not have been made in the United States, because Saint Mary St. George as she called herself, or Sarah Burroughs, daughter of the notorious Stephen Burroughs, as is her real name, removed to Canada at the latter end of May, 1835; nor could it have been prior to the establishment of the Charlestown Nunnery, for at that period Maria Monk was a child, and was not in any Convent except merely as a scholar; and Mary St. George was at Quebec. How then did she become so familiar with that far-famed lady as to be able to describe her so exactly? The only answer is, that she derived her knowledge of the Charlestown Convent and of its Superior, from the intimations given, and from intercourse with that Nun in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery.
Young females often have been sent to the Nunneries in Canada under the fallacious hope of obtaining for them, a superior education; and very frequently, they are suddenly removed after being there but a short period; because the persons to whose partial guardianship they are committed perceive that they are in danger of being ensnared by the Chaplain and his female Syrens.
But there are two other particulars in American Nunneries, the toleration of which almost surpasses credibility.
In reference to girls, they are permitted to visit their friends, even when they reside in the vicinity of the Convent, only for an hour or two monthly–if their relatives are at a distance, they see them only during the annual vacation, and often remain in the Nunnery during that term. No correspondence is permitted between the mother, the guardian, the sister, or the friends of the young female in the Nunnery School, on either side, without the inspection of the argus-eyed agent of the Institution. Parental advice, filial complaints, and confidential communications are equally arrested; and only furnish to the Superiors of the establishment, artifices to thwart the Seniors, to entangle the Juniors, and effectually to cajole both parties. Consequently, it generally happens, that from one term to another, little or no intercourse exists between the youth and her relatives; and it is indubitable, that where any letters do nominally pass between them, they are forgeries; the real letters being surreptitiously detained. Those felonious regulations furnish ample scope for the initiation of girls just entering upon womanhood, into all the wickedness of the Nunnery; while the girls themselves are unconscious of the design, and the Nuns, those nefarious artificers of the iniquity, in subserviency to the Priests, in case of necessity, can exculpate themselves apparently from all participation in the treachery and crimes.
In the nunneries and conventual schools in the United States there is a sort of fairy land, talked about by the nuns to the elder girls. It is called the “Nuns’ Island.” That country is always described as an earthly paradise; and to girls who are manifestly fascinated by the witcheries of the nuns, and in whom moral sensibility has become blunted by the unmeaning superstitions which they witness, and which they mechanically perform, a visit to the “Nuns’ Island,” is always proposed as the greatest privilege, and the most costly reward, which can be given for constant obsequiousness to the nuns, and unreserved compliance with their requirements. The term “Nuns’ Island,” is thus used to express the nunneries in Canada, and probably some similar institutions in the United States, where they are not too difficult of access. At all events, girls just entering upon the character of women, after proper training, are finally gratified with a visit to the “Nuns’ Island.” They are taken to Montreal, and in the nunneries there are at once taught “the mystery of iniquity;” in all the living reality which Maria Monk describes. Those girls from the United States, who are represented as novices; in Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures,” were young ladies from the United States, who had been decoyed to visit the “Nuns’ Island,” and who, not being Papists, often were found very intractable; but posterior circumstances enforce the belief, that having found resistance vain, they had not returned to their school where they were duly qualified to continue the course into which they had been coerced, so as fully to elude all possibility of discovery and exposure. That mother who intrusts her daughter to a nunnery school, is chargeable with the high crime of openly conducting her into the chambers of pollution, and the path to irreligion, and the bottomless pit.
These combined circumstances satisfactorily prove that, the narrative of Maria Monk should be believed by all impartial persons; at least, until other evidence can be adduced, and the offer of exploring the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, by the New York Protestant Association, has been accepted and decided.
3. Additional evidence of the truth of Maria Monk’s narrative is deduced from _the exact conformity of the facts which she states concerning the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, when compared with the authoritative principles of the Jesuit Priesthood as recorded in their own duly sanctioned volumes_. It is essential to remark, that of those books she knows nothing; that she has never seen one of them, and if she could grasp them, that they would impart no illumination to her mind, being in Latin; and yet in many momentous particulars, neither Lartigue nor any one of the Jesuit Priests now in Montreal, who was educated in France, could more minutely and accurately furnish an exposition or practical illustration of the atrocious themes, than Maria Monk has unconsciously done.
Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures,” are reducible to three classes: intolerable sensuality; diversified murder; and most scandalous mendacity: comprehending flagrant, and obdurate, and unceasing violations of the sixth, seventh, and ninth commandments.
_The ninth commandment:_ FALSEHOOD. Of this baseness, five specimens only shall suffice.
_Sanchez_, a very renowned author, in his work on “Morality and the Precepts of the Decalogue,” part 2, book 3, chap. 6, no. 13, thus decides: “A person may take an oath that he has not done any certain thing, though in fact he has. This is extremely convenient, and is also _very just_, when necessary to your health, honour, and prosperity!” _Charli_, in his Propositions, no. 6, affirms that, “He who is not bound to state the truth before swearing, is not bound by his oath.” _Taberna_ in his vol. 2, part 2, tract 2, chap. 31, p. 288, asks: “Is a witness bound to declare the truth before a lawful judge?” To which he replies: “No, if his deposition will injure himself or his posterity.” _Laymann_, in his works, book 4, tract 2, chap. 2, p. 73, proclaims: “It is not sufficient for an oath, that we use the formal words, if we had not the intention and will to swear, and do not _sincerely_ invoke God as a witness.” All those principles are sanctioned by _Suarez_ in his “Precepts of Law,” book 3, chap. 9, assertion 2, p. 473, where he says, “If any one has promised or contracted without intention to promise, and is called upon oath to answer, may simply answer, NO; and may swear to that denial.”
The idea of obtaining truth, therefore, from a thorough-going Papist, upon any subject in which his “_honour_” is concerned–and every Papist’s honour is indissolubly conjoined with “the Church”–is an absurdity so great, that it cannot be listened to with patience, while the above decisions are the authorised dogmas which the Roman Priests inculcate among their followers. How well the nuns of Montreal have imbibed those Jesuitical instructions, Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures” amply reveal.
_The Sixth Commandment:_ MURDER. The following miscellaneous decisions are extracted from the works of the regularly sanctioned Roman authors, of the very highest character and rank in that community.
In his famous volume called “Aphorisms,” p. 178, _Emmanuel Sa_ writes–“You may kill any person who may be able to put you to death– judge and witnesses–because it is self-defence.”
_Henriquez_, in his “Sum of Moral Theology,” vol. 1, book 14, chap. 10, p. 859, decides that “a Priest is not criminal, if he kill the husband of a woman with whom he is caught in adultery.”
_Airault_ published a number of propositions. One of them says, that “a person may secretly kill another who attempts to destroy his reputation, although the facts are true which he published.” The following must be cited in Latin. “An lieitium sit mulieri procurare abortum? Posset ilium excutere, ne honorem suum amittat, qui illi multo pretiosior est ipsa vita.” “An liceat mulieri conjugata sumere pharmacum sterilitatis? Ita satius est ut hoc faciat, quam ut marito debitium conjugale recuset.” Censures 319, 322, 327.
In his Moral Theology, vol. 4, book 32, sec. 2, problem 5, _Escobar_ determines, that “it is lawful to kill an accuser whose testimony may jeopard your life and honour.”
_Guimenius_ promulged his seventh Proposition in these words: “You may charge your opponent with false crimes to destroy his credit; and you may also kill him.”
