MASSACRE OF THE HUGUENOTS.
This bloody massacre took place immediately after the conclusion of the treaty of St. Germain, at which the hostilities which had so long existed between the Catholics and Protestants in France, were suspended, or, as the Protestants believed, were entirely terminated. The sufferings of the Protestants, up to the conclusion of that treaty, were truly great. Their property was wasted; their beautiful chateaus were burned and levelled to the ground; their flourishing vineyards were destroyed, and they themselves were left, reduced in property and numbers; but great as were their calamities, the spirit which lived within them was not quenched. Their hearts, though oppressed, 7 were not broken. The love of God bore them up against all their trials and privations. Among those who suffered most in the Protestant cause, was the brave and pious Admiral Coligny, who, after the treaty of St. Germain, and the destruction of his beautiful estates by order of the Popish and bloody Catharine, retired to Rochelle. Even here there was no safety for him. The licentious queen, and her paramours, consisting of priests, determined on his destruction. It is said of this woman, that she occupied twelve years of her life in instructing her son Charles to swear, to blaspheme, to break his word, and to disguise his thoughts as well as face. We are told by contemporary historians, that this blessed daughter of the holy church supplied him with small animals, when a child, and a sharp sword to cut off their heads, and shed their blood by stabbing them; all this to familiarize him with the shedding of blood, and that at some future day he might indulge in the same amusement upon a larger scale, in cutting off the heads and stabbing heretics and Protestants. The persecutions of the Huguenots are known almost to all readers; few there are, who are not familiar with them. The illustrious characters, who headed the Protestant cause in those days, are known to all Protestant Americans, but none of them, perhaps, more intimately than the great Coligny, who was one of the first martyrs to that wretched Popish thing, in the shape of a woman, Catharine de Medicis, regent of France. I trust, therefore, the reader will pardon me for giving a few incidents in the life of this nobleman and martyr, during one of the regencies of this Popish queen Catharine. After the marriage of Henry of Navarre, Coligny, as we are told, suddenly retired from the banquet given upon the occasion at the Louvre. It was remarked that he seemed sad and dejected. He retired to his hotel, which he would have gladly left and returned home, but dreading that he might alarm his wife, he preferred writing to her, explaining matters as far as he could, under existing circumstances. The letter is so interesting, so affectionate, and altogether so worthy of the good man, that I cannot refrain from laying it before my readers. It was as follows:!!!!!
“My very dear and much beloved wife:
“This day, was performed the ceremony of marriage between the king’s sister and the king of Navarre. The ensuing three or four days will be spent in amusements, banquets, masks, and sham-fights. The king has assured me that, immediately afterwards, he will give me some days to hear the complaints, made in divers parts of the kingdom, touching the edict of pacification, which is violated there. It is with good reason that I attend to this matter as much as possible; for, though I have a strong wish to see you, still you would be angry with me (as I think) if I were remiss in such an affair, and harm came of it from my neglect to do my duty. At any rate, this delay will not retard my departure from this place so long but that I shall have leave to quit it next week. If I had regard to myself alone, I had much rather be with you than stay longer here, for reasons which I will tell you. But we ought to consider the public welfare as far more important than our private benefit. I have some other things to tell you, as soon as I shall have the means to see you—which I desire, day and night. As for the news that I have to tell you, they are these: This day, at four in the afternoon, the bells were rung, when the mass of the bride was chanted. The king of Navarre walked about the while in an open place near the church, with some gentlemen of our religion who had accompanied him. There are other little particulars which I omit, intending to tell you them when I see you. Whereupon I pray God, my most dear and beloved wife, to have you in his holy keeping. From Paris, this 18th of August, 1572.
“Three days back I was tormented with colic and pain in the loins. But this complaint lasted only eight or ten hours, thanks be to God, through whose goodness I am now delivered from those pains. Be assured on my part, that amidst these festivities and pastimes, I will not give offence to any one. Adieu, once more,
“Your loving husband,
After having despatched the above letter, Coligny deemed it his duty to see the king before he left Paris. His sole object in so doing was to obtain, if possible, some concessions, or at least some guarantee for the future protection of the persecuted Protestants, of whom he was a member. The king received him well, promised him all he asked; but the king consulted the Pope’s nuncio, who was then in the city, and that holy man advised him to keep no faith with that Protestant Coligny, but on the contrary, to make all the use he could of him, in order the more effectually to accomplish the destruction of the heretical band to which he belonged. After receiving this Christian advice, the king became apparently more friendly to Coligny, and went so far as to promise him a safe escort on his way home. “If you approve of it,” said the king to Coligny, “I will send for the guard of my Arquebusiers for the greater safety of all, for fear they might unawares do you a mischief; and they shall come under officers who are known to you.” The generous and unsuspecting Christian, Coligny, accepted the offer of the guards, and twelve hundred of them were ordered into the city. There were many of the Protestants in the city, who on seeing this array of troops, felt alarmed for the safety of their friend Coligny; they whispered their fears to the brave warrior, who until then did not even dream of treachery. But now, fearing that something might be wrong, he resolved to see the queen mother. She expected this, and granted him an interview with great apparent pleasure. As soon as he commenced to suggest any fears or apprehensions of treachery, this holy daughter of the church, suddenly interrupting him, exclaiming, “Good God, sir admiral,” said she, “let us enjoy ourselves while these festivities continue. I promise you on the faith of a queen, that in four days I will make you contented, and those of your religion.” Coligny had now the word of a king, and the honor of a queen, as a guarantee for his own safety, and that of the Protestants in France. Who could any longer doubt that they were safe? Who could believe that a king would violate a solemn promise freely given? Who could question the honor of a lady and the promise of a queen? Who would venture to assert that a mother would not use her best effort to redeem the honor and plighted faith of a son, and that son a king? No one but a Roman Catholic could doubt it. Charles was a Roman Catholic