in the Convents and Nunneries       86-93
       of Rome

                             CHAPTER XII.

     Rome and Education—Why does the Church of Rome         94-117
       hate the Common Schools of the United States,
       and wants to destroy them?—Why does she object
       to the reading of the Bible in the Schools?

                             CHAPTER XIII.

     Theology of the Church of Rome: its Anti-Social       118-128
       and Anti-Christian Character

                             CHAPTER XIV.

     The Vow of Celibacy                                   129-140

                              CHAPTER XV.

     The Impurities of the Theology of Rome                141-153

                             CHAPTER XVI.

     The Priest of Rome and the Holy Fathers; or, how I    154-162
       swore to give up the Word of God to follow the
       word of Men

                             CHAPTER XVII.

     The Roman Catholic Priesthood, or Ancient and         163-172
       Modern Idolatry,

                            CHAPTER XVIII.

     Nine Consequences of the Dogma of                     173-182
       Transubstantiation—The old Paganism under a
       Christian name

                             CHAPTER XIX.

     Vicarage, and Life at St. Charles, Rivierre Boyer     183-194

                              CHAPTER XX.

     Papineau and the Patriots in 1833—The burning of      195-203
       “Le Canadien” by the Curate of St. Charles

                             CHAPTER XXI.

     Grand Dinner of the Priests—The Maniac sister of      204-215
       Rev. Mr. Perras

                             CHAPTER XXII.

     I am appointed Vicar of the Curate of                 216-226
       Charlesbourgh—The Piety, Lives and Deaths of
       Fathers Bedard and Perras

                            CHAPTER XXIII.

     The Cholera Morbus of 1834—Admirable courage and      227-235
       self-denial of the Priests of Rome during the

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

     I am named a Vicar of St. Roch, Quebec City—The       236-241
       Rev. Mr. Tetu—Tertullian—General Cargo—The Seal

                             CHAPTER XXV.

     Simony—Strange and sacrilegious traffic in the        242-251
       so-called Body and Blood of Christ—Enormous sums
       of Money made by the sale of Masses—The Society
       of three Masses abolished and the Society of one
       Mass established

                             CHAPTER XXVI.

     Continuation of the trade in Masses                   252-260

                            CHAPTER XXVII.

     Quebec Marine Hospital—The first time I carried       261-267
       the “Bon Dieu” (the wafer god) in my vest
       pocket—The Grand Oyster Soiree at Mr.
       Buteau’s—The Rev. L. Parent and the “Bon Dieu”
       at the Oyster Soiree

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

     Dr. Douglas—My First Lesson on Temperance—Study of    268-282
       Anatomy—Working of Alcohol in the Human
       Frame—The Murderess of her own Child—I forever
       give up the use of Intoxicating Drinks

                             CHAPTER XXIX.

     Conversions of Protestants to the Church of           283-293
       Rome—Rev. Anthony Parent, Superior of the
       Seminary of Quebec: His peculiar way of finding
       access to the Protestants and bringing them to
       the Catholic Church—How he spies the Protestants
       through the Confessional—I persuade ninety-three
       Families to become Catholics

                             CHAPTER XXX.

     The Murders and Thefts in Quebec from 1835 to         294-303
       1886—The night Excursion with two Thieves—The
       Restitution—The Dawn of Light

                             CHAPTER XXXI.

     Chambers and his Accomplices Condemned to             304-312
       death—Asked me to prepare them for their
       terrible Fate—A week in their Dungeon—Their
       Sentence of Death changed to Deportation to
       Botany Bay—Their Departure for exile—I meet one
       of them a sincere Convert, very rich, in a high
       and honorable position in Australia in 1878

                            CHAPTER XXXII.

     The Miracles of Rome—Attack of Typhoid                318-334
       Fever—Apparition of St. Anne and St.
       Philomene—My Sudden Cure—The Curate of St. Anne
       Du Nord, Mons. Ranvoise, almost a disguised

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.

     My Nomination as Curate of Beauport—Degradation       335-342
       and Ruin of that place through Drunkenness—My
       opposition to my nomination useless—Preparation
       to Establish a Temperance Society—I write to
       Father Mathew for advice

                            CHAPTER XXXIV.

     The Hand of God in the establishment of a             343-350
       Temperance Society in Beauport and Vicinity

                             CHAPTER XXXV.

     Foundation of Temperance Societies in the             351-359
       neighboring Parishes—Providential arrival of
       Monsignor De Forbin Janson, Bishop of Nancy—He
       publicly defends me against the Bishop of Quebec
       and forever breaks the opposition of the Clergy

                            CHAPTER XXXVI.

     The God of Rome eaten by Rats                         360-367

                            CHAPTER XXXVII.

     Visit of a Protestant stranger—He throws an Arrow     368-373
       into my Priestly Soul never to be taken out

                           CHAPTER XXXVIII.

     Erection of the Column of Temperance—School           374-383
       Buildings—A noble and touching act of the people
       at Beauport

                            CHAPTER XXXIX.

     Sent to succeed Rev. Mr Varin, Curate of              384-393
       Kamouraska—Stern opposition of that Curate and
       the surrounding Priests and People—Hours of
       Desolation in Kamouraska—The good Master allays
       the Tempest, and bids the Waves be still

                              CHAPTER XL.

     Organization of Temperance Societies in Kamouraska    394-403
       and surrounding Country—The Girl in the Garb of
       a man in the service of the Curates  of Quebec
       and Eboulements—Frightened by the Scandals seen
       everywhere—Give up my Parish of Kamouraska to
       join the “Oblates of Mary Immaculate of

                             CHAPTER XLI.

     Perversions of Dr. Newman to the Church of Rome in    404-430
       the light of his own explanations, Common Sense
       and the Word of God

                             CHAPTER XLII.

     Noviciate in the Monastery of the Oblates of Mary     431-449
       Immaculate of Longueuiel—Some of the thousand
       Acts of Folly and Idolatry which form the life
       of a Monk—The Deplorable Fall of one of the
       Fathers—Fall of the Grand Vicar Quiblier—Sick in
       the Hotel Dieu of Montreal—Sister Urtubise, what
       she says of Maria Monk—The two Missionaries to
       the Lumbermen—Fall and Punishment of a Father
       Oblate—What one of the best Father Oblates
       thinks of the Monks and the Monastery

                            CHAPTER XLIII.

     I accept the hospitality of the Rev. Mr. Brassard     450-456
       of Longueuiel—I Give my reasons for leaving the
       Oblates to Bishop Bourget—He presents me with a
       splendid Crucifix blessed by his Holiness for
       me, and accepts my services in the cause of
       Temperance in the Diocese of Montreal

                             CHAPTER XLIV.

     Preparation for the last Conflict—Wise Counsel,       457-469
       Tears and Distress of Father Mathew—Longueuiel
       the first to accept the great reform of
       Temperance—The whole District of Montreal, St.
       Hyacinthe and Three Rivers Conquered—The City of
       Montreal with the Sulpicians take the
       Pledge—Gold Medal—Officially named Apostle of
       Temperance in Canada—Gift of £500 from

                             CHAPTER XLV.

     My Sermon on the Virgin Mary—Compliments of Bishop    470-483
       Prince—Stormy Night—First serious doubts about
       the Church of Rome—Faithful discussion with the
       Bishop—The Holy Fathers opposed to the modern
       Worship of the Virgin—The Branches of the Vine

                             CHAPTER XLVI.

     The Holy Fathers—New mental troubles at not           484-496
       finding the Doctrines of my Church in their
       writings—Purgatory and the Sucking Pig of the
       Poor Man of Varennes

                            CHAPTER XLVII.

     Letter from the Rev. Bishop Vandeveld of              497-505
       Chicago—Vast project of the Bishop of the United
       States to take possession of the Rich Valley of
       the Mississippi and the Prairies of the West, to
       rule that Great Republic—They want to put me at
       the head of the Work—My Lecture on Temperance at
       Detroit—Intemperance of the Bishops and Priests
       of that City

                            CHAPTER XLVIII.

     My visit to Chicago in 1857—Bishop Vandeveld—His      506-521
       Predecessor Poisoned—Magnificent Prairies of the
       West—Return to Canada—Bad Feelings of Bishop
       Bourget—I decline sending a rich Woman to the
       Nunnery to enrich the Bishop—A Plot to Destroy

                             CHAPTER XLIX.

     The Plot to Destroy me—The Interdict—The Retreat      522-534
       at the Jesuits’ College—The Lost Girl, Employed
       by the Bishop, retracts—The Bishop Confounded,
       sees his Injustice, makes amends—Testimonial
       Letters—The Chalice—The Benediction before I
       leave Canada

                              CHAPTER L.

     Address presented me at Longueuil—I arrive at         535-541
       Chicago—I select the spot for my Colony—I build
       the first Chapel—Jealousy and Opposition of the
       Priests of Bourbonnais and Chicago—Great Success
       of the Colony

                              CHAPTER LI.

     Intrigues, Impostures, and Criminal life of the       542-553
       Priests in Bourbonnais—Indignation of the
       Bishop—The People ignominiously turn out the
       Criminal Priests from their Parish—Frightful
       Scandal—Faith in the Church of Rome seriously

                             CHAPTER LII.

     Correspondence with the Bishop                        554-569

                             CHAPTER LIII.

     The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary          570-579

                             CHAPTER LIV.

     The Abomination of Auricular Confession               580-602

                              CHAPTER LV.

     The Ecclesiastical Retreat—Conduct of the             603-616
       Priests—The Bishop Forbids me to Distribute the

                             CHAPTER LVI.

     Public Acts of Simony—Thefts and Brigandage of        617-629
       Bishop O’Regan—General Cry of Indignation—I
       determine to resist him to his face—He employs
       Mr. Spink again to send me to Gaol, and he
       fails—Drags me as a Prisoner to Urbana in the
       Spring of 1856 and fails again—Abraham Lincoln
       defends me—My dear Bible becomes more than ever
       my Light and my Counselor

                             CHAPTER LVII.

     Bishop O’Regan sells the Parsonage of the French      630-642
       Canadians of Chicago, pockets the money, and
       turns them out when they come to complain—He
       determines to turn me out of my Colony and send
       me to Kahokia—He forgets it next day and
       publishes that he has Interdicted me—My People
       send a Deputation to the Bishop—His Answers—The
       Sham Excommunication by three drunken Priests

                            CHAPTER LVIII.

     Address from my People, asking me to remain—I am      643-667
       again dragged as a prisoner by the Sheriff to
       Urbana—Abraham Lincoln’s anxiety about the issue
       of the Prosecution—My Distress—The Rescue—Miss
       Philomena Moffat sent by God to save
       me—LeBelle’s Confession and Distress—My
       Innocence acknowledged—Noble Words and Conduct
       of Abraham Lincoln—The Oath of Miss Philomena

                             CHAPTER LIX.

     A moment of Interruption in the Thread of my          668-687
       “Fifty Years in the Church of Rome,” to see how
       my sad Previsions about my defender, Abraham
       Lincoln, were to be realized—Rome the Implacable
       Enemy of the United States

                              CHAPTER LX.

     The Fundamental Principals of the Constitution of     688-710
       the United States drawn from the Gospel of
       Christ—My first visit to Abraham Lincoln to warn
       him of the Plots I knew against his Life—The
       Priests circulate the news that Lincoln was born
       in the Church of Rome—Letter of the Pope to Jeff
       Davis—My last visit to the President—His
       admirable reference to Moses—His willingness to
       die for his Nation’s Sake

                             CHAPTER LXI.

     Abraham Lincoln a true man of God, and a true         711-735
       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 LXII.

     Deputation of two Priests sent by the People and      736-750
       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 the
       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 LXIII.

     Mr. Desaulnier is named Vicar General of Chicago      751-773
       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

                             CHAPTER LXIV.

     I write to the Pope Pius IX, and to Napoleon,         774-783
       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 of
       March, 1858

                             CHAPTER LXV.

     Excellent testimonial from my Bishop—My               784-800
       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

                             CHAPTER LXVI.

     The Solemn Responsibilities of my New Position—We     801-817
       give up the Name of Roman Catholic to call
       ourselves Christian Catholics—Dismay of the
       Roman Catholic Bishops—My Lord Duggan, Coadjutor
       of St. Louis, hurried 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

                            CHAPTER LXVII.

     Bird’s-eye View of the Principal Events from my       818-832
       Conversion to this day—My Narrow Escapes—The end
       of the Voyage through the Desert to the Promised


                               CHAPTER I.

                   THE BIBLE AND THE PRIEST OF ROME.

My father, Charles Chiniquy, born in Quebec, had studied in the
Theological Seminary of that city, to prepare himself for the
priesthood. But a few days before making his vows, having been the
witness of a great iniquity in the high quarters of the church, he
changed his mind, studied law and became a notary.

Married to Reine Perrault, daughter of Mitchel Perrault, in 1808, he
settled at first in Kamoraska, where I was born on the 30th July, 1809.

About four or five years later, my parents emigrated to Murray Bay. That
place was then in its infancy, and no school had yet been established.
My mother was, therefore, my first teacher.

Before leaving the Seminary of Quebec my father had received from one of
the Superiors, as a token of his esteem, a beautiful French and Latin
Bible. That Bible was the first book, after the A B C, in which I was
taught to read. My mother selected the chapters which she considered the
most interesting for me; and I read them every day with the greatest
attention and pleasure. I was even so much pleased with several
chapters, that I read them over and over again till I knew them by

When eight or nine years of age, I had learned by heart the history of
the creation and the fall of man; the deluge; the sacrifice of Isaac;
the history of Moses; the plagues of Egypt; the sublime hymn of Moses
after crossing the Red Sea; the history of Samson; the most interesting
events of the life of David; several Psalms; all the speeches and
parables of Christ; and the whole history of the sufferings and death of
our Saviour as narrated by John.

I had two brothers, Louis and Achille; the first about four, the second
about eight years younger than myself. When they were sleeping or
playing together, how many delicious hours I have spent by my mother’s
side, in reading to her the sublime pages of the divine book.

Sometimes she interrupted me to see if I understood what I read; and
when my answers had made her sure that I understood it, she used to kiss
me and press me on her bosom as an expression of her joy.

One day, while I was reading the history of the sufferings of the
Saviour, my young heart was so much impressed that I could hardly
enunciate the words, and my voice trembled. My mother, perceiving my
emotion, tried to say something on the love of Jesus for us, but she
could not utter a word—her voice was suffocated by her sobs. She leaned
her head on my forehead, and I felt two streams of tears falling from
her eyes on my cheeks. I could not contain myself any longer. I wept
also; and my tears were mixed with hers. The holy book fell from my
hands, and I threw myself into my dear mother’s arms.

No human words can express what was felt in her soul and in mine in that
most blessed hour! No! I will never forget that solemn hour, when my
mother’s heart was perfectly blended with mine at the feet of our dying
Saviour. There was a real perfume from heaven in those my mother’s tears
which were flowing on me. It seemed then, as it does seem to me to-day,
that there was a celestial harmony in the sound of her voice and in her
sobs. Though more than half a century has passed since that solemn hour
when Jesus, for the first time, revealed to me something of His
suffering and of His love, my heart leaps with joy every time I think of

We were some distance from the church, and the roads, in the rainy days,
were very bad. On the Sabbath days the neighboring farmers, unable to go
to church, were accustomed to gather at our house in the evening. Then
my parents used to put me up on a large table in the midst of the
assembly, and I delivered to those good people the most beautiful parts
of the Old and New Testaments. The breathless attention, the applause of
our guests, and—may I tell it—often the tears of joy which my mother
tried in vain to conceal, supported my strength and gave me the courage
I wanted, to speak when so young before so many people. When my parents
saw that I was growing tired, my mother, who had a fine voice, sang some
of the beautiful French hymns with which her memory was filled.

Several times, when the fine weather allowed me to go to church with my
parents, the farmers would take me into their _caleches_ (buggies) at
the door of the temple, and request me to give them some chapter of the
Gospel. With a most perfect attention they listened to the voice of the
child, whom the Good Master had chosen to give them the bread which
comes from heaven. More than once, I remember, that when the bell called
us to the church, they expressed their regret that they could not hear

On one of the beautiful spring days of 1818, my father was writing in
his office, and my mother was working with her needle, singing one of
her favorite hymns, and I was at the door, playing and talking to a fine
robin which I had so perfectly trained that he followed me wherever I
went. All of a sudden I saw the priest coming near the gate. The sight
of him sent a thrill of uneasiness through my whole frame. It was his
first visit to our home.

The priest was a person below the common stature, and had an unpleasant
appearance—his shoulders were large and he was very corpulent; his hair
was long and uncombed, and his double chin seemed to groan under the
weight of his flabby cheeks.

I hastily ran to the door, and whispered to my parents, “M. le cure
arrive” (“Mr. Curate is coming”). The last sound was hardly out of my
lips, when the Rev. Mr. Courtois was at the door, and my father, shaking
hands with him, gave him a welcome.

That priest was born in France, where he had a narrow escape, having
been condemned to death under the bloody administration of Robespierre.
He had found a refuge, with many other French priests in England, whence
he came to Quebec, and the bishop of that place had given him the charge
of the parish of Murray Bay.

His conversation was animated and interesting for the first quarter of
an hour. It was a real pleasure to hear him. But of a sudden his
countenance changed as if a dark cloud had come over his mind, and he
stopped talking. My parents had kept themselves on a respectful reserve
with the priest. They seemed to have no other mind than to listen to
him. The silence which followed was exceedingly unpleasant for all the
parties. It looked like the heavy hour which precedes a storm. At length
the priest, addressing my father, said, “Mr. Chiniquy, is it true that
you and your child read the Bible?”

“Yes, sir,” was the quick reply, “my little boy and I read the Bible,
and what is still better, he has learned by heart a great number of its
most interesting chapters. If you will allow it, Mr. Curate, he will
give you some of them.”

“I did not come for that purpose,” abruptly replied the priest; “but do
you not know that you are forbidden by the holy Council of Trent to read
the Bible in French?”

“It makes very little difference to me whether I read the Bible in
French, Greek or Latin,” answered my father, “for I understand these
languages equally well.”

“But are you ignorant of the fact that you cannot allow your child to
read the Bible?” replied the priest.

“My wife directs her own child in the reading of the Bible, and I cannot
see that we commit any sin by continuing to do in future what we have
done till now in that matter.”

“Mr. Chiniquy,” rejoined the priest, “you have gone through a whole
course of theology; you know the duties of a curate; you know it is my
painful duty to come here, get the Bible from you and burn it.”

My grandfather was a fearless Spanish sailor (our original name was
Etchiniquia), and there was too much Spanish blood and pride in my
father to hear such a sentence with patience in his own house. Quick as
lightning he was on his feet. I pressed myself, trembling, near my
mother, who trembled also.

At first I feared lest some very unfortunate and violent scene should
occur; for my father’s anger at that moment was really terrible.

But there was another thing which affected me. I feared lest the priest
should lay his hands on my dear Bible, which was just before him on the
table; for it was mine, as it had been given to me the last year as a
Christmas gift.

Fortunately, my father had subdued himself after the first moment of his
anger. He was pacing the room with a double-quick step; his lips were
pale and trembling, and he was muttering between his teeth words which
were unintelligible to any one of us.

The priest was closely watching all my father’s movements; his hands
were convulsively pressing his heavy cane, and his face was giving the
sure evidence of a too well-grounded terror. It was clear that the
ambassador of Rome did not find himself infallibly sure of his position
on the ground he had so foolishly chosen to take; since his last words
he had remained as silent as a tomb.

At last, after having paced the room for a considerable time, my father
suddenly stopped before the priest, and said, “Sir, is that all you have
to say here?”

“Yes, sir,” said the trembling priest.

“Well, sir,” added my father, “you know the door by which you entered my
house; please take the same door and go away quickly.”

The priest went out immediately. I felt an inexpressible joy when I saw
that my Bible was safe. I ran to my father’s neck, kissed and thanked
him for his victory. And to pay him, in my childish way, I jumped upon
the large table and recited, in my best style, the fight between David
and Goliath. Of course, in my mind, my father was David and the priest
of Rome was the giant whom the little stone from the brook had stricken

Thou knowest, O God, that it is to that Bible, read on my mother’s
knees, I owe, by thy infinite mercy, the knowledge of the truth to-day;
that Bible had sent, to my young heart and intelligence, rays of light
which all the sophisms and dark errors of Rome could never completely

                              CHAPTER II.


In the month of June, 1818, my parents sent me to an excellent school at
St. Thomas. One of my mother’s sisters resided there, who was the wife
of an industrious miller, called Stephen Eschenbach. They had no
children, and they received me as their own son.

The beautiful village of St. Thomas had already, at that time, a
considerable population. The two fine rivers which unite their rapid
waters in its very midst before they fall into the magnificent basin
from which they flow into the St. Lawrence, supplied the water-power for
several mills and factories.

There was in the village a considerable trade in grain, flour and
lumber. The fisheries were very profitable, and the game was abundant.
Life was really pleasant and easy.

The families Tachez, Cazeault, Fournier, Dubord, Frechette, Tetu,
Dupuis, Couillard, Duberges, which were among the most ancient and
notable of Canada, were at the head of the intellectual and material
movements of the place, and they were a real honor to the French
Canadian name.

I met there with one of my ancestors on my mother’s side whose name was
F. Amour des Plaines. He was an old and brave soldier, and would
sometimes show us the numerous wounds he had received in the battles in
which he had fought for his country. Though nearly eighty years old, he
sang to us the songs of the good old times with all the vivacity of a
young man.

The school of Mr. Allen Jones, to which I had been sent, was worthy of
its wide-spread reputation. I have never known and teacher who deserved
more, or who enjoyed in a higher degree, the respect and confidence of
his pupils.

He was born in England, and belonged to one of the most respectable
families there. He had received the best education which England could
give to her sons. After having gone through a perfect course of study at
home, he had gone to Paris, where he had also completed an academical
course. He was perfectly master of the French and English languages. And
it was not without good reasons that he was surrounded by a great number
of scholars from every corner of Canada. The children of the best
families of St. Thomas were with me, attending the school of Mr. Jones.
But he was a Protestant, the priest was much opposed to him, and every
effort was made by that priest to induce my relatives to take me away
from that school and send me to one under his care.

The name of the priest was Loranger. He had a swarthy countenance, and
in person was lean and tall. His preaching had no attraction, and he was
far from being popular among the intelligent part of the people of St.

Dr. Tachez, whose high capacity afterwards brought him to the head of
the Canadian Government, was the leading man of St. Thomas. Being united
by the bonds of a sincere friendship with his nephew, L. Cazeault, who
was afterward placed at the head of the University of Laval, in Quebec,
I had many opportunities of going to the house of Mr. Tachez, where my
young friend was boarding.

In those days, Dr. Tachez had no need of the influence of the priests,
and he frequently gave vent to his supreme contempt for them. Once a
week there was a meeting in his house of the principal citizens of St.
Thomas, where the highest questions of history and religion were freely
and warmly discussed; but the premises as well as the conclusion of
these discussions were invariably adverse to the priests and religion of
Rome, and too often to every form of Christianity.

Though these meetings had not entirely the character or exclusiveness of
secret societies, they were secret to a great extent. My friend Cazeault
was punctual in telling me the days and hours of the meeting, and I used
to go with him to an adjoining room, from which we could hear everything
without being suspected. From what I heard and saw in these meetings, I
most certainly would have been ruined, had not the Word of God, with
which my mother had filled my young mind and heart, been my shield and
strength. I was often struck with terror and filled with disgust at what
I heard at those meetings. But what a strange and deplorable thing! My
conscience was condemning me every time I listened to these impious
discussions, while there was a strong craving in me to hear them that I
could not resist.

There was then in St. Thomas a personage who was unique in his
character. He never mixed with the society of the village, but was,
nevertheless, the object of much respectful attention and inquiry from
every one. He was one of the former monks of Canada, known under the
name of Capucin or Recollets, whom the conquest of Canada by Great
Britain had forced to leave their monastery.

He was a clockmaker, and lived honorably by his trade. His little white
house, in the very midst of the village, was the perfection of neatness.

Brother Mark, as he was called, was a remarkably well-built man; high
stature, large and splendid shoulders, and the most beautiful hands I
ever saw. His long black robe, tied around his waist by a white sash,
was remarkable for its cleanliness. His life was really a solitary one,
always alone with his own sister, who kept his house.

Every day that the weather was propitious, Brother Mark spent a couple
of hours in fishing, and as I was myself exceedingly fond of that
exercise, I used to meet him often along the banks of the beautiful
rivers of St. Thomas.

His presence was always a good omen to me; for he was more expert than I
in finding the best places for fishing. As soon as he found a place
where the fish was abundant, he would make signs to me, or call me at
the top of his voice that I might share in his good luck. I appreciated
his delicate attention to me, and repaid him with the marks of a sincere
gratitude. The good monk had entirely conquered my young heart, and I
cherished a sincere regard for him. He often invited me to his solitary
but neat little home, and I never visited him without receiving some
proofs of a sincere kindness. His good sister rivalled him in
overwhelming me with such marks of attention and love as I could only
expect from a dear mother.

There was a mixture of timidity and dignity in the manners of brother
Mark which I have found in no one else. He was fond of children: and
nothing could be more graceful than his smile every time that he could
see that I appreciated his kindness, and that I gave him any proof of my
gratitude. But that smile, and any other expression of joy, were very
transient. On a sudden he would change, and it was obvious that a
mysterious cloud was passing over his heart.

The Pope had released the monks of the monastery to which he belonged,
from their vows of poverty and obedience. The consequence was that they
could become sic and even rich, by their own industry. It was in their
power to rise to a respectable position in the world by their honorable
efforts. The pope had given them the permission they wanted, that they
might earn an honest living. But what a strange and incredible folly to
ask the permission of a pope to be allowed to live honorably on the
fruits of one’s own industry!

These poor monks, having been released from their vows of obedience,
were no longer the slaves of a man: but were now permitted to go to
heaven on the sole condition that they would obey the laws of God and
the laws of their country! But into what a frightful abyss of
degradation men must have fallen, to believe that they required a
license from Rome for such a purpose. This is, nevertheless, the simple
and naked truth. That excess of folly, and that supreme impiety and
degradation are among the fundamental dogmas of Rome. The infallible
pope assures the world that there is no possible salvation for any one
who does not sincerely believe what he teaches in this matter.

But the pope who had so graciously relieved the Canadian monks from
their vows of obedience and poverty, had been inflexible in reference to
their vows of celibacy. From this there was no relief.

The honest desires of the good monk to live according to the laws of
God, with a wife whom heaven might have given him, had become an
impossibility—the pope vetoed it.

The unfortunate monk was bound to believe that he would be forever
damned if he dared to accept as a gospel truth the Word of God which

“Propter fornicationem antem, unusquisque uxorem suam habeat, unaquaque
virum suum habeat. (Vulgate Bible of Rome.) Nevertheless to avoid
fornication let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have
her own husband.” (1 Cor., vii.: 2). That shining light which the Word
contains and which gives life to man, was entirely shut out from brother
Mark. He was not allowed to know that God himself had said, “It is not
good that man should be alone, I will make him an help-meet for him,”
(Gen. 2: 18). Brother Mark was endowed with such a loving heart! He
could not be known without being loved; and he must have suffered much
in that celibacy which his faith in the pope imposed upon him.

Far away from the regions of light, truth and life, that soul, tied to
the feet of the implacable modern Divinity, which the Romanists worship
under the name of Sovereign Pontiff, was trying in vain to annihilate
and destroy the instincts and affections which God himself had implanted
in him.

One day, as I was amusing myself, with a few other young friends, near
the house of brother Mark, suddenly we saw something covered with blood
thrown from the window, and falling at a short distance from us. At the
same instant we heard loud cries, evidently coming from the monk’s
house: “O my God! Have mercy on me! Save me! I am lost!”

The sister of brother Mark rushed out of doors and cried to some men who
were passing by: “Come to our help! My poor brother is dying! For God’s
sake make haste, he is losing all his blood!”

I ran to the door, but the lady shut it abruptly and turned me out,
saying, “we do not want children here.”

I had a sincere affection for the good brother. He had invariably been
so kind to me! I insisted and respectfully requested to be allowed to
enter. Though young and weak, it seemed that my friendly feelings
towards the suffering brother would add to my strength, and enable me to
be of some service. But my request was sternly rejected, and I had to go
back to the street among the crowd which was fast gathering. The
singular mystery in which they were trying to wrap the poor monk, filled
me with trouble and anxiety.

But that trouble was soon changed into an unspeakable confusion when I
heard the convulsive laughing of the low people, and the shameful jokes
of the crowd, after the doctor had told the nature of the wound which
was causing the unfortunate man to bleed almost to death. I was struck
with such horror that I fled away; I did not want to know any more of
that tragedy. I had already known too much!

Poor brother Mark had ceased to be a man—he had become an eunuch.

O cruel and Godless church of Rome! How many souls hast thou deceived
and tortured! How many hearts hast thou broken with that celibacy which
Satan alone could invent! This unfortunate victim of a most degrading
religion, did not, however, die from his rash action; he soon recovered
his usual health.

Having, meanwhile, ceased to visit him; some months later I was fishing
along the river in a very solitary place. The fish were abundant, and I
was completely absorbed in catching them, when, on a sudden, I felt on
my shoulder the gentle pressure of a hand. It was brother Mark’s.

I thought I would faint through the opposite sentiments of surprise, of
pain and joy, which at the same time crossed my mind.

With an affectionate and trembling voice he said to me, “My dear child,
why do you not come to see me any more?”

I did not dare to look at him after he had addressed me these words. I
liked him on account of his acts of kindness to me. But the fatal hour
when, in the street before the door, I had suffered so much on his
account—that fatal hour was on my heart as a mountain which I could not
put away—I could not answer him.

He then asked me again with the tone of a criminal who sues for mercy;
“Why is it my dear child, that you do not come any longer to see me? You
know that I love you.”

“Dear brother Mark,” I answered “I will never forget your kindness to
me. I will forever be grateful to you; I wish that it would be in my
power to continue, as formerly, to go and see you. But I cannot, and you
ought to know the reason why I cannot.”

I had pronounced these words with down-cast eyes. I was a child, with
the timidity and happy ignorance of a child. But the action of that
unfortunate man had struck me with such a horror that I could not
entertain the idea of visiting him any more.

He spent two or three minutes without saying a word, and without moving.
But I heard his sobs and his cries, and his cries were those of despair
and anguish, the like of which I have never heard since.

I could not contain myself any longer, I was suffocating with suppressed
emotion, and I would have fallen insensible to the ground if two streams
of tears had not burst from my eyes. Those tears did me good—they did
him good also—they told him that I was still his friend.

He took me in his arms and pressed me to his bosom—his tears were mixed
with mine. But I could not speak—the emotions of my heart were too much
for my age. I sat on a damp and cold stone, in order not to faint. He
fell on his knees by my side.

Ah! if I were a painter I would make a most striking tableau of that
scene. His eyes, swollen and red with weeping, were raised to heaven,
his hand lifted up in the attitude of supplication; he was crying out
with an accent which seemed as though it would break my heart.

“Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu que je suis malheureux.”

My God! My God! what a wretched man I am!

                  *       *       *       *       *

The twenty-five years that I have been a priest of Rome, have revealed
to me the fact that the cries of desolation I heard that day, were but
the echo of the cries of desolation which go out from almost every
nunnery, every parsonage and every house where human beings are bound by
the ties of the Romish Celibacy.

God knows that I am a faithful witness of what my eyes have seen and my
ears have heard, when I say to the multitudes which the Church of Rome
has bewitched with her enchantments. Wherever there are nuns, monks and
priests who live in forced violation of the ways which God has appointed
for man to walk in, there are torrents of tears, there are desolated
hearts, there are cries of anguish and despair which say in the words of
brother Mark:

“Oh! que je suis malheureux!”

Oh! how miserable and wretched I am!

                              CHAPTER III

                      THE CONFESSION OF CHILDREN.

No words can express to those who have never had any experience in the
matter, the consternation, anxiety and shame of a poor Romish child,
when he hears, for the first time, his priest saying from the pulpit, in
a grave and solemn tone, “This week, you will send your children to
confession. Make them understand that this action is one of the most
important of their lives, that for every one of them, it will decide
their eternal happiness or misery. Fathers and mothers, if, through your
fault, or his own, your child is guilty of a bad confession—if he
conceals his sins and commences lying to the priest, who holds the place
of God himself, this sin is often irreparable. The devil will take
possession of his heart: he will become accustomed to lie to his father
confessor, or rather to Jesus Christ, of whom he is a representative.
His life will be a series of sacrileges; his death and eternity those of
the reprobate. Teach him, therefore, to examine thoroughly his actions,
words and thoughts, in order to confess without disguise.”

I was in the church of St. Thomas when those words fell upon me like a

I had often heard my mother say, when at home, and my aunt, since I had
come to St. Thomas, that upon the first confession depended my eternal
happiness or misery. That week was, therefore, to decide about my

Pale and dismayed, I left the church, and returned to the house of my
relatives. I took my place at the table, but could not eat, so much was
I troubled. I went to my room for the purpose of commencing my
examination of conscience and to try to recall my sinful actions, words,
and thoughts. Although scarcely over ten years of age, this task was
really overwhelming for me. I knelt down to pray to the Virgin Mary for
help; but I was so much taken up with the fear of forgetting something,
and of making a bad confession, that I muttered my prayers without the
least attention to what I said. It became still worse when I commenced
counting my sins. My memory became confused, my head grew dizzy; my
heart beat with a rapidity which exhausted me, and my brow was covered
with perspiration. After a considerable length of time spent in these
painful efforts, I felt bordering on despair, from the fear that it was
impossible for me to remember everything. The night following was almost
a sleepless one; and when sleep did come, it could scarcely be called a
sleep, but a suffocating delirium. In a frightful dream, I felt as if I
had been cast into hell, for not having confessed all my sins to the
priest. In the morning, I awoke, fatigued and prostrated by the phantoms
of that terrible night. In similar troubles of mind were passed three
days which preceded my first confession. I had constantly before me the
countenance of that stern priest who had never smiled upon me. He was
present in my thoughts during the day, and in my dreams during the
night, as the minister of an angry God, justly irritated against me on
account of my sins. Forgiveness had indeed been promised to me, on
condition of a good confession; but my place had also been shown to me
in hell, if my confession was not as near perfection as possible. Now,
my troubled conscience told me that there were ninety-nine chances
against one, that my confession would be bad, whether by my own fault I
forgot some sins, or I was without that contrition of which I had heard
so much, but the nature and effects of which were a perfect chaos to my

Thus it was that the cruel and perfidious Church of Rome took away from
my young heart the good and merciful Jesus, whose love and compassion
had caused me to shed tears of joy when I was beside my mother. The
Saviour whom that church made me to worship, through fear, was not the
Saviour who called little children unto Him, to bless them and take them
in His arms. Her impious hands were soon to torture and defile my
childish heart, and place me at the feet of a pale and severe looking
man—worthy representative of a pitiless God. I was made to tremble with
terror at the footstool of an implacable divinity, while the gospel
asked of me only tears of love and joy, shed at the feet of the
incomparable Friend of sinners!

At length came the day of confession; or rather of judgment and
condemnation. I presented myself to the priest.

Mr. Loranger was no longer priest of St. Thomas. He had been succeeded
by Mr. Beaubien, who did not favor our school any more than his
predecessor. He had even taken upon himself to preach a sermon against
the heretical school, by which we had been excessively wounded. His want
of love for us, however, I must say, was fully reciprocated.

Mr. Beaubien had, then, the defect of lisping and stammering. This we
often turned into ridicule, and one of my favorite amusements was to
imitate him, which brought bursts of laughter from us all.

It had been necessary for me to examine myself upon the number of times
I had mocked him. This circumstance was not calculated to make my
confession easier, or more agreeable.

At last the dreaded moment came. I knelt at the side of my confessor. My
whole frame trembled. I repeated the prayer preparatory to confession,
scarcely knowing what I said so much was I troubled with fear.

By the instructions which had been given us before confession, we had
been made to believe that the priest was the true representative—yea,
almost the personification of Jesus Christ. The consequence was, that I
believed my greatest sin had been that of mocking the priest. Having
always been told that it was best to confess the greatest sin first, I
commenced thus: “Father I accuse myself of having mocked a priest.”

Scarcely had I uttered these words, “mocked a priest,” when this
pretended representative of the humble Saviour, turning towards me, and
looking in my face in order to know me better, asked abruptly, “What
priest did you mock, my boy?” I would rather have chosen to cut out my
tongue than to tell him to his face who it was. I therefore kept silent
for a while. But my silence made him very nervous and almost angry. With
a haughty tone of voice he said, “What priest did you take the liberty
of thus mocking?”

I saw that I had to answer. Happily his haughtiness had made me firmer
and bolder. I said “Sir, you are the priest whom I mocked.”

“But how many times did you take upon you to mock me, my boy?”

“I tried to find out,” I answered, “but never could.”

“You must tell me how many times; for to mock one’s own priest is a
great sin.”

“It is impossible for me to give you the number of times,” answered I.

“Well, my child, I will help your memory by asking you questions. Tell
me the truth. Do you think you have mocked me ten times?”

“A great many times more, sir.”

“Fifty times?”

“Many more still.”

“A hundred times?”

“Say five hundred times and perhaps more,” answered I.

“Why, my boy, do you spend all your time in mocking me?”

“Not all; but unfortunately I do it very often.”

“Well may you say _unfortunately_; for so to mock your priest, who holds
the place of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a great misfortune, and a great
sin for you. But tell me, my little boy, what reason have you for
mocking me thus?”

In my examinations of conscience I had not foreseen that I should be
obliged to give the reasons for mocking the priest; and I was really
thunderstruck by his questions. I dared not answer, and I remained for a
long time dumb, from the shame that overpowered me. But with a
harrassing perseverance the priest insisted on my telling why I had
mocked him; telling me that I should be damned if I did not tell the
whole truth. So I decided to speak, and said, “I mocked you for several

“What made you first mock me?” continued the priest.

“I laughed at you because you lisped. Among the pupils of our school, it
often happens that we imitate your preaching to excite laughter.”

“Have you often done that?”

“Almost every day, especially in our holidays, and since you preached
against us.”

“For what other reasons did you laugh at me, my little boy?”

For a long time I was silent. Every time I opened my mouth to speak
courage failed me. However, the priest continuing to urge me, I said at
last, “It is rumored in town that you love girls; that you visit the
Misses Richards every evening, and this often makes us laugh.”

The poor priest was evidently overwhelmed by my answer, and ceased
questioning me on this subject. Changing the conversation, he said:

“What are your other sins?”

I began to confess them in the order in which they came to my memory.
But the feeling of shame which overpowered me in repeating all my sins
to this man was a thousand times greater than that of having offended
God. In reality this feeling of human shame which absorbed my
thought—nay, my whole being—left no room for any religious feeling at

When I had confessed all the sins I could remember, the priest began to
ask me the strangest questions on matters about which my pen must be
silent. I replied, “Father, I do not understand what you ask me.”

“I question you on the sixth commandment (seventh in the Bible). Confess
all. You will go to hell, if through your fault you omit anything.”

Thereupon he dragged my thoughts to regions which, thank God had
hitherto been unknown to me.

I answered him: “I do not understand you,” or “I have never done these

Then, skilfully shifting to some secondary matter, he would soon slyly
and cunningly come back to his favorite subject, namely, sins of

His questions were so unclean that I blushed, and felt sick with disgust
and shame. More than once I had been, to my regret, in the company of
bad boys; but not one of them has offended my moral nature so much as
this priest had done. Not one of them had ever approached the shadow of
the things from which that man tore the veil, and which he placed before
the eye of my soul. In vain did I tell him that I was not guilty of such
things; that I did not even understand what he asked me; he would not
let me off. Like the vulture bent upon tearing the poor bird that falls
into his claws, that cruel priest seemed determined to defile and ruin
my heart.

At last he asked me a question in a form of expression so bad that I was
really pained. I felt as if I had received a shock from an electric
battery; a feeling of horror made me shudder. I was so filled with
indignation that, speaking loud enough to be heard by many, I told him:
“Sir, I am very wicked; I have seen, heard and done many things which I
regret; but I never was guilty of what you mention to me. My ears have
never heard anything so wicked as what they have heard from your lips.
Please do not ask me any more of those questions; do not teach me any
more evil than I already know.”

The remainder of my confession was short. The firmness of my voice had
evidently frightened the priest, and made him blush. He stopped short
and began to give me some good advice, which might have been useful to
me if the deep wounds which his questions had inflicted upon my soul had
not so absorbed my thoughts as to prevent me from giving attention to
what he said.

He gave me a short penance and dismissed me.

I left the confessional irritated and confused. From the shame of what I
had just heard from the mouth of that priest I dared not lift my eyes
from the ground. I went into a retired corner of the church to do my
penance; that is, to recite the prayers he had indicated to me. I
remained for a long time in church. I had need of a calm after the
terrible trial through which I had just passed. But vainly I sought for
rest. The shameful questions which had been asked me, the new world of
iniquity into which I had been introduced, the impure phantoms by which
my childish heart had been defiled, confused and troubled my mind so
strangely that I began to weep bitterly.

Why those tears? Why that desolation? I wept over my sins? Alas! I
confess it with shame, my sins did not call forth those tears. And yet
how many sins had I already committed, for which Jesus shed his precious
blood. But I confess my sins were not the cause of my desolation. I was
rather thinking of my mother, who had taken such good care of me, and
who had so well succeeded in keeping away from my thoughts those impure
forms of sin, the thoughts of which had just now defiled my heart. I
said to myself, Ah! if my mother had heard those questions; if she could
see the evil thoughts which overwhelm me at this moment—if she knew to
what school she sent me when she advised me in her last letter to go to
confession, how her tears would mingle with mine! It seemed to me that
my mother would love me no more—that she would see written upon my brow
the pollution with which that priest had profaned my soul.

Perhaps the feeling of pride was what made me weep. Or perhaps I wept
because of a remnant of that feeling of original dignity whose traces
had still been left in me. I felt so downcast by the disappointment of
being removed farther from the Saviour by that confessional which had
promised to bring me nearer to Him. God only knows what was the depth of
my sorrow at feeling myself more defiled and more guilty after than
before my confession.

I left the church only when forced to do so by the shades of night, and
came to my uncle’s house with that feeling of uneasiness caused by the
consciousness of having done a bad action, and by the fear of being

Though this uncle, as well as most of the principal citizens of the
village of St. Thomas, had the name of being a Roman Catholic, yet he
did not believe a word of the doctrines of the Roman Church. He laughed
at the priests, their masses, their purgatory, and especially their
confession. He did not conceal that when young, he had been scandalized
by the words and actions of a priest in the confessional. He spoke to me
jestingly. This increased my trouble and my grief. “Now,” said he “you
will be a good boy. But if you have heard as many new things as I did
the first time I went to confess, you are a very learned boy;” and he
burst into laughter.

I blushed and remained silent. My aunt, who was a devoted Roman
Catholic, said to me, “Your heart is relieved, is it not, since you
confessed all your sins?” I gave her an evasive answer, but I could not
conceal the sadness that overcame me. I thought I was the only one from
whom the priest had asked those polluting questions. But great was my
surprise, on the following day, when going to school I learned that my
fellow pupils had not been happier than I had been. The only difference
was, that instead of being grieved, they laughed at it. “Did the priest
ask you such and such questions?” they would demand laughing
boisterously. I refused to reply, and said, “Are you not ashamed to
speak of these things?”

“Ah! ah! how very scrupulous you are,” continued they. “If it is not a
sin for the priest to speak to us on these matters, how can it be a sin
for us?” I stopped, confounded, not knowing what to say.

I soon perceived that even the young school girls had not been less
polluted and scandalized by the questions of the priest than the boys.
Although keeping at a distance, such as to prevent us from hearing all
they said, I could understand enough to convince me that they had been
asked about the same questions. Some of them appeared indignant, while
others laughed heartily.

I should be misunderstood were it supposed that I mean to convey the
idea that this priest was more to blame than others, or that he did more
than fulfil the duties of his ministry in asking these questions. Such,
however, was my opinion at the time, and I detested that man with all my
heart until I knew better. I had been unjust towards him, for this
priest had only done his duty. He was only obeying the Pope and his
theologians. His being a priest of Rome was, therefore, less his crime
than his misfortune. He was, as I have been myself, bound hand and foot
at the feet of the greatest enemy that the holiness and truth of God
have ever had on earth—the Pope.

The misfortune of Mr. Beaubien, like that of all the priests of Rome,
was that of having bound himself by terrible oaths not to think for
himself, or to use the light of his own reason.

Many Roman Catholics, even many Protestants, refuse to believe this. It
is, notwithstanding, a sad truth. The priest of Rome is an automaton—a
machine which acts, thinks and speaks in matters of morals and of faith,
only according to the order and the will of the Pope and his

Had Mr. Beaubien been left to himself, he was naturally too much of a
gentleman to ask such questions. But no doubt he had read Liguori, Dens,
Debreyne, authors approved by the Pope, and he was obliged to take
darkness for light, and vice for virtue.

                               CHAPTER IV


Shortly after the trial of auricular confession, my young friend, Louis
Cazeault, accosted me on a beautiful morning and said, “Do you know what
happened last night?”

“No,” I answered. “What was the wonder?”

“You know that our priest spends almost all his evenings at Mr.
Richards’ house. Everybody thinks that he goes there for the sake of the
two daughters. Well, in order to cure him of that disease, my uncle, Dr.
Tache, and six others, masked, whipped him without mercy as he was
coming back at eleven o’clock at night. It is already known by every one
in the village, and they split their sides with laughing.”

My first feeling on hearing that news, was one of joy. Ever since my
first confession I felt angry every time I thought of that priest. His
questions had so wounded me that I could not forgive him. I had enough
of self-control, however, to conceal my pleasure and I answered my

“You are telling me a wicked story; I can’t believe a word of it.”

“Well,” said young Cazeault, “come at eight o’clock this evening to my
uncle’s. A secret meeting is to take place then. No doubt they will
speak of the pill given to the priest last night. We shall place
ourselves in our little room as usual and shall hear everything, our
presence not being suspected. You may be sure that it will be

“I will go,” I answered, “but I do not believe a word of that story.”

I went to school at the usual hour. Most of the pupils had preceded me.
Divided into groups of eight or ten, they were engaged in a most lively
conversation. Bursts of convulsive laughter were heard from every
corner. I could very well see that something uncommon had taken place in
the village.

I approached several of these groups, and all received me with the

“Do you know that the priest was whipped last night as he was coming
from the Misses Richards’?”

“That is a story invented for fun,” said I.

“You were not there to see him, were you? You therefore know nothing
about it; for if anybody had whipped the priest he would not surely
boast of it.”

“But we heard his screams,” answered many voices.

“What! was he then screaming out?” I asked.

“He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Help, help! Murder!’”

“But you were surely mistaken about the voice,” said I. “It was not the
priest who shouted, it was somebody else. I could never believe that
anybody would whip a priest in such a crowded village.”

“But” said several, “we ran to his help and we recognized the priest’s
voice. He is the only one who lisps in the village.”

“And we saw him with our own eyes,” said several.

The school bell put an end to this conversation. As soon as school was
out I returned to the house of my relatives, not wishing to learn any
more about this matter. Although I did not like this priest, yet I was
much mortified by some remarks which the older pupils made about him.

But it was difficult not to hear any more. On my arrival home I found my
uncle and aunt engaged in a very warm debate on the subject. My uncle
wished to conceal the fact that he was among those who had whipped him.
But he gave the details so precisely, he was so merry over the
adventure, that it was easy to see that he had a hand in the plot. My
aunt was indignant, and used the most energetic expressions to show her

That bitter debate annoyed me so that I did not stay long to hear it
all. I withdrew to my study.

During the remainder of the day I changed my resolution many times about
my going to the secret meeting in the evening. At one moment I would
decide firmly not to go. My conscience told me that, as usual, things
would be uttered which it was not good for me to hear. I had refused to
go to the two last meetings, and a silent voice, as it were, told me I
had done well. Then a moment after I was tormented by the desire to know
precisely what had taken place the evening before. The flagellation of a
priest in the midst of a large village was a fact too worthy of note to
fail to excite the curiosity of a child. Besides, my aversion to the
priest, though I concealed it as well as I could, made me wish to know
whether everything was true on the subject of the chastisement. But in
the struggle between good and evil which took place in my mind during
that day, the evil was finally to triumph. A quarter of an hour before
the meeting my friend came to me and said:

“Make haste, the members of the association are coming.”

At this call all my good resolutions vanished. I hushed the voice of my
conscience, and a few minutes later I was placed in an angle of that
little room, where for more than two hours I learned many strange and
scandalous things about the lives of the priests of Canada.

Dr. Tache presided. He opened the meeting in a low tone of voice. At the
beginning of his discourse I had some difficulty to understand what he
said. He spoke as one who feared to be overheard when disclosing a
secret to a friend. But after a few preliminary sentences he forgot the
rule of prudence which he had imposed upon himself, and spoke with
energy and power.

Mr. Etienne Tache was naturally eloquent. He seemed to speak on no
question except under the influence of the deepest conviction of its
truth. His speech was passionate, and the tone of his voice clear and
agreeable. His short and cutting sentences did not reach the ear only;
they penetrated even the secret folds of the soul. He spoke in substance
as follows:

“Gentlemen:—I am happy to see you here more numerously than ever. The
grave events of last night have, no doubt, decided many of you to attend
debates which some began to forsake, but the importance of which, it
seems to me, increases day by day.

“The question debated in our last meeting—‘The Priests’—is one of life
and death, not only for our young and beautiful Canada, but in a moral
point of view it is a question of life and death for our families, and
for every one of us in particular.

“There is, I know, only one opinion among us on the subject of priests;
and I am glad that this opinion is not only that of all educated men in
Canada, but also of learned France; nay, of the whole world. The reign
of the priest is the reign of ignorance, of corruption, and of the most
barefaced immorality, under the mask of the most refined hypocrisy. The
reign of the priest is the death of our schools; it is the degradation
of our wives, the prostitution of our daughters; it is the reign of
tyranny—the loss of liberty.

“We have only one good school, I will not say in St. Thomas, but in all
our county. This school in our midst is a great honor to our village.
Now see the energy with which all the priests who come here work for the
closing of that school. They use every means to destroy that focus of
light which we have started with so much difficulty, and which we
support by so many sacrifices.

“With the priest of Rome our children do not belong to us; he is their
master. Let me explain. The priest honors us with the belief that the
bodies, the flesh and bones of our children, are ours, and that our duty
in consequence is to clothe and feed them. But the nobler and more
sacred part, namely, the intellect, the heart, the soul, the priest
claims as his own patrimony, his own property. The priest has the
audacity to tell us that to him alone it belongs to enlighten those
intelligences, to form those hearts, to fashion those souls as it may
best suit him. He has the impudence to tell us that we are too silly or
perverse to know our duties in this respect. We have not the right of
choosing our school teachers. We have not the right to send a single ray
of light into those intellects, or to give to those souls who hunger and
thirst after truth a single crumb of that food prepared with so much
wisdom and success by enlightened men of all ages.

“By the confessional the priests poison the springs of life in our
children. They initiate them into such mysteries of iniquity as would
terrify old galley slaves. By their questions they reveal to them
secrets of a corruption such as carries its germs of death into the very
marrow of their bones, and that from the earliest years of their
infancy. Before I was fifteen years old I had learned more real
blackguard ism from the mouth of my confessor than I have learned ever
since in my studies and in my life as a physician for twenty years.

“A few days ago I questioned my little nephew, Louis Cazeault, upon what
he had learned in his confession. He answered me ingenuously, and
repeated things to me which I would be ashamed to utter in your
presence, and which you, fathers of families, could not listen to
without blushing. And just think, that not only of little boys are those
questions asked, but also of our dear little girls. Are we not the most
degraded of men if we do not set ourselves to work in order to break the
iron yoke under which the priest keeps our dear country, and by means of
which he keeps us, with our wives and children, at his feet like vile

“While speaking to you of the deleterious effect of the confessional
upon our children, shall I forget its effect upon our wives and upon
ourselves? Need I tell you that, for most women, the confessional is a
rendezvous of coquetry and of love? Do you not feel as I do myself, that
by means of the confessional the priest is more the master of the hearts
of our wives than ourselves? Is not the priest the private and public
confidant of our wives? Do not our wives go invariably to the feet of
the priest, opening to him what is most sacred and intimate in the
secrets of our lives as husbands and as fathers? The husband belongs no
more to his wife as her guide through the dark and difficult paths of
life: it is the priest! We are no more their friends and natural
advisers. Their anxieties and their cares they do not confide to us.
They do not expect from us the remedies for the miseries of this life.
Towards the priest they turn their thoughts and desires. He has their
entire and exclusive confidence. In a word, it is the priest who is the
real husband of our wives! It is he who has the possession of their
respect and of their hearts to a degree to which no one of us need ever

“Were the priest an angel, were he not made of flesh and bones just as
we are, were not his organization absolutely the same as our own, then
might we be indifferent to what might take place between him and our
wives, whom he has at his feet, in his hands—even more, in his heart.
But what does my experience tell me, not only as a physician, but also
as a citizen of St. Thomas? What does yours tell you? Our experience
tells us that the priest, instead of being stronger, is weaker than we
generally are with respect to women. His sham vows of perfect chastity,
far from rendering him more invulnerable to the arrows of Cupid, expose
him to be made more easily the victim of that god, so small in form, but
so dreadful a giant by the irresistible power of his weapons and the
extent of his conquests.

“As a matter of fact, of the last four priests who came to St. Thomas,
have not three seduced many of the wives and daughters of our most
respected families? And what security have we that the priest who is now
with us does not walk in the same path? Is not the whole parish filled
with indignation at the long nightly visits made by him to two girls
whose dissolute morals are a secret to nobody? And when the priest does
not respect himself, would we not be silly in continuing to give him
that respect of which he himself knows he is unworthy?

“At our last meeting the opinions were divided at the beginning of the
discussion. Many thought it would be well to speak to the bishop about
the scandal caused by those nightly visits. But the majority judged that
such steps would be useless, since the bishop would do one of two
things, namely, he would either pay no attention to our just complaints,
as has often been the case, or he would remove this priest, filling his
place with one who would do no better. That majority, which became a
unanimity, acceded to my thought of taking justice into our own hands.
The priest is our servant. We pay him a large tithe. We have therefore
claims upon him. He has abused us, and does so every day by his public
neglect of the most elementary laws of morality. In visiting every night
that house whose degradation is known to everybody, he gives to youth an
example of perversity the effects of which no one can estimate.

“It had been unanimously decided that he should be whipped. Without my
telling you by whom it was done, you may be assured that Mr. Beaubien’s
flagellation of last night will never be forgotten by him!

“Heaven grant that this brotherly correction be a lesson to teach all
the priests of Canada that their golden reign is over, that the eyes of
the people are opened, and that their domination is drawing to an end!”

This discourse was listened to with deep silence, and Dr. Tache saw by
the applause that followed that his speech had been the expression of

Next followed a gentleman named Dubord, who in substance spoke as

“Mr. President:—I was not among those who gave the priest the expression
of public feeling with the energetic tongue of the whip. I wish I had
been, however; I would heartily have co-operated in giving that lesson
to the priests of Canada. Let me give my reason.

“My daughter, who is twelve years old, went to confession as did the
others a few weeks ago. It was against my will. I know by my own
experience that of all actions confession is the most degrading in a
person’s life. I can imagine nothing so well calculated to destroy for
ever one’s self-respect as the modern invention of the confessional.
Now, what is a person without self-respect—especially a woman? Without
this all is lost to her forever.

“In the confessional everything is corruption of the lowest grade.

“In the confessional, a girl’s thoughts are polluted, her tongue is
polluted, her heart is polluted—yes, and forever polluted! Do I need to
tell you this? You know it as well as I do. Though you are now all too
intelligent to degrade yourselves at the feet of a priest, though it is
long since you have been guilty of that meanness, not one of you have
forgotten the lessons of corruption received, when young, in the
confessional. Those lessons were engraved on your memory, your thoughts,
your hearts, and your souls like the scar left by the red-hot iron upon
the brow of the slave, to remain a perpetual witness of his shame and
servitude. The confessional is a place where one gets accustomed to
hear, and repeat without a scruple, things which would cause even a
prostitute to blush!

“Why are Roman Catholic nations inferior to nations belonging to
Protestantism? Only in the confessional can the solution of that problem
be found. And why are Roman Catholic nations degraded in proportion to
their submission to the priest? It is because the oftener the
individuals composing those nations go to confession the more rapidly
they sink in the scale of intelligence and morality. A terrible example
of this I had in my own house.

“As I said a moment ago, I was against my daughter going to confession;
but her poor mother, who is under the control of the priest, earnestly
wanted her to go. Not to have a disagreeable scene in my house, I had to
yield to the tears of my wife.

“On the day following that of her confession they believed I was absent;
but I was in my office, with the door sufficiently open to allow me to
hear what was said. My wife and daughter had the following conversation:

“‘What makes you so thoughtful and sad, my dear Lucy, since you went to
confession? It seems to me you should feel happier since you had the
privilege of confessing your sins.’

“Lucy made no answer.

“After a silence of two or three minutes her mother said:

“‘Why do you weep, dear child? Are you ill?’

“Still no answer from the child.

“You may well suppose that I was all attention. I had my suspicions
about the dreadful ordeal which had taken place. My heart throbbed with
uneasiness and anger.

“After a short time my wife spoke to her child with sufficient firmness
to force her to answer. In a trembling voice and half suppressed with
sobs my dear little daughter answered:

“‘Ah! mamma, if you knew what the priest asked me, and what he said to
me in the confessional, you would be as sad as I am.’

“‘But what did he say to you? He is a holy man. You surely did not
understand him if you think he said anything to pain you.’

“‘Dear mother,’ as she threw herself into her mother’s arms, ‘do not ask
me to confess what that priest said! He told to me things so shameful
that I cannot repeat them. But that which pains me most is the
impossibility of banishing from my thoughts the hateful things which he
has taught me. His impure words are like the leeches put upon the chest
of my friend Louise—they could not be removed without tearing the flesh.
What must have been his opinion of me to ask such questions!’”

“My child said no more, and began to sob again.

“After a short silence my wife rejoined:

“‘I’ll go to the priest. I’ll tell him to beware how he speaks in the
confessional. I have noticed myself that he goes too far with his
questions. I, however, thought that he was more prudent with children.
After the lesson that I’ll give him be sure that you will have only to
tell your sins, and that you will be no more troubled by his endless
questions. I ask of you, however, never to speak of this to anybody,
especially never let your poor father know anything about it; for he has
little enough religion already, and this would leave him without any at

“I could contain myself no longer. I rose and abruptly entered the
parlor. My daughter threw herself, weeping, into my arms. My wife
screamed with terror, and almost fell into a swoon. I said to my child:

“If you love me, put your hand on my heart and promise me that you’ll
never go to confession again. Fear God, my child; walk in His presence,
for His eye seeth you everywhere. Remember that day and night He is
ready to forgive us. Never place yourself again at the feet of a priest
to be defiled and degraded by him!

“This my daughter promised me.

“When my wife had recovered from her surprise I said to her:

“Madam, for a long time the priest has been everything and your husband
nothing to you. There is a hidden and terrible power that governs your
thoughts and affections as it governs your deeds—it is the power of the
priest. This you have often denied; but providence has decided to-day
that this power should be forever broken for you and for me. I want to
be the ruler in my own house; and from this moment the power of the
priest over you must cease, unless you prefer to leave my house forever.
The priest has reigned here too long! But now that I know he has stained
and defiled the soul of my daughter, his empire must fall! Whenever you
go and take your heart and secrets to the feet of the priest, be so kind
as not to come back to the same house with me.”

Three other discourses followed that of Mr. Dubord, all of which were
pregnant with details and facts going to prove that the confessional was
the principal cause of the deplorable demoralization of St. Thomas.

If, in addition to all that, I could have mentioned before that
association what I already knew of the corrupting influences of that
institution given to the world by centuries of darkness, certainly the
determination of its members to make use of every means to abolish its
usage would have been strengthened.

                               CHAPTER V.


The day following that of the meeting at which Mr. Tache had given his
reasons for boasting that he had whipped the priest, I wrote to my
mother: “For God’s sake, come for me; I can stay here no longer. If you
knew what my eyes have seen and my ears have heard for some time past,
you would not delay your coming a single day.”

Indeed, such was the impression left upon me by that flagellation, and
by the speeches which I had heard, that had it not been for the crossing
of the St. Lawrence, I would have started for Murray Bay on the day
after the secret meeting at which I had heard things that so terribly
frightened me. How I regretted the happy and peaceful days spent with my
mother in reading the beautiful chapters of the Bible, so well chosen by
her to instruct and interest me! What a difference there was between our
conversations after these readings, and the conversations I heard at St.

Happily my parents’ desire to see me again was as great as mine to go
back to them. So that a few weeks later my mother came for me. She
pressed me to her heart, and brought me back to the arms of my father.

I arrived at home on the 17th of July, 1821, and spent the afternoon and
evening till late by my father’s side. With what pleasure did he see me
working difficult problems in algebra, and even in geometry! for under
my teacher, Mr. Jones, I had really made rapid progress in those
branches. More than once I noticed tears of joy in my father’s eyes
when, taking my slate, he saw that my calculations were correct. He also
examined me in grammar. “What an admirable teacher this Mr. Jones must
be,” he would say, “to have advanced a child so much in the short space
of fourteen months!”

How sweet to me, but how short, were those hours of happiness passed
between my good mother and my father! We had family worship. I read the
fifteenth chapter of Luke, the return of the prodigal son. My mother
then sang a hymn of joy and gratitude, and I went to bed with my heart
full of happiness to take the sweetest sleep of my life. But, O God!
what an awful awakening thou hadst prepared for me!

At about four o’clock in the morning heart-rending screams fell upon my
ear. I recognized my mother’s voice.

“What is the matter, dear mother?”

“Oh, my dear child, you have no more a father! He is dead!”

In saying these words she lost consciousness and fell on the floor!

While a friend who had passed the night with us gave her proper care, I
hastened to my father’s bed. I pressed him to my heart, I kissed him, I
covered him with my tears, I moved his head, I pressed his hands, I
tried to lift him up on his pillow; I could not believe that he was
dead! It seemed to me that even if dead he would come back to life—that
God could not thus take my father away from me at the very moment when I
had come back to him after so long an absence! I knelt to pray to God
for the life of my father. But my tears and cries were useless. He was
dead! He was already cold as ice!

Two days after he was buried. My mother was so overwhelmed with grief
that she could not follow the funeral procession. I remained with her as
her only earthly support. Poor mother! How many tears thou hast shed!
What sobs came from thine afflicted heart in those days of supreme

Though I was then very young, I could understand the greatness of our
loss, and I mingled my tears with those of my mother.

What pen can portray what takes place in the heart of a woman when God
takes suddenly her husband away in the prime of his life, and leaves her
alone, plunged in misery, with three small children, two of whom are
even too young to know their loss! How long are the hours of the day for
the poor widow who is left alone, and without means, among strangers!
How painful the sleepless night to the heart which has lost everything!
How empty a house is left by the eternal absence of him who was its
master, support, and father! Every object in the house and every step
she takes remind her of her loss and sinks the sword deeper which
pierces her heart. Oh, how bitter are the tears which flow from her eyes
when her youngest child, who as yet does not understand the mystery of
death, throws himself into her arms and says: “Mamma, where is papa? Why
does he not come back? I am lonely!”

My poor mother passed through those heart-rending trials. I heard her
sobs during the long hours of the day, and also during the longer hours
of the night. Many times I have seen her fall upon her knees to implore
God to be merciful to her and to her three unhappy orphans. I could do
nothing then to comfort her, but love her, pray and weep with her!

Only a few days had elapsed after the burial of my father when I saw Mr.
Courtois, the parish priest, coming to our house (he who had tried to
take away our Bible from us). He had the reputation of being rich, and
as we were poor and unhappy since my father’s death, my first thought
was that he had come to comfort and to help us. I could see that my
mother had the same hopes. She welcomed him as an angel from heaven. The
least gleam of hope is so sweet to one who is unhappy!

From his very first words, however, I could see that our hopes were not
to be realized. He tried to be sympathetic, and even said something
about the confidence that we should have in God, especially in times of
trial; but his words were cold and dry.

Turning to me, he said:

“Do you continue to read the Bible, my little boy?”

“Yes, sir,” answered I, with a voice trembling with anxiety, for I
feared that he would make another effort to take away that treasure, and
I had no longer a father to defend it.

Then addressing my mother, he said:

“Madam, I told you that it was not right for you or your child to read
that book.”

My mother cast down her eyes, and answered only by the tears which ran
down her cheeks.

That question was followed by a long silence, and the priest then

“Madam, there is something due for the prayers which have been sung, and
the services which you requested to be offered for the repose of your
husband’s soul. I will be very much obliged to you if you pay me that
little debt.”

“Mr. Courtois,” answered my mother, “my husband left me nothing but
debts. I have only the work of my own hands to procure a living for my
three children, the eldest of whom is before you. For these little
orphans’ sake, if not for mine, do not take from us the little that is

“But, madam, you do not reflect. Your husband died suddenly and without
any preparation; he is therefore in the flames of purgatory. If you want
him to be delivered, you must necessarily unite your personal sacrifices
to the prayers of the Church and the masses which we offer.”

“As I said, my husband has left me absolutely without means, and it is
impossible for me to give you any money,” replied my mother.

“But, madam, your husband was for a long time the only notary of Mal
Bay. He surely must have made much money. I can scarcely think that he
has left you without any means to help him now that his desolation and
sufferings are far greater than yours.”

“My husband did, indeed, coin much money, but he spent still more.
Thanks to God, we have not been in want while he lived. But lately he
got this house built, and what is still due on it makes me fear that I
will lose it. He also bought a piece of land not long ago, only half of
which is paid, and I will, therefore, probably not be able to keep it.
Hence I may soon, with my poor orphans, be deprived of everything that
is left us. In the meantime I hope, sir, that you are not a man to take
away from us our last piece of bread.”

“But, madam, the masses offered for the rest of your husband’s soul must
be paid,” answered the priest.

My mother covered her face with her handkerchief and wept.

As for me, I did not mingle my tears with hers this time. My feelings
were not those of grief, but of anger and unspeakable horror. My eyes
were fixed on the face of that man who tortured my mother’s heart. I
looked with tearless eyes upon the man who added to my poor mother’s
anguish, and made her weep more bitterly than ever. My hands were
clenched, as if ready to strike. All my muscles trembled; my teeth
chattered as if from intense cold. My greatest sorrow was my weakness in
the presence of that big man, and my not being able to send him away
from our house, and driving him far away from my mother.

I felt inclined to say to him: “Are you not ashamed, you who are so
rich, to come and take away the last piece of bread from our mouths?”
But my physical and moral strength were not sufficient to accomplish the
task before me, and I was filled with regret and disappointment.

After a long silence, my mother raised her eyes, reddened with tears, on
the priest, and said:

“Sir, you see that cow in the meadow, not far from our house? Her milk
and the butter made from it form the principal part of my children’s
food. I hope you will not take her away from us. If, however, such a
sacrifice must be made to deliver my poor husband’s soul from purgatory,
take her as payment of the masses to be offered to extinguish those
devouring flames.”

The priest instantly arose, saying, “Very well, madam,” and went out.

Our eyes anxiously followed him; but instead of walking towards the
little gate which was in front of the house, he directed his steps
towards the meadow, and drove the cow before him in the direction of his

At that sight I screamed with despair: “O, my mother! he is taking our
cow away! What will become of us?”

Lord Nairn had given us that splendid cow when it was three months old.
Her mother had been brought from Scotland, and belonged to one of the
best breeds of that country. I fed her with my own hands, and had often
shared my bread with her. I loved her as a child always loves an animal
which he has brought up himself. She seemed to understand and love me
also. From whatever distance she could see me, she would run to me to
receive my caresses, and whatever else I might have to give her. My
mother herself milked her; and her rich milk was such delicious and
substantial food for us. We all felt so happy, at breakfast and supper,
each with a cupful of that pure and refreshing milk!

My mother also cried out with grief as she saw the priest taking away
the only means which heaven had left her to feed her children.

Throwing myself into her arms, I asked her: “Why have you given away our
cow? What will become of us? We shall surely die of hunger.”

“Dear child,” she answered, “I did not think the priest would be so
cruel as to take away the last resource which God had left us. Ah! if I
had believed him to be so unmerciful I would never have spoken to him as
I did. As you say, my dear child, what will become of us? But have you
not often read to me in your Bible that God is the Father of the widow
and the orphan? We shall pray to that God who is willing to be your
father and mine. He will listen to us, and see our tears. Let us kneel
down and ask of Him to be merciful to us, and to give us back the
support of which the priest has deprived us.”

We both knelt down. She took my right hand with her left, and, lifting
the other hand towards heaven, she offered a prayer to the God of
mercies for her poor children such as I have never since heard. Her
words were often choked by her sobs. But when she could not speak with
her voice, she spoke with her burning looks raised to heaven, and with
her uplifted hand. I also prayed to God with her, and repeated her
words, which were broken by my sobs.

When her prayer was ended she remained for a long time pale and
trembling. Cold sweat was flowing on her face, and she fell on the
floor. I thought she was going to die. I ran for cold water, which I
gave her, saying: “Dear mother! O, do not leave me alone upon earth!”
After drinking a few drops she felt better, and taking my hand, she put
it to her trembling lips; then drawing me near her, and pressing me to
her bosom, she said: “Dear child, if ever you become a priest, _I ask of
you never to be so hard-hearted towards poor widows as are the priests
of to-day_.” While she said these words, I felt her burning tears
falling upon my cheek.

The memory of these tears has never left me. I felt them constantly
during the twenty-five years I spent in preaching the inconceivable
superstitions of Rome.

I was not better, naturally, than many of the other priests. I believed,
as they did, the impious fables of purgatory; and as well as they (I
confess it to my shame), if I refused to take, or if I gave back the
money of the poor, I accepted the money which the rich gave me for the
masses I said to extinguish the flames of that fabulous place. But the
remembrance of my mother’s words and tears has kept me from being so
cruel and unmerciful towards the poor widows as Romish priests are, for
the most part, obliged to be.

When my heart, depraved by the false and impious doctrines of Rome, was
tempted to take money from widows and orphans, _under pretence of my
long prayers_, I then heard the voice of my mother, from the depth of
her sepulchre, saying: “My dear child, do not be cruel towards poor
widows and orphans, as are the priests of to-day.” If, during the days
of my priesthood at Quebec, at Beauport and Kamouraska, I have given
almost all that I had to feed and clothe the poor, especially the widows
and orphans, it was not owing to my being better than others, but it was
because my mother had spoken to me with words never to be forgotten. The
Lord, I believe, had put into my mother’s mouth those words, so simple
but so full of eloquence and beauty, as one of His great mercies towards
me. Those tears the hand of Rome has never been able to wipe off; those
words of my mother the sophisms of Popery could not make me forget.

How long, O Lord, shall that insolent enemy of the gospel, the Church of
Rome, be permitted to fatten herself upon the tears of the widow and of
the orphan by means of that cruel and impious invention of
paganism—purgatory? Wilt thou not be merciful unto so many nations which
are still the victims of that great imposture? Oh, do remove the veil
which covers the eyes of the priests and people of Rome, as thou hast
removed it from mine! Make them to understand that their hopes of
purification must not rest on these fabulous fires, but only on the
blood of the Lamb shed on Calvary to save the world.

                              CHAPTER VI.

                      FESTIVITIES IN A PARSONAGE.

God had heard the poor widow’s prayer. A few days after the priest had
taken our cow she received a letter from each of her two sisters,
Genevieve and Catherine.

The former, who was married to Etienne Eschenbach, of St. Thomas, told
her to sell all she had and come, with her children, to live with her.

“We have no family,” she said, “and God has given us the good things of
this life in abundance. We shall be happy to share them with you and
your children.”

The latter, married in Kamouraska to the Hon. Amable Dionne, wrote: “We
have learned the sad news of your husband’s death. We have lately lost
our only son. We wish to fill the vacant place with Charles, your
eldest. Send him to us. We shall bring him up as our own child, and
before long he will be your support. In the meantime, sell by auction
all you have, and go to St. Thomas with your two younger children. There
Genevieve and myself will supply your wants.”

In a few days all our furniture was sold. Unfortunately, though I had
carefully concealed my cherished Bible, it disappeared. I could never
discover what became of it. Had mother herself, frightened by the
threats of the priest, relinquished that treasure? or had some of our
relatives, believing it to be their duty, destroyed it? I do not know. I
deeply felt that loss, which was then irreparable to me.

On the following day, in the midst of bitter tears and sobs, I bade
farewell to my poor mother and young brothers. They went to St. Thomas
on board a schooner, and I crossed in a sloop to Kamouraska.

My uncle and aunt Dionne welcomed me with every mark of the most sincere
affection. Having soon made known to them that I wished to become a
priest, I began to study Latin under the direction of Rev. Mr. Morin,
vicar of Kamouraska. That priest was esteemed to be a learned man. He
was about forty or fifty years old, and had been priest of a parish in
the district of Montreal. But, as is the case with the majority of
priests, his vows of celibacy had not proved a sufficient guarantee
against the charms of one of his beautiful parishioners. This had caused
a great scandal. He consequently lost his position, and the bishop had
sent him to Kamouraska, where his past conduct was not so generally
known. He was very good to me, and I soon loved him with sincere

One day, about the beginning of the year 1822, he called me aside and

“Mr. Varin (the parish priest) is in the habit of giving a great
festival on his birthday. Now, the principal citizens of the village
wish on that occasion to present him with a bouquet. I am appointed to
write an address, and to choose some one to deliver it before the
priest. You are the one whom I have chosen. What do you think of it?”

“But I am very young,” I replied.

“Your youth will only give more interest to what we wish to say and do,”
said the priest.

“Well, I have no objection to do so, provided the piece be not too long,
and that I have it sufficiently soon to learn it well.”

It was already prepared. The time of delivering it soon came. The best
society of Kamouraska, composed of about fifteen gentlemen and as many
ladies, were assembled in the beautiful parlors of the parsonage. Mr.
Varin was in their midst. Suddenly Squire Paschal Tache, the seigneur of
the parish, and his lady entered the room, holding me by each hand, and
placed me in the midst of the guests. My head was crowned with flowers,
for I was to represent the angel of the parish, whom the people had
chosen to give to their pastor the expression of public admiration and
gratitude. When the address was finished, I presented to the priest the
beautiful bouquet of symbolical flowers prepared by the ladies for the

Mr. Varin was a small but well-built man. His thin lips were ever ready
to smile graciously. The remarkable whiteness of his skin was still
heightened by the rose color of his cheeks. Intelligence and goodness
beamed from his expressive black eyes. Nothing could be more amiable and
gracious than his conversation during the first quarter of an hour
passed in his company. He was passionately fond of these little fetes,
and the charm of his manners could not be surpassed as the host of the

He was moved to tears before hearing half of the address, and the eyes
of many were moistened when the pastor, with a voice trembling and full
of emotion, expressed his joy and gratitude at being so highly
appreciated by his parishioners.

As soon as the happy pastor had expressed his thanks, the ladies sang
two or three beautiful songs. The door of the dining-room was then
opened, and we could see a long table laden with the most delicious
meats and wines that Canada could afford.

I had never before been present at a priest’s dinner. The honorable
position given me at that little fete permitted me to see it in all its
details, and nothing could equal the curiosity with which I sought to
hear and see all that was said and done by the joyous guests.

Besides Mr. Varin and his vicar there were three other priests, who were
artistically placed in the midst of the most beautiful ladies of the
company. The ladies, after honoring us with their presence for an hour
or so, left the table and retired to the drawing-room. Scarcely had the
last lady disappeared when Mr. Varin rose and said:

“Gentlemen, let us drink to the health of these amiable ladies, whose
presence has thrown so many charms over the first part of our little

Following the example of Mr. Varin, each guest filled and emptied his
long wine-glass in honor of the ladies.

Squire Tache then proposed “The health of the most venerable and beloved
priest of Canada, the Rev. Mr. Varin.” Again the glasses were filled and
emptied, except mine; for I had been placed at the side of my uncle
Dionne, who, sternly looking at me as soon as I had emptied my first
glass, said: “If you drink another I will send you from the table. A
little boy like you should not drink, but only touch the glass with his

It would have been difficult to count the healths which were drank after
the ladies had left us. After each health a song or a story was called
for, several of which were followed by applause, shouts of joy, and
convulsive laughter.

When my turn to propose a health came I wished to be excused, but they
would not exempt me. So I had to say about whose health I was most
interested. I rose upon my two short legs, and turning to Mr. Varin, I
said, “Let us drink to the health of our Holy Father, the Pope.”

Nobody had yet thought of our Holy Father, the Pope, and the name,
mentioned under such circumstances by a child, appeared so droll to the
priests and their merry guests that they burst into laughter, stamped
their feet and shouted, “Bravo! bravo! To the health of the Pope!”
Everyone stood up, and at the invitation of Mr. Varin, the glasses were
filled and emptied as usual.

So many healths could not be drunk without their natural
effect—intoxication. The first that was overcome was a priest, Noel by
name. He was a tall man, and a great drinker. I had noticed more than
once, that instead of taking his wine-glass he drank from a large
tumbler. The first symptoms of his intoxication, instead of drawing
sympathy from his friends, only increased their noisy bursts of
laughter. He endeavored to take a bottle to fill his glass, but his hand
shook, and the bottle, falling on the floor, was broken to pieces.
Wishing to keep up his merriment he began to sing a Bacchic song, but
could not finish. He dropped his head on the table, quite overcome, and
trying to rise, he fell heavily upon his chair. While all this took
place the other priests and all the guests looked at him, laughing
loudly. At last, making a desperate effort, he rose, but after taking
two or three steps, fell headlong on the floor. His two neighbors went
to help him, but they were not in a condition to help him. Twice they
rolled with him under the table. At length another, less affected by the
fumes of wine, took him by the feet and dragged him into an adjoining
room, where they left him.

This first scene seemed strange enough to me, for I had never before
seen a priest intoxicated. But what astonished me most was the laughter
of the other priests over that spectacle. Another scene, however, soon
followed which made me sadder. My young companion and friend, Achilles
Tache, had not been warned, as I had, only to touch the wine with his
lips. More than once he had emptied his glass. He also rolled upon the
floor before the eyes of his father, who was too full of wine to help
him. He cried aloud, “I am choking!” I tried to lift him up, but I was
not strong enough. I ran for his mother. She came, accompanied by
another lady, but the vicar had carried him into another room, where he
fell asleep after having thrown off the wine he had taken.

Poor Achilles! he was learning, in the house of his own priest, to take
the first step of that life of debauchery and drunkenness which twelve
or fifteen years later was to rob him of his manor, take from him his
wife and children, and to make him fall a victim to the bloody hand of a
murderer upon the solitary shores of Kamouraska!

This first and sad experience which I made of the real and intimate life
of the Roman Catholic priest was so deeply engraved on my memory that I
still remember with shame the bacchic song which that priest Morin had
taught me, and which I sang on that occasion. It commenced with these
Latin words:

                          Ego in arte Bacchi,
                          Multum profeei
                          Decies pintum vini
                            Hodie bibi.

I also remember one sung by Mr. Varin. Here it is:

                 Savez-vous pourquoi, mes amis, (_bis_)
                 Nous sommes tous si rejouis? (_bis_)
                     Amis n’endoutez pas,
                     C’est qu’un repas
                         N’est bon.

                       Qu’ apprete sans façon,
                       Mangeons a la gamelle.
                       Vive le son, vive le son,
                       Mangeons a la gamelle,
                       Vive le son du flacon!

When the priests and their friends had sung, laughed and drank for more
than an hour, Mr. Varin rose and said: “The ladies must not be left
alone all the evening. Will not our joy and happiness be doubled if they
are pleased to share them with us?”

This proposition was received with applause, and we passed into the
drawing-room, where the ladies awaited us.

Several pieces of music, well executed, gave new life to this part of
the entertainment. This resource, however, was soon exhausted. Besides,
some of the ladies could well see that their husbands were half drunk,
and they felt ashamed. Madam Tache could not conceal the grief she felt,
caused by what had happened to her dear Achilles. Had she some
presentiment, as many persons have, of the tears which she was to shed
one day on his account? Was the vision of a mutilated and bloody
corpse—the corpse of her own drunken son fallen dead, under the blow of
an assassin’s dagger, before her eyes?

Mr. Varin feared nothing more than an interruption in those hours of
lively pleasure, of which his life was full, and which took place in his

“Well, well, ladies and gentlemen, let us entertain no dark thoughts on
this evening, the happiest of my life! Let us play blind man’s buff.”

“Let us play blind man’s buff!” was repeated by everybody.

On hearing this noise, the gentlemen who were half asleep by the fumes
of wine seemed to awaken as if from a long dream. Young gentlemen
clapped their hands; ladies, young and old, congratulated one another on
the happy idea.

“But whose eyes shall be covered first?” asked the priest.

“Yours, Mr. Varin,” cried all the ladies. “We look to you for the good
example, and we shall follow it.”

“The power and unanimity of the jury by which I am condemned cannot be
resisted. I feel that there is no appeal. I must submit.”


Immediately one of the ladies placed her nicely perfumed handkerchief
over the eyes of her priest, took him by the hand, led him to an angle
of the room, and having pushed him gently with her delicate hand, said:
“Mr. Blindman! Let everyone flee! Woe to him who is caught!”

There is nothing more curious and comical than to see a man walk when he
is under the influence of wine, especially if he wishes nobody to notice
it. How stiff and straight he keeps his legs! How learned and
complicated, in order to keep his equilibrium, are his motions to right
and left! Such was the position of priest Varin. He was not _very_
drunk. Though he had taken a large quantity of wine, he did not fall. He
carried with wonderful courage the weight with which he was laden. The
wine which he had drank would have intoxicated three ordinary men; but
such was his capacity for drinking, that he could still walk without
falling. However, his condition was sadly betrayed by each step he took
and by each word he spoke. Nothing, therefore, was more comical than the
first steps of the poor priest in his efforts to lay hold of somebody in
order to pass his band to him. He would take one forward and two
backward steps, and would then stagger to the right and to the left.
Everybody laughed to tears. One after another they would all either
pinch him or touch him gently on his hand, arm or shoulder, and passing
rapidly off would exclaim, “Run away!” The priest went to the right and
then to the left, threw his arms suddenly now here and then there. His
legs evidently bent under their burden; he panted, perspired, coughed,
and everyone began to fear that the trial might be carried too far, and
beyond propriety. But suddenly, by a happy turn he caught the arm of a
lady who in teasing him had come too near. In vain the lady tries to
escape. She struggles, turns round, but the priest’s hand holds her

While holding his victim with his right hand he wishes to touch her head
with his left, in order to know and name the pretty bird he had caught.
But at that moment his legs gave way. He falls, and drags with him his
beautiful parishioner. She turns upon him in order to escape, but he
soon turns on her in order to hold her better!

All this, though the affair of a moment, was long enough to cause the
ladies to blush and cover their faces. Never in all my life did I see
anything so shameful as that scene. This ended the game. Everyone felt
ashamed. I make a mistake when I say _everyone_, because the men were
almost all too intoxicated to blush. The priests also were either too
drunk or too much accustomed to such scenes to be ashamed.

On the following day every one of those priests celebrated mass, and ate
what they called the body and blood, the soul and divinity of Jesus
Christ, just as if they had spent the previous evening in prayer and
meditation on the laws of God! He, Mr. Varin, was the arch-priest of the
important part of the diocese of Quebec from La Riviere Ouelle to Gaspe.

Thus, O perfidious Church of Rome, thou deceivest the nations who follow
thee, and ruinest even the priests whom thou makest thy slaves.

                              CHAPTER VII.


Nothing can exceed the care with which Roman Catholic priests prepare
children for their first communion. Two and three months are set apart
every year for that purpose. All that time the children between ten and
twelve years of age are obliged to go to church almost every day, not
only to learn by heart their catechism, but to hear the explanations of
all its teachings.

The priest who instructed us was the Rev. Mr. Morin, whom I have already
mentioned. He was exceedingly kind to children, and we respected and
loved him sincerely. His instructions to us were somewhat long; but we
liked to hear him, for he always had some new and interesting stories to
give us.

The catechism taught as a preparation for our first communion was the
foundation of the idolatries and superstitions which the Church of Rome
gives as the religion of Christ. It is by means of that catechetical
instruction that she obtains for the Pope and his representatives that
profound respect, I might say adoration, which is the secret of her
power and influence. With this catechism Rome corrupts the most sacred
truths of the gospel. It is there that Jesus is removed from the hearts
for which he paid so great a price, and that Mary is put in his place.
But the great iniquity of substituting Mary for Jesus is so skillfully
concealed, it is given with colors so poetic and beautiful, and so well
adapted to captivate human nature, that it is almost impossible for a
poor child to escape the snare.

One day the priest said to me, “Stand up, my child, in order to answer
the many important questions which I have to ask you.”

I stood up.

“My child,” he said, “when you had been guilty of some fault at home,
who was the first to punish you—your father, or your mother?”

After a few moments hesitation I answered, “My father.”

“You have answered correctly, my child,” said the priest. “As a matter
of fact, the father is almost always more impatient with his children,
and more ready to punish them, than the mother.”

“Now, my child, tell us who punished you most severely—your father or
your mother?”

“My father,” I said, without hesitation.

“Still true, my child. The superior goodness of a kind mother is
perceived even in the act of correction. Her blows are lighter than
those of the father. Further, when you had deserved to be chastised, did
not one sometimes come between you and your father’s rod, taking it away
from him and pacifying him?”

“Yes,” I said; “mother did that very often, and saved me from severe
punishment more than once.”

“That is so, my child, not only for you, but for all your companions
here. Have not your good mothers, my children, often saved you from your
fathers’ corrections even when you deserved it? Answer me.”

“Yes, sir,” they all answered.

“One question more. When your father was coming to whip you, did you not
throw yourself into the arms of some one to escape?”

“Yes, sir; when guilty of something, more than once, I threw myself into
my mother’s arms as soon as I saw my father coming to whip me. She
begged pardon for me, and pleaded so well that I often escaped

“You have answered well,” said the priest. Then turning to the children,
he continued:

“You have a Father and a Mother in heaven, dear children. Your father is
Jesus, and your mother is Mary. Do not forget that a mother’s heart is
always more tender and more prone to mercy than that of a father.

“Often you offend your Father by your sins; you make Him angry against
you. What takes place in heaven then? Your Father in heaven takes His
rod to punish you. He threatens to crush you down with His roaring
thunder; He opens the gates of hell to cast you into it, and you would
have been damned long ago had it not been for the loving Mother whom you
have in heaven, who has disarmed your angry and irritated Father. When
Jesus would punish you as you deserve, the good Virgin Mary hastens to
Him and pacifies Him. She places herself between Him and you, and
prevents Him from smiting you. She speaks in your favor, she asks for
your pardon and she obtains it.

“Also, as young Chiniquy has told you, he often threw himself into the
arms of his mother to escape punishment. She took his part, and pleaded
so well that his father yielded and put away the rod. Thus, my children,
when your conscience tells you that you are guilty, that Jesus is angry
against you and that you have good reason to fear hell, hasten to Mary!
Throw yourselves into the arms of that good mother; have recourse to her
sovereign power over Jesus, and be assured that you will be saved
through her!”

It is thus that the Pope and the priests of Rome have entirely
disfigured and changed the holy religion of the gospel! In the Church of
Rome it is not Jesus, but Mary, who represents the infinite love and
mercy of God for the sinner. The sinner is not advised or directed to
place his hope in Jesus, but in Mary, for his escape from deserved
chastisement! It is not Jesus, but Mary, who saves the sinner! Jesus is
always bent on punishing sinners; Mary is always merciful to them!

The Church of Rome has thus fallen into idolatry: she rather trusts in
Mary than in Jesus. She constantly invites sinners to turn their
thoughts, their hopes, their affections, not to Jesus, but to Mary!

By means of that impious doctrine Rome deceives the intellects, seduces
the hearts, and destroys the souls of the young forever. Under the
pretext of honoring the Virgin Mary, she insults her by outraging and
misrepresenting her adorable Son.

Rome has brought back the idolatry of old paganism under a new name. She
has replaced upon her altars the Jupiter Tonans of the Greeks and
Romans, only she places upon his shoulders the mantle and she writes on
the forehead of her idol the name of Jesus, in order the better to
deceive the world!

                              CHAPTER VIII

                          THE FIRST COMMUNION.

For the Roman Catholic child, how beautiful and yet how sad is the day
of his first communion! How many joys and anxieties by turn rise in his
soul when for the first time he is about to eat what he has been taught
to believe to be his God! How many efforts he has to make, in order to
destroy the manifest teachings of his own rational faculties! I confess
with deep regret that I had almost destroyed my reason, in order to
prepare myself for my first communion. Yes, I was almost exhausted when
the day came that I had to eat what the priest had assured us was the
true body, the true blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. I was
about to eat him, not in a symbolical or commemorative, but in a literal
way. I was to eat his flesh, his bones, his hands, his feet, his head,
his whole body! I had to believe this or be cast forever into hell,
while, all the time, my eyes, my hands, my mouth, my tongue, my reason
told me that what I was eating was only bread!

Has there ever been, or will there ever be, a priest or a layman to
believe what the Church of Rome teaches on this dreadful mystery of the
Real Presence? Shall I say that I believed in the real presence of Jesus
Christ in the communion? I believed in it as all those who are good
Roman Catholics believe. I believed as a perfect idiot or a corpse
believes. Whatever is essential to a reasonable act of faith had been
destroyed in me on that point, as it is destroyed in every priest and
layman in the Church of Rome. My reason as well as my external senses
had been, as much as possible, sacrificed at the feet of that terrible
modern god, the Pope! I had been guilty of the incredibly foolish act,
of which all good Roman Catholics are guilty—I had said to my
intellectual faculties, and to all my senses, “Hush, you are liars! I
had believed to this day that you had been given to me by God in order
to enable me to walk in the dark paths of life, but, behold! the holy
Pope teaches me that you are only instruments of the devil to deceive

What is a man who resigns his intellectual liberty, and who cares not to
believe in the testimony of his senses? Is he not acting the part of one
who has no gift or power of intelligence? A good Roman Catholic must
reach that point! That was my own condition on the day of my first

When Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken unto them they had not
had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sins: if I had not done
among them the works that none other man did, they had not had sin; but
now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” (John xv.
22-24), he showed that the sin of the Jews consisted in not having
believed in what their eyes had seen and their ears had heard. But
behold, the Pope says to Roman Catholics that they must not believe in
what their hands undoubtedly handle and their eyes most clearly see! The
Pope sets aside the testimony most approved by Jesus. The very witnesses
invoked by the son of God are ignominiously turned out of court by the
Pope as false witnesses!

As the moment of taking the communion drew near, two feelings were at
war in my mind, each struggling for victory. I rejoiced in the thought
that I would soon have full possession of Jesus Christ, but at the same
time I was troubled and humbled by the absurdity which I had to believe
before receiving that sacrament. Though scarcely twelve years old, I had
sufficiently accustomed myself to reflect on the profound darkness which
covered that dogma. I had been also greatly in the habit of trusting my
eyes, and I thought that I could easily distinguish between a small
piece of bread and a full-grown man!

Besides, I extremely abhorred the idea of eating human flesh and
drinking human blood, even when they assured me that they were the flesh
and blood of Jesus Christ himself. But what troubled me most was the
idea of that God, who was represented to me as being so great, so
glorious, so holy, being eaten by me like a piece of common bread!
Terrible then was the struggle in my young heart, where joy and dread,
trust and fear, faith and unbelief by turns had the upper hand.

While that secret struggle, known only to God and to myself, was going
on, I had often to wipe off the cold perspiration which came on my brow.
With all the strength of my soul I prayed to God and the Holy Virgin to
be merciful unto me, to help, and give me sufficient strength and light
to pass over these hours of anguish.

The Church of Rome is evidently the most skillful human machine the
world has ever seen. Those who guide her in the dark paths which she
follows are often men of deep thought. They understand how difficult it
would be to get calm, honest and thinking minds to receive that
monstrous dogma of the real corporal presence of Jesus Christ in the
communion. They well foresaw the struggle which would take place even in
the minds of children at the supreme moment when they would have to
sacrifice their reason on the altar of Rome. In order to prevent those
struggles, always so dangerous to the Church, nothing has been neglected
to distract the mind and draw the attention to other subjects than that
of the communion itself.

First, at the request of the parish priest, helped by the vanity of the
parents themselves, the children are dressed as elegantly as possible.
The young communicant is clothed in every way best calculated to flatter
his own vanity also. The church building is pompously decorated. The
charms of choice vocal and instrumental music form a part of the fete.
The most odorous incense burns around the altar and ascends in a
sweet-smelling cloud towards heaven. The whole parish is invited, and
people come from every direction to enjoy a most beautiful spectacle.
Priests from the neighboring churches are called, in order to add to the
solemnity of the day. The officiating priest is dressed in the most
costly attire. This is the day on which silver and gold altar-cloths are
displayed before the eyes of the wondering spectators. Often a lighted
wax taper is placed in the hand of each young communicant, which itself
would be sufficient to draw his whole attention; for a single false
motion would be enough to set fire to the clothes of his neighbor, or
his own, a misfortune which has happened more than once in my presence.

Now, in the midst of that new and wonderful spectacle; of singing Latin
psalms, not a word of which he understands; in view of gold and silver
ornaments, which glitter everywhere before his dazzled eyes; busy with
the holding of the lighted taper, which keeps him constantly in fear of
being burned alive, can the young communicant think for a moment of what
he is about to do?

Poor child! his mind, ears, eyes, nostrils are so much taken up with
those new, striking and wonderful things that, while his imagination is
wandering from one object to another, the moment of communion arrives,
without leaving him time to think of what he is about to do! He opens
his mouth, and the priest puts upon his tongue a flat thin cake of
unleavened bread, which either firmly sticks to his palate or otherwise
melts in his mouth, soon to go down into his stomach just like the food
he takes three times a day!

The first feeling of the child, then, is that of surprise at the thought
that the Creator of heaven and earth, the upholder of the universe, the
Saviour of the world, could so easily pass down his throat!

Now, follow those children to their homes after that great and monstrous
comedy. See their gait! Listen to their conversation and their bursts of
laughter! Study their manners, their coming in, their going out, their
glances of satisfaction on their fine clothes, and the vanity which they
manifest in return for the congratulations they receive on their fine
dresses. Notice the lightness of their actions and conversation
immediately after their communion, and tell me if you find anything
indicating that they believed in the terrible dogma they have been

No, they have not believed in it, neither will they ever do so with the
firmness of faith which is accompanied by intelligence. The poor child
thinks he believes, and he sincerely tries to do so. He believes in it
as much as it is possible to believe in a most monstrous and ridiculous
story, opposed to the simplest notions of truth and common sense. He
believes as Roman Catholics believe. He believes as an idiot believes!!
He believes as a corpse believes!

That first communion has made of him, for the rest of his life, a real
machine in the hands of the Pope. It is the first but most powerful link
of that long chain of slavery which the priest and the Church pass
around his neck. The Pope holds the end of that chain, and with it he
will make his victim go right or left at his pleasure, in the same way
that we govern the lower animals. If those children have made a good
first communion they will be submissive to the Pope, according to the
energetic word of Loyola. They will be in the hands of the Supreme
Pontiff of Rome just what the stick is in the hand of the traveller—they
will have no will, no thought of their own!

And if God does not work a miracle to bring them out from the bondage
which is a thousand times worse than the Egyptian, they will remain in
that state during the rest of their lives.

My soul has known the weight of those chains. It has felt the ignominy
of that slavery! But the great Conqueror of souls has cast down a
merciful eye upon me. He has broken my chains, and with His holy Word He
has made me free.

May His name be forever blessed!

                              CHAPTER IX.


I finished, at the College of Nicolet, in the month of August, 1829, my
classical course of study which I had begun in 1822. I could easily have
learned in three or four years what was taught in those seven years.

It took us three years to study Latin grammar, when twelve months would
have sufficed for all we learned of it. It is true that during that time
we were taught some of the rudiments of the French grammar, with the
elements of arithmetic and geography. But all this was so superficial,
that our teachers often seemed more desirous to pass away our time than
to enlarge our understandings.

I can say the same thing about the _Belles Lettres_ and of rhetoric,
which we studied two years. A year of earnest study would have sufficed
to learn what was taught us during these twenty-four months. As for the
two years devoted to the study of logic, and of the subjects classed
under the name of philosophy, it would not have been too long a time if
those questions of philosophy had been honestly given us. But the
student in the college of the Church of Rome is condemned to the
torments of Tantalus. He has indeed the refreshing waters of Science put
to his lips, but he is constantly prevented from tasting them. To
enlarge and seriously cultivate the intelligence in a Roman Catholic
college is a thing absolutely out of the question. More than that, all
the efforts of the principals in their colleges and convents tend to
prove to the pupil that his intelligence is his greatest and most
dangerous enemy—that it is like an untamable animal, which must
constantly be kept in chains. Every day the scholar is told that his
reason was not given him that he might be guided by it, but only that he
may know the hand of the man by whom he must be guided. And that hand is
none other than the Pope’s. All the resources of language, all the most
ingenious sophisms, all the passages of both the Fathers and the Holy
Scriptures bearing on this question are arranged and perverted with
inconceivable art to demonstrate to the pupil that his reason has no
power to teach him anything else than that it must be subjected to the
Supreme Pontiff of Rome, who is the only foundation of truth and light
given by God to guide the intelligence and to enlighten and save the

Rome, in her colleges and convents, brings up, or raises up, the youth
from their earliest years; but to what height does she permit the young
man or woman to be raised? Never higher than the feet of the Pope!! As
soon as his intelligence, guided by the Jesuit, has ascended to the feet
of the Pope, it must remain there, prostrate itself and fall asleep.

The Pope! That is the great object towards which all the intelligence of
the Roman Catholics must be converged. It is the sun of the world, the
foundation and the only support of Christian knowledge and civilization.