_Marin_ wrote a book called “Speculative and Moral Theology.” In vol. 3, tract 23, disputation 8, sec. 5, no. 63, p. 448, are found the following sentences: “Licet procurare abortum, ne puella infametur.” That doctrine is admitted, “to evade personal disgrace, and _to conceal the infamy of Monks and Nuns_.” no. 67, p. 429. In no. 75, p. 430, of the same work, _Marin_ writes: “Navarrus, Arragon, Bannez, Henriquez,, Sa, Sanchez, Palao, and others, all say, that a woman may use not only missione sanguinis, sed aliis medicamentis, etsi inde pereat foetus.” With that doctrine also agrees _Egidius_, in his “Explication of the Decalogue,” vol. 5, book 5, chap. 1, doubt 4; and _Diana_ in his work upon Morality, part 6, tract 8, resolution 27, fully ratifies his sanction.
_Gobatus_ published a work which he entitled, “Morality,” and in vol. 2, part 2, tract 5, chap. 9, sec. 8, p. 318, is the following _edifying_ specimen of Popish morals: “Persons may innocently desire to be drunk, if any great good will arise from it. A son who inherits wealth by his father’s death, may rejoice that when he is intoxicated, he murdered his father.” According to which combined propositions, a man may make himself drunk expressly to kill his parent, and yet be guiltless.
_Busenbaum_ wrote a work denominated “Moral Theology.” which was enlarged and explained by _Lacroix_. In vol. 1, p. 295, is the following position: “In all the cases where a man has a right to kill any person, another may do it for him.” But we have already heard by _Escobar_ that any “Roman Priest has a right to kill Maria Monk; and therefore any Papist may murder her for them.”
_Alagona_, in his “Compend of the Sum of Theology,” by Thomas Aquinas, question 94, p. 230, “Sums” up all the Romish system in this comprehensively blasphemous oracular adage. “_By the command of God, it is lawful to murder the innocent, to rob, and to commit lewdness; and thus to fulfil his mandate, is our duty_.”
_The seventh commandment._–In his Aphorisms, p. 80, and p. 259, _Sa_ thus decides–“Copulari ante benedictionem, aut nullam aut leve peceatum est; quin etiam expedit, si multum isla differatur.”– “Potest et femina quaeque et mas, pro turpi corporis usu, pretium, accipere et petere.”
_Hurtado_ issued a volume of “Disputations and Difficulties.” At p. 476 is the following genuine Popish rule of life–“Carnal intercourse before marriage is not unlawful.” So teaches that Jesuit oracle.
_Dicastillo_, in his work upon “Righteousness and other cardinal Virtues,” p. 87, thus asks–“An puella, quae per vin opprimitur teneatur clamare et opem implorare ne violetur?” The answer is this–“Non videtur teneri impedire peccatum alterius–sed mere passive se habere.”
_Escobar_, in his “Moral Theology,” p. 326, 327, 328, of vol. 4, determines that “a man who abducts a woman from affection expressly to marry her, is guilty of mortal sin, but a Priest who forcibly violates her through lust, incurs no censure.”
_Tamburin_ unfolds the character of Romanism in his “Moral Theology,” p. 186, in a lengthened discussion of the following characteristic inquiry–“Quantum pro usu corporis sui juste exigat mulier?”–The reply is, “de meretrice et de femina honesta sive conjugata, ant non.”
_Fegeli_ wrote a book of “Practical Questions;” and on p. 397, is the following–“Under what obligation is he who defiles a virgin?”–The answer is this–“Besides the obligation of penance, he incurs none; quia puella habet jus usum sui corporis concedendi.”
_Trachala_ published a volume which he facetiously entitled the “Laver of Conscience;” and at p. 96, he presents us with this astounding recipe to purify the conscience–“An Concubinarius sit absolvendus antequam concubinam dimittat?” To which he replies–“Si ilia concubina sit valde bona et utilis economa, et sic nullam aliam possit habere, esset absolvendus.”
From the prior decisions, combined with numberless others which might be extracted from the works of the Romish authors, it is obvious, that the violations of the seventh commandment, are scarcely enumerated by the Papal priesthood among venial sins. Especially if we consider the definition of a prostitute by the highest Popish authority: for in the Decretals, Distinction 34, in the Gloss, is found this savory adage– “Meretrix est quae, admiserit plures quam viginti tria hominum millia!” That is the infallible attestation to the truth of Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures.”
4. The antecedent narrative of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, is confirmed by the universal and constant practice of Roman Priests in all Convents. Among the works of William Huntington, is a correspondence between himself and a young lady who was converted by his ministry. The seventh letter from Miss M. contains the following passage:–
_”It is a shame for women to approach those confessionals._ If they were never wise in scenes of iniquity before, the priest will instruct them, by asking the most filthy questions. I was confined to my bed three days from my first confession; and thought I would never go again, being so abashed by the abominations he had put in my head. I would just as soon recommend scalding water to cure Anthony’s-fire, or a wet bed in an ice-house to cure an ague, as recommend a sinner to those accursed lies, Roman penance, and Auricular Confession.”–The mental purity of Nuns consists in a life totally “contrary to the laws of God, of modesty, of decency. They are constantly exposed to the obscene interrogations, and the lewd actions of the Priests. Notwithstanding God has fixed a bar on every female mind, it is broken through by the Priests putting questions to them upon those subjects, as the scripture declares, which ought not to be named? The uncommon attractions of the young women in Convents generally indicate the greatest unchastity among them. I have known girls, sent for education to the Convent where I was, who regularly stripped themselves of every thing they could obtain from their friends; which, by the artful insinuations of the Nuns, was given to them and the Priests. The Roman priesthood may well be called a sorceress, and their doctrine ‘the wine of fornication,’ for nothing but the powers of darkness could work up the young female mind to receive it; unless by the subtlety of the devil, and the vile artifices of the Nuns. I shudder at the idea of young ladies going into a Convent; and also at parents who send their children to be educated in a Nunnery; where their daughters are entrapped by the Nuns into the snare of the Priests, with whom they are accomplices, and for whom the most subtle of them are decoys, whose feigned sanctity is only a cover for the satanic arts of which they are complete mistresses, and by which, through the delusions of the mother of harlots, being buried alive within the walls of a Convent, they ‘drink of the wine of her fornication,’ until their souls pass into the pit of destruction.”–The above extract is from the seventh letter of “Correspondence between Miss M. and Mr. H.” in Huntington’s Works; and exposes the Nunneries in France.
George D. Emeline, who had been a Popish Priest, in his “Eight Letters,” giving an account of his “Journey into Italy,” thus details the nature of the intimacy which then existed between the Priests and Nuns on the European Continent. “A young Monk at Milan, Preacher to the Benedictine Nuns, when he addressed them, added to almost every sentence in his discourse, ‘my most dear and lovely sisters, whom I love from the deepest bottom of my heart.’ When a monk becomes Preacher or Chaplain to a Nunnery, his days are passed in constant voluptuousness; for the Nuns will gratify their Confessor in every thing, that he may be equally indulgent to them.” Emeline’s Letters, p. 313.
“A regular Abbot of a Monastery in Italy, talking with me said–‘Melius est habere nullam quam aliquem–It is better to have none than any woman.’ I asked him what he meant; he replied, ‘Because, when a person is not tied to one, he may make use of many;’ and his practice was conformable to his doctrine; for he slept in the same bed with three young women every night. He was a most insatiable Exactor and Oppressor of the people who rented the lands of the Abbey, in consequence of which the Farmers complained of him to the Archbishop of the District. The Archbishop sent the Provost, the Farmers, and sixty of the serjeants at night, to seize him and his female companions. They took the Abbot in bed, and having put on him a morning-gown; and having tied his three concubines and himself back to back, placed them in a cart, and conducted them to the Archbishop’s residence, in Bonnonia: who then refused to judge him; but sent him and his females to the Monastery of _Saint_ Michael; into which, with some difficulty, he was admitted after midnight, in consequence of the Provost assuring the Friars, that if they would not receive the Abbot, they would procure his prelatical dress, and escort him and the young women in procession through the city, and back to his own Monastery the same day at noon. The females were ordered away, and the Abbot was appointed to remain in his monastery for fifteen days for penance, until the story had ceased to circulate. I was an eyewitness of that myself, when I was in the Monastery of St. Michael in the wood.”–Emeline’s Letters, pp. 387, 388, 389.