king. His church taught him, that no faith was to be kept with heretics. Coligny was a heretic. Catharine, the queen mother, was a Roman Catholic; her church taught her to keep no faith with heretics, but to “destroy them, root and branch, under pain of eternal damnation.” Heritici destruendi is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church; and accordingly, on the evening of that very day on which Coligny had an audience with the queen, these distinguished and pious children of the holy Roman Catholic church appointed an interview with the Pope’s nuncio, and after that holy man sung the Veni Creator Spiritus, (a hymn which they invariably sing, when laying any plan for the destruction of heretics,) these three worthy children of the infallible church resolved to send for the “king’s assassin,” a man named Maureval, and ordered him to assassinate Coligny. It must be observed here, that the Pope’s legate allowed Charles and his mother to keep an assassin, to cut down such thistles or tares as the devil may plant in the vineyard of the holy see. Soon after this, Coligny had occasion to go out on some business. The Popish assassin pursued him at a distance, secreted himself in a house where he knew he could deliberately shoot at him; he did so, but the wound, though severe in the extreme, did not prove mortal. Among the first who visited him were the king and his mother; and such was the apparent grief of Catharine, that she shed tears for the sufferings of the warrior. The good son of this good mother mingled his tears with hers, promising that the assassin, whoever he was, should be brought to condign punishment; but need I now tell you, Americans, that the tears of this Popish queen, for the sufferings of this Protestant, were like those of the hyena, that moans in the most piteous strains, while sucking the life-blood of its victim? Need I tell you they were like those of the crocodile, which sheds them in abundance while devouring its prey? Need I inform you that by her promises of future protection, she resembled the filthy buzzard, which spreads its wings over the body or carcass of its prey, while plunging its beak into its very entrails? And such I tell you now, as I have told you before, Americans, and shall tell you while I live, is the sympathy, and such the protection which every good mother and son of the holy Roman Catholic church would extend to you, your Protestant religion and its followers, in these United States.
We will now pass over the various meetings held by the king, his mother, queen Catharine, and the Pope’s nuncio, for the purpose of devising ways and means, not for the death of Coligny, but for the destruction of all the Protestants in France. To detail these would be a tedious undertaking; and not more tedious than revolting to the best feelings of humanity. Depravity was reduced to a science in the court of Catharine, and her son Charles. She employed even her ladies of honor for the seduction of her young nobility. They were ladies—I should say human things—selected for their beauty, and trained up by this royal mother in the Romish church, in habits of utter abandonment to seduction and lasciviousness. Young men of honor, virtue, and patriotism, were introduced to them, by Catharine, especially those who were at all suspected of being favorable to Protestantism. These maids were required to ascertain from these young noblemen who, and how many of their young friends were friendly to the cause of Protestantism, with a view of marking them for extermination, as soon as herself and the Pope’s legate should deem it expedient to do so The hour at last arrived, when the holy trio deemed it expedient to order a general massacre of the Protestants. The order was issued. The bells of the Roman Catholic churches were rung, and the royal order “Kill! kill! kill!” all, was issued by the king, and repeated by his Roman Catholic mother. I could not if I would, nor would I if I could, describe the scene that followed. Suffice it to say, that particular orders were given not to spare Admiral Coligny. Blameless as was his life, and devoted as he was to his king and government, yet he was a Protestant, and must die, and that by the hand of a Popish assassin. The holy church reserved to herself the glory of murdering this heretic. As soon as the order to murder was given, a rush was made towards the residence of Coligny. They entered his chamber, and to use the language of another, they found him sitting in an armchair, his arms folded, his eyes half upturned with angelic serenity towards heaven, looking the image of a righteous man falling asleep in the Lord. One of the murderers, a pious Catholic, called Besma, fixing his fiendish eye upon the admiral, asked him, ‘Art thou the admiral?’ pointing his sword at him at the same time. ‘I am the admiral,’ replied Coligny. ‘Young man, thou shouldst have regard for my age and infirmities;'” but the murderer plunged his sword into the Christian hero’s breast, pulled it out, and thrust it in again. Thus died this noble Protestant! Thus died the veteran Coligny, by the hands of a Popish boy! And for what? He believed in the Bible—he was a Protestant. And thus, fellow Protestants of the United States, will your posterity be sacrificed, for similar crimes, unless God in his mercy drive from your land, and mine by adoption, every vestige of the Popish religion. No sooner was Coligny put to death, than his head was cut off and presented to Queen Catharine, who sent for her perfumer, and ordered it to be embalmed and forwarded to the Pope, as a mark of her devotion to the holy see. But even this did not satisfy the queen. Her Popish bloodhounds, on hearing of Coligny’s murder, rushed through the streets to his apartments, searching every where for his mangled body, and having found it, a general cry was raised, “The admiral! the admiral!” They tied his legs and his arms together, and dragged them through the streets shouting, “Here he comes, the admiral!” One cut off his ears, another his legs, another his nose, hands, &c. They abandoned the body, to let the boys amuse themselves by inspecting it, and then tumbled it into the river. But the zealous Catharine was not satisfied yet. This good daughter of the Pope ordered the river to be dragged, until what remained of Coligny was found, and then ordered it to be hung in chains on a gibbet at a place called Mountfaçon. A contemporary writer, a Roman Catholic, speaking of this, says: “the road to Mountfaçon was a scene of incessant bustle, created by the gentlemen of Catharine’s court, who, in splendid dresses and perfumed with essences, went to insult the relics of Coligny. Catharine also went with her numerous retinue. Charles accompanied his mother. On arriving before the gallows, the courtiers turned away their heads, and held their noses on account of the stench arising from the half putrefied remains. ‘Poh!’ said Charles and his mother, to their courtiers, ‘the dead body of a heretic always smells well.’ On returning home she consulted with her confessor, who advised her, now that the devil had the heretic’s body, it would be well to have a solemn high mass for the occasion, to be said at the church of St. Germain, at which Charles and his mother attended, and a Te Deum was sung in honor of the glorious victory gained by the church, by the destruction of so many heretics.