What a privilege it is to be lazy, stupid and sluggish in a college of
Rome! How soon such an one gets to the summit of science, and becomes
master of all knowledge! One needs only to kiss the feet of the Pope,
and fall into a perfect slumber there. The Pope thinks for him! It is he
(the Pope) who will tell him what he can and should think, and what he
can and should believe!

I had arrived at that degree of perfection at the end of my studies, and
J. B. Barthe, Esq., M.P.P., being editor of one of the principal papers
of Montreal in 1844, could write in his paper when my “Manual of
Temperance” was published: “Mr. Chiniquy has crowned his apostleship of
temperance by that work, with that ardent and holy ambition of character
of which he gave us so many tokens in his collegiate life, where we have
been so many years the witness of his piety when he was the model of his
fellow students, who had called him the Louis de Gonzague of Nicolet.”

These words of the Montreal member of Parliament mean only that, wishing
to be saved as St. Louis de Gonzague, I had blindly tied myself to the
feet of my superiors. I had, as much as possible, extinguished all the
enlightenments of my own mind to follow the reason and the will of my
superiors. These compliments mean that I was walking like a blind man
whom his guide holds by the hand.

Though my intelligence often revolted against the fables with which I
was nurtured, I yet forced myself to accept them as gospel truths; and
though I often rebelled against the ridiculous sophisms which were
babbled to me as the only principles of truth and Christian philosophy,
yet as often did I impose silence on my reason, and force it to submit
to the falsehoods which I was obliged to take for God’s truth! But, as I
have just confessed it, notwithstanding my good will to submit to my
superiors, there were times of terrible struggle in my soul, when all
the powers of my mind seemed to revolt against the degrading fetters
which I was forced to forge for myself.

I shall never forget the day when, in the following terms, I expressed
to my Professor in Philosophy, the Rev. Charles Harper, doubts which I
had conceived concerning the absolute necessity of the inferior to
submit his reason to his superior. “When I shall have completely bound
myself to obey my superior, if he abuses his authority over me to
deceive me by false doctrines, or if he commands me to do things which I
consider wrong and dishonest, shall I not be lost if I obey him?”

He answered: “You will never have to give an account to God for the
actions that you do by the order of your legitimate superiors. If they
were to deceive you, being themselves deceived, _they alone_ would be
responsible for the error which you would have committed. Your sin would
not be imputed to you as long as you follow the golden rule which is the
base of all Christian philosophy and perfection—humility and obedience!”

Little satisfied with that answer, when the lesson was over I expressed
my reluctance to accept such principles to several of my fellow
students. Among them was Joseph Turcot, who died some years ago when, I
think, he was Minister of Public Works in Canada. He answered me: “The
more I study what they call their principles of Christian philosophy and
logic, the more I think that they intend to make _asses of every one of

On the following day I opened my heart to the venerable man who was our
principal—the Rev. Mr. Leprohon. I used to venerate him as a saint and
love him as a father. I frankly told him that I felt very reluctant in
submitting myself to the crude principles which seemed to lead us into
the most abject slavery, the slavery of our reason and intelligence. I
wrote down his answer, which I give here:

“My dear Chiniquy, how did Adam and Eve lose themselves in the Garden of
Eden, and how did they bring upon us all the deluge of evils by which we
are overwhelmed? Is it not because they raised their miserable reason
above that of God? They had the promise of eternal life if they had
submitted their reason to that of their Supreme Master. They were lost
on account of their rebelling against the authority, the reason of God.
Thus it is to-day. All the evils, the errors, the crimes by which the
world is overflooded come from the same revolt of the human will and
reason against the will and reason of God. God reigns yet over a part of
the world, the world of the elect, through the Pope, who controls the
teachings of our infallible and holy Church. In submitting ourselves to
God, who speaks to us through the Pope, we are saved. We walk in the
paths of truth and holiness. But we would err, and infallibly perish, as
soon as we put our reason above that of our superior, the Pope, speaking
to us in person, or through some of our superiors who have received from
him the authority to guide us.”

“But,” said I, “if my reason tells me that the Pope, or some of those
other superiors who are put by him over me, are mistaken, and that they
command me something wrong, would I not be guilty before God if I obey

“You suppose a thing utterly impossible,” answered Mr. Leprohon, “for
the Pope and the bishops who are united to him have the promise of never
failing in the faith. They cannot lead you into any errors, nor command
you anything against the law of God. But supposing for a moment that
they would commit any error, and that they would compel you to believe
or do something contrary to the teachings of the gospel, God would not
ask of you any account of an error committed when you are obeying your
legitimate superior.”

I had to content myself with that answer, which I put down word for word
in my note book. But in spite of my respectful silence, the Rev. Mr.
Leprohon saw that I was yet uneasy and sad. In order to convince me of
the orthodoxy of his doctrines, he instantly put into my hands the two
works of De Maistre, “Le Pape” and “Les Soirees de St. Petersburg,”
where I found the same doctrines supported. My superior was honest in
his convictions. He sincerely believed in the sound philosophy and
Christianity of his principles, for he found them in these books
approved by the “infallible Popes.”

I will mention another occurrence to show the inconceivable intellectual
degradation to which we had been dragged at the end of seven years of
collegiate studies. About the year 1829 the curate of St. Anne de la
Parade wrote to our principal, Rev. Mr. Leprohon, to ask the assistance
of the prayers of all the students of the College of Nicolet in order to
obtain the discontinuance of the following calamity: “For more than
three weeks one of the most respectable farmers was in danger of losing
all his horses from the effects of a sorcery! From morning to night, and
during most of the night, repeated blows of whips and sticks were heard
falling upon these poor horses, which were trembling, foaming and
struggling! We can see nothing! The hand of the wizard remains
invisible. Pray for us, that we may discover the monster, and that he
may be punished as he deserves.”

Such were the contents of the priest’s letter; and as my superior
sincerely believed in that fable, I also believed it, as well as the
students of the college who had a _true piety_. On that shore of abject
and degrading superstitions I had to land after sailing seven years in
the bark called a college of the Church of Rome!

The intellectual part of the studies in a college of Rome, and it is the
same in a convent, is therefore entirely worthless. Worse than that, the
intelligence is dwarfed under the chains by which it is bound. If the
intelligence does sometimes advance, it is in spite of the fetters
placed upon it; it is only like some few noble ships which, through the
extraordinary skill of their pilots, go ahead against wind and tide.

I know that the priests of Rome can show a certain number of intelligent
men in every branch of science who have studied in their colleges. But
these remarkable men had from the beginning secretly broken for
themselves the chains with which their superiors had tried to bind them.
For peace sake they had outwardly followed the rules of the house, but
they had secretly trampled under the feet of their noble souls the
ignoble fetters which had been prepared for their understanding. True
children of God and light, they had found the secret of remaining free
even when in the dark cells of a dungeon!

Give me the names of the remarkable and intelligent men who have studied
in a college of Rome, and have become real lights in the firmament of
science, and I will prove that nine-tenths of them have been persecuted,
excommunicated, tortured, some even put to death for having dared to
think for themselves.

Galileo was a Roman Catholic, and he is surely one of the greatest men
whom science claims as her most gifted sons. But was he not sent to a
dungeon? Was he not publicly flogged by the hands of the executioner?
Had he not to ask pardon from God and man for having dared to think
differently from the Pope about the motion of the earth around the sun!

Copernicus was surely one of the greatest lights of his time, but was he
not censured and excommunicated for his admirable scientific

France does not know any greater genius among her most gifted sons than
Pascal. He was a Catholic. But he lived and died excommunicated.

The Church of Rome boasts of Bossuet, the Bishop of Meaux, as one of the
greatest men she ever had. Yes; but has not Veuillot, the editor of the
_Univers_, who knows his man well, confessed and declared before the
whole world that Bossuet was a disguised Protestant?

Where can we find a more amiable or learned writer than Montalembert,
who has so faithfully and bravely fought the battle of the Church of
Rome in France during more than a quarter of a century? But has he not
publicly declared on his death-bed that that Church was an apostate and
idolatrous Church from the day that she proclaimed the dogma of the
Infallibility of the Pope? Has he not virtually died an excommunicated
man for having said with his last breath that the Pope was nothing else
than a false god?

Those pupils of Roman Catholic colleges of whom sometimes the priests so
imprudently boast, have gone out from the hands of their Jesuit teachers
to proclaim their supreme contempt for the Roman Catholic priesthood and
Papacy. They have been near enough to the priest to know him. They have
seen with their own eyes that the priest of Rome is the most dangerous,
the most implacable enemy of intelligence, progress and liberty; and if
their arm be not paralyzed by cowardice, selfishness or hypocrisy, those
pupils of the colleges of Rome will be the first to denounce the
priesthood of Rome and demolish her citadels.

Voltaire studied in a Roman Catholic college, and it was probably when
at their school that he nerved himself for the terrible battle he has
fought against Rome. The Church will never recover from the blow which
Voltaire has struck at her in France.

Cavour, in Italy, had studied in a Roman Catholic college also, and
under that very roof it is more than probable that his noble
intelligence had sworn to break the ignominious fetters with which Rome
had enslaved his fair country. The most eloquent of the orators of
Spain, Castelar, studied in a Roman Catholic college; but hear with what
burning eloquence he denounces the tyranny, hypocrisy, selfishness and
ignorance of the priests.

Papineau studied under the priests of Rome in their college at Montreal.
From his earliest years that Eagle of Canada could see and know the
priests of Rome as they are; he has weighed them in the balance; he has
measured them; he has fathomed the dark recesses of their anti-social
principles; he has felt his shoulders wounded and bleeding under the
ignominious chains with which they dragged our dear Canada in the mire
for nearly two centuries. Papineau was a pupil of the priests; and I
have heard several priests boasting of that as a glorious thing. But the
echoes of Canada are still repeating the thundering words with which
Papineau denounced the priests as the most deadly enemies of the
education and liberty of Canada! He was one of the first men of Canada
to understand that there was no progress, no liberty possible for our
beloved country so long as the priests would have the education of our
people in their hands. The whole life of Papineau was a struggle to
wrest Canada from their grasp. Everyone knows how he constantly branded
them, without pity, during his life, and the whole world has been the
witness of the supreme contempt with which he has refused their
services, and turned them out at the solemn hour of his death!

When, in 1792, France wanted to be free, she understood that the priests
of Rome were the greatest enemies of her liberties. She turned them out
from her soil or hung them to her gibbets. If to-day that noble country
of our ancestors is stumbling and struggling in her tears and her
blood—if she has fallen at the feet of her enemies—if her valiant arm
has been paralyzed, her sword broken and her strong heart saddened above
measure, is it not because she had most imprudently put herself again
under the yoke of Rome?

Canada’s children will continue to flee from the country of their birth
so long as the priest of Rome holds the influence which is blasting
everything that falls within his grasp, on this continent as well as in
Europe; and the United States will soon see their most sacred
institutions fall, one after the other, if the Americans continue to
send their sons and daughters to the Jesuit colleges and nunneries.

When, in the warmest days of summer, you see a large swamp of stagnant
and putrid water, you are sure that deadly miasma will spread around,
that diseases of the most malignant character, poverty, sufferings of
every kind, and death will soon devastate the unfortunate country; so,
when you see Roman Catholic colleges and nunneries raising their haughty
steeples over some commanding hills or in the midst of some beautiful
valleys, you may confidently expect that the self-respect and the manly
virtues of the people will soon disappear—intelligence, progress,
prosperity will soon wane away, to be replaced by superstition,
idleness, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, ignorance, poverty and
degradation of every kind. The colleges and nunneries are the high
citadels from which the Pope darts his surest missiles against the
rights and liberties of nations. The colleges and nunneries are the
arsenals where the most deadly weapons are night and day prepared to
fight and destroy the soldiers of liberty all over the world.

The colleges and nunneries of the priests are the secret places where
the enemies of progress, equality and liberty are holding their councils
and fomenting that great conspiracy, the object of which is to enslave
the world at the feet of the Pope.

The colleges and nunneries of Rome are the schools where the rising
generations are taught that it is an impiety to follow the dictates of
their own conscience, hear the voice of their intelligence, read the
Word of God, and worship their Creator according to the rules laid down
in the gospel.

It is in the colleges and nunneries of Rome that men learn that they are
created to obey the Pope in everything—that the Bible must be burnt, and
that liberty must be destroyed at any cost all over the world.

                               CHAPTER X.


In order to understand what kind of moral education students in Roman
Catholic colleges receive, one must only be told that from beginning to
the end they are surrounded by an atmosphere in which nothing but
Paganism is breathed. The models of eloquence which we learned by heart
were almost exclusively taken from Pagan literature. In the same manner
Pagan models of wisdom, of honor, of chastity were offered to our
admiration. Our minds were constantly fixed on the masterpieces which
Paganism has left. The doors of our understanding were left open only to
receive the rays of light which Paganism has shed on the world. Homer,
Socrates, Lycurgus, Virgil, Horace, Cicero, Tacitus, Cæsar, Xenophon,
Demosthenes; Alexander, Lucretia, Regulus, Brutus, Jupiter, Venus,
Minerva, Mars, Diana, etc., etc., crowded each other in our thoughts, to
occupy them and be their models, examples and masters for ever.

It may be said that the same Pagan writers, orators and heroes are
studied, read and admired in Protestant colleges. But there the
infallible antidote, the Bible, is given to the students. Just as
nothing remains of the darkness of night after the splendid morning sun
has arisen on the horizon, so nothing of the fallacies, superstitions
and sophisms of Paganism can trouble or obscure the mind on which that
light from heaven, the Word of God, comes every day with its millions of
shining rays. How insignificant is the poetry of Homer when compared
with the sublime songs of Moses! How pale is the eloquence of
Demosthenes, Cicero, Virgil, etc., when read after Job, David or
Solomon! How quickly tumble down the theories which those haughty
heathens of old wanted to raise over the intelligence of men when the
thundering voice from Sinai is heard; when the incomparable songs of
David, Solomon, Isaiah or Jeremiah are ravishing the soul which is
listening to their celestial strains! It is a fact that Pagan eloquence
and philosophy can be but very tasteless to men accustomed to be fed
with the bread which comes down from heaven, whose souls are filled with
the eloquence of God, and whose intelligence is fed with the philosophy
of heaven.

But, alas! for me and my fellow-students in the college of Rome! No sun
ever appeared on the horizon to dispel the night in which our
intelligence was wrapped. The dark clouds with which Paganism had
surrounded us were suffocating us, and no breath from heaven was allowed
to come and dispel them. Moses, with his incomparable legislation, David
and Solomon with their divine poems, Job with his celestial philosophy,
Jeremiah, Isaiah and Daniel with their sublime songs, Jesus Christ
himself with his soul-saving gospel, as well as his apostles Peter,
John, Jude, James and Paul—these were all put on the Index!! They had
not the liberty to speak to us, and we were forbidden, absolutely
forbidden, to read and hear them!

It is true that the Church of Rome, as an offset to that, gave us her
principles, precepts, fables and legends that we might be attached to
her, and that she might remain the mistress of our hearts. But these
doctrines, practices, principles and fables seemed to us so evidently
borrowed from Paganism—they were so cold, so naked, so stripped of all
true poetry, that if the Paganism of the ancients was not left absolute
master of our affections, it still claimed a large part of our souls. To
create in us a love for the Church of Rome, our superiors depended
greatly on the works of Chateaubriand. The “Genie du Christianisme” was
the book of books to dispel all our doubts, and attach us to the Pope’s
religion. But this author, whose style is sometimes really beautiful,
destroyed, by the weakness of his logic, the Christianity which he
wanted to build up. We could easily see that Chateaubriand was not
sincere, and his exaggerations were to many of us a sure indication that
he did not believe in what he said. The works of De Maistre, the most
impudent history-falsificator of France, were also put into our hands as
a sure guide in our philosophical and historical studies. The “Memoirs
du Comte Valmont,” with some authors of the same stamp, were much relied
on by our superiors to prove to us that the dogmas, precepts and
practices of the Roman Catholic religion were brought from heaven.

It was certainly our desire as well as our interest to believe them. But
how our faith was shaken, and how we felt troubled when Livy, Tacitus,
Cicero, Virgil, Homer, etc., gave us the evidence that the greater part
of these things had their root and their origin in Paganism.

For instance, our superiors had convinced us that scapulars, medals,
holy water, etc., would be of great service to us in battling with the
most dangerous temptations, as well as in avoiding the most common
dangers of life. Consequently we all had scapulars and medals, which we
kept with the greatest respect, and even kissed morning and evening with
affection, as if they were powerful instruments of the mercy of God to
us. How great, then, was our confusion and disappointment when we
discovered in the Greek and Latin historians that those scapulars and
medals and statuettes were nothing but a remnant of Paganism, and that
the worshippers of Jupiter, Minerva, Diana and Venus believed themselves
also free, as we did, from all calamity when they carried them in honor
of these divinities! The further we advanced in the study of Pagan
antiquity, the more we were forced to believe that our religion, instead
of being born at the foot of Calvary, was only a pale and awkward
imitation of Paganism. The modern Maximus Pontifex (the Pope of Rome),
who, as we were assured, was the successor of St. Peter, the Vicar of
Jesus Christ, resembled the “Pontifex Maximus” of the great republic and
empire of pagan Rome as two drops of water resemble each other. Had not
our Pope preserved not only the name, but also the attributes, the
pageantry, the pride, and even the garb of that high pagan priest? Was
not the worship of the saints absolutely the same as the worship of the
demigods of olden time? Was not our purgatory minutely described by
Virgil? Were not our prayers to the Virgin and to the saints repeated,
almost in the same words, by the worshippers who prostrated themselves
before the images of their gods, just as we repeated them every day
before the images which adorned our churches? Was not our holy water in
use among the idolaters, and for the same purpose for which it is used
among us?

We knew by history the year in which the magnificent temple consecrated
_to all the gods_, bearing the name of Pantheon, had been built at Rome.
We were acquainted with the names of several of the sculptors who had
carved the statues of the gods in that heathen temple, at whose feet the
idolaters bowed respectfully, and words cannot express the shame we felt
on learning that the Roman Catholics of our day, under the very eyes and
with the sanction of the Pope, still prostrated themselves before the
SAME IDOLS, in the SAME TEMPLE, and to obtain the SAME FAVORS!

When we asked each other the question, “What is the difference between
the religion of heathen Rome and that of the Rome of to-day?” more than
one student would answer: “The only difference is in the name. The
idolatrous temples are the same: the idols have not left their places.
To-day, as formerly, the same incense burns in their honor? Nations are
still prostrated at their feet to give them the same homage and to ask
of them the same favors; but instead of calling this statue Jupiter, we
call it Peter; and instead of calling that one Minerva or Venus, it is
called St. Mary. It is the old idolatry coming to us under Christian

I earnestly desired to be an honest and sincere Roman Catholic. These
impressions and thoughts distracted me greatly, inasmuch as I could find
nothing in reason to diminish their force. Unfortunately, many of the
books placed in our hands by our superiors to confirm our faith, form
our moral character, and sustain our piety and our confidence in the
dogmas of the Church of Rome, had a frightful resemblance to the
histories I had read of the gods and goddesses. The miracles attributed
to the Virgin Mary often appeared to be only a reproduction of the
tricks and deceits by which the priests of Jupiter, Venus, Minerva,
etc., used to obtain their ends and grant the requests of their
worshippers. Some of those miracles of the Virgin Mary equalled, if they
did not surpass, in absurdity and immorality, what mythology taught us
among the most hideous accounts of the heathen gods and goddesses.

I could cite hundreds of such miracles which shocked my faith and caused
me to blush in secret at the conclusion to which I was forced to come,
in comparing the worship of ancient and modern Rome. I will only quote
three of these modern miracles, which are found in one of the books the
best approved by the Pope, entitled “The Glories of Mary.”

First miracle. “The great favors bestowed by the Holy Virgin upon a nun
named Beatrix, of the Convent of Frontebraldo, show how merciful she is
to sinners. The fact is related by Cesanus, and by Father Rho. This
unfortunate nun, having been possessed by a criminal passion for a young
man, determined to leave her convent and elope with him. She was the
doorkeeper of the convent, and having placed the keys of the monastery
at the feet of a statue of the Holy Virgin, she boldly went out, then
led a life of prostitution during fifteen years in a far off place.

“One day, accidentally meeting the purveyor of her convent, and thinking
she would not be recognized by him, she asked him news of Sister

“‘I know her well,’ answered this man; ‘she is a holy nun, and is
mistress of the novices.’

“At these words Beatrix was confused; but to understand what it meant,
she changed her clothing, and going to the convent, inquired after
Sister Beatrix.

 “The Holy Virgin instantly appeared to her in the form of the statue at
whose feet she had placed the keys at her departure. The Divine Mother
spoke to her in this wise: ‘Know, Beatrix, that in order to preserve
your honor, I have taken your place and done your duty since you have
left your convent. My daughter, return to God and be penitent, for my
son is still waiting for you. Try, by the holiness of thy life, to
preserve the good reputation which I have earned you.’ Having thus
spoken, the Holy Virgin disappeared. Beatrix re-entered the monastery,
donned her religious dress, and, grateful for the mercies of Mary, she
led the life of a saint.” (“Glories of Mary,” chap. vi., sec. 2.)

Second miracle. Rev. Father Rierenberg relates that there existed in a
city called Aragona, a beautiful and noble girl by the name of
Alexandra, whom two young men loved passionately. One day, maddened by
the jealousy each one had of the other, they fought together, and both
were killed. Their parents were so infuriated at the young girl, the
author of these calamities, that they killed her, cut her head off, and
threw her into a well. A few days after St. Dominic, passing by the
place, was inspired to approach the well and to cry out, “Alexandra,
come here!” The head of the deceased immediately placed itself upon the
edge of the well, and entreated St. Dominic to hear its confession.
Having heard it, the Saint gave her the communion in the presence of a
great multitude of people, and then he commanded her to tell them why
she had received so great a favor.

She answered that though she was in a state of mortal sin when she was
decapitated, yet as she had a habit of reciting the holy rosary, the
Virgin had preserved her life.

The head, full of life, remained on the edge of the well two days before
the eyes of a great many people, and then the soul went to purgatory.
But fifteen days after this the soul of Alexandra appeared to St.
Dominic, bright and beautiful as a star, and told him that one of the
surest means of removing souls from purgatory was the recitation of the
rosary in their favor. (“Glories of Mary,” chap. viii., sec. 2).

Third miracle. “A servant of Mary one day went into one of her churches
to pray, without telling her husband of it. Owing to a terrible storm
she was prevented from returning home that night. Harassed by the fear
that her husband would be angry, she implored Mary’s help. But on
returning home she found her husband full of kindness. After asking her
husband a few questions on the subject, she discovered that during that
very night the Divine Mother had taken her form and features and had
taken her place in all the affairs of the household! She informed her
husband of the great miracle, and they both became very much devoted to
the Holy Virgin.” (“Glories of Mary:” Examples of Protection, 40.)

Persons who have never studied in a Roman Catholic college will hardly
believe that such fables were told us as an appeal for us to become
Christians. But, God knows, I tell the truth. Is it not a profanation of
a holy word to say that Christianity is the religion taught the students
in Rome’s colleges?

After reading the monstrous metamorphoses of the gods of Olympus, the
student feels a profound pity for the nations who have lived so long in
the darkness of Paganism. He cannot understand how so many millions of
men were, for such a long time, deceived by such cruel fables. With joy
his thoughts are turned to the God of Calvary, there to receive light
and life. He feels, as it were, a burning desire to nourish himself with
the words of life, fallen from the lips of the “great victim.” But here
comes the priest of the college, who places himself between the student
and Christ, and instead of allowing him to be nourished with the Bread
of Life he offers him fables, husks with which to appease his hunger.
Instead of allowing him to slake his thirst from the waters which flow
from the fountains of eternal life, he offers him a corrupt beverage!

God alone knows what I have suffered during my studies to find myself
absolutely deprived of the privilege of eating this bread of life—His
Holy Word.

During the last years of my studies, my superiors often confided to me
the charge of the library. Once it happened that, as the students were
taking a holiday, I remained alone in the college, and shutting myself
up in the library, I began to examine all the books. I was not a little
surprised to discover that the books which were the most proper to
instruct us stood on the catalogue of the library marked among the
forbidden books. I felt an inexpressible shame on seeing with my own
eyes that none but the most indifferent books were placed in our
hands—that we were permitted to read authors of the third rank only (if
this expression is suitable to such whose only merit consisted in
flattering the Popes, and in concealing or excusing their crimes).
Several students more advanced than myself had already made the
observation to me, but I did not believe them. Self-love gave me the
hope that I was as well educated as one could be at my age. Until then I
have spurned the idea that, with the rest of the students, I was the
victim of an incredible system of moral and intellectual blindness.

Among the forbidden books of the college I found a splendid Bible. It
seemed to be of the same edition as the one whose perusal had made hours
pass away so pleasantly when I was at home with my mother. I seized it
with the transports of a miser finding a lost treasure. I lifted it to
my lips, and kissed it respectfully. I pressed it against my heart, as
one embraces a friend from whom he has long been separated. This Bible
brought back to my memory the most delightful hours of my life. I read
its divine pages until the scholars returned.

The next day Rev. Mr. Leprohon, our director, called me to his room
during the recreation, and said: “You seem to be troubled and very sad
to-day. I noticed that you remained alone while the other scholars were
enjoying themselves so well. Have you any cause of grief? or are you

I could not sufficiently express my love and respect for this venerable
man. He was at the same time my friend and benefactor. For four years he
and Rev. Mr. Brassard had been paying my board; for, owing to a
misunderstanding between myself and my uncle Dionne, he had ceased to
maintain me at college. By reading the Bible the previous day I had
disobeyed my benefactor, Mr Leprohon; for when he entrusted me with the
care of the library he made me promise not to read the books in the
forbidden catalogue.

It was painful to me to sadden him by acknowledging that I had broken my
word of honor, but it pained me far more to deceive him by concealing
the truth. I therefore answered him: “You are right in supposing that I
am uneasy and sad. I confess there is one thing which perplexes me
greatly among the rules that govern us. I never dared to speak to you
about it; but as you wish to know the cause of my sadness, I will tell
you. You have placed in our hands, not only to read, but to learn by
heart, books which are, as you know, partly inspired by hell, and you
forbid us to read the only book whose every word is sent from heaven!
You permit us to read books dictated by the Spirit of darkness and sin,
and you make it a crime for us to read the only book written under the
dictation of the Spirit of light and holiness. This conduct on your
part, and on the part of all the superiors of the college, disturbs and
scandalizes me! Shall I tell you, your dread of the Bible shakes my
faith, and causes me to fear that we are going astray in our Church.”

Mr. Leprohon answered me: “I have been the director of this college for
more than twenty years, and I have never heard from the lips of any of
the students such remarks and complaints as you are making to me to-day.
Have you no fear of being the victim of a deception of the devil, in
meddling with a question so strange and so new for a scholar whose only
aim should be to obey his superiors?”

“It may be,” said I, “that I am the first to speak to you in this
manner, for it is very probable that I am the only student in this
college who has read the Holy Bible in his youthful days. I have already
told you there was a Bible in my father’s house, which disappeared only
after his death, though I never could know what became of it. I can
assure you that the perusal of that admirable book has done me a good
that is still felt. It is, therefore, because I know by a personal
experience that there is no book in the world so good, and so proper to
read, that I am extremely grieved, and even scandalized, by the dread
you have of it. I acknowledge to you I spent the afternoon of yesterday
in the library reading the Bible. I found things in it which made me
weep for joy and happiness—things that did more good to my soul and
heart than all you have given me to read for six years. And I am so sad
to-day because you approve of me when I read the works of the devil, and
condemn me when I read the Word of God.”

My superior answered: “Since you have read the Bible, you must know that
there are things in it on matters of such a delicate nature that it is
improper for a young man, and more so for a young lady, to read them.”

“I understand,” answered I; “but these delicate matters, of which you do
not want God to speak a word to us, you know very well that Satan speaks
to us about them day and night. Now, when Satan speaks about and
attracts our thoughts towards an evil and criminal thing, it is always
in order that we may like it and be lost. But when the God of Purity
speaks to us of evil things (of which it is pretty much impossible for
men to be ignorant), He does it that we may hate and abhor them, and He
gives us grace to avoid them. Well, then, since you cannot prevent the
devil from whispering to us things so delicate and dangerous to seduce
us, how dare you hinder God from speaking of the same things to shield
us from their allurements? Besides, when my God desires to speak to me
Himself on any question whatever, where is your right to obstruct His
word on its way to my heart?”

Though Mr. Leprohon’s intelligence was as much wrapped up in the
darkness of the Church of Rome as it could be, his heart had remained
honest and true; and while I respected and loved him as my father,
though differing from him in opinion, I knew he loved me as if I had
been his own child. He was thunderstruck by my answer. He turned pale,
and I saw tears about to flow from his eyes. He sighed deeply, and
looked at me some time reflectingly, without answering. At last he said:
“My dear Chiniquy, your answer and your arguments have a force that
frightens me, and if I had no other but my own personal ideas to
disprove them, I acknowledge I do not know how I would do it. But I have
something better than my own weak thoughts. I have the thoughts of the
Church, and of our Holy Father the Pope. _They forbid us to put the
Bible in the hands of our students._ This should suffice to put an end
to your troubles. To obey his legitimate superiors in all things and
everywhere, is the rule a Christian scholar like you should follow; and
if you have broken it yesterday, I hope it will be the last time that
the child whom I love better than myself will cause me such pain.”

On saying this he threw his arms around me, clasped me to his heart, and
bathed my face with tears. I wept also. Yes, I wept abundantly.

But God knoweth, that though the regret of having grieved my benefactor
and father caused me to shed tears at that moment, yet I wept much more
on perceiving that I would no more be permitted to read His Holy Word.

If, therefore, I am asked what moral and religious education we received
at college, I will ask in return, What religious education can we
receive in an institution where seven years are spent without once being
permitted to read the Gospel of God? The gods of the heathen spoke to us
daily by their apostles and disciples—Homer, Virgil, Pindar, Horace! and
the God of the Christians had not permission to say a single word to us
in that college!

Our religion, therefore, could be nothing but Paganism disguised under a
Christian name. Christianity in a college or convent of Rome is such a
strange mixture of heathenism and superstition, both ridiculous and
childish, and of shocking fables, that the majority of those who have
not entirely smothered the voice of reason cannot accept it. A few do,
as I did, all in their power, and succeed to a certain extent, in
believing only what the superior tells them to believe. They close their
eyes and permit themselves to be led exactly as if they were blind, and
a friendly hand were offering to guide them. But the greater number of
students in Roman Catholic colleges cannot accept the bastard
Christianity which Rome presents to them. Of course, during their
studies they follow its rules, for the sake of peace; but they have
hardly left college before they proceed to join and increase the ranks
of the army of skeptics and infidels which overruns France, Spain, Italy
and Canada—which overruns, in fact, all the countries where Rome has the
education of the people in her hands.

I must say, though with a sad heart, that moral and religious education
in Roman Catholic colleges is worse than void, for from them has been
excluded the only true standard of morals and religion—THE WORD OF GOD!

                              CHAPTER XI.


We read in the history of Paganism that parents were often, in those
dark ages, slaying their children upon the altars of their gods, to
appease their wrath or obtain their favors. But we now see a stranger
thing. It is that of Christian parents forcing their children into the
temples and to the very feet of the idols of Rome, under the fallacious
notion of having them educated! While the Pagan parent destroyed only
the temporal life of his child, the Christian parent, for the most part,
destroys his eternal life. The Pagan was consistent: he believed in the
almighty power and holiness of his gods; he sincerely THOUGHT that they
ruled the world, and that they blessed both the victims and those who
offered them. But where is the consistency of the Protestant who drags
his child and offers him as a sacrifice on the altars of the Pope! Does
he believe in his holiness or in his supreme and infallible power of
governing the intelligence? Then why does he not go and throw himself at
his feet and increase the number of his disciples? The Protestants who
are guilty of this great wrong are wont to say, as an excuse, that the
superiors of colleges and convents have assured them that their
religious convictions would be respected, and that nothing should be
said or done to take away or even shake the religion of their children.

Our first parents were not more cruelly deceived by the seductive words
of the serpent than the Protestants are this day by the deceitful
promises of the priests and nuns of Rome.

I had been myself the witness of the promise given by our superior to a
judge of the State of New York, when, a few days later that same
superior, the Rev. Mr. Leprohon, said to me: “You know some English, and
this young man knows French enough to enable you to understand each
other. Try to become his friend and to bring him over to our holy
religion. His father is a most influential man in the United States, and
this, his only son, is the heir of an immense fortune. Great results for
the future of the Church in the neighboring republic might follow his

I replied: “Have you forgotten the promise you have made to his father,
never to say or do anything to shake or take away the religion of that
young man?”

My superior smiled at my simplicity, and said: “When you shall have
studied theology you will know that Protestantism is not a religion, but
that it is the negation of religion. Protesting cannot be the basis of
any doctrine. Thus, when I promised Judge Pike that the religious
convictions of his child should be respected, and that I would not do
anything to change his faith, I did promise the easiest thing in the
world, since I promised not to meddle with a thing _which has no

Convinced, or rather blinded, by the reason of my superior, which is the
reasoning of every superior of a college or nunnery, I set myself to
work from that moment to make a good Roman Catholic of that young
friend; and I would probably have succeeded, had not a serious illness
forced him, a few months after, to go home, where he died.

Protestants who may read these lines will, perhaps, be indignant against
the deceit and knavery of the Superior of the College of Nicolet. But I
will say to those Protestants, it is not on that man, but on yourselves,
that you must pour your contempt. The Rev. Mr. Leprohon was honest. He
acted conformably to principles which he thought good and legitimate,
and for which he would have cheerfully given the last drop of his blood.
He sincerely believed that your Protestantism is a mere negation of all
religion, worthy of the contempt of every true Christian. It was not the
priest of Rome who was contemptible, dishonest and a traitor to his
principles, but it was the Protestant who was false to his gospel and to
his own conscience by having his child educated by the servants of the
Pope. Moreover, can we not truthfully say that the Protestant who wishes
to have his children bred and educated by a Jesuit or a nun _is a man of
no religion_? and that nothing is more ridiculous than to hear such a
man begging respect for his _religious principles_! A man’s ardent
desire to have his religious convictions respected is best known by his
respecting them himself.

The Protestant who drags his children to the feet of the priests of Rome
is either a disguised infidel or a hypocrite. It is simply ridiculous
for such a man to speak of his religious convictions, or beg respect for
them. His very humble position at the feet of a Jesuit or a nun, begging
respect for his faith, is a sure testimony that he has none to lose. If
he had any he would not be there, an humble and abject suppliant. He
would take care to be where there could be no danger to his dear child’s
immortal soul.

When I was in the Church of Rome, we often spoke of the necessity of
making superhuman efforts to attract young Protestants into our colleges
and nunneries, as the shortest and only means of ruling the world before
long. And as the mother has in her hands, still more than the father,
the destinies of the family and of the world, we were determined to
sacrifice everything in order to build nunneries all over the land,
where the young girls, the future mothers of our country, would be
moulded in our hands and educated according to our views.

Nobody can deny that this is supreme wisdom. Who will not admire the
enormous sacrifices made by Romanists in order to surround the nunneries
with so many attractions that it is difficult to refuse them preference
above all other female scholastic establishments? One feels so well in
the shade of these magnificent trees during the hot days of summer! It
is so pleasant to live near this beautiful sheet of water, or the rapid
current of that charming river, or to have constantly before one’s eyes
the sublime spectacle of the sea! What a sweet perfume the flowers of
that parterre diffuse around that pretty and peaceful convent! And,
besides, who can withstand the almost angelic charms of the Lady
Superior! How it does one good to be in the midst of those holy nuns,
whose modesty, affable appearance, and lovely smile present such a
beautiful spectacle, that one would think of being at heaven’s gate
rather than in a world of desolation and sin!

O foolish man! Thou art always the same—ever ready to be seduced by
glittering appearances—ever ready to suppress the voice of thy
conscience at the first view of a seductive object!

One day I had embarked in the boat of a fisherman on the coast of one of
those beautiful islands which the hand of God has placed at the mouth of
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In a few minutes the white sail, full-blown by
the morning breeze, had carried us nearly a mile from the shore. There
we dropped our anchor, and soon our lines, carried by the current,
offered the deceitful bait to the fishes. But not one would come. One
would have thought that the sprightly inhabitants of these limpid waters
had acted in concert to despise us. In vain did we move our lines to and
fro to attract the attention of the fishes; not one would come! We were
tired. We lamented the prospect of losing our time, and being laughed at
by our friends on the shore who were waiting the result of our fishing
to dine. Nearly one hour was spent in this manner, when the captain
said, “Indeed, I will make the fishes come.”

Opening a box, he took out handfuls of little pieces of finely-cut
fishes, and threw them broadcast on the water.

I was looking at him with curiosity, and I received with a feeling of
unbelief, the promise of seeing, in a few moments, more mackerel than I
could pick up. These particles of fish, falling upon the water,
scattered themselves in a thousand different ways. The rays of the sun,
sporting among these numberless fragments, and thousands of scales, gave
them a singular whiteness and brilliancy. They appeared like a thousand
diamonds, full of movement and life, that sported and rolled themselves,
running at each other, while rocking upon the waves.

As these innumerable little objects withdrew from us they looked like
the milky way in the firmament. The rays of the sun continued to be
reflected upon the scales of the fishes in the water, and to transform
them into as many pearls, whose whiteness and splendor made an agreeable
contrast with the deep green color of the sea.

While looking at that spectacle, which was so new to me, I felt my line
jerked out of my hands, and soon had the pleasure of seeing a
magnificent mackerel lying at my feet. My companions were as fortunate
as I was. The bait so generously thrown away had perfectly succeeded in
bringing us not only hundreds, but thousands of fishes, and we caught as
many of them as the boat could carry.

The Jesuits and the nuns are the Pope’s cleverest fishermen, and the
Protestants are the mackerels caught upon their baited hooks. Never
fisherman knew better to prepare the perfidious bait than the nuns and
Jesuits, and never were stupid fishes more easily caught than
Protestants in general.

The priests of Rome themselves boast that more than half of the pupils
of the nuns are the children of Protestants, and that seven-tenths of
those Protestant children, sooner or later, become the firmest disciples
and the true pillars of popery in the United States. It is with that
public and undeniable fact before them that the Jesuits have prophesied
that before twenty-five years the pope will rule that great republic;
and if there is not a prompt change their prophecy will probably be

“But,” say many Protestants, “where can we get safer securities that the
morals of our girls will be sheltered than in those convents? The faces
of those good nuns, their angelic smiles, even their lips, from which
seems to flow a perfume from heaven—are not these the unfailing signs
that nothing will taint the hearts of our dear children when they are
under the care of those holy nuns?”

Angelic smiles! Lips from which flow a perfume from heaven! Expressions
of peace and holiness of the good nuns! Delusive allurements! Cruel
deceptions! Mockery of comedy! Yes, _all_ these angelic smiles, all
these expressions of joy and happiness, are but allurements to deceive
honest but too trusting men!

I believed myself for a long time that there was something true in all
the display of peace and happiness which I saw reflected in the faces of
a good number of nuns. But how soon my delusions passed away when I read
with my own eyes, in a book of the _secret rules_ of the convent, that
one of their rules is _always_, especially in the presence of strangers,
to have an appearance of joy and happiness, even when the soul is
overwhelmed with grief and sorrow! The motives given to the nuns for
thus wearing a continual mask, is to secure the esteem and respect of
the people, and to win more securely the young ladies to the convent!

All know the sad end of life of one of the most celebrated female
comedians of the American theatre. She had acted her part in the evening
with a perfect success. She appeared so handsome and so happy on the
stage! Her voice was such a perfect harmony; her singing was so merry
and lively with mirth! Two hours later she was a corpse! She had
poisoned herself on leaving the theatre! For some time her heart was
broken with grief which she could not bear.

Thus it is with the nun in her cell! forced to play a sacrilegious
comedy to deceive the world and to bring new recruits to the monastery.
And the Protestants, the disciples of the gospel, the children of light,
suffer themselves to be deceived by this impious comedy.

The poor nun’s heart is often full of sorrow, and her soul is drowned in
a sea of desolation; but she is obliged, under oath, always to appear
gay! Unfortunate victim of the most cruel deception that has ever been
invented. That poor daughter of Eve, deprived of all the happiness that
heaven has given, tortured night and day by honest aspirations, which
she is told are unpardonable sins, she has not only to suppress in
herself the few buds of happiness which God has left in her soul, but
what is more cruel, she is forced to appear happy in anguish of shame
and of deception.

Ah! if Protestants could know, as I do, how much the hearts of those
nuns bleed, how much those poor victims of the pope feel themselves
wounded to death, how almost every one of them die at an early age,
broken-hearted, instead of speaking of their happiness and holiness,
they would weep at their profound misery. Instead of helping Satan to
build up and maintain those sad dungeons by giving both their gold and
their children, they would let them crumble into dust, and thus check
the torrents of silent though bitter tears which those cells hide from
our view.

I was traveling in 1851 over the vast prairies of Illinois in search of
a spot which would suit us the best for the colony which I was about to
found. One day my companions and myself found ourselves so wearied by
the heat that we resolved to wait for the cool night in the shade of a
few trees around a brook. The night was calm; there were no clouds in
the sky, and the moon was beautiful. Like the sailor upon the sea, we
had nothing but our compass to regulate our course on those beautiful
and vast prairies. But the pen cannot express the emotions I felt while
looking at that beautiful sky and those magnificent deserts opened to
our view.

We often came to sloughs which we thought deeper than they really were,
and of which we would keep the side for fear of drowning our horses.
Many a time did I get down from the carriage and stop to contemplate the
wonders which those ponds presented to our view.

All the splendors of the sky seemed brought down in those pure and
limpid waters. The moon and the stars seemed to have left their places
in the firmament to bathe themselves in those delightful lakelets. All
the purest, the most beautiful things of the heavens seemed to come down
to hide themselves in those tranquil waters as if in search of more
peace and purity.

A few days later I was retracing my steps. It was daytime, and following
the same route, I was longing to get to my charming little lakes. But
during the interval the heat had been great, the sun very hot, and my
beautiful sheets of water had been dried up. My dear little lakes were
nowhere to be seen.

And what did I find instead? Innumerable reptiles, with the most hideous
forms and filthy colors! No brilliant stars, no clear moon were there
any more to charm my eyes. There was nothing left but thousands of
little toads and snakes, at the sight of which I was filled with disgust
and horror!

Protestants! when upon life’s way you are tempted to admire the smiling
lips and unstained faces of the pope’s nuns, please think of those
charming lakes which I saw on the prairies of Illinois, and remember the
innumerable reptiles and toads which swarm at the bottom of those
deceitful waters.

When, by the light of divine truth, Protestants see behind these perfect
mockeries by which the nun conceals with so much care the hideous misery
which devours her heart, they will understand the folly of having
permitted themselves to be so easily deceived by appearances. Then they
will bitterly weep for having sacrificed to that modern Paganism the
future welfare of their children, of their families and of their

“But,” says one, “the education is so cheap in the nunnery.” I answer,
“The education in convents, were it twice cheaper than it is now, would
still cost twice more than it is worth. It is in this circumstance that
we can repeat and apply the old proverb, ‘Cheap things are always too
highly paid for.’”

In the first place, the intellectual education in the nunnery is
completely null. The great object of the pope and the nuns is to
captivate and destroy the intelligence.

The moral education is also of no account; for what kind of morality can
a young girl receive from a nun who believes that she can live as she
pleases as long as she likes it—that nothing evil can come of her,
neither in this life nor in the next, provided only she is devout to the
Virgin Mary?

Let Protestants read the “Glories of Mary,” by St. Liguori, a book which
is in the hands of every nun and every priest, and they will understand
what kind of morality is practiced and taught inside the walls of the
Church of Rome. Yes, let them read the history of that lady who was so
well represented at home by the Holy Virgin that her husband did not
perceive that she had been absent, and they will have some idea of what
their children may learn in a convent.

                              CHAPTER XII.


The word EDUCATION is a beautiful word. It comes from the Latin
_educare_, which means to raise up, to take from the lowest degrees to
the highest spheres of knowledge. The object of education is, then, to
feed, expand, raise, enlighten and strengthen the intelligence.

We hear the Roman Catholic priests making use of that beautiful word
education as often, if not oftener, than the Protestant. But that word
“education” has a very different meaning among the followers of the pope
than among the disciples of the Gospel. And that difference, which the
Protestants ignore, is the cause of the strange blunders they make every
time they try to legislate on that question, here, as well as in England
or in Canada.

The meaning of the word education among Protestants is as far from the
meaning of that same word among Roman Catholics as the southern pole is
from the northern pole. When a Protestant speaks of education, that word
is used and understood in its true sense. When he sends his little boy
to a Protestant school, he honestly desires that he should be reared up
in the spheres of knowledge as much as his intelligence will allow. When
that little boy is going to school, he soon feels that he has been
raised up to some extent, and he experiences a sincere joy, a noble
pride, for this new, though at first very modest raising; but he
naturally understands that this new and modest upheaval is only a stone
to step on and raise himself to a higher degree of knowledge, and he
quickly makes that second step with an unspeakable pleasure. When the
son of a Protestant has acquired a little knowledge, he wants to acquire
more. When he has learned what _this_ means, he wants to know what
_that_ means also. Like the young eagle, he trims his wings for a higher
flight, and turns his head upward to go farther up in the atmosphere of
knowledge. A noble and mysterious ambition has suddenly seized his young
soul. Then he begins to feel something of that unquenchable thirst for
knowledge which God Himself has put in the breast of every child of
Adam; a thirst of knowledge, however, which will never be perfectly
realized except in heaven.

When God created man in His own image, He endowed him with an
intelligence and moral faculties worthy of the high, I was going to say
the divine, dignity of His own beloved children. He Himself put in us
aspirations and instincts by which we were to be constantly longing
after the oceans of light, truth and knowledge, whose waves wash His
eternal throne. It is that thirst after more knowledge, that constant
longing after more light, which constitutes the difference between man
and brute. Man has received from God an intelligence which, though
clouded now by sin, is to him what the helm is to the noble ship which
crosses the boundless ocean; he has a conscience, an immortal soul which
binds him to God, and he feels it. His destinies are glorious, they are
incommensurable, they are infinite, and he knows it. Though a dethroned
king, he feels that he is still a king. The six thousand years which
have passed over him since his fall have not yet effaced the kingly
title which God Himself wrote on his forehead when He told him,
“Multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Gen. i: 28). With
that glorious, that divine mission of subduing the air and the light,
the wind and the waves, the seas and the earth, the roaring thunder and
the flashing lightning constantly before his eyes, man marches to the
conquest of the world with the calm certitude of his power and the
glorious aspirations of his royal dignity.

The object of education, then, is to enable man to fulfill that kingly
mission of ruling, subduing the world, under the eyes of his Creator.
Let us remember that it is not from himself, nor from any angel, but it
is from God himself that man has received that sublime mission. Yes, it
is God himself who has implanted in the bosom of humanity the knowledge
and aspirations of those splendid destinies which can be attained only
by “Education.”

What a glorious impulse is this that seizes hold of the newly awakened
mind, and leads the young intelligence to rise higher and pierce the
clouds that hide from his gaze the splendors of knowledge that lie
concealed beyond the gloom of this nether sphere! That impulse is a
noble ambition; it is that part of humanity that assimilates itself to
the likeness of the great Creator; that impulse which education has for
its mission to direct in its onward and upward march, is one of the most
precious gifts of God to man. Once more, the glorious mission of
education is to foster these thirstings after knowledge and lead man to
accomplish his high destiny.

It ought to be a duty with both Roman Catholics and Protestants to
assist the pupil in his flight toward the regions of science and
learning. But is it so? No. When you Protestants send your children to
school, you put no fetters to their intelligence; they rise with
fluttering wings day after day. Though their flight at first is slow and
timid, how happy they feel at every new aspect of their intellectual
horizon! How their hearts beat with an unspeakable joy when they begin
to hear voices of applause and encouragement from every side saying to
them, “Higher, higher, higher!” When they shake their young wings to
take a still higher flight, who can express their joy when they
distinctly hear again the voices of a beloved mother, of a dear father,
of a venerable pastor, cheering them and saying, “Well done! Higher yet,
my child, higher!”

Raising themselves with more confidence on their wings, they then soar
still higher, in the midst of the unanimous concert of the voices of
their whole country encouraging them to the highest flight. It is then
that the young man feel his intellectual strength tenfold multiplied. He
lifts himself on his eagle wings, with a renewed confidence and power,
and soars up still higher, with his heart beating with a noble and holy
joy. For from the south and north, from the east and the west, the
echoes bring to his ears the voices of the admiring multitudes—“Rise
higher, higher yet!”

He has now reached what he thought, at first, to be the highest regions
of thought and knowledge; but he hears again the same stimulating cries
from below, encouraging him to a still higher flight toward the loftiest
dominion of knowledge and philosophy, till he enters the regions where
lies the source of all truth, and light and life. For he has also heard
the voice of his God, speaking through His Son Jesus Christ, crying,
“Come unto me! Fear not! Come unto me! I am the light, the way! Come to
this _higher_ region where the Father, with the Son and the Spirit,
reign in endless light!”

Thus does the Protestant scholar making use of his intelligence as the
eagle of his wing, go on from weakness unto strength, from the timid
flutter to the bold, confident flight, from one degree to another still
higher, from one region of knowledge to another still higher, till he
loses himself in that ocean of light and truth and life which is God.

In the Protestant schools no fetters are put on the young eagle’s wings;
there is nothing to stop him in his progress, or paralyze his movements
and upward flights. It is the contrary: he receives every kind of
encouragement in his flight.

Thus it is that the only truly _great_ nations in the world are
Protestants! Thus it is the truly _powerful_ nations in the world are
Protestants! Thus it is that the _only free_ nations in the world are
Protestants! The Protestant nations are the only ones that acquit
themselves like men in the arena of this world; Protestant nations only
march as giants at the head of the civilized world. Everywhere they are
the advance guard in the ranks of progress, science and liberty, leaving
far behind the unfortunate nations whose hands are tied by the
ignominious iron chains of Popery.

After we have seen the Protestant scholar raising himself, on his eagle
wings, to the highest spheres of intelligence, happiness and light, and
marching unimpaired toward his splendid destinies, let us turn our eyes
toward the Roman Catholic student, and let us consider and pity him in
the supreme degradation to which he is subjected.

That young Roman Catholic scholar is born with the same bright
intelligence as the Protestant one; he is endowed by his Creator with
the same powers of mind as his Protestant neighbor; he has the same
impulses, the same noble aspirations implanted by the hand of God in his
breast. He is sent to school apparently, like the Protestant boy, to
receive what is called “Education.” He at first understands that word in
its true sense; he goes to school in the hope of being _raised_,
elevated as high as his intelligence and his personal efforts will
allow. His heart beats with joy, when at once the first rays of light
and knowledge come to him; he feels a holy, a noble pride at every new
step he makes in his upward progress; he longs to learn more, he wants
to rise higher; he also takes up his wings, like the young eagle, and
soars up higher.

But here begin the disappointments and tribulations of the Roman
Catholic student; for he is allowed to raise himself—yes, but when he
has raised himself high enough to be on a level with the big toes of the
Pope, he hears piercing, angry, threatening angry cries coming from
every side—“Stop! stop! Do not raise yourself higher than the toes of
the Holy Pope!... Kiss those holy toes, ... and stop your upward flight!
Remember that the Pope is the only source of science, knowledge and
truth!... The knowledge of the Pope is the ultimate limit of learning
and light to which humanity can attain.... You are not allowed to know
and believe what his Holiness does not know and believe. Stop! stop! Do
not go an inch higher than the intellectual horizon the Supreme Pontiff
of Rome, in whom only is the plenitude of the true science which will
save the world.”

Some will perhaps answer me here: “Has not Rome produced great men in
every department of science?” I answer, Yes; as I have once done before.
Rome can show us a long list of names which shine among the brightest
lights of the firmament of science and philosophy. She can show us her
Copernices, her Galileos, her Pascals, her Bossuets, her Lamenais, etc.,
etc. But it is at their risk and peril that those giants of intelligence
have raised themselves into the highest regions of philosophy and
science. It is in spite of Rome that those eagles have soared up above
the damp and obscure horizon where the Pope offers his big toes to be
kissed and worshipped as the _ne plus ultra_ of human intelligence; and
they have invariably been punished for their boldness.

On the 22nd of June, 1663, Galileo was obliged to fall on his knees in
order to escape the cruel death to which he was to be condemned by the
order of the Pope; and he signed with his own hand the following
retractation: “I abjure, curse and detest the error and heresy of the
motion of the earth,” etc., etc.

That learned man had to degrade himself by swearing a most egregious
lie, namely, that the earth does not move around the sun. Thus it is
that the wings of that giant eagle of Rome were clipped by the scissors
of the Pope. That mighty intelligence was bruised, fettered, and, as
much as it was possible to the Church of Rome, degraded, silenced and
killed. But God would not allow that such a giant intellect should be
entirely strangled by the bloody hands of that implacable enemy of light
and truth—the Pope. Sufficient strength and life had remained in Galileo
to enable him to say, when rising up, “This will not prevent the earth
from moving!”

The infallible decree of the infallible Pope, Urban VIII., against the
motion of the earth, is signed by the Cardinals Felia, Guido, Desiderio,
Antonio, Bellingero, and Fabricicio. It says, “In the name and by the
authority of Jesus Christ, the plenitude of which resides in His vicar,
the Pope, that the proposition that the earth is not the center of the
world, and that it moves with a diurnal motion is absurd,
philosophically false, and erroneous in faith.”

What a glorious thing for the Pope of Rome to be infallible! He
infallibly knows that the earth does not move around the sun! And what a
blessed thing for the Roman Catholics to be governed and taught by such
an _infallible_ being. In consequence of that infallible decree, you
will admire the following act of humble submission of two celebrated
Jesuit astronomers, Lesueur and Jacquier: “Newton assumes in his third
book the hypothesis of the earth moving around the sun. The proposition
of that author could not be explained, except through the same
hypothesis: we have, therefore, been forced to act a character not our
own. _But we declare our entire submission to the decrees of the Supreme
Pontiffs of Rome against the motion of the earth._” (Newton’s
“Principia,” vol. iii., p. 450.)

Now, please tell me if the world has ever witnessed any degradation like
that of Roman Catholics? I do not speak of the ignorant and unlearned,
but I speak of the learned—the intelligent ones. There you see Galileo
condemned to gaol because he had proved that the earth moved around the
sun, and to avoid the cruel death on the rack of the holy Inquisition if
he does not retract, he falls on his knees and swears that he will never
believe it—in the very moment that he believes it! He promises, under a
solemn oath, that he will never say it any more, when he is determined
to proclaim it again the very first opportunity! And here you see two
other learned Jesuits, who have written a very able work to prove that
the earth moves around the sun; but, trembling at the thunders of the
Vatican, which are roaring on their heads and threaten to kill them,
they submit to the decrees of the Popes of Rome against the motion of
the earth. These two learned Jesuits tell a most contemptible and
ridiculous lie to save themselves from the implacable wrath of that
great light-extinguisher whose throne is in the city of the seven hills.

Lamenais, a Roman Catholic priest, who lived in this very century, was
one of the most profound philosophers and eloquent writers which France
has ever had. But Lamenais was publicly excommunicated for having raised
himself high enough in the regions of Gospel light to see that “liberty
of conscience” was one of the great privileges which Christ has brought
from heaven for all the nations, and which He has sealed with His blood!
No man has ever raised himself higher in the regions of thought and
philosophy than Pascal; but the wings of that giant eagle were clipped
by the Pope. Pascal was an outcast in the Church of Rome. He lived and
died an excommunicated man! Bossuet is one of the most eloquent orators
which Rome has given to the world. But Veuillot, the editor of the
_Univers_ (the official journal of the Roman Catholic clergy of France)
assures us that Bossuet was a disguised Protestant.

If, at any step made by the Protestant through the regions of science
and learning, he asks God or man to tell him how he can proceed any
further without any fear of falling into some unknown and unsuspected
abyss, both God and man tell him what Christ said to His apostles—that
he has eyes to see, ears to hear, and an intelligence to understand; he
is reminded that it is with his own eyes, and not with another’s eyes,
he must look; that it is with his own ears, and not with another’s ears,
he must hear; and that it is with his own intelligence, and not
another’s intelligence, he must understand. And when the Protestant has
made use of his own eyes to see, and his own ears to hear, and his own
intelligence to understand, he nevertheless feels again his feet
uncertain on the trembling waves of the mysterious and unexplored
regions of science and learning which spread before him as a boundless
ocean, all the echoes of heaven and earth bring to his ears the simple
but sublime words of the Son of God: “If a son shall ask bread of any of
you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish,
will he, for a fish, give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will
he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Emboldened with this infallible promise of the Saviour, which has
ennobled and almost divinized him, the Protestant student ceases to
tremble and fear, a new strength has been given to his feet, a new power
to his mind. For he has gone to his Father for more light and strength.
Nay, he has boldly asked not only the assistance and the help of the
Spirit of God, but the very presence of His Spirit in his soul to guide
and strengthen him. The assurance that the great God who has created
heaven and earth is his Father, his loving Father, has absolutely raised
him above himself; it has given a new, I dare say a divine impulse, to
all his aspirations for truth and knowledge. It has put into his breast
the assurance that, sustained by the love, and the light, and the help
of that great infinite, eternal God, he feels himself as a giant able to
cope with any obstacle. He does not any more walk, on his way to
eternity, as a worm of the dust; a voice from heaven has told him that
he was the child of God! Eternity, and not time, then becomes the limits
of his existence; he is no more satisfied with touching with his hands
and studying with his eyes the few objects which are within the limited
horizon of the eyelid-vision. He stretches his giant hands to the
boundless limits of the infinite, he boldly raises his feet and eyes
from the dust of this earth, to launch himself into the boundless oceans
of the unknown worlds. He feels as if there was almost nothing beyond
the reach of his intelligence, nothing to resist the power of his arms,
nothing to stop his onward progress toward the infinite so long as the
infallible words of Christ shall be his compass, his light, and his
strength. He will then touch the mountains, and they will melt and bow
down before him to let his iron and fiery chariot pass over the Rocky
Mountains, 8,000 feet above the level of the sea. He will boldly ascend
to the regions where the lightning and the storms reign, and there he
will place his daring hands into the roaring clouds, and wrench the
sparkle of lightning which will carry his message from one end of the
world to the other. He will force the oceans to tremble and submit, as
humble slaves, before those marvelous steam-engines which, like giants,
carry “floating cities” over all the seas in spite of the winds and the

Had the Newtons, the Franklins, the Fultons, the Morses been Romanists,
their names would have been lost in the obscurity which is the natural
heritage of the abject slaves of the Popes. Being told from their
infancy that no one had any right to make use of his “private judgment,”
intelligence and conscience in the research of truth, they would have
remained mute and motionless at the feet of the modern and terrible god
of Rome, the Pope. But they were Protestants! In that great and glorious
word “Protestant,” is the secret of the marvelous discoveries with which
they have changed the face of the world. They were Protestants! Yes,
they had passed their young years in Protestant schools, where they had
read a book which told them that they were created in the image of God,
and that that great God had sent His eternal Son, Jesus, to make them
free from the bondage of man. They had read in that Protestant book (for
the Bible is the most Protestant book in the world) that man had not
only a conscience, but an intelligence to guide him; they had learned
that that intelligence and conscience had no other master but God, no
other guide but God, no other light but God. On the walls of their
Protestant schools the Son of God had written the marvelous words: “Come
unto me; I am the Light, the Way, the Life.”

But when the Protestant nations are marching with such giant strides to
the conquest of the world, why is it that the Roman Catholic nations not
only remain stationary, but give evidence of a decadence which is, day
after day, more and more appalling and remediless? Go to their schools
and give a moment of attention to the principles which are sown in the
young intelligences of their unfortunate slaves, and you will have the
key to that sad mystery.

What is not only the first, but the daily school lesson taught to the
Roman Catholic? Is it not that one of the greatest crimes which a man
can commit is to follow his “private judgment?” which means that he has
eyes, but cannot see; ears, but he cannot hear; and intelligence, but he
cannot make use of it in the research of truth and light and knowledge,
without danger of being eternally damned. His superiors—which mean the
priest and the Pope—must see for him, hear for him, and think for him.
Yes, the Roman Catholic is constantly told in his school that the most
unpardonable and damnable crime is to make use of his own intelligence
and follow _his own private judgment_ in the research of truth. He is
constantly reminded that man’s own private judgment is his greatest
enemy. Hence all his intellectual and conscientious efforts must be
brought to fight down, silence, kill his “private judgment.” It is by
the judgment of his superiors—the priest, the bishop and the pope—that
he must be guided in everything.

Now, what is a man who cannot make use of his “private personal
judgment?” Is he not a slave, an idiot, an ass? And what is a nation
composed of men who do not make use of their private personal judgment
in the research of truth and happiness, if not a nation of brutes,
slaves and contemptible idiots?

But as this will look like an exaggeration on my part, allow me to force
the Church of Rome to come here and speak for herself. Please pay
attention to what she has to say about the intellectual faculties of
men. Here are the very words of the so-called Saint Ignatius Loyola, the
founder of the Jesuit Society:

“As for holy obedience, this virtue must be perfect in every point—in
execution, in will, in intellect, doing which is enjoined with all
celerity, spiritual joy and perseverance; persuading ourselves that
everything is just, suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of
one’s own in a certain obedience; and let every one persuade himself,
that he who lives under obedience should be moved and directed, under
Divine Providence, by his superior, JUST AS IF HE WERE A CORPSE
(_perinde acsi cadaver esset_) which allows itself to be moved and led
in every direction.”

Yes! Protestants, when you send your child to school, it is that he may
more and more understand the dignity of man. Your object is to
enlighten, expand and raise his intelligence. You want to give more
light, more strength, more food, more life to that intelligence. But
know it well, not from my pen, but from the solemn declaration of Rome.
The young Roman Catholic goes to school, not only that his intelligence
may be fettered, clouded and paralyzed, but that it may be killed. (You
have read it.) It is only when he will be like a _corpse_ before his
_superior_ that the young Roman Catholic will have attained to the
highest degree of perfect manhood! Is not such a doctrine absolutely
anti-Christian and anti-social. Is it not diabolical? Would not mankind
become a flock of brute beasts if the Church of Rome could succeed in
persuading her hundred of millions of slaves to consider themselves as
_cadavers_—corpses in the presence of their superiors.

Some one will, perhaps, ask me what can be the object of the popes and
the priests of Rome in degrading the Roman Catholics in such a strange
way that they turn them into moral corpses? What can be the use of those
hundred of millions of corpses? Why not let them live? The answer is a
very easy one. The great, and the only object of the thoughts and
workings of the Pope and the priests is to raise themselves above the
rest of the world. They want to be high! high! high! above the head not
only of the common people, but of the kings and emperors of the world.
They want to be not only as high, but higher than God. It is when
speaking of the Pope that the Holy Ghost says: “He opposeth and exalteth
himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he,
as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2
Thess. ii. 4). To attain their object, the priests have persuaded their
millions and millions of slaves that they were mere corpses; that they
must have no will, no conscience, no intelligence of their own, just “as
corpses, which allow themselves to be moved and led in any way, without
any resistance.” When this has been once gained, they have made a
pyramid of all those motionless, inert corpses, which is so high, that
though its feet are on the earth, its top goes to the skies, in the very
abode of the old divinities of the Pagan world, and putting themselves
and their popes at the top of that marvelous pyramid, the priests say to
the rest of the world: “Who among you are as high as we are? Who has
ever been raised by God as a priest and a pope? Where are the kings and
the emperors whose thrones are as elevated as ours? Are we not at the
very top of humanity?” Yes! yes! I answer to the priests of Rome, you
are high, very high indeed! No throne on earth has ever been so sublime,
so exalted as yours. Since the days of the tower of Babel, the world has
not seen such a high fabric. Your throne is higher than anything we
know. But it is a throne of corpses!!!

And if you want to know what other use is made of those millions and
millions of corpses, I will tell it to you. There is no manure so rich
as dead carcasses. Those millions of corpses serve to manure the gardens
of the priests, the bishops and the popes, and make their cabbages grow.
And what fine cabbages grow in the Pope’s garden!

Is it not a lucky thing for the world in general, and for the Roman
Catholics in particular, that though they are taught to become like
corpses, to have no will, no understanding, no judgment of their own in
the presence of their superiors, there are many who can never attain to
that perfection of intellectual degradation and death! Yes, in spite of
the efforts, in spite of the teachings of their Church, a few Roman
Catholics retain some life, some will, some intelligence, some judgment
of their own which prevents them from becoming complete brutes. Many now
and then refuse to descend to the damp, dark and putrid abode of the
corpses. They want to breathe the fresh and pure air of liberty which
God has given to man. They raise their humiliated forehead from the
ignominious tomb which their church has dug for them, and they give some
signs of life. But at every such signs of life given by an individual or
by a people in the Church of Rome, be sure that you will see the
flashing light and hear the roaring thunder of the Vatican directed
against the rebel who dares to refuse to become a _corpse_ before his
superiors. It is for having shown such signs of life and independence of
mind that Galileo was sent to gaol and threatened to be cruelly tortured
on the racks of the Inquisition in Italy, three hundred years ago. It is
for having shown those symptoms of life that not long ago the honest
Kenna, one of the most respected Roman Catholics of the day, was
excommunicated the day before his death, and had to be buried as a dog
in his own field, for having refused to take away his children from an
excellent grammar school to obey the priest. It is for having dared to
think for himself that a few days before his death the amiable and
learned Montalembert was considered as an outcast by the Pope, who
refused him the honor of public prayers in Rome after his death.

But that you may better understand the degrading tendencies of the
principles which are as the fundamental stone of the moral and
intellectual education of Rome, let me put before your eyes another
extract of the Jesuit teachings, which I take again from the “Spiritual
Exercises,” as laid down by their founder, Ignatius Loyola: “That we may
in all things attain the truth, that we may not err in anything, we
ought ever to hold as a fixed principle that what I see white I believe
to be black, if the superior authorities of the Church define it to be

You all know that it is the avowed desire of Rome to have public
education in the hands of the Jesuits. She says everywhere that they are
the best, the model teachers. Why so? Because they more boldly and more
successfully than any other of her teachers aim at the destruction of
the intelligence and conscience of their pupils. Rome proclaims
everywhere that the Jesuits are the most devoted, the most reliable of
her teachers; and she is right, for when a man has been trained a
sufficient time by them, he most perfectly becomes a moral corpse. His
superiors can do what they please with him. When he knows that a thing
is white as snow, he is ready to swear that it is black as ink, if his
superior tells him so. But some may be tempted to think that these
degrading principles are exclusively taught by the Jesuits; that they
are not the teachings of the Church, and that I do an injustice to the
Roman Catholics when I give, as a general iniquity, what is the guilt of
the Jesuits only. Listen to the words of that infallible Pope Gregory
XVI., in his celebrated Encyclical of the 15th of August, 1832. “If the
holy Church so requires, let us sacrifice our own opinions, our
knowledge, _our intelligence_, the splendid dreams of our imagination,
and the most sublime attainments of the human understanding.”

It is when considering those anti-social principles of Rome that our
learned and profound thinker, Gladstone, wrote, not long ago: “No more
cunning plot was ever devised against the freedom, the happiness and the
virtues of mankind than Romanism.” (“Letter to Earl Aberdeen.”) Now,
Protestants, do you begin to see the difference of the object of
education between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic school? Do you begin
to understand that there is as great a distance between the word
“Education” among you, and the meaning of the same word in the Church of
Rome, than between the southern and the northern poles! By education you
mean to raise man to the highest sphere of manhood. Rome means to lower
him below the most stupid brutes. By education you mean to teach man
that he is a free agent; that liberty, within the limits of the laws of
God and of his country, is a gift secured to every one; you want to
impress man with the noble thought that it is better to die a free man
than to live a slave. Rome wants to teach that there is only one man who
is free, the Pope, and that all the rest are born to be his abject
slaves in thought, will and action.

Now, that you may still more understand to what a bottomless abyss of
human degradation and moral depravity these anti-Christian and
anti-social principles of Rome lead her poor blind slaves, read what
Liguori says in his book, “The Nun Sanctified”: “The principal and most
efficacious means of practicing obedience due to superiors, and of
rendering it meritorious before God, is to consider that in obeying them
we obey God himself, and that by despising their commands, we despise
the authority of our Divine Master. When, thus, a religious receives a
precept from her prelate, superior or confessor, she should immediately
execute it, _not only to please them_ but principally to please God,
whose will is made known to her by their command. In obeying their
command, in obeying their directions, she is more certainly obeying the
will of God than if an angel came down from heaven to manifest his will
to her. Bear this always in your mind, that the obedience which you
practice to your superior is paid to God. If, then, you receive a
command from one who holds the place of God, you should observe it with
the same diligence as if it came from God himself. Blessed Egidus used
to say that it is more meritorious to obey man for the love of God than
God himself. It may be added that there is more certainty of doing the
will of God by obedience to your superior than by obedience to Jesus
Christ, should He appear in person and give His commands. St. Philip de
Neri used to say that religious shall be most certain of not having to
render an account of the actions performed through obedience; for these
the superiors only who commanded them shall be held accountable.” The
Lord said once to St. Catherine of Sienne, “Religious will not be
obliged to render an account to _me_ of what they do through obedience;
for that I will demand an account from the superior. This doctrine is
conformable to Sacred Scripture: Behold, says the Lord, as clay is in
the potter’s hands, so are you in my hand, O Israel! (Jeremiah xviii:
6.) A religious man must be in the hands of the superiors to be molded
as they will. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What art
thou making? The potter ought to answer, ‘Be silent; it is not your
business to inquire what I do, but to obey and to receive whatever form
I please to give you.’”

I ask of you, American Protestants, what would become of your fair
country if you were blind enough to allow the Church of Rome to teach
the children of the United States? What kind of men and women can come
out of such schools? What future of shame, degradation and slavery you
prepare for your country if Rome does succeed in forcing you to support
such schools. What kind of women would come out from the schools of
nuns, who would teach them that the highest pitch of perfection in a
woman is when she obeys her superior, the priest, _in everything he
commands_ her! that your daughter will never be called to give an
account to God for the actions she will have done to please and obey her
superior, the priest, the bishop or the Pope? That the affairs of her
conscience will be arranged between God and that superior, and that she
will never be asked why she had done this or that, when it will be to
gratify the pleasures of the superior and obey his command that she has
done it. Again, what kind of men and citizens will come out from the
schools of those Jesuits who believe and teach that a man has attained
the perfection of manhood only when he is a perfectly spiritual corpse
before his superior; when he obeys the priest with the perfection of a
_cadaver_, that has neither life nor will in itself.

But some will be tempted to think that this perfect blind obedience to
the priest, which is the corner-stone of the Roman Catholic education,
is required only in spiritual matters. Yes; but you must not forget that
in the Church of Rome every action of the public or private life belongs
to the spiritual sphere, which the superior only must rule. For
instance, a Roman Catholic has not the right to select the teacher of
his boy, nor the school where he will send him; he must consult his
priest, and if he dares to act in a different way from what his priest
has told him in the selection of that teacher or that school, he is
excommunicated and damned, as Mr. Kenna has been lately. If he votes
according to his own private judgment for Mr. Jones, instead of Mr.
Thompson, the selected member of the bishop and the priest, he is damned
and considered as a rebel against his holy Church, out of which there is
no salvation.

The Church of Rome’s only object in giving what she calls education is
to teach her slaves that they must obey their superiors in everything,
as God himself. All the rest of her teaching is only a mask to conceal
her plans. History is never taught in her schools; what she calls
history is a most shameful string of falsehoods. Of course she does not
dare to say a word of truth about her past struggles against the great
principles of light and liberty, when she covered the whole of Europe
with tears, blood and ruins. Writing, reading, arithmetic, geography and
grammar are taught to a certain degree in her schools, but all these
teachings are nothing else but covered roads through which the priest
wants to reach the citadel of the heart and intelligence of his poor
victim, and take an absolute possession of them. Those things are taught
every day only to have a daily opportunity to persuade the pupil that he
must never make any use of his private judgment in anything, and that he
must submit his intelligence, his conscience, his will to the
intelligence, conscience and will of his superior, if he wants to save
himself from the eternal fire of hell. He is constantly told, what I
have been told a thousand times myself, when studying in the college of
Nicolet, that those who obey their superiors in everything will not be
called to give an account of their actions to their Supreme Judge, even
if those actions were bad in themselves; for, as Liguori told you a
moment ago, “Whosoever obeys his superior for the love of God, obeys God
himself, and that there are more merits to obey one’s own superior than
God himself.”

The Church of Rome shows her great wisdom in enforcing that dogma of the
entire and blind subjection of the will and intelligence of the inferior
to the superior. For the very moment that a Roman Catholic thinks that
it is his right and sacred duty to follow the dictates of his own
conscience and intelligence, he is lost to the church of Rome. It is
only when a man has entirely silenced and absolutely killed his
intelligence, it is only when he has become a perfect moral corpse, that
he can believe that his priest, even his drunken priest, has the power
to change a wafer, or any other piece of bread, into the great God, for
whom and by whom everything has been created. It is only when the
intelligence of man has become a dead carcass that he can believe that a
miserable sinner has the supreme power to force the Son of God to come,
in His divine and human person, into his vest or pant’s pockets to
follow him everywhere he wants to go, even to the bar of the low tavern,
that He may become his companion of debauch and drunkenness. Do you see,
now, why the Church of Rome cannot let her poor young slaves go to your
schools? In your schools, the first thing you inculcate to the pupil is
that his intelligence is the great gift of God, by which man is
distinguished from the brute; that he must enlighten, form, feed,
cultivate his intelligence, which is to him what the helm is to the
ship, Christ, with His holy Word, being the pilot. You see, now why the
Church of Rome abhors your schools. It is because you want to make
_men_, and she wants to make _brutes_. You want to raise men to the
highest sphere to which his intelligence can allow him to reach; she
wants to keep him in the dust, at the feet of the priests; you want to
form free citizens, she wants to form abject and obedient slaves of the
priests; you teach man to keep his sacred promises and stand by his
oath, she teaches him that the Pope has the right to dissolve the most
sacred promises and to annul all his oaths, even to the oath of
allegiance to his country. You tell your pupils that so long as they
will keep themselves within the limits of the laws of their country they
are responsible only to God for their consciences. They tell their
pupils that it is not to God, but to the priest that he must go to give
an account of his conscience. You teach your pupils that the laws of God
only bind the conscience of man; they tell him that it is the laws of
the Church, which means the _ipse dixit_ of the Pope, which binds their
consciences. You teach the student that every man has the right to
change his religion according to his conscience; she positively says
that no man has the right to change his religion according to his
conscience. It is evident that the Church of Rome would be dead
to-morrow, if, to-day, she would allow her children to attend schools
where they would learn to follow the dictates of their conscience and
listen to the voice of their intelligence. But she is too shrewd to avow
before the world the real reasons why she wants, at any cost, to prevent
her children from attending your schools. And it is here she shows her
profound and diabolical cunning. Though she is the most deadly enemy of
liberty of conscience, though she has, time after time, anathemized
liberty of conscience as one of Satan’s schemes, she suddenly steps on,
as the great friend and apostle of liberty of conscience, and under that
new mask she approaches your legislators with great airs of dignity, and
says, “We are happy to live in a country where liberty of conscience is
secured to every citizen. It is in its sacred name that we respectfully
approach your honorable legislature to ask: First, to be exempted from
sending our children to the Government schools. Second, to have the
money we want from the public treasury in order to support our own
schools. For two reasons: First, you read the Bible in your schools, and
it is against our conscience to let our children read the Bible. Second,
you have some prayers at the beginning and some religious hymns sung at
the end of the hours of school, and it is against our conscience to
allow the children of the Church of Rome to join you in those prayers
and hymns.” The legislators, who, for the greater part are too honorable
men to suspect the fraud, are won by the air of candor and honesty of
the Roman Catholic petitioners. Considering the great benefit which will
come to the country if all the children are taught in the same school,
they are soon ready to make any sacrifice in order to have the Roman
Catholic and the Protestant children under the same roof, to receive the
same light and the same moral food and same instruction. As true
patriots, the legislators understand that if they wish their beloved
country to be strong and happy, the first thing they must do is to make
the young generation one in mind, in heart. If the Protestant and Roman
Catholic children are taught in the same school, they will know each
other and love each other when young, and those sacred ties of
friendship which will bind them in the spring of life, will be
strengthened when their reason will be matured and enlightened by a good
education under the same respected and worthy teachers. As Christian
men, the legislators would perhaps like to keep the Bible, and have
short prayers in the schools; but as patriots, they feel that those
things, though good and sacred, are an insurmountable barrier to the
Roman Catholic. The delicate conscience of the bishops and priests
cannot allow such things in the school attended by their lambs! Through
respect for the sacred rights of the Roman Catholic conscience, the
legislators in many places throw the Bible overboard, and they say to
God: “Please get out from our schools, and do excuse us if we order our
teachers to ignore your existence!” They say to Jesus Christ: “We have
not forgotten your sublime and touching words, ‘Suffer little children
to come unto me.’ No doubt you would like to press our dear little ones
on your loving heart and bless them for a moment in the schools; but we
cannot allow them to go so near you in the school, we cannot even allow
them to speak to you a single word there. Please be not offended if we
turn you out from those very schools where you were so welcome formerly.
We are forced to that sad extremity through the respect we owe to the
tender consciences of our fellow-citizens of the Church of Rome. You
know that they cannot allow their children to speak to you together with
ours.” But when those awful, not to say sacrilegious, sacrifices have
been made by the Protestant legislators to appease the implacable god of
Rome—when, through respect for the scruples of the bishops and priests
of Rome, the great God of Heaven, with His Son, Jesus Christ, have been
unceremoniously turned out from the schools—when the Word of God has
been prohibited, and the Bible is thrown overboard, is the Moloch god
appeased? Will the Roman Catholic bishops and priests tell their
children that they may unite with yours to go and receive education from
the same teacher? No! But assuming, then, a sublime air of indignation,
they turn against you as mad dogs; they call your schools _godless
schools_! good only to form thieves, infidels and atheists!

Do you see now that all those dignified scruples of conscience about
reading the Bible, praying with you, etc., were only a mask to deceive
you, and make you fall into a snare? Do you not perceive now that they
did not care a straw for the Bible and the prayers in the schools? but
they wanted your legislators to compromise themselves before the
Christian world, lose their moral strength in the eyes of a great part
of the nation, divide your ranks, your means, your strength, and beat
you on that great question of education. They will take such airs of
martyrs when you will try to force their children to your schools that
many honest and unsuspecting Protestants will be completely deceived by
them. At first, they could not, they said, trust the children to your
hands, because you read the Word of God; you prayed and blessed God in
the school. But now that the Bible and God are turned out from the
schools, they baptize them by the most ignominious names which can be
given—they call them “godless schools!” Have you ever seen a more
profoundly ignominious and sacrilegious trick? Will not your legislators
open their eyes to that strange act of deception, of which they are the
victims? Will they not come out quickly from the traps laid before them
by the bishops and the priests of Rome? Yes! let us hope that your
patriots and Christian legislators will soon understand that they owe a
reparation to God and to their country; with unanimous voice they will
ask pardon from God for having expelled him from the very place where He
has most right to reign supremely—the school.

For what is a school without God in its midst to sit as a father, and to
form the young hearts and evoke the young intellect? What is a boy, what
is a girl, what is a woman or a man without God? what is a family, what
is a people without God? It is a monstrosity, it is a body without life,
it is a world without light, it is a cistern without water. Let us hope
that, before long, your patriotic and Christian legislators will
remember that the Bible is the foundation of the greatness of Protestant
nations. It is to the Bible the United States, as well as Great Britain,
owe their liberty, power, prestige and strength. It is the Bible that
has ennobled the hearts of your heroes, improved the minds of your poets
and orators, and strengthened the arms of your warriors. Yes! it is
because your soldiers have brought with them everywhere, the Bible,
pressed on their hearts, that they have conquered the enemies of
liberty. So long as the United States will be true to the Bible, their
glorious banners will fly respected and feared all over the seas, and
over all the continents of the world. Let the disciples of the Gospel,
the children of God, and the redeemed of Christ all over the fair and
noble country you inhabit, hasten to request their legislators to invite
the Saviour of the world to come back and bless their dear children in
the school. For it is not only in your homes and in your churches that
Jesus tells you “Suffer little children to come unto me.” It is
particularly in the school. Oh! give two or three minutes to those dear
little ones, that they may press themselves on His bosom, bless him for
having saved them on the cross, and proclaim his mercies by singing one
of those hymns which they like so much. By this noble act of national
reparation you will take away from the hands of the priests the only
weapon with which they can hurt you; you will destroy the only argument
they use with a true force against your schools when they call them
godless schools. Do not fear any more the priests and the prelates of
Rome. Do not yield any more and give up your privilege to please them
and reconcile them to your schools. You will never be able to reconcile
them to your schools; for there is light in your schools, and they want
the darkness. There is freedom and liberty in your schools; they want
slavery! There is life in your schools, and it is only on dead corpses
that their church can have a chance to live a few years more. You see,
by a sad experience, that their scruples of conscience against the Bible
and the prayer of the school are mere hypocrisy just thrown into the
eyes of the public. Do not say with some honest but deluded Protestants:
Is it not enough that that child should learn his religion at home? No,
it is not enough; for it is in our nature that we want two witnesses to
believe a thing. What comes to our mind only through one witness remains
uncertain; but let two good witnesses confirm a fact, and then we accept
it. Your child wants two witnesses to believe the necessity of the
sacredness of religion. His Christian home is surely a good witness to
your child, but it is not enough; what he has heard from you must be
confirmed by his school teacher. Without this second witness, nine times
out of ten your children will be skeptics and infidels. Besides that,
the very idea of God brings with it the obligation to bless, love and
adore Him everywhere. The moment you take your child to a place where
not only he cannot love, bless and adore God, but where the adoration
and the praise of God are forbidden, you entirely destroy the idea of
God from the mind and from the heart of your child. You make him believe
that what you have told him, when at home, of God is only a fable to
amuse and deceive him.

Do you see that noble ship in the midst of that splendid harbor, how she
is tossed by the foaming waves, how she is beaten by the furious winds?
What does prevent that ship from flying before the storm and running
ashore, a miserable wreck? What does prevent her from being dashed on
that rock? The anchor! Yes, the anchor is her safety. But let a single
link of the chain that binds the ship to her anchor break, will she not
soon be dashed on the rock and broken to pieces, and sink to the bottom
of the sea? It is so with your child! So long as his intelligence and
his heart are united to God by the anchor of faith, he will nobly stand
against the furious waves, he will nobly fight his battles; but let the
school teacher be silent about God, and here is a broken link, and the
child will be a wreck. Do not fear the priest, but fear God! Do not try
any more to please the priests, but do all in your power to please your
great and merciful God, not only in your homes, but also in your
schools, and those schools will become more than ever a focus of light,
an inexhaustible source of intellectual and moral strength—more than
ever your children will learn in the school to be your honor and your
glory and your joy. They will learn that they are not ignoble worms of
the dust, whose existence will end in the tomb, but that they are
immortal as God, whose beloved children they are. They will learn how to
serve their God and love their country. Be not ashamed, but be proud to
send your children to schools where they will learn how to be good
Christians and good citizens. When you will have finished your
pilgrimage they will be your worthy successors, and the God whom they
will have learned to fear, serve and love in the school will help them
to make your country great, happy and free.

                             CHAPTER XIII.


Talleyrand, one of the most celebrated Roman Catholic bishops of France,
once said, “Language is the art of concealing one’s thoughts.” Never was
there a truer expression, if it had reference to the awful deceptions
practiced by the Church of Rome under the pompous name of “Theological

Theology is the study of the knowledge of the laws of God. Nothing,
then, is more noble than the study of theology. How solemn were my
thoughts and elevated my aspirations when, in 1829, under the guidance
of the Rev. Messrs. Raimbault and Leprohon, I commenced my theological
course of study at Nicolet, which I was to end in 1833!

I supposed that my books of theology were to bring me nearer to my God
by the more perfect knowledge I would acquire, in their study, of His
holy will and His sacred laws. My hope was that they would be to my
heart what the burning coal, brought by the angel of the Lord, was to
the lips of the prophet of old.

The principal theologians which we had in our hands were “Les
Conferences d’Anger,” Bailly, Dens, St. Thomas, but above all Liguori,
who has since been canonized. Never did I open one without offering up a
fervent prayer to God and to the Virgin Mary for the light and grace of
which I would be in need for myself and for the people whose pastor I
was to become.

But how shall I relate my surprise when I discovered, that in order to
accept the principles of the theologians which my Church gave me for
guides, I had to put away all principles of truth, of justice, of honor
and holiness! What long and painful efforts it cost me to extinguish,
one by one, the lights of truth and of reason kindled by the hand of my
merciful God in my intelligence. For to study theology in the Church of
Rome signifies to learn to speak falsely, to deceive, to commit robbery,
to perjure one’s self! It means how to commit sins without shame, it
means to plunge the soul into every kind of iniquity and turpitude
without remorse!

I know that Roman Catholics will bravely and squarely deny what I now
say. I am aware also that a great many Protestants, too easily deceived
by the fine whitewashing of the exterior walls of Rome, will refuse to
believe me. Nevertheless they may rest assured it is true, and my proof
will be irrefutable. The truth may be denied by many, but my witnesses
cannot be contradicted by any one. My witnesses are even infallible.
They are none other than the Roman Catholic theologians themselves,
approved by infallible Popes! These very men who corrupted my heart,
perverted my intelligence and poisoned my soul, as they have done with
each and every priest of their Church, will be my witnesses, my only
witnesses. I will just now forcibly bring them before the world to
testify against themselves!

Liguori, in his treatise on oaths, Question 4, asks if it is allowable
to use ambiguity, or equivocal words, to deceive the judge when under
oath, and at No. 151 he answers: “It is certain, and the opinion of all
theologians, that for good reasons one may be permitted to use
equivocations and to maintain them by oath; and by ‘good reasons’ we
mean all that can do any good to the body or the soul.”

Here is the Latin text:

“Certum est, et commune apud omnes quod, ex justa causa, licitum sit uti
aequivocatione, et cum juvamento affirmare: Et justa causa esse potest
quicunque fines honestus ad servanda bona spiritui vel corporali utilia”
(Sal: Nos. 109 and vol. sauch).

“A culprit, or a witness, questioned by a judge, but in an illegal
manner, may swear that he knows nothing of the crime about which he is
questioned, though he knows it well, mentally meaning that he knows
nothing in such a manner as to answer.”

When the crime is very secret and unknown to all, Liguori says the
culprit or the witness must deny it under oath. Here are his own words:

“Idem si testis ex alio capite, non teneatur deponere: Nempe si ipsi
conotet crimen caruisse culpa, vel si sciat crimen, sed sub secreto, cum
nulla proccesserit infamia.”

“He may swear that he knows nothing, when he knows that the person who
committed the crime committed it _without malice_ (as affir. Salm. to c.
2, No. 259, and Elb. No. 145); or again, if he knows the crime, but
secretly, and that there has been no scandal” (as we are assured by
Card. No. 51.)

“When a crime is well concealed, the witness, and even the criminal, may
and even must swear that the crime has not been committed!

“The guilty party may yet do likewise, when a half proof cannot be
brought against him.”

Here is the Latin text:

“Reus vel testis non tenetur judicio, respondere si crimen fuerit omnis
occultum tunc enim potest imo teneteur testis dicere reum non commisse.
Et idem potest reus, si non adsit semiplena probatio” (Salm. D. 2, No.
146 Bus.).

Liguori asks himself (Quest. 2): If an accused, legally interrogated by
a judge, may deny his crime under oath, when the confession of the crime
might cause his condemnation, and be disadvantageous to him? and he

“It is altogether probable that when the accused fears a sentence of
death, or of being sent to prison, or exiled, he may deny his crime
under oath, understanding that he has not committed this crime in such a
manner as to be obliged to confess it.” Here is the Latin text:

“Quæritur 2. Au reus legitime interrogatus possit negare cimen, etiam
cum juramento, si grave damnum, ex confessione ipsi immineat satis
probabiliter, (Lugo de Justitia, D. 40, N. 15; Tamb. lib. 3, etc.); et
aliis pluribus dicunt posse reum si sibi immineat poena mortis,
carceris, rut exilii, negare crimen, etiam juramento, saltem sine
peccato gravi, sub intelligendo; se non commississe quotenus teneatur
illud fateri mado sit spes vitandi pœnam.”

“He who has sworn to keep a secret is not obliged to keep his oath, if
any consequential injury to him or to others is thereby caused.”

“If any one has sworn before a judge to keep the truth, he is not
obliged to say secret things.” (Less, Bonar, Trall, etc.)

Liguori asks whether a woman, accused of the crime of adultery, which
she has really committed, may deny it under oath? He answers: “Yes;
provided that she has been to confess, and received the absolution; for
then,” he says, “the sin has been pardoned, and has really ceased to

“Quaritur 2. An adultera negare adulterium viro suo? Resp. Si adulterium
confessa sit: Potest respondere, ‘Innocens sum ab hoc crimine’ quia per
confessionem est jam oblatum.” (Card, Disc. 19, N. 54.)

Liguori maintains that one may commit a minor crime in order to avoid a
greater crime. He says: “It is right to advise any one to commit a
robbery or a fornication in order to avoid a murder.”

“Hinc, docet, Sanchez, No. 19 caj. sot., parato aliquem occidere licet
posse suaderi ut ab eo furetur, vel ut fornicatur” (page 419).

Question 3, Liguori: “May a servant open the door for a prostitute?”
Croix denies it, but Ligouri affirms it.

“Utrum famulo ostium meretrici operere? Negat Croix. At commune
affirmant Theologi.”

Question 4, Liguori: “Quaeretur an liceat famulo deferre scalam vel
subjicere humeros domino ascendenti ad fornicandum et similia. Buss,
etc., affirmant, quorum sententia probabilior videtur.”

“May a servant bring a ladder and help his master to go up and commit
adultery? Buss and others think that he may do it, and I am of the same
opinion.” (Liguori, Q. 2.)

“A servant has the right to rob his master, a child his father, and a
poor man the rich!”

The Salmantes says that a servant may, according to his own judgment,
pay himself with his own hands more than was agreed upon as a salary for
his own work, if he finds that he deserves a larger salary; “and,” says
Liguori, “this doctrine appears just to me.”

Salm., D. 4, proe. N. 137, dicunt famulum etiam ex _proprio judicio_
sibi compensare suam operam, si ipse certe judicet se majus stipendium
mereri. Quod sane videtur mihi probabile.

A poor man, who has concealed the goods and effects of which he is in
need, may swear that he has nothing.

“Indigens, bonis absconditis ad sustentationem, protest judici
aespondere se nihil habere.” (Salm., N. 140.)

In like manner an heir who, without taking an inventory, conceals his
goods, when it is not the goods mortgaged for the debt, may swear that
he has concealed nothing, understanding the goods with which he was to
pay. (Salm. 140.)

“There are many opinions about the amount which may be stolen to
constitute a mortal sin. Navar has said, too scrupulously, that to steal
a half piece of gold is a mortal sin; while others, too lax, hold that
to steal less than ten pieces of gold cannot be a serious sin. But Tol,
Mech, Less, etc., have more wisely ruled that to steal two pieces of
gold constitutes a mortal sin.”

Dubium 2, Liguori: “Variae ea de re sunt sententiæ. Nav. nimis
scrupulose statuit medium regulum: alii nemis laxe 10 aureos.
Moderatius, Tol., Med. Less., etc., etc., duos regales, etsi minus
sufficiat, si notabiliter noceat.”

“Is it a crime to steal a small piece of a relic? There is no doubt its
being a sin in the district of Rome, since Clement VII. and Paul V. have
excommunicated those who committed such thefts. But this theft is not a
serious thing when committed outside of the district of Rome, unless it
be a very rare and precious relic, as the wood of the Holy Cross or some
of the hair of the Virgin Mary!”

Dubium 3, Liguori: “If any one steals small sums at different times,
either from the same or from different persons, not having the intention
of stealing large sums, nor of causing a great damage, his sin is not
mortal; particularly if the thief is poor, and if he has the intention
to give back what he has stolen.”

Latin text: “Si quis et occasione furatur sive uni, sive pluribus, non
intendens notabile aliquid acquirere nec proximo graviter nocere, neque
ea simul sumpta unum mortale constituunt, si vel restituere non possit
vel animum habeat restituendi.”

Question 11, N. 536: “If several persons steal from the same master, in
small quantities, each in such a manner as not to commit a mortal sin,
though each one knows that all these little thefts together cause a
considerable damage to their master, yet no one of them commits a mortal
sin, even when they steal at the same time.”

Latin text: “Si plures modica furentur, nemo peccat graviter, et si
mutuo sciant graviter damnum domino fieri. Et hoc, etiamsi singuli eodem
tempore furentur.” (Liguori, 536.)

Liguori, speaking of children who steal from their parents, says:
“Salas, cited by Croix, maintains that a son does not commit a mortal
sin when he steals only twenty or thirty pieces of gold from a father
who has an income of 150 pieces of gold; and Lugo approves of that
doctrine. Less and other theologians say that it is not a mortal sin for
a child to steal two or three pieces of gold from a rich father; Bannez
maintains that to commit a mortal sin a child must steal not less than
fifty pieces of gold from a rich father; but Lacroix rejects that
doctrine, except the father is a prince.”

The theologians of Rome assure us that we may, and even that we must,
conceal and disguise our faith.

“Though lying is forbidden, we may be allowed to conceal the truth, or
to disguise it under ambiguous or equivocal words or signs, for a just
cause, and when there is no necessity to confess the truth. If by that
means one can rid himself of dangerous pursuits, he is permitted to use
it; for in general it is not true to say that, when interrogated by
public authority about his faith, he is obliged to reveal it. When you
are not questioned as to your faith, you are not only allowed to conceal
it, but it is often more to the glory of God and the interest of your
neighbor. If, for example, you are among a heretical people, you can do
more good by concealing your faith; or if, by declaring it, you are to
cause great trouble or death. It is temerity to expose one’s life.”
(Liguori, L. 2.)

The Pope has the right to release from all oaths.

“As for an oath made for a good and legitimate object, it seems that
there should be no power capable of annulling it. However, when it is
for the good of the public, a matter which comes under the immediate
jurisdiction of the Pope, who has the supreme power over the Church, the
Pope has full power to release from that oath.” (St. Thomas, Quest. 89,
art. 9, vol. iv.)

The Roman Catholics have not only the right, but it is their duty to
kill heretics.

“Excommunicatus privatur omni alia civili communicatione fidelium, ita
ut ipsi non possit cum aliis, et si non sit toleratus, etiam aliis cum
ipso non possit communicare; idque in casibus hoc versu comprehensis.
Os, orare, cammunio, mensa negatur.”

Translated: “Any man excommunicated is deprived of all civil
communication with the faithful, in such a way that if he is not
tolerated they can have no communication with him, as it is in the
following verse: ‘It is forbidden to kiss him, pray with him, salute
him, to eat or to do any business with him.’” (St. Liguori, vol. ix.,
page 62.)

“Quanquam heretici tolerandi non sunt ipso illorum demerito, usque tamen
ad secundam correptionem expectandi sunt, ut ad sanam redeant ecclesiæ
fidem; qui vero post secundam correptionem in suo errore obstinati
permanent, non modo excommunicationis sententia sed, etiam sæcularibus
principibus exterminandi tradendi sunt.”

Translated: “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 in their errors, must not only be
excommunicated, but they must be delivered to the secular powers to be

“Quanquam heretici revertentes, semper recipiendi sint ad pœnitentiam
quoties cumque relapsi fuerint; non tamen semper sunt recipiendi et
restituendi ad bonorum hujus vitæ participationem ... recipiumtur ad
pœnitentiam ... non tamen ut liberentur a sententia mortis.”

Translated: “Though the heretics who repent must always be accepted to
penance, as often as they have fallen, they must not in consequence of
that always be permitted to enjoy the benefits of this life. When they
fall again they are admitted to repent. But the sentence of death must
not be removed.” (St. Thomas, vol. iv., page 91.)

“Quum quis per sententiam denuntiatur propter apostasiam excommunicatus,
ipso facto, ejus subditi a domino et juramento fidelitatis ejus liberati

“When a man is excommunicated for his apostasy, it follows from that
very fact that all those who are his subjects are released from the oath
of allegiance by which they were bound to obey him.” (St. Thomas, vol
iv., page 91.)

Every heretic and Protestant is condemned to death, and every oath of
allegiance to a government which is Protestant or heretic is abrogated
by the Council of Lateran, held in A. D. 1215. Here is the solemn decree
and sentence of death, which has never been repealed, and which is still
in force:

“We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy that exalts itself
against the holy orthodox and Catholic faith, condemning all heretics,
by whatever name they may be known; for though their faces differ, they
are tied together by their tails. Such as are condemned are to be
delivered over to the existing secular powers, to receive due
punishment. If laymen, their goods must be confiscated. If priests, they
shall be first degraded from their respective orders, and their property
applied to the use of the church in which they have officiated. Secular
powers of all ranks and degrees are to be warned, induced, and, if
necessary, compelled by ecclesiastical censure, to swear that they will
exert themselves to the utmost in the defence of the faith, and
extirpate all heretics denounced by the Church who shall be found in
their territories. And whenever any person shall assume government,
whether it be spiritual or temporal, he shall be bound to abide by this

“If any temporal lord, after being admonished and required by the
Church, shall neglect to clear his territory of heretical depravity, the
metropolitan and bishops of the province shall unite in excommunicating
him. Should he remain contumacious for a whole year, the fact shall be
signified to the Supreme Pontiff, who will declare his vassals released
from their allegiance from that time, and will bestow the territory on
Catholics, to be occupied by them, on the condition of exterminating the
heretics, and preserving the said territory in the faith.