That the Nunneries in Portugal, as well as among those people in India who are subject to the Romish priesthood, are of the same character precisely, as Maria Monk describes the Priests and Nuns in Canada, is proved by Victorin de Faria, who had been a Brahman in India; and who afterward resided as a regular Roman Priest in the Paulist Monastery at Lisbon.
“The regular Priests in India,” says Faria, “have become what the bonzes where in Japan. The Nuns were the disciples of Diana, and the nunneries seraglios for the monks; as I have proved to be the case in Lisbon, by facts concerning those nuns who were more often in the family way than common women. The Jesuits in the Indies made themselves Brahmans in order to enjoy the privileges of that caste, whose idolatrous rites and superstitious practices they also externally adopted.”–Among other privileges which they possessed, Faria enumerates the following, as detailed from his own prior experience as a Brahman. “Never to be put to death for any crime whatever; and to enjoy the favours of every woman who pleased them, for a Priest sanctifies the woman upon whom he bestows his attentions.” That is the true Papist doctrine, as shown by Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures;” confirmed by the Canadian carpenter in Mr. Johnson’s house at Montreal; and ratified by Pope Gregory XIII. in the Decretals and Canons, in the Corpus Juris Canonici. Secrets of Nunneries disclosed by Scipio de Ricci. p. 217.
The Nunneries in Italy during the present generation are of the same description. Maria Catharine Barni, Maria Magdalen Sicini, and Victoire Benedetti, of the Nunnery called Santa Croce: all acknowledged, that they had been seduced at confession, and that they had habitually maintained criminal intercourse with a Priest called Pacchiani, who absolved his guilty companions after the commission of their crimes. Secrets of Nunneries disclosed by Scipio de Ricci. pp. 60, 61.
Six Nuns of the Convent of Catharine at Pistoia declared that the Priests who visited the Convent committed a “thousand indecorous acts. They utter the worst expressions, saying that we should look upon it as a great happiness, that we have the power of satisfying our appetites without the annoyance of children; and that we should not hesitate to take our pleasures. Men, who have contrived to get the keys, come into the Convent during the night, which they have spent in the most dissipated manner.” That is the precise delineation of the Canadian Nunneries; into which other men besides Priests are admitted, if the parties are willing to pay the entrance bribe to the Chaplain.–Secrets of Nunneries, by Scipio de Ricci. pp. 80, 81.
Flavia Perraccini, Prioress of the Nunnery of Catharine of Pistoia, revealed what she knew of that and other Nunneries. All the Priests “are of the same character. They all have the same maxims and the same conduct. They are on more intimate terms with the nuns than if they were married to them. It is the same at Lucia, at Pisa, at Prato, and at Perugia. The Superiors do not know even the smallest part of the enormous wickedness that goes on between the Monks and the Nuns.”– Secrets of Nunneries, by Scipio de Ricci. p. 93. That statement is so exactly conformed to Maria Monk’s “Awful Disclosures,” that were it not a fact that she had never seen Scipio de Ricci’s work it might almost be supposed that some part of her narrative had been transcribed from it.
Foggini of Rome, also wrote to Scipio de Ricci and informed him–“I know a monastery in which a Jesuit used to make the Nuns lift up their clothes, assuring them that they thereby performed an act of virtue, because they overcame a natural repugnance.”–Secrets of Nunneries, p. 101. That is a very extraordinary illustration of the turpitude of the Roman Priesthood; because that doctrine is a principle which they constantly inculcate; and such is the invariable practice in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, that the Nuns were obliged to fulfil, for the beastly gratification of the Roman Priests who visited that house, which is “the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” Proverbs 7:27.
It is superfluous to multiply similar extracts. Scipio de Ricci was a Popish prelate, regularly commissioned by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to explore the Nunneries; and in consequence of his authentic developments, the Jesuits and Dominicans, and the dignified Papal ecclesiastics, with the two Popes, Pius VI. and Pius VII. all opposed, reviled, condemned and worried him almost to death.
One quotation more shall close this survey. Pope Paul III. maintained at Rome, forty-five thousand courtesans. Pope Sixtus IV. ordered a number of edifices to be erected expressly for the accommodation of the semi- Nuns of Rome, from whose impurity he derived a large annual revenue, under the form of a license; besides which, the prices of absolution for the different violations of the seventh commandment are as regularly fixed as the value of beads, soul-masses, blessed water, and every other article of Popish manufacture. Paolo, Hist. Council de Trent. Book I. Anno 1637.
The preceding observations, it is believed, will remove the doubts from the mind of every impartial inquirer, respecting the credibility of Maria Monk’s narrative: nevertheless, a few additional remarks may not be irrelevant: especially as there is a marvellous skepticism in reference to the admission of valid testimony concerning the Roman priesthood, their system and practice. We are deafened with clamour for proof to substantiate Maria Monk’s history: but that demand is tantamount to the declaration–“I will not believe.”
In anticipation of speedy death, and an immediate appearance at the dread tribunal of Jehovah, Maria Monk communicated to Mr. Tappan, the Chaplain at Bellevue, one of the benevolent institutions belonging to the city of New York, the principal facts in her “Awful Disclosures.” After her unexpected recovery, she personally appeared at Montreal, expressly and openly, to promulge her allegations of atrocious crimes against the chief Roman Ecclesiastics in that city, who were armed with power, and having nearly all the population her infuriated enemies. There she remained almost four weeks, constantly daring the Roman Priests and Nuns in vain. It is true, Dr. Robertson in his affidavit says, that he was willing “to take the necessary steps for a full investigation, if a direct charge were made against any particular individual of a criminal nature.” Now if Maria Monk’s charges are not direct, OF A CRIMINAL NATURE, and against PARTICULAR INDIVIDUALS–what charges can be so characterized? The fact is this:–Dr. Robertson would no more dare to issue a warrant for the apprehension of Lartigue, or any of the inferior Roman Priests in Montreal, than he would dare publicly to strike the Commander of the Garrison, or the Governor of Canada upon military parade. If any Papist had stated to him the same facts concerning a Protestant, or Protestant Minister, and offered to confirm them by his worthless oath, he would have issued his process at once; but Dr. Robertson knows, that in the present state of Canadian society, Roman Priests can do what they please; and no man dares to reprove, much less to “take any necessary steps for a full investigation” for their crimes. If the Jesuits and Nuns at Montreal are anxious for a full and impartial scrutiny of the Hotel Dieu Convent, Maria Monk is ready to oblige them with some facilities for that object; provided she may carry them out to all their extent and application. Mr. Ogden has one affidavit, and knows the whole matter; as can incontestably be proved by Mr. A. P. Hart, an Attorney of Montreal; and we recommend Dr. Robertson to issue his warrant for the apprehension of Lartigue, Bonin, Dufresne, and Richards, they are enough to begin with; and if Mr. Ogden will carry the facts with which he is acquainted to the Grand Jury, one witness in New York is ready to appear; and Dr. Robertson will find his hands full of employment, if he will only “take the necessary steps” to procure two or three persons who shall be pointed out to him in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery. Therefore, until Dr. Robertson commences some incipient measures as a Magistrate towards “the necessary steps for a full investigation,” as he says, we shall be forced to believe, that the printer made a mistake in his affidavit, and put willing for _unwilling_.