As soon as the Pope heard this news, his holiness despatched a special messenger to France, to congratulate the king on having “caught so many heretics in one net.” So joyous and elated did his royal holiness appear, that he offered a high reward for the best engraving of the massacre; having, on one side, as a motto, “the triumph of the church;” and on the other, “the pontiff approves of the murder of coligny.” This engraving is now to be seen in the Vatican of Rome.
The number of those who were massacred on St. Bartholomew’s day is variously stated. Mazary makes it thirty thousand; others over sixty: but the Pope’s nuncio, who was on the spot during the massacre, in a letter to the Pope, tells him, “the number was so great it was impossible to estimate it.”
Recollect, American Protestants, that this massacre, and others to which I have alluded, was not the work of a few fanatics. It was the work of a nation, by their representative, the king, empowered to do so by the head of the Roman Catholic church. In vain is it for Papists to tell us that all this blood-shedding and destruction of human life was the work of a few, with which the church was neither chargeable nor accountable. Americans may believe them if they will. Let them believe. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” If neither the testimony of history, nor a statement of facts, bearing all the necessary evidence of truth, will convince them, vain indeed are my efforts to do so. But there is no impropriety in my earnestly and solemnly appealing to Americans, and suggesting one or two questions, which they should put to any Roman Catholic who may deny that the church ever sanctioned those evil deeds of which I have spoken. Have you any record of the fact, that the church ever discountenanced the destruction of heretics? Did the Popish authorities ever deliver up those whom they knew to have murdered heretics to the civil tribunals? Were there ever any heretics murdered, as such, except by the advice, counsel, and connivance of the Popish church and her priests? If there were, in what country, in what age, and in what reign? Until these questions can be truly answered, you are not to be satisfied. But why will Americans, for a moment, entertain a doubt upon the subject? Popish historians never deny it. The actions of Papists all over the world proclaim it. The church of Rome has ever thirsted for the blood of’ heretics. She now yearns for an opportunity of shedding it again; all for the purpose of “purifying the earth of heresy.” Do you not see that her conduct, in all ages and all places where she had opportunities, confirms this? Do you not even see, that in this country, the members of that church can scarcely keep their hands off you; and so bloody are the sentiments which they inherit, that, for want of other subjects, they will sometimes shed that of each other? What would they not have done, a few weeks ago, in Philadelphia, had they the power? What in New York? What in Boston, or any where else in the United States? Do you not see, in all your intercourse with them, the ill-concealed hatred which they, bear you? If you have any charitable institutions for the support of Protestants, will they aid you? If you hold a fair for the purpose of building a church, or for any other Protestant purpose, will they attend it and purchase from you? They will not. If they do, they commit a sin against the church, and the power of absolving from that sin is reserved for the bishop of the diocese. It is a reserved case, as the church terms it. It is only by virtue of a dispensation, granted by the Pope to this country, that a Roman Catholic is even allowed to attend the funeral of a Protestant; and should he go into one of your churches, even though there was no service at the time, if he is a true son of the church, he will hasten to his priest and obtain absolution for that special crime. Yet, if they want churches built, you will furnish them with money. If they want land to build them upon, you will give it to them. Is this wise in you? You are denounced in those churches as heretics; your religion ridiculed, and yourselves laughed at. Your motives are undoubtedly good. You believe, because you do not know to the contrary, that, by your contributions, you are advancing the cause of morality. You do not reflect—and perhaps the idea never occurred to you—that there is a wide difference between the religion of a Protestant and that of a Papist. That of the Protestant teaches him to be a moral and virtuous man; whereas, that of the Papist has not the remotest connection with virtue. A Catholic need not dream of virtue, and yet be a member of that church.
The most atrocious villain, as an eminent writer expresses it, may be rigidly devout, and without any shock to public sentiment in Catholic countries, or even among Roman Catholics in the United States, Religion, as the same writer says, and as we all know, at least as many of us as have been in those countries, and who are acquainted with Catholics in this, is a passion, an excuse, a refuge, but never a check. It is called by Papists themselves refugium peccatorum. Hence it is, that priests may be drunkards, and their flocks never think the worse of them. I have known some of them, whose private rooms where they heard confessions, were sinks of debaucheries, which a regard for public decency prevents me from mentioning. I have known females, who have been seduced by them, and who afterwards regularly went to confession, under the impression which every Catholic is taught to feel, that no matter what a priest does, provided he speaks the language of the church. Don’t mind what he does, but mind what he speaks, is a proverb among the poor Irish Papists. None of them dare look me in the face and deny this, and yet these wretches talk of morals. But what think you, Protestants, of this kind of morality or of the church which does not even forbid it, and only requires to have it “concealed from heretics?” Do you desire it propagated amongst you? Do you wish your children to learn it? No virtuous daughter or decent woman should ever venture under the same roof with those men.
