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To the Catholic, as well as to the Protestant world this book is offered as some enlightenment on that important subject—the abuse of the religious sentiment. It is a book of facts. The Jesuits themselves, Catholic historians, and Protestant writers, the most impartial, furnish the groundwork. The main subject is connected with the contemporaneous history of the world during the last three centuries, which is brought home to the present times of political unrest and revolutions—and yet hopeful withal. It is a history of Human Nature -errors, crimes, and retribution-political as well as “religious”—and therefore, the book is impartial. Connected with no party whatever, my object has been to seek, and find, and boldly to express, the truth—such, at least, as it has appeared to me, after multitudinous consultations. For, intensely interested in the subject,
I have spared neither pains nor expense to collect such information on the subject as would enable me to put forth a decisive work, not only on the Jesuits, but the religious movement in general, which antagonised the South with the North of Europe.
To every mind the history of the Jesuits presents subjects of interest. In their exploits, the churchman, the missioner, the preacher, the educator,--all who possess influence on the minds of men, may
of men, may find hints and admonitions their industry and perseverance are models for all humanity.
They laboured indefatigably, and received their reward in a world-encircling power. From first to last, they were never in obscurity.
Like Minerva, sprung from the head of Jove, the Company of the Jesuits went forth from the brain of Ignatius, full-grown, ready for battle. In her infancy she was great—the world feared her when she won her position--the lust of conquest supervened—she exemplified the maxims of the very world which she went forth to reform-and dug the pit into which she fell, discarded by the popedom, for whose defence she was established.
It has been my object to enable the reader to judge for himself in the facts which led to that consummation. I have not indulged in the usual vituperation of the Jesuits : no animadversion will be found in this history unsupported by its fact. Neither have the apologists of
the Jesuits induced me to believe their representations. From the nearly equal mass of rancorous denunciation and defence of the Jesuits, I have endeavoured to arrive at the truth by a meditation of the times in which the Jesuits performed their part, their acknowledged method, and its results to humanity. The books written against the Jesuits would form an extensive library—so would their apologies even in the first century of their existence, the Jesuits put forth about one hundred works in defence of their Company or
My object is simply to place a momentous subject in its truest possible light-would that all error were purely abstract - purely “indifferent”—so that we might cherish the man to our bosom, whilst we consign his error to its fittest abode.
According to the Jesuits themselves the Company was a band of angels; their friends are not less extravagant on the subject :-Vitelleschi, a General of the Company, is somewhat more reasonable and candid.
He compares the Society to the skies : the Society is Aurora ; IGNATIUS is the sun ; the members are the stars,“ during so many years, and in so many lands, shining with the splendour of virtue, eminent and perfect. But if,” he continues, “any comet of disastrous result, compounded of the foul and pestilential vapours
of a world too near, should light its deadly flame among so many benign and propitious fires, we should not, on that account, condemn those skies, since even in the beautiful skies of nature we sometimes unwillingly behold the same anomaly.”ı A bad Jesuit is therefore a comet ; but a comet is a functionary in the celestial systems ; it is a secondary cause, produced and propelled by a great Designer : then, may we substitute this Jesuit for the comet, and the spirit of Jesuitism for the great Designer ?
Thus, then, much has been said in favour of the Jesuits—more against them ; accusations have been denied, countercharges have been brought forward, and even questions of history still remain uncertain, undecided.
I am surrounded with books of every description about the Jesuits. They have all been written with one professed object in view--TRUTH. Truth has been contemplated by all ; but in how many different ways have they gazed at her charms! Some have peered with one eye, others with half an eye ; some “ with spectacles on nose,” others with quizzing-glasses ; and not a few with that vacant stare which sees nothing ! It is thus with the affairs of the Jesuits ; any and every mind may find something to praise or blame in these extraordinary men, and their extraordinary achievements.
1 Epist. , R. P. N. Vitell., 1639.
Almost all the authors whom I quote, are in my own possession ; and, in order to facilitate reference, I have preferred to quote works easily obtained,—but still due verification has never been omitted, when the original authorities could be procured. To Ranke I am under great obligations. His “ History of the Popes in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century” is a treasury of facts, collected with vast labour, discernment, and impartiality. Mr. Kelly's translation is so faithful and accurate, that I must also express my thanks to him, for diminishing my labour in the numerous versions I have had to make, from all the languages of Europe, in building up this temple of Jesuitism.
But there is another writer to whom I am still more indebted for the facts of a most important section of this history-I mean the Rev. M. A. Tierney, in his admirable edition of Dodd's Church History of England. Mr. Tierney leaves us to regret that he did not completely recompose the whole history. What a frightful picture has he exhibited of the English Mission during the reign of Elizabeth and James I.! Awful, indeed, are the disclosures of the documents now, for the first time, brought to light by this conscientious Catholic clergyman. The English Jesuits of Stonyhurst lent him their documents—apparently unaware of their contents; and Mr. Tierney made good use of them in their damaging evidence : he laid bare the ghastliness of the Jesuit-scheme in England, and mortally offended the