“Catholics who shall assume the cross for the _extermination_ of
heretics shall enjoy the same indulgences and be protected by the same
privileges as are granted to those who go to the help of the Holy Land.
We decree, further, that all who may have dealings with heretics, and
especially such as receive, defend, or encourage them, shall be
excommunicated. He shall not be eligible to any public office. He shall
not be admitted as a witness. He shall neither have the power to
bequeath his property by will, nor to succeed to any inheritance. He
shall not bring any action against any person, but any one can bring an
action against him. Should he be a judge, his decision shall have no
force, nor shall any cause be brought before him. Should he be an
advocate, he shall not be allowed to plead. Should he be a lawyer, no
instruments made by him shall be held valid, but shall be condemned with
their author.”

But why let my memory and my thoughts linger any longer in these
frightful paths, where murderers, liars, perjurers and thieves are
assured by the theologians of the Church of Rome that they can lie,
steal, murder and perjure themselves as much as they like, without
offending God, provided they commit those crimes according to certain
rules approved by the Pope for the good of the Church!

I should have to write several large volumes were I to quote all the
Roman Catholic doctors and theologians who approve of lying, of perjury,
of adultery, theft and murder, for the greatest glory of God and the
good of the Roman Church! But I have quoted enough for those who have
eyes to see and ears to hear.

With such principles, is it a wonder that all the Roman Catholic
nations, without a single exception, have declined so rapidly?

The great Legislator of the World, the only Saviour of nations, has
said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” A nation can be great and strong
only according to the truths which form the basis of her faith and life.
“Truth” is the only bread which God gives to the nations that they may
prosper and live. Deceitfulness, duplicity, perjury, adultery, theft,
murder, are the deadly poisons which kill the nations.

Then, the more the priests of Rome, with their theology, are venerated
and believed by a people, the sooner that people will decay and fall.
“The more priests the more crimes,” has said a profound thinker; for
then the more hands will be at work to pull down the only sure
foundations of society.

How can any man be sure of the honesty of his wife as long as a hundred
thousand priests tell her that she may commit any sin with her neighbor,
in order to prevent him from doing something worse? or when she is
assured, that, though guilty of adultery, she can swear she is pure as
an angel?

What will it avail to teach the best principles of honor, decency and
holiness to a young girl, when she is bound to go many times a year to a
bachelor priest, who is bound in conscience to give her the most
infamous lessons of depravity, under the pretext of helping her to
confess all her sins?

How will the rights of justice be secured, and how can the judges and
the juries protect the innocent and punish the guilty, so long as the
witnesses are told by two hundred thousand priests that they can conceal
the truth, give equivocal answers, and even perjure themselves under a
thousand pretexts?

What Government, either monarchical or republican, can be sure of a
lease of existence? how can they make their people walk with a firm step
in the ways of light, progress and liberty, as long as there is a dark
power over them which has the right, at every hour of the day or night,
to break and dissolve all the most sacred oaths of allegiance?

Armed with his theology, the priest of Rome has become the most
dangerous and determined enemy of truth, justice and liberty. He is the
most formidable obstacle to every good Government, as he is, without
being aware of it, the greatest enemy of God and man.

                              CHAPTER XIV

                          THE VOW OF CELIBACY.

Were I to write all the ingenious tricks, pious lies, shameful stories
called miracles, and sacrilegious perversions of the Word of God made
use of by superiors of seminaries and nunneries to entice their poor
victims into the trap of perpetual celibacy, I should have to write ten
large volumes, instead of a short chapter.

Sometimes the trials and obligations of married life are so exaggerated
that they may frighten the strongest heart. At other times the joys,
peace and privileges of celibacy are depicted with such brilliant colors
that they fill the coldest mind with enthusiasm.

The Pope takes his victim to the top of a high mountain, and there shows
him all the honors, praise, wealth, peace and joys of this world, united
to the most glorious throne of heaven, and then tells him: “I will give
you all those things if you fall at my feet, promise me an absolute
submission, and swear never to marry in order to serve me better.”

Who can refuse such glorious things? But before entirely shutting their
eyes, so that they may not see the bottomless abyss into which they are
to fall, the unfortunate victims sometimes have forebodings and
presentiments of the terrible miseries which are in store for them. The
voice of their conscience, intelligence and common sense has not always
been so fully silenced as the superior desired.

At the very time when the tempter is whispering his lying promises into
their ears, their Heavenly Father is speaking to them of the ceaseless
trials, the shameful falls, the tedious days, the dreary nights, and the
cruel and insufferable burdens which are concealed behind the walls
where the sweet yoke of the Good Master is exchanged for the burdens of
heartless men and women.

As formerly, the human victims crowned with flowers, when dragged to the
foot of the altar of their false gods, often cried out with alarm, and
struggled to escape from the bloody knife of the heathen priest, so at
the approach of the fatal hour at which the impious vow is to be made,
the young victims often feel their hearts fainting and filled with
terror. With pale cheeks, trembling lips and cold-dropping sweat they
ask their superiors, “Is it possible that our merciful God requires of
us such a sacrifice?”

Oh! how the merciless priest of Rome then becomes eloquent in depicting
celibacy as the only way to heaven, or in showing the eternal fires of
hell ready to receive cowards and traitors, who, after having put their
hand to the plough of celibacy, look back! He speaks of the
disappointment and sadness of so many dear friends, who expected better
things of them. He points out to them their own shame when they will
again be in a world which will have nothing for them but sneers for
their want of perseverance and courage. He overwhelms them with a
thousand pious lies about the miracles wrought by Christ in favor of his
virgins and priests. He bewitches them by numerous texts of Scripture,
which he brings as evident proof of the will of God in favor of their
taking the vows of celibacy, though they have not the slightest
reference to such vows.

The text of which the strangest abuses are made by the superiors to
persuade the young people of both sexes to bind themselves to those
shameful vows is Matt. xix., 12, 13: “For there are eunuchs which were
born from their mother’s womb; and there are some eunuchs which were
made eunuchs of men; and there are eunuchs which have made themselves
eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it,
let him receive it.”

Upon one occasion our superior made a very pressing appeal to our
religious feelings from this text, to induce us to make the vow of
celibacy and become priests. But the address, though delivered with a
great deal of zeal, seemed to us deficient in logic.

The next day was a day of rest (_conge_). The students in theology who
were preparing themselves for the priesthood, with me, talked seriously
of the singular arguments of the last address. It seemed to them that
the conclusions could not in any way be drawn from the selected text,
and therefore determined to respectfully present their objections and
their views, which were also mine, to the superior; and I was chosen to
speak for them all.

At the next conference, after respectfully asking and obtaining
permission to express our objections with our own frank and plain
sentiments, I spoke about as follows:

“Dear and venerable sir: You told us that the following words of Christ,
‘_There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of
heaven’s sake_,’—show us evidently that we must make the vow of celibacy
and make ourselves eunuchs if we want to become priests. Allow us to
tell you respectfully, that it seems to us that the mind of our Saviour
was very different from yours when he pronounced these words. In our
humble opinion, the only object of the Son of God was to warn His
disciples against one of the most damnable errors which were to endanger
the very existence of nations. He was foretelling that there would be
men so wicked and blind as to preach that the best way for men to go to
heaven would be to make eunuchs of themselves. Allow us to draw your
attention to the fact that in that speech Jesus Christ neither approves
nor disapproves of the idea of gaining a throne in heaven by becoming
eunuchs. He leaves us to our common sense and to some clearer parts of
Scripture to see whether or not He approves of those who would make
eunuchs of themselves to gain a crown in heaven. Must we not interpret
this text as we interpret what Jesus said to His apostles, ‘The time
cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God’s
service’ (John xvi., 1, 2).

“Allow us to put these two texts face to face:

“‘There are eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom
of heaven’s sake.’ (Matt. xix., 12, 13).

“‘The time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth
God’s service.’ (John xvi. 1, 2).

“Because our Saviour has said that there would be men who would think
that they would please God (and of course gain a place in heaven) by
killing His disciples, are we, therefore, allowed to conclude that it
would be our duty to kill those who believe and follow Christ? Surely

“Well, it seems to us that we are not to believe that the best way to go
to heaven is to make ourselves eunuchs, because our Saviour had said
that some men had got that criminal and foolish notion into their mind!

“Christian nations have always looked with horror upon those who
voluntarily became eunuchs. Common sense, as well as the Word of God,
condemns those who thus destroy in their own bodies that which God in
his wisdom gave them for the wisest and holiest purposes. Would it not,
therefore, be a crime which every civilized and Christian nation would
punish, to preach publicly and with success to the people that one of
the surest ways for a man to go to heaven would be to make himself an
eunuch? How can we believe that our Saviour could ever sanction such a

“Moreover, if being eunuchs would make the way to heaven surer and more
easy, would not God be unjust for depriving us of the great privilege of
being born eunuchs, and thus being made ripe fruits for heaven?

“It seems to us that that text does not in any way require us to believe
that an eunuch is nearer the kingdom of God than he who lives just
according to the laws which God gave to man in the earthly paradise. If
it was not good for man to be without his wife when he was so holy and
strong as he was in the Garden of Eden, how can it be good now that he
is so weak and sinful?

“Our Saviour clearly shows that he finds no sanctifying power in the
state of an eunuch, in his answer to the young man who asked him, ‘Good
master, what must I do that I may have eternal life?’ (Matt. xix., 16.)
Did the good Master answer him in the language we heard from you two
days ago, namely, that the best way to have eternal life is to make
yourself an eunuch—make a solemn vow never to marry? No; but he said,
‘Keep the commandments!’

“Were the blessed Saviour to-day in your place, and I should ask him,
‘What must I do to be saved, and to show the way of God to my brethren?’
would he not say to me, ‘Keep the commandments!’ But where is the
commandment of God in the Old or New Testament, to induce us to make
such a vow as that of celibacy? The promise of a place in heaven is not
attached in any way to the vow of celibacy. Christ has not a word about
that doctrine.

“Allow us to respectfully ask, if the views concerning the vows of
celibacy entertained by Christ had been like yours, is it possible that
He would have forgotten to mention them when He answered the solemn
question of that young man? Is it possible that He would not have said a
single word about a thing which you have represented to us as being of
such vital importance to those who sincerely desire to know what to do
to be saved? Is it not strange that the Church should attach such an
importance to that vow of celibacy, when we look in vain for such an
ordinance in both the Old and New Testaments? How can we understand the
reasons or the importance of such a strict, and we dare say, unnatural
obligation in our day, when we know very well that the holy apostles
themselves were living with their wives, and that the Saviour had not a
word of rebuke for them on that account?”

This free expression of our common views on the vows of celibacy
evidently took our superior by surprise. He answered me, with an accent
of indignation which he could not suppress. “Is that all you have to

“It is not quite all we have to say,” I answered; “but before we go
further we would be much gratified to receive from you the light we want
on the difficulties which I have just stated.”

“You have spoken as a true heretic,” replied Mr. Leprohon, with an
unusual vivacity; “and were it not for the hope which I entertain that
you said those things more to receive the light you want than to present
and support the heretical side of such an important question, I would at
once denounce you to the bishop. You speak of the Holy Scriptures just
as a Protestant would do. You appeal to them as the only source of
Christian truth and knowledge. Have you forgotten that we have the holy
traditions to guide us, the authority of which is equal to that of the

“You are correct when you say that we do not find any direct proof in
the Bible to enforce the vows of celibacy upon those who desire to
consecrate themselves to the service of the Church. But if we do not
find the obligation of that vow in the Bible, we find it in the holy
traditions of the Church.

“It is an article of faith that the vow of celibacy is ordered by Jesus
Christ, through His Church. The ordinances of the Church, which are
nothing but the ordinances of the Son of God, are clear on that subject,
and bind our consciences, just as the commandments of God upon Mount
Sinai; for Christ has said, those who do not hear the Church must be
looked upon as heathen and publicans. There is no salvation to those who
do not submit their reasoning to the teachings of the Church.

“You are not required to understand all the reasons for the vow of
celibacy; but you are bound tobelieve in its _necessity_ and _holiness_,
as the Church has pronounced her verdict upon that question. It is not
your business to argue about those matters; but your duty is to obey the
Church, as dutiful children obey a kind mother.

“But who can have any doubt about the necessity of the vows of celibacy,
when we remember that Christ had ordered His apostles to separate
themselves from their wives?—a fact on which no doubt can remain after
hearing St. Peter say to our Saviour, ‘Behold, we have forsaken all and
followed thee; what shall we have, therefore?’ (Matt. xix. 27). Is not
the priest the true representative of Christ on earth? In his
ordination, is not the priest made the equal, and, in a sense, the
superior of Christ? for when he celebrates Mass he commands Christ, and
that very Son of God is bound to obey! It is not in the power of Christ
to resist the orders of the priest. He must come down from heaven every
time the priest orders Him. The priest shuts Him up in the holy
tabernacles or takes him out of them, according to his own will.

“By becoming priests of the New Testament you will be raised to a
dignity which is much above that of angels. From these sublime
privileges flows the obligation of the priest to raise himself to a
degree of holiness much above the level of the common people, a holiness
equal to that of the angels. Has not our Saviour, when speaking of the
angels, said, ‘_Neque nubent neque nubentur?_’ They marry not, nor are
given in marriage. Surely, since the priests are the messengers and
angels of God, on earth they must be clad with angelic holiness and

“Does not Paul say that the state of virginity is superior to that of
marriage? Does not that saying of the apostle show that the priest,
whose hands every day touch the divine body and blood of Christ, must be
chaste and pure, and must not be defiled by the duties of married life?
That vow of celibacy it like a holy chain, which keeps us above the
filth of this earth and ties us to heaven. Jesus Christ, through His
holy Church, commands that vow to his priests as the most efficacious
remedy against the inclinations of our corrupt nature.

“According to the holy Fathers, the vow of celibacy is like a strong,
high tower, from the top of which we can fight our enemies, and be
perfectly safe from their darts and weapons.

“I will be happy to answer your other objections, if you have any more,”
said Mr. Leprohon.

“We are much obliged to you for your answers,” I replied, “and we will
avail ourselves of your kindness to present you with some other

“And, firstly, we thank you for having told us that we find nothing in
the Word of God to support the vows of celibacy, and that it is only by
the traditions of the Church that we can prove their necessity and
holiness. It was our impression that you desired us to believe that the
necessity of that vow was founded on the Holy Scriptures. If you will
allow it, we will discuss the traditions another time, and will confine
ourselves to-day to the different texts to which you referred in favor
of celibacy.

“When Peter says, ‘We have given up everything,’ it seems to us that he
had no intention of saying that he had forever given up his wife by a
vow. For St. Paul positively says, many years after, that Peter had his
wife; that he was not only living with her in his own house, but was
traveling with her when preaching the gospel. The words of Scripture are
of such evidence on that subject that they can neither be obscured by
any shrewd explanation nor by any tradition, however respectable it may

“Though you know the words of Paul on that subject, you will allow us to
read them: ‘Have we not power to eat and drink? have we not power to
lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles and as the
brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?’ (1 Cor. ix., 4, 5). St. Peter saying,
‘We have forsaken everything’ could not mean then that he had made a vow
of celibacy, and that he would not live with his wife as a married man.
Evidently the words of Peter mean only that Jesus had the first place in
his heart—that everything else, even the dearest objects of his love, as
father, mother, wife, were only secondary in his affections and

“Your other text about the angels who do not marry, from which you infer
the obligation and law of the vow of celibacy, does not seem to us to
bear on that subject as much as you have told us. For, be kind enough to
again read the text: ‘Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Ye do err, not
knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection
they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of
God in heaven’ (Matt. xxii. 29, 30). You see that when our Saviour
speaks of men who are like angels, and who do not marry, He takes care
to observe that he speaks of the state of men _after the resurrection_.
If the Church had the same rule for us that Christ mentioned for the
angelic men to whom He refers, and would allow us to make a vow never to
marry after the resurrection, we would not have the slightest objection
to such a vow.

“You see that our Saviour speaks of a state of celibacy; but He does not
intimate that that state is to begin on this side of the grave. Why does
not our Church imitate and follow the teachings of our Saviour? Why does
she enforce a state of celibacy before the resurrection, while Christ
postpones the promulgation of this law till after that great day?

“Christ speaks of a perpetual celibacy only in heaven! On what
authority, then, does our Church enforce that celibacy on this side of
the grave, when we still carry our souls in earthly vessels?

“You tell us that the vow of celibacy is the best remedy against the
inclinations of our corrupt nature; but do you not fear that your remedy
makes war against the great one which God prepared in His wisdom? Do we
not read in our own vulgate: ‘Propter fornicationem autem quisque suam
uxorem habeat, et unaquaquæ virum suum’? ‘To avoid fornication let every
man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband’ (2 Cor.
vii. 2.)

“Is it not too strange, indeed, that God does tell us that the best
remedy He had prepared against the inclinations of our corrupt nature is
in the blessings of a holy marriage. ‘Let every man have his own wife,
and every woman her own husband.’ But now our Church has found another
remedy, which is more accordant to the dignity of man and the holiness
of God, and that remedy is the vow of celibacy!”

The sound of my last words were still on my lips when our venerable
superior, unable any longer to conceal his indignation, abruptly
interrupted me, saying:

“I do exceedingly regret to have allowed you to go so far. This is not a
Christian and humble discussion between young Levites and their
superior, to receive from him the light they want. It is the exposition
and defence of the most heretical doctrines I have ever heard. Are you
not ashamed, when you try to make us prefer your interpretation of the
Holy Scriptures to that of the Church? Is it to you, or to His holy
Church, that Christ promised the light of the Holy Ghost? Is it you who
have to teach the Church, or the Church who must teach you? Is it you
who will govern and guide the Church, or the Church who will govern and
guide you?

“My dear Chiniquy, if there is not a great and prompt change in you and
in those whom you pretend to represent, I fear much for you all. You
show a spirit of infidelity and revolt which frightens me. Just like
Lucifer, you rebel against the Lord! Do you not fear to share the
eternal pains of his rebellion?

“Whence have you taken the false and heretical notions you have, for
instance, about the wives of the apostles? Do you not know that you are
supporting a Protestant error, when you say that the apostles were
living with their wives in the usual way of married people? It is true
that Paul says that the apostles had women with them, and that they were
even traveling with them. But the holy traditions of the Church tell us
that those women were holy virgins, who were traveling with the apostles
to serve and help them in different ways. They were ministering to their
different wants—washing their underclothes, preparing their meals, just
like the housekeeper whom the priests have to-day. It is a Protestant
impiety to think and speak otherwise.

“But only a word more, and I am done. If you accept the teaching of the
Church, and submit yourself as doubtful children to that most holy
Mother, she will raise you to the dignity of the priesthood, a dignity
much above kings and emperors in this world. If you serve her with
fidelity, she will secure to you the respect and veneration of the whole
world while you live, and procure you a crown of glory in heaven.

“But if you reject her doctrines, and persist in your rebellious views
against one of the most holy dogmas; if you continue to listen to the
voice of your own deceitful reason rather than to the voice of the
Church, in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, you become
heretics, apostates and Protestants; you will lead a dishonored life in
this world, and you will be lost for all eternity.”

Our superior left us immediately after these fulminating words. Some of
the theological students, after his exit, laughed heartily, and thanked
me for having so bravely fought and gained a glorious victory. Two of
them, Joseph Turcot and Benony Legendre, disgusted by the sophisms and
logical absurdities of our superior left the seminary a few days after.
The rest, with me, had not the moral courage to follow their example,
but remained, stunned by the last words of our superior.

I went to my room and fell on my knees, with a torrent of tears falling
from my eyes. I was really sorry for having wounded his feelings, but
still more so for having dared for a moment to oppose my own feeble and
fallible reason to the mighty and infallible intelligence of my Church!

At first it appeared to me that I was only combatting, in a respectful
way, against my old friend, Rev. Mr. Leprohon; but I had received it
from his own lips that I had really fought against the Lord!

After having spent a long and dark night of anguish and remorse, my
first action, the next day, was to go to confession, and ask my
confessor, with tears of regret, pardon for the sins I had committed and
the scandal I had given.

Had I listened to the voice of my conscience, I certainly would have
left the seminary that day; for they told me that I had confounded my
superior and pulverized all his arguments. Reason and conscience told me
that the vow of celibacy was a sin against logic, morality and God; that
that vow could not be sustained by any argument from the Holy
Scriptures, logic or common sense. But I was a most sincere Roman
Catholic. I had therefore to fight a new battle against my conscience
and intelligence, so as to subdue and silence them forever! Many a time
it was my hope, before this, to have succeeded in slaughtering them at
the foot of the altar of my Church; but that day, far from being forever
silenced and buried, they had come out again with renewed force, to
waken me from the terrible illusions in which I was living.
Nevertheless, after a long and frightful battle, my hope was that they
were perfectly subdued and buried under the feet of the holy Fathers,
the learned theologians and the venerable popes, whose voice only I was
determined now to follow. I felt a real calm after that struggle. It was
evidently the silence of death, although my confessor told me it was the
peace of God. More than ever I determined to have no knowledge, no
thought, no will, no light, no desires, no science but that which my
Church would give me through my superior. I was fallible, she was
infallible! I was a sinner, she was the immaculate spouse of Jesus
Christ! I was weak, she had more power than the great waters of the
ocean! I was but an atom, she was covering the world with her glory!
What, therefore, could I have to fear in humbling myself to her feet, to
live of her life, to be strong of her strength, wise of her wisdom, holy
with her holiness? Had not my superior repeatedly told me that no error,
no sin would be imputed to me as long as I obeyed my Church and walked
in her ways?

With these sentiments of a most profound and perfect respect for my
Church, I irrevocably consecrated myself to her service on the 4th of
May, 1832, by making the vow of celibacy and accepting the office of

                              CHAPTER XV.


        “The mother of harlots and abominations.”—REV. xvii. 5.

Constrained by the voice of my conscience to reveal the impurities of
the theology of the Church of Rome, I feel, in doing so, a sentiment of
inexpressible shame. They are of such a loathsome nature, that often
they cannot be expressed in any living language.

However great may have been the corruptions in the theologies and
priests of paganism, there is nothing in their records which can be
compared with the depravity of those of the Church of Rome. Before the
day on which the theology of Rome was inspired by Satan, the world had
certainly witnessed many dark deeds; but vice had never been clothed
with the mantle of theology:—the most shameful forms of iniquity had
never been publicly taught in the schools of the old pagan priest, under
the pretext of saving the world. No! neither had the priests or the
idols been forced to attend meetings where the most degrading forms of
iniquity were objects of the most minute study, and that under the
pretext of glorifying God.

Let those who understand Latin read the pages which I give at the end of
my book, “The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional,” and then decide
as to whether or not the sentiments therein contained are not enough to
shock the feelings of the most depraved. And let it be remembered that
all those abominations have to be studied, learned by heart and
thoroughly understood by men who have to make a vow never to marry! For
it is not till after his vow of celibacy that the student in theology is
_initiated_ into those mysteries of iniquity.

Has the world ever witnessed such a sacrilegious comedy? A young man
about twenty years of age has been enticed to make a vow of perpetual
celibacy, and the very next day the Church of Rome puts under the eye of
his soul the most infamous spectacle? She fills his memory with the most
disgusting images! She tickles all his senses and pollutes his ears not
by imaginary representations, but by realities which would shock the
most abandoned in vice!

For, let it be well understood, that it is absolutely impossible for one
to study those questions of Roman Theology, and fathom those forms of
iniquity without having his body as well as his mind plunged into a
state the most degrading. Moreover, Rome does not even try to conceal
the overwhelming power of this kind of teaching; she does not even
attempt to make it a secret from the victims of her incomparable
depravity, but BRAVELY TELLS them that the study of those questions will
act with an irresistible power upon those organs, and without a blush
says “that pollution must follow!!!”

But in order that the Church of Rome may more certainly destroy her
victims, and that they may not escape from the abyss which she has dug
under their feet, she tells them “There is no sin for you in those
pollutions!” (Dens, vol. i., p. 315.)

But Rome must bewitch, so as the better to secure their destruction. She
puts to their lips the cup of her enchantments, the more certainly to
kill their souls, dethrone God from their consciences, and abrogate his
eternal laws of holiness. What answer does Rome give those who reproach
her with the awful impurity of her theology. “My theological works,” she
answers, “are all written in Latin; the people cannot read them. No
evil, no scandal, therefore, can come from them!” But this answer is a
miserable subterfuge. Is this not the public acknowledgment that her
theology would be exceedingly injurious to the people if it were read
and understood by them?

By saying, “My theological works are written in Latin, therefore the
people cannot be defiled, as they do not understand them,” Rome does
acknowledge that these works would only act as a pestilence among the
people were they read and understood by them. But are not the one
hundred thousand priests of Rome bound to explain in every known tongue,
and present to the mind of every nation, the theology contained in those
books? Are they not bound to make every polluting sentence in them flow
into the ears, imagination, hearts and minds of all the married and
unmarried women whom Rome holds in her grasp?

I exaggerate nothing when I say that not fewer than half a million women
every day are compelled to hear in their own language, almost every
polluting sentence and impure notion of the diabolical science.

And here I challenge, most fearlessly, the Church of Rome to deny what I
say, when I state that the daily average of women who go to confession
to each priest, is ten. But let us reduce the number to five. Then the
two hundred thousand priests who are scattered over the whole world,
hear the confessions of one million women every day. Well, now, out of
one hundred women who confess, there are at least ninety-nine whom the
priest is bound in conscience to pollute, by questioning them on the
matters mentioned in “The Priest, the Woman and the Confessional.” How
can one be surprised at the rapid downfall of the nations who are under
the yoke of the Pope?

The public statistics of the European, as well as of American nations,
show that there is among Roman Catholics nearly double the amount of
prostitution, bastardy, theft, perjury and murder, than is found among
Protestant nations. Where must we, then, look for the cause of those
stupendous facts, if not in the corrupt teachings of the theology of
Rome. How can the Roman Catholic nations hope to raise themselves in the
scale of Christian dignity and morality as long as there remain two
hundred thousand priests in their midst, bound in conscience every day
to pollute the minds, and the hearts of their mothers, their wives and
their daughters.

And here let me say, once for all, that I am not induced to speak as I
do from any motive of contempt or unchristian feeling against the
theological professors who have initiated me into those mysteries of
iniquity. The Rev. Messrs. Raimbault and Leprohon were, and in my mind
they still are, as venerable as men can be in the Church of Rome. As I
have been myself, and as all the priests of Rome are, they were plunged
into the abyss without understanding it, into the abyss of the most
stolid ignorance. They were crushed, as I was myself, under a yoke which
bound their understanding to the dust and polluted their hearts without
measure. We were embarked together on a ship, the first appearance of
which was really magnificent, but the bottom of which was irremediably
rotten. Without the true Pilot on board we were left to perish on
unknown shoals. Out of this sinking ship the hand of God alone, in his
merciful providence, rescued me. I pity those friends of my youth, but
despise them? hate them? No! Never! Never!

Every time our theological teachers gave us our lessons, it was evident
that they blushed in the inmost part of their souls. Their consciences
as honest men were evidently forbidding them, on the one hand, to open
their mouths on such matters, while, on the other hand, as slaves and
priests of the Pope, they were compelled to speak without reserve.

After our lessons in theology, we students used to be filled with such a
sentiment of shame that sometimes we hardly dared to look at each other;
and, when alone in our rooms, those horrible pictures were affecting our
hearts, in spite of ourselves, as the rust affects and corrodes the
hardest and purest steel. More than one of my fellow-students told me,
with tears of shame and rage, that they regretted to have bound
themselves by perpetual oaths to minister at the altars of the Church.

One day one of the students, called Desaulnier, who was sick in the same
room with me, asked me: “Chiniquy, what do you think of the matters
which are the objects of our present theological studies? Is it not a
burning shame that we must allow our minds to be so polluted?”

“I cannot sufficiently tell you my feelings of disgust,” I answered.
“Had I known sooner that we were to be dragged over such a ground, I
certainly never would have nailed my future to the banners under which
we are irrevocably bound to live.”

“Do you know,” said Desaulnier, “that I am determined never to consent
to be ordained a priest; for when I think of the fact that the priest is
bound to confer with women on all these polluting matters, I feel an
insurmountable disgust and shame.”

“I am not less troubled,” I replied. “My head aches and my heart sinks
within me, when I hear our theologians telling us that we will be in
conscience bound to speak to females on these impure subjects. But
sometimes this looks to me as if it were a bad dream, the impure
phantoms of which will disappear at the first awakening. Our Church,
which is so pure and holy, that she can only be served by the spotless
virgins, surely cannot compel us to pollute our lips, thoughts, souls,
and even our bodies, by speaking to strange women on matters so

“But we are near the hour at which the good Mr. Leprohon is in the habit
of visiting us. Will you,” said I, “promise to stand by me on what I
shall ask him on this subject? I hope to get from him a pledge that we
will not be compelled to be polluted in the confessional by the women
who will confess to us. The purity and holiness of our superior is of
such a high character, that I am sure he has never said a word to
females on those degrading matters. In spite of all the theologians, Mr.
Leprohon will allow us to keep our tongues and our hearts, as well as
our bodies, pure in the confessional.”

“I have had the desire to speak to him on this subject for some time,”
rejoined Desaulnier, “but my courage failed me every time I attempted to
do so. I am glad, therefore, that you are to break the ice, and I will
certainly support you, as I have a longing desire to know something more
in regard to the mysteries of the confessional. If we be at liberty
never to speak to women on those horrors, I will consent to serve the
Church as a priest; but if not, I WILL NEVER BE A PRIEST.”

A few minutes after this our superior entered, to kindly inquire how we
had rested the night before. Having thanked him for his kindness, I
opened the volumes of Dens and Liguori, which were on our table, and,
with a blush, putting my fingers on one of the infamous chapters
referred to, I said to him:

“After God, you have the first place in my heart since my mother’s
death, and you know it. I take you, not only as my benefactor, but also,
as it were, as my father and mother. You will therefore tell me all I
want to know in these my hours of anxiety, through which God is pleased
to make me pass. To follow your advice, not to say your commands, I have
lately consented to receive the order of sub-deacon, and I have in
consequence taken the vow of perpetual celibacy. But I will not conceal
the fact from you that I had not a clear understanding of what I was
then doing; and Desaulnier has just stated to me, that until recently he
had no more idea of the nature of that promise, nor of the difficulties
which we now see ahead of us in our priestly life, than I had.

“But Dens, Liguori and St. Thomas have given us notions quite new in
regard to many things. They have directed our minds to the knowledge of
the laws which are in us, as well as in every other child of Adam. They
have, in a word, directed our minds into regions which were quite new
and unexplored by us; and I dare say that every one of those whom we
have known, whether in this house or elsewhere, who have made the same
vow, could tell the same tale.

“However, I do not speak for them; I speak only for myself and
Desaulnier. For God’s sake, please tell us if we will be bound in
conscience to speak in the confessional, to the married and unmarried
females, on such impure and defiling questions as are contained in the
theologians before us?”

“Most undoubtedly,” replied Rev. Mr. Leprohon; “because the learned and
holy theologians whose writings are in your hands are positive on that
question. It is absolutely necessary that you should question your
female penitents on such matters; for, as a general thing, girls and
married women are too timid to confess those sins, of which they are
even more frequently guilty than men, therefore they must be helped by
questioning them.”

“But have you not,” I rejoined, “induced us to make an oath that we
should always remain pure and undefiled? How is it, then, that to-day
you put us in such a position that it is almost an impossibility for us
to be true to our sacred promise? For the theologians are unanimous that
those questions put by us to our female penitents, together with the
recital of their secret sins, will act with such an irresistible power
upon us that we will be polluted.

“Would it not be better for us to feel those things in the holy bonds of
marriage, with our wives, and according to the laws of God, than in
company and conversation with strange women? Because, if we are to
believe the theologians which are in our hands, no priest—not even you,
my dear Mr. Leprohon, can hear the confessions of women without being

Here Desaulnier interrupted me, and said: “My dear Mr. Leprohon, I
concur in everything Chiniquy has just been telling you. Would we not be
more chaste and pure by living with our lawful wives, than by daily
exposing ourselves in the confessional in company of women whose
presence will irresistibly drag us into the most shameful pit of
impurity? I ask you, my dear sir, what will become of my vow of perfect
and perpetual chastity, when the seducing presence of my neighbor’s
wife, or the enchanting words of his daughter, will have defiled me
through the confessional. After all, I may be looked upon by the people
as a chaste man; but what will I be in the eyes of God? The people may
entertain the thought that I am a strong and honest man; but will I not
be a broken reed? Will God not be the witness that the irresistible
temptations which will have assailed me when hearing the secret sins of
some sweet and tempting women, will have deprived me of that glorious
crown of chastity for which I have so dearly paid? Men will think that I
am an angel of purity; but my own conscience will tell me that I am
nothing but a skillful hypocrite. For according to all the theologians,
the confessional is the tomb of the chastity of priests!! If I hear the
confession of women, I will be like all other priests, in a tomb, well
painted and gilded on the outside, but within full of corruption.”

Francis Desaulnier, just as he had foretold me, refused to be a priest.
He remained all his life in the orders of the sub-deaconate, in the
College of Nicolet, as a Professor of Philosophy. He was a man who
seldom spoke in conversation, but thought very much. It seems to me that
I still see him there, under that tall centenary tree, alone, during the
long hours of intermission, and many long days during our holidays,
while the rest of the students passed hither and thither, singing and
playing, on the enchanting banks of the river of Nicolet.

He was a good logician and a profound mathematician; and although
affable to everyone, he was not communicative. I was probably the only
one to whom he opened his mind concerning the great questions of
Christianity—faith, history, the Church and her discipline. He
repeatedly said to me: “I wish I had never opened a book of theology.
Our theologians are without heart, soul or logic. Many of them approve
of theft, lies and perjury; others drag us, without a blush, into the
most filthy pits of iniquity. Every one of them would like to make an
assassin of every Catholic. According to their doctrine, Christ is
nothing but a Corsican brigand, whose bloody disciples are bound to
destroy all the heretics by fire and sword. Were we acting according to
the principles of those theologians, we would slaughter all Protestants
with the same coolness of blood as we would shoot down the wolf which
crosses our path. With their hand still reddened with the blood of St.
Bartholomew they speak to us of charity, religion and God, as if there
were neither of them in the world.”

Desaulnier was looked upon as “_un homme singulier_” at Nicolet. He was
really an exception to all the men in the seminary. For example: Though
it was the usage and the law that ecclesiastics should receive the
communion every month, and upon every great feast day of the Church, yet
he would scarcely take the communion once a year. But let me return to
the interview with our superior.

Desaulnier’s fearless and energetic words had evidently made a very
painful impression upon our superior. It was not a usual thing for his
disciples in theology thus to take upon themselves to speak with such
freedom as we both did on this occasion. He did not conceal his pain at
what he called our unbecoming and unchristian attack upon some of the
most holy ordinances of the Church; and after he had refuted Desaulnier
in the best way he could, he turned to me and said: “My dear Chiniquy, I
have repeatedly warned you against the habit you have of listening to
your own frail reasoning, when you should only obey as a dutiful child.
Were we to believe you we would immediately set ourselves to work to
reform the Church and abolish the confession of women to priests; we
would throw all our theological books into the fire and have new ones
written, better adapted to your fancy. What does all this prove? Only
one thing, and that is, that the devil of pride is tempting you as he
has tempted all the so-called Reformers, and destroyed them as he would
you. If you do not take care, you will become another Luther!

“The theological books of St. Thomas, Liguori and Dens have been
approved by the Church. How, therefore, do you not see the ridicule and
danger of your position. On one side, then, I see all our holy popes,
the two thousand Catholic bishops, all our learned theologians and
priests, backed up by our two hundred millions of Roman Catholics drawn
up as an innumerable army to fight the battles of the Lord; and on the
other side, what do I see? Nothing but my small, though very dear

“How, then, is it that you do not fear, when with your weak reasoning
you oppose the mighty reasoning and light of so many holy popes,
venerable bishops and learned theologians? Is it not just as absurd for
you to try to reform the Church by your small reasons, as it is for the
grain of sand which is found at the foot of the great mountain to try to
turn that mighty mountain out of its place? or for the small drop of
water to attempt to throw the boundless ocean out of its bed, or try to
oppose the running tides of the Polar seas?

“Believe me, and take my friendly advice,” continued our superior,
“before it is too late. Let the small grain of sand remain still at the
foot of the majestic mountain! and let the humble drop of water consent
to follow the irresistible currents of the boundless seas, and
everything will be in order.

“All the good priests who have heard the confessions of women before us
have been sanctified and have had their souls saved, even when their
bodies were polluted; for those carnal pollutions are nothing but human
miseries, which cannot defile a soul which desires to remain united to
God. Are the rays of the sun defiled by coming down into the mud? No!
The rays remain pure, and return spotless to the shining orb whence they
came. So the heart of a good priest—as I hope my dear Chiniquy will
be—will remain pure and holy in spite of the accidental and unavoidable
defilement of the flesh.

“Apart from those things, in your ordination you will receive a special
grace which will change you into another man; and the Virgin Mary, to
whom you will constantly address yourself will obtain for you a perfect
purity from her Son.

“The defilement of the flesh spoken of by the theologians, and which, I
confess, is unavoidable when hearing the confessions of women, must not
trouble you; for they are not sinful, as Dens and Liguori assure us.
(Dens, vol. i., pages 299, 309.)

“But enough on that subject. I forbid you to speak to me any more on
those idle questions, and, as much as my authority is anything to you
both, I forbid you to say a word more to each other on that matter!”

It was my fond hope that my dear and so much venerated Mr. Leprohon
would answer me with some good and reasonable arguments; but he, to my
surprise, silenced the voice of our conscience by “_un coup d’etat_.”

Nevertheless, the idea of that miserable grain of sand which so
ridiculously attempted to remove the stately mountain, and also of that
all but perceptible drop of water which attempted to oppose itself to
the onward motion of the vast ocean, singularly struck and humbled me. I
remained silent and confused, though not convinced.

This was not all. Those rays of the sun, which could not be defiled,
even when going down into the mud, after bewildering one by their
glittering appearance, left my soul more in the dark than ever. I could
not resist a presentiment that I was in the presence of an imposition,
and of a glittering sophism. But I had neither sufficient learning,
moral courage, nor grace from God clearly to see through that misty
cloud, and to expel it from my mind.

Almost every month of the ten years which I had passed in the seminary
of Nicolet, priests of the district of Three Rivers and elsewhere were
sent by the bishops to spend two or three weeks in doing penances for
having bastards by their nieces, their housekeepers and their fair
penitents. Even not long before this conversation with our director, the
curate of St. Francois, the Rev. Mr. Amiot, had in the very same week
two children by two of his fair penitents, both of whom were sisters.
One of those girls gave birth to her child at the parsonage the very
night on which the bishop was on his episcopal visit to that parish.
These public and undeniable facts were not much in harmony with those
beautiful theories of our venerable director concerning the rays of the
sun, which “remained pure and undefiled, even when warming and vivifying
the mud of our planet.” The facts had frequently occurred to my mind
while Mr. Leprohon was speaking, and I was tempted more than once to ask
him respectfully if he really thought these “shining rays,” the priests,
had thus come into the mire, and would then return, like the rays of the
sun, without taking back with them something of the mire in which they
had been so strangely wallowing. But my respect for Mr. Leprohon sealed
my lips.

When I returned to my room, I fell on my knees to ask God to pardon me
for having, for a moment, thought otherwise than the popes and
theologians of Rome. I again felt angry with myself for having dared,
for a single moment, to have arrayed my poor little and imperceptible
grain of sand—drop of water—and personal and contemptible understanding
against that sublime mountain of strength, that vast ocean of learning,
and that immensely divine wisdom of the popes!

But, alas! I was not yet aware that when Jesus in His mercy sends into a
perishing soul a single ray of His grace, that there is more light and
wisdom in that soul than in all the popes and their theologians!

I was then taught what the real foundation of the Church of Rome is, and
sincerely believed that to think for myself was a damnable impiety—that
to look and see with my own eyes, and understand with my own mind, was
an unpardonable sin. To be saved I had to believe, not what I considered
to be the truth, but what the popes told me to be the truth. I had to
look and see every object of faith, just as every true Roman Catholic of
to-day has to look and see the same, through the Pope’s eyes or those of
his theologians.

However absurd and impious this belief may be, yet it was mine, and it
is also the belief of every true member of the Church of Rome to-day.
The glorious light and grace of God could not possibly flow directly
from Him to me; they had to pass through the Pope and his Church, which
were my only mountain of strength and only ocean of light. It was, then,
my firm belief that there was an impassable abyss between myself and
God, and that the Pope and his Church were the only bridge by which I
could have communication with Him. That stupendously high and most
sublime mountain, the Pope, was between myself and God; and all that was
allowed my poor soul was to raise itself and travel with great
difficulty till it attained the foot of that holy mountain, the Pope,
and, prostrating itself there in the dust, ask him to let me know what
my yet distant God would have me do. The promises of mercy, truth, light
and life were all vested in this great mountain, the Pope, from whom
alone they could descend upon my poor lost soul!

Darkness, ignorance, uncertainty and eternal loss were my lot the very
moment I ceased worshipping at the feet of the Pope! The God of Heaven
was not _my_ God; He was only the God of the Pope. The Saviour of the
world was not my Saviour; he was only the Pope’s. Therefore it was
through the Pope only that I could receive Christ as my Saviour, and to
the Pope alone had I to go, to know the way, the truth and the life of
my soul!

God alone knows what a dark and terrible night I passed after this
meeting! I had again to smother my conscience, dismantle my reason, and
bring them all under the turpitudes of the theologies of Rome, which are
so well calculated to keep the world fettered in ignorance,
superstition, and death.

But God saw the tears with which I bedewed my pillow that night. He
heard the cry of my agonizing soul, and in His infinite love and mercy
determined to come to my rescue, and save me. If He saw fit to leave me
many years more in the slavery of Egypt, it was that I might better know
the plagues of that land of darkness, and the iron chains which are
there prepared for poor lost souls.

When the hour of my deliverance came, the Lord took me by the hand and
helped me to cross the Red Sea. He brought me to the Land of Promise—a
land of peace, life and joy which passeth all understanding.

                              CHAPTER XVI.


There are several imposing ceremonies at the ordination of a priest; and
I will never forget the joy I felt when the Roman Pontiff presenting to
me the Bible, ordered me, with a solemn voice, to study and preach it.
That order passed through my soul as a beam of light. But, alas! those
rays of light and life were soon to be followed, as a flash of lightning
in a stormy night, by the most sudden and distressing darkness!

When holding the sacred volume, I accepted with unspeakable joy the
command of studying and preaching its saving truth; but I felt as if a
thunderbolt had fallen upon me when I pronounced the awful oath which is
required from every priest: “_I will never interpret the Holy Scriptures
except according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers._”

Many times, with the other students in theology, I had discussed the
nature of that strange oath; still more often, in the silence of my
meditations, alone in the presence of God, I had tried to fathom the
bottomless abyss which, it seemed to me, was dug under my feet by it,
and every time my conscience had shrunk in terror from its consequences.
But I was not the only one in the seminary who contemplated, with an
anxious mind, its evidently blasphemous nature.

About six months before our ordination, Stephen Baillargeon, one of my
fellow theological students, had said in my presence to our superior,
the Rev. Mr. Raimbault: “Allow me to tell you that one of the things
with which I cannot reconcile my conscience is the solemn oath we will
have to take, ‘That we will never interpret the Scriptures except
according to the _unanimous_ consent of the Holy Fathers!’ We have not
given a single hour yet to the serious study of the Holy Fathers. I know
many priests, and not a single one of them has ever studied the Holy
Fathers; they have not even got them in their libraries! We will
probably walk in their footsteps. It may be that not a single volume of
the Holy Fathers will ever fall into our hands! In the name of common
sense, how can we swear that we will follow the sentiments of men of
whom we know absolutely nothing, and about whom, it is more probable, we
will never know anything, except by mere vague hearsay?

Our superior gave evident signs of weakness in his answer to that
unexpected difficulty. But his embarrassment grew much greater when I
said: “Baillargeon cannot contemplate that oath without anxiety, and he
has given you some of his reasons; but he has not said the last word on
that strange oath. If you will allow me, Mr. Superior, I will present
you some more formidable objections. It is not so much on account of our
ignorance of the doctrines of the Holy Fathers that I tremble when I
think that I will have ‘to swear never to interpret the Scriptures
except according to their unanimous consent.’ Would to God that I could
say, with Baillargeon, ‘I know nothing of the Holy Fathers; how can I
swear that they will guide me in all my ways?’ It is true that we know
so little of them that it is supremely ridiculous, if it is not an
insult to God and man, that we take them for our guides. But my regret
is that we know already too much of the Holy Fathers to be exempt from
perjuring ourselves, when we swear that we will not interpret the Holy
Scriptures except according to their unanimous consent.

“Is it not a fact that the Holy Fathers’ writings are so perfectly kept
out of sight, that it is absolutely impossible to read and study them?
But even if we had access to them, have we sufficient time at our
disposal to study them so perfectly that we could conscientiously swear
that we will follow them? And if we don’t study them, how can we be
exempted from wilful perjury the day that we will swear to follow them?
How can we follow a thing we do not see, which we do not hear, and about
which we do not know more than the man in the moon? Our shameful
ignorance of the Holy Fathers is a sufficient reason to make us fear at
the approach of the solemn hour that we will swear to follow them. Yes!
But we know enough of the Holy Fathers to chill the blood in our veins
when swearing to interpret the Holy Scriptures only according to their
unanimous consent. Please, Mr. Superior, tell us what are the texts of
Scripture on which the Holy Fathers are _unanimous_. You respect
yourself too much to try to answer a question which no honest man has,
or will ever dare to answer. And if you, one of the most learned men of
France, cannot put your finger on the texts of the Holy Bible and say,
‘The Holy Fathers are perfectly unanimous on these texts!’ how can we,
poor young ecclesiastics of the humble College of Nicolet, say ‘The Holy
Fathers are _unanimously_ of the same mind on those texts?’ But if we
cannot distinguish to-day, and if we shall never be able to distinguish
between the texts on which the Holy Fathers are unanimous and the ones
on which they differ, how can we _dare_ to swear before God and man to
interpret _every text of the Scriptures_ only according to the unanimous
consent of the Holy Fathers?

“By that awful oath, will we not be absolutely bound to remain mute as
dead men on every text on which the Holy Fathers have differed, under
the evident penalty of becoming perjured? Will not every text on which
the Holy Fathers have differed become as the dead carcass which the
Israelites could not touch, except by defiling themselves? After that
strange oath, to interpret the Scriptures _only_ according to the
_unanimous_ consent of the Holy Fathers, will we not be absolutely
deprived of the privilege of studying or preaching on a text on which
they have differed?

“The consequences of the oath are _legion_, and every one of them seems
to me the death of our ministry, the damnation of our souls! You have
read the history of the Church, as we have it here, written by Henrion,
Berrault-Bell-Costel and Fleury. Well, what is the prominent fact in
those reliable histories of the Church? Is it not that the Church has
constantly been filled with the noise of the controversies of Holy
Fathers with Holy Fathers? Do we not find, on every page, that the Holy
Fathers of one century very often differed from the Holy Fathers of
another century in very important matters? Is it not a public and
undeniable fact, that the history of our Holy Church is almost nothing
else than the history of the hard conflict, stern divisions, unflinching
contradictions and oppositions of Holy Fathers to Holy Fathers?

“Here is a big volume of manuscript written by me, containing only
extracts from our best Church historians, filled with the public
disputes of Holy Fathers among themselves on almost every subject of

“There are Holy Fathers who say, with our best modern theologians—St.
Thomas, Bellarmine and Liguori—that we must kill heretics as we kill
wild beasts; while many others say that we must tolerate them! You all
know the name of the Holy Father who sends to hell all the widows who
marry a second time, while other Holy Fathers are of a different mind.
Some of them, you know well, had very different notions from ours about
purgatory. Is it necessary for me to give you the names of the Holy
Fathers, in Africa and Asia, who refused to accept the supreme
jurisdiction we acknowledge in the Pope over all churches? Several Holy
Fathers have denied the supreme authority of the Church of Rome—you know
it; they have laughed at the excommunications of the Popes! Some even
have gladly died when excommunicated by the Pope, without doing anything
to reconcile themselves to him! What do we find, in the six volumes of
letters we have still from St. Jerome, if not the undeniable fact that
he filled the Church with the noise of his harsh denunciations of the
scriptural views of St. Augustine on many important points. You have
read those letters? Well, have you not concluded that St. Jerome and St.
Augustine agreed almost only on one thing, which was, to disagree on
every subject they treated?

“Did not St. Jerome knock his head against nearly all the Holy Fathers
of his time? And has he not received hard knocks from almost all the
Holy Fathers with whom he was acquainted? Is it not a public fact that
St. Jerome and several other Holy Fathers rejected the sacred book of
the Maccabees, Judith, Tobias, just as the heretics of our time reject

“And now we are gravely asked, in the name of the God of Truth, to swear
that we will interpret the Holy Scriptures only according to the
unanimous consent of those Holy Fathers, who have been unanimous but in
one thing, which was never to agree with each other, and sometimes not
even with themselves.

“For it is a well-known fact, though it is a very deplorable one, for
instance, that St. Augustine did not always keep to the same correct
views on the text ‘Thou art Peter, and upon that rock I will build my
church.’ After holding correct views on that fundamental truth he gave
it up, at the end of his life, to say, with the Protestants of our day,
that ‘upon that rock means only Christ, and not Peter.’ Now, how can I
be bound by such an oath to follow the views of men who have themselves
been wavering and changing, when the Word of God must stand as an
unmoving rock to my heart? If you require from us an oath, why put into
our hands the history of the Church, which has stuffed our memory with
the undeniable facts of the endless fierce divisions of the Holy Fathers
on almost every question which the Scriptures present to our faith?

“Would to God that I could say, with Baillargeon, I know nothing of the
Holy Fathers! Then I could perhaps be at peace with my conscience, after
perjuring myself by promising a thing that I cannot do.

“I was lately told by the Rev. Mr. Leprohon, that it is absolutely
necessary to go to the Holy Fathers in order to understand the Holy
Scriptures! But I will respectfully repeat to-day what I then said on
that subject.

“If I am too ignorant or too stupid to understand St. Mark, St. Luke and
St. Paul, how can I be intelligent enough to understand Jerome,
Augustine, and Tertullian? And if St. Matthew, St. John and St. Peter
have not got from God the grace of writing with a sufficient degree of
light and clearness to be understood by men of good-will, how is it that
Justin, Clemens and Cyprian have received from our God a favor of
lucidity and clearness which he denied to His apostles and evangelists?
If I cannot rely upon my private judgment when studying, with the help
of God, the Holy Scriptures, how can I rely on my private judgment when
studying the Holy Fathers? You constantly tell me I cannot rely on my
private judgment to understand and interpret the Holy Scriptures; but
will you please tell me with what judgment and intelligence I shall have
to interpret and understand the writings of the Holy Fathers, if it be
not with my own private judgment? Must I borrow the judgment and
intelligence of some of my neighbors in order to understand and
interpret, for instance, the writings of Origen? or shall I be allowed
to go and hear what that Holy Father wants from me with my own private
intelligence? But again, if you are forced to confess that I have
nothing else but my _private judgment and intelligence_ to read,
understand and follow the Holy Fathers, and that I not only can, but I
must, rely on my own private judgment, without any fear, in that case,
how is it that I will be lost if I make use of that same _private and
personal judgment_ when at the feet of Jesus, listening to His eternal
and life-giving words?

“Nothing distresses me so much in our holy religion as this want of
confidence in God when we go to the feet of Jesus to hear or read His
soul-saving words, and the abundance of self-confidence, when we go
among sinful and fallible men, to know what they say.

“It is not to the Holy Scriptures that we are invited to go to know what
the Lord saith, it is to the Holy Fathers!!

“Would it be possible that, in our Holy Church, the Word of God would be
darkness, and the words of men light!

“This dogma, or article of our religion, by which we must go to the Holy
Fathers in order to know what ‘The Lord saith,’ and not to the Holy
Scripture, is to my soul what a handful of sand would be to my eyes—it
makes me perfectly blind.

“When our venerable bishop places the Holy Scriptures in my hands and
commands me to study and preach them, I will understand what he means,
and he will know what he says. He will give me a most sublime work to
perform; and, with the grace of God, I hope I will do it. But when he
orders me to swear that I will _never_ interpret the Holy Scriptures,
except according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers, will he
not make a perjured man of me, and will he not say a thing to which he
has not given sufficient attention? For to swear that we will never
interpret anything of the Scriptures, except according to the unanimous
consent of the Holy Fathers, is to swear to a thing as impossible and
ridiculous as to take the moon with our hands. I say more, it is to
swear that we will never study nor interpret a single chapter of the
Bible. For it is probable that there are very few chapters of that Holy
Book which have not been a cause of serious difference between some of
the Holy Fathers.

“As the writings of the Holy Fathers fill at least two hundred volumes
in folio, it will not take us less than ten years of constant study to
know on what question they are or are not unanimous! If, after that time
of study, I find that they are _unanimous_ on the question of orthodoxy,
which I must believe and preach, all will be right with me. I will walk
with a fearless heart to the gates of eternity, and with the certainty
of following the true way of salvation. But if among fifty Holy Fathers
there are forty-nine on one side and one only on the opposite side, in
what awful state of distress will I be plunged! Will I not be then as a
ship in a stormy night, after she has lost her compass, her masts and
her helm. If I were allowed to follow the majority, there would always
be a plank of safety to rescue me from the impending wreck. But the Pope
has inexorably tied us to the unanimity. If my faith is not the faith of
_unanimity_, I am forever damned. I am out of the Church!!

“What a frightful alternative is just before us! We must either perjure
ourselves, by swearing to follow a unanimity which is a fable, in order
to remain Roman Catholics, or we must plunge into the abyss of impiety
and atheism by refusing to swear that we will adhere to a unanimity
which never existed.”

It was visible, at the end of that long and stormy conference, that the
fears and anxieties of Baillargeon and mine were partaken of by every
one of the students in theology. The boldness of our expressions brought
upon us a real storm. But our superior did not dare to face or answer a
single one of our arguments; he was evidently embarrassed, and nothing
could surpass his joy when the bell told him that the hour of the
conference was over. He promised to answer us the next day; but the next
day he did nothing but throw dust into our eyes, and abuse us to his
heart’s content. He began by forbidding me to read any more of the
controversial books I had bought a few months before, among which was
the celebrated Derry discussion between seven priests and seven
Protestants. I had to give back the well-known discussion between “Pope
and Maguire,” and between Gregg and the same Maguire. I had also to give
up the numbers of the _Avenir_ and other books of Lamenais, which I had
got the liberty, as a privilege, to read. It was decided that my
intelligence was not clear enough, and that my faith was not
sufficiently strong to read those books. I had nothing to do but to bow
my head under the yoke and obey, without a word of murmur. The darkest
night was made around our understandings, and we had to believe that
that awful darkness was the shining light of God!! We rejected the
bright truth which had so nearly conquered our minds, in order to accept
the most ridiculous sophisms as gospel truths! We did the most degrading
action a man can do—we silenced the voice of our conscience, and we
consented to follow our superior’s views, as a brute follows the order
of his master; we consented to be in the hands of our superiors like a
stick in the hands of the traveler.

During the months which elapsed between that hard-fought, though lost
battle, and the solemn hour of my priestly ordination, I did all I could
to subdue and annihilate my thoughts on that subject. My hope was that I
had entirely succeeded. But, to my dismay, that reason suddenly awoke,
as from a long sleep, when I had perjured myself, as every priest has to
do. A chill of horror and shame ran through all my frame in spite of
myself. In my inmost soul a cry was heard from my wounded conscience.
“You annihilate the Word of God! You rebel against the Holy Ghost! You
deny the Holy Scriptures to follow the steps of sinful men! You reject
the pure waters of eternal life, to drink the waters of death.”

In order to choke again the voice of my conscience, I did what my Church
advised me to do—I cried to my wafer god and to the blessed Virgin Mary,
that they might come to my help, and silence the voices which were
troubling my peace by shaking my faith.

With the utmost sincerity, the day of my ordination, I renewed the
promise that I had already so often made, and said in the presence of
God and His angels, “I promise that I will never believe anything except
according to the teachings of my Holy and Apostolic Church of Rome.”

And on that pillow of folly, ignorance and fanaticism I laid my head to
sleep the sleep of spiritual death, with the two hundred millions of
slaves whom the Pope sees at his feet.

And I slept that sleep till the God of our salvation, in His great
mercy, awoke me, by giving to my soul the light, the truth and the life
which are in Jesus Christ.

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                            MODERN IDOLATRY.

I was ordained a priest of Rome in the Cathedral of Quebec, on the 21st
of September, 1833, by the Right Reverend Sinai, first Archbishop of
Canada. No words can express the solemnity of my thoughts, the
superhuman nature of my aspirations, when the delegate of the Pope,
imposing his hands on my head, gave me the power of converting a wafer
into the real substantial body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus
Christ! The bright illusion of Eve, as the deceiver told her “Ye shall
be as gods,” was child’s play compared with what I felt when, assured by
the infallible voice of my Church that I was not only on equal terms
with my Saviour and God, but I was in reality above Him! and that
hereafter I would not only command, but _create_ Him!!

The aspirations to power and glory which had been such a terrible
temptation in Lucifer were becoming a reality in me! I had received the
power of commanding God, not in a spiritual and mystical, but in a real,
personal and most irresistible way.

With my heart full of an inexpressible joy and gratitude to God, and
with all the faculties of my soul raised to exaltation, I withdrew from
the feet of the pontiff to my oratory, where I passed the rest of the
day in meditation on the great things which my God had wrought in me.

I had, at last attained the top of that power and holiness which my
Church had invited me to consider from my infancy as the most glorious
gift which God had ever given to man! The dignity which I had just
received was above all the dignities and the thrones of this world. The
holy character of the PRIESTHOOD had been impressed on my soul, with the
blood of Christ, as an imperishable and celestial glory. Nothing could
ever take it away from me in time or eternity. I was to be a priest of
my God forever and ever. Not only had Christ let His divine and priestly
nature fall on my shoulders, but He had so perfectly associated me with
Himself as the great and eternal Sacrificator, that I was to renew,
every day of my life, His atoning SACRIFICE! At my bidding, the only and
eternally begotten Son of my God was now to come into my hands in
person! The same Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father was to
come down every day into my breast, to unite His flesh to my flesh, His
blood to my blood, His divine soul to my poor sinful soul, in order to
walk, work and live in me and with me in the most perfect unity and

I passed the whole day and the greater part of the night in
contemplating the superhuman honors and dignities which my beloved
Church had conferred on me. Many times I fell on my knees to thank God
for His mercies towards me, and I could hardly speak to Him except with
tears of joy and gratitude. I often repeated the words of the Holy
Virgin Mary: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit doth rejoice
in God my Saviour.”

The privileges granted to me were of a more substantial kind than those
bestowed upon Mary. She had been obeyed by Christ _only_ when He was a
child. He had to obey me now, although He was in the full possession of
His eternal glory!

In the presence of God and His angels, I promised to live a holy life as
a token of my gratitude to Him. I said to my lips and my tongue, “Be
holy now; for you will not only speak to your God: you will give Him a
new birth every day!” I said to my heart, “Be holy and pure now; for you
will bear every day the Holy of Holies.” To my soul I said, “Be holy
now; for you will henceforth be most intimately and personally united to
Christ Jesus. You will be fed with the body, blood, soul and divinity of
Him before whom the angels do not find themselves pure enough!”

Looking on my table, where my pipe, filled with tobacco, and my
snuff-box were lying, I said: “Impure and noxious weeds, you will no
more defile me! I am the priest of the Almighty. It is beneath my
dignity to touch you any more!” and opening the window I threw them into
the street, never to make use of them again.

On the 21st of September, 1833, I had thus been raised to the
priesthood; but I had not yet made use of the divine powers with which I
had been invested. The next day I was to say my first Mass, and work
that incomparable miracle which the Church of Rome calls

As I have already said, I had passed the greater part of the night
between the 21st and 22nd in meditation and thanksgivings. On the
morning of the 22nd, long before the dawn of day, I was dressed and on
my knees. This was to be the most holy and glorious day of my life!
Raised the day before, to a dignity which was above the kingdoms and
empires of the world, I was now for the first time, to work a miracle at
the altar which no angel or seraph could do.

At my bidding Christ was to receive a new existence! The miracle wrought
by Joshua, when he commanded the sun and moon to stop, on the bloody
plain of Gibeon, was nothing compared to the miracle that I was to
perform that day. When the eternal Son of God would be in my hands, I
was to present myself at the throne of mercy, with that expiatory victim
of the sins of the world pay the debt, not only of my guilty soul, but
of all those for whom I should speak? The ineffable sacrifice of Calvary
was to be renewed by me that day with the utmost perfection!

When the bell rang to tell me that the hour was come to clothe myself
with the golden priestly robes and go to the altar, my heart beat with
such a rapidity that I came very near fainting. The holiness of the
action I was to do, the infinite greatness of the sacrifice I was about
to make, the divine victim I was to hold in my hands and present to God
the Father! the wonderful miracle I was to perform, filled my soul and
my heart with such sentiments of terror, joy and awe, that I was
trembling from head to foot; and if very kind friends, among whom was
the venerable secretary of the Archbishop of Quebec, now the Grand Vicar
Cazault, had not been there to help and encourage me, I think I would
not have dared to ascend the steps of the altar.

It is not an easy thing to go through all the ceremonies of a mass.
There are more than _one hundred different ceremonies and positions_ of
the body, which must be observed, with the utmost perfection. To omit
_one_ of them willingly, or through a culpable neglect or ignorance, is
eternal damnation. But thanks to a dozen exercises through which I had
gone the previous week, and thanks be to the kind friends who helped and
guided me, I went through the performances of that first mass much more
easily than I expected. It lasted about an hour. But when it was over, I
was really exhausted by the effort made to keep my mind and heart in
unison with the infinite greatness of the mysteries accomplished by me.

To make one’s self believe that he can convert a piece of bread into God
requires such a supreme effort of the will, and complete annihilation of
intelligence, that the state of the soul, after the effort is over, is
more like death than life.

I had really persuaded myself that I had done the most holy and sublime
action of my life, when, in fact I had been guilty of the most
outrageous act of idolatry! My eyes, my hands and lips, my mouth and
tongue, and all my senses, as well as the faculties of my intelligence,
were telling me that what I had seen, touched, eaten, was nothing but a
wafer; but the voices of the Pope and his Church were telling me that it
was the real body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. I had
persuaded myself that the voices of my senses and intelligence were the
voices of Satan, and that the deceitful voice of the Pope was the voice
of the God of Truth! Every priest of Rome has to come to that strange
degree of folly and perversity, every day of his life, to remain a
priest of Rome.

The great imposture taught under the modern word TRANSUBSTANTIATION,
when divested of the glare which Rome, by his sorceries, throws around
it, is soon seen to be what it is—a _most impious and idolatrous

“I must carry the ‘good god’ to-morrow to a sick man,” says the priest
to his servant girl. In plain French: “Je dois porter le ‘Bon Dieu’
demain a un malade, dit le praitre a sa servante; mais il n’y en a plus
dans le tabernacle.” “But there are no more in the tabernacle. Make some
small cakes, that I may consecrate them to-morrow.” And the obedient
domestic takes some wheat flour, for no other kind of flour is fit to
make the god of the Pope. A mixture of any other kind would make the
miracle of “transubstantiation” a great failure. The servant girl
accordingly takes the dough, and bakes it between two heated irons, on
which are graven the following figures, ✝/C.H.S. When the whole is
well baked, she takes her scissors and cuts those wafers, which are
about four or five inches large, into smaller ones of the size of an
inch, and respectfully hands them over to the priest.

The next morning the priest takes the newly-baked wafers to the altar,
and changes them into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus
Christ. It was one of those wafers that I had taken to the altar in that
solemn hour of my first mass, and which I had turned into my Saviour by
the five magical words—HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM!

What was the difference between the incredible folly of Aaron on the day
of his apostasy in the wilderness, and the action I had done when I
worshipped the god whom I made myself, and got my friends to worship?
Where, I ask, is the difference between the adoration of the calf-god of
Aaron and the wafer-god which I had made on the 22nd September, 1833.
The only difference was, that the idolatry of Aaron lasted but one day,
while the idolatry in which I lived lasted a quarter of a century, and
has been perpetuated in the Church of Rome for more than a thousand

What has the Church of Rome done by giving up the words of Christ, “Do
this in remembrance of me,” and substituting her dogma of
Transubstantiation? She has brought the world back to the old
heathenism. The priest of Rome worships a Saviour called Christ. Yes;
but that Christ is not the Christ of the gospel. It is a false and
newly-invented Christ whom the Popes have smuggled from the Pantheon of
Rome, and sacrilegiously called by the adorable name of our Saviour
Jesus Christ.

I have often been asked: “Was it possible that you sincerely believed
that the wafer could be changed into God by you?” And, “Have you really
worshipped that wafer as your Saviour?”

To my shame, and to the shame of poor humanity, I must say “Yes.” I
believed as sincerely as every Roman Catholic priest is bound to believe
it, that I was creating my own Saviour-God every morning by the assumed
consecration of the wafer; and I was saying to the people, as I
presented it to them, “Ecce agnus Dei”—“This is the Lamb of God, who
takes away the sins of the world; let us adore him”—prostrating myself
on my knees, I was adoring the God made by myself, with the help of my
servant; and all the people prostrated themselves to adore the
newly-made god!

I must confess, further, that though I was bound to believe in the
existence of Christ in heaven, and was invited by my Church to worship
Him as my Saviour and my God, I had, as every Roman Catholic has, more
confidence, faith and love towards the Christ which I had created with a
few words of my lips, than towards the Christ of heaven.

My Church told me, every day of my life, and I had to believe and preach
it, that though the Christ of heaven was my Saviour, He was angry
against me on account of my sins; that He was constantly disposed to
punish me according to His terrible justice; that He was armed with
lightning and thunder to crush me; and that, were it not for His mother,
who day and night was interceding for me, I should be cast into that
hell which my sins had so richly deserved. All the theologians, with St.
Liguori at their head, whose writings I was earnestly studying, and
which had received the approbation of infallible popes, persuaded me
that it was Mary whom I had to thank and bless, if I had not yet been
punished as I deserved. Not only had I to believe this doctrine, but I
had to preach it to the people. The result was for me, as it is for
every Roman Catholic, that my heart was really chilled, and I was filled
with terror every time I looked to the Christ of heaven through the
lights and teachings of my Church. He could not, as I believed, look to
me except with an angry face; He could not stretch out His hand towards
me except to crush me, unless His merciful mother or some other mighty
saint interposed their saving supplications to appease His just
indignation. When I was praying to that Christ of the Church of Rome, my
mind was constantly perplexed about the choice I should make of some
powerful protector, whose influence could get me a favorable hearing
from my irritated Saviour.

Besides this, I was told, and I had to believe it, that the Christ of
heaven was a mighty monarch, a most glorious king surrounded by
innumerable hosts of servants, officers and friends, and that, as it
would not do for a poor rebel to present himself before his irritated
King to get his pardon, but he must address himself to some of His most
influential courtiers, or to His beloved mother, to whom nothing can be
refused, that they might plead his cause; so I sincerely believed that
it was better for me not to speak myself to Jesus Christ, but to look
for some one who would speak for me.

But there would be no such terrors or fears in my heart when I
approached the Saviour whom I had created myself! Such an humble and
defenceless Saviour, surely, had no thunder in His hands to punish His
enemies. He could have no angry looks for me. He was my friend, as well
as the work of my hands. There was nothing in Him which could inspire me
with any fear. Had I not brought Him down from heaven? And had He not
come into my hands that He might hear, bless and forgive me?—that He
might be nearer to me, and I nearer to Him?

When I was in His presence, in that solitary church, there was no need
of officers, of courtiers, of mothers to speak to Him for me. He was no
longer there a mighty monarch, an angry king, who could be approached
only by the great officers of His court; He was now the rebuked of the
world, the humble and defenceless Saviour of the manger, the forsaken
Jesus of Calvary, the forgotten Christ of Gethsemane.

No words can give any idea of the pleasure I used to feel when, alone,
prostrated before the Christ whom I had made at the morning mass, I
poured out my heart at His feet. It is impossible for those who have not
lived under those terrible illusions to understand with what confidence
I spoke to the Christ who was then before me, bound by the ties of His
love for me! How many times, in the colder days of winter, in churches
which had never seen any fire, with an atmosphere 15 degrees below zero,
had I passed whole hours alone, in adoration of the Saviour whom I had
made only a few hours before! How often have I looked with silent
admiration to the Divine Person who was there alone, passing the long
hours of the day and night, rebuked and forsaken, that I might have an
opportunity of approaching Him, and of speaking to Him as a friend to
his friend, as a repenting sinner to his merciful Saviour. My faith—I
should rather say my awful delusion, was then so complete that I
scarcely felt the biting of the cold! I may say with truth, that the
happiest hours I ever had, during the long years of darkness into which
the Church of Rome had plunged me, were the hours which I passed in
adoring the Christ whom I had made with my own lips. And every priest of
Rome would make the same declaration, were they questioned on the

It is a similar principle of monstrous faith that leads widows in India
to leap with cries of joy into the fire which will burn them into ashes
with the bodies of their deceased husbands. Their priests have assured
them that such a sacrifice will secure eternal happiness to themselves
and their departed husbands.

In fact, the Roman Catholics have no other Saviour to whom they can
betake themselves than the one made by the consecration of the wafer. He
is the only Saviour who is not angry with them, and who does not require
the mediation of virgins and saints to appease His wrath. This is the
reason why Roman Catholic churches are so well filled by the poor blind
Roman Catholics. See how they rush to the foot of their altars at almost
every hour of the day, sometimes long before the dawn! Go to some of
their churches, even on a rainy and stormy morning, and you will see
crowds of worshippers, of every age and from every grade of society,
braving the storm and the rain, walking through the mud to pass an hour
at the foot of their tabernacles!

How is it that the Roman Catholics, alone, offer such a spectacle to the
civilized world? The reason is very simple and plain. Every soul yearns
for a God to whom it can speak, and who will hear its supplications with
a merciful heart, and who will wipe away her penitential tears. Just as
the flowers of our gardens turn naturally towards the sun which gives
them their color, their fragrance and their life, so every soul wants a
Saviour who is not angry but merciful towards those who come unto Him—A
Saviour who will say to the weary and heavy laden: “Come unto me, and I
will give you rest.”—A God, in fine, who is not armed with Thunder and
Lightning, and does not require to be approached only by saints, virgins
and martyrs; but who, through his son Jesus, is the real, the true and
the only friend of Sinners.

When the people think that there is such a God,—such a loving Saviour to
be found in the tabernacle, it is but natural that they should brave the
storms and the rains, to worship at his feet, to receive the pardon of
their sins.

The children of light, the disciples of the gospel, who protest against
the errors of Rome, know that their Heavenly Father is _everywhere_
ready to hear, forgive and help them. They know that it is no more “at
Jerusalem, nor on this or that mountain,” or at church that God wants to
be worshipped (John iv. 21.) They know that their Saviour liveth, and is
everywhere ready to hear those who invoke His name; that He is no more
in that desert, or in that secret chamber (Matt. xxiv.) They know that
He is everywhere—that He is ever near to those who look to his bleeding
wounds and want to wash their robes in His blood. They find Jesus in
their most secret closets when they enter them to pray;—they meet Him
and converse with Him when in the fields, behind the counter, traveling
on railroads or steamers—everywhere they meet with Him, and speak to Him
as friend to friend.

It is not so with the followers of the Pope. They are told contrary to
the gospel (Matt. xxiv. 22.), that Christ is in this Church—in that
secret chamber or tabernacle! Cruelly deceived by their priests, they
run, they brave the storms to go as near as possible to that place where
their merciful Christ lives. They go to the Christ who will give them a
hearty welcome, who will listen to their humble prayers, and be
compassionate to their tears of repentance.

Let Protestants cease to admire poor deluded Roman Catholics who dare
the storm and go to church even before the dawn of day. This devotion,
which so dazzles them, should excite compassion, and not admiration; for
it is the logical result of the most awful spiritual darkness. It is the
offspring of the greatest imposture the world has ever seen, it is the
natural consequence of the belief that the priest of Rome can create
Christ and God by the consecration of a wafer, and keep Him in a secret

The Egyptians worshipped God under the form of crocodiles and calves:
The Greeks made their gods of marble or of gold: The Persian made the
sun his god: The Hottentots make their gods with whale-bone, and go far
through the storms to adore them: The Church of Rome makes her god out
of a piece of bread! Is this not idolatry?

From the year 1833, to the day that God in his mercy opened my eyes, my
servant had used more than a bushel of wheat flour, to make the little
cakes which I had to convert into the Christ of the mass. Some of these
I ate; others I carried about with me for the sick; and others I placed
in the tabernacle for the adoration of the people.

I am often asked:—“How is it that you could be guilty of such a gross
act of idolatry?” My only answer is the answer of the blind man of the
gospel: “I know not, only this one thing I know, that I was blind, and
could not see. But Jesus has touched my eyes and now I see.” (John ix.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.


On the day of my ordination to the priesthood, I had to believe, with
all the priests of Rome, that it was within the limits of my powers to
go into all the bakeries of Quebec, and change all the loaves and
biscuits in that old city, into the body, blood, soul and divinity of
our Lord Jesus Christ, by pronouncing over them the five words: HOC EST
ENIM CORPUS MEUM. Nothing would have remained of these loaves and
biscuits but the smell, the color, the taste.

2. Every bishop and priest of the cities of New York and Boston,
Chicago, Montreal, Paris and London, etc., firmly believes and teaches
that he has the power to turn all the loaves of their cities, of their
dioceses, nay, of the whole world, into the body, blood, soul and
divinity of our Saviour Jesus Christ. And, though they have never yet
found it advisable to do that wonderful miracle, they consider, and say,
that to entertain any doubt about the power to perform that marvel, is
as criminal as to entertain any doubt about the existence of God.

3. When in the Seminary of Nicolet, I heard, several times, our
Superior, the Rev. Mr. Raimbault, tell us that a French priest having
been condemned to death in Paris, when dragged to the scaffold had,
through revenge, consecrated and changed into Jesus Christ all the
loaves of the bakeries of that great city which were along the streets
through which he had to pass; and though our learned superior condemned
that action in the strongest terms, yet he told us that the consecration
was valid, and that the loaves were really changed into the body, blood,
soul and divinity of the Saviour of the world. And I was bound to
believe it under pain of eternal damnation.

4. Before my ordination I had been obliged to learn by heart, in one of
the most sacred books of the Church of Rome, (Missale Romanism, p. 63)
the following statement: “If, after the consecration, the consecrated
bread disappear, taken away by the wind, or through any miracle; or
dragged away by an animal, let the priest take a new bread, consecrate
it, and continue his mass.”

And at page 57 I had learned, “If a fly or spider fall into the chalice,
after the consecration, let the priest take and eat it, if he does not
feel an insurmountable repugnance; but if he cannot swallow it, let him
wash it and burn it and throw the ashes into the sacrarium.”

5. In the month of January, 1834, I heard the following fact from the
Rev. Mr. Paquette, curate of St. Gervais, at a grand dinner which he had
given to the neighboring priests:

“When young, I was the vicar of a curate who could eat as much as two of
us, and drink as much as _four_. He was tall and strong, and he has left
the dark marks of his hard fists on the nose of more than one of his
beloved sheep; for his anger was really terrible after he drank his
bottle of wine.

“One day, after a sumptuous dinner, he was called to carry the good god
(Le Bon Dieu), to a dying man. It was mid-winter. The cold was intense.
The wind was blowing hard. There was at least five or six feet of snow,
and the roads were almost impassable. It was really a serious matter to
travel nine miles on such a day, but there was no help. The messenger
was one of the first marguilliers (elders) who was very pressing, and
the dying man was one of the first citizens of the place. The curate,
after a few grumblings, drank a tumbler of good Jamaica with his
marguillier as a preventative against the cold, went to church, took the
good god (Le Bon Dieu), and threw himself into the sleigh; wrapped as
well as possible in his large buffalo robes.

“Though there were two horses, one before the other, to drag the sleigh,
the journey was a long and tedious one, which was made still worse by an
unlucky circumstance. They were met half-way by another traveler coming
from the opposite direction. The road was too narrow to allow the two
sleighs and horses to remain easily on firm ground when passing by each
other, and it would have required a good deal of skill and patience in
driving the horses to prevent them from falling into the soft snow. It
is well known that when once horses are sunk into five or six feet of
snow, the more they struggle the deeper they sink.

“The marguillier, who was carrying the ‘good god,’ with the cure,
naturally hoped to have the privilege of keeping the middle of the road
and escaping the danger of getting his horses wounded, and his sleigh
broken. He cried to the other traveler, in a high tone of authority:
“Traveler! let me have the road. Turn your horses into the snow! Make
haste, I am in a hurry. I carry the good god!”

“Unfortunately the traveler was a heretic, who cared much more for his
horses than for the “good god.” He answered:

“Le Diable emporte ton Bon Dieu avant que je ne casse le cou de mon
cheval!” “The devil take your god before I consent to break the neck of
my horse. If your god has not taught you the rules of law and of common
sense, I will give you a free lecture on that matter,” and jumping out
of his sleigh, he took the reins of the front horse of the marguillier
to help him to walk on the side of the road, and keep the half of it for

“But the marguillier, who was naturally a very impatient and fearless
man, had drank too much with my curate, before he left the parsonage, to
keep cool, as he ought to have done. He also jumped out of his sleigh,
ran to the stranger, took his cravat in his left hand and raised his
right one to strike him in the face.

“Unfortunately for him, the heretic seemed to have foreseen all this. He
had left his overcoat in the sleigh and was more ready for the conflict
than his assailant. He was also a real giant in size and strength. As
quick as lightning his right and left fists fell like iron masses on the
face of the poor marguillier, and threw him on his back in the soft
snow, where he almost disappeared.

“Till then the curate had been a silent spectator; but the sight and the
cries of his friend, whom the stranger was pommelling without mercy,
made him lose his patience. Taking the little silk bag which contained
the ‘good god’ from about his neck, where it was tied, he put it on the
seat of the sleigh, and said: ‘Dear good god! Please remain neutral; I
must help my marguillier! Take no part in this conflict, and I will
punish that infamous Protestant as he deserves.’

“But the unfortunate marguillier was entirely put _hors de combat_
before the curate could go to his help. His face was horribly cut—three
teeth were broken—the lower jaw dislocated, and the eyes were so
terribly damaged that it took several days before he could see anything.

“When the heretic saw the priest coming to renew the battle, he threw
down his other coat to be freer in his movements. The curate had not
been so wise. Relying too much on his herculean strength, covered with
his heavy overcoat, on which was his white surplice, he threw himself on
the stranger, like a big rock which falls from the mountain and rolls
upon the oak below.

“Both of these combatants were real giants, and the first blows must
have been terrible on both sides. But the ‘infamous heretic’ probably
had not drank so much as my curate before leaving home, or perhaps he
was more expert in the exchange of these bloody jokes. The battle was
long and the blood flowed pretty freely on both sides. The cries of the
combatants might have been heard at a long distance, were it not for the
roaring noise of the wind, which at that instant was blowing a

“The storm, the cries, the blows, the blood, the surplice and the
overcoat of the priest torn to rags, the shirt of the stranger reddened
with gore, made such a terrible spectacle, that in the end the horses of
the marguillier, though well-trained animals, took fright and threw
themselves into the snow, turned their backs to the storm and made for
home. They dragged the fragments of the upset sleigh a pretty long
distance, and arrived at the door of their stable with only some
diminutive parts of the harness.

“The ‘good god’ had evidently heard the prayer of my curate, and he had
remained neutral; at all events he had not taken the part of his priest,
for he lost the day, and the infamous Protestant remained master of the

“The curate had to help his marguillier out of the snow in which he was
buried, and where he had lain like a slaughtered ox. Both had to walk,
or rather crawl, nearly half a mile in snow to their knees, before they
could reach the nearest farmhouse, where they arrived when it was dark.

“But the worst is not told. You remember when my curate had put the box
containing the ‘good god’ on the seat of the sleigh, before going to
fight. The horses had dragged the sleigh a certain distance, upset and
smashed it. The little silk bag, with the silver box and its precious
contents, was lost in the snow, and though several hundred people had
looked for it, several days at different times, it could not be found.
It was only late in the month of June, that a little boy, seeing some
rags in the mud of the ditch, along the highway, lifted them and a
little silver box fell out. Suspecting that it was what the people had
looked for so many days during the last winter, he took it to the

“I was there when it was opened; we had the hope that the ‘good god’
would be found pretty intact, but we were doomed to be disappointed,
_The good god was entirely melted away. Le Bon Dieu etait fondu!_”

During the recital of that spicy story, which was told in the most
amusing and comical way, the priests had drunk freely and laughed
heartily. But when the conclusion came: “Le Bon Dieu etait fondu!”

“The good god was melted away!” There was a burst of laughter such as I
never heard—the priests striking the floor with their feet, and the
table with their hands, filled the house with the cries, “The good god
melted away!”

“The good god melted away!”

“Le Bon Dieu est fondu!” “Le Bon Dieu est fondu!” Yes, the god of Rome,
dragged away by a drunken priest, and really melted away in the muddy
ditch. This glorious fact was proclaimed by his own priests in the midst
of convulsive laughter, and at tables covered with scores of bottles
just emptied by them!

6. About the middle of March, 1839, I had one of the most unfortunate
days of my Roman Catholic priestly life. At about two o’clock in the
afternoon, a poor Irishman had come in haste from beyond the high
mountains, between Lake Beauport and the river Morency, to ask me to go
and anoint a dying woman. It took me ten minutes to run to the church,
put the “good god” in the little silver box, shut the whole in my vest
pocket and jump into the Irishman’s rough sleigh. The roads were
exceedingly bad, and we had to go very slowly. At 7 p. m. we were yet
more than three miles from the sick woman’s house. It was very dark, and
the horse was so exhausted that it was impossible to go any further
through the gloomy forest. I determined to pass the night at a poor
Irish cabin which was near the road. I knocked at the door, asked
hospitality, and was welcomed with that warm-hearted demonstration of
respect which the Roman Catholic Irishman knows, better than any other
man, how to pay to his priests.

The shanty, twenty-four feet long by sixteen wide, was built with round
logs, between which a liberal supply of clay, instead of mortar had been
thrown, to prevent the wind and cold from entering. Six fat, though not
absolutely well-washed, healthy boys and girls, half-naked, presented
themselves around their good parents as the living witnesses that this
cabin, in spite of its ugly appearance, was really a happy home for its

Besides the eight human beings sheltered beneath that hospitable roof, I
saw, at one end, a magnificent cow with her newborn calf, and two fine
pigs. These two last boarders were separated from the rest of the family
only by a branch partition two or three feet high.

“Please your reverence,” said the good woman, after she had prepared our
supper, “excuse our poverty, but be sure that we feel happy and much
honored to have you in our humble dwelling for the night. My only regret
is that we have only potatoes, milk and butter to give you for your
supper. In these backwoods, tea, sugar and wheat flour are unknown

I thanked that good woman for her hospitality, and caused her to rejoice
not a little by assuring her that good potatoes, fresh butter and milk,
were the best delicacies which could be offered to me in any place. I
sat at the table and ate one of the most delicious suppers of my life.
The potatoes were exceedingly well-cooked—the butter cream and milk of
the best quality, and my appetite was not a little sharpened by the long
journey over the steep mountains.

I had not told these good people, nor even my driver, that I had “Le bon
Dieu,” the good god, with me in my vest pocket. It would have made them
too uneasy, and would have added too much to my other difficulties. When
the time of sleeping arrived, I went to bed with all my clothing, and
slept well; for I was very tired by the tedious and broken roads from
Beauport to these distant mountains.

Next morning, before breakfast and the dawn of day, I was up, and as
soon as we had a glimpse of light to see our way, I left for the house
of the sick woman, after offering a silent prayer.

I had not traveled a quarter of a mile when I put my hand into my vest
pocket, and to my indescribable dismay, I found that the little silver
box containing the “good god” was missing. A cold sweat ran through my
frame. I told my driver to stop and turn back immediately, that I had
lost something which might be found in the bed where I had slept. It did
not take five minutes to retrace our way.

On opening the door I found the poor woman and her husband almost
besides themselves, and distressed beyond measure. They were pale and
trembling as criminals who expected to be condemned.

“Did you not find a little silver box after I left?” I said.

“O, my God!” answered the desolate woman, “Yes, I have found it, but
would to God I had never seen it. There it is.”

“But why do you regret finding it, when I am too happy to find it here,
safe in your hands?” I replied.

“Ah! your reverence, you do not know what a terrible misfortune has just
happened to me not more than half a minute before you knocked at the

“What misfortune can have fallen upon you in so short a time,” I

“Well, please your reverence, open the little box and you will
understand me.”

I opened it, but the “good god” was not in it!! Looking in the face of
the poor distressed woman, I asked her, “What does this mean? It is

“It means,” answered she, “that I am the most unfortunate of women! Not
more than five minutes after you had left the house, I went to your bed
and found that little box. Not knowing what it was, I showed it to my
children and to my husband. I asked him to open it, but he refused to do
it. I then turned it on every side, trying to guess what it could
contain; till the devil tempted me so much that I determined to open it.
I came to this corner, where this pale lamp is used to remain on that
little shelf, and I opened it. But, O, my God; I do not dare to tell the

At these words she fell on the floor in a fit of nervous excitement—her
cries were piercing, her mouth was foaming. She was cruelly tearing her
hair with her own hands. The shrieks and lamentations of the children
were so distressing that I could hardly prevent myself from crying also.

After a few moments of the most agonizing anxiety, seeing that the poor
woman was becoming calm, I addressed myself to the husband, and said:
“Please give me the explanation of these strange things?”

He could hardly speak at first, but as I was very pressing, he told me
with a trembling voice: “Please your reverence; look into that vessel
that the children use, and you will perhaps understand our desolation!
When my wife opened the little silver box, she did not observe the
vessel was there, just beneath her hands. In the opening, what was in
the silver box fell into that vase, and sank! We were all filled with
consternation when you knocked at the door and entered.”

I felt struck with such unspeakable horror at the thought that the body,
blood, soul and divinity of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, was there, sunk
into that vase, that I remained speechless, and for a long time did not
know what to do. At first it came to my mind to plunge my hands into the
vase and try to get my Saviour out of that sepulchre of ignominy. But I
could not muster courage to do so.

At last I requested the poor desolated family to dig a hole three feet
deep in the ground, and deposit it, with its contents, and I left the
house, after I had forbidden them from ever saying a word about that
awful calamity.

7. In one of the most sacred books of the laws and regulations of the
Church of Rome (Missale Romanism), we read, page 58, “If the priest
after the communion vomit, and that in the vomited matter the
consecrated bread appears, let him swallow what he has vomited. But if
he feels too much repugnance to swallow it, let him separate the body of
Christ (the consecrated bread), from the vomited matter, till it be
entirely corrupted, and then throw it into the sacrarium.”

8. When a priest of Rome, I was bound, with all the Roman Catholics, to
believe that Christ had taken His own body, with his own hand to His
mouth! and that he had eaten Himself, not in a spiritual, but in a
substantial, material way! After eating himself, he had given himself to
each one of his apostles, who then ate him also!!

9. Before closing this chapter, let the reader allow me to ask him, if
the world in its darkest ages of paganism has ever witnessed such a
system of idolatry, so debasing, impious, ridiculous and diabolical in
its consequences as the Church of Rome teaches in the dogma of

When, with the light of the gospel in hand, the Christian goes into
those horrible recesses of superstition, folly and impiety, he can
hardly believe what his eyes see and his ears hear. It seems impossible
that men can consent to worship a god whom the rats can eat! A god who
can be dragged away and lost in a muddy ditch by a drunken priest! A god
who can be eaten, vomited, and eaten again by those who are courageous
enough to eat again what they have vomited!!

The religion of Rome is not a religion: it is the mockery, the
destruction, the ignominious carricature of religion. The Church of
Rome, as a public fact, is nothing but the accomplishment of the awful
prophecy: “Because they receive not the love of the truth that they
might be saved, God shall send them strong delusions that they might
believe a lie.” (2 Thess. ii. x. xi.)

                              CHAPTER XIX.


On the 24th September, 1833, Rev. Mr. Casault, secretary of the bishop
of Quebec, presented to me the official letters which named me the vicar
of the Rev. Mr. Perras, arch-priest, and curate of St. Charles, Rivierre
Boyer, and I was soon on my way, with a cheerful heart, to fill the post
assigned to me by my superior.

The parish of St. Charles is beautifully situated about twenty miles
south-west of Quebec, on the banks of a river, which flows in its very
midst, from north to south. Its large farm-houses and barns, neatly
white-washed with lime, were the symbols of peace and comfort. The
vandal axe had not yet destroyed the centenary forests which covered the
country. On almost every farm a splendid grove of maples had been
reserved as the witness of the intelligence and taste of the people.

I had often heard of the Rev. Mr. Perras, as one of the most learned,
pious and venerable priests of Canada. I had even been told that several
of the governors of Quebec had chosen him for the French teacher of
their children. When I arrived he was absent on a sick call, but his
sister received me with every mark of refined politeness. Under the
burden of her five and fifty years she had kept all the freshness and
amiability of youth. After a few words of welcome, she showed me my
study and sleeping room. They were both perfumed with the fragrance of
two magnificent bouquets of the choicest flowers, on the top of one of
which was written the words: “Welcome to the angel whom the Lord sends
to us as his messenger.” The two rooms were the perfection of neatness
and comfort. I shut the doors and fell on my knees to thank God and the
blessed Virgin for having given me such a home. Ten minutes later I came
back to the large parlor, where I found Miss Perras waiting for me, to
offer me a glass of wine and some excellent “pain de savoie,” as it was
the universal custom, then, to do in every respectable house. She then
told me how her brother, the curate, and herself were happy when they
heard that I was to come and live with them. She had known my mother
before her marriage, and she told me how she had passed several happy
days in her company.

She could not speak to me of any subject more interesting, than my
mother; for, though she had died a few years before, she had never
ceased to be present to my mind, and near and dear to my heart.

Miss Perras had not spoken long when the curate arrived. I rose to meet
him, but it is impossible to adequately express what I felt at that
moment. The Israelites were hardly struck with more awe when they saw
Moses coming down from Mount Sinai, than I was at the first sight I had
of that venerable man.

Rev. Mr. Perras was then about sixty-five years old. He was a tall
man—almost a giant. No army officer, no king ever bore his head with
more dignity. But his beautiful blue eyes, which were the embodiment of
kindness, tempered the dignity of his mien. His hair, which was
beginning to whiten, had not yet lost its golden lustre. It seemed as if
silver and gold were mixed on his head to adorn and beautify it. There
was on his face an expression of peace, calm, piety and kindness, which
entirely won my heart and respect. When, with a smile on his lips, he
extended his hands towards me, I felt beside myself, I fell on my knees
and said: “Mr. Perras, God sends me to you that you may be my teacher
and my father. You will have to guide my first and inexperienced steps
in the holy ministry. Do bless me and pray that I may be a good priest
as you are yourself.”

That unpremeditated and earnest act of mine, so touched the good old
priest, that he could hardly speak. Leaning towards me, he raised me up
and pressed me to his bosom, and with a voice trembling with emotion he
said, “May God bless you, my dear sir, and may he also be blessed for
having chosen you to help me carry the burden of the holy ministry in my
old age.” After half-an-hour of the most interesting conversation, he
showed me his library, which was very large and composed of the best
books which a priest of Rome is allowed to read; and he very kindly put
it at my service.

Next morning, after breakfast, he handed me a large and neat sheet of
paper, headed by these latin words:

                         “ORDO DUCIT AD DEUM.”

It was the rule of life which he had imposed upon himself, to guide all
the hours of the day in such a way that not a moment could be given to
idleness or vain pastime.

“Would you be kind enough,” he said, “to read this and tell me if it
suits your views? I have found great spiritual and temporal benefits in
following these rules of life, and would be very happy if my dear young
coadjutor would unite with me in walking in the ways of an orderly,
Christian and priestly life.

I read this document with interest and pleasure, and handed it back to
him saying: “I will be very happy, with the help of God, to follow with
you the wise rules set down here for a holy and priestly life.”

Thinking that these rules might be interesting to the reader, I give
them here in full:

    1. Rising,                                          5.30 a. m.

    2. Prayer and meditation                            6 to 6.30 a. m.

    3. Mass, hearing confession and recitation of
       brevarium                                        6.30 to 8 a. m.

    4. Breakfast                                        8 a. m.

    5. Visitation of the sick, and reading the lives of 8.30 to 10 a.
       the saints                                       m.

    6. Study of philosophical, historical, or
       theological books                                11 a. m. to 12.

    7. Dinner                                           12 to  12.30.

    8. Recreation and conversation                      12.30 to 1.30.

    9. Recitation of vespers                            1.30 to 2 p. m.

   10. Study of history, theology or philosophy         2 to 4 p. m.

   11. Visit to the holy sacrament and reading
       “Imitation of Jesus Christ,”                     4 to 4.30 p. m.

   12. Hearing of confessions, or visit to the sick, or
       study                                            4.30 to 6 p. m.

   13. Supper                                           6 to 6.30 p. m.

   14. Recreation                                       6.30 to 8 p. m.

   15. Chaplet—reading of the Holy Scriptures and
       prayer                                           8 to 9 p. m.

   16. Going to bed                                     9 p. m.

Such was our daily life during the eight months which it was my
privilege to remain with the venerable Mr. Perras, except that Thursdays
were invariably given to visit some of the neighboring curates, and the
Sabbath days spent in hearing confessions, and performing the public
services of the church.

The conversation of Mr. Perras was generally exceedingly interesting. I
never heard from him any idle, frivolous talking, as it is so much the
habit among the priests. He was well versed in the literature,
philosophy, history and theology of Rome. He had personally known almost
all the bishops and priests of the last fifty years, and his memory was
well stored with anecdotes and facts concerning the clergy, from almost
the days of the conquest of Canada. I could write many interesting
things, were I to publish what I heard from him, concerning the doings
of the clergy. I will only give two or three of the facts of that
interesting period of the church in Canada.

A couple of months before my arrival at St. Charles, the vicar who
preceded me, called Lajus, had publicly eloped with one of his beautiful
penitents, who, after three months of public scandal, had repented and
come back to her heart-broken parents. About the same time a neighboring
curate, in whom I had great confidence, compromised himself also, with
one of his fair parishioners, in a most shameful, though less public
way. These two scandals, which came to my knowledge almost at the same
time, distressed me exceedingly, and for nearly a week I felt so
overwhelmed with shame, that I dreaded to show my face in public, and I
almost regretted that I ever became a priest. My nights were sleepless;
the best viands of the table had lost their relish. I could hardly eat
anything. My conversations with Mr. Perras had lost their charms. I even
could hardly talk with him or anybody else.

“Are you sick, my young friend?” said he to me one day.

“No, sir, I am not sick, but I am sad.”

He replied, “Can I know the cause of your sadness? You used to be so
cheerful and happy since you came here. I must bring you back to your
former happy frame of mind. Please tell me what is the matter with you?
I am an old man and I know many remedies for the soul as well as for the
body. Open your heart to me, and I hope soon to see that dark cloud
which is over you pass away.”

“The two last awful scandals given by the priests,” I answered, “are the
cause of my sadness. The news of the fall of these two confreres, one of
whom seemed to me so respectable, has fallen upon me like a thunderbolt.
Though I had heard something of that nature when I was a simple
ecclesiastic in the college, I had not the least idea that such was the
life of so many priests. The fact of the human frailty of so many, is
really distressing. How can one hope to stand up on one’s feet when he
sees such strong men fall by one’s side? What will become of our holy
church in Canada, and all over the world, if her most devoted priests
are so weak and have so little self-respect, and so little fear of God?”

“My dear young friend,” answered Mr. Perras, “Our holy church is
infallible. The gates of hell can not prevail against her; but the
assurance of her perpetuity and infallibility does not rest on any human
foundation. It does not rest on the personal holiness of her priests;
but it rests on the promises of Jesus Christ. Her perpetuity and
infallibility are a perpetual miracle. It requires the constant working
of Jesus Christ to keep her pure and holy, in spite of the sins and
scandals of her priests. Even the clearest proof that our holy church
has a promise of perpetuity and infallibility, is drawn from the very
sins and scandals of her priests; for those sins and scandals would have
destroyed her long ago, if Christ was not in the midst to save and
sustain her. Just as the ark of Noah was miraculously saved by the
mighty hand of God, when the waters of the deluge would otherwise have
wrecked it, so our holy church is miraculously prevented from perishing
in the flood of iniquities by which too many priests have deluged the
world. By the great mercy and power of God, the more the waters of the
deluge were flowing on the earth, the more the ark was raised towards
heaven by these very waters. So it is with our holy church. The very
sins of the priests make that spotless spouse of Jesus Christ fly away
higher and higher towards the regions of holiness, as it is in God. Let,
therefore, your faith and confidence in our holy church, and your
respect for her, remain firm and unshaken in the midst of all these
scandals. Let your zeal be rekindled for her glory and extension, at the
sight of the unfortunate confreres who yield to the attacks of the
enemy. Just as the valiant soldier makes superhuman efforts to save the
flag, when he sees those who carried it fall on the battle-field. Oh!
you will see more of our flag-bearers slaughtered before you reach my
age. But be not disheartened or shaken by that sad spectacle; for once
more our holy church will stand forever, in spite of all those human
miseries, for her strength and her infallibility do not lie in men, but
in Jesus Christ, whose promises will stand in spite of all the efforts
of hell.

“I am near the end of my course, and thanks be to God, my faith in our
holy church is stronger than ever, though I have seen and heard many
things, compared with which, the facts which just now distress you are
mere trifles. In order the better to inure you to the conflict, and to
prepare you to hear and see more deplorable things than what is now
troubling you, I think it is my duty to tell you a fact which I got from
the late Lord Bishop Plessis. I have never revealed it to anybody, but
my interest in you is so great that I will tell it to you, and my
confidence in your wisdom is so absolute, that I am sure you will never
abuse it. What I will reveal to you is of such a nature that we must
keep it among ourselves, and never let it be known to the people, for it
would diminish, if not destroy, their respect and confidence in us,
respect and confidence, without which, it would become almost impossible
to lead them.

