« PreviousContinue »
The society was established, in 1508, by Pope Pius V., at Avignon, whence they had been driven away on suspicion of a design to establish the Inquisition; and two years afterwards, he gave them one of the most considerable colleges at Rome, together with the Penitentiary, to which were attached immense revenues.
The hatred against the order in France bad ceased to agitate the public mind, but had not ceased to exist, during the commotions caused by the league that unhallowed Holy Alliance, that execrable combination against religious liberty, in which the zealous Catholics of France, excited by their priests, and sanctioned by the Pope, engaged for the defence of religion, or, in other words, for the extermination of the Protestants ; but no sooner had the violence of the league ceased, than the old cry was renewed against the Jesuits, reinforced by. new accusations drawn from the part they had acted in this horrible conspiracy. They were boldly charged with being the sole instigators of it, the promoters, nay, the authors of all the crimes by which it had been disgraced.
« For none but Jesuits are allow ed here
The university renewed its ancient hostility, and its ancient law-suit, and the advocate, Arnaud, was employed to consume them with the blaze of his eloquence. The Jesuits were, no doubt, highly criminal in the part they took in the league; they deserve our execration for converting the temples of religion into forums of sedition-for unloosing the bond of fealty, and instigating their fanatical auditories to the deposition of the king, instead of teaching them to love their neighbours as themselvesfor preaching war and slaughter, instead of peace and good-will to man ;-and ought not the same thing to be said of those who assisted them in this holy crusade against heretical opinions, for holy it was then considered by the university?
Undoubtedly; if any were so wicked as to join them in so infamous a business, for infamous it was soon afterwards considered by the same university. The pope sanctioned it, and excommunicated the Prince of Navarre for being a heretic and a supporter of heretics, and Henry III. for seeking a reconciliation with that prince of heretics. Nor were the Doctors of the Sorbonne inactive or silent; they erased the king's name from their liturgy, and sixty of them declared that the people were released from their oath of fidelity, and that it was lawful to make war against the king for the defence of religion :---yet the Jesuits were the sole abettors of every thing dangerous and criminal! Amongst the most zealous preachers, who recommended the sentiments of the league from the pulpit, were two Jesuits, one bishop, four priests, one Benedictine, and two Franciscans: and yet the obloquy of the whole proceeding, from its commencement to its close, has rested upon the Jesuits. Frequent instances of the activity of the other orders occur:, for example--when Henry III. returned to Chartres, a miserable procession was invented by the master agents of the league to draw him from his retirement, founded upon his well-known attachment for similar exhibitions ; but the chief actors in this religious farce were not Jesuits, but Capuchins : there were other processions, too, performed by different orders, Franciscans, friars minors, begging friars, and all the rabble rout of monkery: and yet, nothing of all this is recollected—nothing but the devoted Jesuits, and their offences. No small clamour was made with respect to the scheme of Barriere to assassinate Henry IV., which was positively alleged to have been planned by them; nay, within the very walls of their college, and which Arnaud makes a leading subject of his celebrated declamation. The justice of such a sweeping charge will be seen by a slight investigation of the fact: the truth is, that Barriere, having determined to murder Henry IV., first consulted, not a Jesuit, but a Carmelite a grand vicar at Lyons, then a Capuchin, and other priests, who confirmed him in his pious design. On his arrival at Paris, still wavering in his intention, he applied to a minister of the name of Aubri, who took him to Varade, the rector of the Jesuits, and then, for the first time, did a Jesuit interfere in the affair. Both the Christian minister, and the Jesuit rector, used their utmost endeavours to remove the poor wretch's remaining scruples, and they succeeded better than he did in his nefarious attempt.
Nothing, indeed, can be more uncandid in statement, more unsupported by facts, than Arnaud's oration; it is a violent and calumnious tirade against the Jesuits in an exaggerated strain of rhetoric; but he was an advocate employed on one side, and therefore in some measure excusable: what is to be complained of is, that other persons should cite and rely upon his declamations as demonstrations clear as proof of Holy Writ. The following is an instance of the sort of disingenuousness of which Arnaud is guilty :-In speaking of the execution of Parry in England, he says, that he (Parry) “ declared that Palmio, a Jesuit, had given him to understand, that it was lawful to kill all kings and princes excommunicated by the pope; but, having communicated with another learned priest, called Vates, he assured him that the proposition was false, and that he would be damned. In this uncertainty Parry confessed to Codreto, a Jesuit, at Paris, who assured him that he could not do a more meritorious service,” &c. Arnaud takes care to shew emphatically that the first and last who counselled the act were Jesuits; but the other, who so strongly denounced the attempt, was merely a learned priest. Would any body suspect that this learned priest was a Jesuit? and yet such he was in fact. In truth, that doctrine was not held by the Jesuits alone; it was, indeed, so far from being uncommon that the University itself was, during the existence of the league, infected with it; and when Philip II. had set a price upon the head of the Prince of Orange, a young man, who had thoughts of assassinating him, was assured by a Dominican that he might, in conscience, kill a heretic king, if he did not do it through avarice, and had only the glory of God and the service of the kingdom in view. So that the Jesuits were not the first
divinity that doth hedge a king;" although they were as bold assertors of the doctrine as their brethren, they were not the only persons who asserted it.
