Part 6 out of 6
to demand comforts and careful treatment.
"She was placed in room No. 33, where most of the inmates were aged
American women; but as she appeared depressed and melancholy, the next
day Mr. Stevens brought her into No. 26, and put her under my particular
charge, as he said the women in that room were younger. They were,
however, almost all Roman Catholics as there are many in the institution
"I told her she might confide in me, as I felt for her friendless and
unhappy situation; and finding her ignorant of the Bible, and entertaining
some superstitious views, I gave her one, and advised her to read the
scriptures, and judge for herself. We had very little opportunity to
converse in private; and although she several times said she wished she
could tell me something, no opportunity offered, as I was with her only
now and then, when I could step into the room for a few minutes. I
discouraged her from talking, because those around appeared to be
constantly listening, and some told her not to mind 'that heretic.'
"Seeing her unhappy state of mind, it was several times proposed to her
to see Mr. Tappan; and, after a week or two, as I should judge, he
visited her, advised her to read the Bible, and judge for herself of her
"One Sabbath I invited her to attend service, and we went to hear Mr.
Tappan preach; but after her return, some of the Irish women told her to
go no more, but mind her own religion. This produced an impression upon
her, for she seemed like a child of tender feeling, gentle, and disposed
to yield. She bound herself round my heart a good deal, she was of so
affectionate a turn. The rudeness with which she was treated by several
of the women, when they dared, would sometimes overcome her. A large and
rather old woman, named Welsh, one of the inmates, entered the room one
day, very abruptly, saying, 'I want to see this virtuous nun;' and
abused her with most shameful language, so that I had to return to her,
and complain of her to the Superintendent, who was shocked at such
impudence in a foreign pauper, so that she was put into another room.
Maria was washing her hands at the time Mrs. Welsh came in, and was so
much agitated, that she did not raise her head, and almost fainted, so
that I had to lift her upon a bed.
"Before this occurrence, the women would often speak to Maria while I
was away and, as I had every reason to believe, endeavoured to persuade
her to go to the priests. I told them that they ought rather to protect
her, as she had come to the same country where they had sought
"Mr. Conroy, a Roman priest, used to be regularly at the institution two
or three times a week, from about 10 till 1 o'clock, both before and
after Maria Monk became an inmate of it. No. 10 was his confession-room.
He baptised children in the square-ward, and sometimes visited the sick
Catholics in other rooms. Sometimes he went up in the afternoon also.
"I heard it said, that Mr. Conroy had asked to speak with Maria: and
that an offer was made to him that he might see her before others, but
not otherwise, to which Mr. Conroy did not consent.
"Sometimes Maria was much disturbed in her sleep, starting suddenly,
with every appearance of terror. Some nights she did not sleep at all,
and often told me, what I had no doubt was the fact, that she was too
much agitated by the recollection of what she had seen in the Nunnery.
She would sometimes say in the morning, 'O, if I could tell you! You
think you have had trouble, but I have had more than ever you did.'
"Her distressing state of mind, with the trials caused by those around
her, kept me constantly thinking of Maria, so that when employed at a
distance from her, I would often run to her room, to see how she was for
a moment, and back again. Fortunately, the women around held me somewhat
in fear, because they found my reports of the interference of some were
attended to; and this kept them more at a distance; yet they would take
advantage of my absence sometimes. One day, on coming to No. 23. I found
Maria all in a tremour, and she told me that Mrs. ----, one of the
Roman Catholic nurses, had informed her that Mr. Conroy was in the
institution, and wished to see her. 'And what shall I do?' she inquired
of me, in great distress.
"I told her not to be afraid, and that she should be protected, as she
was among friends, and endeavoured to quiet her fears all I could; but
it was very difficult to do so. One of the women in the house, I know,
told Maria, in my presence, one day, that Mr. Conroy was waiting in the
passage to see her. The present Superintendent (another Mr. Stevens)
succeeded the former while Maria and I were in the Hospital. Abby Welsh
(not the Mrs. Welsh mentioned before) got very angry with me one day,
because, as usual on the days when Mr. Conroy came, I was watchful to
prevent his having an interview with Maria. Another person, for a time,
used to employ her in sewing in her room on those days, for she also
protected her, as well in this way, as by reproving those who troubled
her. Abby Welsh, finding me closely watching Maria on the day I was
speaking of, told me, in a passion, that I might watch her as closely as
I pleased--Mr. Conroy _would have her_. Not long after this, I saw
Abby Welsh talking earnestly with Mr. Conroy, in the yard, under one of
the windows of the Middle House, and heard her say, 'the nun,' and
afterward, 'she's hid.'