“I have already told you that the late venerable Bishop Plessis was my
personal friend. Our intimacy had sprung up when we were studying under
the same roof in the seminary of St. Sulpice, Montreal, and it had
increased year after year till the last hour of his life. Every summer,
when he had reached the end of the three months of episcopal visitation
of his diocese, he used to come and spend eight or ten days of absolute
rest and enjoyment of private and solitary life with me, in this
parsonage. The two rooms you occupy were his, and he told me many times
that the happiest days of his episcopal life were those passed in this

“One day he had come from his three months’ visit, more worn out than
ever, and when I sat down with him in this parlor, I was almost
frightened by the air of distress which covered his face. Instead of
finding him the loquacious, amiable and cheerful guest I used to have in
him, he was taciturn, cast down, distressed. I felt really uneasy for
the first time, in his presence, but as it was the last hour of the day,
I supposed that this was due to his extreme fatigue, and I hoped that
the rest of the night would bring about such a change in my venerable
friend, that I would find him the next morning, what he used to be, the
most amiable and interesting of men.

“I was, myself, completely worn out. I had traveled nearly thirty miles
that day, to go to receive him at St. Thomas. The heat was oppressive,
the roads very bad, and the dust awful. I was in need of rest, and I was
hardly in my bed, when I fell into a profound sleep, and slept till
three o’clock in the morning. I was then suddenly awakened by sobs and
half-suppressed lamentations and prayers, which were evidently coming
from the bishop’s room. Without losing a moment, I went and knocked at
the door, inquiring about the cause of these sobs. Evidently the poor
bishop had not suspected that I could hear him.

“‘Sobs! Sobs!’ he answered, ‘What do you mean by that. Please go back to
your room and sleep. Do not trouble yourself about me, I am well,’ and
he absolutely refused to open the door of his room. The remaining hours
of the night, of course, were sleepless ones for me. The sobs of the
bishop were more suppressed, but he could not sufficiently suppress them
to prevent me from hearing them. The next morning his eyes were reddened
with weeping, and his face was that of one who had suffered intensely
all the night. After breakfast I said to him: “My lord, last night has
been one of desolation to your lordship; for God’s sake, and in the name
of the sacred ties of friendship, which has united us during so many
years, please tell me what is the cause of your sorrow. It will become
less the very moment you share it with your friend.”

“The bishop answered me: ‘You are right when you think that I am under
the burden of a great desolation; but its cause is of such a nature,
that I cannot reveal it even to you, my dear friend. It is only at the
feet of Jesus Christ and His holy mother, that I must go to unburden my
heart. If God does not come to my help, it is sure that I must die from
it. But I will carry with me into my grave, the awful mystery which
kills me.’

“In vain, during the rest of the day, I did all that I could to persuade
Monseigneur Plessis to reveal the cause of his grief. I failed. At last,
through respect for him, I withdrew to my own room, and left him alone,
knowing that solitude is sometimes the best friend of a desolated mind.
His lordship, that evening, withdrew to his sleeping room sooner than
usual, and I retired to my room much later. But sleep was out of the
question for me that night, for his desolation seemed to be so great,
and his tears so abundant, that when he bade me ‘good night,’ I was in
fear of finding my venerable, and more than ever dear friend, dead in
his bed the next morning. I watched him, without closing my eyes, from
the adjoining room, from ten o’clock till the next morning. Though it
was evident that he was making great efforts to suppress his sobs, I
could see that his sorrow was still more intense that night, than the
last one, and my mental agony was not much less than his, during those
distressing hours.

“But I formed an extreme resolution, which I put into effect the very
moment that he came out of his room the next morning, to salute me.

“‘My Lord,’ said I, ‘I thought till the night before last, that you
honored me with your friendship, but I see to-day that I was mistaken.
You do not consider me as your friend, for if you would look upon me as
a friend worthy of your confidence, you would unburden your heart unto
mine. A true friend has no secret from a true friend. What is the use of
friendship if it be not to help each other to carry the burdens of life!
I found myself honored by your presence in my house, so long as I
considered myself as your own friend. But now, that I see I have lost
your confidence, please allow me frankly to say to your lordship, that I
do not feel the same at your presence here. Besides, it seems to me very
probable that the terrible burden which you want to carry alone will
kill you, and that very soon, and I do not at all like the idea of
finding you suddenly dead in my parsonage, and having the coroner
holding his inquest on your body, and making the painful inquiries which
are always made upon one suddenly taken by death, particularly when he
belongs to the highest ranks of society. Then, my lord, be not offended
if I respectfully request your lordship to find another lodging as soon
as possible.’

“My words fell upon the bishop like a thunderbolt. He seemed to awaken
from a profound sleep. With a deep sigh he looked in my face, with his
eyes rolling in tears, and said:

“‘You are right, Perras, I ought never to have concealed my sorrow from
such a friend as you have always been for more than half a century to
me. But you are the only one to whom I can reveal it. No doubt your
priestly and Christian heart will not be less broken than mine; but you
will help me with your prayers and wise counsels to carry it. However,
before I initiate you into such an awful mystery, we must pray.’

“We then knelt down and, we said together a chaplet to invoke the power
of the Virgin Mary, after which we recited Psalm li: ‘Misere mihi.’ Have
mercy upon me, O Lord!

“There, sitting by me on this sofa, the bishop said: ‘My dear Perras,
you are the only one to whom I could reveal what you are about to hear,
for I think you are the only one who can hear such a terrible secret
without revealing it, and because, also, you are the only friend whose
advice can guide me in this terrible affliction.

“‘You know that I have just finished the visit of my immense diocese of
Quebec. It has taken me several years of hard work and fatigue, to see
by my own eyes, and know by myself, the gains and losses—in a word, the
strength and life of our holy church. I will not speak to you of the
people. They are, as a general thing, truly religious and faithful to
the church. But the priests. O, Great God! will I tell you what they
are? My dear Perras, I would almost die with joy, if God would tell me
that I am mistaken. But, alas! I am not mistaken. The sad, the terrible
truth is this (putting his right hand on his forehead,) the priests! Ah!
with the exception of you and three others, are infidels and atheists!
O, my God! my God! what will become of the church in the hands of such
wicked men!’ and covering his face with his hands, the bishop burst into
tears, and for one hour could not say a word. I myself remained mute.

“At first I regretted having pressed the bishop to reveal such an
unexpected mystery of iniquity. But, taking counsel of our very
fathomless humiliation and distress, after an hour of silence, spent in
pacing the walks of the garden, almost unable to look each other in the
face, I said: ‘My lord, what you have told me is surely the saddest
thing that I ever heard; but allow me to tell you that your sorrows are
out of the limits of your high intelligence and your profound science.
If you read the history of our holy church, from the seventh to the
fifteenth century, you will know that the spotless spouse of Christ has
seen as dark days, if not darker, in Italy, France, Spain and Germany,
as she does in Canada, and though the saints of those days deplored the
errors and crimes of those dark ages, they have not killed themselves
with their vain tears as you are doing.’

“Taking the bishop by the hand, I led him to the library, and opened the
pages of the history of the church, by Cardinals Baronius and Henrion, I
showed him the names of more than fifty Popes who had evidently been
atheists and infidels. I read to him the lives of Borgia, Alexander VI.
and a dozen others, who would surely and justly be hanged to-day by the
executioner of Quebec, were they, in that city, committing one half of
the public crimes of adultery, murder, debauchery of every kind, which
they committed in Rome, Avignon, Naples, etc., etc. I read to him some
of the public and undeniable crimes of the successors of the apostles,
and of the inferior clergy, and I easily and clearly proved to him that
his priests, though infidels and atheists, were angels of pity, modesty,
purity and religion, when compared with a Borgia, who publicly lived as
a married man with his own daughter, and had a child by her. He agreed
with me that several of the Alexanders, the Johns, the Piuses and the
Leos, were sunk much deeper in the abyss of every kind of iniquity than
his priests.

“Five hours passed in so perusing the sad but irrefutable pages of the
history of our holy church, wrought a marvelous and beneficial change in
the mind of Monseigneur Plessis.

“My conclusion was, that if our holy church had been able to resist the
deadly influence of such scandals during so many centuries in Europe,
she would not be destroyed in Canada, even by the legion of atheists by
whom she is served to-day.

“The bishop acknowledged that my conclusion was correct. He thanked me
for the good I had done him, by preventing him from despairing of the
future of our holy church in Canada, and the rest of the days which he
spent with me, he was almost as cheerful and amiable as before.

“Now, my dear young friend,” added Mr. Perras, “I hope you will be as
reasonable and logical in your religion as Bishop Plessis, who was
probably the greatest man Canada has ever had. When Satan tries to shake
your faith by the scandals you see, remember that Stephen, after having
fought with his adversary,—the Pope Constantine II., put out his eyes
and condemned him to die. Remember that other Pope, who through revenge
against his predecessor, had him exhumed, brought his dead body before
judges, then charged him with the most horrible crimes, which he proved
by the testimony of scores of eye-witnesses, got him (the dead Pope), to
be condemned to be beheaded and dragged with ropes through the muddy
streets of Rome, and thrown into the river Tiber. Yes, when your mind is
oppressed by the secret crimes of the priests, which you will know,
either through the confessional or by public rumor, remember that more
than twelve Popes have been raised to that high and holy dignity by the
rich and influential prostitutes of Rome, with whom they were publicly
living in the most scandalous way. Remember that young bastard, John
XI., the son of Pope Sergius, who was consecrated Pope, when only twelve
years old, by the influence of his prostitute mother, Marosian, but who
was so horribly profligate that he was deposed by the people and the
clergy of Rome.

“Well, if our holy church has been able to pass through such storms
without perishing, is it not a living proof that Christ is her pilot,
that she is imperishable and infallible because St. Peter is her
foundation, ‘Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram edificabo Ecclesiam meam,
et portae inferi non prevalebunt adversus eam.’”

Oh, my God! what shall I confess to my confusion, what my thoughts were
during that conversation, or rather that lecture of my curate, which
lasted more than an hour! Yes, to thy eternal glory, and to my eternal
shame, I must say the truth. When the priest was exhibiting to me the
horrible unmentionable crimes of so many of our Popes, to calm my fears
and strengthen my shaken faith, a mysterious voice was repeating to the
ears of my soul, the dear Saviour’s words: “A good tree cannot bring
forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the
fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them,” and in spite of
myself the voice of my conscience cried in thundering tones that a
church, whose head and members were so horribly corrupt, could not, by
any means, be the Church of Christ.

But the most sacred and imperative law of my church, which I had
promised by oaths, was, that I would never obey the voice of my
conscience, nor follow the dictates of my private judgment, when they
were in opposition to the teachings of my church. Too honest to admit
the conclusions of Mr. Perras, which were evidently the conclusions of
my church, I was too cowardly and too mean to bravely express my own
mind, and repeat the words of the Son of God: “By their fruits ye shall
know them! A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit!”

                              CHAPTER XX.


The name of Louis Joseph Papineau will be forever dear to the French
Canadians; for whatever may be the political party to which one belongs
in Canada, he cannot deny that it is to the ardent patriotism, the
indomitable energy, and the remarkable eloquence of that great patriot,
that Canada is indebted for the greater part of the political reforms
which promise in a near future to raise the country of my birth to the
rank of a great and free nation.

It is not my intention to speak of the political parties which divided
the people of Canada into two camps in 1833. The long and trying abuses
under which our conquered race was groaning, and which at last brought
about the bloody insurrections of 1837 and 1838, are matters of history,
which do not pertain to the plea of this work. I will speak of Papineau,
and the brilliant galaxy of talented young men by whom he was surrounded
and supported, only in connection with their difficulties with the
clergy and the Church of Rome.

Papineau, Lefontaine, Bedard, Cartier and others, though born in the
Church of Rome, were only nominal Romanists. I have been personally
acquainted with every one of them, and I know they were not in the habit
of confessing. Several times I invited them to fulfil that duty, which I
considered, then, of the utmost importance to be saved. They invariably
answered me with jests, which distressed me; for I could see that they
did not believe in the efficacy of auricular confession. These men were
honest and earnest in their efforts to raise their countrymen from the
humiliating and inferior position which they occupied compared with the
conquering race. They well understood that the first thing to be done in
order to put the French Canadians on a level with their British
compatriots, was to give good schools to the people; and they bravely
set themselves to show the necessity of having a good system of
education, for the country as well as for the city. But at the very
first attempt they found an insurmountable barrier to their patriotic
views in the clergy. The priests had everywhere the good common sense to
understand that their absolute power over the people was due to its
complete ignorance. They felt that that power would decrease in the same
proportion that light and education would spread among the masses. Hence
the almost insurmountable obstacles put by the clergy before the
patriots, to prevent them from reforming the system of education. The
only source of education, then in Canada, with the exception of the
colleges of Quebec, Montreal and Nicolet, consisted in one or two
schools in the principal parishes, entirely under the control of the
priests, and kept by their most devoted servants, while the new parishes
had none at all. The greater part of these teachers knew very little
more, and required nothing more from their pupils, than the reading of
the A, B, C, and their little catechism. When once admitted to the first
communion, the A, B, C, and the little catechism were soon forgotten,
and 95 in 100 of the French Canadian people were not even able to sign
their names! In many parishes, the curate, with his school-teacher, the
notary, and a half-dozen of others, were the only persons who could read
or write a letter. Papineau and his patriotic friends understood that
the French Canadian people were doomed to remain an inferior race in
their own country, if they were left in that shameful state of
ignorance. They did not conceal their indignation at the obstacles
placed by the clergy to prevent them from amending the system of
education. Several eloquent speeches were made by Papineau, who was
their “Parliament Speaker,” in answer to the clergy. The curates, in
their pulpits, as well as by the press, tried to show that Canada had
the best possible system of education—that the people were happy—that
too much education would bring into Canada the bitter fruits which had
grown in France,—infidelity, revolution, riots, bloodshed; that the
people were too poor to pay the heavy taxes which would be imposed for
the new system of education. In one of his addresses, Papineau answered
this last argument, showing the immense sums of money, foolishly given
by those so-called poor people, to gild the ceilings of the church (as
was the usage then). He made a calculation of the tithes paid to the
priests; of the costly images and statues of saints, which were to be
seen then, around all the interior of the churches, and he boldly said
that the priests would do better to induce the people to establish good
schools, and pay respectable teachers, than to lavish their money on
objects which were of so little benefit.

That address, which was reproduced by the only French paper of Quebec,
“Le Canadien,” fell upon the clergy like a hurricane upon a rotten
house, shaking it to its foundation. Everywhere Papineau and his party
were denounced as infidels, more dangerous than Protestants, and plans
were immediately laid down to prevent the people from reading “Le
Canadien,” the only French paper they could receive. Not more than half
a dozen were receiving it in St. Charles; but they used to read it to
their neighbors, who gathered on Sabbath afternoons to hear its
contents. We at first tried, through the confessional, to persuade the
subscribers to reject it, under the pretext that it was a bad paper;
that it spoke against the priests and would finally destroy our holy
religion. But, to our great dismay, our efforts failed. The curates then
had recourse to a more efficacious way of preserving the faith of the

The postmaster of St. Charles was, then, a man whom Mr. Perras had got
educated at his own expense in the seminary of Quebec. His name was
Chabot. That man was a perfect machine in the hands of his benefactor.
Mr. Perras forbade him to deliver any more of the numbers of that
journal to the subscribers, when there would be anything unfavorable to
the clergy in its columns. “Give them to me,” said he, “that I may burn
them, and when the people come to get them, give them such evasive
answers, that they may believe that it is the editor’s fault, or of some
other post-offices, if they have not received it.” From that day, every
time there was any censure of the clergy, the poor paper was consigned
to the flames. One evening, when Mr. Perras had, in my presence, thrown
a bundle of these papers into the stove, I told him: “Please allow me to
express to you my surprise at this act. Have we really the right to
deprive the subscribers of that paper, of their property? That paper is
theirs, they have paid for it. How can we take upon ourselves to destroy
it without their permission! Besides, you know the old proverb: _Les
pierres parlent_. (Stones speak.) If it were known by our people that we
destroy their papers, would not the consequences be very serious? Now,
Mr. Perras, you know my sincere respect for you, and I hope I do not go
against that respect by asking you to tell me by what right or authority
you do this? I would not put this question to you if you were the only
one who does it. But I know several others who do just the same thing. I
will, probably, be obliged, when a curate, to act in the same manner,
and I wish to know on what grounds I shall be justified in acting as you

“Are we not the spiritual fathers of our people,” answered Mr. Perras.

I replied, “Yes, sir, we are surely the spiritual fathers of our
people.” “Then,” rejoined Mr. Perras, “we have in spiritual matters all
the rights and duties which temporal fathers have, in temporal things,
toward their children. If a father sees a sharp knife in the hands of
his beloved but inexperienced child, and if he has good reasons to fear
that the dear child may wound himself, nay, destroy his own life with
that knife, is it not his duty, before God and man, to take it from his
hands and prevent him from touching it any more?”

“Yes,” I answered, “but allow me to draw your attention to a little
difference which I see between the corporal and the spiritual children
of your comparison. In the case you bring forward, of a father who takes
away the knife from the hands of a young and inexperienced child, that
knife has, very probably, been bought by the father. It has been paid
for with that father’s money. It is, then, the father’s knife. But the
papers of your spiritual children, which you have thrown into your
stove, have been paid for by them, and not by you. They are theirs,
then, before the laws of God and man, and they are not yours.”

I saw that my answer had cut the good old priest to the quick, and he
became more nervous than I had ever seen him. “I see that you are
young,” answered he; “you have not yet had time to meditate on the great
and broad principles of our holy church. I confess there is a difference
in the rights of the two children to which I had not paid attention, and
which, at first sight, may seem to diminish the strength of my argument.
But I have, here, an argument which will satisfy you, I hope. Some weeks
ago, I wrote to our venerable Bishop Panet about my intention of burning
that miserable and impious paper, “Le Canadien,” to prevent it from
poisoning the minds of our people against us, and he has approved me,
adding the advice, to be very prudent, and to act so secretly that there
would be no danger in being detected. Here is the letter of the holy
bishop, you may read it, if you like.”

“I thank you,” I replied, “I believe that what you say in reference to
that letter is correct. But suppose that our good bishop has made a
mistake in advising you to burn those papers, would you not have some
reasons to regret that burning, should you, sooner or later, detect that

“A reason of regretting to follow the advice of my superiors! Never!
Never? I fear, my dear young friend, that you do not sufficiently
understand the duties of an inferior, and the sacred rights of superiors
in our holy church. Have you not been told by your superiors in the
college of Nicolet, that there can be no sin in an inferior, who obeys
the orders or counsels of his legitimate superiors?”

“Yes sir,” I answered, “the Rev. Mr. Leprohon has told us that, in the
college of Nicolet.”

“But,” rejoined Mr. Perras, “your last question makes me fear that you
have forgotten what you have learned there. My dear young friend, do not
forget that it was the want of respect to their ecclesiastical
superiors, which caused the apostacy of Luther and Calvin, and damned so
many millions of heretics who have followed them. But in order to bring
your rebellious mind under the holy yoke of a perfect submission to your
superiors, I will show you, by our greatest and most approved
theologian, that I can burn these papers, without doing anything wrong
before God.”

He then went to his library, and brought me a volume of Liguori, from
which he read to me the following Latin words: Docet Sanchez, No.
19.—Parato aliquem occidere licite posse suaderi ut ab eo furetur, vel
ut fornicatur (Page 419.) “It is allowed to commit a sin of a lesser
degree, in order to prevent one of a graver nature.” With an air of
triumph he said, “Do you see now that I am absolutely justifiable in
destroying these pestilential papers. According to those principles of
our holy Church, you know well that even a woman is allowed to commit
the sin of adultery with a man who threatens to kill her, or himself, if
she rebukes him; because murder and suicide are greater crimes, and more
irremediable than adultery. So the burning of those papers, though a
sin, if done through malice, or without legitimate reasons, ceases to be
a sin; it is a holy action the moment I do it, to prevent the
destruction of our holy religion, and to save immortal souls.”

I must confess, to my shame, that the degrading principles of absolute
submission of the inferior to the superiors, which flattens everything
to the ground in the Church of Rome, had so completely wrought their
deadly work on me, that it was my wish to attain to that supreme
perfection of the priest of the Church of Rome, to become like a stick
in the hands of my superiors—like a corpse in their presence. But my God
was stronger than his unfaithful and blind servant, and he never allowed
me to go down to the bottom of that abyss of folly and impiety. In spite
of myself, I had left in me sufficient manhood to express my doubts
about that awful doctrine of my Church.

“I do not want to revolt against my superiors,” I answered, “and I hope
God will prevent me from falling into the abyss where Luther and Calvin
lost themselves. I only respectfully request you to tell me, if you
would not regret the burning of these papers, in case you would know
that Bishop Panet made a mistake in granting you the power of destroying
a property which is neither yours nor his—a property over which neither
of you has any control?”

It was the first time that I was not entirely of the same mind with Mr.
Perras. Till then, I had not been brave, honest or independent enough to
oppose his views and his _ipse dixit_, though often tempted to do so.
The desire of living in peace with him; the sincere respect which his
many virtues and venerable age commanded in me; the natural timidity,
not to say cowardice, of a young, inexperienced man, in the presence of
a learned and experienced priest, had kept me, till then, in perfect
submission to the views of my aged curate. But it seemed impossible to
yield any longer, and to bow my conscience before principles, which
seemed to me then, as I am sure they are now, subversive of everything
which is good and holy among men. I took the big Bible, which was on the
table, and I opened it at the history of Susanna, and I answered: “My
dear Mr. Perras, God has chosen you to be my teacher, and I have learned
many things since it has been my privilege to be with you. But I have
much more to learn, before I know all that your books and your long
experience have taught you. I hope you will not find fault with me, if I
honestly tell you that in spite of myself, there is a doubt in my mind
about this doctrine of our theologians,” and I said: “Is there anything
more sublime, in the whole Bible, than that feeble woman Susanna, in the
hands of those two infamous men? With a diabolical impudence and malice,
they threaten to destroy her, and to take her before a tribunal which
will surely condemn her to the most ignoble death, if she does not
consent to satisfy their criminal desires. She is just in the position
alluded to by Liguori. What will she do? Will she be guided by the
principles of our theologians? Will she consent to become an adulteress
in order to prevent those two men from perjuring themselves, and
becoming murderers, by causing her to be stoned to death, as was
required by the law of the Jews? No! She raises her eyes and her soul
towards the God whom she loves and fears more than anything in the
world, and she says: “I am straitened on every side, for if I do this
thing it is death unto me; and if I do it not, I cannot escape your
hands. It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not to do it,
than to sin in the sight of the Lord.” Has not God Almighty himself
shown that he approved of that heroic resolution of Susanna, to die
rather than commit adultery. Does He not show that He planted, Himself,
in that noble soul, the principle that it is better to die than break
the laws of God when he brought his prophet Daniel, and gave him a
supernatural wisdom to save the life of Susanna? If that woman had been
guided by the principles of Ligouri, which, I confess to you with
regret, are the principles accepted everywhere in our Church (principles
which have guided you in the burning of “Le Canadien,”) she would have
consented to the desires of those infamous men. Nay, if she had been
interrogated by her husband, or by the judges on that action, she would
have been allowed to swear before God and men, that she was not guilty
of it. Now, my dear Mr. Perras, do you not find that there is some
clashing between the Word of God, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, and
the teachings of our Church, through the theologians?”

Never have I seen such a sudden change in the face and manners of a man,
at I saw in that hour. That Mr. Perras, who had, till then, spoken with
so much kindness and dignity, completely lost his temper. Instead of
answering me, he abruptly rose to his feet, and began to pace the room
with a quick step. After some time, he told me: “Mr. Chiniquy, you
forget that when you were ordained a priest, you swore that you would
never interpret the Holy Scriptures according to your own fallible
private judgment; you solemnly promised that you would take them only
according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers speaking to you
through your superiors. Has not Ligouri been approved by the Popes, by
all the bishops of the Church? We have then, here, the true doctrine
which must guide us. But instead of submitting yourself with humility,
as it becomes a young and inexperienced priest, you boldly appeal to the
Scriptures, against the decisions of Popes and bishops; against the
voice of all your superiors, speaking to you through Liguori. Where will
that boldness end? Ah! I tremble for you if you do not speedily change;
you are on the high road to heresy!”

These last words had hardly fallen from his lips when the clock struck 9
p. m. He abruptly stopped speaking, and said: “This is the hour of
prayer.” We knelt and prayed.

I need not say that that night was a sleepless one to me. I wept and
prayed all through its long dark hours. I felt that I had lost, and
forever, the high position I had in the heart of my old friend, and that
I had probably compromised myself, forever, in the eyes of my superiors,
who were the absolute masters of my destinies. I condemned myself for
that inopportune appeal to the Holy Scriptures, against the _ipse dixit_
of my superiors. I asked God to destroy in me that irresistible tendency
by which I was constantly going to the Word of God to know the truth,
instead of remaining at the feet of my superiors, with the rest of the
clergy, as the only fountain of knowledge and light.

But, thanks be to God, that blasphemous prayer was never to be granted.

                              CHAPTER XXI


It was the custom in those days, in the Church of Rome, to give the
title of arch-priest to one of the most respectable and able priests,
among twelve or fifteen others, by whom he was surrounded. That title
was the token of some superior power, which was granted him over his
confreres, who, in consequence, should consult him in certain difficult

As a general thing, those priests lived in the most cordial and
fraternal unity, and to make the bond of that union stronger and more
pleasant, they were, in turn, in the habit of giving a grand dinner
every Thursday.

In 1834 these dinners were really _state affairs_. Several days in
advance, preparations were made on a grand scale, to collect everything
that could please the tastes of the guests. The best wines were
purchased. The fattest turkeys, chickens, lambs, or sucking pigs were
hunted up. The most delicate pastries were brought from the city, or
made at home, at any cost. The rarest and most costly fruits and
desserts were ordered. There was a strange emulation among those
curates, who would surpass his neighbors. Several extra hands were
engaged some days before, to help the ordinary servants to prepare the

The second Thursday of May, 1834, was Mr. Perras’ turn, and at twelve
o’clock, noon, we were fifteen priests seated around the table.


I must here render homage to the sobriety and perfect moral habits of
the Rev. Mr. Perras. Though he took his social glass of wine, as was the
universal usage at that time, I never saw him drink more than a couple
of glasses at the same meal. I wish I could say the same thing of all
those who were at this table that day.

Never did I see, before nor after, a table covered with so many tempting
and delicate viands. The good curate had surpassed himself, and I would
hardly be believed, were I to give the number of dishes and covers,
_plates et entreplates_, which loaded the table. I will only mention a
splendid salmon, which was the first brought to Quebec that year, for
which Mr. Amiot, the purveyor of the priests around the capital, had
paid twelve dollars.

There was only one lady at that dinner, Miss Perras, sister of the
curate. However, she was not at all embarrassed by finding herself alone
among those jolly celebataires, and she looked like a queen at the head
of the table. Her sweet and watchful eyes were everywhere to see the
wants of her guests. She had an amiable word for every one of them. With
the utmost grace she pressed the Rev. Mr. A. to try that wing of
turkey—she was so gently remonstrating with the Rev. Mr. B. for his not
eating more, and she was so eloquent in requesting them all to taste of
this dish, or of that; which was quite a new thing in Canada. And her
young chickens! who could refuse to accept one of them, after she had
told their story: how, three months before, in view of this happy day,
she had so cajoled the big black hen to watch over sixteen eggs in the
kitchen; what a world of trouble she had, when the little dog was coming
in, and she (the hen) was rushing at him! how, many times, she had to
stop the combatants and force them to live in peace! and what desolation
swept over her mind, when, in a dark night, the rats had dragged into
their holes three of her newly-hatched chickens! how she had got a cat
to destroy the rats; and how in escaping Scylla, she was thrown upon
Charybdis, when three days after, the cat made his dinner of two of her
dear little chickens; for which crime, committed in open day, before
several witnesses, the sentence of death was passed and executed,
without benefit of clergy.

Now, where would they find young chickens in the month of May, in the
neighborhood of Quebec, when the snow had scarcely disappeared?

These stories, given with an art which no pen can reproduce, were not
finished before the delicate chickens had disappeared in the hungry
mouths of the cheerful guests.

One of the most remarkable features of these dinners was the levity, the
absolute want of seriousness and gravity. Not a word was said in my
presence, there, which could indicate that these men had anything else
to do in this world but to eat and drink, tell and hear merry stories,
laugh and lead a jolly life.

I was the youngest of those priests. Only a few months before, I was in
the Seminary of Nicolet, learning from my grave old superior, lessons of
priestly life, very different from what I had there under my eyes. I had
not yet forgotten the austere preaching of self-denial, mortification,
austerity and crucifixion of the flesh, which were to fill up the days
of a priest!

Though, at first, I was pleased with all I saw, heard and tasted; though
I heartily laughed with the rest of the guests, at their _bon mots_,
their spicy stories about their fair penitents, or at the funny
caricatures they drew of each other, as well as of absent ones, I felt,
by turns, uneasy. Now and then the lessons of priestly life, received
from the lips of my venerable and dear Mr. Leprohon, were knocking hard
at the door of my conscience. Some words of the Holy Scriptures which,
more than others, had adhered to my memory, were also making a strange
noise in my soul. My own common sense was telling me that this was not
quite the way Christ taught his disciples to live.

I made a great effort to stifle those troublesome voices. Sometimes I
succeeded, and then I became cheerful; but a moment after I was
overpowered by them, and I felt chilled, as if I had perceived on the
walls of the festive room, the finger of my angry God, writing, “MENE,
MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN.” Then all my cheerfulness vanished, and I felt so
miserable that, in spite of all my efforts to look happy, the Rev. Mr.
Paquette, curate of St. Gervais, observed it on my face. That priest was
probably the one who most enjoyed everything of that feast. Under the
snowy mantle of sixty-five years, he had kept the warm heart and the
joviality of youth. He was considered one of our most wealthy curates,
and he richly deserved the reputation of being the most epicurean of
them all. He was a perfect cook, and with his chaplet or his breviarium
in hand, he used to pass a great part of the day in his kitchen, giving
orders about broiling this beefstake, or preparing this fricassee, and
that gravy _a la Francais_. He was loved by all his confreres, but
particularly by the young priests, who were the objects of his constant
attentions. He had always been exceedingly kind to me, and when in his
neighborhood, I dare say that my most pleasant hours were those passed
in his parsonage.

Looking at me in the very moment when my whole intellectual being was,
in spite of myself, under the darkest cloud, he said: “My dear little
Father Chiniquy, are you falling into the hands of some blue devils,
when we are all so happy? You were so cheerful half an hour ago! What is
the matter with you now? Are you sick? You look as grave and anxious as
Jonah, when in the big whale’s stomach! What is the matter with you? Has
any of your fair penitents left you, to go to confess to another,

At these funny questions, the dining-room was shaken with the convulsive
laughter of the priests. I wished I could join in with the rest of my
confreres; for it seemed to me very clear that I was making a fool of
myself by this singularity of demeanor. But there was no help for it;
for a moment before I had seen that the servant girls had blushed; they
had been scandalized by a very improper word from the lips of a young
priest, about one of his young female penitents; a word which he would,
surely, never have uttered, had he not drank too much wine. I answered:
“I am much obliged to you for your kind interest. I find myself much
honored to be here in your midst; but as the brightest days are not
without clouds, so it is with us all sometimes. I am young, and without
experience; I have not yet learned to look at certain things in their
proper light. When older, I hope I shall be wiser, and not make an ass
of myself as I do to-day.”

“Tah! Tah! Tah!” said old Mr. Paquette, “this is not the hour of dark
clouds and blue devils. Be cheerful, as it behooves your age. There will
be hours enough in the rest of your life for sadness and sombre
thoughts. This is the hour for laughing and being merry. Sad thoughts
for to-morrow.” And appealing to all, he asked, “Is not this correct,

“Yes, yes,” unanimously rejoined all the guests.

“Now,” said the old priest, “you see that the verdict of the jury is
unanimously in my favor and against you. Give up those airs of sadness,
which do not answer in the presence of those bottles of champagne. Your
gravity is an anachronism when we have such good wines before us. Tell
me the reason of your grief, and I pledge myself to console you, and
make you happy as you were at the beginning of the dinner.”

“I would have liked better that you should have continued to enjoy this
pleasant hour without noticing me,” I answered. “Please excuse me if I
do not trouble you with the causes of my personal folly.”

“Well, well,” said Mr. Paquette, “I see it; the cause of your trouble is
that we have not yet drank together a single glass of sherry. Fill your
glass with that wine, and it will surely drown the blue devil, which I
see at its bottom.”

“With pleasure,” I said, “I feel much honored to drink with you,” and I
put some drops of wine into my glass. “Oh! oh! what do I see you doing
there? Only a few drops in your glass! This will not even wet the cloven
feet of the blue devil which is tormenting you. It requires a full
glass, an overflowing glass, to drown and finish him. Fill, then, your
glass with that precious wine—the best I ever tasted in my whole life.”

“But I cannot drink more than those few drops,” I said.

“Why not?” he replied.

“Because, eight days before her death, my mother wrote me a letter,
requesting me to promise her that I would never drink more than two
glasses of wine at the same meal. I gave her that promise in my answer,
and the very day she got my pledge, she left this world to convey it,
written on her heart, into heaven, to the feet of her God!”

“Keep that sacred pledge,” answered the old curate; “but tell me why you
are so sad when we are so happy?”

“You already know part of my reasons—if I had drank as much wine as my
neighbor, the vicar of St. Gervais, I would probably have filled the
room with my shouts of joy, as he does; but you see now that the hands
of my deceased, though always dear mother, are on my glass to prevent me
from filling it any more, for I have already drank two glasses of wine.”

“But your sadness in such a circumstance is so strange, that we would
all like to know its cause.”

“Yes, yes,” said all the priests. “You know that we like you, and we
deeply feel for you. Please tell us the reason of this sadness.”

I then answered, “It would be better for me to keep my own secret, for I
know I will make a fool of myself here; but as you are unanimous in
requesting me to give you the reasons of the mental agony through which
I am just passing, you will have them.

“You well know that, through very singular circumstances, I have been
prevented, till this day, from attending any of your grand dinners.
Twice I had to go to Quebec on these occasions, sometimes I was not well
enough to be present—several times I was called to visit some dying
person, and at other times the weather, or the roads were too bad to
travel; this, then, is the first grand dinner, attended by you all, that
I have the honor of attending.

“But before going any further, I must tell you that during the eight
months it has been my privilege to sit at Rev. Mr. Perras’ table, I have
never seen anything which could make me suspect that my eyes would see,
and my ears would hear such things in this parsonage as have just taken
place. Sobriety, moderation, truly evangelical temperance in drink and
food were the invariable rule. Never a word was said which could make
our poor servant girls, or the angels of God blush. Would to God that I
had not been here to-day! For I tell you, honestly, that I am
scandalized by the epicurean table which is before us; by the enormous
quantity of delicate viands and the incredible number of bottles of most
costly wines, emptied at this dinner.

“However, I hope I am mistaken in my appreciation of what I have seen
and heard—I hope you are all right and that I am wrong. I am the
youngest of you all. It is not my business to teach you, but it is my
duty to be taught by you.

“Now, I have given you my mind, because you so pressingly requested me
to do it, as honestly as human language will allow me to do. I have the
right, I hope, to request you to tell me, as honestly, if I am, and in
what I am, wrong or right!”

“Oh! ho! my dear Chiniquy,” replied the old curate, “you hold the stick
by the wrong end. Are we not the children of God?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered, “we are the children of God.”

“Now, does not a loving father give what he considers the best part of
his goods to his beloved children?”

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“Is not that loving father pleased when he sees his beloved children eat
and drink the good things he has prepared for them?”

“Yes, sir,” was my answer.

“Then,” rejoined the logical priest, “the more we, the beloved children
of God, eat of these delicate viands, and drink of those precious wines,
which our Heavenly Father puts into our hands, the more he is pleased
with us. The more we, the most beloved ones of God, are merry and
cheerful, the more he is himself pleased and rejoiced in his heavenly

“But if God, our Father, is so pleased with what we have eaten and drunk
to-day, why are you so sad?”

This masterpiece of argumentation was received by all (except Mr.
Perras), with convulsive cries of approbation, and repeated “bravo!

“I was too mean and cowardly to say what I felt. I tried to conceal my
increased sadness under the forced smiles of my lips, and I followed the
whole party, who left the table, and went to the parlor to drink a cup
of coffee. It was then half-past one p. m. At two o’clock the whole
party went to the church, where, after kneeling for a quarter of an hour
before their wafer God, they fell on their knees at the feet of each
other, to confess their sins, and get their pardon, in the absolution of
their confessors!

At three p. m. they were all gone, and I remained alone with my
venerable old curate Perras. After a few moments of silence, I said to
him: “My dear Mr. Perras, I have no words to express to you my regret
for what I have said at your table. I beg your pardon for every word of
that unfortunate and unbecoming conversation, into which I was dragged
in spite of myself; you know it. It does not do for a young priest, as I
am, to criticise those whom God has put so much above him by their
science, their age and their virtues. But I was forced to give my mind,
and I have given it. When I requested Mr. Paquette to tell me in what I
might be wrong, I had not the least idea that we would hear, from the
lips of one of our veterans in the priesthood, the blasphemous jokes he
has uttered. Epicurus himself would have blushed, had he been among us,
in hearing the name of God connected with such deplorable and awful

Mr. Perras answered me: “Far from being displeased with what I have
heard from you at this dinner, I must tell you that you have gained much
in my esteem by it. I am, myself, ashamed of that dinner. We priests are
the victims, like the rest of the world, of the fashions, vanities,
pride and lust of that world against which we are sent to preach. The
expenditure we make at those dinners is surely a crime, in the face of
the misery of the people by whom we are surrounded. This is the last
dinner I give with such foolish extravagance. The next time my neighbors
will meet here, I will not expose them to stagger on their legs, as the
greater part of them did when they rose from the table. The brave words
you have uttered have done me good. They will do them good also; for
though they had all eaten and drunk too much, they were not so
intoxicated as not to remember what you have said.”

Then, pressing my hand in his, he said, “I thank you my good little
Father Chiniquy for the short but excellent sermon you have given us. It
will not be lost. You have drawn my tears when you have shown us your
saintly mother going to the feet of God in heaven, with your sacred
promise written in her heart. Oh! you must have had a good mother! I
knew her when she was very young. She was then, already, a very
remarkable girl, for her wisdom and the dignity of her manners.”

Then he left me alone in the parlor, and he went to visit a sick man in
one of the neighboring houses.

When alone I fell on my knees, to pray and weep. My soul was filled with
emotions which it is impossible to express. The remembrance of my
beloved mother whose blessed name had fallen from my lips when her
sacred memory filled my mind with the light and strength I needed in
that hour of trial—the gluttony and drunkenness of those priests, whom I
was accustomed to respect and esteem so much—their scandalous
conversation—their lewd expressions—and more than all, their confessions
to each other after two such hours of profanity and drinking, were more
than I could endure. I could not contain myself, I wept over myself, for
I felt also the burden of my sins, and I did not find myself much better
than the rest, though I had not eaten or drunk quite so much as several
of them—I wept over my friends, whom I had seen so weak; for they were
my friends. I loved them, and I know they loved me. I wept over my
church, which was served by such poor, sinful priests. Yes! I wept
there, when on my knees, to my heart’s content, and it did me good. But
my God had another trial in store for his poor unfaithful servant.

I had not been ten minutes alone, sitting in my study, when I heard
strange cries, and such a noise as if a murderer were at work to strike
his victim. A door had evidently been broken open, up stairs, and some
one was running down stairs as if one was wanting to break down
everything. The cries of “Murder, murder!” reached my ears, and the
cries of “Oh! my God! my God! where is Mr. Perras?” filled the air.

I quickly ran to the parlor to see what was the matter, and there I
found myself face to face with a woman absolutely naked! Her long black
hair was flowing on her shoulders; her face was pale as death—her dark
eyes fixed in their sockets. She stretched her hands toward me with a
horrible shriek, and before I could move a step, terrified, and almost
paralyzed as I was, she seized my two arms with her hands, with such a
terrible force as if my arms had been grasped in a vise. My bones were
cracking under her grasp, and my flesh was torn by her nails. I tried to
escape, but it was impossible. I soon found myself as if nailed to the
wall, unable to move any further. I cried then to the utmost compass of
my voice for help. But the living spectre cried still louder: “You have
nothing to fear. Be quiet. I am sent by God Almighty and the blessed
virgin Mary, to give you a message. The priests whom I have known,
without a single exception, are a band of vipers: they destroy their
female penitents through auricular confession. They have destroyed me,
and killed my female child! Do not follow their example!” Then she began
to sing, with a beautiful voice, to a most touching tune, a kind of poem
she had composed herself, which I secretly got afterward from one of her
servant maids, the translation of which is as follows:

              “Satan’s priests have defiled my heart!
              Damned my soul! murdered my child!
                O my child! my darling child!
              From thy place in heaven, dost thou see
                Thy guilty mother’s tears?
              Canst thou come and press me in thine arms?
                My child! my darling child!
              Will never thy smiling face console me?”

When she was singing these words, big tears were rolling down her pale
cheeks, and the tone of her voice was so sad that she could have melted
a heart of stone. She had not finished her song when I cried to the
girl: “I am fainting, for God’s sake bring me some water!” The water was
only passed to my lips, I could not drink. I was choked, and petrified
in the presence of that living phantom! I could not dare to touch her in
any way with my hands. I felt horrified and paralyzed at the sight of
that livid, pale, cadaverous, naked spectre. The poor servant girl had
tried in vain, at my request, to drag her away from me. She had struck
her with terror, by crying, “If you touch me, I will instantly strangle

“Where is Mr. Perras? Where is Mr. Perras and the other servants? For
God’s sake call them,” I cried out to the servant girl, who was
trembling and beside herself.

“Miss Perras is running to the church after the curate,” she answered,
“and I do not know where the other girl is gone.”

In that instant Mr. Perras entered, rushed toward his sister, and said,
“Are you not ashamed to present yourself naked before such a gentleman?”
and with his strong arms he tried to force her to give me up.

Turning her face towards him, with tigress eyes, she cried out,
“Wretched brother! what have you done with my child? I see her blood on
your hands!”

When she was struggling with her brother, I made a sudden and extreme
effort to get out of her grasp; and this time I succeeded: but seeing
that she wanted to throw herself again upon me, I jumped through a
window which was opened.

Quick as lightning she passed out of the hands of her brother, and
jumped also through the window to run after me. She would, surely, have
overtaken me; for I had not run two rods, when I fell headlong, with my
feet entangled in my long, black, priestly robe. Providentially, two
strong men, attracted by my cries, came to my rescue. They wrapped her
in a blanket, taken there by her sister, and brought her back into the
upper chambers, where she remained safely locked, under the guard of two
strong servant maids.

The history of that woman is sad indeed. When in her priest-brother’s
house, when young and of great beauty, she was seduced by her father
confessor, and became mother of a female child, which she loved with a
real mother’s heart. She determined to keep it and bring it up. But this
did not meet the views of the curate. One night, while the mother was
sleeping, the child had been taken away from her. The awakening of the
unfortunate mother was terrible. When she understood that she could
never see her child any more, she filled the parsonage with her cries
and lamentations, and, at first, refused to take any food, in order that
she might die. But she soon became a maniac.

Mr. Perras, too much attached to his sister to send her to a lunatic
asylum, resolved to keep her in his own parsonage, which was very large.
A room in its upper part had been fixed in such a way that her cries
could not be heard, and where she would have all the comfort possible in
her sad circumstances. Two servant maids were engaged to take care of
her. All this was so well arranged, that I had been eight months in that
parsonage, without even suspecting that there was such an unfortunate
being under the same roof with me. It appears that occasionally, for
many days, her mind was perfectly lucid, when she passed her time in
praying, and singing a kind of poem which she had composed herself, and
which she sang while holding me in her grasp. In her best moments she
had fostered an invincible hatred for the priests whom she had known.
Hearing her attendants often speak of me, she had, several times,
expressed a desire to see me, which, of course, had been denied her.
Before she had broken her door, and escaped from the hands of her
keeper, she had passed several days in saying that she had received from
God a message for me which she would deliver, even if she had to pass on
the dead bodies of all in the house.

Unfortunate victim of auricular confession! How many others could sing
the sad words of thy song,

                “Satan’s priest’s have defiled my heart,
                Damned my soul! murdered my child!”

                             CHAPTER XXII.


The grand dinner previously described had its natural results. Several
of the guests were hardly at home, when they complained of various kinds
of sickness, and none was so severely punished as my friend Paquette,
the curate of St. Gervais. He came very near dying, and for several
weeks was unable to work. He requested the bishop of Quebec to allow me
to go to his help, which I did to the end of May, when I received the
following letter:

                                      CHARLESBOURGH, May 25th, 1834.


MY DEAR SIR: My Lord Panet has again chosen me, this year, to accompany
him in his episcopal visit. I have consented, with the condition that
you should take my place, at the head of my dear parish, during my
absence. For I will have no anxiety when I know that my people are in
the hands of a priest who, though so young, has raised himself so high
in the esteem of all those who know him.

Please come as soon as possible to meet me here, that I may tell you
many things which will make your ministry more easy and blessed in

His Lordship has promised me that when you pass through Quebec, he will
give you all the powers you want to administer my parish, as if you were
its curate during my absence.

                              Your devoted brother-priest, and
                                        friend in the love and heart
                                        of Jesus and Mary,

                                                     ANTOINE BEDARD.

I felt absolutely confounded by that letter. I was so young and so
deficient in the qualities required for the high position to which I was
so unexpectedly called. I know it was against the usages to put a young
and untried priest in such a responsible post. It seemed evident to me
that my friends and my superiors had strangely exaggerated to themselves
my feeble capacity.

In my answer to the Rev. Mr. Bedard, I respectfully remonstrated against
such a choice. But a letter received from the bishop himself, ordering
me to go to Charlesbourgh, without delay, to administer that parish
during the absence of its pastor, soon forced me to consider that sudden
and unmerited elevation as a most dangerous, though providential trial,
of my young ministry. Nothing remained to be done by me but to accept
the task in trembling, and with a desire to do my duty. My heart,
however, fainted within me, and I shed bitter tears of anxiety. When
entering into that parish for the first time, I saw its magnitude and
importance. It seemed, then, more than ever evident to me that the good
Mr. Bedard, and my venerable superiors, had made a sad mistake in
putting such a heavy burden on my young and feeble shoulders. I was
hardly twenty-four years old, and had not more than nine months’
experience of the ministry.

Charlesbourgh is one of the most ancient and important parishes of
Canada. Its position, so near Quebec, at the feet of the Laurentide
Mountains, is peculiarly beautiful. It has an almost complete command of
the city, and of its magnificent port, where not less than 900 ships
then received their precious cargoes of lumber. On our left, numberless
ranges of white houses extended as far as the Falls of Montmorency. At
our feet the majestic St. Lawrence, dashing its rapid waters on the
beautiful “Isle d’Orleans.” To the right the parishes of Lorette, St.
Foy, St. Roch, etc., with their high church steeples, reflected the
sun’s glorious beams: and beyond, the impregnable citadel of Quebec,
with its tortuous ranges of black walls, its numerous cannon and its
high towers, like fearless sentinels, presented a spectacle of
remarkable grandeur.

The Rev. Mr. Bedard welcomed me on my arrival with words of such
kindness that my heart was melted and my mind confounded. He was a man
about sixty-five years of age, short in stature, with a well-formed
breast, large shoulders, bright eyes, and a face where the traits of
indomitable energy were coupled with an expression of unsurpassed

One could not look on that honest face without saying to himself: “I am
with a really good and upright man!” Mr. Bedard is one of the few
priests in whom I have found a true honest faith in the Church of Rome.
With an irreproachable character, he believed with a child’s faith all
the absurdities which the Church of Rome teaches, and he lived according
to his honest and sincere faith.

Though the actions of our daily lives were not subjected to a regular
and inexorable rule in Charlesbourgh’s as in St. Charles’ parsonage,
there was yet far more life and earnestness in the performance of our
ministerial duties.

There was less reading of learned, theological, philosophical and
historical books, but much more real labor in Mr. Bedard’s than in Mr.
Perras’ parish: there was more of the old French aristocracy in the
latter priest, and more of the good religious Canadian habitant in the
former. Though both could be considered as men of the most exalted faith
and piety in the Church of Rome, their piety was of a different
character. In Mr. Perras’ religion there was real calmness and serenity,
while the religion of Mr. Bedard had more of a flash of lightning and
the noise of thunder. The private religious conversations with the
curate of St. Charles were admirable, but he could not speak common
sense for ten minutes when preaching from his pulpit. Only once did he
preach while I was his vicar, and then he was not half through his
sermon before the greater part of his auditors were soundly sleeping.
But who could hear the sermons of Rev. Mr. Bedard without feeling his
heart moved and his soul filled with terror? I never heard anything more
thrilling than his words when speaking of the judgments of God and the
punishment of the wicked. Mr. Perras never fasted, except on the days
appointed by the church: Mr. Bedard condemned himself to fast besides
twice every week. The former never drank, to my knowledge, a single
glass of rum or any other strong drink, except his two glasses of wine
at dinner; but the latter never failed to drink full glasses of rum
three times a day, beside two or three glasses of wine at dinner. Mr.
Perras slept the whole night as a guiltless child; Mr. Bedard, almost
every night when I was with him, rose up, and lashed himself in the most
merciless manner with leather thongs, at the end of which were small
pieces of lead. When inflicting upon himself those terrible punishments,
he used to recite, by heart, the fifty-first Psalm, in Latin, “Miserere
mihi Deus secundam magnam misericordiam tuam” (Have mercy upon me, O,
Lord, according to thy loving kindness); and though he seemed to be
unconscious of it, he prayed with such a loud voice, that I heard every
word he uttered; he also struck his flesh with such violence, that I
could count all the blows he administered.

One day I respectfully remonstrated against such a cruel self-infliction
as ruining his health and breaking his constitution. “Cher petit Frere”
(dear little brother), he answered, “Our health and constitution cannot
be impaired by such penances, but they are easily and commonly ruined by
our sins. I am one of the healthiest men of my parish, though I have
inflicted upon myself those salutary and too well-merited chastisements
for many years. Though I am old, I am still a great sinner. I have an
implacable and indomitable enemy in my depraved heart, which I cannot
subdue except by punishing my flesh. If I do not do those penances for
my numberless transgressions, who will do them for me? If I do not pay
the debts I owe to the justice of God, who will pay them for me?”

“But,” I answered, “Has not our Saviour, Jesus Christ, paid our debts on
Calvary? Has he not saved and redeemed us all by his death on the cross?
Why, then, should you or I pay again to the justice of God that which
has been so perfectly and absolutely paid by our Saviour?”

“Ah! my dear young friend,” quickly replied Mr. Bedard, “that doctrine
you hold is Protestant, which has been condemned by the Holy Council of
Trent. Christ has paid our debts, certainly; but not in such an absolute
way that there is nothing more to be paid by us. Have you never paid
attention to what St. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Colossians. I
fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ in the flesh
for his body’s sake, which is the Church. Though Christ could have
entirely and absolutely paid our debts, if it had been his will, it is
evident that such was not his holy will—he left something behind, which
Paul, you, I, and every one of his disciples, should take and suffer in
our flesh for his Church. When we have taken and accomplished in our
flesh what Christ has left behind, then the surplus of our merits goes
to the treasury of the Church. For instance, when a saint has
accomplished in his flesh what Christ has left behind for his perfect
sanctification, if he accomplishes more than the justice of God
requires, that surplus of merits not being any use to him, is put by God
into the grand and common treasure, where it makes a fund of merits of
infinite value, from which the Pope and the bishops draw the indulgences
which they scatter all over the world as the dew from heaven. By the
mercy of God, the penances which I impose upon myself, and the pains I
suffer from these flagellations, purify my guilty soul, and raising me
up from this polluting world, they bring me nearer and nearer to my God
every day. I am not yet a saint, unfortunately, but if by the mercy of
God, and my penances united to the sufferings of Christ, I arrive at the
happy day when all my debts shall be paid, and my sins cleansed away,
then if I continue those penances and acquire new merits, more than I
need, and if I pay more debts than I owe to the justice of God, this
surplus of merits which I shall have acquired will go to the rich
treasure of the Church, from which she will draw merits to enrich the
multitude of good souls who cannot do enough for themselves to pay their
own debts, and to reach that point of holiness which will deserve a
crown in heaven. Then, the more we do penance and inflict pains on our
bodies, by our fastings and floggings, the more we feel happy in the
assurance of thus raising ourselves more and more above the dust of this
sinful world, of approaching more and more to that state of holiness of
which our Saviour spoke when he said: ‘Be holy as I am holy myself.’ We
feel an unspeakable joy when we know that by those self-inflicted
punishments we acquire incalculable merits, which enrich not only
ourselves, but our holy Church, by filling her treasures for the benefit
and salvation of the souls for which Christ died on Calvary.”

When Mr. Bedard was feeding my soul with these husks, he was speaking
with great animation and sincerity. Like myself, he was far away from
the Good Father’s house. He had never tasted of the bread of the
children. Neither of us knew anything of the sweetness of that bread. We
had to accept those husks as our only food, though it did not remove our

I answered him: “What you tell me here is what I find in all our ascetic
books and theological treatises, and in the lives of all our saints. I
can hardly reconcile that doctrine with what I read this morning in the
2d chapter of Ephesians. Here is the verse in my New Testament: ‘But
God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
even when we were dead in sins, he has quickened us together with
Christ. By grace ye are saved; for by grace ye are saved, through faith,
and not of ourselves, it is this gift of God; not of works, lest any man
should boast.’

“Now, my dear and venerable Mr. Bedard, allow me respectfully to ask,
how it is possible that your salvation is only by grace, if you have to
purchase it every day by tearing your flesh and lashing your body in
such a fearful manner? Is it not a strange favour—a very singular
grace—which reddens your skin with your blood, and bruises your flesh
every night?”

“Dear little brother,” answered Mr. Bedard, “when Mr. Perras spoke to
me, in the presence of the bishop, with such deserved eulogium of your
piety, he did not conceal that you had a very dangerous defect, which
was to spend too much time in reading the Bible, in preference to every
other of our holy books. He told us more than this. He said that you had
a fatal tendency to interpret the Holy Scriptures too much according to
your own mind, and in a sense which is rather more Protestant than
Catholic. I am sorry to see that the curate of St. Charles was but too
correct in what he told us of you. But, as he added that, though your
reading too much the Holy Scriptures brought some clouds in your mind,
yet when you were with him, you always ended by yielding to the sense
given by our holy Church. This did not prevent me from desiring to have
you in my place during my absence, and I hope we will not regret it, for
we are sure that our dear young Chiniquy will never be a traitor to our
holy Church.”

These words, which were given with a great solemnity, mixed with the
good manners of the most sincere kindness, went through my soul as a
two-edged sword. I felt an inexpressible confusion and regret, and,
biting my lips, I said: “I have sworn never to interpret the Holy
Scriptures except according to the unanimous consent of the Holy
Fathers, and with the help of God, I will fulfil my promise. I regret
exceedingly to have differed for a moment from you. You are my superior
by your age, your science and your piety. Please pardon me that
momentary deviation from my duty, and pray that I may be as you are—a
faithful and a fearless soldier of our holy Church to the end.”

At that moment the niece of the curate came to tell us that the dinner
was ready. We went to the modest, though exceedingly well-spread table,
and to my great pleasure, that painful conversation was dropped. We had
not sat at the table five minutes, when a poor man knocked at the door
and asked a piece of bread for the sake of Jesus and Mary. Mr. Bedard
rose from the table, went to the poor stranger, and said: “Come, my
friend, sit between me and our dear little Father Chiniquy. Our Saviour
was the friend of the poor: he was the father of the widow and the
orphan, and we, his priests, must walk after him. Be not troubled; make
yourself at home. Though I am the curate of Charlesbourgh, I am your
brother. It may be that in heaven you will sit on a higher throne than
mine, if you love our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and his holy mother, Mary,
more than I do.”

With these words, the best things that were on the table were put by the
good old priest on the plate of the poor stranger, who, with some
hesitation, finished by doing honor to the excellent viands.

After this, I need not say that Mr. Bedard was charitable to the poor;
he always treated them as his best friends. So also was my former curate
of St. Charles; and, though his charity was not so demonstrative and
fraternal as that of Mr. Bedard, I had never yet seen a poor man go out
of the parsonage of St. Charles whose breast ought not to have been
filled with gratitude and joy.

Mr. Bedard was as exact as Mr. Perras in confessing once, and sometimes
twice, every week; and, rather than fail in that humiliating act, they
both, in the absence of their common confessors, and much against my
feelings, several times humbly knelt at my youthful feet to confess to

These two remarkable men had the same views about the immorality and the
want of religion of the greater part of the priests. Both have told me,
in their confidential conversations, things about the secret lives of
the clergy which would not be believed were I to publish them; and both
repeatedly said that auricular confession was the daily source of
unspeakable depravities between the confessors and their female, as well
as male penitents; but neither of them had sufficient light to conclude
from those deeds of depravity that auricular confession was a diabolical
institution. They both sincerely believed, as I did then, that the
institution was good, necessary and divine, and that it was a source of
perdition to so many priests only on account of their want of faith and
piety; and principally from their neglect of prayers to the Virgin Mary.

They did not give me those terrible details with a spirit of criticism
against our weak brethren. Their intention was to warn me against the
dangers, which were as great for me as for others. They both invariably
finished those confidences by inviting me more and more to pray
constantly to the mother of God, the blessed Virgin Mary, and to watch
over myself, and avoid remaining alone with a female penitent, advising
me also to treat my own body as my most dangerous enemy, by reducing it
into subjection to the law, and crucifying it day and night.

Mr. Bedard had accompanied the Bishop of Quebec in his episcopal visits
during many years, and had seen with his eyes the unmentionable plague,
which was then, as it is now, devouring the very vitals of the Church of
Rome. He very seldom spoke to me of those things without shedding tears
of compassion over the guilty priests. My heart and my soul were also
filled with an unspeakable sadness when hearing the details of such
iniquities. I also felt struck with terror lest I might perish myself,
and fall into the same bottomless abyss.

One day I told him what Mr. Perras had revealed to me about the distress
of Bishop Plessis, when he had found that only three priests besides Mr.
Perras believed in God, in his immense diocese. I asked him if there was
not some exaggeration in this report. He answered, after a profound
sigh: “My dear young friend, the angel could not find ten just men in
Sodom—my fear is that they would not find more among the priests! The
more you advance in age, the more you will see that awful truth—Ah! let
those who stand, fear, lest they fall!”

After these last words he burst into tears, and went to church to pray
at the feet of his wafer god!

The revelations which I received from those worthy priests did not in
any way shake my faith in my Church. She even became dearer to me; just
as a dear mother gains in the affection and devotedness of a dutiful son
as her trials and affliction increase. It seemed to me that after this
knowledge it was my duty to do more than I had ever done to show my
unreserved devotedness, respect and love to my holy and dear mother, the
Church of Rome, out of which (I sincerely believed then) there was no
salvation. These revelations became to me, in the good providence of
God, like the light-houses raised on the hidden and dreadful rocks of
the sea, to warn the pilot during the dark hours of the night to keep at
a distance, if he does not want to perish.

Though these two priests professed to have a most profound love and
respect for the Holy Scriptures, they gave very little time to their
study, and both several times rebuked me for passing too many hours in
their perusal; and repeatedly warned me against the habit of constantly
appealing to them against certain practices and teachings of our
theologians. As good Roman Catholic priests, they had no right to go to
the Holy Scriptures alone to know what “the Lord saith!” The traditions
of the Church were the fountains of science and light! Both of them
often distressed me with the facility with which they buried out of
view, under the dark clouds of their traditions, the clearest texts of
Holy Scripture which I used to quote in defence of my positions in our
conversations and debates.

They both, with an equal zeal, and unfortunately with too much success,
persuaded me that it was right for the Church to ask me to swear that I
would never interpret the Holy Scriptures, except according to the
unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers. But when I showed them that the
Holy Fathers had never been unanimous in anything except in differing
from one another on almost every subject they had treated; when I
demonstrated by our Church historians that some Holy Fathers had very
different views from ours on many subjects, they never answered my
questions, except by silencing me by the text: “If he does not hear the
Church let him be as a heathen or a publican,” and by giving me long
lectures on the danger of pride and self-confidence.

Mr. Bedard had many opportunities of giving me his views about the
submission which an inferior owes to his superiors. He was of one mind
with Mr. Perras and all the theologians who had treated that subject.
They both taught me that the inferior must blindly obey his superior,
just as the stick must obey the hand that holds it; assuring me at the
same time that the inferior was not responsible for the errors he
commits when obeying his legitimate superior.

Mr. Bedard and Mr. Perras had a great love for their Saviour, Jesus; but
the Jesus Christ whom they loved and respected and adored was not the
Christ of the Gospel, but the Christ of the Church of Rome.

Mr. Perras and Mr. Bedard had a great fear, as well as a sincere love
for their God, while yet they professed to make him every morning by the
act of consecration. They also most sincerely believed and preached that
idolatry was one of the greatest crimes a man could commit, but they
themselves were every day worshipping an idol of their own creating.
They were forced by their Church to renew the awful iniquity of Aaron,
with this difference only, that while Aaron made his gods of melted
gold, and molded them into a figure of a calf, they made theirs of
flour, baked between two heated and well-polished irons, and in the form
of a crucified man.

When Aaron spoke of his golden calf to the people, he said: “These are
thy gods, O, Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” So,
likewise, Mr. Bedard and Mr. Perras, showing the wafer to the deluded
people, said: “Ecce agnus Die qui tollit peccata mundi!” (“Behold the
Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world!”)

These two sincere and honest priests placed the utmost confidence also
in relics and scapularies. I have heard both say that no fatal accident
could happen to one who had a scapulary on his breast—no sudden death
would overtake a man who was faithful about keeping those blessed
scapularies about his person. Both of them, nevertheless, died suddenly,
and that too of the saddest of deaths. Mr. Bedard dropped dead on the
19th of May, 1837, at a great dinner given to his friends. He was in the
act of swallowing a glass of that drink of which God says: “Look not
upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when
it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent and
stingeth like an adder.”

The Rev. Mr. Perras, sad to say, became a lunatic in 1845, and died the
29th of July, 1847, in a fit of delirium.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.


I had not been more than three weeks the administrator of the parish of
Charlesbourgh, when the terrible words, “The cholera morbus is in
Quebec!” sent a thrill of terror from one end to the other of Canada.

The cities of Quebec and Montreal, with many surrounding country places,
had been decimated in 1832 by the same terrible scourge. Thousands upon
thousands had fallen its victims; families in every rank of society had
disappeared; for the most skillful physicians of both Europe and America
had been unable to stop its march and ravages. But the year 1833 had
passed without hearing almost of a single case of that fatal disease: we
had all the hope that the justice of God was satisfied, and that He
would no more visit us with that horrible plague. In this, however, we
were to be sadly disappointed.

Charlesbourgh is a kind of suburb of Quebec, the greatest part of its
inhabitants had to go within its walls to sell their goods several times
every week. It was evident that we were to be among the first visited by
that messenger of a just, but angry God. I will never forget the hour
after I had heard: “The cholera is in Quebec!” It was, indeed, a most
solemn hour to me. At a glance, I measured the bottomless abyss which
was dug under my feet. We had no physicians, and there was no
possibility of having any one—for they were to have more work than they
could do in Quebec. I saw that I would have to be both the body and the
soul-physician of the numberless victims of this terrible disease.

The tortures of the dying, the cries of the widows and of the orphans,
the almost unbearable stench of the houses attacked by the scourge, the
desolation and the paralyzing fears of the whole people, the fatherless
and motherless orphans by whom I was to be surrounded, the starving poor
for whom I would have to provide food and clothing when every kind or
work and industry was stopped; but above all, the crowds of penitents
whom the terrors of an impending death would drag to my feet to make
their confessions, that I might forgive their sins, passed through my
mind as so many spectres. I fell on my knees, with a heart beating with
emotions that no pen can describe, and prostrating myself before my too
justly angry God, I cried for mercy; with torrents of tears I asked Him
to take away my life as a sacrifice for my people, but to spare them:
raising my eyes towards a beautiful statue of Mary, whom I believed to
be then the Mother of God, I supplicated her to appease the wrath of her

I was still on my knees, when several knocks at the door told me that
some one wanted to speak to me—a young woman was there, bathed in tears
and pale as death, who said to me: “My father has just returned from
Quebec, and is dying from the cholera—please come quick to hear his
confession before he expires!”

No tongue will ever be able to tell half of the horrors which strike the
eyes and the mind the first time one enters the house of a man
struggling in the agonies of death from cholera. The other diseases seem
to attack only one part of the body at once, but the cholera is like a
furious tiger, whose sharp teeth and nails tear his victim from head to
feet without sparing any part. The hands and the feet, the legs and the
arms, the stomach, the breast and the bowels are at once tortured. I had
never seen anything so terrific as the fixed eyes of that first victim
whom I had to prepare for death. He was already almost as cold as a
piece of ice. He was vomiting and ejecting an incredible quantity of a
watery and blackish matter, which filled the house with an unbearable
smell. With a feeble voice he requested me to hear the confession of his
sins, and I ordered the family to withdraw and leave me alone, that they
might not hear the sad story of his transgressions. But he had not said
five words before he cried out: “Oh my God! what horrible cramps in my
leg! For God’s sake, rub it.” And when I had given up hearing his
confession to rub the leg, he cried out again: “Oh! what horrible cramps
in my arms!—in my feet!—in my shoulders!—in my stomach!” And to the
utmost of my capacity and my strength, I rubbed his arms, his feet, his
shoulders, his breast, till I felt so exhausted and covered with
perspiration, that I feared I should faint. During that time the fetid
matter ejected from his stomach, besmeared me almost from head to foot.
I called for help, and two strong men continued with me to rub the poor
dying man.

It seemed evident that he could not live very long; his sufferings
looked so horrible and unbearable! I administered him the sacrament of
extreme-unction. But I did not leave the house after that ceremony, as
it is the custom of the priests. It was the first time that I had met
face to face with that giant which had covered so many nations with
desolation and ruin, caused so many torrents of tears to flow. I had
heard so much of him! I knew that, till then, nothing had been able to
stop his forward march! He had scornfully gone through the obstacles
which the most powerful nations had placed before him to retard his
progress. He had mocked the art and the science of the most skillful
physicians all over the world! In a single step, he had gone from Moscow
to Paris!—and in another step he had crossed the bottomless seas which
the hands of the Almighty have spread between Europe and America! That
king of terrors, after piling in their graves, by millions, the rich and
the poor, the old and the young, whom he had met on his march through
Asia, Africa, Europe and America, was now before me! Nay, he was
torturing, before my eyes, the first victim he had chosen among my
people! But the more I felt powerless in the presence of that mighty
giant, the more I wanted to see him face to face. I had as a secret
pleasure, a holy pride, in daring him. I wanted to tell him: “I do not
fear you! You mercilessly attack my people, but with the help of God, in
the strength of the One who died on Calvary for me, and who told me that
nothing was more sweet and glorious than to give my life for my friends,
I will meet and fight you everywhere when you attack any one of those
sheep who are dearer to me than my own life!”

Standing by the bedside of the dying man, whilst I rubbed his limbs to
alleviate his tortures, I exhorted him to repent. But I closely watched
that hand to hand battle—that merciless and unequal struggle between the
giant and his poor victim. His agony was long and terrible, for he was a
man of great bodily strength. But after several hours of the most
frightful pains, he quietly breathed his last. The house was crowded
with the neighbors and relations, who, forgetful of the danger of
catching the disease, had come to see him. We all knelt and prayed for
the departed soul, after which I gave them a few words about the
necessity of giving up their sins and keeping themselves ready to die
and go at the Master’s call.

I then left that desolated house with feelings of distress which no pen
can portray. When I got back to the parsonage, after praying and weeping
alone in my closet, I took a bath, and washed myself with vinegar and a
mixture of camphor, as a preventive against the epidemic. The rest of
the day, till ten at night, was spent in hearing the confessions of a
great number of people whom the fear of death had dragged around my
confessional box that I might forgive their sins. This hearing of
confession was interrupted only at ten o’clock at night, when I was
called to the cemetery to bury the first victim of the cholera in
Charlesbourgh. A great number of people had accompanied the corpse to
his last resting-place: the night was beautiful, the atmosphere balmy,
and the moon and stars had never appeared to me so bright. The stillness
of the night was broken only by the sobs of the relations and friends of
the deceased. It was one of the best opportunities God had ever given me
of exhorting the people to repentance. I took for my text: “Therefore,
be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man
cometh.” The spectacle of that grave, filled by a man who twenty-four
hours before, was full of health and life in the midst of his happy
family, was speaking more eloquently than the words of my lips, to show
that we must be always ready. And never any people entered the threshold
of their homes with more solemn thoughts than those to whom I spoke,
that night, in the midst of the graveyard.

The history of that day is the history of the forty days which
followed—for not a single one of them passed without my being called to
visit a victim of the cholera—more than one hundred people were attacked
by the terrible disease, nearly forty of whom died!

I cannot sufficiently thank my merciful God for having protected me in
such a marvelous way that I had not a single hour of disease during
those two months of hard labors and sore trials. I had to visit the sick
not only as a priest, but as physician also; for seeing, at first, the
absolute impossibility of persuading any physician from Quebec to give
up their rich city patients for our more humble farmers, I felt it was
my duty to make myself as expert as I could in the art of helping the
victims of that cruel and loathsome disease: I studied the best authors
on that subject, consulted the most skillful physicians, got a little
pharmacy which would have done honor to an old physician, and I gave my
care and my medicine gratis. Very soon the good people of Charlesbourgh
put as much, if not more confidence, in my medical care, as in any other
of the best physicians of the country. More than once, I had to rub the
limbs of so many patients in the same day, that the skin of my hands was
taken away, and several times the blood come out from the wounds. Dr.
Painchaud, one of the ablest physicians of Quebec, who was my personal
friend, told me after, that it was a most extraordinary thing that I had
not fallen a victim to that disease.

I would never have mentioned what I did, in those never-to-be-forgotten
days of the cholera of 1834, when one of the most horrible epidemics
which the world has ever seen spread desolation and death almost all
over Canada, if I had been alone to work as I did; but I am happy and
proud to say that, without a single exception, the French Canadian
priests, whose parishes were attacked by that pestilence, did the same.
I could name hundreds of them who, during several months, also, day
after day and night after night, bravely met and fought the enemy, and
fearlessly presented their breasts to its blows. I could even name
scores of them who heroically fell and died when facing the foe on that

We must be honest and true towards the Roman Catholic priests of Canada.
Few men, if even any, have shown more courage and self-denial in the
hour of danger than they did. I have seen them at work during the two
memorable years of 1832 and 1834, with a courage and self-denial worthy
of the admiration of heaven and earth. Though they knew well that the
most horrible tortures and death might be the price of their
devotedness, I have not known a single one of them who ever shrank
before the danger. At the first appeal, in the midst of the darkest and
stormiest nights, as well as in the light of the brightest days, they
were always ready to leave their warm and comfortable beds to run to the
rescue of the sick and dying.

But, shall we conclude from that, as the priests of Rome want us to do,
that their religion is the true and divine religion of Christ? Must we
believe that because the priests are brave, admirably brave, and die the
death of heroes on the battlefields, they are the true, the only priests
of Christ, the successors of the apostles—the ministers of the religion
out of which there is no salvation? No!

Was it because his religion was the divine and only true one that the
millionaire Stephen Gerard, when in 1793 Philadelphia was decimated by a
most frightful epidemic, went from house to house, visiting the sick,
serving, washing them with his own hands, and even helping to put them
into their coffins? I ask it again, is it because his religion was the
divine religion of Jesus that that remarkable man, during several
months, lived among the dying and the dead, to help them, when his
immense fortune allowed him to put a whole world between him and the
danger? No; for every one knows that Stephen Gerard was a deist, who did
not believe in Christ.

Was it because they followed the true religion that, in the last war
between Russia and Turkey, a whole regiment of Turks heroically ran to a
sure death to obey the order of their general, who commanded them to
charge bayonets on a Russian battery, which was pouring upon them a real
hail of bullets and canisters? No! surely no!

These Turks were brave, fearless, heroic soldiers, but nothing more. So
the priests of the Pope, who expose themselves in the hour of danger,
are brave, fearless, heroic soldiers of the Pope—but they are nothing

Was it because they were good Christians that the soldiers of a French
regiment, at Austerlitz, consented to be slaughtered to the last, at the
head of a bridge where Napoleon had ordered them to remain, with these
celebrated words: “Soldiers! stand there and fight to the last; you will
all be killed; but you will save the army, and we will gain the day!”

Those soldiers were admirably well disciplined—they loved their flag
more than their lives—they knew only one thing in the world: “Obey the
command of Napoleon!” They fought like giants and died like heroes. So
the priests are a well-disciplined band of soldiers; they are trained to
love their church more than their own life; they also know only one
thing: “Obey your superior, the Pope!” they fight the battle of their
church like giants, and they die like heroes!

Who has not read the history of the renowned French man-of-war, the
“Tonnant?” When she had lost her masts, and was so crippled by the red
bullets of the English fleet that there was no possibility of escape,
what did the soldiers and mariners of that ship answer to the cries of
“Surrender!” which came from the English admiral? “We die, but do not

They all went to the bottom of the sea, and perished rather than see
their proud banners fall into the hands of the foe!

Is it because those French warriors were good Christians that they
preferred to die rather than give up their flag? No! But they knew that
the eyes of their country, the eyes of the whole world were upon them.
Life became to them a trifle: it became nothing when placed in the
balance against what they considered their honor, and the honor of their
fair and noble country;—nay, life became an undesirable thing, when it
was weighted against the glory of dying at the post of duty and honor.

So it is with the priest of Rome. He knows that the eyes of his people,
and of his superiors—the eyes of his whole church are upon him. He knows
that if he shrinks in the hour of danger, he will forever lose their
confidence and their esteem; that he will lose his position and live the
life of a degraded man! Death seems preferable to such a life.

Besides, it is not only in the gospel of Christ that we read: “This is
my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” “Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his
friends.” Our great God has written these words in the hearts of all the
children of Adam. He has written them in the very heart of humanity.
These words are engraven in the hearts of the Turks of Constantinople,
as well as in the hearts of the priests of Canada. They are engraven in
the hearts of the Esquimaux of the icy regions of Greenland, as well as
in the hearts of the refined citizens of Paris.

Hence, in the midst of the wreck of almost all the other virtues, we
find a spark of that sacred fire, kept alive, everywhere. For again, God
Almighty himself has breathed that spark of fire and life into the heart
of man when he made him in his own image. We find that spark of holy and
inextinguishable fire of love and life even among the most depraved
nations. For that nation must infallibly perish and disappear the day it
has lost it entirely. This is the reason why, even among the degraded
idolaters of ancient and modern times, we find acts of admirable
devotedness and self-sacrifice. Read the history of the Iroquois,
written by the Jesuit Father, Charlevoix, and you will see how the
savages of our forests often raised themselves to the very stature of
giants at the approach of death, when the honor of their nations, or the
interests of their friends, or their own reputation was at stake. No men
have ever carried the contempt of pain and death so far, perhaps, as the
heathen Iroquois of this continent.

Yes! let the people of Canada read the history of “La Nouvelle France,”
and they will cease from presenting to us the courage of their priests
as an indication of the divinity of their religion. For there they will
see that the worshippers of the wooden gods of the forests have
equalled, if not surpassed, in courage and self-denial in the face of
death, the courage and self-denial of the priests of the wafer god of

                             CHAPTER XXIV.


In the beginning of September, 1834, the Bishop Synaie gave me the
enviable position of one of the vicars of St. Roch, Quebec, where the
Rev. Mr. Tetu had been curate for about a year. He was one of the
seventeen children of Mr. Francis Tetu, one of the most respectable and
wealthy farmers of St. Thomas. Such was the amiability of character of
my new curate, that I never saw him in bad humor a single time during
the four years that it was my fortune to work under him in that parish.
And although in my daily intercourse with him I sometimes
unintentionally sorely tried his patience, I never heard an unkind word
proceed from his lips.

He was a fine-looking man, tall and well-built, large forehead, blue
eyes, a remarkably fine nose and rosy lips, only a little too feminine.
His skin was very white for a man, but his fine short whiskers, which he
knew so well how to trim, gave to his whole mien a manly and pleasant

He was the finest penman I ever saw; and by far the most skillful skater
of the country. Nothing could surpass the agility and perfection with
which he used to write his name on the ice with his skates. He was also
fond of fast horses, and knew, to perfection, how to handle the most
unmanageable steeds of Quebec. He really looked like Phaeton when, in a
light and beautiful buggy, he held the reins of the fiery coursers which
the rich bourgeois of the city liked to trust to him once or twice a
week, that he might take a ride with one of his vicars to the
surrounding country. Mr. Tetu was also fond of fine cigars and choice
chewing tobacco. Like the late Pope Pius IX., he also constantly used
the snuff-box. He would have been a pretty good preacher, had he not
been born with a natural horror of books. I very seldom saw in his hands
any other books than his breviary, and some treatises on the catechism:
a book in his hands had almost the effect of opium on one’s brains, it
put him to sleep. One day, when I had finished reading a volume of
Tertullian, he felt much interested in what I said of the eloquence and
learning of that celebrated Father of the Church, and expressed a desire
to read it. I smilingly asked him if he were more than usual in need of
sleep. He seriously answered me that he really wanted to read that work,
and that he wished to begin its study just then. I lent him the volume,
and he went immediately to his room in order to enrich his mind with the
treasures of eloquence and wisdom of that celebrated writer of the
primitive church. Half an hour after, suspecting what would occur, I
went down to his room, and noiselessly opening the door, I found my dear
Mr. Tetu sleeping on his soft sofa, and snoring to his heart’s content,
while Tertullian was lying on the floor! I ran to the rooms of the other
vicars, and told them: “Come and see how our good curate is studying

There is no need to say that we had a hearty laugh at his expense.
Unfortunately, the noise we made awoke him, and we then asked him: “What
do you think of Tertullian?”

He rubbed his eyes, and answered, “Well! well! what is the matter? Are
you not four very wicked men to laugh at the human frailties of your
curate?” We for awhile called him Father Tertullian.

Another day he requested me to give him some English lessons. For,
though my knowledge of English was then very limited, I was the only one
of five priests who understood and could speak a few words of that
language. I answered him that it would be as pleasant as it was easy for
me to teach the little I knew of it, and I advised him to subscribe for
the “Quebec Gazette,” that I might profit by the interesting matter
which that paper used to give to its readers; and at the same time I
should teach him to read and understand its contents.

The third time that I went to his room to give him his lesson, he
gravely asked me: “Have you ever seen ‘General Cargo?’”

I was at first puzzled by that question, and answered him: “I never
heard that there was any military officer by the name of ‘General
Cargo.’ How do you know that there is such a general in the world?”

He quickly answered: “There is surely a ‘General Cargo’ somewhere in
England or America, and he must be very rich; for see the large number
of ships which bear his name, and have entered the port of Quebec these
last few days!”

Seeing the strange mistake, and finding his ignorance so wonderful, I
burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. I could not answer a word,
but cried at the top of my voice: “General Cargo! General Cargo!”

The poor curate, stunned by my laughing, looked at me in amazement. But,
unable to understand its cause, he asked me: “Why do you laugh?” But the
more stupefied he was, the more I laughed, unable to say anything but
“General Cargo! General Cargo!”

The three other vicars, hearing the noise, hastily came from their rooms
to learn its cause, and get a good laugh also. But I was so completely
beside myself with laughing, that I could not answer their questions in
any other way than by crying, “General Cargo! General Cargo!”

The puzzled curate tried then to give them some explanation of that
mystery, saying with the greatest naivete: “I cannot see why our little
Father Chiniquy is laughing so convulsively. I put him a very simple
question when he entered my room to give me my English lesson. I simply
asked him if he had ever seen ‘General Cargo,’ who has sent so many
ships to our ports these last few days, and added that that general must
be very rich, since he has so many ships on the sea!” The three vicars
saw the point, and without being able to answer him a word, they burst
into such fits of laughter that the poor curate felt more than ever

“Are you crazy?” he said, “What makes you laugh so when I put to you
such a simple question? Do you not know anything about that ‘General
Cargo,’ who surely must live somewhere, and be very rich, since he sends
so many vessels to our port that they fill nearly two columns of the
‘Quebec Gazette?’”

These remarks of the poor curate brought such a new storm of
irrepressible laughter from us all as we never experienced in our whole
lives. It took us some time to sufficiently master our feelings to tell
him that “General Cargo” was not the name of any individual, but only
the technical words to say that the ships were laden with general goods.

The next morning the young and jovial vicars gave the story to their
friends, and the people of Quebec had a hearty laugh at the expense of
our friend. From that time we called our good curate by the name of
“General Cargo,” and he was so good-natured that he joined with us in
joking at his own expense. It would require too much space were I to
publish all the comic blunders of that good man, so I shall give only
one more.

On one of the coldest days in January, 1835, a merchant of seal skins
came to the parsonage with some of the best specimens of his
merchandise, that we might buy them to make overcoats. For in those days
the overcoats of buffalo or raccoon skins were not yet thought of. Our
richest men used to have beaver overcoats, but the rest of the people
had to be contented with Canada seal skins; a beaver overcoat could not
be had for less than $200.

Mr. Tetu was anxious to buy his skins; his only difficulty was the high
price asked by the merchant. For nearly an hour he had turned over and
over again the beautiful skins, and had spent all his eloquence on
trying to bring down their price, when the sexton arrived, and told him,
respectfully: “Mr. le Cure, there are a couple of people waiting for you
with a child to be baptized.” “Very well,” said the curate, “I will go
immediately;” and addressing the merchant, he said: “Please wait a
moment; I will not be long absent.”

In two minutes after, the curate had donned the surplice, and was going
at full speed through the prayers and ceremonies of Baptism. For, to be
fair and true towards Mr. Tetu (and I might say the same thing of the
greatest part of the priests I have known), it must be acknowledged that
he was very exact in all his ministerial duties; yet he was in this case
going through them by steam, if not by electricity. He was soon at the
end. But, after the sacrament was administered, we were enjoined, then,
to repeat an exhortation to the godfathers and godmothers, from the
ritual which we all knew by heart, and which began with these words:
“Godfather and godmothers: you have brought a sinner to the church, but
you will take back a saint!”

As the vestry was full of people who had come to confess, Mr. Tetu
thought that it was his duty to speak with more emphasis than usual in
order to have his instructions heard and felt by everyone. But instead
of saying, “Godfather and godmother, you have brought a sinner to the
church, you will take back a saint!” he, with great force and unction,
said: “Godfather and godmother, you have brought a sinner to the church,
you will take back a _seal skin_!”

No words can describe the uncontrollable burst and roar of laughter
among the crowd, when they heard that the baptized child was just
changed into a “seal skin.” Unable to contain themselves, or do any
serious thing, they left the vestry to go home and laugh to their
heart’s content.

But the most comic part of this blunder was the _sang froid_ and the
calmness with which Mr. Tetu, turning towards me, said: “Will you be
kind enough to tell me the cause of that indecent and universal laughing
in the midst of such a solemn action as the baptism of this child?”

I tried to tell him his blunder; but for some time it was impossible to
express myself. My laughing propensities were so much excited, and the
convulsive laughter of the whole multitude made such a noise, that he
would not have heard me had I been able to answer him. It was only when
the greatest part of the crowd had left that I could reveal to Mr. Tetu
that he had changed the baptized baby into a “seal skin!” He heartily
laughed at his own blunder, and calmly went back to buy his seal skins.
The next day the story went from house to house in Quebec, and caused
everywhere such a laugh as they had not had since the birth of “General

That priest was a good type of the greatest part of the priests of
Canada: Fine fellows—social and jovial gentlemen—as fond of smoking
their cigars as of chewing their tobacco and using their snuff; fond of
fast horses; repeating the prayers of their breviary and going through
the performance of their ministerial duties with as much speed as
possible. With a good number of books in their libraries, but knowing
nothing of them but the titles; possessing the Bible, but ignorant of
its contents; believing that they had the light, when they were in awful
darkness; preaching the most monstrous doctrines as the gospel of truth;
considering themselves the only true Christians in the world, when they
worshipped the most contemptible idols made with hands. Absolutely
ignorant of the Word of God, while they proclaimed and believed
themselves to be the lights of the world. Unfortunate, blind men,
leading the blind into the ditch!

                              CHAPTER XXV.


In one of the pleasant hours which we used invariably to pass after
dinner, in the comfortable parlor of our parsonage, one of the vicars,
Mr. Louis Parent, said to the Rev. Mr. Tetu: “I have handed this morning
more than one hundred dollars to the bishop, as the price of the masses
which my pious penitents have requested me to celebrate, the greatest
part of them for the souls in purgatory. Every week I have to do the
same thing, just as each of you, and every one of the hundreds of
priests in Canada have to do. Now, I would like to know how the bishops
can dispose of all these masses, and what they do with the large sums of
money which go into their hands from every part of the country to have
masses said. This question vexes me, and I would like to know your mind
about it.”

The good curate answered in a joking manner, as usual: “If the masses
paid into our hands, which go to the bishop, are all celebrated,
purgatory must be emptied twice a day. For I have calculated that the
sums given for those masses in Canada cannot be less than $4,000 every
day, and, as there are three times as many Catholics in the United
States as here, and as those Irish Catholics are more devoted to the
souls in purgatory than the Canadians, there is no exaggeration in
saying that they give as much as our people; $16,000 at least will thus
be given every day in these two countries to throw cold water on the
burning flames of that fiery prison. Now, these $16,000 given every day,
multiplied by the 365 days of the year, make the handsome sum of
$5,840,000 paid for that object in low masses, every year. But, as we
all know, that more than twice as much is paid for high masses than for
the low, it is evident that more than $10,000,000 are expended to help
the souls of purgatory end their tortures every twelve months, in North
America alone. If those millions of dollars do not benefit the good
souls in purgatory, they at all events are of some benefit to our pious
bishops and holy popes, in whose hands the greatest part must remain
till the day of judgment. For there is not a sufficient number of
priests in the world to say all the masses which are paid for by the
people. I do not know any more than you do about what the bishops do
with those millions of dollars; they keep that among their secret good
works. But it is evident there is a serious mystery here. I do not mean
to say that the Yankee and the Canadian bishops swallow those huge piles
of dollars as sweet oranges; or that they are a band of big swindlers,
who employ smaller ones, called Revs. Tetu, Baillargeon, Chiniquy,
Parent, etc., to fill their treasuries. But, if you want to know my mind
on that delicate subject, I will tell you that the least we think and
speak of it, the better it is for us. Every time my thoughts turn to
those streams of money which day and night flow from the small purses of
our pious and unsuspecting people into our hands, and from ours into
those of the bishops, I feel as if I were choking. If I am at the table
I can neither eat nor drink, and if in my bed at night, I cannot sleep.
But as I like to eat, drink and sleep, I reject those thoughts as much
as possible, and I advise you to do the same thing.”

The other vicars seemed inclined, with Mr. Parent, to accept that
conclusion; but, as I had not said a single word, they requested me to
give them my views on that vexatious subject, which I did in the
following brief words:

“There are many things in our holy church which look like dark spots;
but I hope that this is due only to our ignorance. No doubt these very
things would look as white as snow, were we to see and know them just as
they are. Our holy bishops, with the majority of the Catholic priests of
the United States and Canada, cannot be that band of thieves and
swindlers whose phantoms chill the blood of our worthy curate. So long
as we do not know what the bishops do with those numberless masses paid
into their hands, I prefer to believe that they act as honest men.”

I had hardly said these few words, when I was called to visit a sick
parishioner, and the conversation was ended.

Eight days later, I was alone in my room, reading the “L’ami de la
Religion et du Roi,” a paper which I received from Paris, edited by
Picot. My curiosity was not a little excited, when I read, at the head
of a page, in large letters: “Admirable Piety of the French Canadian
People.” The reading of that page made me shed tears of shame, and shook
my faith to its foundation. Unable to contain myself, I ran to the rooms
of the curate and the vicars, and said to them: “A few days ago we
tried, but in vain, to find what becomes of the large sums of money
which pass from the people, through our hands, into those of the bishop,
to say masses; but here is the answer, I have the key to that mystery,
which is worthy of the darkest ages of the Church. I wish I were dead,
rather than see with my own eyes such abominations.” We then read that
long chapter, the substance of which was that the venerable bishops of
Quebec had sent not less than one hundred thousand francs, at different
times, to the priests of Paris, that they might say four hundred
thousand masses at five cents each! Here we had the sad evidence that
our bishops had taken four hundred thousand francs from our poor people,
under the pretext of saving the souls from purgatory! That article fell
upon us as a thunderbolt. For a long time we looked at each other
without being able to utter a single word; our tongues were as paralyzed
by our shame; we felt as vile criminals when detected on the spot.

At last, Baillargeon, addressing the curate, said: “Is it possible that
our bishops are swindlers, and we, their tools to defraud our people?
What would that people say, if they knew that not only we do not say the
masses for which they constantly fill our hands with their hard-earned
money, but that we send those masses to be said in Paris for five cents!
What will our good people think of us all when they know that our bishop
pockets twenty cents out of each mass they ask us to celebrate according
to their wishes.”

The curate answered: “It is very lucky that the people do not know that
sharp operation of our bishops, for they would surely throw us all into
the river. Let us keep that shameful trade as secret as possible. For
what is the crime of simony if this be not an instance of it?”

I replied: “How can you hope to keep that traffic of the body and blood
of Christ a secret, when not less than 40,000 copies of this paper are
circulated in France, and more than 100 copies come to the United States
and Canada? The danger is greater than you suspect; it is even at our
doors. Is it not on account of such public and undeniable crimes and
vile tricks of the clergy of France that the French people in general,
not only have lost almost every vestige of religion, but, not half a
century ago, condemned all the priests and bishops of France to death as
public malefactors?

“But that sharp mercantile operation of our bishops takes a still darker
color, when we consider that those ‘five-cent masses’ which are said in
Paris are not worth a cent. For who among us is ignorant of the fact
that the greatest part of the priests of Paris are infidels, and that
many of them live publicly with concubines? Would our people put their
money in our hands if we were honest enough to tell them that their
masses would be said for five cents in Paris by such priests? Do we not
deceive them when we accept their money, under the well understood
condition that we shall offer the holy sacrifice according to their
wishes? But, instead of that, we get it sent to France, to be disposed
of in such a criminal way. But, if you allow me to speak a little more,
I have another strange fact to consider with you, which is closely
connected with this simonical operation.”

“Yes! speak, speak!” answered all four priests.

I then resumed: “Do you remember how you were enticed into the ‘Three
Masses Society?’ Who among us had the idea that the new obligations we
were then assuming were such that the greatest part of the year would be
spent in saying masses for the priests, and that it would thus become
impossible to satisfy the pious demands of the people who support us? We
already belonged to the societies of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St.
Michael, which raised to five the number of masses we had to celebrate
for the dead priests. Dazzled by the idea that we would have two
thousand masses said for us at our death, we bit at the bait presented
to us by the bishop as hungry fishes, without suspecting the hook. The
result is that we have had to say 165 masses for the 33 priests who died
during the past year, which means that each of us has to pay $41.00 to
the bishop for masses which he has had said in Paris for $8.00. Each
mass which we celebrate for a dead priest here, is a mass which the
bishop sends to Paris, on which he gains twenty cents. Then the more
priests he enrolls in his society of ‘Three Masses,’ the more twenty
cents he pockets from us and from our pious people. Hence his admirable
zeal to enroll every one of us. It is not the value of the money which
our bishop so skilfully got from our hands which I consider, but I feel
desolate when I see that by these societies we become the accomplices of
his simonical trade. For, being forced the greatest part of the year to
celebrate the holy sacrifice for the benefit of the dead priests, we
cannot celebrate the masses for which we are daily paid by the people,
and are therefore forced to transfer them into the hands of the bishop,
who sends them to Paris, after spiriting away twenty cents from each of
them. However, why should we lament over the past? It is no more within
our reach. There is no remedy for it. Let us then learn from the past
errors how to be wise in the future.”

Mr. Tetu answered: “You have shown us our error. Now, can you indicate
any remedy?”

“I cannot say that the remedy we have in hand is one of those patented
medicines which will cure all the diseases of our sickly church in
Canada, but I hope it will help to bring a speedy convalescence. That
remedy is to abolish the society of ‘Three Masses,’ and to establish
another of ‘One Mass,’ which will be said at the death of every priest.
In that way it is true that instead of 2,000 masses, we shall have only
1,200 at our death. But if 1,200 masses do not open to us the gates of
heaven, it is because we shall be in hell. By that reduction we shall be
enabled to say more masses at the request of our people, and shall
diminish the number of five-cent masses said by the priests of Paris at
the request of our bishop. If you take my advice, we will immediately
name the Rev. Mr. Tetu president of the new society, Mr. Parent will be
its treasurer, and I consent to act as your secretary, if you like it.
When our society is organized, we will send our resignations to the
president of the other society, and we shall immediately address a
circular to all the priests, to give them the reason for the change, and
respectfully ask them to unite with us in this new society, in order to
diminish the number of masses which are celebrated by the five-cent
priests of Paris.”

Within two hours the new society was fully organized, the reasons of its
formation written in a book, and our names were sent to the bishop, with
a respectful letter informing him that we were no more members of the
‘Three Masses Society.’ That letter was signed, “C. Chiniquy,
Secretary.” Three hours later, I received the following note from the
bishop’s palace:

“My Lord Bishop of Quebec wants to see you immediately upon important
affairs. Do not fail to come without delay. Truly yours,

                                       “CHARLES F. CAZEAULT, Sec’y.”

I showed the missive to the curate and the vicars, and told them: “A big
storm is raging on the mountain; this is the first peal of thunder—the
atmosphere looks dark and heavy. Pray for me that I may speak and act as
an honest and fearless priest, when in the presence of the bishop.”

In the first parlor of the bishop’s palace I met my personal friend,
Secretary Cazeault. He said to me: “My dear Chiniquy, you are sailing on
a rough sea—you must be a lucky mariner if you escape the wreck. The
bishop is very angry at you; but be not discouraged, for the right is on
your side.” He then kindly opened the door of the bishop’s parlor, and
said: “My lord, Mr. Chiniquy is here, waiting for your orders.”

“Let him come, sir,” answered the bishop.

I entered and threw myself at his feet, as it is the usage of the
priests. But, stepping backward, he told me in a most excited manner: “I
have no benediction for you till you give me a satisfactory explanation
of your strange conduct.”

I arose to my feet and said: “My lord, what do you want from me?”

“I want you, sir, to explain to me the meaning of this letter signed by
you as secretary of a new-born society called, ‘One Mass Society.’” At
the same time he showed me my letter.

I answered him: “My lord, the letter is in good French—your lordship
must have understood it well. I cannot see how any explanation on my
part could make it clearer.”

“What I want to know from you, is what you mean, and what is your object
in leaving the old and respectable ‘Three Masses Society?’ Is it not
composed of your bishops and of all the priests of Canada? Did you not
find yourself in sufficiently good company? Do you object to the prayers
said for the souls in purgatory?”

I replied: “My lord, I will answer by revealing to your lordship a fact
which has not sufficiently attracted your attention. The great number of
masses which we have to say for the souls of the dead priests makes it
impossible for us to say the masses for which the people pay into our
hands; we are, then, forced to transfer this money into your hands; and
then instead of having these holy sacrifices offered by the good priests
of Canada, your lordship has recourse to the priests of France, where
you get them said for five cents. We see two great evils in this:
First—Our masses are said by priests in whom we have not the least
confidence; and though the masses they say are very cheap, they are too
dearly purchased; for between you and me, we can say that, with very few
exceptions, the masses said by the priests of France, particularly of
Paris, are not worth one cent. The second evil is still greater, for in
our eyes, it is one of the greatest crimes which our holy church has
always condemned, the crime of simony.”

“Do you mean to say,” indignantly replied the bishop, “that I am guilty
of the crime of simony?”

“Yes! my lord; it is just what I mean to say, and I do not see how your
lordship does not understand that the trade in masses by which you gain
400,000 francs on a spiritual merchandise, which you get for 100,000, is
not simony.”

“You insult me! You are the most impudent man I ever saw. If you do not
retract what you have said, I will suspend and excommunicate you!”

“My suspension and my excommunication will not make the position of your
lordship much better. For the people will know that you have
excommunicated me because I protested against your trade in masses. They
will know that you pocket twenty cents on every mass, and that you get
them said for five cents in Paris by priests, the greatest part of whom
live with concubines, and you will see that there will be only one voice
in Canada to bless me for my protest and to condemn you for your
simoniacal trade on such a sacred thing as the holy and tremendous
sacrifice of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.”

I uttered these words with such perfect calmness that the bishop saw
that I had not the least fear of his thunders. He began to pace the
room, and he heaped on my devoted head all the epithets by which I could
learn that I was an insolent, rebellious and dangerous priest.

“It is evident to me,” said he, “that you aim to be a reformer, a
Luther, _au petit pied_, in Canada. But you will never be anything else
than a monkey!”

I saw that my bishop was beside himself, and that my perfect calmness
added to his irritation. I answered him: “If Luther had never done
anything worse than I do to-day, he ought to be blessed by God and man.
I respectfully request your lordship to be calm. The subject on which I
speak to you is more serious than you think. Your lordship, by asking
twenty-five cents for a mass which can be said for five cents, does a
thing which you would condemn if it were done by another man. You are
digging under your own feet, and under the feet of your priests the same
abyss in which the Church of France nearly perished, not half a century
ago. You are destroying with your own hands every vestige of religion in
the hearts of the people, who will sooner or later know it. I am your
best friend, your most respectful priest, when I fearlessly tell you
this truth before it is too late. Your lordship knows that he has not a
priest who loves and cherishes him more than I do—God knows, it is
because I love and respect you, as my own father, that I profoundly
deplore the illusions which prevent you from seeing the terrible
consequences that will follow, if our pious people learn that you abuse
their ignorance and their good faith, by making them pay twenty-five
cents for a thing which costs only five. Woe to your lordship! Woe to
me, woe to our holy church, the day that our people know that in our
holy religion the blood of Christ is turned into merchandise to fill the
treasury of the bishops and pope!”