The cavilling call, however, for additional evidence to be adduced by Maria Monk, is manifestly futile. That testimony is within the jurisdiction of the Priests alone who are criminated. Maria Monk reiterates her charge against the Romish Ecclesiastics of Canada and their Nuns; and she has solemnly sworn that they are true. What more can she do? Nothing, but to _search the premises_, to see whether the statements which she has made are correct. A Committee of the New York Protestant Association are willing to accompany her to Montreal; to walk through the Hotel Dieu Nunnery in company with any Gentlemen of Montreal, and investigate the truth without favour or partiality, Maria Monk is willing to submit the whole affair to that short, and easy, and sensible test; in which there is no possibility of deception. It does not depend upon credibility of witnesses, conflicting evidence, personal friendship, or religions prejudices; it is reduced at once to that unerring criterion; _the sight and the touch!_
But, it is retorted, that will not be granted; then we repeat another proposal: let the Priest Conroy come forth girded in all the panoply of the Roman court, and appear as the champion of the Canadian Jesuits; let him institute an action, civil or criminal, or both, against the publishers of such atrocious crimes, which, as they pretend, are falsely alleged against the Roman Priests. If Lartigue and his Montreal inferior priests are implicated in the most nefarious felonies, Maria Monk has published him as a virtuous accomplice. Why does he not put her truth to the test, by subjecting her to a criminal process? Why does he not commence a suit against the Booksellers who published her “Awful Disclosures?”–Ah! if Lartigue, Bonin, Dufresne, and Richards, with their brethren, Conroy, Phelan, Kelly and Quarter, were coerced to keep Lent, and live only upon _soup-maigre_, until that day arrives, they would not much longer portray in their exterior, that they live upon the fat of the land; but they would vociferously whine out–“Mea culpa! O mea grandis culpa! O mea grandissima culpa! Peccava! Peccavi! Peccavi!”
RECEPTION OF THE FIRST EDITIONS.
I have now reached the close of what appeared in my first editions. Some of my readers may feel a wish to know what has been said of me and my book, by those whose characters or connexions it exposes. Different persons have expressed to me their fears that I should be kidnapped, stabbed or poisoned; but of this I have had but little apprehension. Others may suppose that the priests of Montreal, and some of those in New York, against whom I have made different charges, may have appeared against me in ways of which they are ignorant, and have published facts, or used arguments of serious import, if not of decided force. For the information of my readers, I have determined, though at some inconvenience, to lay before them a fair view of what they have done.
I was well convinced before the publication of my first book, that the priests would do or say very little against me or my work; and several persons can testify, that I made declarations of this kind, with distinctness, in their presence. The reasons I gave for this opinion were these,–that they feared an investigation, and that they feared further disclosures. They must desire to keep the public mind calm, and diverted with other matters; and to avoid increasing my will.
There were individuals, I was well aware, both in and _out_ of the nunnery, and Seminary, who, from the first notice of the appearance of my book, would be extremely disquieted, until they had ascertained the extent to which my developments reached. When they had read for themselves, I well knew, they would enjoy a temporary relief, finding that my “Disclosures” were not the most “awful” which they had reason to expect.
I also felt, that they would apprehend something further from me; and that a dread of this would probably keep them quiet, or confine them to general denials of my story. And this has been the case, even to so great a degree, that the remark has been often repeated–how feeble is their defence! Why did they not rather remain silent than do so little– that which is for them worse than nothing? The causes of this I could assign. The world does not understand them all.
Three principal grounds of opposition have been taken against me by my enemies–1st, That I had never been in the Hotel Dieu Nunnery: 2d, That my character entitled me to no confidence; 3d, That my book was copied, “word for word, and letter for letter,” from an old European work, called “The Gates of Hell opened.” Besides these grounds, several others have been attempted, but less seriously supported–such as that I was deranged, or subject to occasional alienation of mind; and that I was not Maria Monk, but a counterfeit of a person by that name, still in Canada, and, as some said, in the Black Nunnery.
With regard to the first of these grounds, I will here simply say, that it has been, beyond controversy, the principal one, but has recently been abandoned. The great object of the six affidavits, published in Montreal in November, 1835, and republished here soon after the publication of my book, was to prove that I had never been a nun–not even a novice. The reader may judge for himself, for those affidavits are published in full in this volume, and they are the only ones which have been published against me. The reader will also see in an extract from the New York Catholic Diary of March last that that fact is admitted; and by a later extract from it, that a Canadian priest who takes the trouble to write from Sherbrooke, has no new testimony to refer to.
As to my character, I never claimed the confidence of the American people, (as the Roman priests do,) on a pretence of a peculiar holiness of life. That would have been unreasonable in a stranger, and especially one who had been in a nunnery. My first editions, as well as the present, bear witness that I appealed to the evidence of facts which no one could controvert if once produced–an examination of the interior of my late prison. Not a lisp has yet been heard of assent to my proposition. The Protestant Association have published a challenge, for several weeks, which is on another page among the extracts–but no one has accepted it, and I will venture to say, no one will.
My publishers, on seeing the assertion made by the editor of the Boston (Roman Catholic) Pilot, that my book was a mere copy from an old European work, called “The Gates of Hell opened,” published an offer of $100 for any book so resembling it–without success. If there be any volume on earth which contains the developments of any fugitive nun, whose case resembled my own, I should expect to merit such a title as the above; and I should know how to excuse the author for using so strong an expression, after struggling, as I have had to do, in giving my own narrative, with those feelings which are so apt to arise in my heart at the recollection of scenes I have passed through. The opening of the Gates of Hell, whether in a European or a Canadian Convent, may probably disclose scenes very like to each other; but if there be any resemblance between my book and any other in the world, I solemnly declare that it can be owing only to a resemblance between the things described in both, as not a sentence has been copied from any book whatever, and I defy the editor of the Boston Pilot–(not to perjure himself, as he gratuitously proposed–but to do what would be at once much more difficult and satisfactory)–produce his book, or a single page of it.
I have been charged with occasional alienation of mind–a very strong evidence, I should think, of my being a nun; for what eloped nun ever escaped that charge? Like converted Roman Catholics, run-away nuns are commonly pronounced to be out of their wits, or under the influence of evil spirits, of course, on the ground that it is proved by the fact itself.
As to my being the real Maria Monk or not, I presume the testimony of some of my old school-mates, now in New York, will pass. To these, however, it cannot he necessary to resort, otherwise the Montreal affidavits will be good for nothing.
I will now proceed to give _the whole_ of the testimony which has been brought out against me. A few remarks, necessary to acquaint the reader with the progress of things, will be given in their place. Next to these will appear the testimony of several persons, who have voluntarily presented themselves, since the publication of my first edition, claimed acquaintance with me, and volunteered their testimony. I need not say how gratifying I have found such spontaneous marks of kindness, from friends, whose reedy and unsolicited appearance is a real favour to me, although chiefly due, as they declare, to their love of truth and justice.
Almost immediately after the appearance of my “Awful Disclosures,” the following anonymous handbill was distributed through the city of New York. It was also published in the Catholic Diary, and other papers, with violent denunciations.