Paganism, in its worst stages, was a stronger check to the passions than Popery. I will give you one instance of the abominations of Popery. Papists believe in the doctrine of the real presence of Christ, in the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the duty of every priest in that church to administer this sacrament to the dying, and for this purpose, they consecrate a number, of small wafers, made of flour and water, each of which, they pretend to believe, contains the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or in other words, the Lord God himself. The priests carry with them, in & small box called pixis, a number of them to be given to the sick and dying. There are but few of them in the United States, in whose breeches’ pockets may not be found, at any hour of the day, at least a dozen of those gods. Can there be religion here? Can there be morality among those men or their followers? I would go further, and ask, Is there any thing in Paganism equally impious or more revolting to God or man? They know full well that such a creed cannot be sustained either by reason or Scripture, and hence it is, they want all power concentrated in the Pope of Rome, in order to extirpate their opponents, Protestant heretics. Papists understand the character of Americans, and are well aware, that if sufficiently satisfied of the existence among them, of a sect who believed in a doctrine so absurd, and so impiously profane, as that of the real bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they could not countenance them. My own impression is, that if the people of Boston, where I write, knew that Catholic priests taught their followers to believe, that they (the priests) could make god’s by the dozen, carry them in their pockets, take them out when and where they pleased, and there kneel to them, in adoration, they would have them indicted under the statute against blasphemy. The Rev. Abner Kneeland was indicted because he denied the procession of the Holy Ghost, and found guilty of blasphemy. But what was his crime, when compared with that of Romish bishops and priests! It was bad enough, to be sure, in the eyes of all Christian men, and few questioned the righteousness of the verdict of his guilt. If a Pagan priest should arrive amongst us, bringing with him his gods, and worshipping them in our midst, should we sanction him? I know not that our constitution forbids such a thing, but the reverence which we have for the one true God, our love of morality and good order, would forbid it. We would accuse and indict them for blasphemy. But is their blasphemy more horrid than that of the Romish church?
The Pagan priest hews his god out of wood; the Popish priest makes his out of flour and water. The Pagan priests convey their gods in some vehicle, from place to place, and stop to worship them, wherever their inclination or devotion prompts them. The Romish priests carry theirs in their pockets, or otherwise, as occasion or love of pomp may suggest.
Where, Americans, is the difference? Which is the greater blasphemer? Which is the bolder and more reckless violator of that great commandment, “I am the Lord thy God.” “Thou shalt have none other gods before me”? You will not hesitate to decide. The Pagan may be honest in his belief; he may worship according to the light that is in him, or the knowledge that has reached him. He may never have seen the Gospel. The Day Star from on high may never have arisen over him, or illumined his path! “The morning upon the mountains” may perhaps never have gladdened his vision; he may, to us at least, be excusable, and as far as we can see, without offence before God. But is the Romish priest, who makes his god out of flour and water, and worships it, sinless? Is he not an idolater? What can be more blasphemous than to believe that a wafer, made of flour and water, can be changed, by the incantations of a Romish priest, into the God of heaven and earth!
The Popish church teaches that the flour, of which the wafer is made, loses its substance, and all its natural properties, and is changed by the words of consecration into the Almighty God; that is, it is no longer flour and water; it is changed,—not spiritually, as Protestants believe,—but actually and really becomes the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, such as it was when nailed to the cross, and as such they worship the wafer. If this is not idolatry, I cannot understand what idolatry is. If this is not blasphemy, I wish some New England gentleman of the ministry, or the bar, would explain it, and tell me what they mean by their statute against blasphemy.
Does blasphemy, in their estimation, mean nothing? or is it something introduced into our laws, only for the purpose of exercising the ingenuity of legal and ecclesiastical casuists? Surely, if the word has any meaning whatever, in law or morals, in church or state; if it can be enforced at all, and there is such a crime as blasphemy, it should be enforced against the Romish priest or bishop, who bows and teaches his followers to bow, in adoration, to a piece of bread and water, and thus blasphemously insult, as far as poor mortals can, the great and living God. Surely, the state authority, which would institute a criminal prosecution for blasphemy against Kneeland, because he did not believe the Holy Ghost to proceed “from the Father and the Son,” and does not prosecute for blasphemy Popish priests, who believe, and teach their followers to believe, that they can create, or rather manufacture as many gods as they please, out of flour and water, either neglects his duty, or his knowledge of it is very equivocal.
Either this is the case, or the treatment of Kneeland originated in some cruel persecution. The latter I am far from believing.
As a citizen of this state, I would ask respectfully, why proceedings, under the statute against blasphemy, are not immediately commenced against Popish priests? Is it because Kneeland was friendless and alone, that he was selected as a proper victim? and is it because Popish priests are supported by a large party, equally criminal with themselves, that they are spared? Not at all, say the sympathizers with Papery. Kneeland made a noise in his meetings; they were troublesome in the neighborhood where they were held. Be it so. I will not deny this, nor do I wish to be considered as the apologist of Kneeland, his blasphemies, or his meetings; but I would ask the prosecuting officer of the state, whether Kneeland’s meetings were more noisy than Popish repealers? Were they even half so turbulent or uproarious? Let those whose duty it is answer the question, and tell us why priests are not prosecuted for blasphemy. I contend that if there is one blasphemy under the sun more revolting than another, it is that of believing and teaching that a wafer can be changed from what God made it, into that same Almighty God, by mumbling over it a few Latin words. It makes me shudder at the weakness of man, and the unaccountable influence of early education, to think that I myself once believed in this horribly blasphemous doctrine.
The doctrine of Popish priests in adoring a wafer made of bread and water, and their mode of manufacturing the wafer into God, is not only blasphemous, but extremely ludicrous.
Has the reader ever seen a Popish priest in the act of making, or metamorphosing bread and water into flesh and blood? If he has not, it would be well, if not profane, to witness it; for never before has he seen such mountebank tricks. The priest, this great creator of flesh and blood out of flour and water, appears decked out in as many gewgaws as would adorn a Pagan priestess, and about twice as many as would be necessary for a Jewish rabbi. Amid the ringing of small bells, dazzling lights, genuflections, crossings, incense, and a variety of other such “tricks before high Heaven,” this clerical mountebank metamorphoses this wafer into God, and exhibits it to his followers, whom he calls upon to go on their knees and adore it. This horrible practice should induce our philanthropists, who are sending vast sums abroad for the conversion of the Pagan, to pause and ask themselves, whether there is, in the whole moral wilderness of Paganism, any thing worse, or half so bad, as that idolatry which we have at our own doors!
If a being from some unknown world, and to whom this world of ours was as little known as the one from which he came was to us, should, by accident or otherwise, arrive among us, and we were to take him into a Roman Catholic church during the celebration of mass, and there tell him, that the great actor in the service was making flesh and blood out of bread and water, and could actually accomplish that feat, he would unhesitatingly award to these United States the credit of having among them some of the most accomplished jugglers in the world.