It was evident that these last words, said with most perfect
self-possession, had not all been lost. The bishop had become calmer. He
answered me: “You are young and without experience: your imagination is
easily fed with phantoms. When you know a little more, you will change
your mind and will have more respect for your superiors. I hope your
present error is only a momentary one. I could punish you for this
freedom with which you have dared to speak to your bishop, but I prefer
to warn you to be more respectful and obedient in future. Though I
deplore for your sake that you have requested me to take away your name
from the ‘Three Masses Society,’ you and the four simpletons who have
committed the same act of folly are the only losers in the matter.
Instead of two thousand masses said for the deliverance of your souls
from the flames of purgatory, you will have only twelve hundred. But, be
sure of it, there is too much wisdom and true piety in my clergy to
follow your example. You will be left alone, and, I fear, covered with
ridicule. For they will call you the ‘little reformer.’”

I answered the bishop: “I am young, it is true, but the truths I have
said to your lordship are as old as the gospel. I have such confidence
in the infinite merits of the holy sacrifice of the mass, that I
sincerely believe that twelve hundred masses said by good priests are
enough to cleanse my soul and extinguish the flames of purgatory. But,
besides, I prefer twelve hundred masses said by one hundred sincere
Canadian priests, to a million said by the five-cent priests of Paris.”

These last words, spoken with a tone half serious, half jocose, brought
a change on the face of my bishop. I thought it was a good moment to get
my benediction and take leave of him. I took my hat, knelt at his feet,
obtained his blessing and left.

                              CHAPTER XXVI


The hour of my absence had been one of anxiety for the curate and the
vicars. But my prompt return filled them with joy.

“What news!” they all exclaimed.

“Good news,” I answered; “the battle has been fierce but short. We have
gained the day; and if we are only true to ourselves, another great
victory is in store for us. The bishop is so sure that we are the only
ones who think of that reform, that he will not move a finger to prevent
the other priests from following us. This security will make our success
infallible. But we must not lose a moment. Let us address our circular
to every priest in Canada.”

One hour later there were more than twenty writers at work, and before
twenty-four hours, more than three hundred letters were carried to all
the priests, giving them the reasons why we should try, by all fair
means, to put an end to the shameful simoniacal trade in masses which
was going on between Canada and France.

The week was scarcely ended, when letters came from nearly all the
curates and vicars to the bishop, respectfully requesting him to
withdraw his name from “The Society of the Three Masses.” Only fifty
refused to comply with our request.

Our victory was more complete than we had expected. But the bishop of
Quebec, hoping to regain his lost ground, immediately wrote to the
bishop of Montreal, my Lord Telemesse, to come to his help and show us
the enormity of the crime we had committed, in rebelling against the
will of our ecclesiastical superiors.

A few days later, to my great dismay, I received a short and very cold
note from the bishop’s secretary, telling me that their lordships, the
bishops of Montreal and Quebec, wanted to see me at the palace, without
delay. I had never seen the bishop of Montreal, and my surprise and
disappointment were great in finding myself in the presence of a man, my
idea of whom was of gigantic proportions, when in reality he was very
small. But I felt exceedingly well pleased by the admirable mixture of
firmness, intelligence and honesty of his whole demeanor. His eyes were
piercing as the eagle’s; but when fixed on me, I saw in them the marks
of a noble and honest heart.

The motions of his head were rapid, his sentences short, and he seemed
to know only one line—the straight one—when approaching a subject or
dealing with a man. He had the merited reputation of being one of the
most learned and eloquent men of Canada. The bishop of Quebec had
remained on his sofa and left the bishop of Montreal to receive me. I
fell at his feet and asked his blessing, which he gave me in the most
cordial way. Then, putting his hand upon my shoulder, he said in a
Quaker style: “Is it possible that _thou_ art Chiniquy—that young priest
who makes so much noise? How can such a small man make so much noise?”

There being a smile on his countenance as he uttered these words, I saw
at once that there was no anger or bad feeling in his heart. I replied:
“My lord, do you not know that the most precious pearls and perfumes are
put up in the smallest vases?”

The bishop saw that this was a compliment to his address; he smilingly
replied: “Well, well, if thou art a noisy priest, thou art not a fool.
But tell me, why dost thou want to destroy our ‘Three Mass Society’ and
establish that new one on its ruins, in spite of thy superiors?”

“My lord, my answer will be as respectful, short and plain as possible.
I have left the ‘Three Mass Society’ because it was my right to do it,
without anybody’s permission. I hope our venerable Canadian bishops do
not wish to be served by slaves!”

“I do not say,” replied the bishop, “that thou wert bound in conscience
to remain in the ‘Three Mass Society;’ but, can I know why thou hast
left such a respectable association, at the head of which thou seest thy
bishops and the most venerable priests in Canada?”

“I will again be plain in my answer, my lord. If your lordship wants to
go to hell with your venerable priests by spiriting away twenty cents
from every one of our honest and pious penitents for masses which you
get said for five, by bad priests in Paris, I will not follow you.
Moreover, if your lordship wants to be thrown into the river by the
furious people, when they know how long and how cunningly we have
cheated them with our simoniacal trade in masses, I do not want to
follow you into the cold stream.”

“Well, well!” answered the bishop, “let us drop that matter forever.”

He uttered this short sentence with such an evidence of sincerity and
honesty, that I saw he really meant it. He had, at a glance, seen that
his ground was untenable, in the presence of priests who knew their
rights and had a mind to stand by them.

My joy was great indeed at such a prompt and complete victory. I again
fell at the bishop’s feet and asked his benediction before taking leave
of him. I then left to go and tell the curates and vicars the happy
issue of my interview with the bishop of Montreal.

From that time till now, at the death of every priest, the Clerical
Press never failed mentioning whether the deceased priest belonged to
the “Three” or “One Mass Society.”

We had, to some extent, diminished the simoniacal and infamous trade in
masses, but unfortunately we had not destroyed it; and I know that
to-day it has revived. Since I left the Church of Rome, the bishops of
Quebec have raised the “Three Mass Society” from its grave.

It is a public fact, that no priest dare deny, that the trade in masses
is still conducted on a large scale with France. There are in Paris and
other large cities in that country public agencies to carry on that
shameful traffic. It is, generally, in the hands of booksellers or
merchants of church ornaments. Every year their houses send a large
number of prospectuses through France and Belgium and other Catholic
countries, in which they say that, in order to help the priests, who
having received money for their masses, don’t know where to have them
said, they offer a premium of twenty-five or thirty per cent. to those
who will send them the surplus of the money they have in hand, to offer
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The priests who have such surplus, tempted by that premium, which is
usually paid with a watch or chain, or a chalice, disgorge a part or the
whole of the large sums they possess into the hands of the pious
merchants, who take this money and use it as they please.

But they never pay the masses in money, they give only merchandise. For
instance, that priest will receive a watch if he promises to celebrate
one or two hundred masses, or a chalice to celebrate three or four
hundred masses. I have, here in hand, several of the contracts or
promissory notes sent by those merchants of masses to the priests. The
public will, no doubt, read the following documents with interest. They
were handed me by a priest lately converted from the Church of Rome:

                          RUE DE REIMES—PARIS.

Ant. Levesques, editor of the works of Mr. Dufriche—Desgenettes. Cure of
Notre Dame des Victoires.

Delivered to the Rev. Mr. Camerle, curate of Ansibeau (Basses Alpes).

                                            PARIS, October 12, 1874.

       10 metres of Satin cloth, at 22 francs             220.
       8     ”     of merino, all wool                    123.
       Month of May                                        2.
       History of Mary Christina                           1.40
       Life of St. Stanislas Koska                         2.
       Meditations of the Soul                             4.
       Jesus Christ, the light of the world                2.
       Packing and freight                                 9.30
           Total                                          363.70

MR. CURATE: We have the honor of informing you that the packages
containing the articles you have ordered on the 4th of October, were
shipped on the 12th of October, to Digne, where we respectfully request
you to go and ask for them. For the payment of these articles, we
request you to say the following masses:

58 ad intentionem of the giver, for the discharge of Rev. Mr. Montet.

58 ad intentionem of the givers, for the discharge of Rev. Mr. Hœg.

100-188 for the dead, for the discharge of Rev. Mr. Wod.

MR. CURATE: Will you be kind enough to say or have said all those masses
in the shortest time possible, and answer these Rev’d gentlemen, if they
make any inquiries about the acquittal of those masses.

                                     Respectfully yours,

                                       (Signed)      ANT. LEVESQUES.

                                               PARIS, Nov. 11, 1874.

REV. MR. CAMERLE: We have the honor of addressing you the invoice of
what we forwarded to you on the 12th of October. On account we have put
to your credit 188 masses. We respectfully request you get said to the
following intentions:

   73 for the dead, to the acquittal of Rev. Mr.    }

   70 pro defucto,                                  }  For the discharge

   20 ad intentionem donatis,                       }  of Rev. Mr. C——

   13 ad intentionem donatis,                       }



MR. CURATE: Be kind enough to say these masses or have them said as soon
as possible, and answer the reverend gentlemen who may inquire from you
about their acquittal. The 188 masses mentioned in our letter of the 3rd
inst., added to the 176 here mentioned, make 364 francs, the value of
the goods sent you. We thought you would like to have the pamphlets of
propaganda we address you.

                                         Respectfully yours,

                                          Signed:      ANT. LEVESQUES.

Hence it is that priests, in France and elsewhere, have gold watches,
rich house furniture, and interesting books, purchased with the money
paid by our poor deluded Canadian Catholics to their priests for masses
which are turned into mercantile commodities in other places. It would
be difficult to say who makes the best bargain between those merchants
of masses, the priests to whom they are sold, or those from whom they
are bought at a discount of twenty-five to thirty per cent.

The only evident thing is the cruel deception practiced on the credulity
and ignorance of the Roman Catholics by their priests and bishops.
To-day, the houses of Dr. Anthony Levesques in Paris are the most
accredited in France. In 1874, the house of Mesme was doing an immense
business with its stock of masses, but in an evil day, the Government
suspected that the number of masses paid into their hands, exceeded the
number of those celebrated through their hired priests. The suspicion
soon turned into certainty when the books were examined. It was then
found that an incredible number of masses, which were to empty the large
room of purgatory, never reached their destination, but only filled the
purse of the Parisian mass merchant; and so the unlucky Mesme was
unceremoniously sent to the penitentiary to meditate on the infinite
merits of the holy sacrifice of the mass, which had been engulfed in his

But these facts are not known by the poor Roman Catholics of Canada, who
are fleeced more and more by their priests, under the pretext of saving
souls from purgatory.

A new element of success in the large swindling operations of the
Canadian priests has lately been discovered. It is well known that in
the greater part of the United States, the poor deluded Irish pay one
dollar to their priest, instead of a shilling, for a low mass. Those
priests whose conscience are sufficiently elastic (as is often the
case), keep the money without ever thinking of having the masses said,
and soon get rich. But there are some whose natural honesty shrinks from
the idea of stealing; but unable to celebrate all the masses paid for
and requested at their hands, they send the dollars to some of their
clerical friends in Canada, who, of course, prefer these one dollar
masses to the twenty-five cent ones paid by the French Canadians.
However, they keep that secret and continue to fill their treasury.

There are, however, many priests in Canada who think it less evil to
keep those large sums of money in their own hands, than to give them to
the bishops to traffic with the merchants of Paris. At the end of one of
the ecclesiastical retreats in the seminary of St. Sulpice in 1850,
Bishop Bourget told us that one of the priests who had lately died, had
requested him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to ask every priest to take
a share in the $4,000 which he had received for masses he had never
said. We refused to grant him that favor, and those $4,000 received by
that priest, like the millions put into the hands of other priests and
the bishops, turned to be nothing less than an infamous swindling
operation under the mask of religion.

To understand what the priests of Rome are, let the readers note what is
said in the Roman Catholic Bible, of the priest of Babylon:

“And King Astyges was gathered to his fathers, and Cyrus, of Persia,
received his kingdom, and Daniel conversed with the king, and was
honored above all his friends. Now the Babylonians had an idol, called
Bel, and there were spent upon him, every day, twelve measures of fine
flour, and forty sheep and six vessels of wine. And the king worshipped
it and went daily to adore: but Daniel worshipped his own God, and the
king said unto him: ‘Why dost thou not worship Bel?’ who answered and
said: ‘because I may not worship idols made with hands, but the living
God, who hath created the heavens and the earth, and hath sovereignty
over all flesh.’ Then the king said: ‘Thinkest thou not that Bel is a
living God! Seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day?’

“Then Daniel smiled and said: ‘Oh, king! be not deceived; for this is
but clay within and brass without, and did never eat or drink anything.’

“So the king was wroth, and called for his priests and said: ‘If ye tell
me not who this is that devoureth these expenses, ye shall die; but if
ye can certify me that Bel devoureth them, then Daniel shall die, for he
has spoken blasphemy against Bel.’ And Daniel said unto the king: ‘Let
it be according to thy word.’

“Now the priests of Bel were three score and ten, besides their wives
and children.

“And the king went with Daniel to the temple of Bel—so Bel’s priests
said: ‘Lo! we got out, but thou, O king, set on the meat, and make ready
the wine, and shut the door fast, and seal it with thine own signet; and
to-morrow when thou comest in, if thou findest not that Bel hath eaten
up all, we will suffer death; or else, Daniel, that speaketh falsely
against Bel shall die—and they little regarded it, for under the table
they had made a privy entrance, whereby they entered continually and
consumed those things.’

“So when they were gone forth, the king set meats before Bel.

“Now Daniel had commanded his servants to bring ashes, and those they
strewed throughout all the temple, in the presence of the king alone:
then they went out, and shut the door, and sealed it with the king’s
signet, and so departed.

“Now in the night came the priests, with their wives and children, as
they were wont to do, and did eat and drink up all.

“In the morning betimes the king arose, and Daniel with him.

“And the king said, ‘Daniel, are the seals whole?’ And he said, ‘Yea, O
king, they be whole.’ And as soon as they had opened the door, the king
looked upon the table, and cried with a loud voice: ‘Great art thou, O
Bel! and with thee there is no deceit at all.’ Then laughed Daniel, and
held the king that he should not go in, and said: ‘Behold now the
pavement, and mark well whose footsteps are these.’ And the king said:
‘I see the footsteps of men, women and children.’ And then the king was
angry, and took the priests, with their wives and children, who showed
him the privy doors, where they came in and consumed such things as were
on the tables.

“Therefore the king slew them, and delivered Bel into Daniel’s power,
who destroyed him and his temple.”

Who does not pity the king of Babylon, who, when looking at his clay and
brass god, exclaimed: “Great art thou, O Bel, and with thee there is no

But, is the deception practiced by the priests of the Pope on their
poor, deluded dupes, less cruel and infamous? Where is the difference
between that Babylonian god, made with brass and baked clay, and the god
of the Roman Catholics, made with a handful of wheat and flour, baked
between two hot polished irons?

How skilful were the priests in keeping the secret of what became of the
rich daily offerings brought to the hungry god! Who could suspect that
there was a secret trap through which they came with their wives and
children to eat the rich offerings?

So, to-day, among the simple and blind Roman Catholics, who could
suppose that the immense sums of money given every day to the priests to
glorify God, purify the souls of men, and bring all kinds of blessings
upon the donors, were, on the contrary, turned into the most ignominious
and swindling operation the world has ever seen?

Though the brass god of Babylon was a contemptible idol, is not the
wafer god of Rome still more so? Though the priests of Bel were skilful
deceivers, are they not surpassed in the art of deception by the priests
of Rome! Do not these carry on their operations on a much larger scale
than the former?

But, as there is always a day of retribution for the great iniquities of
this world, when all things will be revealed; and just as the cunning of
the priests of Babylon could not save them, when God sent his prophet to
take away the mask, behind which they deceived their people, so let the
priests of Rome know that God will, sooner or later, send his prophet,
who will tear off the mask, behind which they deceive the world. Their
big, awkward and flat feet will be seen and exposed, and the very people
whom they keep prostrated before their idols, crying: “O God! with thee
there is no deceit at all!” will become the instruments of the justice
of God in the great day of retribution.

                             CHAPTER XXVII.


One of the first things done by the curate Tetu, after his new vicars
had been chosen, was to divide, by casting lots, his large parish into
four parts, that there might be more regularity in our ministerial
labors, and my lot gave me the northeast of the parish which contained
the Quebec Marine Hospital.

The number of sick sailors I had to visit almost every day in that noble
institution, was between twenty-five and a hundred. The Roman Catholic
chapel, with its beautiful altar was not yet completed. It was only in
1837 that I could persuade the hospital authorities to fix it as it is
to-day. Having no place there to celebrate mass and keep the Holy
Sacrament, I soon found myself in presence of a difficulty which, at
first, seemed to me of a grave character. I had to administer the
viaticum (holy communion) to a dying sailor. As every one knows, all
Roman Catholics are bound to believe that by the consecration, the wafer
is transformed into the body, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Hence,
they call that ceremony: “Porter le bon dieu au malade” (carry the good
God to the sick.) Till then, when in Charlesborough or St. Charles, I,
with the rest of Roman Catholic priests, always made use of pomp and
exterior marks of supreme respect for the Almighty God I was carrying in
my hands to the dying.

I had never carried the good God without being accompanied by several
people, walking or riding on horseback. I then wore a white surplice
over my long black robe (soutane) to strike the people with awe. There
was also a man ringing a bell before me, all along the way, to announce
to the people that the great God, who had not only created them, but had
made himself man to save them, by dying on Calvary, was passing by; that
they had to fall on their knees in their houses, or along the public
roads or in their fields, and prostrate themselves and adore him.

But could I do that in Quebec, where so many miserable heretics were
more disposed to laugh at my God than to adore him?

In my zeal and sincere faith, I was, however, determined to dare the
heretics of the whole world, and to expose myself to their insults,
rather than give up the exterior marks of supreme respect and adoration
which were due to my God everywhere; and twice I carried Him to the
hospital with the usual solemnity.

In vain my curate tried to persuade me to change my mind. I closed my
ears to his arguments. He then kindly invited me to go with him to the
bishop’s palace, in order to confer with him on that grave subject. How
can I express my dismay when the bishop told me, with a levity which I
had not yet observed in him, “that on account of the Protestants whom we
had to meet everywhere, it was better to make our ‘God’ travel
_incognito_ in the streets of Quebec.” He added in a high and jocose
tone: “Put Him in your vest pocket, as do the rest of the city priests.
Carry Him to your dying patients without any scruples. Never aim at
being a reformer and doing better than your venerable brethren in the
priesthood. We must not forget that we are a conquered people. If we
were masters, we would carry Him to the dying with the public honors we
used to give Him before the conquest; but the Protestants are the
stronger. Our governor is a Protestant, as well as our Queen. The
garrison which is inside the walls of their impregnable citadel, is
composed chiefly of Protestants. According to the laws of our holy
church, we have the right to punish, even by death, the miserable people
who turn into ridicule the mysteries of our holy religion: But though we
have that right, we are not strong enough to enforce it. We must, then,
bear the yoke in silence. After all, it is our God himself, who in his
inscrutable judgment, has deprived us of the power of honoring Him as He
deserves, and to tell you my whole mind as plainly as possible, it is
not our fault, but His own doing, so to speak, if we are forced to make
Him travel _incognito_ through our streets. It is one of the sad results
of the victory which the God of battles gave to the Heretics over us on
the plains of Abraham. If, in His good providence, we could break our
fetters, and become free to pass again the laws which regulated Canada
before the conquest, to prevent the heretics from settling among us,
then we would carry Him as we used to do in those happy days.”

“But,” said I, “when I walk in the streets with my good God in my vest
pocket, what will I do if I meet any friend who wants to shake hands and
have a joke with me?”

The bishop laughed and answered: “Tell your friend you are in a hurry,
and go your way as quickly as possible; but if there is no help, have
your talk and your joke with him, without any scruple of conscience. The
important point in this delicate matter is that the people should not
know that we are carrying our God through the streets _incognito_; for
this knowledge would surely shake and weaken their faith. The common
people are, more than we think, kept in our holy church, by the
impressing ceremonies of our processions and public marks of respect we
give to Jesus Christ, when we carry Him to the sick; for the people are
more easily persuaded by what they see with their eyes and touch with
their hands, than by what they hear with their ears.”

I submitted to the order of my ecclesiastical superior; but I would not
be honest, were I not to confess that I lost much of my spiritual joy
for some time in the administration of the viaticum. I continued to
believe as sincerely as I could, but the laughing words and light tone
of my bishop had fallen upon my soul as an icy cloud. The jocose way in
which he had spoken of what I had been taught to consider as the most
awful and adorable mystery of the church, left the impression on my mind
that he did not believe one iota of the dogma of transubstantiation. And
in spite of all my honest efforts to get rid of that suspicion, it grew
in my mind every time I met him to talk on any ministerial subject.

It took several years before I could accustom myself to carry my God in
my vest pocket as the other priests did, without any more ceremony than
with a piece of tobacco. So long as I was walking alone I felt happy. I
could then silently converse with my Saviour, and give Him all the
expressions of my love and adoration. It was my custom, then, to repeat
the 103d or 50th psalm of David,—or the Te Deum, or some other beautiful
hymn, or the _Pange Langua_, which I knew by heart. But no words can
express my sadness when, as it was very often the case, I met some
friends forcing me to shake hands with them, and began one of those idle
and common-place talks, so common everywhere.

With the utmost efforts, I had then to put a smiling mask on my face, in
order to conceal the expression of faith which are infallibly seen, in
spite of one’s self, if one is in the very act of adoration.

How, then, I earnestly cursed the day when my country had fallen under
the yoke of Protestants, whose presence in Quebec prevented me from
following the dictates of my conscience! How many times did I pray my
wafer god, whom I was personally pressing on my heart, to grant us an
opportunity to break those fetters, and destroy forever the power of
Protestant England over us! Then we should be free again, to give our
Saviour all the public honors which were to due his majesty. Then we
should put in force the laws by which no heretic had any right to settle
and live in Canada.

Not long after that conversation with the bishop, I found myself in a
circumstance which added much to my trouble and confusion of conscience
on that matter.

There was then, in Quebec, a merchant who had honorably raised himself
from a state of poverty, to the first rank among the wealthy merchants
of Canada. Though, a few years after, he was ruined by a series of most
terrible disasters, his name is still honored in Canada, as one of the
most industrious and honest merchants of our young country. His name was
James Buteau. He had built a magnificent house and furnished it in a
princely style.

In order to celebrate his “house warming” in a becoming style, he
invited a hundred guests from the elite of the city, among whom were all
the priests of the parishes. But in order not to frighten their prudery,
though the party was to be more of the nature of a ball than anything
else, Mr. Buteau had given it the modest name of an Oyster Soiree.

Just as the good curate Tetu, with his cheerful vicars was starting, a
messenger met us at the door, to say that Mr. Parent, the youngest
vicar, had called to carry the “Good God” to a dying woman.

Mr. Parent was born, and had passed his whole life in Quebec, in whose
seminary he had gone through a complete and brilliant course of study. I
think there was scarcely a funny song in the French language which he
could not sing. With a cheerful nature, he was the delight of the Quebec
society, by almost every member of which he was personally known.

His hair was constantly perfumed with the richest pomade, and the most
precious eaux de cologne surrounded him with an atmosphere of the
sweetest odors. With all these qualities and privileges, it is no wonder
that he was the confessor “_a la mode_” of the young ladies of Quebec.

The bright luminaries which hover around Jupiter are not more exact in
converging toward the brilliant star, than those pious young ladies were
in gathering around the confessional box of Mr. Parent every week or

The unexpected announcement of a call to the deathbed of one of his
poorest penitents, was not quite the most desirable thing for our dear
young friend, at such an hour. But he knew too well his duty to grumble.
He said to us: “Go before me and tell Mrs. Buteau that I will be in time
to get my share of the oysters.”

By chance, the sick house was on the way and not far from Mr. Buteau’s
splendid mansion. He left us to run to the altar and take the “Good God”
with him. We started for the soiree, but not without sympathizing with
our dear Mr. Parent, who would lose the most interesting part, for the
administration of the viaticum. The extreme unction, with the giving of
indulgences, _in articulo mortis_, and the exhortation to the dying, and
the people gathered from the neighborhood to witness those solemn rites,
could not take much less than three quarters, or even an hour of his
time. But, to my great surprise, we had not yet been ten minutes in the
magnificent parlor of our host, when I saw Mr. Parent, who like a
newborn butterfly, flying from flower to flower, was running from lady
to lady, joking, laughing, surpassing himself with his inimitable,
lovely and refined manners. I said to myself, how is it possible that he
has so quickly got rid of his unpalatable task with his dying penitent!
and I wanted an opportunity of being alone with him, to satisfy my
curiosity on that point. But it was pretty late in the evening, when I
had a chance to say to him; “We all feared lest your dying patient might
deprive us of the pleasure of your company the greater part of the

“Oh! Oh!” answered he, with a hearty laugh, “that intelligent woman had
the good common sense to die just two minutes before I entered her
house. I suppose that her guardian angel, knowing all about this
incomparable party, had dispatched the good soul to heaven a little
sooner than she expected, in my behalf.” I could not but smile at his
answer, which was given in a manner to make a stone laugh. “But,” said
I, “what have you done with the ‘Good God’ you carried with you?”

“Ah! ah! the Good God,” he replied in a jocose and subdued tone. “Well,
well! the ‘Good God’? He stands very still in my vest pocket. And if he
enjoys this princely festivity as well as we all do, he will surely
thank me for having brought him here, even _en survenant_. But do not
say a word of his presence here; it would spoil everything.”

That priest, who was only one year younger than myself, was one of my
dearest friends. Though his words rather smelt of the unbeliever and
blasphemer, I preferred to attribute them to the sweet champagne he had
drunk than to a real want of faith.

But I must confess that, though I had laughed very heartily at first,
his last utterance pained me so much that, from that moment to the end
of the soiree, I felt uneasy and confounded. My firm belief that my
Saviour Jesus Christ was there in person, kept a prisoner in my young
friend’s vest pocket, going to and fro from one young lady to the other,
witnessing the constant laughing, hearing the idle words, the light and
funny songs, made my whole soul shudder, and my heart sunk within me. By
times I wished I could fall on my knees to adore my Saviour, whom I
believed to be there. However, a mysterious voice was whispering in my
ear: “Are you not a fool to believe that you can make a God with a
wafer; and that Jesus Christ your Saviour and your God, can be kept a
prisoner, in spite of himself, in the vest pocket of a man? Do you not
see that your friend Parent, who has much more brains and intelligence
than you, does not believe a word of that dogma of transubstantiation?
Have you forgotten the unbeliever’s smile which you saw on the lips of
the bishop himself only a few days ago? Was not that laugh the
infallible proof that he also does not believe a particle of that
ridiculous dogma?”

With superhuman effort I tried, and succeeded partly, to stifle that
voice. But that struggle could not last long within my soul without
leaving its exterior marks on my face. Evidently a sad cloud was over my
eyes, for several of my most respectable friends, with Mr. and Mrs.
Buteau, kindly asked if I were sick.

At last I felt so confused at the repetition of the same suggestion by
so many, that I felt that I was only making a fool of myself by
remaining any longer in their midst. Angry with myself for my want of
moral strength in this hour of trial, I respectfully asked pardon from
my kind host for leaving their party before the end, on account of a
sudden indisposition.

The next day there was only one voice in Quebec, saying that young
Parent had been the lion of that brilliant soiree, and that the poor
young priest Chiniquy had been its fool.

                            CHAPTER XXVIII.


God controls the greatest as well as the smallest of the events of this
world. Our business during the few days of our pilgrimage, then, is to
know His will and do it. Our happiness here, as in heaven, rests on this
foundation, just as the success and failures of our lives come entirely
from the practical knowledge or ignorance of this simplest and sublimest
truth. I dare say that there is not a single fact of my long and
eventful life which has not taught me that there is a special providence
in our lives. Particularly was this apparent in the casting of the lots
by which I became the first chaplain of the Quebec Marine Hospital.
After the other vicars had congratulated each other for having escaped
the heavy burden of work and responsibilities connected with that
chaplaincy, they kindly gave me the assurance of their sympathies for
what they called my bad luck. In thanking them for their kindly
feelings, I confessed that this occurrence appeared to me in a very
different light. I was sure that God had directed this for my good and
His own glory, and I was right. In the beginning of November, 1834, a
slight indisposition having kept me for a few days at home, Mr.
Glackmayer, the superintendent of the hospital, came to tell me that
there was an unusually large number of sick, left by the Fall fleets, in
danger of death, who were day and night calling for me. He added in a
secret way, that there were several cases of small-pox of the worst
type; that several had already died and many were dying from the
terrible cholera morbus, which was still raging among the sailors.

This sad news came to me as an order from heaven to run to the rescue of
my dear sick seamen. I left my room, despite my physician, and went to
the hospital.

The first man I met was Dr. Douglas, who was waiting for me at Mr. C.
Glackmayer’s room. He confirmed what I had known before of the number of
sick, and added that the prevailing diseases were of the most dangerous

Dr. Douglas, who was one of the founders and governors of the hospital,
had the well-merited reputation of being one of the ablest surgeons of
Quebec. Though a staunch Protestant by birth and profession, he honored
me with his confidence and friendship from the first day we met. I may
say I have never known a nobler heart, a larger mind and a truer

After thanking him for the useful though sad intelligence he had given
me, I requested Mr. Glackmayer to give me a glass of brandy, which I
immediately swallowed.

“What are you doing there?” said Dr. Douglas.

“You see,” I answered; “I have drank a glass of excellent brandy.”

“But please tell me why you drank that brandy.”

“Because it is a good preservative against the pestilential atmosphere I
will breathe all day,” I replied. “I will have to hear the confessions
of all those people dying from small-pox or cholera, and breathe the
putrid air which is around their pillows. Does not common sense warn me
to take some precautions against the contagion?”

“Is it possible,” rejoined he, “that a man for whom I have such a
sincere esteem is so ignorant of the deadly workings of alcohol in the
human frame? What you have just drank is nothing but poison; and, far
from protecting yourself against the danger, you are now much more
exposed to it than before you drank that beverage.”

“You poor Protestants,” I answered, in a jocose way, “are a band of
fanatics, with your extreme doctrines on temperance; you will never
convert me to your views on that subject. Is it for the use of the dogs
that God has created wine and brandy? No; it is for the use of men who
drink them with moderation and intelligence.”

“My dear Mr. Chiniquy, you are joking; but I am in earnest when I tell
you that you have poisoned yourself with that glass of brandy,” replied
Dr Douglas.

“If good wine and brandy were poisons,” I answered, “you would be long
ago the only physician in Quebec, for you are the only one of the
medical body whom I know to be an abstainer. But, though I am much
pleased with your conversation, excuse me if I leave you to visit my
dear sick sailors, whose cries for spiritual help ring in my ears.”

“One word more,” said Dr. Douglas, “and I have done. To-morrow morning
we will make the autopsy of a sailor who has just died suddenly here.
Have you any objections to come and see with your eyes, in the body of
that man, what your glass of brandy has done in your own body?”

“No, sir; I have no objection to see that,” I replied. “I have been
anxious for a long time to make a special study of anatomy. It will be
my first lesson; I cannot get it from a better master.”

I then shook hands with him and went to my patients, with whom I passed
the remainder of the day and the better part of the night. Fifty of them
wanted to make general confessions of all the sins of their whole lives;
and I had to give the last sacraments to twenty-five who were dying from
small-pox or cholera morbus. The next morning I was, at the appointed
hour, by the corpse of the dead man, when Dr. Douglas kindly gave me a
very powerful microscope, that I might more thoroughly follow the
ravages of alcohol in every part of the human body.

“I have not the least doubt,” said he, “that this man has been instantly
killed by a glass of rum, which he drank one hour before he fell dead.
That rum has caused the rupture of the aorta” (the big vein which
carries the blood from the heart).

While talking thus, the knife was doing its work so quickly, that the
horrible spectacle of the broken artery was before our eyes almost as
the last word fell from his lips.

“Look here,” said the doctor, “all along the artery, and you will see
thousands, perhaps millions of reddish spots, which are as many holes
perforated through it by alcohol. Just as the musk rats of the
Mississippi river, almost every spring, dig little holes through the
dams which keeps the powerful river within its natural limits, and cause
the waters to break through the little holes, and thus carry desolation
and death along its shores, so alcohol every day causes the sudden death
of thousands of victims, by perforating the veins and opening small
issues through which the blood rushes out of its natural limits. It is
not only this big vein which alcohol perforates; it does the same deadly
work in the veins of the lungs and the whole body. Look at the lungs
with attention, and count, if you can, the thousands and thousands of
reddish, dark and yellow spots, and little ulcers with which they are
covered. Every one of them is the work of alcohol, which has torn and
cut the veins and caused the blood to go out of its canals, to carry
corruption and death all over these marvelous organs. Alcohol is one of
the most dangerous poisons—I dare say it is the most dangerous. It has
killed more men than all the other poisons together. Alcohol cannot be
changed or assimilated to any part or tissue of our body, it cannot go
to any part of the human frame without bringing disorder and death to
it. For it cannot in any possible way unite with any part of our body.
The water we drink, the wholesome food and bread we eat, by the laws and
will of God are transformed into the different parts of the body, to
which they are sent through the millions of small canals which take them
from the stomach to every part of our frame. When the water has been
drunk, or the bread we have eaten is, for instance, sent to the lungs,
to the brain, the nerves, the muscles, the bones—wherever it goes it
receives, if I can so speak, letters of citizenship; it is allowed to
remain there in peace and to work for the public good. But it is not so
with alcohol. The very moment it enters the stomach it more or less
brings disorder, ruin and death, according to the quantity taken. The
stomach refuses to take it, and makes a supreme effort to violently
throw it out, either through the mouth, or by indignantly pushing it to
the brain or into the numberless tubes by which it discharges its
contents to the surface through all the tissues. But will alcohol be
welcome in any of these tubes and marvellous canals, or in any part or
tissue of the body it will visit on its passage to the surface? No! Look
here with your microscope, and you will see with your own eyes that
everywhere alcohol has gone into the body there has been a hand-to-hand
struggle and a bloody battle fought to get rid of it. Yes! every place
where King Alcohol has put his foot has been turned into a battlefield,
spread with ruin and death, in order to ignominiously turn it out. By a
most extraordinary working of nature, or rather by the order of God,
every vein and artery through which alcohol has to pass suddenly
contracts, as if to prevent its passage or choke it as a deadly foe.
Every vein and artery has evidently heard the voice of God: ‘Wine is a
mocker: it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder!’ Every nerve
and muscle which alcohol touched trembled and shook as if in the
presence of an implacable and unconquerable enemy. Yes, at the presence
of alcohol every nerve and muscle loses its strength, just as the
bravest man, in the presence of a horrible monster or demon, suddenly
loses his natural strength, and shakes from head to foot.”

I cannot repeat all I heard that day from the lips of Dr. Douglas, and
what I saw with my own eyes of the horrible workings of alcohol through
every part of the body. It would be too long. Suffice to say that I was
struck with horror at my own folly, and at the folly of so many people
who make use of intoxicating drinks.

What I learned that day was like the opening of a mysterious door, which
allowed me to see the untold marvels of a new and most magnificent
world. But though I was terror-stricken with the ravages of strong drink
in that dead man, I was not yet convinced of the necessity of being a
total abstainer from wine and beer, and a little brandy now and then, as
a social habit. I did not like to expose myself to ridicule by the
sacrifice of habits which seemed then, more than now, to be among the
sweetest and most common links of society. But I determined to lose no
opportunity of continuing the study of the working of alcohol in the
human body. At the same time I resolved to avail myself of every
opportunity of making a complete study of anatomy under the kind and
learned Dr. Douglas.

It is from the lips and works of Dr. Douglas that I learned the
following startling facts:

1st. The heart of man, which is only six inches long by four inches
wide, beats seventy times in a minute, 4,200 in one hour, 100,300 in a
day, 36,792,000 in a year. It ejects two ounces and a half of blood out
of itself every time it beats, which makes 175 ounces every minute, 656
pounds every hour, seven tons and three-quarters of blood which goes out
of the heart every day! The whole blood of a man runs through his heart
in three minutes.

2d. The skin is composed of three parts placed over each other, whose
thickness varies from a quarter to an eighth of a line. Each square inch
contains 3,500 pores, through which the sweat goes out. Every one of
them is a pipe a quarter of an inch long. All those small pipes united
together would form a canal 201,166 feet long—equal to forty miles, or
nearly thirteen leagues!

3rd. The weight of the blood in a common man is between thirty and forty
pounds. The blood runs through the body in 100 seconds, or one minute
and forty-one seconds. Eleven thousand (11,000) pints of blood pass
through the lungs in twenty-four hours.

4th. There are 246 bones in the human body; 63 of them are in the head,
24 in the sides, 16 in the wrist, 14 in the joints, and 108 in the hands
and feet.

The heart of a man who drinks nothing but pure water beats about 100,300
a day, but will beat from 25,000 to 30,000 times more if he drinks
alcoholic drinks. Those who have not learned anatomy know little of the
infinite power, wisdom, love and mercy of God. No book except the Bible,
and no science except the science of astronomy, is like the body of man,
_to tell us what our God is, and what we are_. The body of man is a book
written by the hand of God, to speak to us of Him as no man can speak.
After studying the marvellous working of the heart, the lungs, the eyes
and the brain of man, I could not speak; I remained mute, unable to say
a single word to tell my admiration and awe. I wept, as overwhelmed with
my feelings. I should have liked to speak of those things to the priests
with whom I lived, but I saw at first they could not understand me; they
thought I was exaggerating. How many times, when alone with God in my
little closet, when thinking of those marvels, I fell on my knees, and
said: “Thou art great, O my God! The works of thy hands are above the
works of man! But the works of thy love and mercy are above all thy
other works!”

During the four years I was chaplain of the Marine Hospital, more than
one hundred corpses were opened before me, and almost as many outside
the hospital. For when, by the order of the jury and the coroner, an
autopsy was to be made, I seldom failed to attend. In that way, I have
had a providential opportunity of acquiring the knowledge of one of the
most useful and admirable sciences, as no priest or minister probably
ever had on this continent. It is my conviction that the first thing a
temperance orator ought to do is to study anatomy; get the bodies of
drunkards, as well as those of so-called temperate drinkers, opened
before him, and study there the workings of alcohol in the different
organs of man. So long as the orators on temperance will not do that,
they cannot understand the subject on which they speak. Though I have
read the best books written by the most learned physicians of England,
France and the United States, on the ravages of rum, wine and beer, of
every kind and name, in the body of men, I have never read anything
which enlightened me so much, and brought such profound convictions to
my intelligence, as the study I have made of the brain, the lungs, the
heart, veins, arteries, nerves and muscles of a single man or woman.
These bodies, opened before me, were books written by the hand of God
himself, and they spoke to me as no man could speak. By the mercy of
God, to that study is due the irresistible power of my humble efforts in
persuading my countrymen to give up the use of intoxicating drinks. But
here is the time to tell how my merciful God forced me, His unprofitable
and rebellious servant, almost in spite of myself, to give up the use of
intoxicating drinks.

Among my penitents there was a young lady belonging to one of the most
respectable families in Quebec. She had a child, a girl, almost a year
old, who was a real beauty. Nothing this side of heaven could surpass
the charms of that earthly angel. Of course that young mother idolized
her; she could hardly consent to be without her sweet angel, even to go
to church. She carried her everywhere, to kiss her at every moment and
press her to her heart. Unfortunately that lady, as it was then, and is
still now too often the case, even among the most refined, had learned
in her father’s house, and by the example of her own mother, to drink
wine at table, and when receiving the visits of her friends or when
visiting them herself. Little by little she began to drink, when alone,
a few drops of wine, at first by the advice of her physician, but soon
only to satisfy the craving appetite, which grew stronger day by day. I
was the only one, excepting her husband, who knew this fact. He was my
intimate friend, and several times, with tears trickling down his
cheeks, he had requested me, in the name of God, to persuade her to
abstain from drinking. That young man was so happy with his accomplished
wife and his incomparably beautiful child! He was rich, had a high
position in the world, numberless friends, and a palace for his home!
Every time I had spoken to that young lady, either when alone or in the
presence of her husband, she had shed tears of regret; she had promised
to reform, and take only the few glasses prescribed by her doctor. But,
alas! that fatal prescription of the doctor was like the oil poured on
the burning coals; it was kindling a fire that nothing could quench. One
day, which I will never forget, a messenger came in haste and said: “Mr.
A. wants you to come to his home immediately. A terrible misfortune has
just happened—his beautiful child has just been killed. His wife is half
crazy; he fears lest she will kill herself.”

I leaped into the elegant carriage, drawn by two fine horses, and in a
few minutes I was in the presence of the most distressing spectacle I
ever saw. The young lady, tearing her robes into fragments, tearing her
hair with her hands and cutting her face with the nails of her fingers,
was crying, “Oh! for God’s sake, give me a knife that I may cut my
throat? I have killed my child! My darling is dead! I am the murderess
of my own dear Lucy! My hands are reddened with her blood. Oh! may I die
with her!”

I was thunderstruck, and at first remained mute and motionless. The
young husband, with two other gentlemen, Dr. Blanchet and Coroner Panet,
were trying to hold the hands of his unfortunate wife. He did not dare
to speak. At last the young wife, casting her eyes upon me, said: “Oh,
dear Father Chiniquy, for God’s sake give me a knife that I may cut my
throat! When drunk, I took my precious darling in my arms to kiss her;
but I fell—her head struck the sharp corner of the stove. Her brain and
blood are there spread on the floor! My child! my own child is dead! I
have killed her! Cursed liquor! Cursed wine! My child is dead! I am
damned! Cursed drink!”

I could not speak, but I could weep and cry. I wept, and mingled my
tears with those of that unfortunate mother. Then, with an expression of
desolation which pierced my soul as with a sword, she said: “Go and
see.” I went to the next room, and there I saw that once beautiful
child, dead, her face covered with her blood and brains! There was a
large gap made in the right temple. The drunken mother, by falling with
her child in her arms, had caused the head to strike with such a
terrible force on the stove that it upset on the floor. The burning
coals were spread on every side, and the house had been very nearly on
fire. But that very blow, with the awful death of her child, had
suddenly brought her to her senses, and put an end to her intoxication.
At a glance she saw the whole extent of her misfortune. Her first
thought had been to run to the sideboard, seize a large, sharp knife,
and cut her own throat. Providentially, her husband was on the spot.
With great difficulty, and after a terrible struggle, he took the knife
out of her hands and threw it into the street through the window. It was
then about five o’clock in the afternoon. After an hour passed in
indescribable agony of mind and heart, I attempted to leave and go back
to the parsonage. But my unfortunate young friend requested me, in the
name of God, to spend the night with him. “You are the only one,” he
said, “who can help us in this awful night. My misfortune is great
enough, without destroying our good name by spreading it in public. I
want to keep it as secret as possible. With our physician and coroner,
you are the only man on earth whom I trust to help me. Please pass the
night with us.”

I remained, but tried in vain to calm the unfortunate mother. She was
constantly breaking our hearts with her lamentations—her convulsive
efforts to take her own life. Every minute she was crying, “My child! my
darling Lucy! Just when thy little arms were so gently caressing me, and
thy angelic kisses were so sweet on my lips, I have slaughtered thee!
When thou wert pressing me on thy loving heart and kissing me, I, thy
drunken mother, gave thee the death blow! My hands are reddened with thy
blood! My breast is covered with thy brains! Oh! for God’s sake, my dear
husband, take my life. I cannot consent to live a day longer! My dear
Father Chiniquy, give me a knife, that I may mingle my blood with the
blood of my child! O that I could be buried in the same grave with her!”

In vain I tried to speak to her of the mercies of God towards sinners;
she would not listen to anything I could say; she was absolutely deaf to
my voice. At about ten o’clock, she had a most terrible fit of anguish
and terror. Though we were four men to keep her quiet, she was stronger
than we all. She was stronger than a giant. She slipped from our hands
and ran to the room where the dead child was lying in her cradle.
Grasping the cold body in her hands, she tore the bands of white linen
which had been put round the head to cover the horrible wound, and with
cries of desolation she pressed her lips, her cheeks, her very eyes, on
the horrible gap from which the brain and blood were oozing, as if
wanting to heal it and recall the poor dear one to life.

“My darling, my beloved, my own dear Lucy,” she cried, “open thy
eyes—look again at thy mother! Give me a kiss! Press me again to thy
bosom! But thine eyes are shut! Thy lips are cold! Thou dost not smile
on me any longer! Thou art dead, and I, thy mother, have slaughtered
thee! Canst thou forgive me thy death? Canst thou ask Jesus Christ, our
Saviour, to forgive me? Canst thou ask the blessed Virgin Mary to pray
for me? Will I never see thee again? Ah, no! I am lost—I am damned! I am
a drunken mother who has murdered her own darling Lucy! There is no
mercy for the drunken mother, the murderess of her own child.”

And when speaking thus to her child, she was sometimes kneeling down,
then running around the room as if flying before a phantom.

But even then, she was constantly pressing the motionless body to her
bosom, or convulsively passing her lips and cheeks over the horrible
wound, so that her lips, her whole face, her breast and hands, were
literally besmeared with the blood flowing from the wound. I will not
say that we were all weeping and crying, for the words “weeping and
crying” cannot express the desolation—the horror we felt. At about
eleven o’clock, when on her knees, clasping her child to her bosom, she
lifted her eyes towards me, and said:

“Dear Father Chiniquy, why is it that I have not followed your
charitable advice when, still more with your tears than with words, you
tried so often to persuade me to give up the use of those cursed
intoxicating wines? How many times you have given me the very words
which come from heaven: ‘Wine is a mocker; it bites as a serpent, and
stings as an adder!’ How many times, in the name of my dear child, in
the name of my dear husband, in the name of God, you have asked me to
give up the use of those cursed drinks! But listen now to my prayer. Go
all over Canada; tell all the fathers never to put any intoxicating
drink before the eyes of their children. It was at my father’s table
that I first learned to drink that wine which I will curse during all
eternity! Tell all the mothers never to taste these abominable drinks.
It was my mother who first taught me to drink that wine which I will
curse as long as God is!

“Take the blood of my child, and go redden with it the top of the doors
of every house in Canada, and say to all those who dwell in those houses
that that blood was shed by the hand of a murderess mother when drunk.
With that blood write on the walls of every house in Canada that ‘wine
is a mocker.’ Tell the French Canadians how, on the dead body of my
child, I have cursed that wine which has made me so wretchedly miserable
and guilty.”

She then stopped, as if to breathe a little for a few minutes. She

“In the name of God, tell me, can my child forgive me her death? Can she
ask God to look upon me with mercy? Can she cause the blessed Virgin
Mary to pray for me and obtain my pardon?”

But before I could answer, she horrified us by the cries, “I am lost!
When drunk I killed my child! Cursed wine!”

And she fell a corpse on the floor. Torrents of blood were flowing from
her mouth on her dead child, which she was pressing to her bosom even
after her death!

That terrible drama was never revealed to the people of Quebec. The
coroner’s inquest was that the child’s death was accidental, and that
the distressed mother died from a broken heart six hours after.

Two days later the unfortunate mother was buried, with the body of her
child clasped in her arms. Many tears were shed on that tomb, and this
dear little child’s guardian angel must have written with its blood on
that tomb: “Wine is a mocker; look not at it. It biteth like a serpent,
and stings like an adder.” However, what I had just seen and heard could
not be buried and forgotten in the grave.

After such a terrible storm, I was in need of solitude and rest, but
above everything I was in need of praying. I shut myself in my little
room for two days, and there, alone, in the presence of God, I meditated
on the terrible justice and retribution which He had called me to
witness. The unfortunate woman had not only been my penitent: she had
been, with her husband, among my dearest and most devoted friends. It
was only lately that she had become a slave to drunkenness. Before that,
her piety and sense of honor were of the most exalted kind known in the
Church of Rome. Her last words were not the commonplace expressions
which ordinary sinners proffer at the approach of death; her words had a
solemnity for me which almost transformed them into oracles of God in my
mind. Each of them sounded in my ears as if an angel of God had touched
the thousand strings of my soul, to call my attention to a message from
heaven. Sometimes they resembled the terrible voice of thunder; and
again it seemed as if a seraph, with his golden harp, were singing them
in my ears, that I might prepare to fight faithfully for the Lord
against His gigantic enemy, alcohol.

In the middle of that horrible night, when the darkness was most
profound and the stillness fearful, was I awake, was I sleeping? I do
not know. But I saw the calm, beautiful and cherished form of my dear
mother standing by me, holding by the hand the late murderess, still
covered with the blood of her child. Yes! my beloved mother was there
standing before me; and she said, with power and authority which
engraved every one of her words on my soul, as if written with letters
of tears, blood and fire: “Go all over Canada; tell every father of a
family never to put any intoxicating drink before his children. Tell all
the mothers never to take a drop of those cursed wines and drinks. Tell
the whole people of Canada never to touch nor look at the poisoned cup,
filled with those cursed intoxicating drinks. And thou, my beloved son,
give up forever the use of those detestable beverages, which are cursed
in hell, in heaven and on earth. It bites like a serpent; it stings like
an adder.”

When the sound of that voice, so sweet and powerful, was hushed, and my
soul had ceased seeing that strange vision of the night, I remained for
some time exceedingly agitated and troubled. I said to myself, “Is it
possible that the terrible things I have seen and heard these last few
days will destroy my mind, and send me to the lunatic asylum?”

I had hardly been able to take any sleep or food for the last three days
and nights, and I seriously feared lest the weakness of my body would
cause me to lose my reason. I then threw myself on my knees to weep and
pray. This did me good. I soon felt myself stronger and calmer.

Raising again my mind to God, I said: “O my God, let me know thy holy
will, and grant me the grace to do it. Do the voices I have just heard
come from thee? Hast thou really sent one of the angels of thy mercy,
under the form of my beloved mother? or is all this nothing but the vain
dreams of my distressed mind?

“Is it thy will, O my God, that I should go and tell my country what
thou hast so providentially taught me of the horrible and unsuspected
injuries which wine and strong drink cause to the bodies as well as to
the souls of men? Or is it thy will that I should conceal from the eyes
of the world the wonderful things thou hast made known to me, and that I
might bury them with me in my grave?”

As quick as lightning the answer was suggested to me. “What I have
taught thee in secret, go and tell it on the housetops!” Overwhelmed
with an unspeakable emotion, and my heart filled with a power which was
not mine, I raised my hands toward heaven, and said to my God:

“For my dear Saviour Jesus’ sake, and for the good of my country, O my
God, I promise that I will never make any use of intoxicating drinks; I
will, moreover, do all in my power to persuade the other priests and the
people to make the same sacrifice!”

Fifty years have passed since I took that pledge, and, thanks be to God,
I have kept it.

For the next two years, I was the only priest in Canada who abstained
from the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks; and God only knows
what I had to suffer all that time—what sneers, and rebukes and insults,
of every kind, I had silently to bear! How many times the epithets of
_fanatic_, _hypocrite_, _reformer_, _half-heretic_, have been whispered
into my ear, not only by the priests, but also by the bishops.

But I was sure that my God knew the motives of my actions, and, by His
grace, I remained calm and patient. In His infinite mercy, _He_ has
looked down upon His unprofitable servant and has taken his part. He had
himself chosen the day when my humiliations were to be turned into great
joy. The day came when I saw those same priests and bishops, at the head
of their people, receiving the pledge and blessing of temperance from my
hands. Those very bishops who had unanimously, at first, condemned me,
soon invited the first citizens of their cities to present me with a
golden medal, as a token of their esteem, after giving me, officially,
the title of “Apostle of Temperance of Canada.” The Governor and the two
Chambers of Parliament of Canada voted me public thanks in 1851, and
presented me £500 as a public testimony of their kind feelings for what
had been done in the cause of temperance. It was the will of my God,
that I should see, with my own eyes, my dear Canada taking the pledge of
temperance and giving up the use of intoxicating drinks. How many tears
were dried in those days! Thousands and thousands of broken hearts were
consoled and filled with joy. Happiness and abundance reigned in many
once desolate homes, and the name of our merciful God was blessed
everywhere in my beloved country. Surely this was not the work of poor

It was the Lord’s work, for the Lord, who is wonderful in all His
doings, had once more chosen the weakest instrument to show His mercy
towards the children of men. He had called the most unprofitable of His
servants to do the greatest work of reform, Canada has ever seen, that
the praise and glory might be given to Him, and Him alone!

                             CHAPTER XXIX.


“Out of the Church of Rome there is no salvation,” is one of the
doctrines which the priests of Rome have to believe and teach to the
people. That dogma, once accepted, caused me to devote all my energies
to the conversion of Protestants. To prevent one of those immortal and
precious souls from going into hell seemed to me more important and
glorious that the conquest of a kingdom. In view of showing them their
errors, I filled my library with the best controversial books which
could be got in Quebec, and I studied the Holy Scriptures with the
utmost attention. In the Marine Hospital, as well as in my intercourse
with the people of the city, I had several occasions of meeting
Protestants and talking to them; but I found at once that, with very few
exceptions, they avoided speaking with me on religion. This distressed
me. Having been told one day that the Rev. Mr. Anthony Parent, superior
of the Seminary of Quebec, had converted several hundred Protestants
during his ministry, I went to ask him if this were true. For answer, he
showed me the list of his converts, which numbered more than two
hundred, among whom were some of the most respectable English and Scotch
families of the city. I looked upon that list with amazement; and from
that day I considered him the most blessed priest of Canada. He was a
perfect gentleman in his manners, and was considered our best champion
on all points of controversy with Protestants. He could have been
classed, also, among the handsomest men in his time, had not he been so
fat. But, when the high classes called him by the respectable name of
“Mr. Superior of the Seminary,” the common people used to name him Pere
Cocassier (“Cock-fighting Father”), on account of his long-cherished
habit of having the bravest and strongest fighting-cocks of the country.
In vain had the Rev. Mr. Renvoyze, curate of the “Good St. Anne,” that
greatest miracle-working saint of Canada, expended fabulous sums of
money in ransacking the whole country to get a cock who would take away
the palm of victory from the hands of the superior of the Seminary of
Quebec. He had almost invariably failed; with very few exceptions his
cocks had fallen bruised, bleeding and dead on the many battlefields
chosen by those two priests. However, I feel happy in acknowledging
that, since the terrible epidemic of cholera, that cruel and ignominious
“_passe temps_” has been entirely given up by the Roman Catholic clergy
of this country. Playing cards and checkers is now the most usual way
the majority of curates and vicars have recourse to spend their long and
many idle hours, both of the week and Sabbath days.

After reading over and over again that long list of converts, I said to
Mr. Parent: “Please tell me how you have been able to persuade these
Protestant converts to consent to speak with you on the errors of their
religion. Many times I have tried to show the Protestants whom I met,
that they would be lost if they do not submit to our holy Church, but,
with few exceptions, they laughed at me as politely as possible, and
turned the conversation to other matters. You must have some secret way
of attracting their attention and winning their confidence. Would you
not be kind enough to give me that secret, that I may be able also to
prevent some of those precious souls from perishing?”

“You are right when you think that I have a secret to open the doors of
the Protestants, and conquer and tame their haughty minds,” answered Mr.
Parent. “But that secret is of such a delicate nature, that I have never
revealed it to anybody except my confessor. Nevertheless, I see that you
are so in earnest for the conversion of Protestants, and I have such a
confidence in your discretion and honor, that for the sake of our holy
Church I consent to give you my secret; only you must promise that you
will never reveal it, during my lifetime, to anybody—and even after my
death you will not mention it, except when you are sure it is for the
greatest glory of God. You know that I was the most intimate friend your
father ever had; I had no secret from him, and he had none from me. But
God knows that the friendly feelings and confidence I had in him are now
bestowed upon you, his worthy son. If you had not in my heart and esteem
the same high position your father occupied, I would not trust you with
my secret.”

He then continued: “The majority of Protestants in Quebec have Irish
Roman Catholic servant girls; these, particularly before the last few
years, used to come to confess to me, as I was almost the only priest
who spoke English. The first thing I used to ask them, when they were
confessing, was, if their masters and mistresses were truly devoted and
pious Protestants, or if they were indifferent and cold in performing
their duties. The second thing I wanted to know was, if they were on
good terms with their ministers; whether or not they were visited by
them. From the answers of the girls, I knew both the moral and immoral,
the religious or irreligious habits of their masters as perfectly as if
I had been an inmate of their households. It is thus that I learned that
many Protestants have no more religion and faith than our dogs. They
awake in the morning, and go to bed at night, without praying to God any
more than the horses in their stables. Many of them go to church on the
Sabbath day, more to laugh at their ministers and criticise their
sermons than for anything else. A part of the week is passed in turning
them into ridicule; nay, through the confessions of these honest girls,
I learned that many Protestants liked the fine ceremonies of our Church;
that they often favorably contrasted them with the cold performances of
their own, and expressed their views in glowing terms about the
superiority of our educational institutions, nunneries, etc., over their
own high schools or colleges. Besides, you know that a great number of
our most respectable and wealthy Protestants trust their daughters to
our good nuns for their education. I took notes of all these things, and
formed my plans of battle against Protestantism, as a general who knows
his ground and the weak points of his adversaries, and I fought as a man
who is sure of an easy victory. The glorious result you have under your
eyes is the proof that I was correct in my plans. My first step with the
Protestants whom I knew to be without any religion, or even already well
disposed toward us, was to go to them with sometimes £5, or even £25,
which I presented to them as being theirs. They, at first, looked at me
with amazement, as a being coming from a superior world. The following
conversation then almost invariably took place between them and me:

“Are you positive, sir, that this money is mine?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered. “I am certain that this money is yours.”

“But,” they replied, “please tell me how you know that it belongs to me?
It is the first time I have the honor of talking with you, and we are
perfect strangers to each other.”

I answered: “I cannot say, sir, how I know that this money is yours,
except by telling you that the person who deposited it in my hands for
you has given me your name and your address so correctly that there is
no possibility of any mistake.”

“But can I not know the name of the one who has put that money into your
hands for me?” rejoined the Protestant.

“No, sir; the secret of confession is inviolable,” I replied. “We have
no example that it has ever been broken; and I, with every priest of our
Church, would prefer to die, rather than betray our penitents and reveal
their confession. We cannot even act from what we have learned through
their confession, except at their own request.”

“But this auricular confession must then be a most admirable thing,”
added the Protestant; “I had no idea of it before this day.”

“Yes, sir, auricular confession is a most admirable thing,” I used to
reply, “because it is a divine institution. But, sir, please excuse me;
my ministry calls me to another place. I must take leave of you, to go
where my duty calls me.”

“I am very sorry that you go so quickly,” generally answered the
Protestant. “Can I have another visit from you? Please do me the honor
of coming again. I would be so happy to present you to my wife; and I
know she would be happy also, and much honored to make your

“Yes, sir, I accept with gratitude your invitation. I will feel much
pleased and honored to make the acquaintance of the family of a
gentleman whose praises are in the mouth of every one, and whose
industry and honesty are an honor to our city. If you will allow me,
next week, at the same hour, I will have the honor of presenting my
respectful homage to your lady.

“The very next day, all the papers reported that Mr. So-and-So had
received £5, or £10, or even £25, as a restitution through auricular
confession: and even the staunch Protestant editors of those papers
could not find words sufficiently eloquent to praise me and our
sacrament of penance.

“Three or four days later, I was sure that the faithful servant girls
were in the confessional-box, glowing with joy to tell me that now their
masters and mistresses could not speak of anything else than the
amiability and honesty of the priests of Rome. They raised them a
thousand miles over the heads of their own ministers. From those pious
girls, I invariably learned that that they had not been visited by a
single friend without making the eulogium of auricular confession, and
even sometimes expressing the regret that the reformers had swept away
such a useful institution.

“Now, my dear young friend, you see how, by the blessing of God, the
little sacrifice of a few pounds brought down and destroyed all the
prejudices of those poor heretics against auricular confession and our
holy Church in general. You understand how the doors were opened to me,
and how their hearts and intelligences were like fields prepared to
receive the good seed. At the appointed hour, I never failed from paying
the requested visit, and I was invariably received like a messiah. Not
only the gentlemen, but the ladies, overwhelmed me with marks of the
most sincere gratitude and respect; even the dear little children petted
me, and threw their arms around my neck to give me their sweetly angelic
kisses. The only topic on which we could speak, of course, was the great
good done by auricular confession. I easily showed them how it works as
a check to all the evil passions of the heart; how it is admirably
adapted to all the wants of the poor sinners, who find a friend, a
counsellor, a guide, a father, a real saviour in their confessor.

“We had not talked half an hour in that way, when it was generally
evident to me that they were more than half way out of their Protestant
errors. I very seldom left the houses without being sure of a new,
glorious victory for our holy religion over its enemies. It is very
seldom that I do not succeed in bringing that family to our holy Church
before one or two years; and if I fail of gaining the father or mother,
I am nearly sure to persuade them to send their daughters to our good
nuns and their boys to our colleges, where they, sooner or later, become
our most devoted Catholics. So you see that the few dollars I spend
every year for that holy cause are the best investments ever made. They
do more to catch the Protestants of Quebec than the baits of the
fishermen do to secure the cod fishes of the Newfoundland banks.”

In ending this last sentence, Mr. Parent filled his room with laughter.

I thanked him for these interesting details. But I told him: “Though I
cannot but admire your perfect skill and shrewdness in breaking the
barriers which prevent Protestants from understanding the divine
institution of auricular confession, will you allow me to ask you if you
do not fear to be guilty of an imposture and a gross imposition in the
way you make them believe that the money you hand them has come to you
through auricular confession?”

“I have not the least fear of that,” promptly answered the old priest,
“for the good reason that, if you had paid attention to what I have told
you, you must acknowledge that I have not said positively that the money
was coming from auricular confession. If those Protestants have been
deceived, it is only due to their own want of a more perfect attention
to what I said. I know that there were things that I kept in my mind
which would have made them understand the matter in a very different way
if I had said them. But Liguori and all our theologians, among the most
approved of our holy Church, tell us that these reservations of the mind
(‘_mentis reservationes_’) are allowed when they are for the good of
souls and the glory of God.”

“Yes,” answered I, “I know that such is the doctrine of Liguori, and it
is approved by the popes. I must confess, however, that this seems to me
entirely opposed to what we read in the sublime gospel. The simple and
sublime ‘Yea, yea,’ and ‘Nay, nay,’ of our Saviour seems to me in
contradiction with the art of deceiving, even when not saying absolute
and direct falsehoods; and if I submit myself to those doctrines, it is
always with a secret protest in my inmost soul.”

In an angry manner, Mr. Parent replied: “Now, my dear young friend, I
understand the truth of what the Rev. Messrs. Perras and Bedard told me
lately about you. Though these remarkable priests are full of esteem for
you, they see a dark cloud on your horizon; they say that you spend too
much time in reading the Bible, and not enough in studying the doctrines
and holy traditions of the Church. You are too much inclined also to
interpret the Word of God according to your own fallible intelligence,
instead of going to the Church _alone_ for that interpretation. This is
the dangerous rock on which Luther and Calvin were wrecked. Take my
advice. Do not try to be wiser than the Church. Obey her voice when she
speaks to you through her holy theologians. This is your only safeguard.
The bishop would suspend you at once were he aware of your want of faith
in the Church.”

These last words were said with such emphasis that they seemed more like
a sentence of condemnation from the lips of an irritated judge than
anything else. I felt that I had again seriously compromised myself in
his mind; and the only way of preventing him from denouncing me to the
bishop as a heretic and a Protestant was to make an apology, and
withdraw from the dangerous ground on which I had again so imprudently
put myself. He accepted my explanation, but I saw that he bitterly
regretted having trusted me with his secret. I withdrew from his
presence, much humiliated by my want of prudence and wisdom. However,
though I could not approve of all the _modus operandi_ of the superior
of Quebec, I could not but admire, then, the glorious results of his
efforts in converting Protestants; and I took the resolution of devoting
myself more than ever to show them their errors and make them good
Catholics. In this I was too successful; for during my twenty-five years
of priesthood I have persuaded ninety-three Protestants to give up their
gospel light and truth, in order to follow the dark and lying traditions
of Rome. I cannot enter into the details of their conversions, or rather
perversions; suffice it to say, that I soon found that my only chance of
success in that proselytizing work was among the Ritualists. I saw at
first that Calvin and Knox had dug a really impassable abyss between the
Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and the Church of Rome. If these
Ritualists remain Protestants, and do not make the very short step which
separates them from Rome, it is a most astonishing fact, when they are
logical men. Some people are surprised that so many eminent and learned
men, in Great Britain and America, give up their Protestantism to submit
to the Church of Rome; but my wonder is that there are so few among them
who fall into that bottomless abyss of idolatry and folly, when they are
their whole life on the very brink of the chasm. Put millions of men on
the very brink of the Falls of Niagara, force them to cross to and fro
in small canoes between both shores, and you will see that, every day,
some of them will be dragged, in spite of themselves, into the yawning
abyss. Nay, you will see that, sooner or later, those millions of people
will be in danger of being dragged in a whole body, by the irresistible
force of the dashing waters, into the fathomless gulf. Through a sublime
effort the English people, helped by the mighty and merciful hand of
God, have come out from the abyss of folly, impurity, ignorance, slavery
and idolatry called the Church of Rome. But many, alas! in the present
day, instead of marching up to the high regions of unsullied Gospel
truth and light—instead of going up to the high mountains where true
Christian simplicity and liberty have forever planted their glorious
banners—have been induced to walk only a few steps out of the
pestiferous regions of Popery. They have remained so near the
pestilential atmosphere of the stagnant waters of death which flow from
Rome, that the atmosphere they breathe is still filled with the deadly
emanations of that modern Sodom. Who, without shedding tears of sorrow,
can look at those misguided ministers of the Gospel who believe and
teach in the Episcopal Church that they have the power to make their God
with a wafer, and who bow down before that wafer god and adore him! Who
can refrain from indignation at the sight of so many Episcopal ministers
who consent to have their ears, minds and souls polluted at the
confessional by the stories of their penitents, whom in their turn they
destroy by their infamous and unmentionable questions? When I was
lecturing in England, in 1860, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, then
Bishop of London, invited me to his table, in company with Rev. Mr.
Thomas, now Bishop of Coulbourne, Australia, and put to me the following
questions, in the presence of his numerous and noble guests:

“Father Chiniquy, when you left the Church of Rome, why did you not join
the Episcopalian rather than the Presbyterian Church?”

I answered: “Is it the desire of your lordship that I should speak my
mind on that delicate subject?”

“Yes, yes,” said the noble lord bishop.

“Then, my lord, I must tell you that my only reason is that I find in
your Church several doctrines which I have to condemn in the Church of

“How is that?” replied his lordship.

“Please,” I answered, “let me have one of your Common Prayer Books.”

Taking the book, I read slowly the article on the visitation of the
sick: “Then shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession
of his sins, if he feels his conscience troubled with any weighty
matters. After which confession the priest shall absolve him, after this
sort: ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to His Church to
absolve all sinners who repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy
forgive thee all thine offenses, and by His authority, committed to me,
I absolve thee of all thy sins, in the name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Ghost. Amen.’” I then added: “Now, my lord, where is the
difference between the errors of Rome and your Church on this subject?”

“The difference is very great,” he answered. “The Church of Rome is
constantly pressing the sinners to come to her priests all their
lifetime, where we subject the sinner to this humiliation only once in
his life, when he is near his last hour.”

“But, my lord, let me tell you that it seems to me the Church of Rome is
much more logical and consistent in this than the Episcopal Church. Both
churches believe and teach that they have received from Christ the power
to forgive the sins of those who confess to their priests, and you think
yourself wiser because you invite the sinner to confess and receive his
pardon only when he is tied to a bed of suffering, at the last hour
before his death. But will your lordship be kind enough to tell me when
I am in danger of death. If I am constantly in danger of death, must you
not, with the Church of Rome, induce me constantly to confess to your
priests, and get my pardon and make my peace with God? Has our Saviour
said anywhere that it was only for the dying, at the last extremity of
life, that He gave the power to forgive my sins? Has He not warned me
many times to be always ready; to have always our peace made with God,
and not to wait till the last day, to the last hour?”

The noble bishop did not think fit to give me any other answer than
these very words: “We all agree that this doctrine ought never to have
been put in our Common Prayer Book. But you know that we are at work to
revise that book, and we hope that this clause, with several others,
will be taken away.”

“Then,” I answered, in a jocose way, “my lord, when this obnoxious
clause has been removed from your Common Prayer Book, it will be time
for me to have the honor of belonging to your great and noble Church.”

When the Church of England went out of the Church of Rome, she did as
Rachel, the wife of Jacob, who left the house of her father, Laban, and
took his gods with her. So the Episcopal Church of England,
unfortunately, when she left Rome, concealed in the folds of her mantle
some of the false gods of Rome; she kept to her bosom some vipers
engendered in the marshes of the modern Sodom. These vipers, if not soon
destroyed, will kill her. They are already eating up her vitals. They
are covering her with most ugly and mortal wounds. They are rapidly
taking away her life.

May the Holy Ghost rebaptize and purify that noble Church of England,
that she may be worthy to march at the head of the armies of the Lord to
the conquest of the world, under the banners of the great Captain of our

                              CHAPTER XXX.


The three years which followed the cholera will be long remembered in
Quebec for the number of audacious thefts and the murders which kept the
whole population in constant terror. Almost every week, the public press
had to give us the account of the robbery of the houses of some of our
rich merchants, or old wealthy widows.

Many times, the blood was chilled in our veins by the cruel and savage
assassinations which had been committed by the thieves when resistance
had been offered. The number of these crimes, the audacity, with which
they were perpetrated, the ability with which the guilty parties escaped
from all the researches of the police, indicated that they were well
organized, and had a leader of uncommon shrewdness.

But in the eyes of the religious population of Quebec, the thefts of the
10th of February, 1835, surpassed all the others by its sacrilegious
character. That night, the chapel dedicated to the blessed Virgin Mary
was entered, a silver statue of the Virgin, the gift of the King of
France, a massive lamp, a silver candlestick, and the silver vases which
contained the bread which the Roman Catholics believe to be the body,
blood and divinity of Jesus Christ, were stolen, and the holy sacrament
impiously thrown and scattered on the floor.

Nothing can express the horror and indignation of the whole Catholic
population at this last outrage. Large sums of money were offered in
order that the brigands might be detected. At last, five of
them—Chambers, Mathieu, Gagnon, Waterworth, and Lemoine—were caught in
1836, tried, found guilty and condemned to death in the month of March,

During the trial, and when public attention was most intensely fixed on
its different aspects, in a damp, chilly dark night, I was called to
visit a sick man. I was soon ready, and asked the name of the sick man
from the messenger. He answered that it was Francis Oregon. As a matter
of course, I said that the sick man was a perfect stranger to me, and
that I had never heard that there was even such a man in the world. But
when I was near the carriage which was to take me, I was not a little
surprised to see that the first messenger left abruptly and disappeared.
Looking with attention, then, at the faces of the two men who had come
for me in the carriage, it seemed that they both wore masks.

“What does this mean?” I said; “each of you wear a mask. Do you mean to
murder me?”

“Dear Father Chiniquy,” answered one of them, in a low, trembling voice,
and in a supplicating tone, “fear not. We swear before God that no evil
will be done to you. On the contrary, God and man will, to the end of
the world, praise and bless you, if you come to our help, and save our
souls, as well as our mortal bodies. We have in our hands a great part
of the silver articles stolen these last three years. The police are on
our track, and we are in great danger of being caught. For God’s sake,
come with us. We will put all those stolen things in your hands, that
you may give them back to those who have lost them. We will then
immediately leave the country, and lead a better life. We are
Protestants, and the Bible tells us that we cannot be saved if we keep
in our hands what is not ours. You do not know us, but we know you well.
You are the only man in Quebec to whom we can so trust our lives and
this terrible secret. We have worn these masks that you may not know us,
and that you may not be compromised if you are ever called before a
court of justice.”

My first thought was to leave them and run back to the door of the
parsonage; but such an act of cowardice seemed to me, after a moment’s
reflection, unworthy of a man. I said to myself, these two men cannot
come to steal from me; it is well known in Quebec that I keep myself as
poor as a church mouse, by giving all I have to the poor. I have never
offended any man in my life, that I know. They cannot come to punish or
murder me. They are Protestants, and they trust me. Well, well, they
will not regret to have put their trust in a Catholic priest.

I then answered them: “What you ask from me is of a very delicate, and
even dangerous nature. Before I do it, I want to take the advice of one
whom I consider the wisest man of Quebec—the old Rev. Mr. Demars,
ex-president of the seminary of Quebec. Please drive me as quickly as
possible to the seminary. If that venerable man advises me to go with
you, I will go; but I cannot promise to grant you your request if he
tells me not to go.”

“All right,” they both said; and in a very short time, I was knocking at
the door of the seminary. A few moments after, I was alone in the room
of Mr. Demars. It was just half-past twelve at night.

“Our little Father Chiniquy here on this dark night, at half-past
twelve! What does this mean? What do you want from me?” said the
venerable old priest.

“I come to ask your advice,” I answered, “on a very strange thing. Two
Protestant thieves have in their hands a great quantity of the
silverware stolen, these last three years. They want to deposit them in
my hands, that I may give them back to those from whom they have been
stolen, before they leave the country and lead a better life. I cannot
know them, for they both wear masks. I cannot even know where they take
me, for the carriage is so completely wrapped up by curtains that it is
impossible to see outside. Now, my dear Mr. Demars, I come to ask your
advice. Shall I go with them or not? But remember that I trust you with
these things under the seal of confession, that neither you nor I may be

Before answering me, the venerable priest said: “I am very old, but I
have never heard of such a strange thing in my life. Are you not afraid
to go alone with these two thieves in that covered carriage?”

“No, sir,” I answered; “I do not see any reason to fear anything from
these two men.”

“Well! well,” rejoined Mr. Demars, “if you are not afraid under such
circumstances, your mother has given you a brain of diamond and nerve of

“Now, my dear sir,” I answered, “time flies, and I may have a long way
to travel with these two men. Please, in the shortest possible way, tell
me your mind? Do you advise me to go with them?”

He replied, “You consult me on a very difficult matter; there are so
many considerations to make, that it is impossible to weigh them all.
The only thing we have to do is to pray God and His Holy Mother for
wisdom—Let us pray.”

We knelt and said the “Veni Sancte Spiritus;” “Come Holy Spirit,” etc.,
which prayer ends by an invocation to Mary as Mother of God.

After the prayer Mr. Demars again asked me: “Are you not afraid?”

“No, sir, I do not see any reason to be afraid. But, please, for God’s
sake hurry on, tell me if you advise me to go and accept this message of
mercy and peace.”

“Yes! go! go! if you are not afraid,” answered the old priest, with a
voice full of emotion, and tears in his eyes.

I fell on my knees and said: “Before I start, please, give me your
blessing and pray for me, when I shall be on my way to that strange,
but, I hope, good work.”

I left the seminary and took my seat at the right hand of one of my
unknown companions, while the other was on the front seat, driving the

Not a word was said by any of us on the way. But I perceived that the
stranger, who was at my left, was praying to God; though in such a low
voice that I understood only these words twice repeated: “O Lord! have
mercy upon me—such a sinner!”

These words touched me to the heart, and brought to my mind the dear
Saviour’s words: “The publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of
God before you,” and I also prayed for that poor repenting sinner and
for myself, by repeating the sublime 50th Psalm:

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord!”

It took about half an hour to reach the house. But, there, again, it was
impossible for me to understand where I was. For the carriage was
brought so near the door that there was no possibility of seeing
anything beyond the carriage and the horse through the terrible darkness
of that night.

The only person I saw, when in the house, was a tall woman covered with
a long black veil, whom I took to be a disguised man, on account of her
size and her strength; for she was carrying very heavy bags with as much
ease as if they had been a handful of straw.

There was only a small candle behind a screen, which gave so little
light that everything looked like phantoms around us. Pictures and
mirrors were all turned to the wall, and presented the wrong side to
view. The sofa and the chairs were also upset in such a way that it was
impossible to identify anything of what I had seen. In fact, I could see
nothing in that house. Not a word was said, except by one of my
companions, who whispered in a very low voice, “Please, look at the
tickets which are on every bundle; they will indicate to whom these
things belong.” There were eight bundles. The heaviest of which was
composed of the melted silver of the statue of the virgin, the
candlesticks, the lamp of the chapel, the ciborium, a couple of
chalices, and some dozens of spoons and forks. The other bundles were
made up of silver plates, fruit baskets, tea, coffee, cream and sugar
pots, silver spoons and forks, etc.

As soon as these bundles were put into the carriage we left for the
parsonage, where we arrived a little before the dawn of day. Not a word
was exchanged between us on the way, and my impression was, that my
penitent companions were sending their silent prayers, like myself, to
the feet of that merciful God who has said to all sinners, “Come unto
me, all ye who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

They carried the bundles into my trunk, which I locked with peculiar
attention. When all was over, I accompanied them to the door to take
leave of them. Then, each seizing one of my hands, by a spontaneous
movement of gratitude and joy, they pressed them on their lips, shedding
tears, and saying in a low voice: “God bless you a thousand times for
the good work you have just performed. After Christ, you are our

As these two men were speaking, it pleased God to send forth into my
soul one of those rays of happiness which he gives us only at great

I believe our fragile existence would soon be broken up were we by such
joys incessantly inundated. Those two men had ceased to be robbers in my
eyes. They were dear brethren, precious friends, such as are seldom to
be seen. The narrow and shameful prejudices of my religion were silent
before the fervent prayers that I had heard from their lips; they
disappeared in those tears of repentance, gratitude and love, which fell
from their eyes on my hands. Night surrounded us with its deepest
shades; but our souls were illuminated with a light purer than the rays
of the sun. The air that we breathed was cold and damp; but one of these
sparks brought down from heaven by Jesus to warm the earth, had fallen
into our hearts, and we were all penetrated by its glow. I pressed their
hands in mine, saying to them:

“I thank and bless you for choosing me as the confident of your
misfortunes and repentance. To you I owe three of the most precious
hours of my life. Adieu! We shall see one another no more on this earth;
but we shall meet in heaven. Adieu!”

It is unnecessary to add that it was impossible to sleep the remainder
of that memorable night. Besides, I had in my possession more stolen
articles than would have caused fifty men to be hanged. I said to
myself: “What would become of me if the police were to break in on me,
and find all that I have in my hands. What could I answer if I were
asked, how all these had reached me?”

Did I not go beyond the bounds of prudence in what I have just done?
Have I not, indeed, slipped a rope around my neck?

Though my conscience did not reproach me with any thing, especially when
I had acted on the advice of a man as wise as Mr. Demars, yet was I not
without some anxiety, and I longed to get rid of all the things I had,
by giving them to their legitimate owners.

At ten o’clock in the morning, I was at Mr. Amiot’s, the wealthiest
goldsmith in Quebec, with my heavy satchel of melted silver. After
obtaining from him a promise of secrecy, I handed it over to him, giving
him at the same time its history. I asked him to weigh it, keep its
contents, and let me have its value, which I was to distribute according
to its label.

He told me that there was in it a thousand dollars’ worth of melted
silver, which amount he immediately gave me. I went down directly to
give about half of it to Rev. Mr. Cazeault, chaplain of the
congregation, which had been robbed, and who was then the secretary of
the Archbishop of Quebec; and I distributed the remainder to the parties
indicated on the labels attached to this enormous ingot.

The good Lady Montgomery could scarcely believe her eyes when, after
obtaining also from her the promise of the most inviolable secrecy on
what I was going to show her, I displayed on her table the magnificent
dishes of massive silver, fruit baskets, tea and coffee pots, sugar
bowls, cream jugs, and a great quantity of spoons and forks of the
finest silver, which had been taken from her in 1835. It seemed to her a
dream which brought before her eyes these precious family relics.

She then related in a most touching manner what a terrible moment she
had passed, when the thieves, having seized her, with her maid and a
young man, rolled them in carpets to stifle their cries, whilst they
were breaking locks, opening chests and cupboards to carry off their
rich contents. She told me how nearly she had been stifled with her
faithful servants under the enormous weight of carpets heaped upon them
by the robbers.

This excellent lady was a Protestant, and it was the first time in my
life that I met a Protestant whose piety seemed so enlightened and
sincere. I could not help admiring her.

When she had most sincerely thanked and blessed me for the service I had
done her, she asked if I would have any objection to pray with her, and
to aid her in thanking God for the favor he had just shown her. I told
her, I should be happy in uniting with her to bless the Lord for his
mercies. Upon this, she gave me a Bible, magnificently bound, and we
read each in turn a verse slowly, and on our knees, the sublime Psalm
103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” etc.

As I was about to take leave of her, she offered me a purse containing
one hundred dollars in gold, which I refused, telling her that I would
rather lose my two hands than receive a cent for what I had done.

“You are,” she said, “surrounded with poor people. Give them this that I
offer to the Lord as a feeble testimony of my gratitude, and be assured
that as long as I live I will pray God to pour his most abounding favors
upon you.”

In leaving that house I could not hide from myself that my soul had been
embalmed with the true perfume of piety that I had never seen in my own

Before the day closed, I had given back to their rightful owners the
effects left in my hands, whose value amounted to more than $7,000, and
had my receipts in good form.

I am glad to say here, that the persons, most of whom were Protestants,
to whom I made these restitutions, were perfectly honorable, and that
not a single one of them ever said anything to compromise me in this
matter, nor was I ever troubled on this subject.

I thought it my duty to give my venerable friend, the Grand Vicar
Demars, a detailed account of what had just happened. He heard me with
the deepest interest, and could not retain his tears when I related the
touching scene of my separation from my two new friends, that night, one
of the darkest—which, nevertheless, has remained one of the brightest of
my life.

My story ended, he said, “I am, indeed, very old, but I must confess
that never did I hear anything so strange and so beautiful as this
story. I repeat, however, that your mother must have given you a brain
harder than diamond and nerves more solid than brass, not to have been
afraid during this very singular adventure in the night.”

After the fatigues and incidents of the last twenty-four hours, I was in
great need of rest, but it was impossible for me to sleep a single
instant during the night which followed. For the first time, I stood
face to face with that Protestantism which my Church had taught me to
hate and fight with all the energy that heaven had bestowed on me, and
when that faith had been, by the hand of Almighty God, placed in the
scale against my own religion, it appeared as a heap of pure gold
opposite a pile of rotten rags. In spite of myself, I could hear
incessantly the cries of grief of that penitent thief: “Lord, have mercy
on me, so great a sinner!”

Then, the sublime piety of Lady Montgomery, the blessings she had asked
God to pour on me, his unprofitable servant, seemed, as so many coals of
fire heaped upon my head by God, to punish me for having said so much
evil of Protestants, and so often decried their religion.

A secret voice arose within me: “Seest thou not how these Protestants,
whom thou wishest to crush with thy disdain, know how to pray, repent,
and make amends for their faults, much more nobly than the unfortunate
wretches whom thou holdest as so many slaves at thy feet by means of the

“Understandest thou not that the Spirit of God, the grace and love of
Jesus Christ, produces effectually in the hearts and minds of these
Protestants a work much more durable than thy auricular confession?
Compare the miserable wiles of Mr. Parent, who makes false restitutions,
to cast dust into the eyes of the unsuspecting multitude, with the
straightforwardness, noble sincerity, and admirable wisdom of these
Protestants, in making amends for their wrongs before God and men, and
judge for thyself which of those two religions raise, in order to save,
and which degrades, in order to destroy the guilty.

“Has ever auricular confession worked as efficiently on sinners as the
Bible on these thieves to change their hearts?

“Judge, this day, by their fruits, which of the two religions is led by
the spirit of darkness, or the Holy Ghost?”

Not wishing to condemn my religion, nor allow my heart to be attacked by
Protestantism during the long hours of that restless night, I remained
anxious, humiliated, and uneasy.

It is thus, O my God, that thou madest use of everything, even these
thieves, to shake that wonderful fabric of errors, superstitions, and
falsehoods that Rome had raised in my soul. May thy name be forever
blessed for thy mercies towards me, thy unprofitable servant!

                             CHAPTER XXXI.


A few days after the strange and providential night spent with the
repentant thieves, I received the following letter signed by Chambers
and his unfortunate criminal friends:

“DEAR FATHER CHINIQUY:—We are condemned to death. Please come and help
us to meet our sentence as Christians.”

I will not attempt to say what I felt when I entered the damp and dark
cells where the culprits were enchained. No human words can express
those things. Their tears and their sobs were going through my heart as
a two-edged sword. Only one of them had, at first, his eyes dried, and
kept silent; Chambers, the most guilty of all.

After the others had requested me to hear the confession of their sins,
and prepare them for death, Chambers said: “You know that I am a
Protestant. But I am married to a Roman Catholic, who is your penitent.
You have persuaded my two so dear sisters to give up their Protestantism
and become Catholics. I have many times desired to follow them. My
criminal life alone has prevented me from doing so. But now I am
determined to do what I consider to be the will of God in this important
matter. Please, tell me what I must do to become a Catholic.”

I was a sincere Roman Catholic priest, believing that out of the Church
of Rome there was no salvation. The conversion of that great sinner
seemed to me a miracle of the grace of God: it was for me a happy
distraction in the desolation I felt in that dungeon.

I spent the next eight days, in hearing their confessions, reading the
lives of some saints, with several chapters of the Bible as the Seven
Penitential Psalms, the sufferings and death of Christ, the history of
the Prodigal Son, etc. And I instructed Chambers, as well as the
shortness of the time allowed me, in the faith of the Church of Rome. I
usually entered the cells at about 9 A. M. and left them only at 9 P. M.

After I had spent much time in exhorting them, reading and praying
several times, I asked them to tell me some of the details of the
murders and thefts they had committed, which might be to me as a lesson
of human depravity, which would help me when preaching on the natural
corruption and malice of the human heart, when once the fear and the
love, or even the faith in God, were completely set aside.

The facts I then heard very soon convinced me of the need we have of a
religion, and what would become of the world if the atheists could
succeed in sweeping away the notions of a future punishment after death,
or the fear and the love of God from among men.

When absolutely left to his own depravity, without any religion to stop
him on the rapid declivity of his uncontrollable passions, man is more
cruel than the wild beasts. The existence of society would simply be
impossible without a religion and a God to protect it.

Though I am in favor of liberty of conscience, in its highest sense, I
think that the atheist ought to be punished like the murderer and the
thief—for his doctrines tend to make a murderer and a thief of every
man. No law, no society is possible if there is no God to sanction and
protect them.

But the more we were approaching the fatal day, when I had to go on the
scaffold with those unfortunate men, and to see them launched into
eternity, the more I felt horrified. The tears the sobs and the cries of
those unfortunate men had so melted my heart, my soul and my strong
nerves, they had so subdued my unconquerable will, and that stern
determination to do my duty at any cost, which had been my character
till then, that I was shaking from head to feet, when thinking of that
awful hour.

Besides that, my constant intercourse with those criminals, these last
few days, their unbounded confidence in me, their gratitude for my
devotedness to them, their desolation and their cries when speaking of
their fathers or mothers, wives or children, had filled my heart with a
measure of sympathy which I would vainly try to express. They were no
more thieves and murderers, to me, whose bloody deeds had at first
chilled the blood in my veins; they were the friends of my bosom—the
beloved children whom cruel beasts had wounded. They were dearer to me
than my own life—not only I felt happy to mix my tears with theirs, and
unite my ardent prayers to God for mercy with them, but I would have
felt happy to shed my blood in order to save their lives. As several of
them belonged to the most reputable families of Quebec and vicinity, I
thought I could easily interest the clergy and the most respectable
citizens to sign a petition to the governor, Lord Gosford, asking him to
change their sentence of death into one of perpetual exile to the
distant penal colony of Botany Bay, in Australia. The governor was my
friend. Colonel Vassal, who was my uncle, and the adjutant-general of
the militia of the whole country, had introduced me to his Excellency,
who many times had overloaded me with the marks of his interest and
kindness, and my hope was that he would not refuse me the favor I was to
ask him, when the petition would be signed by the Bishop, the Catholic
priests, the ministers of the different Protestant denominations of the
city, and hundreds of the principal citizens of Quebec. I presented the
petition myself, accompanied by the secretary of the Archbishop. But to
my great distress, the governor answered me that those men had committed
so many murders, and kept the country in terror for so many years, that
it was absolutely necessary they should be punished according to the
sentence of the court. Who can tell the desolation of those unfortunate
men, when, with a voice choked by my sobs and my tears, I told them that
the governor had refused to grant the favor I had asked him for them.
They fell on the ground and filled their cells with cries which would
have broken the hardest heart. From those very cells we were hearing the
noise of the men who were preparing the scaffold where they were to be
hanged the next day. I tried to pray and read, but was unable to do so.
My desolation was too great to utter a single word. I felt as if I were
to be hanged with them—and to say the whole truth, I think I would have
been glad to hear that I was to be hanged the next day to save their
lives. For there was a fear in me, which was haunting me as a phantom
from hell, the last three days. It seemed that, in spite of all my
efforts, prayers, confessions, absolutions and sacraments, these men
were not converted, and that they were to be launched into eternity with
all their sins.

When I was comparing the calm and true repentance of the two thieves,
with whom I spent the night a few weeks before in the carriage, with the
noisy expressions of sorrow of these newly converted sinners, I could
not help finding an immeasurable distance between the first and the
second of those penitents. No doubt had remained in my mind about the
first, but I had serious apprehensions about the last. Several
circumstances, which it would be too long and useless to mention here,
were depressing me by the fear that all my chaplets, indulgences,
medals, scapulars, holy waters, signs of the cross, prayers to the
Virgin, auricular confessions, absolutions, used in the conversion of
these sinners, had not the divine and perfect power of a simple look to
the dying Saviour on the cross. I was saying to myself, with anxiety:
“Would it be possible that those Protestants, who were with me in the
carriage, had the true ways of repentance, pardon, peace and life
eternal in that simple look to the great victim, and that we Roman
Catholics, with our signs of the cross and holy waters, our crucifixes
and prayers to the saints, our scapulars and medals, our so humiliating
auricular confession, were only distracting the mind, the soul and the
heart of the sinner from the true and only source of salvation, Christ!”
In the midst of those distressing thoughts, I almost regretted having
helped Chambers in giving up his Protestantism for my Romanism.

At about 4 P. M. I made a supreme effort to shake off my desolation, and
nerve myself for the solemn duties God had intrusted to me. I put a few
questions to those desolated men, to see if they were really repentant
and converted. Their answers added to my fears that I had spoken too
much of the virgins and the saints, the indulgences, medals and
scapulars, integrity of confession, and not enough of Christ dying on
the cross for them. It is true, I had spoken of Christ and his death to
them, but this had been so much mixed up with exhortation to trust in
Mary, put their confidence in their medals, scapulars, confessions,
etc., that it became almost evident to me that, in our religion, Christ
was like a precious pearl lost in a mountain of sand and dust. This fear
soon caused my distress to be unbearable.

I then went to the private, neat little room, which the gaoler had
kindly allotted to me, and I fell on my knees to pray God for myself and
for my poor convicts. Though this prayer brought some calm to my mind,
my distress was still very great. It was then that the thought came
again to my mind to go to the governor and make a new and supreme effort
to have the sentence of death changed into that of perpetual exile to
Botany Bay: and without a moment of delay, I went to his palace.

It was about 7 P. M. when he reluctantly admitted me to his presence,
telling me, when shaking hands, “I hope, Mr. Chiniquy, you are not
coming to renew your request of the morning, for I cannot grant it.”

Without a word of answer, I fell on my knees, and for more than ten
minutes I spoke as I had never spoken before. I spoke as we speak when
we are the ambassadors of God in a message of mercy. I spoke with my
lips. I spoke with my tears. I spoke with my sobs and cries. I spoke
with my supplicating hands lifted to heaven. For some time, the governor
was mute, and as if stunned. He was not only a noble-minded man, but he
had a most tender, affectionate and kind heart. His tears soon began to
flow with mine, and his sobs mixed with my sobs; with a voice, half
suffocated by his emotion, he extended his friendly hand, and said:

“Father Chiniquy, you ask me a favor which I ought not to give, but I
cannot resist your arguments, when your tears, your sobs, and your cries
are like arrows which pierce and break my heart. I will give you the
favor you ask.”

It was nearly 10 P. M. when I knocked at the door of the gaoler, asking
his permission to see my dear friends in their cells, to tell them that
I had obtained their pardon, that they would not die. That gentleman
could hardly believe me. It was only after reading twice the document I
had in my hands that he saw that I told him the truth.

Looking at the parchment again, he said: “Have you noticed that it is
covered and almost spoiled by the spots evidently made with the tears of
the governor. You must be a kind of a sorcerer to have melted the heart
of such a man, and have wrenched from his hands the pardon of such
convicts; for I know he was absolutely unwilling to grant the pardon.”

“I am not a sorcerer,” I answered. “But you remember that our Saviour
Jesus Christ had said, somewhere, that he had brought a fire from
heaven—well, it is evident that he has thrown some sparks of that fire
into my poor heart, for it was so fiercely burning when I was at the
feet of the governor, that I think I would have died at his feet, had he
not granted me that favor. No doubt that some sparks of that fire have
also fallen on his soul and in his heart when I was speaking, for his
cries, his tears and his sobs were filling his room, and showing that he
was suffering as well as myself. It was that he might not be consumed by
that fire that he granted my request. I am now the most happy man under
heaven. Please, make haste. Come with me and open the cells of those
unfortunate men that I may tell what our merciful God has done for
them.” When entering their desolated cells I was unable to contain
myself. I cried out: “Rejoice, and bless the Lord, my dear friends! You
will not die to-morrow! I bring you your pardon with me!”

Two of them fainted, and came very near dying from excess of surprise
and joy. The others, unable to contain their emotions, were crying and
weeping for joy. They threw their arms around me to press me to their
bosom, kiss my hands and cover them with their tears of joy. I knelt
with them and thanked God, after which I told them how they must promise
to God to serve him faithfully, after such a manifestation of his
mercies. I read to them the 100th, 101st, 102d, and 103d Psalms, and I
left them after twelve o’clock at night to go and take some rest. I was
in need of it after a whole day of such work and emotions.

The next day, I wanted to see my dear prisoners early, and I was with
them at 7 A. M. As the whole country had been glad to hear that they
were to be hanged that very day, the crowds were beginning to gather at
that early hour to witness the death of those great culprits. The
feelings of indignation were almost unmanageable, when they heard that
they were not to be hanged, but only to be exiled for their life to
Botany Bay. For a time, it was feared that the mob would break the doors
of the gaol and lynch the culprits. Though very few priests were more
respected and loved by the people, they would have probably torn me into
pieces when they heard that it was I who had deprived the gibbet of its
victims, that day. The chief of police had to take extraordinary
measures to prevent the wrath of the mob from doing mischief. He advised
me not to show myself for a few days, in the streets.

More than a month passed before all the thieves and murderers in Canada,
to the number of about seventy, who had been sentenced to be exiled to
Botany Bay, could be gathered into the ship which was to take them into
that distant land. I thought it was my duty, during that interval, to
visit my penitents in gaol every day, and instruct them on the duties of
the new life they were called upon to live. When the day of their
departure arrived, I gave a Roman Catholic New Testament, translated by
DeSacy, to each of them to read and meditate on their long and tedious
journey, and I bade them adieu, recommending them to the mercy of God,
and the protection of the Virgin Mary and all the saints. Some months,
later, I heard that, on the sea, Chambers had cut loose his chains and
those of some of his companions, with the intention of taking possession
of the ship, and escaping on some distant shore. But he had been
betrayed, and was hanged on his arrival at Liverpool.

I had almost lost sight of those emotional days of my young years of
priesthood. Those facts were silently lying among the big piles of the
daily records, which I had faithfully kept since the very days of my
collegiate life at Nicolet, when, in 1878, the Rev. George Sutherland,
Presbyterian minister, of Sydney, invited me in the name of the
noble-hearted Orangemen and many other Christians of that great country,
to go and lecture in Australia. They accompanied their invitation with a
check of £100 for the traveling expenses from Chicago to that distant
land, and I accepted their kind invitation.

Some time after my arrival, when I was lecturing in one of the young and
thriving cities of that country, whose future destinies promise to be so
great, a rich carross, drawn by two splendid English horses, driven by
two men _en livre_, stopped before the house where I had put up for a
few days. A venerable gentleman alighted from the carriage and knocked
at the door, as I was looking at him from the window. I went to the
door, to save trouble to my host, and I opened it. In saluting me, the
stranger said: “Is Father Chiniquy here?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered. “Father Chiniquy is the guest of this family.”

“Could I have the honor of a few minute’s conversation with him?”
replied the old gentleman.

“As I am Father Chiniquy, I can, at once, answer you that I will feel
much pleasure in granting your request.”

“Oh, dear Father Chiniquy,” quickly replied the stranger, “is it
possible that it is you? Can I be absolutely alone with you for half an
hour, without any one to see and hear us?”

“Certainly,” I said; “my comfortable rooms are upstairs, and I am
absolutely alone there. Please, sir, come and follow me.”

When alone, the stranger said: “Do you not know me?”

“How can I know you, sir,” I answered. “I do not even remember ever
having seen you.”

“You have not only seen me, but you have heard the confession of my
sins, many times; and you have spent many hours in the same room with
me,” replied the old gentleman.

“Please tell me where and when I have seen you, and also be kind enough
to give your name: for all those things have escaped from my memory.”

“Do you remember the murderer and thief, Chambers, who was condemned to
death in Quebec, in 1837, with eight of his accomplices?” asked the

“Yes, sir; I remember well Chambers, and the unfortunate men he was
leading in the ways of iniquity,” I replied.

“Well, dear Father Chiniquy, I am one of the criminals who filled Canada
with terror, for several years, and who were caught and rightly
condemned to death. When condemned, we selected you for our father
confessor, with the hope that through your influence we might escape the
gallows; and we were not disappointed. You obtained our pardon; the
sentence of death was commuted into a life of exile to Botany Bay. My
name in Canada was A——, but here they call me B——. God has blessed me
since in many ways; but it is to you I owe my life, and all the
privileges of my present existence. After God, you are my saviour. I
come to thank and bless you for what you have done for me.”