“_Maria Monk! Villany Exposed._
“_L’Amidu Peuple_, a Montreal paper, gives us the _denouement_ of the tale of scandal which the _Protestant Vindicator_, Christian Herald, _et id genus omne_, put forward a few months since, and which the Protestant Editors of three political journals in Montreal, at once indignantly repelled without knowing its origin. Instead of an eloped Nun, recounting the horrors of the Convent, the heroine of the tale is a Protestant young girl, who has been for four years past under protection of a Mr. Hoyte, once styled a Reverend Methodist Preacher, and connected with Canadian Sunday Schools. The paper quoted above, gives, at full length, the affidavits of the mother of the girl, who is also a Protestant, and of several other individuals, who had no motive to favour Catholic Institutions. The disconsolate mother testifies on oath that she had been solicited by the seducer of her child to swear that she was a Nun, and that the father of the infant was a Catholic Clergyman–that a promise had been made her of a comfortable provision for herself, and for her unfortunate child and offspring–if she would only do that. The poor woman had virtue enough to reject the base proposal; and thus, the Rev. Mr. Hoyte, who had returned from New York for this purpose, accompanied, it is stated, by the Rev. Mr. Brewster and Judge Turner, failed in the object of his visit.
“A Methodist Preacher of the place immediately disclaimed all connection of the society with Mr. Hoyte, and in a letter, published in the papers, expressed his regret that any credit had been given to a foul charge, emanating from a source so polluted.”–_Catholic Herald_.
The affidavits will be published as soon as they shall be received from Canada. Maria Monk’s Book, far from injuring the Catholic religion, will promote it; for the publication is a real _disclosure_ of the wickedness and hypocrisy of its enemies, who dare to go as far as to conceal their own crimes, by calumniating those who never did any thing against them, and have never interfered with them. Probably the author of this _pious book_ is a minister; and, what is more remarkable, not a single one of the ministers has opposed it, or cautioned the people against it, as it is their duty to do, the calumniators being of their own congregation. However, by holding a prayer-meeting, making _a few faces_, and giving a few affecting _turns_ to their voices, they certainly have already washed out the awful crime of these calumnies, because faith alone will save them, and they certainly have the true faith, which shows itself by these true fruits of charity. They are the elect, and consequently, they are not like the Catholic Priests, who are all wicked. The reader may recollect the parable of the pharisee and the publican.
* * * * *
“Granting the truth of Maria Monk’s story, will it not reveal the weakness of Protestant origin? Where would Protestantism be, were it not engendered and nursed by profligate Monks and Nuns? Yes, gentlemen, profligate Monks and Nuns have been your nursing Fathers and Mothers! The chaste spouse of the Redeemer could hold no fellowship with such characters. She has flung them over the fences of the ‘fold,’ happy to have a sink into which to throw her filth.”
As soon as my first edition appeared, several of the newspapers of New York referred to the publication in terms of unqualified condemnation. Not content with giving my motives in producing it, without having seen me, they hesitated not to pronounce it utterly false, with as much boldness as if they had really known something more of the matter than the public at large. A poor and injured female had disclosed to their countrymen facts of deep interest to all; and they, without examination, perhaps without leaving their offices to make a single inquiry, did their utmost to decry me, and used terms which they cannot but regret sooner or later.
Requests were immediately made to some of them to listen to evidence, which were not accepted. The editors of the Courier and Enquirer were requested, in a note from the publishers, to mention in their paper what parts of my book they intended to pronounce false, and what was their evidence. But they took no notice of it, although desired to publish the note. Many other editors were invited to publish communications or extracts, but most of them refused from the first, and all the papers were soon closed against my cause.
In the country, the newspapers generally, I believe, followed the example set in this city, though in Albany, Boston, and one or two other places, a solitary one or two appeared disposed to examine the subject.
At length appeared the long-threatened Montreal affidavits, which are here inserted. They were published in several Roman Catholic, and one or two Protestant papers in New York, with this introduction–
_”Maria Monk’s ‘Awful Disclosures.’ Villany exposed!!_
“Of all the curious pranks and fanatical schemes which the foes of Catholicity have been playing for some years past, there is not one that fills the mind with greater disgust than the scandalous tale given to the public by Maria Monk and her wicked associate.
“By the evidence which covers the following pages, the reader will see the man himself clearly convinced of being a base calumniator, and arch- hypocrite. He, and his associate prostitute, will be seen, with brazen impudence, attempting to fix on the virtuous Catholic Ladies and Catholic Priests of Montreal, the shameless character which belongs only to themselves.”
_From the Montreal Courier,_ Nov. 16, 1835.
“The _New York Protestant Vindicator_ of the 4th November, reiterates its calumnies concerning the Roman Catholic Clergy and Nuns of this city. We cherished the hope that, after the simultaneous and unanimous expressions of disbelief and reprehension with which its extravagant assertions had been met by the Canadian press, both Protestant and Catholic, the conductors of that journal would have been slow to repeat, without better evidence of their truth, the same disgraceful charges. We have been deceived in our calculation. The fanatical print demands _counter evidence_ before it will withdraw, or acknowledge the falsehood of its previous statements. We believe that _counter_ evidence has already been adduced, of a nature far surpassing, in weight, the claims to credibility which the accusations themselves could offer. The impure fabrication trumped up by a woman of immoral character and insane mind, in conjunction with a man of equally depraved habits, can never be weighed in the balance with the testimony of Protestants, living in the same community as the accused, and, therefore, possessing the means of judging of the truth or falsehood of what was advanced. By any persons of less interested credulity, and of more discriminating and moral honesty, than what the conductors of the _Protestant Vindicator_ appear to possess, counter evidence of the above nature would have been deemed sufficient.
“There are two reasons which have mainly weighed with us, to revert to the subject of the _Protestant Vindicator’s_ charges, and to publish the subjoined lengthy documents. We consider, in the first place, our endeavours to expose falsehood as a solemn duty we owe to the defamed; and, in the second, we should regard ourselves to be degraded in the eyes of the world, did we live in a community where such abominations, as are alleged, existed, and not dare, openly and loudly, to denounce the perpetrators.
“Under these impressions, we proceed, at a considerable sacrifice of the space of our journal, to lay before our readers the following affidavits, which will sufficiently disclose the nature of the _Protestant Vindicator’s_ calumnies, their origin, and the degree of credit which can be attached to them.”
(AFFIDAVIT OF DR. ROBERTSON.)