"A Roman Catholic woman, who supposed that Maria had been seen in St.
Mary's Church, expressed a wish that she could have caught her there;
and said, she would never again have made her appearance. I inquired
whether there was any place where she could have been confined. She
replied, in a reserved, but significant manner, 'There is at least one
cell there for her.'
"New York, March 23d, 1836."
It would be a natural question, if my readers should ask, "What said the
Roman Catholics to such testimonials? They laid great stress on
affidavits sent for to Montreal; what do they think of affidavits
spontaneously given in New York?"
So far as I know, they have republished but one, and that is Mr.
The New York Catholic Diary of March 19th, said--
"We take the following _overwhelming_ testimony from the
_Brooklyn American Citizen_ of the 11th instant:
"The following affidavits, &c., are copied from the last No. of the
'Protestant Vindicator,' and prove, it seems to us, taken with other
corroborating circumstances, the falsehood and irrelevancy of the
testimony against Miss Monk, and therefore establish the truth of her
(Here it inserted Mr. Miller's affidavit, and then added:)
"What is the weight of the affidavit? Of ponderous import? I inquired
where Maria was, and she told me she was in the Nunnery? Therefore she
is an eloped Nun. Marvellous logical affidavit! We may say, that when an
inquiry is made after the editor of this paper, and the answer is, that
he was in Protestant Church, therefore he is a Protestant minister."
The Rev. Mr. Schneller, (for a Catholic priest is the editor of that
paper,) thus tries to slide over the important testimony of Mr. Miller,
and in doing it, admits that I was in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery in the
summer of 1832. Of course, _he admits then, that Dr. Robertson's
testimony to the contrary it false, and gives up the great point which
the Montreal affidavits were intended to settle,_ viz. that I had not
been in any Nunnery--at least, not since I was a child.
But another thing is worthy of remark. The Diary says, "We take the
following overwhelming testimony from the Brooklyn American Citizen,"
yet he really leaves out the greater part of the testimony which that
paper contained, viz. the certificate beginning on page 251. Let any one
turn to that, and ask whether the editor had not some reason to wish to
keep it from his readers? Did he not get rid of it very ingeniously,
when he inserted the following remarks instead of it?
"The following statement has been furnished by the female witness above
mentioned; the name being reserved only from delicacy to a lady's
"Excellent! 'delicacy to a lady's feelings!!' we are absorbed in an
exclamation of wonder; the _delicate_ name, in a matter of such
vast importance, as that which affects the _truth_ of the
slanderous tale, cannot be mentioned!
"Therefore, 'we, the subscribers,' 'Brownlee, Slocum, Brace, Fanshaw,
Belden, Wesson, and Hogan,' rest the weight of their authority upon the
'delicacy' of a nameless 'lady's feelings.'"
Now here Mr. Shellner pretends that the witness was not accessible, and
leaves it in doubt, whether the subscribers, (men of known character and
unimpeachable veracity.) knew any thing of her. Yet it was expressly
stated by them that she was known, and that any reasonable inquiries
would be readily answered. (See p. 249.)
I have no intention of attempting to enforce the evidence presented in
the testimonials just given. I shall leave every reader to form his own
conclusions independently and dispassionately. I could easily say things
likely to excite the feelings of every one who peruses these pages--but
I prefer to persist in the course I have thus far pursued, and abstain
from all exciting expressions. The things I declare are sober realities,
and nothing is necessary to have them so received, but that the evidence
be calmly laid before the public.
I will make one or two suggestions here, for the purpose of directing
attention to points of importance, though one or two of them have been
already touched upon.
1st. One of the six affidavits was given by Dr. Robertson, and the
remaining five were sworn to before him.
2d. The witnesses speak of interviews with me, on two of the most
distressing days of my life. Now let the reader refer to those
affidavits and then say, whether any expressions which they may have
misunderstood, or any which may have been fabricated for me, (as I
strongly suspect must have been the fact with some,) ought to destroy my
character for credibility; especially when I appeal to evidence so
incontestible as an inspection of the nunnery, and my opponents shrink
from it. Let the reader observe also, that in the interviews spoken of
in the affidavits, no third person is commonly spoken of as present;
while those who are named are most of them inimical to me.
3d. All the testimony in the affidavits is aimed to destroy my
character, and to prevent me from receiving any credit as a witness. Not
a bit of it meets the charges I make against the priests and nuns. If
they had proved that I never was in the nunnery, that, indeed would set
aside my testimony: but failing to do [illegible], the attempt goes
far to set their own aside.
Having now fairly shown my readers what reception my first edition met
with, both from enemies and friends, I proceed to the "Sequel" of my