In saying that, he threw himself into my arms, pressed me to his heart,
and bathed my face and my hands with tears of joy and gratitude.

But his joy did not exceed mine, and my surprise was equal to my joy to
find him apparently in such good circumstances. After I had knelt with
him to thank and bless God for what I had heard, I asked him to relate
to me the details of his strange and marvellous story. Here is a short
_resume_ of his answer:

“After you had given us your last benediction, when on board the ship
which was to take us from Quebec to Botany Bay, the first thing I did
was to open the New Testament you had given me and the other culprits,
with the advice to read it with a praying heart. It was the first time
in my life I had that book in my hand. You were the only priest in
Canada who would put such a book in the hands of common people. But I
must confess that its first reading did not do me much good, for I read
it more to amuse myself and satisfy my curiosity, than through any good
and Christian motive. The only good I received from that first reading,
was that I clearly understood, for the first time, why the priests of
Rome fear and hate that book, and why they take it out of the hands of
their parishioners when they hear that they have it. It was in vain that
I looked for mass, indulgence, chaplets, purgatory, auricular
confession, Lent, holy waters, the worship of Mary, or prayers in an
unknown tongue. I concluded from my first reading of the Gospel that our
priests were very wise to prevent us from reading a book which was
really demolishing our Roman Catholic Church, and felt surprised that
you had put in our hands a book which seemed to me so opposed to the
belief and practice of our religion as you taught it to us when in gaol,
and my confidence in your good judgment was much shaken. To tell you the
truth, the first reading of the Gospel went far to demolish my Roman
Catholic faith, and to make a wreck of the religion taught me by my
parents, and at the college, and even by you. For a few weeks, I became
more of a skeptic than anything else. The only good that first reading
of the Holy Book did me was to give me more serious thoughts and prevent
me from uniting myself to Chambers and his conspirators in their foolish
plot for taking possession of the ship and escaping to some unknown and
distant shore. He had been shrewd enough to conceal a very small, but
exceedingly sharp saw, between his toes before coming to the ship, with
which he had already cut the chains of eighteen of the prisoners, when
he was betrayed and hanged on his arrival at Liverpool.

“But if my first reading of the Gospel did not do me much good, I cannot
say the same thing of the second. I remember that, when handing to us
that holy book, you had told us never to read it except after a fervent
prayer to God for help and light to understand it. I was really tired of
my former life. In giving up the fear and the love of God, I had fallen
into the deepest abyss of human depravity and misery, till I had come
very near ending my life on the scaffold. I felt the need of a change.
You had often repeated to us the words of our Saviour, ‘Come unto me all
ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest;’ but, with
all the other priests, you had always mixed those admirable and saving
words with the invocation of Mary, the confidence in our medals,
scapulars, signs of the cross, holy waters, indulgences, auricular
confessions, that the sublime appeal of Christ had always been, as it
always will be, drowned in the Church of Rome by those absurd and
impious superstitions and practices.

“One morning, after I had spent a sleepless night, and feeling as
pressed down under the weight of my sins, I opened my gospel book, after
an ardent prayer for light and guidance, and my eyes fell on these words
of John, ‘Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the
world!’ These words fell upon my poor guilty soul with a divine,
irresistible power. With tears and cries of an unspeakable desolation, I
spent the day in crying, ‘O Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the
world, have mercy upon me! Take away my sins!’ The day was not over,
when I felt and knew that my cries had been heard at the mercy-seat. The
Lamb of God had taken away my sins! He had changed my heart and made
quite a new man of me. From that day, the reading of the Gospel was to
my soul what bread is to the poor, hungry man, and what pure and
refreshing waters are to the thirsty traveler. My joy, my unspeakable
joy, was to read the holy book, and speak with my companions in chains
of the dear Saviour’s love for the poor sinners; and, thanks be to God,
a good number of them have found Him altogether precious, and have been
sincerely converted in the dark holds of that ship. When working hard at
Sydney with the other culprits, I felt my chains to be as light as
feathers when I was sure that the heavy chains of my sins were gone; and
though working hard under a burning sun from morning till night, I felt
happy, and my heart was full of joy when I was sure that my Saviour had
prepared a throne for me in His kingdom, and that He had brought a crown
of eternal glory for me by dying on the cross to redeem my guilty soul.

“I had hardly spent a year in Australia, in the midst of the convicts,
when a minister of the Gospel, accompanied by another gentleman, came to
me and said: ‘Your perfectly good behavior and your Christian life has
attracted the attention and admiration of the authorities, and the
governor sends us to hand you this document, which says you are no more
a criminal before the law, but that you have your pardon, and you can
live the life of an honorable citizen, by continuing to walk in the ways
of God.’ After speaking so, the gentlemen put one hundred dollars in my
hands, and added: ‘Go and be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus, and
God Almighty will bless you and make you prosper in all your ways.’ All
this seemed to me as a dream or vision from heaven. I would hardly
believe my ears and my eyes. But it was not a dream, it was a reality.
My merciful Heavenly Father had again heard my humble supplications;
after having taken away the heavy chains of my sins, He had mercifully
taken away the chains which wounded my feet and my hands. I spent
several days and nights in weeping and crying for joy, and in blessing
the God of my salvation, Jesus the redeemer of my soul and my body.

“Some years after that, we heard of the discoveries of the rich gold
mines in several parts of Australia.

“After having prayed God to guide me, I bought a bag of hard crackers, a
ham and cheese, and started for the mines in company with several who
were going, like myself, in search of gold. But I soon preferred to be
alone. For I wanted to pray and to be united to my God, even when
walking. After a long march, I reached a beautiful spot, between three
small hills, at the foot of which a little brook was running down toward
the plain below. The sun was scorching, there was no shade, and I was
much tired, I sat on a flat stone to take my dinner, and quenched my
thirst with the water of the brook. I was eating and blessing my God at
the same time for His mercies, when suddenly my eyes fell on a stone by
the brook, which was about the size of a goose egg. But the rays of the
sun were dancing on the stone, as if it had been a mirror. I went and
picked it up. The stone was almost all gold of the purest kind! It was
almost enough to make me rich. I knelt to thank and bless God for this
new token of his mercy toward me, and I began to look around to see if I
could not find some new pieces of the precious metal, and you may
imagine my joy, when I found that the ground was not only literally
covered with pieces of gold of every size, from half an inch to the
smallest dimensions, but that the very sand, in great part, was composed
of gold. In a very short time, it was the will of God that I could carry
to the bank particles of gold to the value of several thousand pounds. I
continued to cover myself with rags and have old boots on, in order not
to excite the suspicion of any one on the fortune which I was
accumulating so rapidly. When I had about £80,000 deposited in the
banks, a gentleman offered me £80,000 more for my claim, and I sold it.
The money was invested by me on a piece of land which soon became the
site of an important city, and I soon became one of the wealthy men of
Australia. I then began to study hard and improve the little education I
had received in Canada. I married, and my God has made me father of
several children. The people where I settled with my fortune and wife,
not knowing my antecedents, have raised me to the first dignities of the
place. Please, dear Mr. Chiniquy, come and take dinner with me,
to-morrow, that I may show you my house and some of my other properties,
and also that I may introduce you to my wife and children. But let me
ask the favor not to make them suspect that you have known me in Canada,
for they think I am an European.” When telling me his marvellous
adventures, which I am obliged to condense and abridge, his voice was,
many times, choked by his emotion his tears and his sobs, and more than
once he had to stop. As for me, I was absolutely beside myself with
admiration at the mysterious ways through which God leads his elect, in
all ages. Now, I understand why my God had given me such a marvellous
power over the governor of Canada, when I wrenched your pardon from his
hands almost in spite of himself, I said: “That merciful God wanted to
save you, and you are saved! May his name be forever blessed.”

The next day, it was my privilege to be with his family, at dinner. And
never have I seen a more happy mother, and a more interesting family.
The long table was actually surrounded by them. After dinner, he showed
me his beautiful garden and his rich palace, after which, throwing
himself into my arms, he said: “Dear Father Chiniquy, all those things
belong to you. It is to you, after God, that I owe my life, all the
blessings of a large and Christian family, and the honor of the high
position I have in this country. May the God of Heaven for ever bless
you for what you have done for me.” I answered him: “Dear friend, you
owe me nothing, I have been nothing but a feeble instrument of the
mercies of God toward you. To that great and merciful God alone be the
praise and the glory. Please ask your family to come here and join with
us in singing to the praise of God the 103d Psalm.” And we sang
together: “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me
praise His holy name.

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to
our iniquities.

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward
them that fear him.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our
transgressions from us.

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that
fear Him.”

After the singing of that hymn, I bade him adieu for the second time,
never to meet him again except in that Promised Land, where we will sing
the eternal Alleluia around the throne of the Lamb, who was slain for
us, and who redeemed us all in His blood.

                             CHAPTER XXXII.


The merchant fleet of the fall of 1836 had filled the Marine Hospital of
Quebec with the victims of a ship-typhoid fever of the worst kind, which
soon turned into an epidemic. Within the walls of that institution Mr.
Glackmeyer, the superintendent, with two of the attending doctors, and
the majority of the servants, were swept away during the winter months.

I was, in the spring of 1837, almost the only one spared by that
horrible pest. In order not to spread terror among the citizens of
Quebec, the physicians and I had determined to keep that a secret. But,
at the end of May, I was forced to reveal it to the Bishop of Quebec, My
Lord Signaie; for I felt in my whole frame, the first symptoms of the
merciless disease. I prepared myself to die, as very few who had been
attacked by it had escaped. I went to the bishop, told him the truth
about the epidemic, and requested him to appoint a priest, immediately,
as chaplain in my place, for I added, I feel the poison running through
my veins, and it is very probable that I have not more than ten or
twelve days to live.

The young Mons D. Estimanville was chosen, and though I felt very weak,
I thought it was my duty to initiate him in his new and perilous work. I
took him immediately to the hospital, where he never had been before,
and, when at a few feet from the door, I said: “My young friend, it is
my duty to tell you that there is a dangerous epidemic raging in that
house since last fall, nothing has been able to stop it. The
superintendent, two physicians and most of the servants have been its
victims. My escape till now is almost miraculous. But these last ten
hours I feel the poison running through my whole body. You are called by
God to take my place; but before you cross the threshold of that
hospital, you must make the generous sacrifice of your life; for you are
going on a battle-field from which only few have come out with their

The young priest turned pale and said: “Is it possible that such a
deadly epidemic is raging where you are taking me?” I answered: “Yes! my
dear young brother, it is a fact, and I consider it my duty to tell you
not to enter that house, if you are afraid to die!”

A few minutes of silence followed, and it was a solemn silence, indeed!
Did the angels of God appear to show him the crown given to those who
die for their brethren? I do not know. What I do know is that, a few
months later, that young priest won the glorious crown by falling at his
post of duty. He then took his handkerchief and wiped away some big
drops of sweat, which were rolling from his forehead on his cheeks, and
said: “Is there a more holy and desirable way of dying than in
ministering to the spiritual and temporal wants of my brethren? No! If
it is the will of God that I should fall when fighting at this post of
danger, I am ready. Let his holy will be done.”

He followed me into the pestilential house with the heroic step of the
soldier who runs at the command of his general to storm an impregnable
citadel, when he is sure to fall. It took me more than an hour to show
him all the rooms, and introduce him to the poor, but very dear sick and
dying mariners.

I felt then so exhausted that two friends had to support me on my return
to the parsonage of St. Roch. My physicians were immediately called (one
of them, Dr. Rousseau, is still living) and soon pronounced my case so
dangerous that three other physicians were called in consultation. For
nine days, I suffered the most horrible tortures in my brains and the
very marrow of my bones, from the fever, which so devoured my flesh, as
to seemingly leave but the skin.

On the ninth day, the physicians told the bishop, who had visited me,
that there was no hope for my recovery. The last sacraments were
administered to me, and I prepared myself to die, as taught by the
Church of Rome. The tenth day I was absolutely motionless, and not able
to utter a word. My tongue was parched like a piece of dry wood.

Through the terrible ravage on the whole system, my very eyes were so
turned inside their orbits, the white part only could be seen; no food
could be taken from the beginning of the sickness except a few drops of
cold water, which were dropped through my teeth with much difficulty.
But, though all my physical faculties seemed dead, my memory and my
intelligence were full of life, and acting with more power than ever.
Now and then, in the paroxysms of the fever, I used to see awful
visions. At one time, suspended by a thread at the top of a high
mountain, with my head down over a bottomless abyss; at another,
surrounded by merciless enemies, whose daggers and swords were plunged
through my body. But these were of short duration, though they have left
such an impression on my mind that I still remember the minutest
details. Death had at first no terrors for me. I had done, to the best
of my ability, all that my church had told me to do to be saved. I had,
every day, given my last cent to the poor, fasted and done penance
almost enough to kill myself, made my confessions with the greatest care
and sincerity, preached with such zeal and earnestness as to fill the
whole city with admiration.

My pharisaical virtues and holiness, in a word, were of such a glaring
and deceitful character, and my ecclesiastical superiors were so taken
by them that they made the greatest efforts to persuade me to become the
first Bishop of Oregon and Vancouver.

One after the other, all the saints of heaven, beginning with the Holy
Virgin Mary, were invoked by me that they might pray God to look down
upon me in mercy, and save my soul.

On the thirteenth night, as the doctors were retiring, they whispered to
the Revs. Baillargeon and Parent, who were at my bedside: “He is dead,
or if not, he has only a few minutes to live. He is already cold and
breathless, and we cannot feel his pulse.” Though these words had been
said in a very low tone, they fell upon my ears as a peal of thunder.
The two young priests, who were my devoted friends, filled the room with
such cries, that the curate and the priest, who had gone to rest, rushed
to my room, and mingled their tears and cries with theirs.

The words of the doctor, “He is dead!” were ringing in my ears as the
voice of a hurricane; I suddenly saw that I was in danger of being
buried alive; no words can express the sense of horror I felt at that
idea. A cold, icy wave began to move slowly, but it seemed to me, with
irresistible force, from the extremities of my feet and hands toward the
heart, as the first symptoms of approaching death. At that moment, I
made a great effort to see what hope I might have of being saved,
invoking the help of the blessed Virgin Mary. With lightning rapidity, a
terrible vision struck my mind; I saw all my good works and penances, in
which my church had told me to trust for salvation, in the balance of
the justice of God. These were in one side of the scales, and my sins on
the other. My good works seemed only as a grain of sand compared with
the weight of my sins.[B]


Footnote B:

  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 all 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.”


This awful vision entirely destroyed my false and pharisaical security,
and filled my soul with an unspeakable terror. I could not cry to Jesus
Christ, nor to God, his Father, for mercy; for I sincerely believed what
my church had taught me on that subject, that they were both angry with
me on account of my sins. With much anxiety, I turned my thoughts, my
soul and hopes toward St. Anne and St Philomene. The first was the
object of my confidences since the first time I had seen the numberless
crutches and other “Ex Votos” which covered the Church of “La Bonne St.
Anne du Nord,” and the second was the saint _a la mode_. It was said
that her body had lately been miraculously discovered, and the world was
filled with the noise of the miracles wrought through her intercession.
Her medals were on every breast, her pictures in every house, and her
name on all lips. With entire confidence in the will and power of these
two saints to obtain any favor for me, I invoked them to pray God to
grant me a few years more of life; and with the utmost honesty of
purpose, I promised to add to my penances, and to live a more holy life,
by consecrating myself with more zeal than ever, to the service of the
poor and the sick. I added to my former prayer, the solemn promise to
have a painting of the two saints put in St. Anne’s Church, to proclaim
to the end of the world their great power in heaven, if they would
obtain my cure and restore my health. Strange to say! the last words of
my prayer were scarcely uttered, when I saw above my head St. Anne and
St. Philomene, sitting in the midst of a great light, on a beautiful
golden cloud. St. Anne was very old and grave, but St. Philomene was
very young and beautiful. Both were looking at me with great kindness.

However, the kindness of St. Anne was mixed with such an air of awe and
gravity, that I did not like her looks; while St. Philomene had such an
expression of superhuman love and kindness, that I felt myself drawn to
her by a magnetic power, when she said distinctly: “You will be cured!”
and the vision disappeared.

But I was cured, perfectly cured! At the disappearance of the two
saints, I felt as though an electric shock went through my whole frame;
the pains were gone, the tongue was untied, the nerves were restored to
their natural and easy power; my eyes were opened, the cold and icy
waves which were fast going from the extremities to the regions of the
heart, seemed to be changed into a most pleasant warm bath, restoring
life and strength to every part of my body. I raised my head, stretched
out my hands, which I had not moved for three days, and looking around,
I saw the four priests. I said to them: “I am cured, please give me
something to eat, I am hungry.”

Astonished beyond measure, two of them threw their arms around my
shoulders to help me sit a moment, and change my pillow; when two others
ran to the table which the kind nuns of Quebec had covered with
delicacies in case I might want them. Their joy was mixed with fear, for
they all confessed to me afterwards that they at once thought that all
this was nothing but the last brilliant flash of light which the
flickering lamp gives before dying away. But they soon changed their
minds when they saw that I was eating ravenously, and that I was
speaking to them and thanking God with a cheerful though very feeble
voice. “What does this mean?” they all said. “The doctors told us last
evening that you were dead; and we have passed the night not only
weeping over your death, but praying for your soul, to rescue it from
the flames of purgatory, and now you look so hungry, so cheerful and so

I answered: “It means that I was not dead, but very near dying, and when
I felt that I was to die, I prayed to St. Anne and St. Philomene to come
to my help and cure me; and they have come. I have seen them both,
there, above my head. Ah! if I were a painter, what a beautiful picture
I could make of that dear old St. Anne and the still dearer St.
Philomene! for it is St. Philomene who has spoken to me as the messenger
of the mercies of God. I have promised to have their portraits painted
and put into the church of The Good St. Anne du Nord.”

While I was speaking thus, the priests, filled with admiration and awe,
were mute; they could not speak, except with tears of gratitude. They
honestly believed with me that my cure was miraculous, and consented
with pleasure to sing that beautiful hymn of gratitude, the “Te Deum.”

The next morning the news of my miraculous cure spread through the whole
city with the rapidity of lightning, for besides a good number of the
first citizens of Quebec who were related to me by blood, I had not less
than 1,800 penitents who loved and respected me as their spiritual

To give an idea of the kind interest of the numberless friends whom God
had given me when in Quebec, I will relate a single fact. The citizens
who were near our parsonage, having been told by a physician that the
inflammation of my brain was so terrible that the least noise, even the
passing of carriages or the walking of horses on the streets, was
causing me real torture, they immediately covered all the surrounding
streets with several inches of straw to prevent the possibility of any
more noise.

The physicians having heard of my sudden cure, hastened to come and see
what it meant. At first, they could scarcely believe their eyes. The
night before, they had given me up for dead, after thirteen days
suffering with the most horrible and incurable of diseases! And there I
was, the very next morning, perfectly cured! No more pain, not the least
remnant of fever, all the faculties of my body and mind perfectly

They minutely asked me all the circumstances connected with that
strange, unexpected cure; and I told them simply but plainly, how, at
the very moment I expected to die, I had fervently prayed to St. Anne
and St. Philomene, and how they had come, spoken to me and cured me.

Two of my physicians were Roman Catholics, and three Protestants. They,
at first, looked at each other without saying a word. It was evident
that they were not all partakers of my strong faith in the power of the
two saints. While the Roman Catholic doctors, Messrs. Parent and
Rousseau, seemed to believe in my miraculous cure, the Protestants
energetically protested against that view in the name of science and
common sense.

Dr. Douglas put me the following questions, and received the following
answers. He said:

“Dear Father Chiniquy, you know you have not a more devoted friend in
Quebec than I, and you know me too well to suspect that I want to hurt
your religious feelings when I tell you that there is not the least
appearance of a miracle in your so happy and sudden cure. If you will be
kind enough to answer my questions, you will see that you are mistaken
in attributing to a miracle a thing which is most common and natural.
Though you are perfectly cured, you are very weak; please answer only
‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions, in order not to exhaust yourself. Will
you be so kind as to tell us if this is the first vision you have had
during the period of that terrible fever?”

ANS. I have had many other visions, but I took them as being the effect
of the fever.

DOCTOR. Please make your answers shorter, or else I will not ask you
another question, for it would hurt you. Tell us simply, if you have not
seen in those visions, at times, very frightful and terrible, and at
others, very beautiful things?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. Have not those visions stamped themselves on your mind with such
a power and vividness that you never forget them, and that you deem them
more realities than mere visions of a sickly brain?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. Did you not feel, sometimes, much worse, and sometimes much
better after those visions, according to their nature?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. When at ease in your mind during that disease, were you not used
to pray to the saints, particularly to St. Anne and St. Philomene?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. When you considered that death was very near (and it was indeed)
when you had heard my imprudent sentence that you had only a few minutes
to live, were you not taken suddenly by such a fear of death as you
never felt before?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. Did you not then make a great effort to repel death from you?

ANS. Yes, sir.

DOCTOR. Do you know that you are a man of an exceedingly strong will,
and that very few men can resist you when you want to do something? Do
you not know that your will is such an exceptional power that mountains
of difficulties have disappeared before you, here in Quebec? Have you
not seen even me, with many others, yielding to your will almost in
spite of ourselves, to do what you wanted?

With a smile, I answered, “Yes, sir.”

DOCTOR. Do you not know that the will, or if you like it better, the
soul, has a real, mysterious, and sometimes an irresistible, power over
the body, to silence its passions, calm its sufferings, and really heal
its diseases, particularly when they are of a nervous nature, as in all
cases of fever?

ANS. Yes, sir! I know that.

DOCTOR. Do you not remember seeing, many times, people suffering
dreadfully from toothache, coming to us to have their teeth extracted,
who were suddenly cured at the sight of the knives and other surgical
instruments we put upon the table for use?

I answered, with a laugh, “Yes, sir. I have seen that very often, and it
has occurred to me once.”

DOCTOR. Do you think that there was a supernatural power, then, in the
surgical implements, and that those sudden cures of toothache were

ANS. No, sir.

DOCTOR. Have you not read the volume of the Medical Directory I lent
you, on typhoid fever, where several cures exactly like yours are

ANS. Yes, sir.

Then, addressing the physicians, Dr. Douglas said to them:

“We must not exhaust our dear Father Chiniquy. We are too happy to see
him full of life again, but from his answers you understand that there
is no miracle here. His happy and sudden cure is a very natural and
common thing. The vision was what we call the turning-point of the
disease, when the mind is powerfully bent on some very exciting object,
when that mysterious thing of which we know so little as yet, called the
will, the spirit, the soul, fights as a giant against death, in which
battle, pains, diseases, and even death, are put to flight and

“My dear Father Chiniquy, from your own lips we have it; you have
fought, last night, the fever and approaching death, as a giant. No
wonder that you won the victory, and I confess, it is a great victory. I
know it is not the first victory you have gained, and I am sure it will
not be the last. It is surely God who has given you that irresistible
will. In that sense only does your cure come from Him. Continue to fight
and conquer as you have done last night, and you will live a long life.
Death will long remember its defeat of last night, and will not dare
approach you any more, except when you will be so old that you will ask
it to come as a friend, and put an end to the miseries of this present
life. Good-bye.”

And with friendly smiles, all the doctors pressed my hand and left me,
just as the bishop and the curate of Quebec, Mons. Baillargeon, my
confessor, were entering the room.

An old proverb says: “There is nothing so difficult as to persuade a man
who does not want to be persuaded.” Though the reasoning and kind words
of the doctor ought to have been gladly listened to by me, they had only
bothered me. It was infinitely more pleasant, and it seemed then, more
agreeable to God, and more according to my faith in the power of the
saints in heaven, to believe that I had been miraculously cured. Of
course, the bishop with his coadjutor, and my Lord Turgeon, as well as
my confessor, with the numberless priests and Roman Catholics who
visited me during my convalescence, confirmed me in my views.

The skillful painter, Mr. Plamondon, recently from Rome, was called, and
painted at the price of $200 (£50) the tableau, I had promised to put in
the church of St. Anne du Nord. It was one of the most beautiful and
remarkable paintings of that artist, who had passed several years in the
Capitol of Fine Arts in Italy, where he had gained a very good
reputation for his ability.

Three months after my recovery, I was at the parsonage of the curate of
St. Anne, the Rev. Mr. Ranvoize, a relative of mine. He was about 64
years of age, very rich, and had a magnificent library. When young he
had enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best preachers in Canada.

Never had I been so saddened and scandalized as I was by him on this
occasion. It was evening when I arrived with my tableau. As soon as we
were left alone, the old curate said: “Is it possible, my dear young
cousin, that you will make such a fool of yourself to-morrow? That
so-called miraculous cure is nothing but “_naturæ suprema vis_,” as the
learned of all ages have called it. Your so-called vision was a dream of
your sickly brain, as it generally occurs at the moment of the supreme
crisis of the fever. It is what is called the “turning-point” of the
disease, when a desperate effort of nature kills or cures the patient.
As for the vision of that beautiful girl, whom you call St. Philomene,
who has done you so much good, she is not the first girl, surely, who
has come to you in your dreams, and done you good!” At these words he
laughed so heartily that I feared he would split his sides. Twice he
repeated this unbecoming joke.

I was, at first, so shocked at this unexpected rebuke, which I
considered as bordering on blasphemy, that I came very near taking my
hat, without answering a word, to go and spend the night at his
brother’s; but, after a moment’s reflection, I said to him:

“How can you speak with such levity on so solemn a thing? Do you not
believe in the power of the saints, who, being more holy and pure than
we are, see God face to face, speak to Him and obtain favors which he
would refuse to us rebels? Are you not the daily witness of the
miraculous cures wrought in your own church, under your own eyes? Why
those thousands of crutches which literally cover the walls of your

My strong faith, and the earnestness of my appeal to the daily miracles
of which he was the witness, and above all, the mention of the
numberless crutches suspended all over the walls of his church, brought
again from him such a Homeric laugh, that I was disconcerted and
saddened beyond measure. I remained absolutely mute; I wished I had
never come into such company.

When he had laughed at me to his heart’s content, he said: “My dear
cousin, you are the first one to whom I speak in this way. I do it
because, first: I consider you a man of intelligence, and hope you will
understand me. Secondly: because you are my cousin. Were you one of
those idiotic priests, real blockheads, who form the clergy of to-day;
or, were you a stranger to me, I would let you go your way, and believe
in those ridiculous, degrading superstitions of our poor ignorant and
blind people, but I know you from your infancy, and I have known your
father, who was one of my dearest friends; the blood which flows in your
veins, passes thousands of times every day through my heart. You are
very young and I very old. It is a duty of honor and conscience in me to
reveal to you a thing which I have thought better to keep till now, a
secret between God and myself. I have been here more than thirty years,
and though our country is constantly filled with the noise of the great
and small miracles wrought in my church, every day, I am ready to swear
before God, and to prove to any man of common sense, that not a single
miracle has been wrought in my church since I have come here. Every one
of the facts given to the Canadian people as miraculous cures, are sheer
impositions, deceptions, the work of either fools, or the work of
skillful impostors and hypocrites, whether priests or laymen. Believe
me, my dear cousin, I have studied carefully the history of all those
crutches. Ninety-nine out of a hundred have been left by poor, lazy
beggars, who, at first, thought with good reason that, by walking from
door to door with one or two crutches, they would create more sympathy
and bring more into their purses; for how many will indignantly turn out
of doors a lazy, strong and healthful beggar, who will feel great
compassion, and give largely to a man who is crippled, unable to work,
and forced to drag himself painfully on crutches? Those crutches are,
then, passports from door to door. They are the very keys to open both
the hearts and purses. But the day comes when that beggar has bought a
pretty good farm with his stolen alms; or when he is really tired,
disgusted with his crutches and wants to get rid of them! How can he do
that without compromising himself?

“By a miracle! Then, he will sometimes travel again hundreds of miles
from door to door, begging as usual, but this time, he asks the prayers
of the whole family, saying, ‘I am going to the ‘good St. Anne du Nord’
to ask her to cure my leg (or legs). I hope she will cure me, as she has
cured so many others, I have great confidence in her power!’”

“Each one gives twice, nay, ten times as much as before to the poor
cripple, making him promise that if he is cured, he will come back and
show himself, that they may bless the good St. Anne with him. When he
arrives here, he gives me sometimes one, sometimes five dollars, to say
mass for him. I take the money, for I would be a fool to refuse it when
I know that his purse has been so well filled. During the celebration of
the mass, when he receives the communion, I hear generally, a great
noise, cries of joy! A miracle! A miracle!! The crutches are thrown on
the floor, and the cripple walks as well as you or I! And the last act
of that religious comedy is the most lucrative one, for he fulfills his
promise of stopping at every house he had ever been seen with his
crutches. He narrates how he was miraculously cured, how his feet and
legs became suddenly all right. Tears of joy and admiration flow from
every eye. The last cent of that family is generally given to the
impostor, who soon grows rich at the expense of his dupes. This is the
plain, but true story, of ninety-nine out of every hundred of the cures
wrought in my church. The hundredth, is upon people as honest, but,
pardon me the expression, as blind and superstitious as you are; they
are really cured, for they were really sick. But their cures are the
natural effects of the great efforts of the will. It is the result of a
happy combination of natural causes which work together on the frame,
and kill the pain, expel the disease and restore to health, just as I
was cured of a most horrible toothache, some years ago. In the paroxysm,
I went to the dentist and requested him to extract the affected tooth.
Hardly had his knife and other surgical instruments come before my eyes
than the pain disappeared. I quietly took my hat and left, bidding a
hearty ‘good-by’ to the dentist, who laughed at me every time we met, to
his heart’s content.

“One of the weakest points of our religion is in the ridiculous, I
venture to say, diabolical miracles, performed and believed every day
among us, with the so-called relics and bones of the saints.

“But, don’t you know that, for the most part, these relics are nothing
but chickens’ or sheeps’ bones. And what could not say, were I to tell
you of what I know of the daily miraculous impostures of the scapulars,
holy water, chaplets and medals of every kind. Were I a pope, I would
throw all these mummeries, which come from paganism, to the bottom of
the sea, and would present to the eyes of the sinners, nothing but
Christ and Him crucified as the object of their faith, invocation and
hope, for this life and the next, just as the Apostle Paul, Peter and
James do in their Epistles.”

I cannot repeat here, all that I heard, that night, from that old
relative, against the miracles, relics, scapulars, purgatory, false
saints and ridiculous practices of the Church of Rome. It would take too
long, for he spoke three hours as a real Protestant. Sometimes what he
said to me seemed according to common sense, but as it was against the
practices of my church, and against my personal practices, I was
exceedingly scandalized and pained, and not at all convinced. I pitied
him for having lost his former faith and piety. I told him at the end,
without ceremony: “I heard, long ago, that the bishops did not like you,
but I knew not why. However, if they could hear what you think and say
here about the miracles of St. Anne, they would surely interdict you.”

“Will you betray me?” he added, “and will you report our conversation to
the bishop?”

“No, my cousin,” I replied, “I would prefer to be burned to ashes. I
will not sell your kind hospitality for the traitor’s money.”

It was two o’clock in the morning when we parted to go to our sleeping
rooms. But that night was again a sleepless one to me. Was it not too
sad and strange for me to see that that old and learned priest was
secretly a Protestant!

The next morning, the crowds began to arrive, not by hundreds, but by
thousands, from the surrounding parishes. The channel between “L’Isle
D’Orleans” and St. Anne, was literally covered with boats of every size,
laden with men and women who wanted to hear from my own lips, the
history of my miraculous cure, and see, with their own eyes, the picture
of the two saints who had appeared to me. At 10 A. M., more than 10,000
people were crowded inside and outside the walls of the Church.

No words can give an idea of my emotion and of the emotion of the
multitude when, after telling them in a simple and plain way, what I
then considered a miraculous fact, I disclosed to their eyes, and
presented it to their admiration and worship. There were tears rolling
on every cheek and cries of admiration and joy from every lip.

The picture represented me dying in my bed of sufferings, and the two
saints seen, at a distance, above me, and stretching their hands, as if
to say: “You will be cured.” It was hung on the walls, in a conspicuous
place, where thousands and thousands have come to worship it from that
day to the year 1858, when the curate was ordered by the bishop to burn
it, for it had pleased our merciful God, that very year, to take away
the scales which were on my eyes and show me his saving light, and I had
published all over Canada, my terrible, though unintentional error, in
believing in that false miracle. I, however, was honest in my belief in
a miraculous cure; and the apparition of the two saints had left such a
deep impression on my mind, that, I confess it to my shame, the first
week after my conversion, I very often said to myself: “How is it that I
now believe that the Church of Rome is false, when such a miracle has
been wrought on me as one of her priests?”

But, our God, whose mercies are infinite, knowing my honesty when a
slave of Popery, was determined to give me the full understanding of my
errors in this way.

About a month after my conversion, in 1858, I had to visit a dying Irish
convert from Romanism, who had caught in Chicago, the same fever which
so nearly killed me at the Marine Hospital of Quebec. I again caught the
disease, and during twelve days passed through the same tortures and
suffered the same agonies as in 1837. But this time, I was really happy
to die; there was no fear for me to see the good works as a grain of
sand in my favor, and the mountains of my iniquities in the balance of
God against me. I just had given up my pharisaical holiness of old; it
was no more in my good works, my alms, my penances, my personal efforts,
I was trusting to be saved; it was in Jesus alone. My good works were no
more put by me in the balance of the justice of God to pay my debts and
to appeal for mercy. It was the blood of Jesus, the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world for me, which was in the balance. It was the
tears of Jesus, the nails, the crown of thorns, the heavy cross, the
cruel death of Jesus only, which was there to pay my debts and to cry
for mercy. I had no fear then, for I knew that I was saved by Jesus, and
that that salvation was a perfect act of His love, His mercy and His
power; I was glad to die.

But when the doctor had left me, the thirteenth day of my sufferings,
saying the very same words of the doctors of Quebec: “He has only a few
minutes to live, if he be not already dead,” the kind friends who were
around my bed, filled the room with their cries! Although, for three or
four days, I had not moved a finger, said a single word, or given any
sign of life, I was perfectly conscious. I had heard the words of the
doctor and I was glad to exchange the miseries of this short life for
that eternity of glory which my Saviour had bought for me. I only
regretted to die before bringing more of my dear countrymen out of the
idolatrous religion of Rome, and from the lips of my soul, I said: “Dear
Jesus, I am glad to go with thee just now, but if it be thy will to let
me live a few years more, that I may spread the light of the gospel
among my countrymen; grant me to live a few years more, and I will bless
thee eternally, with my converted countrymen, for thy mercy.” This
prayer had scarcely reached the mercy seat, when I saw a dozen bishops
marching toward me, sword in hand, to kill me. As the first sword raised
to strike was coming down to split my head, I made a desperate effort,
wrenched it from the hand of my would-be murderer, and struck such a
blow on his neck that the head rolled down to the floor. The second,
third, fourth, and so on to the last, rushed to kill me; but I struck
such terrible blows on the necks of every one of them, that twelve heads
were rolling on the floor and swimming in a pool of blood. In my
excitement, I cried to my friends around me: “Do you not see the heads
rolling and the blood flowing on the floor?”

And suddenly I felt a kind of electric shock from head to foot. I was
cured! perfectly cured!! I asked my friends for something to eat; I had
not taken any food for twelve days. And with tears of joy and gratitude
to God, they complied with my request.

This last cure was not only the perfect cure of the body, but it was a
perfect cure of the soul. I understood then clearly that the first was
not more miraculous than the second. I had a perfect understanding of
the diabolical forgeries and miracles of Rome. I was not cured or saved
by the saints, the bishops or the Popes, but by my God, through his son

                            CHAPTER XXXIII.


The 21st of September, 1838, was a day of desolation to me. On that day
I received the letter of my bishop, appointing me curate of Beauport.

Many times, I had said to the other priests, when talking about our
choice of the different parishes, that I would never consent to be
curate of Beauport.

That parish, which is a kind of a suburb of Quebec, was too justly
considered the very nest of the drunkards of Canada. With a soil of
unsurpassed fertility, inexhaustible lime quarries, gardens covered with
most precious vegetables and fruits, forests near at hand to furnish
wood to the city of Quebec, at their doors, the people of Beauport were,
nevertheless, classed among the poorest, most ragged and wretched people
of Canada. For almost every cent they were getting at the market went
into the hands of the saloon-keepers.

Hundreds of times I had seen the streets which led from St. Roch to the
upper town of Quebec almost impassable, when the drunkards of Beauport
were leaving the market to go home.

How many times I heard them fill the air with their cries and
blasphemies; and saw the streets reddened with their blood, when
fighting with one another, like mad dogs.

The Rev. Mr. Begin, who was their cure since 1825, had accepted the
moral principles of the great Roman Catholic “Theologia Liguori,” which
says, “that a man is not guilty of the sin of drunkenness, so long as he
can distinguish between a small pin and a load of hay.” Of course the
people would not find themselves guilty of sin so long as their eyes
could make that distinction.

After weeping to my heart’s content at the reading of the letter from my
bishop, which had come to me as a thunderbolt, my first thought was that
my misfortune, though very great, was not irretrievable. I knew that
there were many priests who were as anxious to become curates of
Beauport as I was opposed to it.

My hope was that the bishop would be touched by my tears, if not
convinced by my arguments, and that he would not persist in putting on
my shoulders a burden which they could not carry.

I immediately went to the palace, and did all in my power to persuade
his lordship to select another priest for Beaufort.

He listened to my arguments with a good deal of patience and kindness,
and answered:

“My dear Mr. Chiniquy, you forget too often that ‘implicit and perfect
obedience’ to his superiors is the virtue of a good priest? You have
given me a great deal of trouble and disappointment by refusing to
relieve the good Bishop Provencher of his too heavy burden. It was at my
suggestion, you know very well, that he had selected you to be his
co-worker along the coasts of the Pacific, by consenting to become the
first Bishop of Oregon. Your obstinate resistance to your superiors in
that circumstance, and in several other cases, is one of your weak
points. If you continue to follow your own mind rather than obey those
whom God has chosen to guide you, I really fear for your future. I have
already too often yielded to your rebellious character. Through respect
to myself, and for your own good, to-day I must force you to obey me.
You have spoken of the drunkenness of the people of Beauport, as one of
the reasons why I should not put you at the head of that parish; but
this is just one of the reasons why I have chosen you. You are the only
priest I know, in my diocese, able to struggle against the long-rooted
and detestable evil, with a hope of success.

“‘_Quod scriptum scriptum est._’ Your name is entered in our official
registers as the curate of Beauport; it will remain there till I find
better reasons than those you have given me to change my mind. After
all, you cannot complain; Beauport is not only the most beautiful
parsonage in Canada, but it is one of the most splendid spots in the
world. In your beautiful parsonage, at the door of the old capital of
Canada, you will have the privileges of the city, and the enjoyments of
some of the most splendid scenery of this continent. If you are not
satisfied with me to-day, I do not know what I can do to please you.”

Though far from being reconciled to my new position, I saw there was no
help; I had to obey. As my predecessor, Mr. Begin, was to sell all his
house furniture, before taking charge of his far distant parish, La
Riviere Ouelle, he kindly invited me to go and buy, on long credit, what
I wished for my own use, which I did.

The whole parish was on the spot long before me, partly to show their
friendly sympathy for their late pastor, and partly to see their new
curate. I was not long in the crowd without seeing that my small stature
and my leanness were making a very bad impression on the people, who
were accustomed to pay their respects to a comparatively tall man, whose
large and square shoulders were putting me in the shade.

Many jovial remarks, though made in half-suppressed tones, came to my
ears, to tell me that I was cutting a poor figure by the side of my
jolly predecessor.

“He is hardly bigger than my tobacco-box,” said one not far from me; “I
think I could put him in my vest pocket.”

“Has he not the appearance of a salted sardine!” whispered a woman to
her neighbor, with a hearty laugh.

Had I been a little wiser, I could have redeemed myself by some amiable
or funny words, which would have sounded pleasantly in the ears of my
new parishioners.

But, unfortunately for me, that wisdom is not among the gifts I received
from nature. After a couple of hours of auction, a large cloth was
suddenly removed from a long table, and presented to our sight an
incredible number of wine and beer-glasses, of empty decanters and
bottles of all sizes and quality.

This brought a burst of laughter and clapping of hands from almost every
one. All eyes were turned toward me, and I heard from hundreds of lips:
“This is for you, Mr. Chiniquy.”

Without weighing my words, I instantly answered: “I do not come to
Beauport to buy wine glasses and bottles, but to break them.”

These words fell upon their ears like a spark of fire on a train of
powder. Nine-tenths of the multitude, without being very drunk, had
emptied from four to ten glasses of beer or rum, which Rev. Mr. Begin
himself was offering them in a corner of the parsonage. A real deluge of
insults and cursings overwhelmed me; and I soon saw that the best thing
I could do was to leave the place without noise, and by the shortest

I immediately went to the bishop’s palace to try again to persuade his
lordship to put another curate at the head of such a people.

“You see, my lord,” I said, “that by my indiscreet and rash answer I
have forever lost the respect and confidence of that people. They
already hate me; their brutal cursings have fallen upon me like balls of
fire. I prefer to be carried to my grave next Sabbath than have to
address such a degraded people. I feel that I have neither the moral nor
the physical power to do any good there.”

“I differ from you,” replied the bishop, “Evidently the people wanted to
try your mettle, by inviting you to buy those glasses, and you would
have lost yourself by yielding to their desire. Now they have seen that
you are brave and fearless. It is just what the people of Beauport want;
I have known them for a long time. It is true that they are drunkards;
but, apart from that vice, there is not a nobler people under heaven.
They have, literally, no education, but they possess marvellous common
sense, and have many noble and redeeming qualities, which you will soon
find out. You took them by surprise when you boldly said you wanted to
break their glasses and decanters. Believe me, they will bless you if,
by the grace of God, you fulfill your prophecy; though it will be a
miracle if you succeed in making the people of Beauport sober. But you
must not despair. Trust in God; fight as a good soldier, and Jesus
Christ will win the victory.”

Those kind words of my bishop did me good, though I would have preferred
being sent to the back woods of Canada, than to the great parish of
Beauport. I felt that the only thing that I had to do was to trust in
God for success, and to fight as if I were to gain the day. It came to
my mind that I had committed a great sin by obstinately refusing to
become bishop of Oregon, and my God, as a punishment, had given me the
very parish for which I felt an almost insurmountable repugnance.

The next Sunday was a splendid day, and the church of Beauport was
filled to its utmost capacity by the people, eager to see and hear, for
the first time, their new pastor.

I had spent the last three days in prayers and fastings. God knows that
never a priest, nor any minister of the gospel, ascended the pulpit with
more exalted views of his sublime functions than I did that day, and
never a messenger of the gospel had been more terrified than I was, when
in that pulpit, by the consciousness of his own demerits, inability and
incompetency, in the face of the tremendous responsibilities of his
position. My first sermon was on the text: “Woe unto me if I preach not
the gospel” (1 Cor. ix.:16). With a soul and heart filled with the
profoundest emotions, a voice many times suffocated by uncontrollable
sobs, I expounded to them some of the awful responsibilities of a
pastor. The effect of that sermon was felt to the last day of my
priestly ministry in Beauport.

After the sermon, I told them: “I have a favor to ask of you. As it is
the first, I hope you will not rebuke me. I have, just now, given you
some of the duties of your poor young curate toward you; I want you to
come again this afternoon at half-past two o’clock, that I may give you
some of your duties toward your pastor.” At the appointed hour the
church was still more crowded than in the morning, and it seemed to me
that my merciful God blessed still more that second address than the

The text was: “When he (the shepherd) putteth forth his own sheep, he
goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
(John x.:4.)

Those two sermons on the Sabbath were a startling innovation in the
Roman Catholic Church of Canada, which brought upon me, at once, many
bitter remarks from the bishop and surrounding curates. Their unanimous
verdict was that I wanted to become a little reformer. They had not the
least doubt that in my pride I wanted to show to the people “that I was
the most zealous priest of the country.” This was not only whispered
from ear to ear among the clergy, but several times it was thrown into
my face in the most insulting manner. However, my God knew that my only
motives were, first, to keep my people away from the taverns, by having
them before their altars during the greatest part of the Sabbath day;
second, to impress more on their minds the great saving and regenerating
truths I preached, by presenting them twice on the same day under
different aspects.

I found such benefits from those two sermons that I continued the
practice during the four years I remained in Beauport, though I had to
suffer and hear in silence, many humiliating and cutting remarks from
many co-priests.

I had not been more than three months at the head of that parish, when I
determined to organize a temperance society on the same principles as
Father Mathew, in Ireland.

I opened my mind, at first, on that subject to the bishop, with the hope
that he would throw the influence of his position in favor of the new
association, but, to my great dismay and surprise, not only did he turn
my project into ridicule, but absolutely forbade me to think any more of
such an innovation.

“Those temperance societies are a Protestant scheme,” he said. “Preach
against drunkenness, but let the respectable people who are not
drunkards alone. St. Paul advised his disciple Timothy to drink wine. Do
not try to be more zealous than they were in those apostolic days.”

I left the bishop much disappointed, but did not give up my plan. It
seemed to me if I could gain the neighboring priests to join with me in
my crusade I wanted to preach against the usage of intoxicating drinks,
we might bring about a glorious reform in Canada, as Father Mathew was
doing in Ireland.

But the priests, without a single exception, laughed at me, turned my
plans into ridicule, and requested me in the name of common sense, never
to speak any more to them of giving up their social glass of wine.

I shall never be able to give any idea of my sadness, when I saw that I
was to be opposed by my bishop and the whole clergy in the reform which
I considered then, more and more every day, the only plank of salvation,
not only of my dear people of Beauport, but of all Canada. God alone
knows the tears I shed, the long, sleepless nights I have passed in
studying, praying, meditating on that great and holy work of Beauport. I
had recourse to all the saints of heaven for more strength and light;
for I was determined, at any cost, to try and form a temperance society.

But every time I wanted to begin, I was frightened by the idea, not only
of the wrath of the whole clergy, which would hunt me down, but still
more of the ridicule of the whole country, which would overwhelm me in
case of a failure. In these perplexities, I thought I would do well to
write to Father Mathew, and ask him his advice and the help of his
prayers. That noble apostle of temperance of Ireland answered me in an
eloquent letter, and pressed me to begin the work in Canada as he had
done in Ireland, relying on God, without paying any attention to the
opposition of man.

The wise and Christian words of that great and worthy Irish priest came
to me as the voice of God; and I determined to begin the work at once,
though the whole world should be against me.

I felt that if God was in my favor, I would succeed in reforming my
parish and my country in spite of all the priests and bishops of the
world, and I was right. Before putting the plow into the ground, I had
not only prayed to God and all his saints, almost day and night, during
many months, but I had studied all the best books written in England,
France and the United States on the evil wrought by the use of
intoxicating drinks. I had taken a pretty good course of anatomy in the
Marine Hospital under the learned Dr. Douglas.

I was then well posted on the great subject I was to bring before my
country. I knew the enemy I was to attack. And the weapons which would
give him the death blow were in my hands. I only wanted my God to
strengthen my hands and direct my blows. I prayed to Him, and in His
great mercy He heard me.

                             CHAPTER XXXIV

                         BEAUPORT AND VICINITY.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts,” saith the Lord. And, we may add,
His works are not like the works of man. This great truth has never been
better exemplified than in the marvellous rapidity with which the great
temperance reformation grew in Canada, in spite of the most formidable
obstacles. To praise any man for such work seems to me a kind of
blasphemy, when it is so visibly the work of the Lord.

I had hardly finished reading the letter of Ireland’s Apostle of
Temperance, when I fell on my knees and said: “Thou knowest, O my God,
that I am nothing but a sinner. There is no light, no strength, in thy
poor, unprofitable servant. Therefore come down into my heart and soul,
to direct me in that temperance reform which thou hast put into my mind
to establish. Without thee, I can do nothing, but with thee, I can do
all things.”

This was on Saturday night, March 20th, 1839. The next morning was the
first Sabbath of Lent. I said to the people after the sermon: “I have
told you, many times, that I sincerely believe it is my mission from God
to put an end to the unspeakable miseries and crimes engendered every
day, here and in our whole country, by the use of intoxicating drinks.
Alcohol is the greatest enemy of your souls and your bodies. It is the
most implacable enemy of your husbands, your wives and your children. It
is the most formidable enemy of our dear country and our holy religion.
I must destroy that enemy. But I cannot fight alone. I must form an army
and raise a banner in your midst, around which all the soldiers of the
gospel will rally. Jesus Christ himself will be our general. He will
bless and sanctify us—He will lead us to victory. The next three days
will be consecrated by you and by me in preparing to raise that army.
Let all those who wish to fill its ranks, come and pass these three days
with me in prayer and meditation at the feet of our sacred altars. Let
even those who do not want to be soldiers of Christ, or to fight the
great and glorious battles which are to be fought, come, through
curiosity, to see a most marvellous spectacle. I invite every one of
you, in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, whom alcohol nails anew
to the cross every day. I invite you in the name of the holy Virgin
Mary, and of all the saints and angels of God, who are weeping in heaven
for the crimes committed every day by the use of intoxicating drinks. I
invite you in the names of the wives, whom I see here in your midst,
weeping because they have drunkard husbands. I invite you to come in the
names of the fathers whose hearts are broken by drunkard children. I
invite you to come in the name of so many children who are starving,
naked and made desolate by their drunkard parents. I invite you to come
in the name of your immortal souls, which are to be eternally damned if
the giant destroyer, Alcohol, be not driven from our midst.”

The next morning, at eight o’clock, my church was crammed by the people.
My first address was at half-past eight o’clock, the second at 10.30 A.
M., the third at 2 P. M., and the fourth at five. The intervals between
the addresses were filled by beautiful hymns selected for the occasion.

Many times during my discourse, the sobs and the cries of the people
were such that I had to stop speaking, to mix my sobs and my tears with
those of my people. The first day seventy-five men, from among the most
desperate drunkards, enrolled themselves under the banner of Temperance.
The second day I gave again four addresses, the effects of which were
still more blessed in their result. Two hundred of my dear parishioners
were enrolled in the grand army which was to fight against their
implacable enemy.

But it would require the hand of an angel to write the history of the
third day, at the end of which, in the midst of tears, sobs, and cries
of joy, three hundred more of that noble people swore, in the presence
of their God, never to touch, taste, nor handle the cursed drinks with
which Satan inundates the earth with desolation, and fills hell with
eternal cries of despair.

During these three days, more than two-thirds of my people had publicly
taken the pledge of temperance, and had solemnly said, in the presence
of God, at the feet of their altars, “For the love of Jesus Christ, and
by the grace of God, I promise that I will never take any intoxicating
drink, except as a medicine. I also pledge myself to do all in my power,
by my words and example, to persuade others to make the same sacrifice.”

The majority of my people, among whom we counted the most degraded
drunkards, were changed and reformed, not by me surely, but by the
visible, direct work of the great and merciful God, who alone can change
the heart of man.

As a great number of people from the surrounding parishes, and even from
Quebec, had come to hear me the third day, through curiosity, the news
of that marvellous work spread very quickly throughout the whole
country. The press, both French and English, were unanimous in their
praises and felicitations. But when the Protestants of Quebec were
blessing God for that reform, the French Canadians, at the example of
their priests, denounced me as a fool and heretic.

The second day of our revival, I had sent messages to four of the
neighboring curates, respectfully requesting them to come and see what
the Lord was doing, and help me to bless Him. But they refused. They
answered my note with their contemptuous silence. One only, the Rev. Mr.
Roy, curate of Charlesbourg, deigned to write me a few words, which I
copy here:

Rev. Mr. Chiniquy, Curate of Beauport.

My dear Confrere:—Please forgive me if I cannot forget the respect I owe
to myself, enough to go and see your fooleries.

                                      Truly yours,

                                                         PIERRE ROY.

    Charlesbourg, March 5th, 1839.

The indignation of the bishop knew no bounds. A few days after, he
ordered me to go to his palace, and give an account of what he called my
“strange conduct.”

When alone with me, he said: “Is it possible, Mr. Chiniquy, that you
have so soon forgotten my prohibition not to establish that ridiculous
temperance society in your parish? Had you compromised yourself alone by
that Protestant comedy—for it is nothing but that—I would remain silent,
in my pity for you. But you have compromised our holy religion by
introducing a society whose origin is clearly heretical. Last evening,
the venerable Grand Vicar Demars told me that you would sooner or later
become a Protestant, and that this was your first step. Do you not see
that the Protestants only praise you? Do you not blush to be praised
only by heretics? Without suspecting it, you are just entering a road
which leads to your ruin. You have publicly covered yourself with such
ridicule that I fear your usefulness is at an end, not only in Beauport,
but in all my diocese. I do not conceal it from you, my first thought,
when, an eye-witness told me yesterday what you had done, was to
interdict you. I have been prevented from taking that step only by the
hope that you will undo what you have done. I hope that you yourself
will dissolve that Anti-Catholic association, and promise to put an end
to these novelties, which have too strong a smell of heresy to be
tolerated by your bishop.”

I answered: “My lord, your lordship has not forgotten that it was
absolutely against my own will that I was appointed curate of Beauport;
and God knows that you have only to say a word, and without a murmur, I
will give you my resignation, that you may put a better priest at the
head of that people, which I consider, and which is really, to-day, the
noblest and the most sober people of Canada. But I will put a condition
to the resignation of my position. It is, that I will be allowed to
publish before the world, that the Rev. Mr. Begin, my predecessor, has
never been troubled by his bishop for having allowed his people, during
twenty-three years, to swim in the mire of drunkenness; and that I have
been disgraced by my bishop, and turned out from that same parish, for
having been the instrument, by the mercy of God, in making them the most
sober people of Canada.”

The poor bishop felt at once that he could not stand on the ground he
had taken with me. He was a few minutes without knowing what to say. He
saw also that his threats had no influence over me, and that I was not
ready to undo what I had done.

After a painful silence of a minute or two, he said:

“Do you not see that the solemn promises you have extorted from those
poor drunkards are rash and unwise; they will break them at the first
opportunity. Their future state of degradation, after such an
excitement, will be worse than the first.”

I answered: “I would partake of your fears if that change were my work;
but as it is the Lord’s work, we have nothing to fear. The works of men
are weak and of short duration, but the works of God are solid and

“About the prophecy of the venerable Mr. Demars, that I have taken my
first step towards Protestantism, by turning a drunken into a sober
people, I have only to say that if that prophecy be true, it would show
that Protestantism is more apt than our holy religion to work for the
glory of God and the good of the people. I hope that your lordship is
not ready to accept that conclusion, and that you will not then trouble
yourself with the premises. The venerable Grand Vicar, with many other
priests, would do better to come and see what the Lord is doing in
Beauport, than to slander me and turn false prophets against its curate
and people. My only answer to the remarks of your lordship, that the
Protestants alone praise me, when the Roman Catholic priests and people
condemn me, proves only one thing, viz.: that Protestants, on this
question, understand the Word of God and have more respect for it than
we Roman Catholics. It would prove also that they understand the
interests of humanity better than we do, and that they have more
generosity than we have, to sacrifice their selfish propensities to the
good of all. I take the liberty of saying to your lordship, that in
this, as in many other things, it is high time that we should open our
eyes to our false position. Instead of remaining at the lowest step of
the ladder of one of the most Christian virtues, temperance, we must
raise ourselves to the top, where Protestants are reaping so many
precious fruits. Besides, would your lordship be kind enough to tell me
why I am denounced and abused here, and by my fellow-priests and my
bishop, for forming a temperance society in my parish, when Father
Mathew, who wrote to me lately to encourage and direct me in that work,
is publicly praised by his bishops and blessed by the Pope for covering
Ireland with temperance societies?

“Is your lordship ready to prove to me that Samson was a heretic in the
camp of Israel, when he fulfilled the promise made by his parents, that
he would never drink any wine or beer; and John, the Baptist, was he not
a heretic and a Protestant as I am, when, to obey the voice of God, he
did what I do to-day, with my dear people of Beauport?”

At that very moment the sub-secretary entered to tell the bishop that a
gentleman wanted to see him immediately on pressing business, and the
bishop abruptly dismissed me, to my great comfort; and my impression was
that he was as glad to get rid of me as I was to get rid of him.

With the exception of the secretary, Mr. Cazeault, all the priests I met
that day and the next month, either gave me the cold shoulder or
overwhelmed me with their sarcasms. One of them who had friends in
Beauport, was bold enough to try to go through the whole parish to turn
me into ridicule by saying that I was half crazy, and the best thing the
people could do was to drink moderately to my health when they went to

But at the third house, he met a woman, who, after listening to the bad
advice he was giving to her husband, said to him: “I do not know if our
pastor is a fool in making people sober, but I know you are a messenger
of the devil, when you advise my husband to drink again. You know that
he was one of the most desperate drunkards of Beauport. You personally
know also what blows I have received from him when he was drunk; how
poor and miserable we were; how many children had to run on the streets,
half naked, and beg in order not to starve with me! Now that my husband
has taken the pledge of temperance, we have every comfort; my dear
children are well fed and clothed, and I find myself as in a little
paradise. If you do not go out of this immediately, I will turn you out
with my broomstick.”

And she would have fulfilled her promise, had not the priest had the
good sense to disappear at the double-quick.

The next four months after the foundation of the society in Beauport, my
position when with the other priests was very painful and humiliating. I
consequently avoided their company as much as possible. And as for my
bishop, I took the resolution never to go and see him, except he should
order me into his presence. But my merciful God indemnified me by the
unspeakable joy I had in seeing the marvellous change wrought by Him
among my dear people. Their fidelity in keeping the pledge was really
wonderful, and soon became the object of the admiration of the whole
city of Quebec and of the surrounding country. The change was so sudden,
so complete and so permanent, that the scoffing bishops and priests,
with their friends, had, at last, to blush and be silent.

The public aspect of the parish was soon changed, the houses were
repaired, the debts paid, the children well clad. But what spoke most
eloquently about the marvellous reform, was that the seven thriving
saloons of Beauport were soon closed, and their owners forced to take to
other occupations. Peace, happiness, abundance and industry, everywhere
took the place of the riots, fighting, blasphemies and the squalid
misery which prevailed before. The gratitude and respect of that noble
people for their young curate knew no bounds; as my love and admiration
for them cannot be told by human words.

However, though the great majority of that good people had taken the
pledge, and kept it honorably, there was a small minority, composed of
the few who never had been drunkards, who had not yet enrolled
themselves under our blessed banners. Though they were glad of the
reform, it was very difficult to persuade them to give up their social
glass! I thought it was my duty to show them in a tangible way, what I
had so often proved with my words only, that the drinking of the social
glass of wine, or of beer, is an act of folly, if not a crime. I asked
my kind and learned Doctor Douglas to analyze, before the people, the
very wine and beer used by them, to show that it was nothing else but a
disgusting and deadly poison. He granted my favor. During four days that
noble philanthropist extracted the alcohol, which is not only in the
most common, but in the most costly and renowned wines, beer, brandy and
whiskey. He gave that alcohol to several cats and dogs, which died in a
few minutes in the presence of the whole people.

These learned and most interesting experiments, coupled with his
eloquent and scientific remarks, made a most profound impression. It was
the corner-stone of the holy edifice which our merciful God built with
his own hands in Beauport. The few recalcitrants joined with the rest of
their dear friends to show to our dear Canada that the temperance
societies are nothing else than drops of living water which comes from
the fountains of eternal life, to reform and save the world.

                             CHAPTER XXXV.


The people of Beauport had scarcely been a year enrolled under the
banners of temperance, when the seven thriving taverns of that parish
were deserted and their owners forced to try some more honorable trade
for a living. This fact, published by the whole press of Quebec, more
than anything forced the opponents, especially among the clergy, to
silence, without absolutely reconciling them to my views. However, it
was becoming every day more and more evident to all that the good done
in Beauport was incalculable, both in a material and moral point of
view. Several of the best thinking people of the surrounding parishes
began to say to one another: “Why should we not try to bring into our
midst this temperance reformation which is doing so much good in
Beauport?” The wives of drunkards would say: “Why does not our curate do
here, what the curate of Beauport has done there?”

On a certain day, one of those unfortunate women, who had received, with
a good education, a rich inheritance, which her husband had spent in
dissipation, came to tell me that she had gone to her curate to ask him
to establish a temperance society in his parish, as we had done in
Beauport; but he had told her “to mind her own business.” She had then
respectfully requested him to invite me to come and help to do for his
parishioners what I had done for mine, but she had been sternly rebuked
at the mention of my name. The poor woman was weeping, when she said:
“Is it possible that our priests are so indifferent to our sufferings,
and that they will let the demon of drunkenness torture us as long as we
live, when God gives us such an easy and honorable way to destroy his
power for ever?”

My heart was touched by the tears of that lady, and I said to her: “I
know a way to put an end to the opposition of your curate, and force him
to bring among you the reformation you so much desire; but it is a very
delicate matter for me to mention to you. I must rely upon your sacred
promise of secrecy, before opening my mind to you on that subject.”

“I take my God to witness,” she answered, “that I will never reveal your
secret.” “Well, madame, if I can rely upon your discretion and secrecy,
I will tell you an infallible way to force your priest to do what has
been done here.”

“Oh! for God’s sake,” she said, “tell me what to do.”

I replied: “The first time you go to confession, say to your priest that
you have a new sin to confess which is very difficult to reveal to him.
He will press you more to confess it. You will then say:

“‘Father, I confess I have lost confidence in you.’ Being asked ‘Why?’
you will tell him: ‘Father, you know the bad treatment I have received
from my drunken husband, as well as hundreds of other wives in your
parish from theirs; you know the tears we have shed on the ruin of our
children, who are destroyed by the bad example of their drunken fathers;
you know the daily crimes and unspeakable abominations caused by the use
of intoxicating drinks; you could dry our tears and make us happy wives
and mothers, you could convert our husbands and save our children, by
establishing the society of temperance here, as it is in Beauport, and
you refuse to do it. How, then, can I believe you are a good priest, and
that there is any charity and compassion in you for us?’

“Listen with a respectful silence to what he will tell you; accept his
penance, and when he asks you if you regret that sin, answer him that
you cannot regret it till he has taken the providential means which God
offers him to convert the drunkards.

“Get as many other women whom you know are suffering as you do, as you
can, to go and confess to him the same thing; and you will see that his
obstinancy will melt as the snow before the rays of the sun in May.”

She was a very intelligent lady: She saw at once that she had in hand an
irresistible power to force her priest out of his shameful and criminal
indifference to the welfare of his people. A fortnight later she came to
tell me that she had done what I had advised her, and that more than
fifty other respectable women had confessed to their curate that they
had lost confidence in him, on account of his lack of zeal and charity
for his people.

My conjectures were correct. The poor priest was beside himself, when
forced, every day, to hear from the very lips of his most respectable
female parishioners, that they were losing confidence in him. He feared
lest he should lose his fine parish near Quebec, and be sent to some of
the backwoods of Canada.

Three weeks later, he was knocking at my door, where he had not been
since the establishment of the temperance society. He was very pale, and
looked anxious. I could see in his countenance that I owed the honor of
this visit to his fair penitents. However, I was happy to see him. He
was considered a good priest, and had been one of my best friends before
the formation of the temperance society. I invited him to dine with me,
and made him feel at home as much as possible, for I knew by his
embarrassed manner that he had a very difficult proposition to make. I
was not mistaken. He at last said:

“Mr. Chiniquy, we had, at first, great prejudices against your
temperance society; but we see its blessed fruits in the great
transformation of Beauport. Would you be kind enough to preach a retreat
of temperance, during three days, to my people, as you have done here?”

I answered: “Yes, sir; with the greatest pleasure. But it is on
condition that you will yourself be an example of the sacrifice, and the
first to take the solemn pledge of temperance, in the presence of your

“Certainly,” he answered; “for the pastor must be an example to his

Three weeks later, his parish had nobly followed the example of
Beauport, and the good curate had no words to express his joy. Without
losing a day, he went to the two other curates of what is called “La
Cote de Beaupre,” persuaded them to do what he had done, and six weeks
after, all the saloons from Beauport to St. Joachim were closed; and it
would have been difficult, if not impossible, to persuade any one in
that whole region to drink a glass of any intoxicating drink.

Little by little, the country priests were thus giving up their
prejudices, and were bravely rallying around our glorious banners of
temperance. But my bishop, though less severe, was still very cold
toward me. At last, the good providence of God forced him, through a
great humiliation, to count our society among the greatest spiritual and
temporal blessings of the age.

At the end of August, 1840, the public press informed us that the Count
de Forbin Janson, Bishop de Nancy, in France, was just leaving New York
for Montreal. That bishop, who was the cousin and minister to Charles
the Tenth, had been sent into exile by the French people, after the king
had lost his crown in the Revolution of 1830. Father Mathew had told me,
in one of his letters, that this bishop had visited him, and blessed his
work in Ireland, and had also persuaded the Pope to send him his
apostolical benediction.

I saw, at once, the importance of gaining the approbation of this
celebrated man, before he had been prejudiced by the bishop against our
temperance societies. I asked and obtained leave of absence for a few
days, and went to Montreal, which I reached just an hour after the
French bishop. I went immediately to pay my homage to him, told him all
about our temperance work, asking him, in the name of God, to throw
bravely the weight of his great name and position in the scale in favor
of our temperance societies. He promised he would, adding: “I am
perfectly persuaded that drunkenness is not only the great and common
sin of the people, but still more of the priests in America, as well as
in Ireland. The social habit of drinking the detestable and poisonous
wines, brandies and beer used on this continent, and in the northern
parts of Europe, where the vine cannot grow, is so general and strong,
that it is almost impossible to save the people from becoming drunkards,
except through an association in which the elite of society will work
together to change the old and pernicious habits of common life. I have
seen Father Mathew, who is doing an incalculable good in Ireland; and,
be sure of it, I shall do all in my power to strengthen your hands in
that great and good work. But do not say to anybody that you have seen

Some days later, the Bishop of Nancy was in Quebec, the guest of the
Seminary, and a grand dinner was given in his honor, to which more than
one hundred priests were invited, with the Archbishop of Quebec, his
coadjutor, N. G. Turgeon, and the Bishop of Montreal, M. Q. R. Bourget.

As one of the youngest curates, I had taken the last seat, which was
just opposite the four bishops, from whom I was separated only by the
breadth of the table. When the rich and rare viands had been well
disposed of, and the most delicate fruits had replaced them, bottles of
the choicest wines were brought on the table in incredible numbers. Then
the superior of the college, the Rev. Mr. Demars, knocked on the table
to command silence, and rising on his feet, he said at the top of his
voice: “Please, my lord bishops, and all of you, reverend gentlemen, let
us drink to the health of my Lord Count de Forbin Janson, Primate of
Lorraine and Bishop of Nancy.”

The bottles passing around were briskly emptied into the large glasses
put before every one of the guests. But when the wine was handed to me,
I passed it to my neighbor without taking a drop, and filled my glass
with water. My hope was that nobody had paid any attention to what I had
done; but I was mistaken. The eyes of my bishop, my Lord Signaie, were
upon me. With a stern voice, he said: “Mr. Chiniquy, what are you doing
there? Put wine in your glass, to drink with us the health of Mgr. de

These unexpected words fell upon me as a thunderbolt, and paralyzed me
with terror. I felt as at the approach of the most terrible tempest I
had ever experienced. My blood ran cold in my veins; I could not utter a
word. For what could I say, there, without compromising myself forever.
To openly resist my bishop, in the presence of such an august assembly,
seemed impossible. But to obey him was also impossible; for I had
promised my God and my country never to drink any wine. I thought, at
first, that I could disarm my superior by my modesty and my humble
silence. However, I felt that all eyes were upon me. A real chill of
terror and unspeakable anxiety was running through my whole frame. My
heart began to beat so violently that I could not breathe. I wished,
then, I had followed my first impression, which was not to come to that
dinner. I think I would have suffocated, had not a few tears rolled down
from my eyes, and helped the circulation of my blood. The Rev. Mr.
Lafrance, who was by me, nudged me, and said: “Do you not hear the order
of my Lord Signaie? Why do you not answer, by doing what you are
requested to do?” I still remained mute, just as if nobody had spoken to
me. My eyes were cast down; I wished then I were dead. The silence of
death, reigning around the tables, told me that every one was waiting
for my answer; but my lips were sealed. After a minute of that silence,
which seemed as long as a whole year, the bishop, with a loud and angry
voice which filled the large room, repeated: “Why do you not put wine in
your glass, and drink to the health of my Lord Forbin Janson, as the
rest of us are doing?”

I felt I could not be silent any longer. “My lord,” I said, with a
subdued and trembling voice, “I have put in my glass what I want to
drink. I have promised my God and my country that I would never drink
any more wine.”

The bishop, forgetting the respect he owed to himself and to those
around him, answered me in the most insulting manner: “You are nothing
but a fanatic, and you want to reform us.”

These words struck me as the shock of a galvanic battery, and
transformed me into a new man. It seemed as if they had added ten feet
to my stature and a thousand pounds to my weight. I forgot that I was
the subject of that bishop, and remembered that I was a man, in the
presence of another man. I raised my head and opened my eyes; as quick
as lightning I rose to my feet, and addressing the Grand Vicar Demars,
superior of the seminary, I said with calmness: “Sir, was it that I
might be insulted at your table that you have invited me here? Is it not
your duty to defend my honor when I am here, your guest? But, as you
seem to forget what you owe to your guests, I will take my own defense
against my unjust aggressor.” Then, turning towards the Bishop de Nancy,
I said: “My Lord de Nancy, I appeal to your lordship from the unjust
sentence of my own bishop. In the name of God, and of His Son, Jesus
Christ, I request you to tell us, here, if a priest cannot, for his
Saviour’s sake, and for the good of his fellow-men, as well as for his
own self-denial, give up forever the use of wine and other intoxicating
drinks, without being abused, slandered and insulted, as I am here, in
your presence?”

It was evident that my words had made a deep impression on the whole
company. A solemn silence followed for a few seconds, which was
interrupted only by my bishop, who said to the Bishop de Nancy: “Yes,
yes, my lord; give us your sentence.”

No words can give an idea of the excitement of every one in that
multitude of priests, who, accustomed from their infancy, abjectly to
submit to their bishop, were, for the first time, in the presence of
such a hand-to-hand conflict between a powerless, humble, unprotected
young curate and his all-powerful, proud and haughty archbishop.

The Bishop of Nancy, at first, refused to grant my request. He felt the
difficulty of his position; but after Bishop Signaie had united his
voice to mine, to press him to give his verdict, he rose and said:

“My Lord Archbishop of Quebec, and you, Mr. Chiniquy, please withdraw
your request. Do not press me to give my views on such a new, but
important subject. It is only a few days since I came in your midst. It
will not do that I should so soon become your judge. The responsibility
of a judgment in such a momentous matter is too great. I cannot accept

But when the same pressing request was repeated by nine-tenths of that
vast assembly of priests; and that the archbishop pressed him more and
more to pronounce his sentence, he raised his eyes and hands to heaven,
and made a silent but ardent prayer to God. His countenance took an air
of dignity, I might say majesty, which gave him more the appearance of
an old prophet than of a man of our day. Then, casting his eyes upon his
audience, he remained a considerable time, meditating. All eyes were
upon him, anxiously waiting for the sentence. There was an air of
grandeur in him, at that moment, which seemed to tell us that the purest
blood of the great kings of France was flowing in his veins. At last, he
opened his lips, but it was again pressingly to request me to settle the
difficulty with the archbishop among ourselves, and to discharge him of
that responsibility. But we both refused again to grant him his request,
and pressed him to give his judgment. All this time, I was standing,
having publicly said that I would never sit again at that table, unless
that insult was wiped away.

Then he said with unspeakable dignity: “My Lord of Quebec! Here, before
us, is our young priest, Mr. Chiniquy, who, once on his knees, in the
presence of God and his angels, for the love of Jesus Christ, the good
of his own soul and the good of his country, has promised never to
drink! We are the witnesses that he is faithful to his promise, though
he has been pressed to break it by your lordship.

“And because he keeps his pledge with such heroism, your lordship has
called him a fanatic! Now, I am requested by every one here, to
pronounce my verdict on that painful occurrence. Here it is! Mr.
Chiniquy drinks no wine! But, if I look through the past ages, when God
himself was ruling his own people, through his prophets, I see Samson,
who, by the special order of God, never drank wine or any other
intoxicating drink! If from the Old Testament, I pass to the New, I see
John the Baptist, the precursor of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who to obey
the command of God, never drank any wine!! When I look at Mr. Chiniquy,
and see Samson at his right hand to protect him; and John the Baptist at
his left to bless him, I find his position so strong and impregnable,
that I would not dare attack or condemn him!”

These words were pronounced in the most eloquent and dignified manner,
and were listened to with a most respectful and breathless attention.

Bishop de Nancy, keeping his gravity, sat down, emptied his wine glass
into a tumbler, filled it with water, and drank to my health.

The poor archbishop was so completely confounded and humiliated, that
every one felt for him. The few minutes spent at the table, after this
extraordinary act of justice, seemed oppressive to every one. Scarcely
any one dared to look at his neighbor, or speak, except in a low and
subdued tone, as when a great calamity has just occurred.

Nobody thought of drinking his wine; and the health of the Bishop de
Nancy was left undrunk. But a good number of priests filled their
glasses with water, and giving me a silent sign of approbation, drank to
my health.

The society of temperance had been dragged by her enemies to the
battle-field, to be destroyed; but she bravely fought, and gained the
victory. Now, she was called to begin her triumphant march through our
dear Canada.

                             CHAPTER XXXVI

                    THE GOD OF ROME EATEN BY A RAT.

Has God given us ears to hear, eyes to see, and intelligence to
understand? The Pope says, no! But the Son of God says, yes. One of the
most severe rebukes of our Saviour to His disciples, was for their not
paying sufficient attention to what their eyes had seen, their ears
heard, and their intelligence perceived. “Perceive ye not yet, neither
understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not,
having ears, hear ye not? and do not ye remember?”—(Mark viii: 17, 18.)

This solemn appeal of our Saviour to our common sense, is the most
complete demolition of the whole fabric of Rome. The day that a man
ceases to believe that God would give us our senses and our intelligence
to ruin and deceive us, but that they were given to guide us, he is lost
to the Church of Rome. The Pope knows it; hence the innumerable
encyclicals, laws, and regulations by which the Roman Catholics are
warned not to trust the testimony of their ears, eyes, or intelligence.

“Shut your eyes,” says the Pope to his priests and people; “I will keep
mine opened, and I will see for you. Shut your ears, for it is most
dangerous for you to hear what is said in the world. I will keep my ears
opened, and will tell you what you must know. Remember that to trust
your own intelligence, in the research of truth, and the knowledge of
the Word of God, is sure perdition. If you want to know anything, come
to me: I am the only sure infallible fountain of truth,” saith the pope.

And this stupendous imposture is accepted by the people and the priests
of Rome with a mysterious facility, and retained with a most desolating

It is to them what the iron ring is to the nose of the ox, when a rope
is once tied to it. The poor animal loses its self-control. Its natural
strength and energies will avail it nothing; it must go left or right,
at the will of the one who holds the end of the rope.

Reader, please have no contempt for the unfortunate priests and people
of Rome, but pity them, when you see them walking in the ways into which
intelligent beings ought not to take a step. They cannot help it. The
ring of the ox is at their nose, and the Pope holds the end of the rope.
Had it not been for that ring, I would not have been long at the feet of
the wafer god of the Pope. Let me tell you of one of the shining rays of
truth, which were evidently sent by our merciful God, with a mighty
power, to open my eyes. But I could not follow it; the iron ring was at
my nose; and the Pope was holding the end of the rope.

This was after I had been put at the head of the magnificent parish of
Beauport, in the spring of 1840. There was living at “La jeune Lorette,”
an old retired priest, who was blind. He was born in France, where he
had been condemned to death, under the Reign of Terror. Escaped from the
guillotine, he had fled to Canada, where the bishop of Quebec had put
him in the elevated post of Chaplain of the Ursuline Nunnery. He had a
fine voice, was a good musician, and had some pretensions to the title
of poet. Having composed a good number of church hymns, he had been
called “Pere Cantique,” but his real name was “Pere Daule.” His faith
and piety were of the most exalted character among the Roman Catholics;
though these did not prevent him from being one of the most amiable and
jovial men I ever saw. But his blue eyes, sweet as the eyes of the dove;
his fine yellow hair, falling on his shoulders as a golden fleece; his
white, rosy cheeks, and his constantly smiling lips, had been too much
for the tender hearts of the good nuns. It was not a secret that “Pere
Cantique,” when young, had made several interesting conquests in the
monastery. There was no wonder at that. Indeed, how could that young and
inexperienced butterfly escape damaging his golden wings, at the
numberless burning lamps of the fair virgins? But the mantle of charity
had been put on the wounds which the old warrior had received on that
formidable battlefield, from which even the Davids, Samsons, Solomons,
and many others, had escaped only after being mortally wounded.

To help the poor, blind priest, the curates around Quebec used to keep
him by turn in their parsonages, and give him the care and marks of
respect due to his old age. After the Rev. Mr. Roy, curate of
Charlesbourg, had kept him five or six weeks, I had taken him to my
parsonage. It was in the month of May—a month entirely consecrated to
the worship of the Virgin Mary, to whom Father Daule was a most devoted
priest. His zeal was really inexhaustible, when trying to prove to us
how Mary was the surest foundation of the hope and salvation of sinners;
how she was constantly appeasing the just wrath of her son Jesus, who,
were it not for his love and respect to her would have, long since,
crushed us down.

The Councils of Rome have forbidden their blind priests to say their
mass; but on account of high piety, he had got from the Pope the
privilege of celebrating the short mass of the Virgin, which he knew
perfectly by heart. One morning, when the old priest was at the altar,
saying his mass, and I was in the vestry, hearing the confessions of the
people, the young servant boy came to me in haste, and said, “Father
Daule calls you; please come quick.”

Fearing something wrong had happened to my old friend, I lost no time,
and ran to him. I found him nervously tapping the altar with his two
hands, as in an anxious search for some very precious thing. When very
near to him, I said: “What do you want?” He answered with a shriek of
distress: “The good god has disappeared from the altar. He is lost!
(J’ai perdu le Bon Dieu. Il est disparu de dessus l’autel!”) Hoping that
he was mistaken, and that he had only thrown away the good god, “Le Bon
Dieu,” on the floor, by some accident, I looked on the altar, at his
feet, everywhere I could suspect that the _good god_ might have been
moved away by some mistake of the hand. But the most minute search was
of no avail; the good god could not be found. I really felt stunned. At
first, remembering the thousand miracles I had read of the disappearance
and marvellous changes of form of the wafer god, it came to my mind that
we were in the presence of some great miracle; and that my eyes were to
see some of these great marvels of which the books of the Church of Rome
are filled. But I had soon to change my mind, when a thought flashed
through my memory, which chilled the blood in my veins. The church of
Beauport was inhabited by a multitude of the boldest and most insolent
rats I have ever seen. Many times, when saying my mass, I had seen the
ugly nose of several of them, who, undoubtedly attracted by the smell of
the fresh wafer, wanted to make their breakfast with the body, blood,
soul and divinity of my Christ. But, as I was constantly in motion, or
praying with a loud voice, the rats had invariably been frightened and
fled away into their secret quarters. I felt terror-stricken at the
thought that the good god (Le Bon Dieu) had been taken away and eaten by
the rats.

Father Daule so sincerely believed what all the priests of Rome are
bound to believe, that he had the power to turn the wafer into God,
that, after he had pronounced the words by which the great marvel was
wrought, he used to pass from five to fifteen minutes in silent
adoration. He was then as motionless as a marble statue, and his
feelings were so strong that often torrents of tears used to flow from
his eyes on his cheeks. Leaning my head toward the distressed old
priest, I asked him: “Have you not remained, as you are used, a long
time motionless, in adoring the good god, after the consecration?”

He quickly answered, “Yes, but what has this to do with the loss of the
good god?”

I replied in a low voice, but with a real accent of distress and awe,
“Some rats have dragged and eaten the good god!”

“What do you say?” replied Father Daule. “The good god carried away and
eaten by rats?”

“Yes,” I replied, “I have not the least doubt about it.”

“My God! my God! what a dreadful calamity upon me!” rejoined the old
man; and raising his hands and his eyes to heaven, he cried out again,
“My God! my God! Why have you not taken away my life before such a
misfortune could fall upon me!” He could not speak any longer; his voice
was choked by his sobs.

At first, I did not know what to say; a thousand thoughts some very
grave, some exceedingly ludicrous, crossed my mind more rapidly than I
can say them. I stood there, as nailed to the floor, by the old priest,
who was weeping as a child, till he asked me, with a voice broken by his
sobs, “What must I do now?” I answered him: “The Church has foreseen
occurrences of that kind, and provided for them the remedy. The only
thing you have to do is to get a new wafer, consecrate it, and continue
your mass as if nothing strange had occurred. I will go and get you,
just now, new bread.” I went, without losing a moment, to the vestry,
got and brought a new wafer, which he consecrated and turned into a new
god, and finished his mass, as I had told him. After it was over, I took
the disconsolate old priest by the hand to my parsonage for breakfast.
But all along the way he rent the air with his cries of distress. He
would hardly taste anything, for his soul was drowned in a sea of
trouble. I vainly tried to calm his feelings, by telling him that it was
no fault of his; that this strange and sad occurrence was not the first
of that kind; that it had been calmly foreseen by the Church, which had
told us what to do in these circumstances; that there was no neglect, no
fault, no offence against God or man on his part.

But as he would not pay the least attention to what I said, I felt the
only thing I had to do was to remain silent and respect his grief, by
letting him unburden his heart by his lamentations and tears.

I had hoped that his good common sense would help him to overcome his
feelings, but I was mistaken; his lamentations were as long as those of
Jeremiah, and the expressions of his grief as bitter.

At last, I lost patience and said: “My dear Father Daule, allow me to
tell you respectfully that it is quite time to stop these lamentations
and tears. Our great and just God cannot like such an excess of sorrow
and regret about a thing which was only, and entirely, under the control
of His power and eternal wisdom.”

“What do you say there?” replied the old priest, with a vivacity which
resembled anger.

“I say that, as it was not in your power to foresee or to avoid that
occurrence, you have not the least reason to act and speak as you do.
Let us keep our regrets and our tears for our sins; we cannot shed too
many tears on them. But there is no sin here, and there must be some
reasonable limit to our sorrow. If anybody had to weep and regret
without measure what has happened, it would be Christ. For He alone
could foresee that event, and he alone could prevent it. Had it been His
will to oppose this sad and mysterious act, it was in His, not in our
power to prevent it. He alone has suffered from it, because it was His
will to suffer it.”

“Mr. Chiniquy,” he replied, “you are quite a young man, and I see you
have the want of attention and experience which are often seen among
young priests. You do not pay a sufficient attention to the awful
calamity which has just occurred in your church. If you had more faith
and piety you would weep with me instead of laughing at my grief. How
can you speak so lightly of a thing which makes the angels of God weep?
Our dear Saviour dragged and eaten by rats! Oh! great God! does not this
surpass the humiliation and horrors of Calvary?”

“My dear Father Daule,” I replied, “allow me respectfully to tell you
that I understand, as well as you do, the nature of the deplorable event
of this morning. I would have given my blood to prevent it. But let us
look at that fact in its proper light. It is not a moral action for us;
it did not depend on our will more than the spots of the sun. The only
one who is accountable for that fact is our God! For, again, I say, that
He was the only one who could foresee and prevent it. And, to give you
plainly my own mind, I tell you here that if I were God Almighty, and a
miserable rat would come to eat me, I would strike him dead before he
could touch me.”

There is no need of confessing it here; every one who reads these pages,
and pays attention to this conversation, will understand that my former
so robust faith in my priestly power of changing the wafer into my God
had melted away and evaporated from my mind, if not entirely, at least
to a great extent.

Great and new lights had flashed through my soul in that hour;
evidently my God wanted to open my eyes to the awful absurdities and
impieties of a religion whose God could be dragged and eaten by rats.
Had I been faithful to the saving lights which were in me then, I was
saved in that very hour; and before the end of that day I would have
broken the shameful chains by which the Pope had tied my neck to his
idol of bread. In that hour it seemed to me evident that the dogma of
transubstantiation was a sic monstrous imposture, and my priesthood an
insult to God and man.

My intelligence said to me with a thundering voice: “Do not remain any
longer the priest of a God whom you make every day, and whom the rats
can eat.”

Though blind, Father Daule understood very well by the stern accents of
my voice, that my faith in the god whom he had created that morning, and
whom the rats had eaten, had been seriously modified, if not entirely
crumbled down. He remained silent for some time, after which he invited
me to sit by him; and he spoke to me with a pathos and an authority
which my youth and his old age alone could justify. He gave me the most
awful rebuke I ever had; he opened on my poor wavering intelligence,
soul and heart, all the cataracts of heaven. He overwhelmed me with a
deluge of Holy Fathers, Councils and infallible Popes, who had believed
and preached before the whole world, in all ages, the dogma of

If I had paid attention to the voice of my intelligence, and accepted
the lights which my merciful God was giving me, I could easily have
smashed the arguments of the old priest of Rome. But what has the
intelligence to do in the Church of Rome? What could my intelligence
say? I was forbidden to hear it. What was the weight of my poor,
isolated intelligence, when put in the balance against so many learned,
holy infallible intelligences?

Alas! I was not aware, then, that the weight of the intelligence of God,
the Father, Son and Holy Ghost was on my side; and that, weighted
against the intelligence of the Popes, they were greater than all the
words against a grain of sand.

One hour after, shedding tears of regret, I was at the feet of Father
Daule, in the confessional box, confessing the great sin I had committed
by doubting, for a moment, of the power of the priests to change a wafer
into God.

The old priest, whose voice had been like a lion’s voice, when speaking
to the unbelieving curate of Beauport, had become sweet as the voice of
a lamb when he had me at his feet, confessing my unbelief. He gave me my
pardon. For my penance, he forbade me ever to say a word on the sad end
of the god he had created that morning; for, said he: “This would
destroy the faith of the most sincere Roman Catholics.” For the other
part of the penance, I had to go on my knees every day, during nine
days, before the fourteen images of the way of the cross, and say a
penitential psalm before every picture, which I did. But the sixth day
the skin of my knees was pierced, and the blood was flowing freely. I
suffered real torture every time I kneeled down, and at every step I
made. But it seemed to me that these terrible tortures were nothing
compared to my great iniquity!

I had refused, for a moment, to believe that a man can create his God
with a wafer! and I had thought that a church which adores a god eaten
by rats must be an idolatrous church!

                             CHAPTER XXXVII

                          NEVER TO BE TAKEN OUT.

A few days before the arrival of Bishop de Forbin Janson, I was alone in
my study, considering my false position toward my ecclesiastical
superiors, on account of my establishing the temperance society against
their formal protest. My heart was sad. My partial success had not
blinded me to the reality of my deplorable isolation from the great mass
of the clergy. With very few exceptions, they were speaking of me as a
dangerous man. They had even given me the nickname of “_Le reformateur
au petit pied_” (small-sized reformer), and were losing no opportunity
of showing me their supreme contempt and indignation, for what they
called my obstinacy.

In that sad hour, there were many clouds around my horizon, and my mind
was filled with anxiety; when, suddenly, a stranger knocked at my door.
He was a good-sized man, his smiling lips and honest face were beaming
with the utmost kindness. His large and noble forehead told me, at once,
that my visitor was a man of superior intellect. His whole mien was that
of a true gentleman.

He pressed my hand with the cordiality of an old friend, and giving me
his name, he told me at once the object of his visit, in these words.

“I do not come here only in my name; but it is in the name of many, if
not of all the English-speaking people of Quebec and Canada. I want to
tell you our admiration for the great reform you have accomplished in
Beauport. We know the stern opposition of your superiors and
fellow-priests to your efforts, and we admire you more for that.

“Go on, sir, you have on your side the great God of heaven, who has said
to us all: ‘Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth
its color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last, it
biteth like a serpent, it stingeth like an adder.’

“Take courage, sir,” he added; “you have, on your side, the Saviour of
the world, Jesus Christ himself, who has inspired his Apostle Paul to
say: ‘I will not drink any wine if it can be a cause of sin to my
neighbor.’ Fear not man, sir, when God the Father, and His son, Jesus
Christ, are on your side. If you find any opposition from some quarter,
and if deluded men turn you into ridicule when you are doing such a
Christian work, bless the Lord. For Jesus Christ has said: ‘Blessed are
they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be
filled. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and
shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake.’

“I come also to tell you, sir, that if there are men who oppose you,
there are many more who are praying for you day and night, asking our
Heavenly Father to pour upon you His most abundant blessings.

“Intoxicating drinks are the curse of this young country. It is the most
deadly foe of every father and mother, the most implacable enemy of
every child in Canada. It is the ruin of our rich families, as well as
the destruction of the poor.

“The use of intoxicating drinks, under any form or pretext is an act of
supreme folly; for alcohol kills the body and damns the soul of its
blind victim.

“You have, for the first time, raised the glorious banners of temperance
among the French Canadian people; though you are alone, to-day, to lift
it up, be not discouraged; for, before long, you will see your
intelligent countrymen rallying around it to help you to fight and

“No doubt the seed you sow to-day is often watered with your tears; but
before long you will reap the richest crop, and your heart will be
filled with joy when your grateful country will bless your name.”

After a few other sentences of the same elevated sentiments, he hardly
gave me time enough to express my feelings of gratitude, and said: “I
know you are very busy, I do not want to trespass upon your time.
Good-bye, sir; may the Lord bless you, and be your keeper in all your

He pressed my hand, and soon disappeared. I would try, in vain, to
express what I felt when alone with my God, after that strange and
providential visit. My first thought was to fall on my knees and thank
that merciful God for having sent me such a messenger to cheer me in one
of the darkest hours of my life; for every word from his lips had fallen
on my wounded soul as the oil of the Good Samaritan on the bleeding
wounds of the traveler to Jericho. There had been such an elevation of
thought, such a ring of true, simple but sublime faith and piety; such
love of man and fear of God in all that he had said. It was the first
time I had heard words so conformable to my personal views and profound
convictions on that subject. That stranger, whose visit had passed as
quickly as the visit of an angel from God, had filled my heart with such
joy and surprise at the unexpected news that all the English-speaking
people of Canada were praying for me!

However, I did not fall on my knees to thank God; for my sentiments of
gratitude to God were suddenly chilled by the unspeakable humiliation I
felt when I considered that that stranger was a Protestant!

The comparison I was forced to make between the noble sentiments, the
high philosophy, the Christian principles of that Protestant layman with
the low expressions of contempt, the absolute want of generous and
Christian thoughts of my bishop and my fellow-priests when they were
turning into ridicule that temperance society which God was so visibly
presenting to us as the best, if not the only way, to save the thousands
of drunkards who were perishing around us, paralyzed my lips, bewildered
my mind, and made it impossible for me to utter a word of prayer. My
first sentiments of joy and of gratitude to God soon gave way to
sentiments of unspeakable shame and distress.

I was forced to acknowledge that these Protestants, whom my Church had
taught me, through all her councils, to anathematize and curse as the
damned slaves and followers of Satan, were, in their principles of
morality, higher above us than the heavens are above the earth! I had to
confess to myself that those heretics, whom my Church had taught me to
consider as rebels against Christ and His Church, knew the laws of God
and followed them much more closely than ourselves. They had raised
themselves to the highest degree of Christian temperance, when my
bishops, with their priests, were swimming in the deadly waters of

A voice seemed crying to me: “Where is the superiority of holiness of
your proud Church of Rome over those so-called heretics, who follow more
closely the counsels and precepts of the gospel of Christ?”

I tried to stifle that voice, but I could not. Louder and louder it was
heard asking me: “Who is nearer God—the bishop, who so obstinately
opposes a reform which is so evidently according to the Divine Word, or
those earnest followers of the gospel, who make the sacrifice of their
old and most cherished usages with such pleasure, when they see it is
for the good of their fellow-men and the glory of God?”

I wished then to be a hundred feet below the ground, in order not to
hear those questions answered within my soul. But there was no help; I
had to hear them, and to blush at the reality before my eyes.

Pride! yes, diabolical pride! is the vice, _par excellence_, of every
priest of Rome. Just as he is taught to believe and say that his church
is far above every other church, so he is taught to believe and say
that, as a priest, he is above all the kings, emperors, governors and
presidents of this world. _That_ pride is the daily bread of the pope,
the bishop, the priests, and even the lowest layman in the Church of

It is also the great secret of their power and strength. It is this
diabolical pride which nerves them with an iron will, to bring down
everything to their feet; subject every human being to their will, and
tie every neck to the wheels of their chariot. It is this fearful pride
which so often gives them that stoical patience and indomitable courage
in the midst of the most cruel pain, or in the face of the most
appalling death, which so many deluded Protestants take for Christian
courage and heroism. The priest of Rome believes that he is called by
God Almighty to rule, subdue and govern the world. With all those
prerogatives that he fancies granted him by heaven, he builds up a high
pyramid, on the top of which he seats himself, and from that elevation
looks down with the utmost contempt on the rest of the world.

If anyone suspects that I exaggerate in thus speaking of the pride of
the priest, let him read the following haughty words which Cardinal
Manning puts on the lips of the pope in one of his lectures:

“I acknowledge no civil power; I am the subject of no prince. I am more
than this. I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the
conscience of men: of the peasant who tills his field and of the prince
who sits upon the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of
privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for the kingdom. I am the
sole, last, supreme judge of what is right or wrong.”

Is it not evident that the Holy Ghost speaks of this pride of the
priests and of the pope—the high priest of Rome—when he says: “That man
of sin, that son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above
all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he, as God, sits
in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

That caste pride which was in me, though I did not see it then, as it is
in every priest of Rome, though he does not suspect it, had received a
rude check, indeed, from that Protestant visitor. Yes, I must confess
it, he had inflicted a deadly wound on my priestly pride; he had thrown
a barbed arrow into my priestly soul which I tried many times, but
always in vain, to take away. The more I attempted to get rid of this
arrow, the deeper it went through my very bones and marrow. That strange
visitor, who caused me to pass so many hours and days of humiliation,
when forcing me to blush at the inferiority of the Christian principles
of my Church compared with those of the Protestants, is well known in
Canada, the United States and Great Britain, as the founder and first
editor of two of the best religious papers of America, the _Montreal
Witness_ and the _New York Witness_. His name is John Dougall.

As he is still living, I am happy to have this opportunity of thanking
and blessing him again for the visit he paid to the young curate of
Beauport forty-five years ago.

I was not aware then that the wounds inflicted by that unknown but
friendly hand was one of the great favors bestowed upon me by my
merciful God; but I understand it now. Many rays of light have since
come from the wounds which my priestly pride received that day. Those
rays of light helped much to expel the darkness which surrounded me, by
leading me to see, in spite of myself, that the vaunted holiness of the
Church of Rome is a fraud.

                            CHAPTER XXXVIII.


The battle fought and gained at the grand dinner of the Quebec Seminary
by the society of temperance had been decisive.

The triumph was as complete as it was glorious. Hereafter her march to
the conquest of Canada was to be a triumph. Her blessed banners were
soon to be planted over all the cities, towns and villages of my dear

To commemorate the expression of their joy and gratitude to God to the
remotest generations, the people of Beauport erected the beautiful
Column of Temperance, which is still seen halfway between Quebec and the
Montmorency Falls. The Bishop de Nancy, my Lord Forbin Janson, blessed
that first monument of temperance, September 7th, 1841, in the midst of
an immense multitude of people.

The parishes of St. Peter, St. John, St. Famille (Orleans Island), with
St. Michel were the first after Lange Gardien, Chateau Richer, St. Anne
and St. Joachin, to request me to preach on temperance.

Soon after, the whole population of St. Roch, Quebec, took the pledge
with a wonderful unanimity, and kept it long with marvellous fidelity.
In order to show to the whole country their feelings of gratitude, they
presented me with a fine picture of the Column of Temperance and a
complimentary address, written and delivered by one of the most
promising young men of Quebec, Mr. John Cauchon, who was raised some
years later to the dignity of a Cabinet Minister, and who has been the
worthy lieutenant-governor of Manitoba.

That address was soon followed by another from the citizens of Quebec
and Beauport, presented along with my portrait, by Mr. Joseph Parent,
then editor of the _Canadien_, and afterwards Provincial Secretary of

What a strange being man is! How fickle are his judgments! In 1842, they
had no words sufficiently flattering to praise the very man in the face
of whom they were spitting in 1838, for doing the very same thing! Was I
better for establishing the society of temperance in 1842 than I was in
establishing it in 1838? No! And was I worse when, in 1838, bishops,
priests and people were abusing, slandering and giving me bad names for
raising the banners of temperance over my country, than I was in
continuing to lift it up in 1842? No?

The sudden and complete change of the judgment of men in such a short
period of time had the good and providential effect of filling my mind
with the most supreme indifference, not to say contempt, for what men
thought or said of me.

Yea! this sudden passage from condemnation to that of praise, when I was
doing the very same work, had the good effect to cure me of that natural
pride which one is apt to feel when publicly applauded by men.

It is to that knowledge, acquired when young, that I owe the
preservation of my dignity as man and priest, when all my bishops and
their priests were arrayed against me at the dining table of the
Seminary of Quebec. It is that knowledge, also, that taught me not to
forget that I was nothing but a worm of the dust and an unprofitable
servant of God, when the same men overwhelmed me with their unmerited

Let not my readers think, however, that I was absolutely indifferent to
this change of public feeling; for no words can tell the joy I felt at
the assurance which these public manifestations afforded me that the
cause of temperance was to triumph everywhere in my country.

Let me here tell a fact too honorable to the people of Beauport to be
omitted. As soon as the demon of intemperance was driven from my parish,
I felt that my first duty was to give my attention to education, which
had been so shamefully neglected by my predecessors that there was not a
single school in the parish worthy of that name. I proposed my plan to
the people, asked their co-operation and set to work without delay.