What are your Eastern fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, and dervishes, to a Popish priest? Why, it would be easier to swallow a rapier, ten feet long, or a ball of fire as large as the mountain Orizaba, than to metamorphose flour and water into the “great and holy God, who created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein.”
Let me not be accused of levity, or want of reverence to that Almighty Being, to whom I am indebted for my creation and preservation, and on whom alone, through the merits of the Saviour, my hopes of salvation are placed. My only object is, to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to the absurd and profane doctrines of Popery; and that having seen them, in their true colors, it is to be hoped they will find little favor from a thinking and reflect-ing people.
It is extremely unpleasant to my feelings, thus to expose the profanity of a religion which I once professed, and inculcated upon the minds of others; but the best atonement I can make for my unconscious offence to my God and my fellow-beings is, to acknowledge my error, and caution others against falling into the snares which an early education, received from priests and Jesuits, had precipitated me. The reader will therefore pardon me if I lay before him a few more Popish extravagances.
It is generally known, that Papists believe in the doctrines of miracles. So do I, and so do all Christians. But it is not so well known that the miracles, in which Protestants believe, differ widely from those which the Romish church teaches her followers. We believe the miracles recorded in the Holy Scriptures; to these, however, the infallible church pays little or no attention, but hands us down a catalogue of miracles, for the truth of which she herself vouches, and calls upon all to receive them as the “genuine article.” It may be edifying, and if not, it can not fail to be amusing to American Protestants, to see a specimen or two of Popish miracles. I assure the reader, they are very fair ones, to my own personal knowledge, and considered as such by every true Roman Catholic in this city of Boston as well as elsewhere.
St. Hieronymus, better known by the name Jerome, who died early in the fifth century, relates the following miracle:—”After St. Hilary was banished from France to Phrygia, he met in the wilderness a huge Bactrian camel, and having seen, in a vision, that his camelship was possessed of the devil, he exorcised him, and the devil sprang out from him, running wild through the wilderness, leaving behind him a strong smell of brimstone.” He tells us another miracle, with much gravity. “Paul the Hermit,” says this saint, “happening to die in the wilderness, his body remained unburied, until discovered by St. Anthony. The saint being alone, and not having the means of digging a grave, nor strength enough to place in it the body of the hermit, prayed to the Virgin Mary to aid him in his difficulties. The result was, two lions, of the largest species, walked up to him, licked his hands, and told him that they would dig the grave themselves with their feet, and place the body of Paul in it. They did so; and having finished their business, went on their knees, asked the saint’s blessing, and vanished in the woods.”
Palladus, who lived in the fifth century, and was greatly distinguished in the Romish church, tells us of a hyena, which, in a certain wood in Greece, killed a sheep. The next day, a pious hermit, who happened to live in the neighborhood, was surprised at seeing this hyena at the-door of his cave; and on asking it what was the matter, the hyena addressed him in the following language: “Holy father, the odor of thy sanctity reached me; I killed a sheep last night, and I came to ask your absolution.” The saint granted it, and the hyena departed in peace. We find in Butler’s Lives of the Saints, which is for sale in almost all Roman Catholic bookstores, an account of some most extraordinary miracles, for the truth of which, the infallible church pledges her veracity. For instance; when heretics cut off the head of St. Dennis, the saint took it up, put it under his arm, and marched off some miles with it. Butler relates another extraordinary miracle, and if American Protestants presume to doubt it, they may expect a bull from the Pope of Rome.
A certain lady in Wales, named Winnefride, was addressed by a young prince, named Caradoc. But she, being a nun, could not listen to his addresses. The young prince got impatient, and finally, in a fit of rage and disappointment, he pursued her in one of her walks, and cut off her head. A saint, by the name of Beuno, hearing of this outrage, went in pursuit of Caradoc, and having come up with him, he caused the earth to open and swallow him. Upon his returning where the nun’s head fell, he found that a well had opened, emitting a stream of the purest water, the drinking of which, to this day, is believed to cast out devils. When the holy St. Beuno looked at the head of the nun, he took it up and kissed it, placed it on a stump, and said mass. No sooner was the mass finished, than the beheaded nun jumped up, with her head on, as if nothing had happened.
Come forward, Americans, if you dare, and deny this miracle. The holy church vouches for its truth. St. Patrick, the great patron of Daniel O’Connell, whom his holiness the Pope calls the greatest layman living, performed some very extraordinary miracles, as we are told; among them was the following: A poor boy strayed from home, and died of starvation, or something else, and the body was nearly devoured by hogs, when St. Patrick, chancing to pass that way, discovered it in this mutilated condition. The holy saint touched it, and it instantly sprang into life, resuming its former shape and proportions. On another occasion, as we read in the Lives of the Saints, St. Patrick fed fourteen hundred people with the flesh of one cow, two wild boars, and two stags; and what is more strange than all, the same old cow was seen, on the following morning, brisk and merrily grazing on the very same field where she was killed, cooked, and eaten by the multitude.
We read of another very great miracle, which no Roman Catholic can doubt, without running the risk of being considered a heretic. St. Xavier, who is considered one of the most distinguished saints in the Romish church, had a valuable crucifix. On one of his journeys at sea, it fell overboard, much to his regret. When he arrived at his place of destination, he took a walk along shore, meditating on the power, grandeur, and infallibility of the mother of saints, and what was the first object that caught his eye? Lo, and behold, he saw a crab moving towards him, bearing in its mouth the saint’s crucifix, and continued to advance until he reverently laid it at his feet. No Roman Catholic writer, since the days of St. Xavier, questions the truth of this miracle.