The same sort of petty cunning distinguishes that part of his
harangue which accuses the society of exciting a revolution in Portugal (an accusation totally unsupported by facts); he always mentions the bastard as King Antonio, without ever adverting to his defective title to the throne. And so, indeed, he proceeds throughout his speech, perverting one fact and concealing another,-heaping up false accusations, and, as the spider sucks poison from Aowers, extracting calumnies from their very virtues.
The speech of Arnaud was received with the strongest demonstrations of approbation; but the defence of the Jesuits was, like most of their defences, a weak and powerless effort.The University, however, had conceived some apprehension, either from the weakness of their cause or from the talents of the society, for they made all the booksellers and printers, over whom their rectorhad a right of inspection, swear not to assist, in any manner, in publishing any defence of the Jesuits. Notwithstanding the flaming oration of Arnaud, and the inferiority of their own advocate, the cause had the same termination as the former, and the society still retained possession of their college.
What, however, the influence of a powerful body, assisted by powerful friends, could not effect, the conduct of a single individual was the means of their accomplishing. John Chatel, a young man of dissolute habits, a student in the college of the Jesuits, excited by his own weariness of life (for he had, it is said, endeavoured to get himself accused of a disgusting crime, punishable with death), and recollecting the promises made,
during the fury of the league, of remission of sins and the enjoyment of paradise to the perpetrator, conceived the project of murdering the magnanimous Henry IV. He made the attempt, and perished. As soon as it was known that Chatel was a pupil of the society, a violent clamour was raised against the whole order: their papers were ransacked, and amongst those of Guignard were found reflections on the King and other European Princes that cost him his life. He was hanged; and the Jesuits were, after all their pertinacious struggles, banished the kingdom of France.
Passing over the progress of the Jesuits in Poland, where they became very powerful; and in England, which will form the subject of a separate paper; we will take a brief survey of their missions in other parts of the world, during the transaction we have been discussing, and which have also been made the subject of various accusations against the society. Scarcely had the order been confirmed before the King of Portugal demanded missionaries for the East Indies. Xavier was the person fixed upon for this office, and he departed from Lisbon in 1541. To this voyage the historian of the Jesuits, the title of whose work is affixed to the head of this article, attributes the first origin of missions, although the mendicant friars had preceded them in Asia and in Africa. St. Francis himself had undertaken a special mission to preach the Gospel to the Sultan of Egypt, where his office was so fap mistaken that he was suspected to be a spy; but the Sultan perceiving that he could not be a very dangerous one, charitably sent him home again. The failure of this stout wrestler with the devil cooled the ardour of his disciples, until a new stimulus was given to their exertions by the appearance of the rival Jesuits. Xavier, on his arrival at Goa, the richest settlement of the Portuguese in the East, found that, however qualified he might be by his zeal to teach the doctrines of a new religion, there was a slight impediment to his immediate success—namely, that he was ignorant of the language of the country, was, as he himself expressed it, like a statue among infidels, without the power of speech. To make up for his inability to preach his own religion he determined to shew his detestation of theirs; and for this purpose he began, under the protection of the viceroy's soldiers, to demolish their altars and their temples, and instead of them built churches for the use of his proposed proselytes. As an additional spur to their conversion, he solicited the power of enforcing the doctrines of love and charity by punishments. He established the inquisisition at Goa.
But notwithstanding these soft persuasives to Christianity, his success was by no means answerable to his expectations ; and after wandering from place to place, in a restless and inefficient manner, he determined to try his fortune at Japan. He assumed the habit of a native priest, and called himself a Bonze. But he found that he had not the gift of tongues; and his discourses, one would suppose, could not be very intelligible, although he had brought with him a Japanese, who had formerly left his native country to seek his fortune amongst the Europeans. Wonders are, however, related of the miracles he performed, the conversions he made and the number he baptised; the latter amounting to three thousand within the first year. He got into disputes with and gained triumphant victories in arguments over the Bonzes; but all the charming prospects which this success opened to him did not induce him to stay, and he resolved to embark in another enterprize. He departed for China, in order to plant the cross there, being called, as he said, by God to that great enterprize; but Xavier was in error, for he died by the way, and became a saint in the Roman calendar.The enterprise which he contemplated was afterwards accomplished by other missionaries of the society, who successively prospered, quarrelled with the Dominicans, and were persecuted by the Chinese.
Xavier, on his departure from Japan, left his brethren there, who obtained from one of the petty sovereigns of the island the possession of a small town, which the Bonzes, out of jealousy, set fire to, and reduced to ashes. But the failure of St. Xavier, and their own misfortunes, at length taught the Jesuits a more effectual mode of conciliating the Japanese. The Portuguese carried on a considerable traffic with the island, and the petty chiefs were frequently jealous of each other having the advantage of dealing with the foreign vessels which arrived. The Jesuits were either interested in the cargoes, or they prevailed upon the captains to barter only with such persons as they pleased; by which means they became masters of the commerce of the Japanese, whom they only allowed to purchase merchandize, on condition that they received a Jesuit into the bargain. The fathers, as might be expected, did not speak in a very low strain of the power they had obtained and the influence they exercised, but they did more-they determined to prove it. They accordingly deputed four persons of distinction (as they alleged) as ambassadors to Pope Clement XIII. The ambassadors arrived in Italy in 1581, and were met by all the cardinals, who conducted them, with great ceremony and magnificence, to the Pope, to whom they presented their letters, composed by the Jesuits in Japanese and translated by them into Italian, in which sufficient honor was done to the vicar of Jesus Christ, and not a little to the reverend fathers of the society of Jesus. This gra