I began by erecting the fine stone school house near the church, on the
site of the old parsonage. The old walls were pulled down, and on the
old foundation a good structure was soon erected with the free
collections raised in the village. But the work was hardly half finished
when I found myself without a cent to carry it on. I saw at once that,
having no idea of the value of education, the people would murmur at my
asking any more money. I therefore sold my horse, a fine animal given me
by a rich uncle, and with the money finished the building.

My people felt humiliated and pained at seeing their pastor obliged to
walk when going to Quebec or visiting the sick. They said to each other;
“Is it not a burning shame for us to have forced our young curate to
sell his fine horse to build our school houses, when it would have been
so easy to do that work ourselves? Let us repair our faults.”

On my return from establishing the society of temperance in St. John,
two weeks later, my servant man said to me:

“Please, Mr. le Cure, come to the stable and see a very curious thing.”

“What curious thing can there be?” I answered.

“Well, sir, please come and you will see.”

What was both my surprise and pleasure to find one of the most splendid
Canadian horses there, as mine! For my servant said to me: “During your
absence the people have raised five hundred dollars and bought this fine
horse for you. They say they do not want any longer to see their curate
walking in the mud. When they drove the horse here, that I might present
him to you as a surprise on your arrival, I heard them saying that, with
the temperance society, you have saved them more than five hundred
dollars every week in money, time and health, and that it was only an
act of justice to give you the savings of a week.”

The only way of expressing my gratitude to my noble people was to
redouble my exertions in securing the benefits of a good education to
their children. I soon proposed to the people to build another school
house two miles distant from the first.

But I was not long without seeing that this new enterprise was to be
still more uphill work than the first one among the people, of whom
hardly one in fifty could sign his name.

“Have not our fathers done well without those costly schools?” said
many. “What is the use of spending so much money for a thing that does
not add a day to our existence, nor an atom to our comfort?”

I soon felt confronted by such a deadly indifference, not to say
opposition, on the part of my best farmers, that I feared for a few days
lest I had really gone too far. The last cent of my own revenues was not
only given, but a little personal debt created to meet the payments, and
a round sum of $500 had to be found to finish the work. I visited the
richest man of Beauport to ask him to come to my rescue. Forty years
before he had come to Beauport barefooted, without a cent, to work. He
had employed his first earned dollars in purchasing some rum, with which
he had doubled his money in two hours; and had continued to double his
money, at that rate, in the same way, till he was worth nearly $200,000.

He had then stopped selling rum, to invest his money in city properties.
He answered me: “My dear curate, I would have no objections to give you
the $500 you want, if I had not met the Grand Vicar Demars yesterday,
who warned me, as an old friend, against what he calls your dangerous
and exaggerated views in reference to the education of the people. He
advised me, for your own good, and the good of the people, to do all in
my power to induce you to desist from your plan of covering our parishes
with schools.”

“Will you allow me,” I answered, “to mention our conversation to Mr.
Demars, and tell him what you have just said about his advising you to
oppose me in my efforts to promote the interests of education?”

“Yes, sir, by all means,” answered Mr. Des Roussell. “I allow you to
repeat to the venerable superior of the Seminary of Quebec what he said
to me yesterday; it was not a secret, for there were several other
farmers of Beauport to whom he said the very same thing. If you ignore
that the priests of Quebec are opposed to your plans of educating our
children you must be the only one who does not know it, for it is a
public fact. Your difficulties in raising the funds you want come only
from the opposition of the rest of the clergy to you in this matter; we
have plenty of money in Beauport to-day, and we would feel happy to help
you. But you understand that our good-will is somewhat cooled by the
opposition of men whom we are accustomed to respect.”

I replied: “Do you not remember, my dear Mr. Des Roussell, that those
very same priests opposed me in the same way in my very first efforts to
establish the temperance society in your midst?”

“Yes, sir,” he answered with a smile, “we remember it well, but you have
converted them to your views now.”

“Well, my dear sir, I hope we shall convert them also in this question
of education.”

The very next morning, I was knocking at the door of the Rev. Grand
Vicar Demars, after I had tied my splendid horse in the courtyard of the
Seminary of Quebec. I was received with the utmost marks of courtesy.
Without losing any time, I repeated to the old superior what Mr. Des
Roussell had told me of his opposition to my educational plans, and
respectfully asked him if it were true.

The poor Grand Vicar seemed as if thunder-struck by my abrupt, though
polite question. He tried, at first, to explain what he had said, by
taking a long circuit, but I mercilessly brought him to the point at
issue, and forced him to say, “Yes, I said it.”

I then rejoined and said: “Mr. Grand Vicar, I am only a child before
you, when comparing my age with yours; however, I have the honor to be
the curate of Beauport. It is in that capacity that I respectfully ask
you by what right you oppose my plans for educating our children?”

“I hope, Mr. Chiniquy,” he answered, “that you do not mean to say that I
am the enemy of education; for I would answer you that this is the first
house of education on this continent, and that I was at its head before
you were born. I hope that I have the right to believe and say that the
old Superior of the Seminary of Quebec understands as well as the young
curate of Beauport the advantage of a good education. But I will repeat
to you what I said to Mr. Des Roussell, that it is a great mistake to
introduce such a general system of education as you want to do in
Beauport. Let every parish have its well educated notary, doctor,
merchants, and a few others to do the public business; that is enough.
Our parishes of Canada are models of peace and harmony under the
direction of their good curates, but they will become unmanageable the
very day your system of education spreads abroad; for then all the bad
propensities of the heart will be developed with an irresistible force.
Besides, you know that since the conquest of Canada by Protestant
England, the Protestants are waiting for their opportunity to spread the
Bible among our people. The only barrier we can oppose to that danger is
to have in the future, as in the past, only a very limited number of our
people who can read or write. For as soon as the common people are able
to read, they will, like Adam and Eve, taste the forbidden fruit; they
will read the Bible, turn Protestant, and be lost for time and

In my answer, among other things, I said: “Go into the country, look at
the farm which is well cultivated, ploughed with attention and skill,
richly manured, and sown with good seed, is it not infinitely more
pleasant and beautiful to live on such a farm than on one which is
neglected, unskilfully managed and covered with noxious weeds? Well, the
difference between a well-educated and an uneducated people is still
greater in my mind.

“I know that the priests of Canada, in general, have your views, and it
is for that reason that the parish of Beauport, with its immense
revenues, has been left without a school worthy the name, from its
foundation till my going there. But my views are absolutely different;
and as for your fear of the Bible, I confess we are antipodes to each
other. I consider that one of the greatest blessings God has bestowed
upon me, is that I have read the Bible when I was on my mother’s knees.
I do not even conceal from you that one of my objects in giving a good
education to every boy and girl of Beauport, is to put the gospel of
Christ in their hands as soon as they are able to read it.”

At the end of our conversation, which was very excited on both sides,
though kept in the bounds of politeness during nearly two hours, I said:
“Mr. Grand Vicar, I did not come here to convert you to my views—this
would have been impertinence on my part; nor can you convert me to
yours, if you are trying it, for you know I have the bad reputation of
being a hard case. I came to ask you, as a favor, to let me work
according to my conscience in a parish which is mine and not yours. Do
not interfere any more in my affairs between me and my parishioners than
you would like me to interfere in the management of your seminary. As
you would not like me to criticize you before your pupils and turn you
into ridicule, please cease adding to my difficulties among my people,
by continuing in the future what you have done in the past.

“You know, Mr. Grand Vicar, that I have always respected you as my
father; you have many times been my adviser, my confessor and my friend;
I hope you will grant me the favor I ask from you in the name of our
common Saviour. It is for the spiritual and temporal good of the people
and pastor of Beauport that I make this prayer.”

The old priest was a kind-hearted man. These last words melted his
heart. He promised what I wanted, and we parted from each other on
better terms than I had expected at first.

When crossing the courtyard of the seminary, I saw the Archbishop
Signaie, who, coming from taking a ride, had stopped to look at my horse
and admire it. When near him, I said: “My lord, this is a bishop’s
horse, and ought to be in your hands.”

“It is what I was saying to my secretary,” replied the bishop. “How long
is it since you got it?”

“Only a few days ago, my lord.”

“Have you any intention of selling it?”

“I would, if it would please my bishop,” I replied.

“What is the price?” asked the bishop.

“Those who gave it to me paid $500 for it,” I replied.

“Oh! oh! that is too dear,” rejoined the bishop; “with five hundred
dollars we can get five good horses. Two hundred would be enough.”

“Your lordship is joking. Were I as rich as I am poor, one thousand
dollars would not take that noble animal from my hands, except to have
it put in the carosse of my bishop.”

“Go and make a check for two hundred dollars to the order of Mr.
Chiniquy,” said the bishop to his sub-secretary, Mr. Belisle.

When the secretary had gone to make the check, the bishop being alone
with me, took from his portfeuille three bank bills of one hundred
dollars each, and put them into my hands, saying: “This will make up
your $500, when my secretary gives you the check. But please say nothing
to anybody, not even to my secretary. I do not like to have my private
affairs talked of around the corners of the streets. That horse is the
most splendid I ever saw, and I am much obliged to you for having sold
it to me.”

I was also very glad to have $500 in hand. For with $300 I could finish
my school house, and there was $200 more to begin another, three miles

Just two weeks later, when I was dressing myself at sunrise, my servant
came to my room and said: “There are twenty men on horseback who want to
speak to you.”

“Twenty men on horseback who want to speak to me!” I answered. “Are you

“I do not dream,” answered my young man; “there they are at the door, on
horseback, waiting for you.”

I was soon dressed and in the presence of twenty of my best farmers, on
horseback, who had formed themselves in a half-circle to receive me.

“What do you want, my friends?” I asked them.

One of them, who had studied a few years in the Seminary of Quebec,

“Dear pastor, we come in the name of the whole people of Beauport to ask
your pardon for having saddened your heart by not coming as we ought to
your help in the superhuman efforts you make to give good schools to our
children. This is the result of our ignorance. Having never gone to
school ourselves, the greater part of us have never known the value of
education. But the heroic sacrifices you have made lately have opened
our eyes. They ought to have been opened at the sale of your first
horse. But we were in need of another lesson to understand our meanness.
However, the selling of the second horse has done more than anything
else to awaken us from our shameful lethargy. The fear of receiving a
new rebuke from us, if you made another appeal to our generosity, has
forced you to make that new sacrifice. The first news came to us as a
thunderbolt. But there is always some light in a thunderbolt. Through
that light we have seen our profound degradation, in shutting our ears
to your earnest and paternal appeals in favor of our own dear children.
Be sure, dear pastor, that we are ashamed of our conduct. From this day,
not only our hearts but our purses are yours, in all you want to do to
secure a good education for our families. However, our principal object
in coming here to-day is not to say vain words, but to do an act of
reparation and justice. Our first thought, when we heard that you had
sold the horse we had given you, was to present you with another. We
have been prevented from doing this by the certainty that you would sell
it again, either to help some poor people or to build another school
house. As we cannot bear to see our pastor walking in the mud when going
to the city or visiting us, we have determined to put another horse into
your hands, but in such a way that you will not have the right to sell
it. We ask you then, as a favor, to select the best horse here among
these twenty which are before you, and to keep it as long as you remain
in our midst, which we hope will be very long. It will be returned to
its present possessor if you leave us; and be sure, dear pastor, that
the one of us who leaves his horse in your hands will be the most happy
and proudest of all.”

When speaking thus, that noble-hearted man had several times been unable
to conceal the tears which were rolling down his cheeks, and more than
once his trembling voice had been choked by his emotion.

I tried in vain at first to speak. My feelings of gratitude and
admiration could be expressed only with my tears. It took some time
before I could utter a single word. At last I said: “My dear friends,
this is too much for your poor pastor. I feel overwhelmed by this grand
act of kindness. I do not say that I thank you—the word thank is too
small, too short and insignificant to tell you what your poor unworthy
pastor feels at what his eyes see and his ears hear just now. The great
and merciful God, who has put those sentiments into your hearts, alone
can repay you for the joy with which you fill my soul. I would hurt your
feelings, I know, by not accepting your offering. I accept it. But to
punish your speaker, Mr. Parent, for his complimentary address, I will
take his horse for the time I am curate of Beauport, which I hope will
be till I die.” And I laid my hand on the bridle of the splendid animal.

There was then a struggle which I had not expected. Every one of the
nineteen whom I left with their horses began to cry: “Oh! do not take
that horse; it is not worth a penny; mine is much stronger,” said one.
“Mine is much faster,” cried out another. “Mine is a safe rider,” said a
third. Every one wanted me to take his horse, and tried to persuade me
that it was the best of all; they really felt sorry that they were not
able to change my mind.

Has any one ever felt more happy than I was in the midst of these
generous friends?

The memory of that happy hour will never pass away from my mind.

                             CHAPTER XXXIX.


On the morning of the 25th of August, 1842, we blessed and opened the
seventh school of Beauport. From that day all the children were to
receive as good an education as could be given in any country place of
Canada. Those schools had been raised on the ruins of the seven taverns
which had so long spread ruin, shame, desolation and death over that
splendid parish. My heart was filled with an unspeakable joy at the
sight of the marvellous things which, by the hand of God, had been
wrought in such a short time.

At about two P. M. of that never-to-be-forgotten day, after I had said
my vespers, and was alone, pacing the alleys of my garden, under the
shade of the old maple trees bordering the northern part of that
beautiful spot, I was reviewing the struggles and the victories of these
last four years. It seemed that everything around me—not only the giant
trees which were protecting me from the burning sun, but even the
humblest grasses and flowers of my garden—had a voice to tell me, “Bless
the Lord for His mercies.”

At my feet the majestic St. Lawrence was rolling its deep waters;
beyond, the old capital of Canada, Quebec, with its massive citadel, its
proud towers, its bristling cannons, its numerous houses and steeples,
with their tin roofs reflecting the light of the sun in myriads of rays,
formed such a spectacle of fairy beauty as no pen can describe. The
fresh breeze from the river, mingled with the perfume of the thousand
flowers of my parterre, bathed me in an atmosphere of fragrance. Never
yet had I enjoyed life as at that hour. All the sanguine desires of my
heart and the holy aspirations of my soul had been more than realized.
Peace, harmony, industry, abundance, happiness, religion and education
had come on the heels of temperance, to gladden and cheer the families
which God had entrusted to me. The former hard feelings of my
ecclesiastical superiors had been changed into sentiments and acts of
kindness, much above my merits. With the most sincere feelings of
gratitude to God, I said with the old prophet, “Bless the Lord, O my

By the great mercy of God, that parish of Beauport, which at first had
appeared to me as a bottomless abyss, in which I was to perish, had been
changed for me into an earthly paradise. There was only one desire in my
heart. It was that I never should be removed from it. Like Peter on
Mount Tabor, I wanted to pitch my tent in Beauport to the end of my
life. But the rebuke which had shamed Peter came as quickly as lightning
to show me the folly and vanity of my dreams.

Suddenly the carrosse of the Bishop of Quebec came in sight, and rolled
down to the door of the parsonage. The sub-secretary, the Rev. Mr.
Belisle, alighting from it, directed his steps towards the garden, where
he had seen me, and handed me the following letter from the Right Rev.
Turgeon, Coadjutor of Quebec:

My dear Mons. Chiniquy.

His lordship Bishop Signaie and I wish to confer with you on a most
important matter. We have sent our carriage to bring you to Quebec.
Please come without the least delay.

                                                Truly yours,

                                                    ✠ FLAV. TURGEON.

One hour after, I was with the two bishops. My Lord Signaie said:

“Monseigneur Turgeon will tell you why we have sent for you in such

“Mons. Chiniquy,” said Bishop Turgeon, “is not Kamouraska your

“Yes, my lord.”

“Do you like that place, and do you interest yourself much in its

“Of course, my lord, I like Kamouraska; not only because it is my
birthplace, and the most happy years of my youth were spent in it, but
also because, in my humble opinion, the beauties of its scenery, the
purity of its atmosphere, the fine manners and proverbial intelligence
of its people, make it the very gem of Canada.”

“You know,” rejoined the bishop, “that Rev. Mons. Varin has been too
infirm, these last years, to superintend the spiritual interest of that
important place, it is impossible to continue putting a young vicar at
the head of such a parish, where hundreds of the best families of the
aristocracy of Quebec and Montreal resort every summer. We have, too
long, tried that experiment of young priests in the midst of such a
people. It has been a failure. Drunkenness, luxury and immoralities of
the most degrading kind are eating up the very life of Kamouraska
to-day. Not less than thirty illegitimate births are known and
registered in different places from Kamouraska these last twelve months.
It is quite time to stop that state of affairs, and you are the only
one, Mons. Chiniquy, on whom we can rely for that great and difficult

These words passed through my soul as a two-edged sword. My lips
quivered, I felt as if I were choking, and my tongue, with difficulty
muttered: “My lord, I hope it is not your intention to remove me from my
dear parish of Beauport.”

“No, Mons. Chiniquy, we will not make use of our authority, to break the
sacred and sweet ties which unite you to the parish of Beauport. But we
will put before your conscience the reasons we have to wish you at the
head of the great and important parish of Kamouraska.”

For more than an hour, the two bishops made strong appeals to my charity
for the multitudes who were sunk into the abyss of drunkenness and every
vice, and had no one to save them.

“See how God and men are blessing you to-day,” added the Archbishop
Signaie, for what you have done in Beauport! Will they not bless you
still more, if you save that great and splendid parish of Kamouraska, as
you have saved Beauport? Will not a double crown be put upon your
forehead by your bishops, your country and your God, if you consent to
be the instrument of the mercies of God towards the people of your own
birthplace, and the surrounding country, as you have just been for
Beauport and its surrounding parishes? Can you rest and live in peace
now in Beauport, when you hear day and night the voice of the multitudes
who cry: ‘Come to our help, we are perishing?’ What will you answer to
God, at the last day, when He will show you the thousands of precious
souls lost at Kamouraska, because you refused to go to their rescue? As
Monseigneur Turgeon has said, we will not make use of our authority to
force you to leave your present position; we hope that the prayers of
your bishops will be enough for you. We know what a great sacrifice it
will be for you to leave Beauport to-day; but do not forget that the
greater the sacrifice, the more precious will the crown be.“

My bishops had spoken to me with such kindness! Their paternal and
friendly appeals had surely more power over me than orders. Not without
many tears; but with a true good will, I consented to give up the
prospects of peace and comfort which were in store for me in Beauport,
to plunge myself again into a future of endless trouble and warfare, by
going to Kamouraska.

There is no need of saying that the people of Beauport did all in their
power to induce the bishops to let me remain among them some time
longer. But the sacrifice had to be made. I gave my farewell address on
the second Sabbath of September; in the midst of indescribable cries,
sobs and tears, and on the 17th of the same month, I was on my way to
Kamouraska. I had left everything behind me at Beauport, even to my
books, in order to be freer in that formidable conflict which seemed to
be in store for me in my new parish.

When I took leave of the bishops of Quebec, they showed me a letter just
received by them from Mons. Varin, filled with the most bitter
expressions of indignation on account of the choice of such a fanatic
and fire-brand as Chiniquy, for a place so well known for its peaceful
habits and harmony among all classes.” The last words of the letter were
as follows:

“The clergy and people of Kamouraska and vicinity consider the
appointment of Mons. Chiniquy to this parish as an insult, and we hope
and pray that your lordship will change your mind on the subject.”

In showing me the letter, my lord Signaie and Turgeon said: “We fear
that you will have more trouble than we expected with the old curate and
his partisans, but we commend you to the grace of God and the protection
of the Virgin Mary, remembering that our Saviour has said: ‘Fear not, I
have overcome the world.’”

I arrived at Kamouraska the 21st of September, 1842, on one of the
finest days of the year. But my heart was filled with an unspeakable
desolation, for all along the way, the curates had told me that the
people, with their old pastor, were unanimous in their opposition to my
going there. It was even rumored that the doors of the church would be
shut against me, the next Sunday. To this bad news were added two very
strange facts. My brother Achilles, who was living at St. Michel, was to
drive me from that place to St. Roch des Aulnets, whence my other
brother Louis, would take me to Kamouraska. But we had not traveled more
than five or six miles, when the wheel of the newly finished and
beautifully painted buggy, having struck a stone, the seat was broken
into fragments, and we both fell to the ground.

By chance, as my brother was blessing the man who sold him that rig for
a new and first-class conveyance, a traveler going the same way passed
by. I asked him for a place in his caleche, bade adieu to my brother,
and consoled him by saying: “As you have lost your fine buggy in my
service, I will give you a better one.”

Two days after, my second brother was driving me to my destination, and
when about three or four miles from Kamouraska, his fine horse stepped
on a long nail which was on the road, fell down and died in the awful
convulsions of tetanus. I took leave of him, and consoled him also by
promising to give him another horse.

Another carriage took me safely to the end of my journey. However,
having to pass by the church, which was about 200 yards from the
parsonage, I dismissed my driver at the door of the sacred edifice, and
took my satchel in hand, which was my only baggage, entered the church
and spent more than an hour in fervent prayers, or rather in cries and
tears. I felt so heart-sick that I needed that hour of rest and prayer.
The tears I shed there relieved my burdened spirit.

A few steps from me, in the cemetery, lay the sacred remains of my
beloved mother, whose angelic face and memory were constantly before me.
Facing me was the altar where I had made my first communion; at my left,
was the pulpit which was to be the battlefield where I had to fight the
enemies of my God and my people, who, I had been repeatedly told, were
cursing and grinding their teeth at me. But the vision of that old
curate I had soon to confront, and who had written such an impudent
letter against me to the bishops, and the public opposition of the
surrounding priests to my coming into their midst, were the most
discouraging aspects of my new position. I felt as if my soul had been
crushed. My very existence seemed an unbearable burden.

My new responsibilities came so vividly before my mind in that
distressing hour, that my courage, for a moment, failed me. I reproached
myself for the act of folly in yielding to the request of the bishops.
It seemed evident that I had accepted a burden too heavy for me to bear.
But I prayed with all the fervor of my soul to God and to the Virgin
Mary, and wept to my heart’s content.

There was a marvellous power in the prayers and tears which came from my
heart. I felt as a new man. I seemed to hear the trumpet of God calling
me to the battlefield. My only business then was to go and fight,
relying on Him alone for victory. I took my traveling bag, went out of
the church, and walked slowly towards the parsonage, which has been
burnt since. It was a splendid two-story building, eighty feet in
length, with capacious cellars. It had been built shortly after the
conquest of Canada, as a store for contraband goods; but after a few
years of failure, became the parsonage of the parish.

The Rev. Mons. Varin, though infirm and sick, had watched me from his
window, and felt bewildered at my entering the church and remaining so

I knocked the first door, but as nobody answered, I opened it, and
crossed the first large room to knock at the second door; but, here
also, no answer came except from two furious little dogs. I entered the
room, fighting the dogs, which bit me several times. I knocked at the
third and fourth doors with the same result—no one to receive me.

I knew that the next was the old curate’s sleeping-room. At my knocking,
an angry voice cried out: “Walk in.”

I entered, made a step toward the old and infirm curate, who was sitting
in his large arm chair. As I was about to salute him, he angrily said:
“The people of Beauport have made great efforts to keep you in their
midst, but the people of Kamouraska will make as great an effort to turn
you out of this place.”

“Mons. le Cure,” I answered calmly, “God knoweth that I never desired to
leave Beauport for this place. But I think it is that great and merciful
God who has brought me here by the hand; and I hope He will help me to
overcome all opposition, from whatever quarter it may come.”

He replied angrily: “Is it to insult me that you call me ‘Mons. le
Cure?’ I am no more the curate of Kamouraska. You are the curate now,
Mr. Chiniquy.”

“I beg your pardon, my dear Mr. Varin; you are still, I hope you will
remain all your life, the honored and beloved curate of Kamouraska. The
respect and gratitude I owe you have caused me to refuse the titles and
honors which our bishop wanted to give me.”

“But, then, if I am the curate, what are you?” replied the old priest,
with more calmness.

“I am nothing but a simple soldier of Christ, and a sower of the good
seed of the gospel!” I answered. “When I fight the common enemy in the
plain, as Joshua did, you, like Moses, will stand on the top of the
mountain, lift up your hands to heaven, send your prayers to the
mercy-seat, and we will gain the day. Then both will bless the God of
our salvation for the victory.”

“Well! well! this is beautiful, grand and sublime,” said the old priest,
with a voice filled with friendly emotions. “But where is your household
furniture, your library?”

“My household furniture,” I answered, “is in this little bag which I
hold in my hand. I do not want any of my books, as long as I have the
pleasure and honor to be with the good Mons. Varin, who will allow me, I
am sure of it, to ransack his splendid library, and study his rare and
learned books.”

“But what rooms do you wish to occupy?” rejoined the good old curate.

“As the parsonage is yours, and not mine,” I answered, “please tell me
where you want me to sleep and rest. I will accept, with gratitude, any
room you will offer me, even if it were in your cellar or granary. I do
not want to bother you in any way. When I was young, a poor orphan in
your parish, some twenty years ago, were you not a father to me? Please
continue to look upon me as your own child, for I have always loved you
and considered you as a father, and still do the same. Were you not my
guide and adviser, in my first steps in the ways of God? Please continue
to be my friend and adviser to the end of your life. My only ambition is
to be your right-hand man, and to learn from your old experience and
your sincere piety, how to live and work as a good priest of Jesus

I had not finished the last sentence, when the old man burst into tears,
threw himself into my arms, pressed me to his heart, bathed me with his
tears, and said, with a voice half-suffocated by his sobs: “Dear Mr.
Chiniquy, forgive me the evil things I have written and said about you.
You are welcome in my parsonage, and I bless God to have sent me such a
young friend, who will help me to carry the burden of my old age.”

I then handed him the bishop’s letter, which had confirmed all I had
said about my mission of peace towards him.

From that day to his death, which occurred six months after, I never had
a more sincere friend than Mr. Varin.

I thanked God, who had enabled me at once, not only to disarm the chief
of my opponents, but to transform him into my most sincere and devoted
friend. My hope was that the people would soon follow their chief, and
be reconciled to me, but I did not expect that this would be so soon,
and from such an unforeseen and unexpected cause.

The principal reason the people had to oppose my coming to Kamouraska,
was, that I was the nephew of the Hon. Amable Dionne, who had made a
colossal fortune at their expense. The Rev. Mr. Varin, who was always in
his debt, was also forced by the circumstances, to buy everything, both
for himself and the church, from him, and had to pay, without a murmur,
the most exorbitant prices for everything.

In that way, the church and the curate, though they had very large
revenues, had never enough to clear their accounts. When the people
heard that the nephew of Mons. Dionne was their curate, they said to
each other: “Now our poor church is forever ruined, for the nephew will,
still more than the curate, favor his uncle, and the uncle will be less
scrupulous than ever in asking most unreasonable prices for his

They felt they had more than fallen from Charybdis into Scylla.

The very next day after my arrival, the beadle told me that the church
needed a few yards of cotton for some repairs, and asked me if he would
not go, as usual, to Mr. Dionne’s store. I told him to go there first,
ask the price of that article, and then go to the other stores, ordering
him to buy at the cheapest one. Thirty cents was asked at Mr. Dionne’s,
and only fifteen cents at Mr. St. Pierre’s; of course we bought at the
latter’s store.

The day was not over before this apparently insignificant fact was known
all over the parish, and was taking the most extraordinary and
unforeseen proportions.

Farmers would meet with their neighbors, and congratulate themselves
that, at last, the yoke imposed upon them by the old curate and Mr.
Dionne was broken; that the taxes they had to pay the store were at an
end, with the monopoly which had cost them so much money. Many came to
Mr. St. Pierre to hear from his own lips that their new curate had, at
once, freed them from what they considered the long and ignominious
bondage, against which they so often, but so vainly protested. For the
rest of the week, this was the only subject of conversation. They
congratulated themselves, that they had, at last, a priest, with such an
independent and honest mind, that he would not do them any injustice,
even to please a relative in whose house he had spent the years of his

This simple act of fair play towards that people won over their
affection. Only one little dark spot remained in their minds against me.
They had been told that the only subject on which I could preach was:
Rum, whiskey and drunkenness. And it seemed to them exceedingly tedious
to hear nothing else from the curate, particularly when they were more
than ever determined to continue drinking their social glasses of
brandy, rum and wine.

There was an immense crowd at church the next Sunday. My text was: “As
the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Showing them how Jesus
had proved that He was their friend.

But their sentiments of piety and pleasure at what they had heard were
nothing compared to their surprise when they saw that I had preached
nearly an hour without saying a word on whiskey, rum or beer.

People are often compared to the waters of the sea in the Holy
Scriptures. When you see the roaring waves dashing on that rock to-day,
as if they wanted to demolish it, do not fear that this fury will last
long. The very next day, if the wind has changed, the same waters will
leave that rock alone, to spend their fury on the opposite rock. So it
was in Kamouraska. They were full of indignation and wrath when I set my
feet in their midst; but a few days later, those very men would have
given the last drop of their blood to protect me. The dear Saviour had
evidently seen the threatening storm which was to destroy His poor
unprofitable servant. He had heard the roaring waves which were dashing
against me. So he came down and bid the storm “be still,” and the waves
be calm.

                              CHAPTER XL.


Two days after my arrival at Kamouraska, I received a letter from the
surrounding priests, at the head of whom was the Grand Vicar Mailloux,
expressing the hope that I would not try to form any temperance society
in my new parish, as I had done in Beauport; for the good reasons, they
said, that drunkenness was not prevailing in that part of Canada, as it
was in the city of Quebec. I answered them politely, that, so long as I
should be at the head of this new parish, I would try, as I had ever
done, to mind my own business, and I hoped that my neighboring friends
would do the same. Not long after, I saw that the curates felt ashamed
of their vain attempt to intimidate me.

The next Sabbath, the crowd was greater than at the first. Having heard
that the merchants were to start the next day, with their schooners, to
buy their winter provisions of rum, I said, in a very solemn way, before
my sermon:

“My friends, I know that, to-morrow, the merchants leave for Quebec, to
purchase their rum. Let me advise them, as their best friend, not to buy
any; and as the ambassador of Christ, I forbid them to bring a single
drop of those poisonous drinks here. It will surely be their ruin, if
they pay no attention to this friendly advice; for they will not sell a
single drop of it, after next Sabbath. That day, I will show to the
intelligent people of this parish, that rum, and all the other drugs
sold here, under the name of brandy, wine and beer, are nothing else
than disgusting, deadly and cursed poisons.”

I then preached on the words of our Saviour: “Be always ready; for ye
know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh.” Though
the people seemed much pleased and impressed by that second sermon, they
felt exceedingly irritated at my few warning words to the merchants.
When the service was over, they all rallied around the merchants to tell
them not to mind what they had heard.

“If our young curate,” said they, “thinks he will lead us by the nose,
as he has done with the drunkards of Beauport, he will soon see his
mistake. Instead of one hundred tons, as you brought last fall, bring us
two hundred, this year; we will drink them to his health. We have a good
crop, and we want to spend a jolly winter.”

It is probable that the church of Kamouraska had never seen within its
walls such a crowd as on the second Sabbath of October, 1842. It was
literally crammed. Curiosity had attracted the people, who, not less
eager to hear my first grand sermon against rum, than to see the failure
they expected, and wished, of my first efforts to form a temperance
society. Long before the public service, at the door of the church, as
well as during the whole preceding week, the people had pledged
themselves never to give up their strong drink, and never to join the
temperance society.

But what are the resolutions of man against God? Is He not their master?

The half of that first sermon on temperance was not heard, when that
whole multitude had forgotten their public promises. The hearts were not
only touched—they were melted and changed by God, who wanted to show,
once more, that His works of mercy were above all the works of His

From the very first day of my arrival in Kamouraska, I had made a
serious and exact inquiry about the untold miseries brought upon the
people by intoxicating drinks.

I had found that, during the last twenty years, twelve men had been
drowned, and eight had been frozen to death, who had left twenty widows
and sixty orphans in the most distressing poverty. Sixty farmers had
lost their lands, and had been obliged to emigrate to other places,
where they were suffering all the pangs of poverty from the drunkenness
of their parents; several other families had their properties mortgaged
for their whole value, to the rum merchants, and were expected, every
day, to be turned out from their inheritances, to pay their rum bills.
Seven mothers had died in delirium tremens, one had hung herself,
another drowned herself when drunk. One hundred thousand dollars had
been paid to the rum merchants during the last fifteen years. Two
hundred thousand more were due to the storekeeper; three-fourths of
which were for strong drink. Four men had been murdered, among whom was
their landlord, Achilles Tache, from their drunken habits!

When I had recapitulated all these facts, which were public and
undeniable, and depicted the desolation of the ruined families, composed
of their own brothers, sisters, and dear children; when I brought before
their minds, the tears of the widows, the cries of the starving and
naked children, the shame of the families, the red hands of the
murderers, and the mangled bodies of their victims; the eternal cries of
the lost from drunkenness, the broken-hearted fathers and mothers, whose
children had been destroyed by strong drink; when I proved to them that
there was not a single one in their midst who had not suffered, either
in his own person, or in that of his father or mother, brothers, sisters
or children. Yes, when I had given them the simple and awful story of
the crimes committed in their midst; the ruin and deaths, the misery of
thousands of precious souls for whom Christ died in vain, the church was
filled with such sobs and cries that I often could not be heard. Many
times my voice was drowned by the indescribable confusion and
lamentation of that whole multitude. Unable to contain myself, several
times I stopped and mingled my sobs and cries with those of my people.

When the sermon, which lasted two hours, was finished, I asked all those
who were determined to help me in stopping the ravages of intoxicating
drinks, in drying the tears which they caused to flow, and saving the
precious souls they were destroying, to come forward and take the public
pledge of temperance, by kissing a crucifix which I held in my hand.
Thirteen hundred and ten came.

Not fifty of the people had refused to enroll themselves under the
blessed and glorious banners of temperance! and these few recalcitrants
came forward, with a very few exceptions, the next time I spoke on the

The very same day, the wives of the merchants sent despatches to their
husbands in Quebec, to tell them what had been done, and not a single
barrel of intoxicating drinks was brought by them. The generous example
of the admirable people of Kamouraska spoke with an irresistible
eloquence to the other parishes of that district, and before long, the
blessed banners of temperance floated over all the populations of St.
Pascal, St. Andrew, Isle Verte, Cacouna, Riviere du Loup, Rimouski,
Matane, St. Anne, St. Roch, Madawaska, St. Benoit, St. Luce, etc., on
the south side of the St. Lawrence, and the Eboulements, La Malbaye, and
the other parishes on the north side of the river; and the people kept
their pledge with such fidelity that the trade in rum was literally
killed in that part of Canada, as it had been in Beauport and its

The blessed fruits of this reform were soon felt and seen everywhere, in
the public prosperity and the spread of education. Kamouraska, which was
owing $200,000, to the merchants in 1842, had not only paid its
interest, but had reduced its debt to only $120,000, when I left it to
go to Montreal, in 1846.

God only knows my joy at these admirable manifestations of his mercies
toward my country. However, the joys of man are never without their
mixture of sadness.

In the good providence of God, being invited by all the curates to
establish temperance societies among their people, I had the sad
opportunity, as no priest ever had in Canada, to know the secret and
public scandals of each parish. When I went to the Eboulements, on the
north side of the river, invited by the Rev. Noel Toussignant, I learned
from the very lips of that young priest, and the ex-priest, Tetreau, the
history of the most shameful scandals.

In 1830, a young priest of Quebec, called Derome, had fallen in love
with one of his young female penitents of Vercheres, where he had
preached a few days, and he had persuaded her to follow him to the
parsonage of Quebec. The better to conceal their iniquity from the
public, he persuaded his victim to dress herself as a young man, and
throw her dress into the river, to make her parents and the whole parish
believe that she was drowned. I had seen her many times at the parsonage
of Quebec, under the name of Joseph, and had much admired her refined
manners, though more than once I was very much inclined to think that
the smart Joseph was no one else than a lost girl. But the respect I had
for the curate of Quebec (who was the coadjutor of the bishop) and his
young vicars, caused me to reject those suspicions as unfounded.
However, many, even among the first citizens of the city, had the same
suspicions, and they pressed me to go to the coadjutor and warn him; but
I refused, and told those gentlemen to do that delicate work themselves,
and they did it.

The position of that high dignitary and his vicar was not then a very
agreeable one. Their bark had evidently drifted into dangerous waters.
To keep Joseph among themselves was impossible, after the friendly
advice from such high quarters, and to dismiss him was not less
dangerous. He knew too well how the curate of Quebec, with his vicars,
were keeping their vows of celibacy, to dismiss him without danger to
themselves; a single word from his lips would destroy them. Happily, for
them, Mr. Clement, then curate of the Eboulements, was in search of such
a servant, and took him to his parsonage, after persuading the
bishop-coadjutor to give Joseph a large sum of money to seal his lips.

Things went on pretty smoothly between Joseph and the priest for several
years, till some suspicions arose in the minds of the sharp-sighted
people of the parish, who told the curate that it would be safer and
more honorable for him to get rid of his servant. In order to put an end
to those suspicions, and to retain him in the parsonage, the curate
persuaded him to marry the daughter of a poor neighbor.

The three bans were published, and the two girls were duly married by
the curate, who continued his criminal intimacies, in the hope that no
one would trouble him any more on that subject. But not long after he
was removed to La Petite Riviere, and in 1838, the Rev. M. Tetreau was
appointed curate of the Eboulements. This new priest, knowing nothing of
the abominations which his predecessor had practiced, continued to
employ Joseph. One day, when Joseph was working at the gate of the
parsonage, in the presence of several people, a stranger came and asked
him if Mr. Tetreau was at home.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Curate is at home,” answered Joseph; “but as you seem a
stranger to the place, would you allow me to ask you from what parish
you come?”

“I am not ashamed of my parish,” answered the stranger. “I come from

At the word “Vercheres,” Joseph turned so pale that the stranger was
puzzled. He looked carefully at him, and exclaimed:

“Oh! my God! What do I see here? Genevieve! Genevieve! over whom we have
mourned so long as drowned! Here you are, disguised as a man!”

“Dear uncle” (it was her uncle); “for God’s sake, not a word more here!”

But it was too late; the people who were there had heard the uncle and
the niece. Their long and secret suspicions were well-founded. One of
their former priests had kept a girl, under the disguise of a man, in
his house; and to blind his people more thoroughly, he had married that
girl to another, in order to have them both in the house when he
pleased, without awakening any suspicion!

The news went, almost as quickly as lightning, from one end to the other
of the parish, and spread all over the country, on both sides of the St.
Lawrence. I had heard of that horror, but I could not believe it.
However, I had to believe it, when, on the spot, I heard from the lips
of the ex-curate, M. Tetreau, and the new curate, M. Noel de
Toussignant, and from the lips of my landlord, the Honorable Laterriere,
the following details, which had come to light only a short time before.

The justice of the peace had investigated the matter, in the name of
public morality. Joseph was brought before the magistrates, who decided
that a physician should be charged to make, not a _post mortem_ but an
_ante-mortem_ inquest. The Honorable Laterriere, who made the inquest,
declared that Joseph was a girl, and the bonds of marriage were legally

At the same time, the curate M. Tetreau, had sent a dispatch to the
Right Rev. Bishop-coadjutor of Quebec, informing him that the young man
whom he had kept in his house, several years, was legally proved a girl;
a fact which, I need hardly state, was well known by the bishop and his
vicars! They immediately sent a trustworthy man with £500, to induce the
girl to leave the country without delay, lest she were prosecuted and
sent to the penitentiary. She accepted the offer, and crossed the lines
to the United States with her $2,000, where she was soon married, and
where she still lives.

I wished that this story had never been told me, or at least, that I
might be allowed to doubt some of its circumstances; but there was no
help. I was forced to acknowledge that in my Church of Rome, there was
such corruption from head to foot, which could scarcely be surpassed in
Sodom. I remember what the Rev. Mr. Perras had told me of the tears and
desolation of Bishop Plessis, when he had discovered that all the
priests of Canada, with the exception of three, were atheists.

[Illustration: CARDINAL NEWMAN.]

I would not be honest, did I not confess that the personal knowledge of
that fact, which I learned in all its scandalous details from the very
lips of unimpeachable witnesses, saddened me, and for a time, shook my
faith in my religion, to its foundation. I felt secretly ashamed to
belong to a body of men so completely lost to every sense of honesty, as
the priests and bishops of Canada. I had heard of many scandals before.
The infamies of the grand vicar Manceau and Quiblier of Montreal,
Cadieux at Three Rivers, and Viau at Riviere Ouelle. The public acts of
depravity of the priests Lelievre, Tabeau, Pouliot, Belisle, Brunet,
Quevillon, Huot, Lajuste, Rabby, Crevier, Bellecourt, Valle, Mignault,
Noel, Pinet, Duguez, Davely and many others, were known to me, as well
as by the whole clergy. But the abominations of which Joseph was the
victim seemed to overstep the conceivable limits of infamy. For the
first time, I sincerely regretted that I was a priest. The priesthood of
Rome seemed then, to me, the very fulfillment of the prophecy of
Revelation, about the great prostitute, who makes the nations drunk with
the wines of her prostitutions.

Auricular confession, which I knew to be the first, if not the only
cause, of these abominations, appeared to me, what it really is, a
school of perdition for the priest and his female penitents. The
priest’s oath of celibacy, was to my eyes, in those hours of distress,
but a shameful mask to conceal a corruption which was unknown in the
most depraved days of old paganism. New and bright lights came, then,
before my mind which, had I followed them, would have guided me to the
truth of the gospel. But I was blind! The Good Master had not yet
touched my eyes with his divine and life-giving hand. I had no idea that
there could be any other church than the Church of Rome, in which I
could be saved. I was, however, often saying to myself: “How can I hope
to conquer on a battlefield where so many, as strong and even much
stronger than I am, have perished?”

I felt no longer at peace. My soul was filled with trouble and anxiety.
I not only distrusted myself, but I lost confidence in the rest of the
priests and bishops. In fact, I could not see any one in whom I could
trust. Though my beautiful and dear parish of Kamouraska was, more than
ever, overwhelming me with tokens of its affection, gratitude and
respect, it had lost its attraction for me. To whatever side I turned my
eyes, I saw nothing but the most seducing examples of perversion. It
seemed as if I were surrounded by numberless snares, from which it was
impossible to escape. I wished to depart from this deceitful and lost

When my soul was as drowned under the waves of a bitter sea, the Rev.
Mr. Guignes, Superior of the Monastery of the Fathers of Oblates of Mary
Immaculate, at Longueuil, near Montreal, came to pass a few days with
me, for the benefit of his health.

I spoke to him of that shameful scandal, and did not conceal from him
that my courage failed me, when I looked at the torrent of iniquity
which was sweeping everything, under our eyes, with an irresistible

“We are here alone, in the presence of God,” I said to him. “I confess
that I feel an unspeakable horror at the moral ruin which I see
everywhere in our church. My priesthood, of which I was so proud till
lately, seems to me, to-day, the most ignominious yoke, when I see it
dragged in the mud of the most infamous vices, not only by the immense
majority of the priests, but even by our bishops. How can I hope to save
myself, when I see so many stronger than I am, perishing all around me?”

The Reverend Superior, with the kindness of a father and the gravity of
an apostle, answered me:

“I understand your fears perfectly. They are legitimate and too
well-founded. Like you, I am a priest; and like you, if not more than
you, I know the numberless and formidable dangers which surround the
priest. It is because I know them too well, that I have not dared to be
a secular priest, a single day. I knew the humiliating and disgraceful
history of Joseph and the coadjutor bishop of Quebec. Nay! I know many
things still more horrible and unspeakable which I have learned when
preaching and hearing confessions in France and in Canada. My fear is
that, to-day, there are not many more undefiled souls among the priests,
than in Sodom, in the days of Lot. The fact is, that it is morally
impossible for a secular priest to keep his vows of celibacy, except by
a miracle of the grace of God. Our holy church would be a modern Sodom,
long ago, had not our merciful God granted her the grace that many of
our priests have always enrolled themselves among the armies of the
regular priests, in the different religious orders which are, to the
church, what the ark was to Noah and his children, in the days of the
deluge. Only the priests whom God calls, in His mercy, to become members
of any of those orders, are safe. For they are under the paternal care
and surveillance of superiors whose zeal and charity are like a shield
to protect them. Their holy and strict laws are like strong walls and
high towers which the enemy cannot storm.”

He then spoke to me, with an irresistible eloquence, of the peace of
soul which a regular priest enjoys within the walls of his monastery. He
represented, in the most attractive colors, the spiritual and constant
joys of the heart which one feels when living, day and night, under the
eyes of a superior to whom he has vowed a perfect submission. He added:
“Your providential work is finished in the diocese of Quebec. The
temperance societies are established almost everywhere. We are in need
of your long experience and your profound studies on that subject, in
the diocese of Montreal. It is true that the good Bishop de Nancy has
done what he could to support that holy cause, but, though he is working
with the utmost zeal, he has not studied that subject enough to make a
lasting impression on the people. Come with us. We are more than thirty
priests, oblates of Mary Immaculate, who will be too happy to second
your efforts in that noble work, which is too much for one man alone.
Moreover, you cannot do justice to your great parish of Kamouraska and
to the temperance cause together. You must give up one, to consecrate
yourself to the other. Take courage, my young friend! Offer to God the
sacrifice of your dear Kamouraska, as you made the sacrifice of your
beautiful Beauport, some years ago, for the good of Canada and in the
interest of the Church, which calls you to its help.”

It seemed to me that I could oppose no reasonable argument to these
considerations. I fell on my knees, and made the sacrifice of my
beautiful and precious Kamouraska. The last Sabbath of September, 1846,
in the midst of tears and desolation which no words can depict, I gave
my farewell address to the so dear and intelligent people of Kamouraska,
to go to Longueuil and become a novice of the Oblates of Mary

                              CHAPTER XLI.


The year 1843 will be long remembered in the Church of Rome for the
submission of Dr. Newman to her authority. This was considered by many
Roman Catholics as one of the greatest triumphs ever gained by their
church against Protestantism. But some of us, more acquainted with the
daily contradictions and tergiversations of the Oxford divine, could not
associate ourselves in the public rejoicings of our church.

From almost the very beginning of his public life, Dr. Newman, as well
as Dr. Pusey, appeared to many of us as cowards and traitors in the
Protestant camp, whose object was to betray the church which was feeding
them, and which they were sworn to defend. They both seemed to us to be
skillful but dishonest conspirators.

Dr. Newman, caught in the very act of that conspiracy, has boldly denied
it. Brought before the tribunal of public opinion as a traitor who,
though enrolled under the banners of the Church of England, was giving
help and comfort to its foe, the Church of Rome, he has published a
remarkable book under the title of “Apologia pro vita sua,” to exculpate
himself. I hold in my hands the New York edition of 1865. Few men will
read that book from beginning to end; and still fewer will understand it
at its first reading. The art of throwing dust in the eyes of the public
is brought to perfection in that work. I have read many books in my long
life, but I have never met with anything like the Jesuit ability shown
by Dr. Newman in giving a color of truth to the most palpable errors and
falsehoods. I have had to read it at least four times, with the utmost
attention, before being sure of having unlocked all its dark corners and

That we may be perfectly fair towards Dr. Newman, let us forget what his
adversaries have written against him, and let us hear only what he says
in his own defence. Here it is. I dare say that his most bitter enemies
could never have been able to write a book so damaging against him as
this one which he has given us for his apology.

Let me tell the reader at once that I, with many other priests of Rome,
felt at first an unspeakable joy at the reading of many of the “Tracts
for the Times.” It is true that we keenly felt the blows Dr. Newman was
giving us now and then; but we were soon consoled by the more deadly
blows which he was striking at his own Church—the Church of England.
Besides that, it soon became evident that the more he was advancing in
his controversial work, the nearer he was coming to us. We were not long
without saying to each other: “Dr. Newman is evidently, though secretly,
for us; he is a Roman Catholic at heart, and will soon join us. It is
only from want of moral courage and honesty that he remains a

But from the very beginning there was a cloud in my mind, and in the
minds of many other of my co-priests, about him. His contradictions were
so numerous, his sudden transitions from one side to the other extreme,
when speaking of Romanism and Anglicanism; his eulogiums of our Church
to-day, and his abuses of it the very next day; his expressions of love
and respect for his own Church in one tract, so suddenly followed by the
condemnation of her dearest doctrines and practices in the next, caused
many others as well as myself to suspect that he had no settled
principles, or faith in any religion.

What was my surprise, when reading this strange book, I found that my
suspicions were too well founded; that Dr. Newman was nothing else than
one of those free-thinkers who had no real faith in any of the sacred
dogmas he was preaching, and on which he was writing so eloquently! What
was my astonishment when, in 1865, I read in his own book, the
confession made by that unfortunate man that he was nothing else but a
giant weathercock, when the whole people of England were looking upon
him as one of the most sincere and learned ministers of the Gospel! Here
is his own confession, pages 111, 112. Speaking of the years he had
spent in the Episcopal Church as a minister, he says: “Alas! It was my
portion, for whole years, to remain without any satisfactory basis for
my religious profession; in a state of moral sickness, neither able to
acquiesce in Anglicanism, nor able to go to Rome!” This is Cardinal
Newman, painted by himself! He tells us how _miserable_ he was when an
Episcopalian minister, by feeling that his religion had no basis, no

What is a preacher of religion who feels that he has no basis, no
foundation, no reason to believe in that religion? Is he not that blind
man of whom Christ speaks, “who leads other blind men into the ditch?”

Note it is not Rev. Charles Kingsley; it is not any of the able
Protestant controversialists: it is not even the old Chiniquy, who says
that Dr. Newman was nothing else but an unbeliever, when the Protestant
people were looking upon him as one of their most pious and sincere
Christian theologians. It is Dr. Newman himself who, without suspecting
it, is forced by the marvellous Providence of God, to reveal that
deplorable fact in his “Apologia pro vita sua.”

Now what was the opinion entertained by him of the high and low sections
of his church? Here are his very words, page 91: “As to the High Church
and the Low Church, I thought that the one had not much more of a
logical basis than the other; while I had a thorough contempt for the
Evangelical!” But please observe that when this minister of the Church
of England had found, with the help of Dr. Pusey, that this church had
no logical basis, and that he had a “thorough contempt for the
Evangelical,” he kept a firm and continuous hold upon the living which
he was enjoying from day to day. Nay, it is when paid by his church to
preach her doctrines and fight her battles that he set at work to raise
another church! Of course the new church was to have a firm basis on
logic, history and the Gospel; the new church was to be worthy of the
British people, it was to be the modern ark to save the perishing world!

The reader will perhaps think I am joking, and that I am caricaturing
Dr. Newman. No! the hour in which we live is too solemn to be spent in
jokes—it is rather with tears and sobs that we must approach the
subject. Here are the very words of Dr. Newman about the new church he
wished to build after demolishing the Church of England as established
by law. He says (page 116): “I have said enough on what I consider to
have been the general objects of the various works which I wrote,
edited, or prompted in the years which I am reviewing. _I wanted to
bring out in a substantive form a living Church of England, in a
position proper to herself, and founded on distinct principles; as far
as paper could do it_, and as earnestly preaching it and influencing
others toward it, could tend to make it in fact;—a living church, made
of flesh and blood, with voice, complexion, motion and action, and a
will of its own.” (The italics are mine.) If I had not said that these
words were written by Dr. Newman, would the reader have suspected it?

What is to be the name of the new church? Dr. Newman himself has called
it “Via Media.” As the phrase indicates, it was to stand between the
rival Churches of England and Rome, and it was to be built with the
materials taken, as much as possible, from the ruins of both.

The first thing to be done, then, was to demolish that huge, illogical,
unscriptural, unchristian church, restored by the English reformers. Dr.
Newman bravely set to work, under the eye and direction of Dr. Pusey.
His merciless hammer was heard almost day and night from 1833 to 1834,
striking alternately, with hard blows, now against the church of the
Pope, whom he railed Antichrist, and then against his own church, which
he was, very soon, to find still more corrupted and defiled than its
anti-Christian rival. For, as he was proceeding in his work of
demolition, he tells us that he found more clearly, every day, that the
materials and the foundations of the Church of Rome were exceedingly
better than those of his own. He then determined to give a _coup de
grace_ to the Church of England, and strike such a blow that her walls
would be forever pulverized. His perfidious tract XC. aims at this

Nothing can surpass the ability and the pious cunning with which Dr.
Newman tries to conceal his shameful conspiracy in his “Apologia.”

Hear the un-British and unmanly excuses which he gives for having
deceived his readers, when he was looked upon as the most reliable
theologian of the day, in defence of the doctrine of the Church of
England. In pages 236-37 he says: “How could I ever hope to make them
believe in a second theology, when I had cheated them in the first? With
what face could I publish a new edition of a dogmatic creed, and ask
them to receive it as gospel? Would it not be plain to them that no
certainty was to be found anywhere? Well, in my defence, I could make
but a lame apology; however, it was the true one—viz: that I had not
read the Fathers critically enough; that in such nice points as those
which determine the angle of divergence between the two churches, I had
made considerable miscalculations; and how came this about? Why, the
fact was, unpleasant as it was to avow, that I had leaned too much upon
the assertions of Usher, Jeremy Taylor, or Barrow, and had been deceived
by them.”

Here is a specimen of the learning and honesty of the great Oxford
divine! Dr. Newman confesses that when he was telling his people “St.
Augustine says this, St. Jerome says that”—when he assured them that St.
Gregory supported this doctrine, and Origen that, it was all false.
Those holy fathers had never taught such doctrines. It was Usher, Taylor
and Barrow who were citing them, and they had deceived him!

Is it not a strange thing that such a shrewd man as Dr. Newman should
have so completely destroyed his own good name in the very book he
wrote, with so much care and ingenuity, to defend himself? One remains
confounded—he can hardly believe his own eyes at such want of honesty in
such a man. It is evident that his mind was troubled at the souvenir of
such a course of procedure. But he wanted to excuse himself by saying it
was the fault of Usher, Taylor and Barrow!

Are we not forcibly brought to the solemn and terrible drama in the
Garden of Eden? Adam hoped to be excused by saying, “The woman whom thou
gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I did eat.”
The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” But what was
the result of those excuses? We read: “Therefore the Lord God sent him
forth from the Garden of Eden.” Dr. Newman has lost the precious
inheritance God has given him. He has lost the lamp he had received to
guide his steps, and he is now in the dark dungeon of Popery,
worshipping as a poor slave, the wafer god of Rome.

But what has become of that new church or religion, the _Via Media_,
which has just come out from the sickly brain of the Oxford professor?
Let us hear its sad and premature end from Dr. Newman himself. Let me,
however, premise, that when Dr. Newman began his attacks against his
church, he at first so skillfully mixed the most eloquent eulogiums with
his criticisms, that, though many sincere Christians were grieved, few
dared to complain. The names of Pusey and Newman commanded such respect
that few raised their voices against the conspiracy. This emboldened
them. Month after month they became unguarded in their denunciations of
the Church of England, and more explicit in their support of Romanism.
In the meantime, the Church of Rome was reaping a rich harvest of
perverts; for many Protestants were unsettled in their faith, and were
going the whole length of the road to Rome, so cunningly indicated by
the conspirators. At last, the 90th tract appeared in 1843. It fell as a
thunderbolt on the church. A loud cry of indignation was raised all over
England against those who had so mercilessly struck at the heart of that
church which they had sworn to defend. The bishops almost unanimously
denounced Dr. Newman and his Romish tendencies, and showed the absurdity
of his _Via Media_.

Now, let us hear him telling himself this episode of his life. For I
want to be perfectly fair to Dr. Newman. It is only from his own words
and public acts that I want the reader to judge him.

Here is what he says of himself, after being publicly condemned: “I saw
indeed clearly that my place in the movement was lost. Public confidence
was at an end. My occupation was gone. It was simply an impossibility
that I could say anything henceforth to good effect, when I had been
posted up by the Marshal on the buttery hatch of every college of my
University after the manner of discommoned pastry-cooks, and when, in
every part of the country, and every class of society, through every
organ and occasion of opinion, in newspapers, in periodicals, at
meetings, in pulpits, at dinner-tables in coffee-rooms, in railway
carriages, I was denounced as a traitor who had laid his train, and was
detected in the very act of firing it against the time-honored
establishment.”... “Confidence in me was lost. But I had already lost
full confidence in myself.” (p. 132.)

Let the reader hear these words from the very lips of Dr.
Newman—“_Confidence in me was lost! But I had already lost full
confidence in myself!_” (p. 132.) Are these words the indications of a
brave, innocent man? Or are they not the cry of despair of a cowardly
and guilty conscience?

Was it not when Wishart heard that the Pope and his millions of slaves
had condemned him to death, that he raised his head as a giant, and
showed that he was more above his accusers and his judges than the
heavens are above the earth? Had he lost his confidence in himself and
in his God when he said: “I am happy to suffer and die in the cause of
Truth?” Did Luther lose confidence in himself and in his God, when
condemned by the Pope and all his Bishops, and ordered to go before the
Emperor to be condemned to death, if he would not retract? No! It is in
those hours of trial that he made the world to re-echo the sublime words
of David: “God is our refuge and our strength, a present help in
trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the
waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the
swelling thereof.” But Luther had a good cause. He knew, he felt, that
the God of Heaven was on his side, when Dr. Newman knew well that he was
deceiving the world, after having deceived himself. Luther was strong
and fearless: for the voice of Jesus had come through the fifteen
centuries to tell him: “Fear not, I am with thee.” Dr. Newman was weak,
trembling before the storm, for his conscience was reproaching him for
his treachery and his unbelief.

Did Latimer falter and lose his confidence in himself and in his God,
when condemned by his judges and tied to the stake to be burnt? No! It
is then that he uttered those immortal and sublime words: “Master
Ridley: Be of good comfort and play the man; we shall, this day, light a
candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out!”

This is the language of men who are fighting for Christ and His Gospel.
Dr. Newman could not use such noble language when he was betraying
Christ and His Gospel.

Now, let us hear from himself when, after having lost the confidence of
his Church and his country, and having also lost his confidence in
himself, he saw a ghost, and found that the Church of Rome was right. At
page 157, he says: “My friend, an anxiously religious man, pointed out
the palmary words of St. Augustine which were contained in one of the
extracts made in the (Dublin) _Review_, and which had escaped my
observation, ‘Securus judicat orbis terrarum.’ He repeated these words
again and again; and when he was gone, they kept ringing in my ears....
The words of St. Augustine struck me with such a power which I never had
felt from any words before. To take a familiar instance, they were like
the ‘Turn again, Whittington,’ of the chime; or, to take a more serious
one, they are like the ‘tolle lege’ of the child which converted St.
Augustine himself. ‘Securus judicat orbis terrarum!’ By those great
words of the ancient father, the theory of the _Via Media_ was
absolutely pulverized. I became excited at the view thus opened upon
me.... I had seen the shadow of a hand upon the wall.... He who has seen
a ghost cannot be as if he had never seen it. The heaven had opened and
closed again. The thought, for the moment, had been: ‘The Church of Rome
will be found right, after all.’” (158).

It would be amusing, indeed, if it were not so humiliating, to see the
_naivete_ with which Dr. Newman confesses his own aberration, want of
judgment and honesty in reference to the pet scheme of his whole
theological existence at Oxford. “By these words,” he says, “the _Via
Media_ was absolutely pulverized!”

We all know the history of the mountain in travail, which gave birth to
a mouse. Dr. Newman tells us frankly that, after ten years of hard and
painful travail, he produced something less than a mouse. His _Via
Media_ was pulverized; it turned to be only a handful of dust.

Remember the high-sounding of his trumpet about his plan of a new
church, that New Jerusalem on earth, the church of the future which was
to take the place of his rotten Church of England. Let me repeat to you
his very words about that new ark of salvation with which the professor
of Oxford was to save the world. (Page 116): “I wanted to bring out, in
a substantive form, a living Church of England, in a position proper to
herself and founded on distinct principles, as far as paper could do it,
and as earnestly preaching it and influencing others towards it could
tend to make it a fact: a living church, made of flesh and blood, with
voice, complexion, and motion, and action, and a will of its own.”

Now, what was the end of that masterpiece of theological architecture of
Dr. Newman? Here is its history, given by the great architect himself:
“I read the palmary words of St. Augustine, ‘_Securus judicat orbis
terrarum!_’ By those great words of the ancient father, the theory of
the _Via Media_ was pulverized! I became excited at the view thus opened
before me. I had seen the shadow of a hand on the wall. He who has seen
a ghost can never be as if he had not seen it; the heavens had opened
and closed again. The thought, for a moment, was ‘The Church of Rome
will be found right, after all.’” (158). Have we ever seen a man
destroying himself more completely at the very moment that he tries to
defend himself? Here he does ingeniously confess what every one knew
before, that his whole work, for the last ten years, was not only a
self-deception, but a supreme effort to deceive the world—his _Via
Media_ was a perfect string of infidelity, sophism, and folly. The whole
fabric had fallen to the ground at the sight of a ghost! To build a
grand structure, in the place of his Church which he wanted to demolish,
he had thought it was sufficient to throw a great deal of glittering
sand, with some blue, white, and red dust, in the air! He tells us that
one sad hour came when he heard five Latin words from St. Augustine, saw
a ghost—and his great structure fell to the ground!!

What does this all mean? It simply means that God Almighty has dealt
with Dr. Newman as He did with the impious Pharaoh in the Red Sea, when
he was marching at the head of his army against the church of old, his
chosen people, to destroy them.

Dr. Newman was not only marching with Dr. Pusey at the head of an army
of theologians to destroy the Church of God, but he was employing all
the resources of his intellect, all his false and delusive science, to
raise an idolatrous church in its place; and when Pharaoh and Dr. Newman
thought themselves sure of success, the God of Heaven confounded them
both. The first went down with his army to the bottom of the sea as a
piece of lead. The second lost, not his life, but something infinitely
more precious—he lost his reputation for intelligence, science and
integrity; he lost the light of the Gospel, and became perfectly blind,
after having lost his place in the kingdom of Christ!

I have never judged a man by the hearsay of anyone, and I would prefer
to have my tongue cut out than to repeat a word of what the adversaries
of Dr. Newman have said against him. But we have the right, and I think
it is our duty, to hear and consider what he says of himself, and to
judge him on his own confession.

At page 174 we read these words from his own pen to a friend: “I cannot
disguise from myself that my preaching is not calculated to defend that
system of religion which has been received for three hundred years, and
of which the Heads of Houses are the legitimate maintainers in this
place.... I fear I must allow that, whether I will or no, I am disposing
them (the young men) towards Rome.” Here Dr. Newman declares, in plain
English, that he was disposing his hearers and students at Oxford to
join the Church of Rome! I ask it: what can we think of a man who is
paid and sworn to do a thing, who not only does it not, but who does the
very contrary? Who would hesitate to call such a man dishonest? Who
would hesitate to say that such a one has no respect for those who
employ him, and no respect for himself?

Dr. Newman writes this whole book to refute the public accusation that
he was a traitor, that he was preparing the people to leave the Church
of England and to submit to the Pope. But, strange to say, it is in that
very book we find the irrefutable proof of his shameful and ignominious
treachery! In a letter to Dr. Russell, President of the Roman Catholic
College of Maynooth, he wrote, page 227: “Roman Catholics will find this
to be the state of things in time to come, whatever promise they may
fancy there is of a large secession to their church. This man or that
may leave us, but there will be no general movement. There is, indeed,
an incipient movement of our church towards yours, and this your leading
men are doing all they can to frustrate by their unwearied efforts, at
all risks to carry off individuals. When will they know their position,
and embrace a larger and wiser policy?” Is it not evident here that God
was blinding Dr. Newman, and that He was making him confess his
treachery in the very moment that he was trying to conceal it? Do we not
see clearly that he was complaining of the unwise policy of the leaders
of the Church of Rome who were retarding _that incipient movement_ of
his church towards Romanism, for which he was working day and night with
Dr. Pusey?

But had not Dr. Newman confessed his own treachery, we have, to-day, its
undeniable proof in the letter of Dr. Pusey to the English Church Union,
written in 1879. Speaking of Dr. Newman and the other Tractarians, he
says: “An acute man, Dr. Hawkins, Provost of Oriel, said of the
‘Tracts,’ on their first appearance, ‘I know they have a forced
circulation.’ We put the leaven into the meal, and waited to see what
would come of it. Our object was to Catholicise England.”

And this confession of Dr. Pusey, that he wanted to Catholicise England,
is fully confirmed by Dr. Newman (page 108, 109) where he says: “I
suspect it was Dr. Pusey’s influence and example which set me and made
me set others on the larger and more careful works in defense of the
principles of the movement which followed” (towards Rome) “in a course
of years.”

Nothing is more curious than to hear from Dr. Newman himself with what
skill he was trying to conceal his perfidious efforts in preparing that
movement towards Rome. He says on that subject, page 124: “I was
embarrassed in consequence of my wish to go as far as possible in
interpreting the articles in the direction of Roman dogma, without
disclosing what I was doing to the parties whose doubts I was meeting,
who might be, thereby, encouraged to go still farther than, at present,
they found in themselves any call to do.”

A straw fallen on the water indicates the way the tide goes. Here we
have the straw, taken by Dr. Newman himself, and thrown by him on the
water. A thousand volumes written by the ex-Professor of Oxford to deny
that he was a conspirator at work to lead his people to Rome, when in
the service of the Church of England, could not destroy the evident
proof of his guilt given by himself in this strange book.

If we want to have a proof of the supreme contempt Dr. Newman had for
his readers, and his daily habit of deceiving them by sophistries and
incorrect assertions, we have it in the remarkable lines which I find at
page 123 of his _Apologia_. Speaking of his “doctrinal development,” he
says: “I wanted to ascertain what was the limit of that elasticity in
the direction of Roman dogma. But, next, I had a way of inquiry of my
own which I state without defending. I instanced it afterward in my
essay on ‘Doctrinal Development.’ That work, I believe, I have not read
since I published it, and I doubt not at all that I have made many
mistakes in it, partly from my ignorance of the details of doctrine as
the Church of Rome holds them, but partly from my impatience to clear as
large a range for the _Principles_ of doctrinal development (waiving the
question of historical _fact_) as was consistent with the strict
apostolicity and identity of the Catholic creed. In like manner, as
regards the Thirty-nine Articles, my method of inquiry was to leap ‘_in
medias res_’” (123-124).

Dr. Newman is the author of two new systems of theology; and, from his
own confession, the two systems are a compendium of error, absurdities,
and folly. His _Via Media_ was “pulverized” by the vision of a ghost,
when he heard the four words of St. Augustine: “_Securus judicat orbis
terrarum._” The second, known under the name of “Doctrinal Development,”
is, from his own confession, full of errors on account of his ignorance
of the subject on which he was writing, and his own impatience to
support his sophisms.

Dr. Newman is really unfortunate in his paternity. He is the father of
two children. The first-born was called _Via Media_. But it had neither
head nor feet, it was suffocated on the day of its birth by a “ghost.”
The second, called “Doctrinal Development,” was not _viable_. The father
is so shocked with the sight of the monster, that he publicly confessed
its deformities and cries out, “Mistake! mistake! mistake!” (pages
123-124 _Apologia pro vita sua_).

The troubled conscience of Dr. Newman has forced him to confess (page
111) that he was miserable, from his want of faith, when a minister of
the Church of England and a Professor of Theology of Oxford: “Alas! it
was my portion for whole years to remain without any satisfactory basis
for my religious profession!” At page 174 and 175 he tells us how
miserable and anxious he was when the voice of his conscience reproached
him in the position he held in the Church of England, while leading her
people to Rome. At page 158 he confesses his unspeakable confusion when
he saw his supreme folly in building up the _Via Media_, and heard it
crash at the appearance of a ghost. At page 123 he acknowledges how he
deceived his readers, and deceived himself, in his “Doctrinal
Development.” At page 132 he tells us how he had not only completely
lost the confidence of his country, but lost confidence in himself. And
it is after this humiliating and shameful course of life that he finds
out “that the Church of Rome is right!”

Must we not thank God for having forced Dr. Newman to tell us through
what dark and tortuous ways a Protestant, a disciple of the Gospel, a
minister of Christ, a Professor of Oxford, fell into that sea of Sodom
called Romanism or Papism! A great lesson is given us here. We see the
fulfillment of Christ’s word about those who have received great talents
and have not used them for the “Good Master’s honor and glory.”

Dr. Newman, without suspecting it, tells us that it was his course of
action towards that branch of the Church of Christ of which he was a
minister, that caused him to lose the confidence of his country, and
troubled him so much that it caused him to lose that self-confidence
which is founded on our faith and our union with Christ, who is our
rock, our only strength in the hour of trial. Having lost her sails, her
anchor, and her helm, the poor ship was evidently doomed to become a
wreck. Nothing could prevent her from drifting into the engulfing abyss
of Popery.

Dr. Newman confesses that it is only when his guilty conscience was
uniting its thundering voice with that of his whole country to condemn
him, that he said, “After all, the Church of Rome is right!”

These are the arguments, the motives, the light which have led Dr.
Newman to Rome! And it is from himself that we have it! It is a just,
and avenging God who forces his adversary to glorify Him and say the
truth in spite of himself in this “_Apologia pro vita sua_.”

No one can read that book, written with almost a superhuman skill,
ability, and fineness, without a feeling of unspeakable sadness at the
sight of such bright talents, such eloquence, such extensive studies,
employed by the author to deceive himself and deceive his readers; for
it is evident, on every page, that Dr. Newman has deceived himself
before deceiving his readers. But no one can read that book without
feeling a sense of terror also. For he will hear, at every page, the
thundering voice of the God of the Gospel, “Because they received not
the love of the Truth that they might be saved, God shall send them
strong delusions, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thess. ii:10-11).

What, at first, most painfully puzzles the mind of the Christian reader
of this book is the horror which Dr. Newman has for the Holy Scriptures.
The unfortunate man who is perishing from hydrophobia does not keep
himself more at a distance from water than he does from the word of God.
It seems incredible, but it is a fact, that from the first page of the
history of his “Religious Opinions” to page 261, where he joins the
Church of Rome, we have not a single line to tell us that he has gone to
the Word of God for light and comfort in his search after truth. We see
Dr. Newman at the feet of Daniel Wilson, Scott, Milner, Whately,
Hawkins, Blanco White, William James, Butler, Keble, Froude, Pusey, &c.,
asking them what to believe, what to do to be saved: but you do not see
him a single minute, no! not a single minute, at the feet of the
Saviour, asking him, “Master, what must I do to have ‘Eternal Life?’”
The sublime words of Peter to Christ, which are filling all the echoes
of heaven and earth, these eighteen hundred years, “Lord! To whom shall
we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life!” have never reached his
ears! In the long and gloomy hours, when his soul was chilled and
trembling in the dark night of infidelity; when his uncertain feet were
tired by vainly going here and there, to find the true way, he has never
heard Christ telling him: “Come unto Me. I am the Way; I am the Door; I
am the Life!” In those terrible hours of distress of which he speaks so
eloquently, when he cries (page 111) “Alas! I was without any basis for
my religious profession, in a state of moral sickness: neither able to
acquiesce in Anglicanism, nor able to go to Rome:” when his lips were
parched with thirst after truth, he never, no never, went to the
fountain from which flow the waters of eternal life!

One day, he goes to the Holy Fathers. But what will he find there? Will
he see how St. Cyprien sternly rebuked the impudence of Stephen, Bishop
of Rome, who pretended to have some jurisdiction over the See of
Carthage? Will he find how Gregory positively says that the Bishop who
will pretend to be the “Universal Bishop” is the forerunner of
Anti-Christ? Will he hear St. Augustine declaring that when Christ said
to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,”
He was speaking of Himself as the rock upon which the Church would
stand? No. The only thing which Dr. Newman brings us from the Holy
Fathers is so ridiculous and so unbecoming that I am ashamed to have to
repeat it. He tells us (page 78), “I have an idea. The mass of the
Fathers (Justin, Anthenagoras, Irenæus, Clement, Tertullian, Origen,
Ambrose), hold that, though Satan fell from the beginning, the angels
fell before the deluge, falling in love with the daughters of men. This
has lately come across me as a remarkable solution of a notion I cannot
help holding.”

Allow me here to remind the reader that, though the Fathers have written
many beautiful evangelical pages, some of them have written the greatest
nonsense and the most absurd things which human folly can imagine. Many
of them were born and educated as pagans. They had learned and believed
the history and immorality of their demi-gods; they had brought those
notions with them into the Church; and they had attributed to the angels
of God, the passions and love for women which was one of the most
conspicuous characters of Jupiter, Mars, Cupid, Bacchus, etc. And Dr.
Newman, whose want of accuracy and judgment is so often revealed and
confessed by him in this book, has not been able to see that those
sayings of the Fathers were nothing but human aberrations. He has
accepted that as Gospel truth, and he has been silly enough to boast of

The bees go to the flowers to make their precious honey. They wisely
choose what is more perfect, pure and wholesome in the flowers to feed
themselves. Dr. Newman does the very contrary: he goes to those flowers
of past ages, the Holy Fathers, and takes from them what is impure for
his food. After this, is it a wonder that he has so easily put his lips
to the cup of the great enchantress who is poisoning the world with the
wine of her prostitution?

When the reader has followed with attention the history of the religious
opinions of Dr. Newman in his “_Apologia pro vita sua_,” and he sees him
approaching, day after day, the bottomless abyss of folly, corruption,
slavery and idolatry of Rome, into which he suddenly falls (page 261),
he is forcibly reminded of the strange spectacle recorded in the
eloquent pages of Chateaubriand, about the Niagara Falls.

More than once, travelers standing at the foot of that marvel of the
marvels of the works of God, looking up toward heaven, have been struck
by the sight of a small, dark spot, moving in large circles, at a great
distance above the fall. Gazing at that strange object, they soon
remarked that in its circular march in the sky, the small, dark spot was
rapidly growing larger, as it was coming down towards the thundering
fall. They soon discovered the majestic form of one of the giant eagles
of America! And the eagle, balancing himself in the air, seemed to look
down on the marvellous fall, as if absolutely taken with admiration at
its grandeur and magnificence! For some time, the giant of the air
remained above the majestic cataract, describing his large circles. But
when coming down nearer and nearer the terrific abyss, he was suddenly
dragged by an irresistible power into the bottomless abyss, to
disappear. Some time later the body, bruised and lifeless, is seen
floating on the rapid and dark waters, to be forever lost in the bitter
waters of the sea, a long distance below.

Rome is a fall. It is the name which God himself has given her: “There
come a falling away” (2 Thess. ii., 3). As the giant eagle of America,
when imprudently coming too near the mighty Fall of Niagara, is often
caught in the irresistible vortex which attracts it from a long
distance, so that eagle of Oxford, Dr. Newman, whom God had created for
better things, has imprudently come too near the terrific papal fall. He
has been enchanted by its beauty, its thousand bright rainbows; he has
taken for real suns the fantastic jets of light which encircles its
misty head, and conceals its dark and bottomless abyss. Bewildered by
the bewitching voice of the enchantress, he has been unable to save
himself from her perfidious and almost irresistible attractions. The
eagle of Oxford has been caught in the whirlpool of the engulphing
powers of Rome, and you see him to-day, bruised, lifeless, dragged on
the dark waters of Popery towards the shore of a still darker eternity.

Dr. Newman could not make his submission to Rome without perjuring
himself. He swore that he would never interpret the Holy Scriptures
except according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers. Well, I
challenge him here, to meet me and show me that the Holy Fathers are
unanimous on the supremacy of the power of the Pope over the other
Bishops; that he is infallible; that the Priest has the power to make
his God with a wafer; that the Virgin Mary is the only hope for sinners.
I challenge him to show us that auricular confession is an ordinance of
Christ. Dr. Newman knows well that those things are impostures. He has
never believed, he never will believe them.

The fact is that Dr. Newman confesses that he never had any faith when
he was a minister of the Church of England; and it is clear that he is
the same since he became a Roman Catholic. In page 282 we read this
strange exposition of his faith: “We are called upon not to profess
anything, but to submit and be silent,” which is just the faith of the
mute animal which obeys the motion of the bridle, without any resistance
or thought of its own. This is—I cannot deny it—the true, the only faith
in the Church of Rome; it is the faith which leads directly to Atheism
or idiotism. But Christ gave us a very different idea of the faith he
asks from his disciples when he said: “The time has come when the
worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (John vi.,

That degraded and brutal religion of Dr. Newman, surely was not the
religion of Paul, when he wrote, “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what
I say.” (1 Cor. x., 15.) Dr. Newman honestly tells us (page 228), when
speaking of the worship of the Virgin Mary: “Such devotional
manifestations in honor of our Lady had been my great _Crux_ as regards
Catholicism. I say, frankly that I do not fully enter into them now ...
they are suitable for Italy, but are not suitable for England.” He has
only changed his appearance—his heart is what it was formerly, when a
minister of the Church of England. He wanted then another creed, another
Church for England. So now, he finds that this and that practice of Rome
may do for the Italians, but not for the English people!

Was he pleased with the promulgation of Papal infallibility? No. It is a
public fact that one of his most solemn actions, a few years since his
connection with the Church of Rome, was to protest against the
promulgation of that dogma. More than that, he expressed his doubts
about the wisdom and the right of the Council to proclaim it.

Let us read his interesting letter to Bishop Ullathorne—“Rome ought to
be a name to lighten the heart at all times; and a council’s proper
office is, when some great heresy or other evil impends, to inspire hope
and confidence in the faithful. But now we have the greatest meeting
which ever has been, and that at Rome, infusing into us by the
accredited organs of Rome and of its partisans (such as the _Civilta_,
the _Armonia_, the _Univers_ and the _Tablet_) little else than fear and
dismay! When we are all at rest and have no doubts, and—at least
practically, not to say doctrinally—hold the Holy Father to be
infallible, suddenly there is thunder in the clear sky, and we are told
to prepare for something, we know not what, to try our faith, we know
not how—no impending danger is to be averted, but a great difficulty is
to be created. Is this the proper work of an [OE]cumenical Council? As
to myself, personally, please God, I do not expect any trial at all; but
I cannot help suffering with the many souls who are suffering, and I
look with anxiety at the prospect of having to defend decisions which
may not be difficult to my own private judgment, but may be most
difficult to maintain logically in the face of historical facts.

“What have we done to be treated as the faithful never were treated
before? When has a definition _de fide_ been a luxury of devotion, and
not a stern, painful necessity? Why should an aggressive, insolent
faction be allowed to ‘make the heart of the just sad, whom the Lord
hath not made sorrowful?’ Why cannot we be let alone, when we have
pursued peace, and thought no evil!

“I assure you, my Lord, some of the truest minds are driven one way and
another, and do not know where to rest their feet—one day determining
‘to give up all theology as a bad job,’ and recklessly to believe
henceforth almost that the Pope is impeccable; at another, tempted to
‘believe all the worst that a book like _Janus_ says;’ others doubting
about ‘the capacity possessed by Bishops drawn from corners of the
earth, to judge what is fitting for European society;’ and then, again,
angry with the Holy See for listening to ‘the flattery of a clique of
Jesuits, redemptorists, and converts.’

“Then, again, think of the store of Pontifical scandals in the history
of eighteen centuries, which have partly been poured forth, and partly
are still to come. What Murphy inflicted upon us in one way, M. Veuillot
is indirectly bringing on us in another. And then, again, the blight
which is falling upon the multitude of Anglican Ritualists, etc., who,
themselves, perhaps—at least their leaders—may never become Catholics,
but who are leavening the various English denominations and parties (far
beyond their own range), with principles and sentiments towards their
ultimate absorption into the Catholic Church.

“With these thoughts ever before me, I am continually asking myself
whether I ought not to make my feelings public? But all I do is to pray
those early doctors of the Church, whose intercession would decide the
matter (Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome, Athanasius, Chrysostom and
Basil), to avert this great calamity.

“If it is God’s will that the Pope’s infallibility be defined, then it
is God’s will to throw back ‘the times and movements’ of that triumph
which He has destined for His kingdom, and I shall feel I have but to
bow my head to His adorable, inscrutable providence.

“You have not touched upon the subject yourself, but I think you will
allow me to express to you feeling which, for the most part, I keep to


Footnote C:

  “_The Pope, the Kings, and the People._” (Mullan & Son, Paternoster
  Square, pp. 269-70.) Also see (London) _Standard_, 7th April, 1870.


These eloquent complaints of the new convert exceedingly irritated Pius
IX. and the Jesuits at Rome; they entirely destroyed their confidence in
him. They were too shrewd to ignore that he had never been anything else
but a kind of free-thinker, whose Christian faith was without any basis,
as he himself confessed. They had received him, of course, with
pleasure, for he was the very best man in England to unsettle the minds
of the young ministers of the Church, but they had left him alone in his
oratory of Birmingham, where they seemed to ignore him.

However, when the protest of the new so-called convert showed that his
submission was but a sham, and that he was more Protestant than ever,
they lashed him without mercy. But before we hear the stern answers of
the Roman Catholics to their new recruit, let us remember the fact that
when that letter appeared, Dr. Newman had lost the memory of it; he
boldly denied its paternity at first; it was only when the proofs were
publicly given that he had written it, that he acknowledged it, saying
for his excuse that he had forgotten his writing it!!

Now let us hear the answer of the _Civilta_, the organ of the Pope, to
Dr. Newman. “Do you not see that it is only temptation that makes you
see everything black? If the Holy Doctors whom you invoke, Ambrose,
Jerome, etc., do not decide the controversy in your way, it is not as
the Protestant _Pall Mall Gazette_ fancies, because they will not or
cannot interpose, but because they agree with St. Peter, and with the
petition of the majority. Would you have us make a procession in
sackcloth and ashes to avert this scourge of the definition of a
verity?” _Ibid_, p. 281.

The clergy of France, through their organ, _L’Univers_ (Vol. 11, p.
31-34), was still more severe and sarcastic. They had just collected
£4,000 to help Dr. Newman to pay the enormous expenses of the suit for
his slanders against Father Achille, which he had lost.

Dr. Newman, as it appears by the article from the pen of the celebrated
editor of the _Univers_, had not even had the courtesy to acknowledge
the gift, nor the exertions of those who had collected that large sum of
money. Now let us see what they thought and said in France about the
ex-Professor of Oxford whom they called the “Respectable Convict.”
Speaking of the £4,000 sent from France, Veuillot says: “The respectable
convict received it, and was pleased; but he gave no thanks and showed
no mercy. Father Newman ought to be more careful in what he says;
everything that is comely demands it of him. But, at any rate, if his
Liberal passion carries him away, till he forgets what he owes to us and
to himself, what answer must one give him, but that he had better go on
as he set out, silently ungrateful?—_L’Univers_, Vol. 11. p. 32-34.
_Ibid_, p. 272.

These public rebukes, addressed from Paris and Rome by the two most
popular organs of the Church of Rome, tell us the old story; the
services of traitors may be accepted, but they are never trusted. Father
Newman had not the confidence of the Roman Catholics.

But some one will say: Has not the dignity of Cardinal, to which he has
lately been raised, proved that the present Pope has the greatest
confidence in Dr. Newman?

Had I not been 25 years a priest of Rome, I would say “Yes!” But I know
too much of their tactics for that. The dignity of Cardinal has been
given to Drs. Manning and Newman as the baits which the fisherman of
Prince Edward Island throw into the sea to attract the mackerels. The
Pope, with those long scarlet robes thrown over the shoulders of the two
renegades from the Church of England, hopes to catch more English

Besides that, we all know the remarkable words of St. Paul: “And those
members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon them we
bestow more abundant honours, and our uncomely parts have more abundant
comeliness.” (1 Cor. xii., 23.)

It is on that principle that the Pope has acted. He knew well that Dr.
Newman had played the act of a traitor at Oxford; that he had been
caught in the very act of conspiracy by his Bishops; that he had
entirely lost the confidence of the English people. These public facts
paralyzed the usefulness of the new convert. He was really a member of
the Church of Rome, but he was one of the most uncomely ones; so much
so, that the last Pope, Pius IX., had left him alone, in a dark corner,
for nearly eighteen years. Leo XIII. was more shrewd. He felt that
Newman might become one of the most powerful agents of Romanism in
England, if he were only covering his uncomeliness with the rich red
Cardinal robe.

But will the scarlet colors which now clothe Dr. Newman make us forget
that, to-day, he belongs to the most absurd, immoral, abject and
degrading form of idolatry, the world has ever seen? Will we forget that
Romanism, these last six centuries, is nothing else than old paganism in
its most degrading forms, coming back under a Christian name? What is
the divinity which is adored in those splendid temples of modern Rome?
Is it anything else but the old Jupiter Tonans? Yes, the Pope has stolen
the old gods of paganism, and he has sacrilegiously written the adorable
name of Jesus in their faces, that the more deluded modern nations may
have less objection to accept the worship of their pagan ancestors. They
adore a Christ in the Church of Rome; they sing beautiful hymns to His
honor; they build him magnificent temples; they are exceedingly devoted
to Him—they make daily enormous sacrifices to extend His power and glory
all over the world. But what is that Christ? It is simply an idol of
bread, baked every day by the servant girl of the priest, or the
neighboring nuns.

I have been 25 years one of the most sincere and zealous priests of that
Christ. I have made Him with mine own hands, and the help of my servants
for a quarter of a century; I have a right to say that I know Him
perfectly well. It is that I may tell what I know of that Christ that
the God of the Gospel has taken me by the hand, and granted me to give
my testimony before the world. Hundreds of times, I have said to my
servant girl what Dr. Newman and all the priests of Rome say, every day,
to their own servants or their nuns: “Please make me some wafers, that I
may say mass, and give the communion to those who want to receive it.”
And the dutiful girl took some wheat flour, mixed it with water, and put
the dough between these two well-polished and engraven irons, which she
had well heated before. In less time than I can write it, the dough was
baked into wafers. Handing them to me, I brought them to the altar, and
performed a ceremony which is called “the mass.” In the very midst of
that mass, I pronounced on the wafer five magic words, “_Hoc est enim
corpus meum_,” and had to believe, what Dr. Newman and all the priests
of Rome profess to believe, that there were no more wafers, no more
bread before me, but that what were wafers, had been turned into the
great Eternal God who had created the world. I had to prostrate myself,
and ask my people to prostrate themselves before the God I had just made
with five words from my lips; and the people, on their knees, bowing
their heads, and bringing their faces to the dust, adored God whom I had
just made, with the help of these heated irons and my servant girl.

Now, is this not a form of idolatry more degrading, more insulting to
the infinite Majesty of God than the worship of the golden calf? Where
is the difference between the idolatry of Aaron and the Israelites
adoring the golden calf in the wilderness and the idolatry of Dr. Newman
adoring the wafer in his temple? The only difference is, that Aaron
worshipped a god infinitely more respectable and powerful, in melted
gold, than Dr. Newman worshipping his baked dough.

The idolatry of Dr. Newman is more degrading than the idolatry of the
worshippers of the sun.

When the Persians adore the sun, they give their homage to the greatest,
the most glorious being which is before us. That magnificent fiery orb,
millions of miles in circumference, which rises as a giant, every
morning, from behind the horizon, to march over the world and pour
everywhere its floods of heat, light and life, cannot be contemplated
without feelings of respect, admiration and awe. Man must raise his eyes
up to see that glorious sun—he must take the eagle’s wings to follow his
giant strides throughout the myriads of worlds which are there, to speak
to us of the wisdom, the power, and love of our God. It is easy to
understand that poor, fallen, blind men may take that great being for
their god. Would not every one perish and die, if the sun would forget
to come every day, that we may bathe and swim in his ocean of light and

Then, when I see the Persian priests of the sun, in their magnificent
temple, with censers in their hands, waiting for the appearance of its
first rays, to intone their melodious hymns and sing their sublime
canticles, I know their error and I understand it; I was about to say, I
almost excuse it. I feel an immense compassion for these deluded
idolaters. However, I feel they are raised above the dust of the earth:
their intelligence, their souls cannot but receive some sparks of light
and life from the contemplation of that inexhaustible focus of light and
life. But is not Dr. Newman with his Roman Catholic people a thousand
times more worthy of our compassion and our tears, when they are
abjectly prostrated before this ignoble wafer—to adore it as their
Saviour, their Creator, their God? Is it possible to imagine a spectacle
more humiliating, blasphemous and sacrilegious, than a multitude of men
and women prostrating their faces to the dust to adore a god whom the
rats and mice have, thousands of times, dragged and eaten in their dark
holes? Where are the rays of light and life coming from that wafer?
Instead of being enlarged and elevated at the approach of this
ridiculous modern divinity, is not the human intelligence contracted,
diminished paralyzed, chilled and struck with idiocy and death at its

Can we be surprised that the Roman Catholic nations are so fast falling
into the abyss of infidelity and atheism, when they hear their priests
telling them that more than 200,000 times, every day, this contemptible
wafer is changed by them into the great God who has created heaven and
earth at the beginning, and who has saved this perishing world by
sacrificing the body and the blood which He has taken as His tabernacle
to show us His eternal love!

Come with me and see those multitudes of people with their faces
prostrated in the dust, adoring their white elephant of Siam.

Oh! what ignorance and superstition! what blindness and folly! you will
exclaim. To adore a white elephant as God!

But there is a spectacle more humiliating and more deplorable: There is
a superstition, an idolatry below that of the Siamese. It is the
idolatry practiced by Dr. Newman and his millions of co-religionists
to-day. Yes! The elephant-god of the Asiatic people, is infinitely more
respectable than the wafer-god of Dr. Newman. That elephant may be taken
as the symbol of strength, magnanimity, patience, etc. There is life,
motion in that noble animal—he sees with his eyes, he walks with his
feet. Let some one attack him, he will protect himself—with his mighty
trunk he will throw his enemy high in the air—he will crush him under
his feet.

But look at this modern divinity of Rome. It has eyes, but does not see;
feet, but does not move; a mouth, but does not speak. There is neither
life nor strength in the wafer god of Rome.

But if the fall of Dr. Newman into the bottomless abyss of the idolatry
of Rome is a deplorable fact, there is another fact still more

How many fervent Christians, how many venerable ministers of Christ
everywhere, are, just now, prostrated at the dear Saviour’s feet,
telling Him with tears: “Didst thou not sow the good Gospel seed all
over our dear country, through the hands of our heroic and martyred
fathers? From whence, then, hath it these Popish and idolatrous tares?”
And the “Good Master” answers, to-day, what he answered eighteen hundred
years ago. “While men slept, the enemy came during the night; he has
sowed those tares among the wheat, and he went away.”—(Matthew xiii:

And if you want to know the name of the enemy who has sowed tares, in
the night, amongst the wheat, and went away, you have only to read this
“_Apologia pro vita sua_.” You will find this confession of Dr. Newman
at page 174:—

“I cannot disguise from myself that my preaching is not calculated to
defend that system of religion which has been received for three hundred
years, and of which the Heads of Houses are the legitimate maintainers
in this place.... I must allow that I was disposing the minds of young
men towards Rome!”

Now, having obtained from the very enemy’s lips how he has sowed tares
during the night (secretly), read page 262, and you will see how he went
away and prostrated himself at the feet of the most implacable enemy of
all the rights and liberties of men, to call him “Most Holy Father.”
Read how he fell at the knees of the very power which prepared and
blessed the Armada destined to cover his native land, England, with
desolation, ruins, tears and blood, and enchain those of her people who
would not have been slaughtered on the battle-field! See how the enemy,
after having sown the tares, went away to the feet of a Sergius III.,
the public lover of Maroria—and to the feet of his bastard, John XI.,
who was still more debauched than his father—and to the feet of Leo VI.,
killed by an outraged citizen of Rome, in the act of such an infamous
crime that I cannot name it here—to the feet of an Alexander, who
seduced his own daughter, and surpassed in cruelty and debauchery Nero
and Caligula. Let us see Dr. Newman falling at the feet of all those
monsters of depravity, to call them, “Most Holy Fathers,” “Most Holy
Heads of the Church.” “Most Holy and Infallible Vicars of Jesus Christ!”

At the sight of such a fall, what can we do, but say with Isaiah:

“The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the
ruler.... How art thou fallen, O Lucifer, Son of the morning! how art
thou cut down to the ground?” Is. xiv.

                             CHAPTER XLII.


On the first Sabbath of November, 1846, after a retreat of eight days, I
fell on my knees, and asked as a favor, to be received as a novice of
the religious order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate of Longueuil,
whose object is to preach retreats (revivals) among the people. No child
of the Church of Rome ever enrolled himself with more earnestness and
sincerity under the mysterious banners of her monastic armies, than I
did, that day. It is impossible to entertain more exalted views of the
beauty and holiness of the monastic life, than I had. To live among the
holy men who had made the solemn vows of poverty, obedience and charity,
seemed to me the greatest and the most blessed privilege which my God
could grant on earth.

Within the walls of the peaceful monastery of Longueuil, among those
holy men who had, long since, put an impassable barrier between
themselves and that corrupted world, from the snares of which I was just
escaping, my conviction was that I should see nothing but actions of the
most exalted piety; and that the deadly weapons of the enemy could not
pierce those walls protected by the Immaculate Mother of God!

The frightful storms which had covered with wrecks the roaring sea,
where I had so often nearly perished, could not trouble the calm waters
of the port where my bark had just entered. Every one of the members of
the community was to be like an angel of charity, humility, modesty,
whose example was to guide my steps in the ways of God. My superior
appeared to be less a superior than a father, whose protecting care, by
day and night, would be a shield over me. Noah, in the ark, safe from
the raging waves which were destroying the world, did not feel more
grateful to God, than I was, when once in this holy solitude. The vow of
perfect poverty was to save me, for ever, from the cares of the world.
Having, hereafter, no right to possess a cent, the world would become to
me a paradise, where food, clothing, and lodging would come without
anxiety or care. My father superior would supply all these things,
without any other condition on my part, than to love, and obey a man of
God whose whole life was to be spent in guiding my steps in the ways of
the most exalted evangelical virtues. Had not that father himself made a
solemn vow to renounce not only all the honors and dignities of the
church, that his whole mind and heart might be devoted to my holiness on
earth, and my salvation in Heaven?

How easy to secure that salvation now! I had only to look to that father
on earth, and obey him as my Father in Heaven. Yes! The will of that
father, was to be, for me, the will of my God. Though I might err in
obeying him, my errors would not be laid to my charge. To save my soul,
I should have only to be like a corpse, or a stick in the hands of my
father superior. Without any anxiety or any responsibility whatever of
my own, I was to be led to heaven as a new-born child in the arms of his
loving mother without any fear, thoughts or anxiety of his own.

With the Christian poet I could have sung:

                  “Rocks and storms I’ll fear no more,
                  When on that eternal shore,
                  Drop the anchor! Furl the sail!
                  I am safe within the vail.”

But how short were to be these fine dreams of my poor deluded mind! When
on my knees, father Guigues handed me, with great solemnity, the Latin
books of the rules of that monastic order, which is their real gospel,
warning me that it was a _secret book_, that there were things in it
that I ought not to reveal to any one; and he made me solemnly promise
that I would never show it to any one outside of the order.

When alone, the next morning, in my cell, I thanked God and the Virgin
Mary for the favors of the last day, and the thought came involuntarily
to my mind:

“Have you not, a thousand times, heard and said that the Holy Church of
Rome absolutely condemns and anathematizes secret societies. And, do you
not, to-day, belong to a secret society? How can you reconcile the
solemn promise of secrecy you made last night, with the anathemas hurled
by all your popes against secret societies?” After having, in vain,
tried, in my mind, to reconcile those two things, I happily remembered
that I was a corpse, that I had forever given up my private
judgment—that my only business, now, was to obey. “Does a corpse argue
against those who turn it from side to side? Is it not in perfect peace,
whatever may be the usage to which it is exposed, or to whatever place
it is dragged? Shall I lose the rich crown which is before me, at my
first step in the way of perfection?”

I bade my rebellious intelligence to be still, my private judgment to be
mute, and, to distract my mind from this first temptation, I read that
book of rules with the utmost attention. I had not gone through it all,
before I understood why it was kept from the eyes of the curates and
other secular priests. To my unspeakable amazement, I found that, from
the beginning to the end, it speaks with the most profound contempt for
them all. I said to myself: “What would be the indignation of the
curates, if they should suspect that these strangers from France have
such a bad opinion of them all! Would the good Canadian curates receive
them as angels from heaven, and raise them so high in the esteem of the
people, if they knew that the first thing an oblate has to learn, is
that the secular priest is, to-day, steeped in immorality, ignorance,
worldliness, laziness, gluttony, etc.; that he is the disgrace of the
church, which would speedily be destroyed, was she not providentially
sustained, and kept in the ways of God, by the holy monastic men whom
she nurses as her only hope? Clear as the light of the sun on a bright
day, the whole fabric of the order of the oblates presented itself to my
mind, as the most perfect system of Pharisaism the world had ever seen.

The oblate who studies his book of rules, his only gospel, must have his
mind filled with the idea of his superior holiness, not only over the
poor sinful, secular priest, but over everyone else. The oblate alone is
Christian, holy and saved; the rest of the world is lost! The oblate
alone is the salt of the earth, the light of the world!

I said to myself: “Is it to attain this pharisaical perfection, that I
have left my beautiful and dear parish of Kamouraska, and given up the
honorable position which my God had given me in my country!”

However, after some time spent in these sad and despondent reflections,
I again felt angry with myself; I quickly directed my mind to the
frightful, unsuspected and numberless scandals I had known in almost
every parish I had visited. I remembered the drunkenness of that curate,
the impurities of this, the ignorance of another, the worldliness and
absolute want of faith of others, and concluded that, after all, the
oblates were not far from the truth in their bad opinions of the secular
clergy. I ended my sad reflections by saying to myself: “After all, if
the oblates live a life of holiness, as I expect to find here, is it a
crime that they should see, feel and express among themselves, the
difference which exists between a regular and a secular clergy? Am I
come here to judge and condemn these holy men? No! I came here to save
myself by the practice of the most heroic Christian virtues, the first
of which, is that I should absolutely and forever give up my _private
judgment_—consider myself as a corpse in the hand of my superior.”