The Popish biographers of St. Xavier tell us of another great miracle performed by him, the truth of which is attested by the infallible church. The devil tempted Xavier, and the “old boy” assumed the shape of a lovely female; the saint ordered her off, but she refused, and attacked him again on the same day; but the saint, unwilling to be annoyed any longer, spit in the devil’s face, and he instantly fled.
I cannot dismiss, this subject without relating a few more of those miracles which Roman Catholics believe. They may be seen in Belarmine’s Treatise on the Holy Eucharist, book iii. ch. 8. St. Anthony, of Padua, got into an argument with a heretic, concerning the doctrine of transubstantiation or the changing of bread and water, by Romish priests, into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. After arguing the question for a long time, the heretic proposed to St. Anthony to settle their controversy in the following manner: “I have a horse,” said the heretic, “which I will keep fasting for three days; at the expiration of that time, come with your host (an image) and I will meet you with my horse. I will pour out some grain to my horse, and you will hold the host before him; if he leave the grain, and adores the host, I shall believe.” They met, and St. Anthony addressed the horse in the following words. I translate, literally, from that illustrious writer in the Roman church, Belarmine.
“In virtue, and in the name of thy creator, whom I truly hold in my hand, I command and enjoin thee, O horse, to come, and with humility, adore him.” The horse, instanter, left his corn, advanced towards the host in the priest’s hand, and, devoutly kneeling, adored it as his God.
St. Andrew, as we read in Romish history, was a man of great eminence and sanctity. Papists pray for his intercession daily. The infallible church informs us, that he performed some very great miracles I beg to give my readers one, as a sample of the many which he performed.
The devil, armed with an axe, and accompanied by several minor devils, with clubs in their hands, made an attack upon the saint, whereupon he called upon St. John, the apostle, to rescue him. St. John lost no time in making his appearance, and summoning some holy angels to aid him, with chains in their hands, he rescued St. Andrew from these devils, and chained every one of them to the spot; whereupon, as we are informed in the Acts of the Saints, St. Andrew burst into laughter, and the devils fell to screaming and crying mercy.
In the year 1796, a work, entitled Official Memoirs, was published in Ireland, under the authority of Dr. Bray, archbishop of Cushel, and Dr. Troy, archbishop of Dublin. In this work it is stated—and to doubt the fact in Ireland, would be-heresy—that in the month of May, 1796, at Toricedi, tears were seen to flow from the eyes of a wooden image of the Virgin Mary. Impious as such doctrines are, they are now believed by Roman Catholics.
I was myself personally acquainted with archbishop Troy, and I remember, when young, that he and the priests by whom I was instructed, took much more pains in impressing upon my mind the truth of such miracles, as that of the wooden Virgin Mary, than they did the truths of the Gospel; and, in fact, every Catholic is taught to rest his salvation, almost entirely, upon the intercession of the virgin. Ninety-nine in a hundred of Irish Catholics rest all their hopes of salvation on the Virgin Mary. They adore her, they worship her, and what is worse, Popish bishops and priests teach them to do so. They even compel them to adore the virgin, though the miserable beings have the hardihood to deny it before Americans. But will they dare do it before me? When a poor, ignorant Catholic goes to confession, the usual penance imposed by the priest, for minor offences, is the repetition of the following address to the Virgin Mary, two or three times a day, for a week or more, according to the heinousness of the sin committed:!!!!!
“Holy Mary, Holy mother of God, Holy virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother undefiled, Mother untouched, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Redeemer, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Vessel of singular devo-Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the weak, Refuge of sinners, Comfort of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of angels, Queen of patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, Queen of martyrs, Queen of confessors, Queen of virgins, Queen of all saints.”
The above tissue of blasphemy is daily, nay, several times in a day, repeated by Catholic priests and their penitents; and I am much mistaken, if there is upon the face of the globe, whether in Pagan, Mahometan,1 or Heathen countries or creeds, to be found any thing equally blasphemous, or more disgusting to the mind of any individual who believes in the pardon of sin through the atonement of Christ; and I hesitate not to say, that the Christian, who countenances such a doctrine, or contributes, in any way, to its propagation, denies his Saviour, and shows himself unworthy of the name he bears.
To the professed infidel I have nothing to say. To him, who mocks and scoffs at the Triune God, I will attach no blame; with him I have nothing in common, further than brotherhood of the same species; but I must appeal to the Christian, and seriously ask him, Why do you encourage such blasphemy as this address to the Virgin Mary? Why do you encourage its propagation amongst your brethren? Why do you hold communion with those who utter it? Would the primitive Christians, if they now lived, hold any communion with idolaters? Would they contribute their money to build temples for Isis and Dagon? Would they basely bend the knee to the golden calf of old? No. Sooner—much sooner—would they lay their heads upon the block. They would look upon it as a denial of their God, and a recantation of their faith in him. Would your Puritan forefathers give the right hand of fellowship to the worshippers of a wooden image? Would they give their money to a priest, to build churches, and teach his followers that they could hew out for them images of wood, possessing power to work miracles, or in other words, to change the laws of nature, which the Eternal Law-Maker alone can change or suspend?
Custom, the point of the bayonet, or even that cruel tyrant, early education, may enforce such idolatry on the Old World; but the free-born American, unbiassed by education—unawed by tyrants—has no apology. His submission to such doctrines is an unqualified surrender of his reason, his religion, and the liberties of his country.
When the star of our independence first arose, it was hailed by the Christian philosophers of the old world, as a foreshadowing of the downfall of tyranny, superstition, and idolatry. They looked upon it as fatal to the bastard Paganism, taught in the Popish church; but what must be their astonishment, if permitted at the present day to look down upon our country, and see our people practising that same Paganism, nicknamed Christianity, and asking from our government protection—a privilege which the framers of our constitution never intended should be extended to tyrants or idolaters!
Here I would stop, and never more put pen to paper, for or against Popery, did I not see many of my fellow-citizens, possessing the finest minds and precious souls, falling victims to the sophistry, ingenuity, and quibbling casuistry of Popish priests and bishops.