“William Robertson, of Montreal, Doctor in Medicine, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists, deposeth and saith as follows:–On the 9th of November, 1834, three men came up to my house, having a young female in company with them, who, they said, was observed that forenoon, on the bank of the Canal, near the extremity of the St. Joseph Suburbs, acting in a manner which induced some people who saw her to think that she intended to drown herself. They took her into a house in the neighbourhood, where, after being there some hours, and interrogated as to who she was, &c., she said she was the daughter of Dr. Robertson. On receiving this information, they brought her to my house. Being from home when they came to the door, and learning from Mrs. Robertson that she had denied them, they conveyed her to the watch-house. Upon hearing this story, in company with G. Auldjo, Esq., of this city. I went to the watch-house to inquire into the affair. We found the young female, whom I have since ascertained to be Maria Monk, daughter of W. Monk, of this city, in custody. She said, that although she was not my daughter, she was the child of respectable parents, in or very near Montreal, who from some light conduct of hers, (arising from temporary insanity, to which she was at times subject from her infancy.) had kept her confined and chained in a cellar for the last four years. Upon examination, no mark or appearance indicated the wearing of manacles, or any other mode of restraint. She said, on my observing this, that her mother always took care to cover the irons with soft cloths to prevent them injuring the skin. From the appearance of her hands, [Footnote: Compare this with the last sentence but one in the affidavit. Why does Dr. R. not give names of persons and their affidavits? It has not yet been done–April, 1836.] she evidently had not been used to work. To remove her from the watch- house, where she was confined with some of the most profligate women of the town, taken up for inebriety and disorderly conduct in the streets, as she could not give a satisfactory account of herself, I as a Justice of the Peace, sent her to jail as a vagrant. The following morning, I went to the jail for the purpose of ascertaining, if possible, who she was. After considerable persuasion, she promised to divulge her story to the Rev. H. Esson, one of the clergymen of the Church of Scotland, to whose congregation she said her parents belonged. That gentleman did call at the jail, and ascertained who she was. In the course of a few days she was released, and I did not see her again until the month of August last, when Mr. Johnston, of Griffintown, Joiner, and Mr. Cooley, of the St. Ann Suburbs, Merchant, called upon me, about ten o’clock at night, and, after some prefatory remarks, mentioned that the object of their visit was, to ask me, as a magistrate, to institute an inquiry into some very serious charges which had been made against some of the Roman Catholic Priests of that place, and the Nuns of the General Hospital, by a female, who had been a Nun in that Institution for four years, and who had divulged the horrible secrets of that establishment, such as the illicit and criminal intercourse between the Nuns and the Priests, stating particulars of such depravacy of conduct, on the part of these people, in this respect, and their murdering the offspring of these criminal connexions, as soon as they were born, to the number of from thirty to forty every year. I instantly stated, that I did not believe a word of what they told me, and that they must have been imposed upon by some evil-disposed and designing person. Upon inquiry who this Nun, their informant, was, I discovered that she answered exactly the description of Maria Monk, whom I had so much trouble about last year, and mentioned to these individuals my suspicion, and what I knew of that unfortunate girl. Mr. Cooley said to Mr. Johnston, let us go home, we are hoaxed. They told me that she was then at Mr. Johnston’s house, and requested me to call there, and hear her own story. The next day, or the day following, I did call, and saw Maria Monk, at Mr. Johnston’s house. She repeated in my presence the substance of what was mentioned to me before, relating to her having been in the Nunnery for four years; having taken the black veil; the crimes committed there; and a variety of other circumstances concerning the Priests and Nuns. A Mr. Hoyte was introduced to me, and was present during the whole of the time that I was in the house. He was represented as one of the persons who had come from New York with this young woman, for the purpose of investigating into this mysterious affair. I was asked to take her deposition, on her oath, as to the truth of what she had stated. I declined doing so, giving as reason, that, from my knowledge of her character, I considered her assertions upon oath were not entitled to more credit than her bare assertion, and that I did not believe either: intimating, at the same time, my willingness to take the necessary steps for a full investigation, if they could get any other person to corroborate any part of her solemn testimony, or if a direct charge were to be made against any particular individual of a criminal nature. During the first interview with Messrs. Johnston and Cooley, they mentioned, that Maria Monk had been found in New York in a very destitute situation by some charitable individuals, who administered to her necessities, being very sick. She expressed a wish to see a clergyman, as she had a dreadful secret which she wished to divulge before she died; a clergyman visiting her, she related to him the alleged crimes of the Priests and Nuns of the General Hospital at Montreal. After her recovery, she was visited and examined by the Mayor and some lawyers at New York, afterward at Troy, in the State of New York, on the subject; and I understood them to say, that Mr. Hoyte and two other gentlemen, one of them a lawyer, were sent to Montreal, for the purpose of examining into the truth of the accusations thus made. Although incredulous as to the truth of Maria Monk’s story, I thought it incumbent upon me to make some inquiry concerning it, and have ascertained where she had been residing a great part of the time she states having been an inmate of the Nunnery. During the summer of 1832 she was at service in William Henry’s; the winters of 1823-3, she passed in this neighborhood, at St. Ours and St. Denis. The accounts given of her conduct that season corroborate the opinions I had before entertained of her character.
“Sworn before me, Montreal, this 14th day of November, 1835.
“BENJ. HOLMES, J. P.”
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF MY MOTHER.)
“On this day, the twenty-fourth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five, before me, William Robertson, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the district of Montreal, came and appeared Isabella Mills, [Footnote: My mother’s maiden name was Mills] of the city of Montreal, widow of the late William Monk, who declared, that wishing to guard the public against the deception which has lately been practised in Montreal by designing men, who have taken advantage of the occasional derangement of her daughter, to make scandalous accusations against the Priests and the Nuns in Montreal, and afterward to make her pass herself for a nun, who had left the Convent. And after having made oath on the holy evangelists, (to say the truth) the said Isabella Mills declares and says, a man decently dressed (whom afterward I knew to be W. R. Hoyte. stating himself to be a minister of New York,) came to my house on or about the middle of August last, and inquired for one Mr. Mills; that Mr. Esson, a minister here, had told him I could give him some information about that man; I replied that I knew no one of that name in Montreal, but that I had a brother of that name five miles out of town. He then told me that he had lately come to Montreal, with a young woman and child of five weeks old; that the woman had absconded from him at Goodenough’s tavern, where they were lodging, and left him with the child; he gave me a description of the woman: I unfortunately discovered that the description answered my daughter, and the reflection that this stranger had called upon Mr. Esson, our pastor, and inquiring for my brother, I suspected that this was planned: I asked for the child, and said that I would place it in a nunnery: to that Mr. Hoyte started every objection, in abusive language against the nuns. At last he consented to give me the child, provided I would give my writing that it should be presented when demanded. We left the house together, Mr. Hoyte requested me to walk at a distance from him, as he was a gentleman. I followed him to Mr. Goodenough’s Hotel, and he directed me to room No. 17, and to demand the child; a servant maid gave it to me; Mr. Hoyte came up, and gave me the clothing. I came home with the child, and sent Mrs. Tarbert, an old acquaintance, in search of my daughter; her disposition will be seen. The next day, Mr. Hoyte came in with an elderly man, Dr. Judge Turner, decently dressed, whom he introduced to me as a Mr. Turner, of St. Alban’s. They demanded to see the child, which I produced. Mr. Hoyte demanded if I had discovered the mother; I said not. She must be found, said he; she has taken away a shawl and a bonnet belonging to a servant girl at Goodenough’s; he would not pay for them; she had cost him too much already; that, his things were kept at the hotel on that account. Being afraid that this might more deeply involve my daughter, I offered my own shawl to replace the one taken; Mr. Hoyte first took it but afterward returned it to me on my promise that I would pay for the shawl and bonnet. In the course of the day, Mrs. Tarbert found my daughter, but she would not come to my house; she sent the bonnet and shawl, which were returned to their owner, who had lent them to my daughter, to assist her in procuring her escape from Mr. Hoyte at the hotel. Early on the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Hoyte came to my house with the same old man, wishing me to make all my efforts to find the girl, in the meantime