With all the fervor of my soul, I prayed to God and to the Virgin Mary,
day and night, that week, that I might attain that supreme state of
perfection, when I would have no will, no judgment of my own. The days
of that first week passed very quickly, spent in prayer, reading and
meditation of the Scriptures, studies of ecclesiastical history and
ascetical books, from half-past five in the morning till half-past nine
at night. The meals were taken at the regular hours of seven, twelve and
six o’clock, during which, with rare exceptions, silence was kept, and
pious books were read. The quality of the food was good; but, at first,
before they got a female cook to preside over the kitchen, everything
was so unclean, that I had to shut my eyes at meals, not to see what I
was eating. I should have complained, had not my lips been sealed by
that strange monastic vow of perfection that every religious man is a
corpse! What does a corpse care about the cleanliness or uncleanliness
of what is put into its mouth? The third day, having drank at breakfast
a glass of milk which was literally mixed with the dung of the cow, my
stomach rebelled; a circumstance which I regretted exceedingly,
attributing it to my want of monastic perfection. I envied the high
state of holiness of the other fathers, who had so perfectly attained to
the sublime perfection of submission that they could drink that impure
milk, just as if it had been clean.

Everything went on well the first week, with the exception of a dreadful
scare I had, at the dinner of the first Friday. Just after eating soup,
when listening with the greatest attention to the reading of the life of
a saint, I suddenly felt as if the devil had taken hold of my feet; I
threw down my knife and fork, and I cried, at the top of my voice, “My
God! My God! what is there?” and as quick as lightning, I jumped on my
chair to save myself from Satan’s grasp. My cries were soon followed by
an inexpressible burst of convulsive laughter from everyone.

“But what does that mean? Who has taken hold of my feet?” I asked.

Father Guigues tried to explain the matter to me, but it took him a
considerable time. When he began to speak, an irrepressible burst of
laughter prevented his saying a word. The fits of laughter became still
more uncontrollable, on account of the seriousness with which I was
repeatedly asking them who could have taken hold of my feet! At last,
some one said, “It is Father Lagier who wanted to kiss your feet!” At
the same time, Father Lagier, walking on his hands and knees, his face
covered with sweat, dust and dirt, was crawling out from under the
table, literally rolling on the floor, in such an uncontrollable fit of
laughter, that he was unable to stand on his feet.

Of course, when I understood that no devil had tried to drag me by the
feet, but that it was simply one of the father oblates, who, to go
through one of the common practices of humility in that monastery, had
crawled under the table, to take hold of the feet of everyone and kiss
them, I joined with the rest of the community, and laughed to my heart’s

Not many days after this, we were going, after tea, from the dining-room
to the chapel, to pass five or ten minutes in adoration of the
wafer-god; we had two doors to cross, and it was pretty dark. Being the
last who had entered the monastery, I had to walk first, the other monks
following me; we were reciting, with a loud voice, the Latin Psalm:
“_Misere mihi Deus_.” We were all marching pretty fast, when, suddenly,
my feet met a large, though unseen object, and down I fell, and rolled
on the floor; my next companion did the same, and rolled over me, and so
did five or six others, who, in the dark had also struck their feet on
that object. In a moment, we were five or six “Holy Fathers” rolling on
each other on the floor, unable to rise up, splitting our sides with
convulsive laughter. Father Brunette, in one of his fits of humility,
had left the table a little before the rest, with the permission of the
Superior, to lay himself flat on the floor, across the door. Not
suspecting it, and unable to see anything, from the want of sufficient
light, I had entangled my feet on that living corpse, as also the rest
of those who were walking too close behind me to stop, before tumbling
over one another.

[Illustration: FALL OF THE “HOLY FATHERS.”]

No words can describe my feelings of shame when I saw, almost every day,
some performance of this kind going on, under the name of Christian
humility. In vain, I tried to silence the voice of my intelligence,
which was crying to me, day and night, that this was a mere diabolical
caricature of the humility of Christ. Striving to silence my untamed
reason by telling it that it had no right to speak and argue and
criticise, within the holy walls of the monastery. It, nevertheless,
spoke louder, day after day, telling me that such acts of humility were
a mockery. In vain, I said to myself, “Chiniquy, thou art not come here
to philosophize on this and that, but to sanctify thyself by becoming
like a corpse, which has no preconceived ideas, no acquired store of
knowledge, no rule of common sense to guide you! Poor, wretched, sinful
Chiniquy, thou art here to save thyself by admiring every idea of the
holy rules of your superiors, and to obey every word of their lips!”

I felt angry against myself, and unspeakably sad, when, after whole
weeks and months of efforts, not only to silence the voice of my reason,
but to kill it, it had more life than ever, and was more and more loudly
protesting against the unmanly, unchristian and ridiculous daily usages
and rules of the monastery. I envied the humble piety of the other good
Fathers, who were apparently so happy, having conquered themselves so
completely as to destroy that haughty reason which was constantly
rebelling in me.

Twice, every week, I went to reveal to my guide and confessor, Father
Allard, the master of novices, my interior struggles; my constant,
though vain efforts to subdue my rebellious reason. He always gladdened
me with the promise that, sooner or later, I should have that interior
perfect peace which is promised to the humble monk, when he has attained
the supreme monastic perfection of considering himself as a corpse, as
regards the rules and will of his superiors. My sincere and constant
efforts to reconcile myself to the rules of the monastery were, however,
soon to receive a new and rude check. I had read in the book of rules,
that a true monk must closely watch those who live with him, and
secretly report to his superior the defects and sins which he detects in
them. The first time I read that strange rule, my mind was so taken up
by other things, that I did not pay much attention to it. But the second
time, I studied that clause, the blush came to my face, and in spite of
myself, I said: “Is it possible that we are a band of spies?” I was not
long in seeing the disastrous effects of this most degrading and immoral
rule. One of the fathers, for whom I had a particular affection, for his
many good qualities, and who had, many times, given me the sincere proof
of his friendship, said to me one day: “For God’s sake, my dear Father
Chiniquy, tell me if it is you who denounced me to the Superior, for
having said that the conduct of Father Guigues toward me was
uncharitable?” “No! my dear friend,” I answered, “I never said such a
thing against you, for two reasons: The first is, that you have never
said a word in my presence which could give me the idea that you had
such an opinion of our good Father Superior; the second reason is, that,
though you might have told me anything of that kind, I would prefer to
have my tongue cut and eaten by dogs, than to be a spy, and denounce

“I am glad to know that,” he rejoined, “for I was told by some of the
fathers that you were the one who had reported me to the superior as
guilty, though I am innocent of that offense, but I could not believe
it.” He added, with tears: “I regret having left my parish to be an
oblate, on account of that abominable law which we are sworn to fulfill.
That law makes a real hell of this monastery, and, I suppose, of all the
monastic orders, for I think it is a general law with all the religious
houses. When you have passed more time here, you will see that the law
of detection puts an insurmountable wall between us all; it destroys
every spring of Christian and social happiness.”

“I understand perfectly well what you say,” I answered him; “the last
time I was alone with father superior, he asked me why I had said that
the present Pope was an old fool; he persisted in telling me that I must
have said it, ‘for,’ he added, ‘one of our most reliable fathers has
assured me you said it.’ ‘Well, my dear father superior,’ I answered
him, ‘that reliable father has told you a big lie; I never said such a
thing, for the good reason that I sincerely think that our present Pope
is one of the wisest that ever ruled the church.’” I added: “Now I
understand why there is so much unpleasantness in our mutual
intercourse, during the hours we are allowed to talk. I see that nobody
dares to speak his mind on any grave subject. The conversations are
colorless and without life.”

“That is just the reason,” answered my friend. “When some of the
fathers, like you and me, would prefer to be hung rather than become
spies, the great majority of them, particularly among the French priests
recently imported from France, will not hear ten words from your lips on
any subject, without finding an opportunity of reporting eight of them
as unbecoming and unchristian, to the superiors. I do not say that it is
always through malice that they give such false reports: it is more
through want of judgment. They are very narrow-minded; they do not
understand the half of what they hear in its true sense: and they give
their false impressions to the superiors, who, unfortunately, encourage
that system of spying, as the best way of transforming every one of us
into corpses. As we are never confronted with our false accusers, we can
never know them, and we lose confidence in each other; thus it is that
the sweetest and holiest springs of true Christian love are forever
dried up. It is on this spying system, which is the curse and the hell
of our monastic houses, that a celebrated French writer, who had been a
monk himself, wrote of all the monks:

“Ils rentrent dans leurs monasteres sans se connaitre; ils y vivent sans
s’aimer et ils se separent sans se regretter” (monks enter the monastery
without knowing each other. They live there, without loving each other,
and they depart from each other without any regret).

However, though I sincerely deplored that there was such a law of
espionage among us, I tried to persuade myself that it was like the dark
spots of the sun which do not diminish its beauty, its grandeur and its
innumerable blessings. The society of the oblates was still to me the
blessed ark where I should find a sure shelter against the storms which
were desolating the rest of the world.

Not long after my reception as a novice, the providence of God put
before my eyes one of those terrible wrecks which would make the
strongest of us tremble. Suddenly, at the hour of breakfast, the
superior of the Seminary of St. Sulpice, and grand vicar of the Diocese
of Montreal, the Rev. Mr. Quibiler, knocked at our door, to rest an hour
and breakfast with us, when on his way to France.

This unfortunate priest, who was among the best orators and the best
looking men, Montreal had ever seen, had lived such a profligate life
with his penitent nuns and ladies of Montreal, that a cry of indignation
from the whole people had forced Bishop Bourget to send him back to
France. Our father superior took the opportunity of the fall of that
talented priest, to make us bless God for having gathered us behind the
walls of our monastery, where the efforts of the enemy were powerless.
But alas! we were soon to know, at our own expense, that the heart of
man is weak and deceitful everywhere.

It was not long after the public fall of the grand vicar of Montreal,
when a fine-looking widow was engaged to preside over our kitchen. She
was more than forty years old, and had very good manners. Unfortunately,
she had not been four months in the monastery, when she fell in love
with her father confessor, one of the most pious of the French father
oblates. The modern Adam was not stronger than the old one against the
charms of the new Eve. Both were found, in an evil hour, forgetting one
of the holy laws of God. The guilty priest was punished and the weak
woman dismissed. But an unspeakable shame remained upon us all! I would
have preferred to have my sentence of death, than the news of such a
fall inside the walls of that house where I had so foolishly believed
that Satan could not lay his snares. From that day, it was the will of
God that the strange and beautiful illusions which had brought me to
that monastery, should fade away one after the other, like the white
mist which conceals the bright rays of the morning sun. The oblates
began to appear to me pretty much like other men. Till then, I had
looked at them with my eyes shut, and I had seen nothing but the
glittering colors with which my imagination was painting them. From that
day, I studied them with my eyes opened, and I saw them just as they

In the spring of 1847, having a severe indisposition, the doctor ordered
me to go to the Hotel Dieu of Montreal, which was, then, near the
splendid St. Mary’s Church. I made there, for the first time, the
acquaintance of a venerable old nun, who was very talkative. She was one
of the superiors of the house; her family name was Urtubise. Her mind
was still full of indignation at the bad conduct of two father oblates,
who, under the pretext of sickness, had lately come to her monastery to
seduce the young nuns who were serving them. She told me how she had
turned them out ignominiously, forbidding them ever to come again, under
any pretext, into the hospital. She was young, when Bishop Lartigue,
being driven away from the Sulpician Seminary of Montreal, in 1824, had
taken refuge, with his secretary, the Rev. Ignace Bourget, into the
modest walls of that nunnery. She told me how the nuns had soon to
repent having received that bishop with his secretary and other priests.

“It was nearly the ruin of our community. The intercourse of the priests
with a certain number of the nuns,” she said: “was the cause of so much
disorder and scandal, that I was deputed with some other nuns, to the
bishop to respectfully request him not to prolong his stay in our
nunnery. I told him, in my name, and in the name of many others, that if
he would not comply with our legitimate request, we should instantly
leave the house, go back to our families and get married, that it was
better to be honestly married than to continue to live as the priests,
even our father confessors, wanted us to do.”

After she had given me several other spicy stories of those interesting
distant days, I asked her if she had known Maria Monk, when she was in
their house, and what she thought of her book “Awful Disclosures?” “I
have known her well,” she said. “She spent six months with us. I have
read her book, which was given me, that I might refute it. But after
reading it, I refused to have anything to do with that deplorable
_exposure_. There are surely some inventions and suppositions in that
book. But there is a sufficient amount of truth to cause all our
nunneries to be pulled down by the people, if only the half of them were
known to the public?”

She then said to me: “For God’s sake, do not reveal these things to the
world, till the last one of us is dead, if God spares you.” She then
covered her face with her hands, burst into tears, and left the room.

I remained horrified. Her words fell upon me as a thunderbolt. I
regretted having heard them, though I was determined to respect her
request not to reveal the terrible secret she had entrusted to me. My
God knows that I never repeated a word of it till now. But I think it is
my duty to reveal to my country and the whole world the truth, on that
grave subject, as it was given me by a most respectable and
unimpeachable eye-witness.

The terrible secrets which sister Urtubise had revealed to me rendered
my stay in the Hotel Dieu as unpleasant as it had been agreeable at
first. Though not quite recovered, I left, the same day, for Longueuil,
where I entered the monastery with a heavy heart. The day before, two of
the fathers had come back from a two or three months’ evangelical
excursion among the lumber men, who were cutting wood in the forests,
along the Ottawa River and its tributaries, from one to three hundred
miles north-west of Montreal. I was glad to hear of their arrival. I
hoped that the interesting history of their evangelical excursions,
narrow escapes from the bears and the wolves of the forests; their
hearty receptions by the honest and sturdy lumber men, which the
superior had requested me, some weeks before, to write, would cause a
happy diversion from the deplorable things I had recently learned. But
only one of those fathers could be seen, and his conversation was
anything but interesting and pleasant. There was evidently a dark cloud
around him. And the other oblate, his companion, where was he? The very
day of his arrival, he had been ordered to keep his room, and make a
retreat of ten days, during which time he was forbidden to speak to any

I inquired from a devoted friend among the old oblates the reason of
such a strange thing. After promising never to reveal to the superiors
the sad secret he trusted me with, he said: “Poor father D—— has seduced
one of his fair penitents, on the way. She was a married woman, the lady
of the house where our missionaries used to receive the most cordial
hospitality. The husband having discovered the infidelity of his wife,
came very near killing her; he ignominiously turned out the two fathers,
and wrote a terrible letter to the superior. The companion of the guilty
father, denounced him and confessed everything to the superior, who has
seen that the letter of the enraged husband was only giving too true and
correct version of the whole unfortunate and shameful occurrence. Now,
the poor weak father, for his penance, is condemned to ten days of
seclusion from the rest of the community. He must pass that whole time
in prayer, fasting, and acts of humiliation, dictated by the superior.”

“Do these deplorable facts occur very often among the father oblates?” I

My friend raised his eyes, filled with tears, to Heaven, and with a deep
sigh, he answered: “Dear Father Chiniquy, would to God that I might be
able to tell you that it is the first crime of that nature committed by
an oblate. But alas! you know, by what has occurred with our female
cook, not long ago, that it is not the first time that some of our
fathers have brought disgrace upon us all. And you know also the
abominable life of Father Telmont with the two nuns at Ottawa!”

“If it be so,” I replied, “where is the spiritual advantage of the
regular clergy over the secular?”

“The only advantage I see,” answered my friend, “is that the regular
clergy gives himself with more impunity to every kind of debauch and
licentiousness than the secular. The monks being concealed from the eyes
of the public, inside the walls of their monastery, where nobody, or at
least very few people have any access, are more easily conquered by the
devil, and more firmly kept in his chains, than the secular priests. The
sharp eyes of the public, and the daily intercourse the secular priests
have with their relations and parishioners, form a powerful and salutary
restraint upon the bad inclinations of our depraved nature. In the
monastery, there is no restraint except the childish and ridiculous
punishment of retreats, kissing of the floor, or of the feet, the
prostration of the ground as father Brunet did, a few days after your
coming among us.

“There is surely more hypocrisy and selfishness among the regular than
the secular clergy. That great social organization which forms the human
family, is a divine work. Yes! those great social organizations which
are called the city, the township, the country, the parish, and the
household, where every one is called to work in the light of day, is a
divine organization, and makes society as strong, pure and holy as it
can be.

“I confess that there are also terrible temptations, and deplorable
falls there, but the temptations are not so unconquerable, and the falls
not so irreparable, as in these dark recesses and unhealthy prisons
raised by Satan only for the birds of night called monasteries or

“The priest and the woman who fall in the midst of a well organized
Christian society, break the hearts of the beloved mother, cover with
shame a venerable father, cause the tears of cherished sisters and
brothers to flow, pierce, with a barbed arrow the hearts of thousands of
friends; they forever lose their honor and good name. These
considerations are so many providential, I dare say divine shields, to
protect the sons and daughters of Eve against their own frailty. The
secular priest and the woman shrink before throwing themselves into such
a bottomless abyss of shame, misery and regret. But behind the thick and
dark walls of the monastery, or the nunnery, what has the fallen monk or
nun to fear? Nobody will hear of it, no bad consequences worth
mentioning will follow, except a few days of retreat, some
insignificant, childish, ridiculous penances, which the most devoted in
the monastery are practicing almost every day.

“As you ask me, in earnest, what are the advantages of a monastic life
over a secular, in a moral and social point of view, I will answer you:
In the monastery, man as the image of God forgets his divine origin,
loses his dignity; and as a Christian, he loses the most holy weapons
Christ has given to his disciples to fight the battle of life. He, at
once and forever, loses that law of self-respect, and respect for
others, which is one of the most powerful and legitimate barriers
against vice. Yes! That great and divine law of self-respect, which God
himself has implanted in the heart of every man and woman who live in a
Christian society, is completely destroyed in the monastery and nunnery.
The foundation of perfection in the monk and the nun is that they must
consider themselves as corpses. Do you not see that this principle
strikes at the root of all that God has made good, grand and holy in
man? Does it not sweep away every idea of holiness, purity, greatness!
every principle of life which the Gospel of Christ had for its mission
to reveal to the fallen children of Adam?

“What self-respect can we expect from a corpse? and what respect can a
corpse feel for the other corpses which surround it? Thus it is that the
very idea of monastic perfection carries with it the destruction of all
that is good, pure, holy and spiritual in the religion of the gospel. It
destroys the very idea of life, to put death into its place.

“It is for that reason that if you study the true history, _not the
lying history_, of monachism, you will find the details of a corruption
impossible, anywhere else, not even among the lowest houses of
prostitution. Read the Memoirs of Scipio de Ricci, one of the most pious
and intelligent bishops our Church has ever had, and you will see that
the monks and the nuns of Italy lead the very life of the brutes in the
fields. Yes! read the terrible revelations of what is going on among
those unfortunate men and women, whom the iron hand of monachism keeps
tied in their dark dungeons, you will hear from the very lips of the
nuns that the monks are more free with them than the husbands are with
their legitimate wives; you will see that every one of those monastic
institutions is Sodom!

“The monastic axiom, that the highest point of perfection is attained
only when you consider yourself a corpse in the hand of your superior,
is anti-social and anti-Christian; it is simply diabolical. It
transforms into a vile machine that man whom God had created in his
likeness, and made forever free. It degrades below the brute that man
whom Christ, by his death, has raised to the dignity of a child of God,
and inheritor of an eternal kingdom in Heaven. Everything is mechanical,
material, false, in the life of a monk and a nun. Even the best virtues
are deceptions and lies. The monks and the nuns being perfect only when
they have renounced their own free will and intelligence, to become
corpses, can have neither virtues nor vices,

Their best actions are mechanical. Their acts of humility are to crawl
under the table and kiss the feet of each other, or to make a cross on a
dirty floor with the tongue, or lie down in the dust to let the rest of
the monks or the nuns pass over them. Have you not remarked how these
so-called monks speak with the utmost contempt of the rest of the world?
One must have opportunities as I have had of seeing the profound hatred
which exists among all monastic orders against each other. How the
Dominicans have always hated the Franciscans, and how they both hate the
Jesuits, who pay them back in the same coin. What a strong and merciless
hatred divides the oblates, to whom we belong, from the Jesuits! The
Jesuits never lose an opportunity of showing us their supreme contempt!
You are aware that, on account of those bad feelings, it is absolutely
forbidden to an oblate to confess to a Jesuit, as we know it is
forbidden to the Jesuits to confess to an oblate, or to any other

“I need not tell you, for you know that their vow of poverty is a mask
to help them to become rich with more rapidity than the rest of the
world. Is it not under the mask of that vow that the monks of England,
Scotland, France and Italy became the masters of the richest lands of
those countries, which the nations were forced, by bloody revolutions,
to wrench from their grasp?

“I have seen much more of the world than you. When a young priest, I was
the chaplain, confessor and intimate friend of the Duchesse De Berry,
the mother of Henry V., now the only legitimate King of France. When, in
the midst of those great and rich princes and nobles of France, I never
saw such a love of money, of honor, of vain glory, as I have seen among
the monks since I have become one of them. When the Duchess De Berry
finished her providential work in France, after making the false step
which ruined her, I threw myself into the religious order of the
Chartreux. I have lived several years in their palatial monastery of
Rome; have cultivated and enjoyed their sweet fruits in their
magnificent gardens; but I was not there long, without seeing the fatal
error I had committed in becoming a monk. During the many years I
resided in that splendid mansion, where laziness, stupidity, filthiness,
gluttony, superstition, tediousness, ignorance, pride and unmentionable
immoralities, with very few exceptional cases, reigned supreme. I had
every opportunity to know what was going on in their midst. Life soon
became an unbearable burden, but for the hope I had of breaking my
fetters. At last I found out that the best, if not the only way of doing
this, was to declare to the Pope that I wanted to go and preach the
gospel to the savages of America, which was and is still true.

“I made my declaration, and by the Pope’s permission, the doors of my
gaol were opened, with the condition that I should join the order of the
Oblates Immaculate, in connection with which I should evangelize the
savages of the Rocky Mountains.

“I have found among the monks of Canada, the very same things I have
seen among those of France and Italy. With very few exceptions, they are
all corpses, absolutely dead to every sentiment of true honesty and real
Christianity; they are putrid carcasses, which have lost the dignity of

“My dear Father Chiniquy,” he added, “I trust you as I trust myself,
when I tell you for your own good, a secret which is known to God alone.
When I am on the Rocky Mountains, I will raise myself up, as the eagles
of those vast countries, and I shall go up to the regions of liberty,
light and life; I will cease being a corpse, to become what my God has
made me—a free and intelligent man. I will cease to be a corpse, in
order to become one of the redeemed of Christ, who serve God in spirit
and in truth.

“Christ is the light of the world; monachism is its night! Christ is the
strength, the glory, the life of man; monachism is its decay, shame and
death! Christ died to make us free; the monastery is built up to make
slaves of us! Christ died that we might be raised to the dignity of
children of God; monachism is established to bring us down much below
the living brutes, for it transforms us into corpses! Christ is the
highest conception of humanity; monachism is its lowest.

“Yes, yes, I hope my God will soon give me the favor I have asked so
long. When I shall be on the top of the Rocky Mountains, I will,
forever, break my fetters. I will rise from my tomb, I will come out
from among the dead, to sit at the table of the redeemed, and eat the
bread of the living children of God.”

I do regret that the remarkable monk, whose abridged views on monachism
I have here given, should have requested me never to give his name, when
he allows me to tell some of his adventures, which will make a most
interesting romance. Faithful to his promise, he went, as an oblate, to
preach to the savages of the Rocky Mountains, and there, without noise,
he slipped out of their hands; broke his chains, to live the life of a
freedman of Christ, in the holy bonds of a Christian marriage with a
respectable American lady.

Weak and timid soldier that I was once; frightened by the ruins spread
everywhere on the battle-field, I looked around to find a shelter
against the impending danger; I thought that the monastery of the
oblates of Mary Immaculate was one of those strong towers, built by my
God, where the arrows of the enemy could not reach me, and I threw
myself into it.

But, hardly beginning to hope that I was out of danger, behind those
dark and high walls, when I saw them shaking like a drunken man; and the
voice of God passed like a hurricane over me.

Suddenly, the high towers and walls around me fell to the ground, and
were turned into dust. Not one stone remained on another.

And I heard a voice saying to me: “Soldier! come out and get in the
light of the sun; trust no more in the walls built by the hand of man;
they are nothing but dust. Come and fight in the open day, under the
eyes of God, protected only by the gospel banners of Christ! Come out
from behind those walls, they are a diabolical deception, a snare, a

I listened to the voice, and I bade adieu to the inmates of the
monastery of the oblates of Mary Immaculate.

When, on the first of October, 1847, I pressed them on my heart for the
last time, I felt the burning tears of many of them falling on my
cheeks, and my tears moistened their faces: for they loved me, and I
loved them. I had met there several noble hearts and precious souls,
worthy of a better fate. Oh! if I could have, at the price of my life,
given them the light and liberty which my merciful God had given me! But
they were in the dark; and there was no power in me to change their
darkness into light.

The hand of God brought me back to my dear Canada, that I might again
offer it the sweat and labors, the love and life of the least of its

                             CHAPTER XLIII.


The eleven months spent in the monastery of the oblates of Mary
Immaculate, were among the greatest favors God has granted me. What I
had read of the monastic orders, and what my honest, though deluded
imagination had painted of the holiness, purity and happiness of the
monastic life, could not be blotted out of my mind, except by a kind of
miraculous interposition. No testimony whatever could have convinced me
that the monastic institutions were not one of the most blessed of the
gospel. Their existence, in the bosom of the Church of Rome, was, for
me, an infallible token of her divine institution, and one of the
strongest proofs that those heretics were entirely separated from
Christ. Without religious orders, the Protestant denominations were to
me, as dead and decayed branches cut from the true vine, which are
doomed to perish.

But, just as the eyes of Thomas were opened, and his intelligence was
convinced of the divinity of Christ, only after he had seen the wounds
in his hands and side, so I could never have believed that the monastic
institutions were of heathen and diabolical origin, if my God had not
forced me to see with my own eyes, and to touch with my fingers, their
unspeakable corruptions.

Though I remained for some time longer, a sincere Catholic priest, I
dare say that God himself had just broken the strongest tie of my
affections and respect for that church.

It is true that several pillars remained, on which my robust faith in
the holiness and apostolicity of the church rested for a few years
longer, but I must here confess, to the glory of God, that the most
solid of those pillars had forever crumbled to pieces, when in the
monastery of Longueuil.

Long before my leaving the oblates, many influential priests of the
district of Montreal, had told me that my only chance of success, if I
wanted to continue my crusade against the demon of drunkenness, was to
work alone.

“Those monks are pretty good speakers on temperance,” they unanimously
said, “but they are nothing else than a band of comedians. After
delivering their eloquent tirades against the use of intoxicating
drinks, to the people, the first thing they do is to ask for a bottle of
wine, which soon disappears! What fruit can we expect from the preaching
of men who do not believe a word of what they say, and who are the
first, among themselves, to turn their own arguments into ridicule? It
is very different with you; you believe what you say; you are consistent
with yourself; your hearers feel it; your profound, scientific and
Christian conviction pass into them with an irresistible power.

“God visibly blesses your work with a marvellous success! Come to us,”
said the curates, “not as sent by the superior of the oblates, but as
sent by God himself, to regenerate Canada. Present yourself as a French
Canadian priest; a child of the people. That people will hear you with
more pleasure, and follow your advice with more perseverance.

“Let them know and feel that Canadian blood runs in your veins; that a
Canadian heart beats in your breast; continue to be in the future, what
you have been in the past. Let the sentiments of the true patriot be
united with those of a Catholic priest; and when you address the people
of Canada, the citadels of Satan will crumble everywhere before you in
the district of Montreal, as they have done in that of Quebec.”

At the head of the French Canadian curates, who thus spoke, was my
venerable personal friend and benefactor, the Rev. Mr. Brassard, curate
of Longueuil. He had not only been one of my most devoted friends and
teachers, when I was studying m the college of Nicolet, but had helped
me, with his own money, to go through the last four years of my studies,
when I was too poor to meet my collegiate expenses. No one had thought
more highly than he of the oblates of Mary Immaculate, when they first
settled in Canada. But their monastery was too near the parsonage for
their own benefit. His sharp eyes, high intelligence and integrity of
character, soon detected that there was more false varnish than pure
gold, on their glittering escutcheon. Several love scrapes between some
of the oblates and the pretty young ladies of his parish, and the long
hours of night spent by Father Allard with the nuns, established in his
village, under the pretext of teaching them grammar and arithmetic, had
filled him with disgust. But what had absolutely destroyed his
confidence, was the discovery of a long suspected iniquity, which at
first seemed incredible to him. Father Guigues, the superior, after his
nomination, but before his installation to the Bishopric of Ottawa, had
been closely watched, and at last discovered opening the letters of Mr.
Brassard, which, many times, had passed from the post office through his
hands. That criminal action came very near being brought before the
legal courts by Mr. Brassard; this was avoided only by Father Guigues
acknowledging his guilt, asking pardon in the most humiliating way,
before me and several other witnesses.

Long before I left the oblates, Mr. Brassard had said to me: “The
oblates are not the men you think them to be. I have been sorely
disappointed in them, and your disappointment will be no less than mine,
when your eyes are opened. I know that you will not remain long in their
midst. I offer you, in advance, the hospitality of my parsonage, when
your conscience calls you out of their monastery!”

I availed myself of this kind invitation on the evening of the 1st of
November, 1847.

The next week was spent in preparing the memoir which I intended to
present to my Lord Bourget, Bishop of Montreal, as an explanation of my
leaving the oblates. I knew that he was disappointed and displeased with
the step I had taken.

The curate of Chambly, Rev. Mr. Mignault, having gone to the bishop, to
express his joy that I had left the monks, in order to serve again the
church, in the ranks of secular clergy, had been very badly received.
The bishop had answered him: “Mr. Chiniquy may leave the oblates if he
likes; but he will be disappointed if he expects to work in my diocese.
I do not want his services.”

This did not surprise me. I knew that those monks had been imported by
him from France, and that they were pets of his.

When I entered their monastery, just eleven months before, he was just
starting for Rome, and expressed to me the pleasure he felt that I was
to join them.

My reasons, however, were so good, and the memoir I was preparing was so
full of undoubted facts and unanswerable arguments, that I was pretty
sure, not only to appease the wrath of my bishop, but to gain his esteem
more firmly than before. I was not disappointed in my expectation.

A few days later, I called upon his lordship, and was received very
coldly. He said: “I cannot conceal from you my surprise and pain, at the
rash step you have just taken. What a shame, for all your friends to see
your want of consistency and perseverance! Had you remained among those
good monks, your moral strength could have been increased more than
ten-fold. But you have stultified yourself in the eyes of the people, as
well as in mine; you have lost the confidence of your best friends, by
leaving, without good reasons, the company of such holy men. Some bad
rumors are already afloat against you, which give us to understand that
you are an unmanageable man, a selfish priest, whom the superiors have
been forced to turn out as a black sheep, whose presence could not be
any longer tolerated inside the peaceful walls of that holy monastery.”

Those words were uttered with an expression of bad feeling which told me
that I had not heard the tenth part of what he had in his heart.
However, as I came into his presence, prepared to hear all kinds of bad
reports, angry reproaches, and humiliating insinuations, I remained
perfectly calm. I had, in in advance, resolved to hear all his
unfriendly, insulting remarks, just as if they were addressed to another
person, a perfect stranger to me. The last three days had been spent in
prayers to obtain that favor. My God had evidently heard me; for the
storm passed over me, without exciting the least unpleasant feelings in
my soul.

I answered: “My lord: Allow me to tell you that, in taking the solemn
step of leaving the monastery of Longueuil, I was not afraid of what the
world would say or think of me. My only desire is to save my soul, and
give the rest of my life to my country and my God, in a more efficacious
way than I have yet done. The rumors which seem to trouble your lordship
about my supposed expulsion from the oblates, do not affect me in the
least, for they are without the least foundation. From the first to the
last day of my stay in that monastery, all the inmates, from the
superior, to the last one, have overwhelmed me with the most sincere
marks of kindness, and even of respect. If you had seen the tears which
were shed by the brothers, when I bade them adieu, you would have
understood that I never had more devoted and sincere friends than the
members of that religious community. Please read this important
document, and you will see that I have kept my good name during my stay
in that monastery.” I handed him the following testimonial letter which
the superior had given me when I left:

“I, the undersigned, superior of the noviciate of the oblates of Mary
Immaculate, at Longueuil, do certify that the conduct of Mr. Chiniquy,
when in our monastery, has been worthy of the sacred character which he
possesses, and after this year of solitude, he does not less deserve the
confidence of his brethren in the holy ministry than before. We wish,
moreover, to give our testimony of his persevering zeal in the cause of
temperance. We think that nothing was more of a nature to give a
character of stability to that admirable reform, and to secure its
perfect success, than the profound reflections and studies of Mr.
Chiniquy, when in the solitude of Longueuil, on the importance of that

                                               T. F. ALLARD,

                               _Superior of the Noviciate O. M. I._”

It was really most pleasant for me to see that every line of that
document, read by the bishop, was blotting out some of the stern and
unfriendly lines which were on his face, when speaking to me. Nothing
was more amiable than his manners, when he handed it back to me, saying:
“I thank God to see that you are still as worthy of my esteem and
confidence as when you entered that monastery. But would you be kind
enough to give me the real reasons why you have so abruptly separated
from the oblates?”

“Yes, my lord, I will give them to you: but your lordship knows that
there are things of such a delicate nature, that the lips of man shiver
and rebel when required to utter them. Such are some of the deplorable
things which I have to mention to your lordship. I have put those
reasons in these pages, which I respectfully request your lordship to
read,” and I handed him the _Memoir_, about thirty pages long, which I
had prepared.

The bishop read, very carefully, five or six pages, and said: “Are you
positive as to the exactness of what you write here?”

“Yes, my lord! They are as true and real as I am here.”

The bishop turned pale, and remained a few minutes silent, biting his
lips, and after a deep sigh, said: “Is it your intention to reveal those
sad mysteries to the world, or can we hope that you will keep that

“My lord,” I answered, “if your lordship and the oblates deal with me,
as I hope they will do, as with an honorable Catholic priest; if I am
kept in the position which an honest priest has a right to fill in the
Church, I consider myself bound, in conscience and honor, to keep those
things secret. But, if from any abuse, persecutions emanating from the
oblates, or any other party, I am obliged to give to the world the true
reasons of my leaving that monastic order, your lordship understands
that, in self-defence, I will be forced to make these revelations!”

“But the oblates cannot say a word, or do anything wrong against you,”
promptly answered the bishop, “after the honorable testimony they have
given you.”

“It is true, my lord, that I have no reason to fear anything from the
oblates!” I answered; “but those religious men are not the only ones who
might force me to defend myself. You know another who has my future
destinies in his hands. You know that my future course will be shaped on
his own toward me.”

With amiable smile, the bishop answered:

“I understand you. But I pledge myself that you have nothing to fear
from that quarter. Though I frankly tell you that I would have preferred
seeing you work as a member of that monastic institution, it may be that
it is more according to the will of God, that you should go among the
people, as sent by God, rather than by a superior, who might be your
inferior in the eyes of many, in that glorious temperance of which you
are evidently the blessed apostle in Canada. I am glad to tell you that
I have spoken of you to his holiness, and he requested me to give you a
precious medal, which bears his most perfect features, with a splendid
crucifix. His holiness has graciously attached 300 days indulgences for
every one who will take the pledge of temperance in kissing the feet of
that crucifix. Wait a moment,” added the bishop, “I will go and get them
and present them to you.”

When the bishop returned, holding in his hands those two infallible
tokens of the kind sentiments of the Pope towards me, I fell on my knees
to receive them and press them both to my lips with the utmost respect.
My feelings of joy and gratitude, in that happy hour, cannot be
expressed. I remained mute, for some time with surprise and admiration,
when holding those precious things which were coming to me, as I then
sincerely believed, from the very successor of Peter, and the true Vicar
of Christ himself. When handing me those sacred gifts, the bishop
addressed me the kindest words which a bishop can utter to his priest,
or a father to his beloved son. He granted me the power to preach and
hear confessions all over his diocese, and he dismissed me only after
having put his hand on my head and asked God to pour upon me His most
abundant benedictions everywhere I should go to work in the holy cause
of temperance in Canada.

                             CHAPTER XLIV.


Our adorable Saviour said: “What king, going to make war against another
king sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able, with ten
thousand, to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?”
(Luke 14: 31.) To follow that advice, how often had I fallen on my knees
before my God, to implore the necessary strength and wisdom to meet that
terrible enemy which was marching against me and my brethren! Many times
I was so discouraged by the sense of personal incapacity, that I came
near fainting and flying away at the sight of the power and resources of
the foe! But the dear Saviour’s voice has as many times strengthened me,
saying: “Fear not, I am with thee!” He seemed, at every hour, to whisper
in my ears: “Cheer up, I have overcome the world!” Trusting, then, in my
God, alone, for victory, I nevertheless understood that my duty was to
arm myself with the weapons which the learned and the wise men of the
past ages had prepared. I again studied the best works written on the
subject of wine, from the learned naturalist, Pleny, to the celebrated
Sir Astley Cooper. I not only compiled a multitude of scientific notes,
arguments and facts from these books, but prepared a “Manual of
Temperance,” which obtained so great a success for such a small country
as Canada, that it went through four editions of twenty-five thousand
copies in less than four years. But my best source of information and
wisdom was from letters received from Father Mathew, and my personal
interviews with him, when he visited the United States.

The first time I met him, in Boston, he told me how he regretted his
having, at first, too much relied on the excitement and enthusiasm of
the multitudes. “Those fits,” he said, “pass away as quickly as the
clouds of the storm; and they, too often, leave no more traces of their
passage. Persevere in the resolution you have taken in the beginning,
never to give the pledge, except when you give a complete course of
lectures on the damning effects of intoxicating drinks. How can we
expect that the people will forever give up beverages which they
honestly, though ignorantly, believe to be beneficial and necessary to
their body? The first thing we do we must demonstrate to them that these
alcoholic drinks are absolutely destructive of their temporal as well as
of their eternal life. So long as the priest and the people believe, as
they do to-day, that rum, brandy, wine, beer and cider give strength to
help man to keep up his health in the midst of his hard labors; that
they warm his blood in winter and cool it in the summer; all our
efforts, and even our successes, will be like the burning bundle of
straw, which makes a bright light, attracts the attention for a moment,
and leaves nothing but smoke and cinders.

“Hundreds of times, I have seen my Irish countrymen honestly taking the
pledge for life; but before a week had elapsed, they had obtained a
release from their priest, under the impression that they were unable to
earn their own living and support their families, without drinking those
detestable drugs. Very few priests in Ireland have taken the pledge, and
still fewer have kept it. In New York, only two Irish priests have given
up their intoxicating glass, and the very next week I met both of them
drunk! Archbishop Hughes turned my humble efforts into ridicule, before
his priests, in my own presence, and drank a glass of brandy to my
health with them at his own table, to mock me. And here in Boston the
drinking habits of the Bishop and his priest are such, that I have been
forced, through self-respect, to quietly withdraw from his palace and
come to this hotel. This bad conduct paralyzes and kills me.”

In saying these last words, that good and noble man burst into a fit of
convulsive sobs and tears; his breast was heaving under his vain efforts
to suppress his sighs. He concealed his face in his hands, and for
nearly ten minutes he could not utter a word.

The spectacle of the desolation of a man whom God had raised so high,
and so much blessed, and the tears of one who had himself dried up so
many tears, and brought so much joy, peace and comfort, to so many
desolate homes, has been one of the most solemn lessons my God ever gave
me. I then learned more clearly than ever, that all the glory of the
world is _Vanity_, and that one of the greatest acts of folly is to
rely, for happiness, on the praises of men, and the success of our own
labors. For who had received more merited praises, and who had seen his
own labors more blessed by God and man, than Father Mathew, whom all
ages will call “The Apostle of Temperance of Ireland?”

My gratitude to Mr. Brassard caused me to choose his parish, near
Montreal, for the first grand battle-field of the impending struggle
against the enemy of my God and my country; and the first week of Advent
determined upon for the opening of the campaign. But the nearer the day
chosen to draw the sword against the modern Goliath the more I felt the
solemnity of my position, and the more I needed the help of Him on whom
alone we can trust for light and strength.

I had determined never to lecture on temperance in any place, without
having previously inquired, from the most reliable sources, about:

1st. The number of deaths and accidents caused by drunkenness the last
fifteen or twenty years.

2d. The number of orphans and widows made by drunkenness.

3d. The number of rich families ruined, and the number of poor families
made poorer by the same cause.

4th. The approximate sum of money expended by the people during the last
twenty years.

As the result of my inquiries, I learned that during that short period,
that 32 men had lost their lives when drunk; and through their
drunkenness 25 widows and 37 orphans had been left in the lowest degree
of poverty; 72 rich families had been entirely ruined and turned out of
their once happy homes by the demon of intemperance, and 90 kept poor.
More than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) had been paid in
cash, without counting the loss of time, for the intoxicating beverages
drank by the people of Longueuil during the last twenty years.

For three days, I spoke twice a day to crowded houses. My first text
was: “Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in
the cup: when it moveth itself aright. At last, it biteth like a serpent
and stingeth like an adder” (Prov. 33: 31-32).

The first day I showed how alcoholic beverages were biting like a
serpent and stinging like an adder, by destroying the lungs, the brains,
and the liver; the nerves and the muscles; the blood and the very life
of man.

The second day I proved that intoxicating drinks were the most
implacable and cruel enemies of the fathers, the mothers, the children;
of the young and the old; of the rich and the poor; of the farmers, the
merchants and the mechanics; the parish and the country.

The third day I proved, clearly, that those intoxicating liquors were
the enemy of intelligence, and the soul of man; the gospel of Christ and
of His holy church; the enemy of all the rights of man and the laws of

My conclusion was, that we were all bound to raise our hands against
that gigantic and implacable foe, whose arm was raised against every one
of us. I presented the thrilling tableau of our friends, near and dear
relations, and neighbors, fallen and destroyed around us; the thousands
of orphans and widows, whose fathers and husbands had been slaughtered
by strong drink. I brought before their minds the true picture of the
starving children, the destitute widows and mothers, whose life had to
be spent in tears, ignominy, desolation and unspeakable miseries, from
the daily use of strong drink. I was not half through my address when
tears flowed from every eye. The cries and sobs so much drowned my
voice, that I had several times to stop speaking for a few minutes.

Then holding the crucifix, blessed and given to me by the Pope, I showed
what Christ had suffered on the cross for sins engendered by the use of
intoxicating drinks. And I requested them to listen to the voices of the
thousands of desolate orphans, widows, wives, and mothers, coming from
every corner of the land; the voices of their priests and their church;
the voices of the angels, the Virgin Mary and the saints in heaven; the
voice of Jesus Christ their Saviour, calling them to put an end to the
deluge of evils and unspeakable iniquities caused by the use of those
cursed drinks; “for,” said I, “those liquors are cursed by millions of
mothers and children, widows and orphans, who owe to them a life of
shame, tears, and untold desolation. They are cursed by the Virgin Mary
and the angels who are the daily witnesses of the iniquities with which
they deluge the world.

“They are cursed by the millions of souls which they have plunged into
eternal misery.

“They are cursed by Jesus Christ, from whose hands they have wrenched
untold millions of souls, for whom he died on Calvary.”

Every one of those truths, incontrovertible for Roman Catholics, were
falling with irresistible power on that multitude of people. The
distress and consternation were so profound and universal, that they
reacted, at last, on the poor speaker, who several times could not
express what he himself felt except with his tears and his sobs.

When I hoped that, by the great mercy of God, all resistances were
subdued, the obstacles removed, the intelligences enlightened, the wills
conquered, I closed the address, which had lasted more than two hours,
by an ardent prayer to God, to grant us the grace to give up forever the
use of those cursed poisons, and I requested every one to repeat with
me, in their hearts, the solemn pledge of temperance in the following

“Adorable and dear Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to take
away my sins and save my guilty soul, for thy glory, the good of my
brethren and of my country, as well as for my own good, I promise, with
thy help, never to drink, nor to give to anybody any intoxicating
beverages; except when ordered by an honest physician.”

Our merciful God had visibly blessed the work and his unprofitable
servant. The success was above our sanguine expectations. Two thousand
three hundred citizens of Longueuil enrolled under the banners of
temperance. Instead of inviting them to sign any written pledge, I asked
them to come to the foot of the altar and kiss the crucifix I was
holding, as the public and solemn pledge of their engagement.

The first thing done by the majority of the intelligent farmers of
Longueuil, on the return from the church, was to break their decanters
and their barrels, and spill the last drop of the accursed drink on the

Seven days later, there were eighty requests in my hands to go and show
the ravages of alcoholic liquors to many other parishes.

Boucherville, Chambly, Varennes, St. Hyacinthe, etc., Three Rivers, the
great city of Montreal, with all the priests of St. Sulpice, the
parishes along the Chambly river, Laprairie, Lachine. In a word, the
vast diocese of Montreal, Three Rivers and St. Hyacinthe, one after the
other, raised the war cry against the usages of intoxicating drinks,
with a unanimity and determination which seemed to be more miraculous
than natural.

During the four years, I gave 1,800 public addresses, in 200 parishes,
with the same fruits, and enrolled more than 200,000 people under the
banners of temperance. Everywhere, the taverns, the distilleries and
breweries were shut, and their owners forced to take other trades to
make a living; not on account of any stringent law, but by the simple
fact that the whole people had ceased drinking their beverages, after
having been fully persuaded that they were injurious to their bodies,
opposed to their happiness, and ruinous to their souls.

The convictions were so unanimous and strong on that subject, that, in
many places, the last evening I spent in their midst, the merchants used
to take all their barrels of rum, beer, wine and brandy to the public
squares, make a pyramid of them, to which I was invited to set fire. The
whole population, attracted by the novelty and sublimity of that
spectacle, would then fill the air with their cries and shouts of joy.
When the husbands and wives, the parents and children of the redeemed
drunkards rent the air with their cries of joy at the destruction of
their enemy, and the fire was in full blaze, one of the merchants would
give me an ax to stave in the last barrel of rum. After the last drop
was emptied, I usually stood on it to address some parting words to the

Such a spectacle baffles any description. The brilliant lights of the
pine and cedar trees, mixed with all kinds of inflammable materials
which every one had been invited to bring, changed the darkest hour of
that time into the brightest of days. The flames, fed by the fiery
liquids, shot forth their tongues of fire towards Heaven, as if to
praise their great God, whose merciful hand had brought the marvellous
reformation we were celebrating. The thousand faces, illuminated by the
blaze, beamed with joy. The noise of the cracking barrels, mixed with
that of a raging fire; the cries and shouts of that multitude, with the
singing of the Te Deum, formed a harmony which filled every soul with
sentiments of unspeakable happiness. But where shall I find words to
express my feelings, when I had finished speaking! The mothers and wives
to whom our blessed temperance had given back a loving husband and some
dear children, were crowding around me with their families and redeemed
ones, to thank me, press my hands to their lips, and water them with
their grateful tears.

The only thing which marred that joy were the exaggerated honors and
unmerited praises with which I was really overwhelmed.

I was, at first, forced to receive an ovation from the curates and
people of Longueuil, and the surrounding parishes, when they presented
to me my portrait, painted by the artist Hamel, which filled me with
confusion, for I felt so keenly that I did not deserve such honors! But
it was still worse at the end of May, 1849. Judge Mondelet was deputed
by the bishop and the priests and the city of Montreal, accompanied by
15,000 people, to present me with a gold medal, and a gift of $400.

But the greatest surprise my God had in store for me, was kept for the
end of June, 1850. At that time, I was deputed by 40,000 teetotalers, to
present a petition to the Parliament of Toronto, in order to make the
rumsellers responsible for the ravages caused to the families of the
poor drunkards to whom they had sold their poisonous drugs. The House of
Commons having kindly appointed a committee of ten members to help me to
frame that bill, it was an easy matter to have it pass through the three
branches. I was present when they discussed and accepted that bill.
Napoleon was not more happy when he won the battle of Austerlitz, than I
was when I heard that my pet bill had become a law, and that hereafter,
the innocent victims of the drunken father or husband would receive an
indemnity from the landsharks who were fattening on their poverty and
unspeakable miseries.

But what was my surprise and consternation, when, immediately after the
passing of that bill, the Hon. Dewitt rose and proposed that a public
expression of gratitude should be given me by Parliament, under the form
of a large pecuniary gift!

His speech seemed to me filled with such exaggerated eulogiums, that I
would have been tempted to think it was mockery, had I not known that
the Protestant gentleman was one of my most sincere friends. He was
followed by the Honorables Baldwin and Lafontaine, Prime Minister at the
time, and half a dozen other members, who went still further into what I
so justly consider the regions of exaggeration.

It seemed to me bordering on blasphemy to attribute to Chiniquy, a
reformation which was so clearly the work of my merciful God.

The speeches on that subject lasted two hours, and were followed by a
unanimous vote to present me with £500, as a public testimony of the
gratitude of the people for my labors in the temperance reform of
Canada. Previous to that, the bishops of Quebec and Montreal had given
me tokens of their esteem which, though unmerited, had been better
appreciated by me.

When in May, 1850, the Archbishop of Quebec, my Lord Turgeon, sent the
Rev. Charles Baillargeon, curate of Quebec, to Rome, to become his
successor, he advised him to come to Longueuil and get a letter from me,
which he might present to the Pope, with a volume of my “Temperance
Manual.” I complied with his request, and wrote to the Pope. Some months
later, I received the following lines:

                                              ROME, AUG. 10TH, 1850.


SIR AND DEAR FRIEND:—Monday the 12th, was the first opportunity given me
to have a private audience with the Sovereign Pontiff. I presented him
your book, with your letter, which he received, I will not say with that
goodness which is so eminently characteristic of him, but with all
special marks of satisfaction and approbation, while charging me to
state to you that he accords his apostolic benediction to you and to the
holy work of temperance you preach. I consider myself happy to have had
to offer on your behalf, to the Vicar of Jesus Christ, a book which,
after it had done so much good to my countrymen, had been able to draw
from his venerable lips, such solemn words of approbation of the
temperance society and of blessings on those who are its apostles; and
it is also, from my heart, a very sweet pleasure to transmit them to

                                      Your Friend,

                                              CHARLES BAILLARGEON,


A short time before I received that letter from Rome, my Lord Bourget,
Bishop of Montreal, had officially given me the title of “Apostle of
Temperance;” in the following documents, which, on account of their
importance, the readers will probably like to have its original Latin:


“UNIVERSIS præsentes litteras inspecturis, notum facimus et attestamur
Venerabilem Carolum Chiniquy, Temperantiæ Apostolum, Nostræ Diocœcis
Sacerdotem, Nobis optime notum esse, exploratumque habere illum vitam
laudabilem et professione Ecclesiastica consonam agere, nullisque
ecclesiasticis censuris, saltem quæ ad nostram devenerunt Notitiam
innodiatum: qua propter, per viscera Misericordiæ Dei Nostri, obsecramus
omnes et Singulos Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, cœteras que Ecclesiæ
dignitates ad quos ipsum declinare contingent, ut eum, pro Christi
Amore, benigne tractare dignentur, et quando cumque ab eo fuerint
requisiti, Sacrum Missæ Sacrificium ipsi celebrare, nec non alia munia
Ecclesiastica, et pietatis opera exercere permittant, paratos nos ad
similia et majora exhibentes: In quorum fidem, præsentes litteras signo
sigilloque nostris, ac Secretarii Episopatus nostri subscriptione
communitas expediri mandavimus Marianopoli, in [OE]dibus Nostris Beati
Jacobi, anno millesimo quinquagesimo. Die vero mensis Junii Sexta.”

                                   “✠IG. EPUS. MARIANOPOLITANENSIS.”




To all who would inspect the present letters, we make known and certify
that the venerable Charles Chiniquy, “Apostle of Temperance,” Priest of
our Diocese, is very well known to us, and we regard him as proved, to
lead a praiseworthy life, and agreeable to his ecclesiastical
profession. Through the tender mercies of our God, he is under no
ecclesiastical censures, at least, which have come to our knowledge.

We entreat each and all, Archbishop, Bishop and other dignitaries of the
church, to whom it may happen that he may go, that they, for the love of
Christ, entertain him kindly and courteously, and as often as they may
be asked by him, permit him to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the mass,
and exercise other ecclesiastical privileges of piety. Being ourselves
ready to grant him these and other greater privileges. In proof of this
we have ordered the present letters to be prepared under our sign and
seal, and with subscription of our secretary, in our palace of the
blessed James, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, on the
sixth day of the month of June.

                                  ✠IGNATIUS. BISHOP OF MARIANOPOLIS.

By order of the most illustrious and most Reverend Bishops of
Marianopolis, D. D.

                                          J. O. PARE, Canon,


No words from my pen can give an idea of the distress and shame I felt
when these unmerited praises and public honors began to flow upon me.
For, when the siren voice of my natural pride was near to deceive me,
there was the noise of a sudden storm in my conscience, crying with a
louder voice: “Chiniquy, thou art a sinner, unworthy of such honors.”

This conflict made me very miserable. I said to myself. “Are those great
successes due to my merits, my virtues and my eloquence? No! Surely No!
They are due to the great mercy of God for my dear country. Will I not
forever be put to shame if I consent to these flattering voices which
come to me from morning till night, to make me forget that to my God
alone, and not to me, must be given the praise and glory of that
marvellous reform?”

These praises were coming every day, thicker and thicker, through the
thousand trumpets of the press, as well as through the addresses daily
presented to me from the places which had been so thoroughly reformed.

Those unmerited honors were bestowed on me by multitudes who came in
carriages and on horseback, bearing flags, with bands of music, to
receive me on the borders of their parishes, where the last parishes had
just brought me with the same kind of ovations.

Sometimes, the roads were lined on both sides, by thousands and
thousands of maple, pine or spruce trees, which they had carried from
distant forests, in spite of all my protests.

How many times the curates, who were sitting by me in the best
carriages, drawn by the most splendid horses, asked me: “Why do you look
so sad, when you see all these faces beaming with joy?” I answered, “I
am sad, because these unmerited honors these good people do me, seems to
be the shortest way the Devil has found to destroy me.”

“But the reform you have brought about is so admirable and so
complete—the good which is done to the individuals, as well as to the
whole country, is so great and universal, that the people want to show
you their gratitude.”

“Do you know, my dear friends,” I answered, “that that marvellous change
is too great to be the work of man? Is it not evidently the work of God?
To Him, and Him alone, then we ought to give the praise and the glory.”

My constant habit, after these days of ovation, was to pass a part of
the night in prayer to God, to the Virgin Mary, and to all the saints in
heaven, to prevent me from being hurt by these worldly honors. It was my
custom then to read the passion of Jesus Christ, from his triumphant
entry into Jerusalem to his death on the cross, in order to prevent this
shining dust from adhering to my soul. There was a verse of the gospel,
which I used to repeat very often in the midst of those exhibitions of
the vanities of this world: “What is a man profited if he should gain
the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

Another source of serious anxiety for me, was then coming from the large
sums of money constantly flowing from the hands of my too kind and
grateful reformed countrymen into mine.

It was very seldom that the public expression of gratitude presented me
in their rhetorical addresses were not accompanied by a gift of from $50
to $500, according to the means and importance of the place. Those sums
multiplied by the 365 days of the year would have soon made of me one of
the richest men of Canada.

Had I been able to trust to my own strength against the hungers of
riches, I should have been able, easily, to accumulate a sum of at least
$70,000, with which I might have done a great amount of good.

But I confess, that when in the presence of God, I went to the bottom of
my heart, to see if it were strong enough to carry such a glittering
weight, I found it, by far, too weak. I knew so many who, though
evidently stronger than I was, had fallen on the way and perished under
too heavy burden of their treasures, that I feared for myself at the
sight of such unexpected and immense fortune. Besides, when only 18
years old, my venerable and dear benefactor, the Rev. Mr. Leprohon,
director of the College of Nicolet, had told me a thing I never had
forgotten: “Chiniquy,” he said, “I am sure you will be what we call a
successful man in the world. You will easily make your way among your
contemporaries; and, consequently, it is probable that you will have
many opportunities of becoming rich. But when the silver and gold flow
into your hands, do not pile and keep it. For, if you set your
affections on it, you will be miserable in this world and damned in the
next. You must not do like the fattened hogs, which give their grease
only after their death. Give it while you are living. Then you will not
be blessed only by God and man, but you will be blessed by your own
conscience. You will live in peace and die in joy.”

These solemn warnings from one of the wisest and best friends God had
ever given me when young, has never gone out of my mind. I found them
corroborated in every page of that Bible which I loved so much and
studied every day. I found them also written, by God, on my heart. I
then, on my knees, took the resolution, without making an absolute vow
of it, to keep only what I wanted for my daily support and give the rest
to the poor, or some Christian or patriotic object. I kept my promise.
The £500 given me by parliament did not remain three weeks in my hands.
I never put a cent in Canada in the vaults of any bank; and when I left
for Illinois, in the fall of 1851, instead of taking with me $70,000, as
it would have been very easy, had I been so minded, I had hardly $1,500
in hand, the price of a part of my library, which was too heavy to be
carried so far away.

                              CHAPTER XLV.


The 15th of August, 1850, I preached in the Cathedral of Montreal, on
the blessed Virgin Mary’s power in heaven, when interceding for sinners.
I was sincerely devoted to the Virgin Mary. Nothing seemed to me more
natural than to pray to her, and rely on her protection. The object of
my sermon was to show that Jesus Christ cannot refuse any of the
petitions presented to him by his mother; that she has always obtained
the favors she asked her Son, Jesus, to grant to her devotees. Of
course, my address was more sentimental than scriptural, as it is the
style among the priests of Rome. But I was honest; and I sincerely
believed what I said.

“Who among you, my dear brethren,” I said to the people, “will refuse
any of the reasonable requests of a beloved mother? Who will break and
sadden her loving heart when, with supplicating voice and tears, she
presents to you a petition which it is in your power, nay, to your
interests, to grant? For my own part, were my beloved mother still
living, I would prefer to have my right hand crushed and burned into
cinders, to have my tongue cut, than to say, No! to my mother, asking me
any favor which it was in my power to bestow.

“These are the sentiments which the God of Sinai wanted to engrave in
the very hearts of humanity, when giving his laws to Moses, in the midst
of lightning and thunders, and these are the sentiments which the God of
the Gospel wanted to impress on our souls by the shedding of his blood
on Calvary. These sentiments of filial respect and obedience to our
mothers, Christ Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary, practiced to
perfection. Although God and man, he was still in perfect submission to
the will of his mother, of which he makes a law to each of us.

“The Gospel says, in reference to his parents, Joseph and Mary, ‘He was
subject unto them.’ (Luke 2:51.) What a grand and shining revelation we
have in these few short words: ‘Jesus was subject unto Mary!’ Is it not
written in the same Gospel, that ‘Jesus is the same to-day, as he was
yesterday, and will be forever?’ He has not changed. He is still the Son
of Mary, as he was when only twelve years old.

“This is why our holy Church, which is the pillar and foundation of
Truth, invites you and me, to-day, to put an unbounded confidence in her
intercession. Remembering that Jesus has always granted the petitions
presented to him by his divine mother, let us put our petitions in her
hands, if we want to receive the favors we are in need of.

“The second reason why we must all go to Mary, for the favors we want
from heaven, is that we are sinners—rebels in the sight of God. Jesus
Christ is our Saviour. Yes! but he is also our God, infinitely just,
infinitely holy. He hates our sins with an infinite hatred. He abhors
our rebellions with an infinite, a godly hatred. If we had loved and
served him faithfully we might go to him, not only with the hope, but
with the assurance of being welcomed. But we have forgotten and offended
Him; we have trampled His laws under our feet; we have joined with those
who nailed Him on the cross, pierced his heart with the lance, and shed
His blood to the last drop. We belong to the crowd which mocked at His
tortures, and insulted Him at His death. How can we dare to look at Him
and meet His eyes? Must we not tremble in his presence? Must we not fear
before that Lion of the tribe of Judah whom we have wounded and nailed
to the cross?

“Where is the rebel who does not shiver, when he is dragged to the feet
of the mighty Prince against whom he has drawn the sword? What will he
do if he wants to obtain pardon? Will he go himself and speak to that
offended Majesty? No! But he looks around the throne to see if he can
find some one of the great officers and friends, or some powerful and
influential person, through whose intercession he can obtain pardon. If
he finds any such, he goes immediately to him, puts his petitions into
their hands, and they go to the foot of the throne to plead for the
rebel, and the favor which would have been indignantly refused to the
guilty subject, had he dared to speak himself, is granted, when it is
asked by a faithful officer, a kind friend, a dear sister or a beloved

“This is why our holy church, speaking through her infallible supreme
pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, Gregory XVI., has told us, in the most
solemn manner, that ‘Mary is the only hope of sinners.’

Winding up my arguments, I added: “We are those insolent, ungrateful
rebels. Jesus is the King of Kings against whom we have, a thousand
times, risen in rebellion. He has a thousand good reasons to refuse our
petitions, if we are impudent enough to speak to Him ourselves. But look
at the right hand of the offended King, and behold his dear and divine
mother. She is your mother also. For it is to every one of us, as well
as to John, that Christ said on the cross, speaking of Mary, ‘Behold
your Mother.’

“Jesus has never refused any favor asked by that Queen of Heaven. He
cannot rebuke His Mother. Let us go to her; let us ask her to be our
advocate and plead our cause, and she will do it. Let us suppliantly
request her to ask for our pardon, and she will get it.”

I then sincerely took these glittering sophisms for the true religion of
Christ, as all the priests and people of Rome are bound to take them
to-day, and presented them with all the earnestness of an honest though
deluded mind.

My sermon had made a visible and deep impression. Bishop Prince,
coadjutor of my Lord Bourget, who was among my hearers, thanked and
congratulated me for the good effect it would have on the people, and I
sincerely thought I had said what was true and right before God.

But when night came, before going to bed, I took my Bible as usual,
knelt down before God, in the neat little room I occupied in the
bishop’s palace, and read the twelfth chapter of Matthew, with a praying
heart and a sincere desire to understand it, and be benefitted thereby.
Strange to say! when I reached the 40th verse, I felt a mysterious awe,
as if I had entered for the first time, into a new and most holy land.
Though I had read that verse, and the following, many times, they came
to my mind with a freshness and newness as if I had never seen them
before. There was a lull in my mind for a few moments. Slowly, and with
breathless attention, supreme veneration and respect, I read the history
of that visit of Mary to the sacred spot where Jesus, my Saviour, was
standing in the midst of the crowd, feeding his happy hearers with the
bread of life.

When I contemplated that blessed Mary, whom I loved, as so tenderly
approaching the house where she was to meet her divine Son, who had been
so long absent from her, my heart suddenly throbbed in sympathy with
hers. I felt as if sharing her unspeakable joy at every step which
brought her nearer to her adorable and beloved son. What tears had she
not shed when Jesus had left her alone, in her poor, now, and cheerless
home, that He might preach the gospel in the distant places, where his
Father had sent Him! With Jesus in her humble home, was she not more
happy than the greatest queen on her throne! Did she not possess a
treasure more precious than all the world! How sweet to her ears were
the words she had heard from His lips!

How lovely the face of the most beautiful among the sons of men! How
happy she must have felt when she heard that he was, now, near enough to
allow her to go and see Him! How quick were her steps! How cheerful and
interesting the meeting! How the beloved Saviour will repay by His
respectful and divine love to his mother, the trouble and the fatigue of
her long journey! My heart beat with joy at the privilege of witnessing
that interview, and of hearing the respectful words Jesus would address
to His mother!

With heart and soul throbbing with these feelings, I slowly read,

“While he talked to the people, behold His mother and His brethren,
stood without desiring to speak with Him.

“Then one said unto Him: Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand
without desiring to speak with thee.

“But he answered, and said unto him that told Him: Who is my mother? Who
=are= my brethren?

“And he stretched forth His hands towards His disciples, and said:
Behold my mother and brethren!

“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the
same is my brother, sister and mother.”

I had hardly finished reading the last verse, when big drops of sweat
began to flow from my face, my heart beat with a tremendous speed, and I
came near fainting; I sat in my large armchair, expecting every minute
to fall on the floor. Those alone who have stood several hours at the
fall of the marvellous Niagara, heard the thundering noise of its
waters, and felt the shaking of the rocks under their feet, can have any
idea of what I felt in that hour of agony.

A voice, the voice of my conscience, whose thunders were like the voice
of a thousand Niagaras, was telling me: “Do you not see that you have
preached a sacrilegious lie, this morning, when, from the pulpit, you
said to your ignorant and deluded people, that Jesus always granted the
petitions of His mother, Mary? Are you not ashamed to deceive yourself,
and deceive your poor countrymen with such silly falsehoods?”

Reader, read again these words! and understand that, far from granting
all the petitions of Mary, Jesus has always, except when a child, said
“No!” to her requests. He has always rebuked her, when she asked him
anything in public! Here she comes to ask Him a favor before the whole
people. It is the easiest, the most natural favor that a mother ever
asked of her son. It is a favor that a son has never refused to a
mother. He answers by a rebuke, a public and solemn rebuke! Is it
through want of love and respect for Mary that He gave her that rebuke?
No! Never a son loved and respected a mother as He did. But it was a
solemn protest against the blasphemous worship of Mary, as practiced in
the Church of Rome.

I felt, at once, so bewildered and confounded, by the voice, which was
shaking my very bones, that I thought it was the devil’s voice; and, for
a moment, I feared less I was possessed of a demon.

“My God,” I cried, “have mercy on me! Come to my help! Save me from my
enemy’s hands!”

As quick as lightning, the answer came: “It is not Satan’s voice you
hear. It is I, thy Saviour and thy God, who speaks to thee. Read what
Mark, Luke, and John tell you about the way I received =her= petitions,
from the very day I began to work, and speak publicly as the Son of God,
and the Saviour of the world.”

These cries of my awakening intelligence were sounding in my ears for
more than one hour, before I consented to obey them. At last, with a
trembling hand, and a distressed mind, I took my Bible and read in St.
Mark, chapter iii: verses 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35: “There came then his
brethren and his mother, and standing without, sent unto him, and
calling him. And the multitude sat about him and they said unto him:
Behold thy mother and thy brethren without, sending for thee. And he
answered them, saying: who is my mother and my brethren?

“And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said: Behold
my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the
same is my brother, my sister, and my mother.”

The reading of these words acted upon me as the shock of a sword going
through and through the body of one who had already been mortally
wounded. I felt absolutely confounded. The voice continued to sound in
my ears: “Do you not see you have presented a blasphemous lie, every
time you said that Jesus always granted the petitions of his mother?”

I remained again, a considerable time, bewildered, not knowing how to
fight down thoughts which were so mercilessly shaking my faith, and
demolishing the respect I had kept, till then, for my church. After more
than half an hour of vain struggle to silence these thoughts, it came to
my mind that St. Luke had narrated this interview of Mary and Jesus in a
very different way. I opened the holy book again to read the eighth
chapter. But how shall I find words to express my distress when I saw
that the rebuke of Jesus Christ was expressed in a still sterner way by
St. Luke than by the two other evangelists!

“Then came to him his mother and brethren, and could not come at him for
the press.

“And it was told him: Thy mother and thy brethren stand without,
desiring to see thee.

“And he answered, and said unto them: my mother and brethren are those
who will hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke viii: 19, 20, 21.)

It then seemed to me as if those three Evangelists said to me: “How dare
you preach, with your apostate and lying church, that Jesus has always
granted all the petitions of Mary, when we were ordered by God to write
and proclaim that all the public petitions she had presented to him,
when working as the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, had been
answered by a public rebuke?”

What could I answer? How could I stand the rebuke of these three
Evangelists? Trembling from head to foot, I fell upon my knees, crying
to the Virgin Mary to come to my help and pray that I might not succumb
to this temptation, and lose my faith and confidence in her. But the
more I prayed, the louder the voice seemed to say: “How dare you preach
that Jesus has always granted the petitions of Mary, when we tell you
the contrary by the order of God himself?”

My desolation became such, that a cold sweat covered my whole frame
again; my head was aching, and I think I would have fainted had I not
been released by a torrent of tears. In my distress, I cried: “Oh! my
God! my God! look down upon me in thy mercy; strengthen my faith in thy
Holy Church! Grant me to follow her voice and obey her commands with
more and more fidelity; she is thy beloved church. She cannot err. She
cannot be an apostate church.” But in vain I wept and cried for help. My
whole being was filled with dismay and terror from the voices of the
three witnesses, who were crying louder and louder.

“How dare you preach that Christ has always granted the petitions of
Mary, when the gospels, written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost,
tell you so clearly the contrary?”

When I had, in vain, wept, prayed, cried, and struggled from ten at
night till three in the morning; the miraculous change of water into
wine, by Christ, at the request of his mother, suddenly came to my mind.
I felt a momentary relief from my terrible distress, by the hope that I
could prove to myself that, in this case the Saviour had obeyed the
demands of his holy mother. I eagerly opened my Bible again and read:

“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana, of Galilee, and the
mother of Jesus was there.

“And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when
they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said unto him, they have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is
not yet come.

“His mother saith unto the servants: whatsoever he saith unto you, do
it.” (John ii: 2.)

Till that hour, I had always accepted that text in the sense given in
the Church of Rome, as proving that the very first miracle of Jesus
Christ was wrought at the request of his mother. And I was preparing
myself to answer the three mysterious witnesses: “Here is the proof that
you are three devils, and not three evangelists, when you tell me that
Jesus has never granted the petitions of his mother, except when a
child. Here is the glorious title of Mary to my confidence in her
intercession; here is the seal of her irresistible superhuman power over
her divine son; here is the undeniable evidence that Jesus cannot refuse
anything asked by his divine mother!” But when, armed with these
explanations of the church, I was preparing to meet what Matthew, St.
Mark, and St. Luke had just told me, a sudden distressing thought came
to my mind; and this thought was as if I heard the three witnesses
saying: “How can you be so blind as not to see that instead of being a
favor granted to Mary, this first miracle is the first opportunity
chosen by Christ to protest against her intercession. It is a solemn
warning to Mary never to ask anything from him, and to us, never to put
any confidence in her requests. Here, Mary, evidently full of compassion
for those poor people, who had not the means to provide the wine for the
guests who had come with Jesus, wants her Son to give them the wine they
wanted. How does Christ answer her requests? He answers it by a rebuke,
a most solemn rebuke. Instead of saying: “Yes, mother, I will do as you
wish,” he says, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” which clearly
means “Woman, thou hast nothing to do in this matter. I do not want you
to speak to me of the bridegroom’s distress. It was my desire to come to
their help and show my divine power. I do not want you to put yourself
between the wants of humanity and me. I do not want the world to believe
that you had any right, any power or influence over me, or more
compassion on the miseries of man than I have. Is it not to me, and me
alone, the lost children of Adam must look to be saved? Woman, what have
I to do with thee in my great work of saving this perishing world?
Nothing, absolutely nothing. I know what I have to do to fulfill, not
your will, but my Father’s will!”

This is what Jesus meant by the solemn rebuke given to Mary. He wanted
to banish all idea of her ever becoming an intercessor between man and
Christ. He wanted to protest against the doctrine of the Church of Rome,
that it is through Mary that He will bestow His favor, to His disciples,
and Mary understood it well when she said, “Whatsoever He saith unto
you, do it.” Never come to me, but go to Him. “For there is no other
name given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Every one of these thoughts passed over my distressed soul like a
hurricane. Every sentence was like a flash of lightning in a dark night.
I was like the poor dismantled ship suddenly overtaken by the tempest in
the midst of the ocean.

Till the dawn of day, I felt powerless against the efforts of God to
pull down and demolish the huge fortress of sophisms, falsehoods,
idolatries, which Rome had built around my soul. What a fearful thing it
is to fight against the Lord!

During the long hours of that night, my God was contending with me, and
I was struggling against Him. But though brought down to the dust; I was
not conquered. My understanding was very nearly convinced; but my
rebellious and proud will was not yet ready to yield.

The chains by which I was tied to the feet of the idols of Rome, though
rudely shaken, were not yet broken. However, to say the truth, my views
about the worship of Mary had received a severe shock, and were much
modified. That night had been sleepless; and in the morning my eyes were
red, and my face swollen with my tears.

When, at breakfast, Bishop Prince, who was sitting by me, asked: “Are
you sick? Your eyes are as if you had wept all night?”

“Your lordship is not mistaken, I have wept the whole night!” I

“Wept all the night!” replied the bishop. “Might I know the cause of
your sorrow?”

“Yes, my lord. You can, you must know it. But please come to your room.
What I have to say is of such a private and delicate nature, that I want
to be alone with your lordship, when opening my mind to the cause of my

Bishop Prince, then coadjutor of Bishop Bourget and late bishop of St.
Hyacinthe, where he became insane in 1858 and died in 1860, had been my
personal friend from the time I entered the college at Nicolet, where he
was professor of Rhetoric. He very often came to confession to me, and
had taken a lively interest in my labors on temperance.

When alone with him, I said: “My lord, I thank you for your kindness in
allowing me to unburden my heart to you. I have passed the most horrible
night of my life. Temptations against our holy religion such as I never
had before, have assailed me all night. Your lordship remembers the kind
words you addressed to me, yesterday, about the sermon I preached. But,
last night, very different things came to my mind, which have changed
the joys of yesterday into the most unspeakable desolation. You
congratulated me, yesterday, on the manner I had proved that Jesus had
always granted the request of His mother, and that He cannot refuse any
of her petitions. The whole night it has been told to me that this was a
blasphemous lie, and from the Holy Scriptures themselves, I have been
nearly convinced that you and I, nay, that our holy church, are
preaching a blasphemous falsehood every time we proclaim the doctrines
of the worship of Mary as the gospel truth.”

The poor bishop, thunderstruck by this simple and honest declaration,
quickly answered: “I hope you have not yielded to these temptations, and
that you will not become a Protestant as so many of your enemies whisper
to each other.”

“It is my hope, my lord, that our merciful God will keep me, to the end
of my life, a dutiful and faithful priest of our holy church. However, I
cannot conceal from your lordship that my faith was terribly shaken,
last night.

“As a bishop, your portion of light and wisdom must be greater than
mine. I hope you will grant me some of the lights which still brightly
shine before your eyes: I have never been so much in need of the
counsels of your piety and the help of your spiritual knowledge as
to-day. Please help me to come out from the intellectual slough in which
I spent the night.

“Your lordship has congratulated me for having said that Jesus Christ
has always granted the petitions of Mary. Please tell me how you
reconcile that proposition with this text,” and I handed him the gospel
of Matthew: pointing to the last five verses of the twelfth chapter, I
requested him to read them aloud.”

He read them and said: “Now what do you want from me?”

“My lord, I want respectfully to ask you how can we say that Jesus has
always granted the requests of His mother, when this evangelist tells us
that He never granted her petitions, when acting in His capacity of
Saviour of the world.

“Must we not fear that we proclaim a blasphemous falsehood when we
support a proposition directly opposed to the gospel?”

The poor bishop seemed absolutely confounded by this simple and honest
question. I also felt confused and sorry for his humiliation. Beginning
a phrase, he would give it up; trying arguments, he could not push to
their conclusion. It seemed to me that he had never read that text, or
if he had read it, he, like myself and the rest of the priests of Rome,
had never noted that they entirely demolish the stupendous impostures of
the church in reference to the worship of Mary.

In order to help him out of the inextricable difficulties into which I
had once pushed him, I said: “My lord, will you allow me to put a few
more questions to you?”

“With pleasure,” he answered.

“Well! my lord, who came to this world to save you and me? Is it Jesus
or Mary?”

“It is Jesus,” answered the bishop.

“Who was called, and is, in reality, the sinner’s best friend? Was it
Jesus or Mary?”

The bishop answered: “It was Jesus.”

“Now please allow me a few more questions.”

“When Jesus and Mary were on earth, whose heart was most devoted to
sinners? Who loved them with a more efficacious and saving love; was it
Jesus or Mary?”

“Jesus, being God, His love was evidently more efficacious and saving
than Mary’s,” answered the bishop.

“In the days of Jesus and Mary, to whom did Jesus invite sinners to go
for their salvation; was it to himself or Mary?” I asked again.

The bishop answered: “Jesus has said to all sinners, ‘Come unto me.’ He
never said come or go to Mary.”

“Have we any examples, in the Scriptures, of sinners, who, fearing to be
rebuked by Jesus, have gone to Mary and obtained access to him through
her, and been saved through her intercessions?”

“I do not remember of any such cases,” replied the bishop.

I then asked: “To whom did the penitent thief, on the cross, address
himself to be saved; was it to Jesus or to Mary?”

“It was to Jesus,” replied the bishop.

“Did that penitent thief do well to address himself to Jesus on the
cross, rather than to Mary who was at His feet?” said I.

“Surely he did better,” answered the bishop.

“Now, my lord, allow me only one question more. You told me that Jesus
loved sinners, when on earth, infinitely more than Mary; that he was
infinitely more their true friend than she was; that he infinitely took
more interest in their salvation, than Mary; that it was infinitely
better for sinners to go to Jesus than to Mary, to be saved; will you
please tell me if you think that Jesus has lost, in heaven, since he is
sitting at the right hand of his Father, any of his divine and infinite
superiority of love and mercy over Mary for sinners: and can you show me
that what Jesus has lost has been gained by Mary?”

“I do not think that Christ has lost any of his love, and power to save
us, now that he is in heaven,” answered the bishop.

“Now, my lord, if Jesus is still my best friend; my most powerful,
merciful and loving friend, why should I not go directly to him? Why
should we, for a moment, go to any one who is infinitely inferior, in
power, love and mercy, for our salvation?”

The bishop was stunned by my questions.

He stammered some unintelligible answer, excused himself for not being
able to remain any longer, on account of some pressing business; and
extending his hand to me before leaving he said: “You will find an
answer to your questions and difficulties in the Holy Fathers.”

“Can you lend me the Holy Fathers, my lord?”

He replied: “No sir, I have them not.”

This last answer from my bishop, shook my faith to its foundation, and
left my mind in a state of great distress. With the sincere hope of
finding in the Holy Fathers, some explanations which would dispel my
painful doubts, I immediately went to Mr. Fabre, the great bookseller of
Montreal, who got me, from France, the splendid edition of the Holy
Fathers, by Migne. I studied with the utmost attention, every page where
I might find what they taught of the worship of Mary, and the doctrines
that Jesus had never refused any of her prayers.

What was my desolation, my shame and my surprise, to find that the Holy
Fathers of the first six centuries had never advocated the worship of
Mary, and that the many eloquent pages on the power of Mary in heaven,
and her love for sinners, found in every page of my theologians; and
other ascetic books I had read till then, were but impudent lies;
additions interpolated in their works a hundred years after their death.

When discovering these forgeries, under the name of the Holy Fathers, of
which my church was guilty, how many times, in the silence of my long
nights of study and prayerful meditations, did I hear a voice telling
me: “Come out of Babylon.”

But where could I go? Out of the Church of Rome, where could I find that
salvation which was to be found only within her walls? I said to myself,
“Surely there are some errors in my dear church.”

“The dust of ages may have fallen on the precious gold of her treasures,
but will I not find still more damnable errors among those hundreds of
Protestant churches, which, under the name of Episcopalians,
Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, &c., &c., are divided and
sub-divided into scores of contemptible sects anathematizing and
denouncing each other before the world?”

My ideas of the great family of evangelical churches, comprised under
the broad name of Protestantism, were so exaggerated then, that it was
absolutely impossible for me to find in them that unity which I
considered the essentials of the church of Christ.

The hour was not yet come, but it was coming fast, when my dear Saviour
would make me understand his sublime words: “I am the vine and ye are
the branches.”

It was some time later, when under the beautiful vine I had planted in
my own garden, and which I had cultivated with mine own hands, I saw
that there was not a single branch like another in that prolific vine.

Some branches were very big, some very thin, some very long, some very
short, some going up, some going down, some straight as an arrow, some
crooked as a flash of lightning, some turning to the west, some to the
east, some to the north, and others to the south.

But, although the branches were so different from each other in so many
things, they all gave me excellent fruit, so long as they remained
united to the vine.

                             CHAPTER XLVI.


The most desolate work of a sincere catholic priest is the study of the
Holy Fathers. He does not make a step in the labyrinth of their
discussions and controversies without seeing the dreams of his
theological studies and religious views disappear as the thick morning
mist, when the sun rises above the horizon. Bound, as he is, by a solemn
oath, to interpret the Holy Scriptures only according to the unanimous
consent of the Holy Fathers, the first thing which puzzles and
distresses him is their absolute want of unanimity on the greater part
of the subjects which they discuss. The fact is, that more than
two-thirds of what one Father has written, is to prove that what some
other Holy Father has written, is wrong and heretical.

The student of the Fathers not only detects that they do not agree with
one another, but finds that many of them do not even agree with
themselves. Very often they confess that they were mistaken when they
said this and that; that they have lately changed their minds; that they
now hold for saving truth, what they formerly condemned as damnable

What becomes of the solemn oath of every priest, in presence of this
undeniable fact? How can he make an act of faith when he feels that its
foundation is nothing but falsehood?

No words can give an idea of the mental tortures I felt, when I saw
positively, that I could not, any longer, preach on the eternity of the
suffering of the damned, nor believe in the real presence of the body,
soul and divinity of Christ in the sacrament of communion; nor in the
supremacy of the sovereign pontiff of Rome, nor in any of the other
dogmas of the church, without perjuring myself! For there was not one of
those dogmas which had not been flatly and directly denied by some Holy

It is true, that in my Roman Catholic theological books, I had long
extracts of Holy Fathers, very clearly supporting and confirming my
faith in these dogmas. For instance, I had the apostolic liturgies of
St. Peter, St. Mark, and St. James, to prove that the sacrifice of the
mass, purgatory, prayers for the dead, transubstantiation, were believed
and taught from the very days of the apostles.

But what was my dismay when I discovered that those liturgies were
nothing else than vile and audacious forgeries presented to the world,
by my Popes and my church, as gospel truths.

I could not find words to express my sense of shame and consternation,
when I became sure that the same church which had invented these
apostolic liturgies, had accepted and circulated the false decretals of
Isidore, and forged innumerable additions and interpolations to the
writings of the Holy Fathers, in order to make them say the very
contrary of what they intended.

How many times, when alone, studying the history of the shameless
fabrications, I said to myself: “Does the man whose treasury is filled
with pure gold, forge false coins, or spurious pieces of money? No! How,
then, is it possible that my church does possess the pure truth, when
she has been at work during so many centuries, to forge such egregious
lies, under the names of liturgies and decretals, about the holy mass,
purgatory, the supremacy of the Pope, etc.”

“If those dogmas could have been proved by the gospel and the true
writings of the Fathers, where was the necessity of forging lying
documents? Would the Popes and councils have treasuries with spurious
bank bills, if they had had exhaustless mines of pure gold in hand? What
right has my church to be called holy and infallible, when she is
publicly guilty of such impostures?”

From my infancy I had been taught, with all the Roman Catholics, that
Mary is the mother of God, and many times every day, when praying to
her, I used to say, “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for me.”

But what was my distress when I read in the “Treatise on Faith and
Creed,” by St Augustine, chapter iv., § 9, these very words, “When the
Lord said: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet
come.” (John xix: 4.) He rather admonishes us to understand that, in
respect of His being God, there was no mother for Him.

This was so completely demolishing the teachings of my church, and
telling me that it was blasphemy to call Mary, mother of God, that I
felt as if struck with a thunderbolt.

Several volumes might be written, if my plan were to give the story of
my mental agonies, when reading the Holy Fathers, I found their furious
battles against each other, and reviewed their fierce divisions on
almost every subject. The horror of many of them at the dogmas which my
church had taught to make me believe from my infancy, as the most solemn
and sacred revelations of God to man, such as transubstantiation,
auricular confession, purgatory, the supremacy of Peter, the absolute
supremacy of the Pope over the whole church of Christ. Yes! what
thrilling pages I would give to the world, were it my intention to
portray in their true colors, the dark clouds, the flashing lights and
destructive storms which, during the long and silent hours of the many
nights I spent in comparing the Fathers with the Word of God and the
teachings of my church. Their fierce and constant conflicts; their
unexpected, though undeniable opposition to many of the articles of the
faith I had to believe and preach; were coming to me day after day, as
the barbed darts thrown at the doomed whale when coming out of the dark
regions of the deep to see the light and breathe the pure air.

Thus, as the unexpected contradictions of the Holy Fathers to the tenets
of my church, and their furious and uncharitable divisions among
themselves, were striking me, I plunged deeper and deeper in the deep
waters of the Fathers and the Word of God, with the hope of getting rid
of the deadly darts which were piercing my Roman Catholic conscience.
But it was in vain. The deeper I went, the more the deadly weapons would
stick to the flesh and bone of my soul. How deep was the wound I
received from Gregory the Great, one of the most learned Popes of Rome,
against supremacy and universality of the power of the Pope of Rome as
taught to-day, the following extracts from his writings will show: “But
I confidently say that whosoever calls himself universal bishop, or
desires to be called so, in his pride, he prefers himself to the rest.
And he is led to error with a similar pride. For as that wicked one
wishes to appear a God, above all men, whosoever he is, who alone
desires to be called a supreme Bishop, extols himself above the other
bishops.” (Bk. vii. Int. 15. Epist. 33, to Maurituus Augustus.)

These words wounded me very painfully. I showed them to Mr. Brassard,
saying: “Do you not see here the incontrovertible proof of what I have
told you many times, that, during the first six centuries of
Christianity, we do not find the least proof that there was anything
like our dogma of the supreme power and authority of the Bishop of Rome,
or any other bishop, over the rest of the Christian world? If there is
anything which comes to the mind with an irresistible force, when
reading the Fathers of the first centuries, it is that, not one of them
had any idea that there was, in the church, any man chosen by God, to be
in fact or name, the universal and supreme pontiff. With such an
undeniable fact before us, how can we believe and say that the religion
we profess and teach is the same which was preached from the beginning
of Christianity?”

“My dear Chiniquy,” answered Mr. Brassard, “did I not tell you, when you
bought the Holy Fathers, that you were doing a foolish and dangerous
thing? In every age, the man who singularises himself and walks out of
the common tracks of life is subject to fall into ridicule. As you are
the only priest in Canada who has the Holy Fathers, it is thought and
said in many quarters, that it is through pride you got them; that it is
to raise yourself above the rest of the clergy, that you study them, not
only at home, but that you carry some wherever you go. I see with
regret, that you are fast losing ground in the mind, not only of the
bishop, but of the priests in general, on account of your indomitable
perseverance in giving all your spare time in their study. You are also
too free and imprudent in speaking of what you call the contradictions
of the Holy Fathers, and their want of harmony with some of our
religious views. Many say that this too great application to study,
without a moment of relaxation, will upset your intelligence and trouble
your mind. They even whisper that there is danger ahead for your faith,
which you do not suspect, and that they would not be surprised if the
reading of the Bible and the Holy Fathers would drive you into the abyss
of Protestantism. I know that that they are mistaken, and I do all in my
power to defend you. But, I thought, as your most devoted friend, that
it was my duty to tell you those things, and warn you before it is too

I replied: “Bishop Prince told me the very same things, and I will give
you the answer he got from me; ‘When you ordain a priest, do you not
make him swear that he will never interpret the Holy Scriptures, except
according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers? Ought you not,
then, to know what they teach? For, how can we know their unanimous
consent without studying them. Is it not more than strange that not only
the priests do not study the Holy Fathers, but the only one in Canada
who is trying to study them, is turned into ridicule and suspected of
heresy? Is it my fault if that precious stone, called 'unanimous consent
of the Holy Fathers’ which is the very foundation of our religious
belief and teachings, is to be found nowhere in them? Is it my fault if
Origen never believed in the eternal punishment of the damned; if St.
Cyprien denied the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome, if St.
Augustine positively said that nobody was obliged to believe in
purgatory, if St. John Chrysostom publicly denied the obligations of
auricular confession, and the real presence of the body of Christ in the
eucharist? Is it my fault if one of the most learned and holy Popes,
Gregory the Great, has called by the name of Antichrist, all his
successors, for taking the name of supreme pontiff, and trying to
persuade the world that they had, by divine authority, a supreme
jurisdiction and power over the rest of the church?’”

“And what did Bishop Prince answer you?” rejoined Mr. Brassard.

“Just as you did, by expressing his fears that my too great application
to the study of the Bible and the Holy Fathers would either send me to
the lunatic asylum, or drive me into the bottomless abyss of

I answered him, in a jocose way: “that if the too great study of the
Bible and the Holy Fathers were to open me the gates of the lunatic
asylum, I feared I would be left alone there, for I know that they are
keeping themselves at a respectable distance from those dangerous
writings.” I added seriously. “So long as God keeps my intelligence
sound, I cannot join Protestants, for the numberless and ridiculous
sects of these heretics are a sure antidote against their poisonous
errors. I will not remain a good Catholic on account of the unanimity of
the Holy Fathers, which does not exist, but I will remain a Catholic on
account of the grand and visible unanimity of the prophets, apostles and
the evangelists, with Jesus Christ. My faith will not be founded upon
the fallible, obscure and wavering words of Origen, Tertullian,
Chrysostom, Augustine or Jerome; but on the infallible word of Jesus,
the Son of God, and His inspired writers; Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
Peter, James and Paul. It is Jesus, not Origen who will now guide me;
for the second was a sinner, like myself, and the first is forever my
Saviour and my God. I know enough of the Holy Fathers to assure your
lordship that the oath we take accepting the Word of God according to
their unanimous consent, is a miserable blunder, if not a blasphemous
perjury. It is evident that Pius IV., who imposed the obligation of that
oath upon us all, never read a single volume of the Holy Fathers. He
would not have been guilty of such an incredible blunder, if he had
known that the Holy Fathers are unanimous in only one thing, which is to
differ from each other on almost everything; except we suppose that,
like the last Pope, he was too fond of good champagne, and that he wrote
that ordinance after a luxurious dinner.”

I spoke this last sentence in a half-serious and half-joking way.

The bishop answered: “Who told you that about our last Pope?”

“Your lordship,” I answered, “told me that, when you complimented me on
the apostolical benediction which the present Pope sent me through my
Lord Baillargeon, ‘that his predecessor would not have given me his
benediction for preaching temperance because he was too fond of wine!’”

“Oh yes! yes! I remember it now,” answered the bishop. “But it was a bad
joke on my part, which I regret.”

“Good or bad joke,” I replied, “It is not the less the fact, that our
last Pope was too fond of wine. There is not a single priest of Canada
who has gone to Rome, without bringing that back as a public fact, from

“And what did my Lord Prince say to that,” asked again Mr. Brassard.

“Just as when he was cornered by me, on the subject of the Virgin Mary,
he abruptly put an end to the conversation, by looking at his watch and
saying that he had a call to make, at that very hour.”

Not long after that painful conversation about the Holy Fathers, it was
the will of God, that a new arrow should be thrust into my Roman
Catholic conscience, which went through and through, in spite of myself.

I had been invited to give a course of three sermons at Varennes. The
second day, at tea time, after preaching and hearing confessions for the
whole afternoon, I was coming from the church with the curate, when
half-way to the parsonage, we were met by a poor man, who looked more
like one coming out of the grave, than a living man; he was covered with
rags, and his pale and trembling lips indicated that he was reduced to
the last degree of human misery. Taking off his hat, through respect for
us, he said to Rev. Primeau, with a trembling voice; “You know, Mr. le
Cure, that my poor wife died, and was buried ten days ago, but I was too
poor to have a funeral service sung the day she was buried, and I fear
she is in purgatory, for almost every night, I see her in my dreams,
wrapped up in burning flames. She cries to me for help, and asks me to
have a high mass sung for the rest of her soul. I come to ask you to be
so kind as to sing that high mass for her.”

“Of course,” answered the curate, “your wife is in the flames of
purgatory, and suffers there the most unspeakable tortures, which can be
relieved only by the offering of the holy sacrifice of mass. Give me
five dollars and I will sing that mass to-morrow morning.”

“You know very well, Mr. le Cure,” answered the poor man, in a most
supplicating tone, “that my wife has been sick, as well as myself, a
good part of the year. I am too poor to give you five dollars!”

“If you cannot pay, you cannot have any mass sung. You know it is the
rule. It is not in my power to change it.”

These words were said by the curate with a high and unfeeling tone,
which were in absolute contrast with the solemnity and distress of the
poor sick man. They made a very painful impression upon me, for I felt
for him. I knew the curate was well-off, at the head of one of the
richest parishes of Canada; that he had several thousand dollars in the
bank. I hoped at first, that he would kindly grant the petition
presented to him, without speaking of the pay, but I was disappointed.
My first thought, after hearing his hard rebuke, was to put my hand in
my pocket and take one of the several five-dollar gold pieces I had, and
give it to the poor man, that he might be relieved from his terrible
anxiety about his wife. It came also to my mind to say to him: “I will
sing your high mass for nothing to-morrow.” But alas! I must confess, to
my shame, I was too cowardly to do that noble deed. I had a sincere
desire to do it, but was prevented by the fear of insulting that priest,
who was older than myself, and for whom I had always entertained great
respect. It was evident to me that he would have taken my action as a
condemnation of his conduct.

When I was feeling ashamed of my own cowardice, and still more indignant
against myself than against the curate, he said to the disconcerted poor
man: “That woman is your wife; not mine. It is your business, and not
mine, to see how to get her out of purgatory.”

Turning to me, he said, in the most amiable way: “Please, sir, come to

We hardly started, when the poor man, raising his voice, said, in a most
touching way: “I cannot leave my poor wife in the flames of purgatory;
if you cannot sing a high mass, will you please say five low masses to
rescue her soul from those burning flames?”

The priest turned towards him and said: “Yes, I can say five masses to
take the soul of your wife out of purgatory, but give me five shillings;
for you know the price of a low mass is one shilling.”

The poor man answered: “I can no more give one dollar than I can five. I
have not a cent; and my three poor little children are as naked and
starving as myself.”

“Well! well!” answered the curate, “when I passed this morning, before
your house, I saw two beautiful sucking pigs. Give me one of them, and I
will say your five low masses.”

The poor man said: “These small pigs were given me by a charitable
neighbor, that I might raise them to feed my poor children next winter.
They will surely starve to death, if I give my pigs away.”

But I could not listen any longer to that strange dialogue; every word
of which fell upon my soul as a shower of burning coals. I was beside
myself with shame and disgust. I abruptly left the merchant of souls,
finishing his bargains, went to my sleeping-room, locked the door, and
fell upon my knees to weep to my heart’s content.

A quarter of an hour later, the curate knocked at my door and said: “Tea
is ready; please come down!” I answered: “I am not well; I want some
rest. Please excuse me, if I do not take my tea to-night.”

It would require a more eloquent pen than mine to give the correct
history of that sleepless night. The hours were dark and long.

“My God! my God!” I cried, a thousand times, “Is it possible that, in my
so dear Church of Rome, there can be such abominations as I have seen
and heard to-day? Dear and adorable Saviour, if thou wert still on
earth, and should see the soul of a daughter of Israel fallen into a
burning furnace, wouldst thou ask a shilling to take it out? Wouldst
thou force the poor father, with his starving children, to give their
last morsel of bread, to persuade thee to extinguish the burning flames?
Thou hast shed the last drop of thy blood to save her. And how cruel,
how merciless, we, thy priests, are, for the same precious soul! But are
we really thy priests? Is it not blasphemous to call ourselves thy
priests, when not only we will not sacrifice anything to save that soul,
but will starve the poor husband and his orphans? What right have we to
extort such sums of money from thy poor children to help them out of
purgatory? Do not thy apostles say that thy blood alone can purify the

“Is it possible that there is such a fiery prison for the sinners after
death, and that neither thyself nor any of thy apostles has said a word
about it?

“Several of the Fathers consider purgatory as of Pagan origin.
Tertullian spoke of it only after he had joined the sect of the
Montanists, and he confesses that it is not through the Holy Scriptures,
but through the inspiration of the Paraclete of Montanus that he knows
anything about purgatory. Augustine, the most learned and pious of the
Holy Fathers, does not find purgatory in the Bible, and positively says
that its existence is dubious; that every one may believe what he thinks
proper about it. Is it possible that I am so mean as to have refused to
extend a helping hand to that poor distressed man, for fear of offending
the cruel priest?

“We priests believe, and say that we can help souls out of the burning
furnace of purgatory, by our prayers and masses; but instead of rushing
to their rescue, we turn to the parents, friends, the children of those
departed souls, and say: “Give me five dollars; give me a shilling, and
I will put an end to those tortures; but if you refuse us that money, we
will let your father, husband, wife, child, or friend endure those
tortures, hundreds of years more! Would not the people throw us into the
river, if they could once understand the extent of our meanness and
avarice? Ought we not to be ashamed to ask a shilling to take out of the
fire a human being who calls us to the rescue? Who, except a priest, can
descend so low in the regions of depravity?”

It would take too long to give the thoughts which tortured me during
that terrible night. I literally bathed my pillow with my tears. Before
saying my mass next morning, I went to confess my criminal cowardice and
want of charity towards that poor man, and also the terrible temptation
against my faith which tortured my conscience during the long hours of
that night! And I repaired my cowardice by giving $5.00 to that poor

I spent the morning in hearing confessions till ten o’clock, when I
delivered a very exciting sermon on the malice of sin, proved by the
sufferings of Christ on the cross. This address gave a happy diversion
to my mind, and made me forget the sad story of the sucking pig.

After the sermon, the curate took me by the hand to his dining room,
where he gave me, in spite of myself, the place of honor.

He had the reputation of having one of the best cooks of Canada, in the
widow of one of the governors of Nova Scotia, whom he had as his
housekeeper. The dishes before our eyes did not diminish his good

The first dish was a sucking pig, roasted with an art and perfection as
I had never seen; it looked like a piece of pure gold, and its smell
would have brought water to the lips of the most penitent anchorite.

I had not tasted anything for the last twenty-four hours; had preached
two exciting sermons, and spent six hours in hearing confessions. I felt
hungry; and the sucking pig was the most tempting thing to me. It was a
real epicurean pleasure to look at it and smell its fragrance. Besides,
that was a favorite dish with me. I cannot conceal that it was with real
pleasure that I saw the curate, after sharpening his long, glittering
knife on the file, cutting a beautiful slice from the shoulder, and
offering it to me. I was too hungry to be over patient. My knife and
fork had soon done their work. I was carrying to my mouth the tempting
and succulent mouthful, when, sudde