It is not long since I saw a letter from the Roman Catholic bishop Fenwick, of the diocese of Massachusetts, in which he informs the authorities of Rome that he is making converts from some of the first families in his diocese. This, I presume, is correct, and these are the very individuals most easily imposed upon. They know nothing of Popery. They are not aware that Papists have two sides to the picture, which they exhibit of their church. One is fair, brilliant, dazzling, and seductive. Nothing is seen in their external forms of worship but showy vestments, dazzling tights, and the appearance of great devotion. Nothing is heard but the softest and most melting strains of music. No wonder these should captivate minds which are strangers to guilt; nor is it strange that they should bring into their church those who are most guilty, in the full assurance that their guilt shall be forgiven, and their crimes effaced from the records of heaven, by only confessing them to one of their priests.
Will the heads of those respectable families, to whom Bishop Fenwick alludes, and from whom he is making so many converts, permit me to ask them, whether they have ever reflected upon what they were doing, in permitting Romish priests to come among them? I have myself been a Catholic priest, as I have more than once stated; I am without any prejudice whatever. If I know myself, I would do an injustice to no man; but I hesitate not to tell those heads of families, whether they are the parents or guardians of those converts to the Romish church, of whom mention is made, that if they have not used all their authority with which the laws of nature and of the land invests them, to prevent these conversions, they are highly culpable. If they are parents, they have become the moral assassins of their own children, and perhaps their own wives. Do any of those fathers know the questions which a Romish priest puts to those children, at confession? Do husbands know the questions which priests put to their wives, at confession? Though a married man, I would blush to mention the least of them.
Though not so fastidious as others, I cannot even think of them, much less name them, without a downcast eye and crimsoned cheek, and particularly those which are put to young and unmarried ladies.
Fathers, mothers, guardians, and husbands of these converts, fancy to yourselves the most indelicate, immodest, and libidinous questions which the most immoral and profligate mind can conceive!!!!! fancy those ideas put into plain English, and that by way of question and answer—and you will then have a faint conception of the conversation which takes place between a pampered Romish priest and your hitherto pure-minded daughters. If, after two or three of these examinations, in that sacred tribunal, they still continue virtuous, they are rare exceptions. After an experience of some years in that church, sooner—far sooner—would I see my daughters consigned to the grave, than see them go to confession to a Romish priest or bishop. One is not a whit better than the other. They mutually confess to each other.
It was not my intention, when I commenced this work, to enter into any thing like a discussion of the doctrines maintained by the Romish church. My sole object was to call the attention of American Republicans to the dangers which were to be apprehended, and would inevitably follow, from the encouragement which they are giving to Popery amongst them. I have, however, deviated a little from my first intention, in more than one instance; but I trust, not without some advantage to many of my readers. I am aware that I have exposed myself to the charge of carelessness and indifference to public opinion, in not paying more attention to the construction and order of my sentences. Did I write for fame, or the applause of this world, I would have been more careful; but, as my object is only to state facts, in language so plain that none can misunderstand it, I have no doubt the reader will pardon any defects which he may find in the language, or want of consecutiveness in the statements, which these pages contain.
I will now ask the attention of the reader, for a few moments, to the Popish doctrine of Indulgences; and I do so because priests and bishops deny that such things as indulgences are now either taught or granted to Catholics. They say from their pulpits and altars that indulgences are neither * bought nor sold by Catholics, and never were.
It is an axiom in our courts of law—and should be one in every well-regulated court of conscience—that falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. The meaning of this axiom is, that he who tells a falsehood in one case will do so in every other. If this be true—and it is as true as that two and two make four—I pronounce all Roman Catholic priests, bishops, Popes, monks, friars, and nuns, to be the most deliberate and wilful set of liars that ever infested this or any other country, or disgraced the name of religion. I assert, and defy contradiction, that there is not a Roman Catholic church, chapel, or house of worship in any Catholic country, where indulgences are not sold. I will even go further, and say, that there is not a Roman Catholic priest in the United States, who has denied the fact, that does not sell indulgences himself; and yet these priests, and these bishops—these men of sin, falsehood, impiety, impurity, and immorality—talk of morals, and preach morals, while in their sleeves, and in their practices, they laugh at such ideas as moral obligations. Here I would appeal even to Irish Catholics who are in this country. I would ask all, or any of them, if ever they have heard mass in any Catholic chapel in Dublin, or any other city in Ireland, without hearing published from the altar, a notice in the following words, or words of similar import.
“Take notice, that there will be an indulgence on——day, in————church. Confessions will be heard on———day, to prepare those who wish to partake of the indulgence.” I have published hundreds of such notices myself; and any American, who may visit Ireland, or any Catholic country, and has the curiosity to enter any of the Romish chapels, can hear these notices read; but when he returns to the United States, he will hear the Roman priests say that “there are no indulgences sold by the Romish Church.” Beware, Americans! How long will you be the dupes of Popish priests?
Will the reader permit me to take him back a few years, and show him in what light indulgences were viewed in the 16th century, under the immediate eye of the Pope and full sanction of the infallible church!
The name Tetzel, is familiar to-every reader. He was an authorized agent for the sale of indulgences. I will give you one of his speeches, as recorded on the authority of Roman Catholic writers, and recently published in this country in D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation.
Indulgences—says this reverend delegate of the Pope—are the most precious and sublime of God’s gifts.
Draw near, and I will give you letters duly sealed, by which even the sins you shall hereafter desire to commit shall be all forgiven you.
I would not exchange my privileges for those of St. Peter in heaven; for I have saved more souls by my indulgences, than he by his sermons.
There is no sin so great, that the indulgence cannot remit it, and even if any one should—which is impossible—ravish the holy Mother of God, let him pay, let him only pay largely, and it shall be forgiven him. The very moment the money goes into the Pope’s box, that moment even the condemned soul of the sinner flies to heaven.