speaking very bitterly against the Catholics, the Priests, and the Nuns; mentioning that my daughter had been in the nunnery, where she had been ill treated. I denied that my daughter had ever been in a nunnery; that when she was about eight years of age, she went to a day-school. At that time came in two other persons, whom Mr. Hoyte introduced; one was Rev. Mr. Brewster, I do not recollect the other reverence’s name. They all requested me, in the most pressing terms, to try to make it out; my daughter had been in the nunnery; and that she had some connection with the Priests of the seminary, of which nunneries and Priests she spoke in the most outrageous terms; said, that should I make that out, myself, my daughter, and child, would be protected for life. I expected to get rid of their importunities, in relating the melancholy circumstances by which my daughter was frequently deranged in her head, and told them, that when at the age of about seven years, she broke a slate pencil in her head; that since that time her mental faculties were deranged, and by times much more than at other times, but that she was far from being an idiot; that she could make the most ridiculous, but most plausible stories; and that as to the history that she had been in a nunnery, it was a fabrication, for she never was in a nunnery; that at one time I wished to obtain a place in a nunnery for her; that I had employed the influence of Mrs. De Montenach, of Dr. Nelson, and of our pastor, the Rev. Mr. Esson, but without success. I told them notwithstanding I was a Protestant and did not like the Catholic religion–like all other respectable Protestants, I held the priests of the seminary and the nuns of Montreal in veneration, as the most pious and charitable persons I ever knew. After many more solicitations to the same effect, three of them retired, but Mr. Hoyte remained, adding to the other solicitations; he was stopped, a person having rapped at the door; it was then candlelight. I opened the door, and found Doctor McDonald, who told me that my daughter Maria was at his house, in the most distressing situation; that she wished him to come and make her peace with me; I went with the Doctor to his house in M’Gill-street; she came with me to near my house, but would not come in, notwithstanding I assured her that she would be kindly treated, and that I would give her her child; she crossed the parade ground, and I went into the house, and returned for her.–Mr. Hoyte followed me. She was leaning on the west railing of the parade; we went to her: Mr. Hoyte told her, my dear Mary, I am sorry you have treated yourself and me in this manner; I hope you have not exposed what has passed between us, nevertheless; I will treat you the same as ever, and spoke to her in the most affectionate terms; took her in his arms; she at first spoke to him very cross, and refused to go with him, but at last consented and went with him, absolutely refusing to come to my house. Soon after, Mr. Hoyte came and demanded the child; I gave it to him. Next morning Mr. Hoyte returned, and was more pressing than in his former solicitation, and requested me to say that my daughter had been in the nunnery: that should I say so, it would be better than one hundred pounds to me; that I would be protected for life, and that I should leave Montreal, and that I would be better provided for elsewhere; I answered, that thousands of pounds would not induce me to perjure myself; then he got saucy and abusive to the utmost; he said he came to Montreal to detect the infamy of the Priests and the Nuns; that he could not leave my daughter destitute in the wide world as I had done: afterward said, No! she is not your daughter, she is too sensible for that, and went away–He was gone but a few minutes, when Mr. Doucet, an ancient Magistrate in Montreal, entered. That gentleman told me that Mr. Goodenough had just now called upon him, and requested him to let me know that I had a daughter in Montreal; that she had come in with a Mr. Hoyte and a child, and that she had left Mr. Hoyte and the child, but that she was still in Montreal, so as to enable me to look for her, and that I might prevent some mischief that was going on. Then I related to him partly what I have above said. When he was going, two other gentlemen came. I refused to give them any information at first, expecting that they were of the party that had so much agitated me for a few days; but being informed by Mr. Doucet, that he knew one of them, particularly Mr. Perkins, for a respectable citizen for a long time in Montreal, and the other Mr. Curry, two ministers from the United States, that if they came to obtain some information about the distressing events she related to have occurred in her family, he thought it would do no harm, and I related it to them: they appeared to be afflicted with such a circumstance; I have not seen them any more. I asked Mr. Doucet if the man Hoyte could not be put in jail; he replied that he thought not, for what he knew of the business. Then I asked if the Priests were informed of what was going on; he replied, yes, but they never take up these things; they allow their character to defend itself. A few days after, I heard that my daughter was at one Mr. Johnson’s, a joiner, at Griffintown, with Mr. Hoyte; that he passed her for a nun that had escaped from the Hotel Dieu Nunnery. I went there two days successively with Mrs. Tarbert; the first day, Mrs. Johnson denied her, and said that she was gone to New York with Mr. Hoyte. As I was returning, I met Mr. Hoyte on the wharf, and I reproached him for his conduct. I told him that my daughter had been denied me at Johnson’s, but that I would have a search-warrant to have her; when I returned, he had really gone with my unfortunate daughter; and I received from Mr. Johnson, his wife and a number of persons in their house, the grossest abuse, mixed with texts of the Gospel, Mr. Johnson bringing a Bible for me to swear on. I retired more deeply afflicted than ever, and further sayeth not.
“Sworn before me, this 24th of October, 1835.”
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF NANCY M’GAN.)
“_Province of Lower Canada, District of Montreal._
“Before me, William Robertson, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, for the District of Montreal, came and appeared Nancy M’Gan, of Montreal, wife of James Tarbert, who has requested me to receive this affidavit, and declared that she had been intimately acquainted with Mrs. (widow) Monk, of Montreal, a Protestant woman. I know the said Maria Monk; last spring she told me that the father of the child she then was carrying, was burned in Mr. Owsten’s house. She often went away in the country, and at the request of her mother I accompanied her across the river. Last summer she came back to my lodgings, and told me that she had made out the father of the child; and that very night left me and went away. The next morning I found that she was in a house of bad fame, where I went for her, and told the woman keeping that house, that she ought not to allow that girl to remain there, for she was a girl of good and honest family. Maria Monk then told me that she would not go to him (alluding, as I understood, to the father of the child), for that he wanted her to swear an oath that would lose her soul for ever, but jestingly said, should make her a lady for ever. I then told her (Maria), do not lose your soul for money. She told me she had swapped her silk gown in the house where I had found her, for a calico one, and got some money to boot; having previously told me if she had some money she would go away, and would not go near him any more. Soon after, Mr. Hoyte and another gentleman came. Mr. Hoyte asked me where she had slept the night previous, and that he would go for the silk gown; the woman showed the gown, and told him that if he would pay three dollars he should have the gown; he went away, and came back with Maria Monk, paid the three dollars and got the gown; I was then present.
“Being at Mrs. Monk’s, I saw a child which she mentioned to be her daughter Maria’s child. Some time after, Mrs. Monk requested me to accompany her to Griffintown, to look for her daughter. We went, to Mr. Johnson’s house, a joiner in that suburb: we met Mr. Hoyte and he spoke to Mrs. Monk; when at Mr. Johnson’s, Mrs. Manly asked for her daughter; Mrs. Johnson said she was not there. I saw Mr. Hoyte at Mrs. Monk’s; he was in company with three other persons, apparently Americans, earnestly engaged in conversation, but so much confused I could not make out what was said; and farther sayeth not.”
“NANCY + M’GAN.
“Sworn before me, on this 24th October, 1835.
“W. ROBERTSON, J. P.”
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF ASA GOODENOUGH.)
_”Province of Lower Canada, District of Montreal._
“Before me, William Robertson, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, for the District of Montreal, appeared Asa Goodenough, of Montreal, holder of the Exchange Coffee House, who, after having made oath upon the Holy Evangelists, declareth and sayeth, that on or about the nineteenth of August last, two gentlemen and a young female with a child, put up at the Exchange Coffee House, of which I am the owner; they were entered in the book, one under the name of Judge Turner, the other as Mr. Hoyte, a Methodist preacher, and agent or superintendent for the establishment of Sunday-schools, &c.
“Being informed by Catherine Conners, a confidential servant, that something mysterious was passing amongst the above-named, which led me to call on them for an explanation, they answered in a very unsatisfactory manner. I afterward learned that the name of the young woman was Maria Monk, that her mother lived in town, that she was not married to Mr. Hoyte, and they came to Montreal with the view, as Mr. Hoyte said, to disclose the infamy of the Priests, whilst she was at the Nunnery. I thought it prudent to give information of this to a magistrate. Seeing Mr. Doucet’s name on the list, I went to him, and requested him to give information to the mother of the young woman, of the circumstances in which her daughter was. He did so, and the disclosure of the design of Mr. Hoyte was the consequence.