Examine the history of Paganism, and you will not find in its darkest pages any thing more infamously blasphemous than the above extract, taken from a speech delivered by one of the Pope’s auctioneers for the sale of indulgences. But even this would be almost pardonable, if priests did not try to persuade Americans that those sales have long since ceased.
It is not more than twelve months since I was in the city of Principe Cuba; and I beg permission to relate to my readers what I have there personally witnessed; or, as we would express it in our most homely language, seen with my own eyes.
At an early hour in the morning, I was aroused from my slumbers by a simultaneous ringing of all the bells in the city. On looking out, I witnessed the marching of troops, firing of cannons, field-officers in their full uniforms, all the city authorities wearing their official robes, with innumerable priests and friars bustling about from one end of the city to the other. My first impression was, that a destructive fire must have broken out somewhere, or that some frightful insurrection had taken place: but, on inquiry, what think you, reader, caused this simultaneous movement of the whole population of Principe, amounting in all to about sixty thousand? “Tell it not in Gath; publish it not in the streets of Askelon:” A huge bull of indulgences had arrived from the Pope of Rome, and they turned out—troops and all—to pay it due homage, and hear it read in the cathedral of Principe.
A day was appointed for the sale of the indulgences contained in the aforesaid bull! Accompanied by a Scotch gentleman, with whom I had the pleasure of forming an acquaintance, we went, with others, to the house of the spiritual auctioneer, and I there purchased of the priest, for two dollars and fifty cents, an indulgence for any sin I might commit, except four, which I will not mention. These, I was told, could only be forgiven by the Pope, and would cost me a considerable sum of money.
Many of our citizens are in the habit of visiting Havana, and can purchase those indulgences at any sum from twelve and a half cents to five hundred dollars. Will you still listen to Popish priests, who tell you that indulgences are neither sold nor bought now in the Romish church?
From Cuba I immediately proceeded in the United States’ ship Vandalia, to Vera Cruz, and from thence to the city of Mexico. I felt desirous of ascertaining the state of Popery in that exclusively Popish country, and availed myself of every opportunity to do so. Accordingly, soon after my arrival in Mexico, I strolled into the cathedral, and saw in the centre aisle a large table, about forty feet long and four wide, covered with papers, resembling, at a distance, some of our bank checks. Curiosity induced me to examine them, and, instead of bank checks, I found checks on Heaven; or, in other words, indulgences for sins of all descriptions.
I resolved upon purchasing; but, knowing full well that Americans, though the most intelligent people in the world, but long the dupes of Roman Catholics, would scarcely believe me if I told them that I bought an indulgence in Mexico. I went back and requested of our consul there, Mr. Black, to come with me to the cathedral and witness the purchase of, and payment by me for an indulgence. Will Catholic priests tell you there is no truth in this? If they do, be not hasty in making up your minds on the question. There are two or 8* three lines of packets running from New York to Vera Cruz, and you can easily ascertain, from Mr. Black, whether I am telling truth, or whether Papists are humbugging you, as they have been for the last half century.
But why go abroad for evidence to fix upon Romish priests the indelible stigma of falsehood on the subject of indulgences? I have sold them myself, in Philadelphia and in Europe! The first year I officiated in Philadelphia as a Roman Catholic priest, I sold nearly three thousand of these indulgences, as the agent of holy mother, the infallible church; and though several years have elapsed since, many of those who bought them are still living in that city.
Some explanation is necessary here, as I cannot presume that Americans are yet acquainted with a doctrine called Pious Frauds, held and acted upon by the infallible church.
The Pope of Rome and the Propaganda, taking into consideration the savage ignorance of Americans, deemed it prudent to substitute some other name for the usual name indulgences, and something else for the usual document specifying the nature of the indulgence which was given to pious sinners in “the New World:” they thought it possible that Yankees might have the curiosity to read the written indulgences. This, said they in their wisdom, must be prevented; and here is a case where our doctrine of pious frauds comes beautifully into play. After singing the “Veni Creator spiritus”—as usual in such cases—they resolved that indulgences should be in future called Scapulas, and thus piously enable all Roman Catholic priests and bishops to swear on the Holy Evangelists that no indulgences were ever sold in the United States. This is what holy mother calls pious fraud.
All the indulgences which I sold in Philadelphia were called scapulas. They are made of small pieces of cloth, with the letters I. H. S. written on the outside, and are worn on the breast. I will give you an idea of the revenue arising from the sale of those scapulas in the United States, by stating to you the price at which I sold them.
The scapula costs the purchaser one dollar. The priest who sells it tells him that to make it thoroughly efficacious, it is necessary that he should cause some masses to be said, and the poor dupe gives one, five, ten, or twenty dollars, according to his or her means, for those masses. I may safely say, that, on an average, every scapula or indulgence sold in the United States costs at least five dollars. What think you now of the word, the honor, or the oath of a Popish priest? Are you not ashamed to be so long their dupes? Do you not blush at the reflection, that you have given so much of your money, your sympathy, and hospitality, to such arrant knaves? Sad is the reflection to me, and dark are the thoughts, that I should have ever belonged to a church, which imbodies in its doctrines all that is degrading to humanity, and reduces man, from being “little lower than the angels,” to a thing, such as a Papist priest, in full communion with the Pope, having nothing in common with his fellow-beings but the form of humanity.
- SYNOPSIS OF POPERY, AS IT WAS AND AS IT IS.
- ORIGIN OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPE.
- POPISH BISHOPS AND PRIESTS ABSOLVE ALLEGIANCE TO PROTESTANT GOVERNMENTS.
- Life in Roman Catholic Countries
- Crusade against the Albigenses
- The Pope apes the very thunders of heaven
- MASSACRE OF THE HUGUENOTS.
- The folly of uniting with the Catholic Church