* * * * *
“The following affidavits have been translated from the _L’Ami du Peuple,_ Montreal, Nov. 7, 1835.”
(AFFIDAVIT OF CATHARINE CONNERS.)
_”Province of Lower Canada, District of Montreal._
“Before me, W. Robertson, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the District of Montreal, appeared Catherine Conners of Montreal, a servant in the hotel of Mr. Goodenough, in the city of Montreal; she having made oath on the Holy Evangelists, to say the truth and nothing but the truth, declared and said what follows:
“Towards the 19th of August last, two men and a woman came to the _Exchange Coffee House_; their names were written in the book, one by the name of Judge Turner, and the other as Mr. Hoyte; the name of the woman was not written in the book, in which the names of travellers are written, because I was informed that they were taking a single room with two beds. Some time after another room was given to them for their accommodation; the woman passed for the wife of Mr. Hoyte.
“The day following, when I was making the bed, I found the woman in tears; having made the remark to her that her child was a very young traveller, she replied that she had not the power to dispense with the journey, for they travelled on business of importance; she also said that she had never had a day of happiness since she had left Montreal, which was four years, with Mr. Hoyte; she expressed a wish to go and see her father. She entreated me to try and procure secretly clothes for her, for Mr. Hoyte wished to dine with her in his own room, in which he was then taking care of the child. I gave her my shawl and bonnet, and conducted her secretly out by the street St Pierre; she never returned, and left the child in the hands of Mr. Hoyte. She said that her _husband_ was a Methodist preacher, and agent of the Sunday School for Montreal, in which he had resided four months last winter; but she had not then been with him. When I returned to the room, Mr. Hoyte was still taking care of the child; be asked me if I had seen _his lady_; I said no. Upon this question he told me that the father of _his lady_ was dead, that her mother yet lived in the suburbs of Quebec, and he asked me for all the clothes which I had given to wash for him, _his lady_ and child; clothes the _lady_ had taken from the only portmanteau which they had. Beyond that, I perceived nothing remarkable, except that Mr. Hoyte wished to conceal this woman, and to prevent her from going out. I heard the judge say to him, ‘now she is yours.’ Sworn before me the 2d November, 1835.
(Signed) “W. ROBERTSON.”
Mary McCaffrey, also a chambermaid in the hotel of Mr. Goodenough, corroborates the preceding deposition.
(Signed) “W. ROBERTSON.”
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF HENRY M’DONALD.)
_”Province of Lower Canada, District of Montreal._
“Before me, W. Robertson, one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, for the District of Montreal, appeared Henry M’Donald, physician, who, after taking an oath on the Holy Evangelists to say the truth, declared, that in the month of August last, at seven o’clock in the evening, a young woman called at his house with all the symptoms of an extraordinary agitation, and in great distress. She asked his professional advice, complaining of great pains in the breast. On questioning her, he learned that she had a young child, which she said was at Mr. Goodenough’s, and that this child was taken away from her. She said that the father of the child was a Methodist Minister, and general agent of the Sunday-Schools. She told me his name, but I cannot recollect it. She told me that now and then her intellectual faculties were weakened in such a manner that she could not support herself. She told me that she would be under great obligation to me, if I would go to her mother’s house, and get her child, and procure lodgings for her; that she was without means, and did not know where to go. She could not remain with her mother, because she felt that her conduct had disgraced her family. I went in quest of Mrs. Monk, her mother; she had just come in quest of her daughter, and they went away together from my house.
(Signed) “HENRY M’DONALD.”
“Sworn before me the 2d November, 1835.
(Signed) “W. ROBERTSON.”
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF MATTHEW RICHEY.)
_To the Editor of the Montreal Morning Courier._
Sir,–Among the affidavits published in your paper of to-day, relating to Mr. Hoyte and Maria Monk, I observe a deposition by Mr. Goodenough, that when Mr. Hoyte, in the month of August last, put up at the Exchange Coffee-house, he was entered on the book as a _Methodist Preacher, and Agent or Superintendant of Sunday Schools_, &c. It has, however, been ascertained, from an examination of the book referred too, that no official designation is appended in it to Mr. Hoyte’s name. This discrepancy, Mr. Goodenough states, took place entirely through mistake, and he did not know that Mr. Hoyte was thus characterized in his affidavit till he saw it in print. But as a similar mistake has found its way into several of the depositions which have been elicited by this unhappy affair, I deem it incumbent upon me, as a regularly appointed Methodist Minister of this city, to declare that Mr. Hoyte has never had any connexion with the Methodist Society, either as a preacher or as an agent for Sunday Schools; and I would, at the same time, express my surprise and regret, that the _New York Protestant Vindicator_ should have taken up, and industriously circulated, charges of so grave a nature against the Priests and Nuns of this city, derived from so polluted a source. From such a species of _vindication_, no cause can receive either honour or credit. By giving this publicity, you will confer a favour on yours, respectfully,
“MATTHEW RICHEY, _Wesleyan Minister_.”
“Montreal, Nov. 16, 1835.
* * * * *
“Although we could produce several other affidavits, of an equally unimpeachable character as the above, yet we deem the evidence advanced more than enough to show the entire, falsehood and extravagance of the fabrications in the _Protestant Vindicator_.”
* * * * *
Here closes all the testimony that has been published or brought against me. It requires the suppression of my feelings to repeat to the world charges against myself and my companions, so unfounded, and painful to every virtuous reader. But I [illegible] to the truth to substantiate my narrative, and prefer that everything should be fairly laid before the world. That my opponents had nothing further to produce against me at that time, is proved by the following remark by the Editor of the New York Catholic Diary, to be found in very paper in which he published the preceding affidavits:–
_”Here, then, is the whole!”_
In a N. Y. Catholic Diary of March last, is a letter from Father McMahon, a Missionary, dated at Sherbrooke, in Canada, in which, as will be seen by the extracts given beyond, he does not even allude to any other testimony than this. Of course my readers will allow that I have reason to say–“Here, then, is the whole!”
The following extracts are given for several reasons. 1st. To prove, by the admission of my adversaries themselves, that no new testimony has been produced since the publication of the Montreal affidavits. 2d. That no disposition is shown to bring the truth to the only fair test–the opening of the Nunnery. 3d. That they are inconsistent in several respects, as, while they pretend to leave the characters of the priests and nuns to defend themselves, they labour with great zeal and acrimony to quiet public suspicion, and to discredit my testimony. 4th. Another object in giving these extracts is, to show a specimen of the style of most of the Roman Catholic writers against me. In respect to argument, temper, and scarcity of facts, Father McMahon is on a level with the editors of the Diary and Green Banner, judging from such of their papers as I have seen.
* * * * *
_From Father McMahon’s Letter to the editor of the N. Y. Catholic Diary of March, 1836._
“The silence by which you indulge the latent springs of a mal-propense, so far from being an argument for culpability, is based upon the charitableness of a conscious innocence, and is, therefore, highly commendable. I say it is highly commendable, inasmuch as these worthy and respectable characters do not deign to answer falsehood, or turn their attention from their sacred avocations by effectually repelling allegations which all men, women, and children, able to articulate a syllable, in the city of Montreal, have repeatedly pronounced to be utterly false, detestably false, and abominably scandalous.
* * * * *
“May I now call upon you, honest Americans, who, though you may differ from me in doctrinal points of religion, have, I trust, the due regard for truth and charity towards all mankind; and into whose hand that instrument of Satan’s emissaries may fall, before you believe one syllable [illegible] attentively to peruse the following _facts_, which are [illegible] men of learning, of every persuasion, and in every country, and which you will find, by mature investigation, to serve as a sufficient key to discover the wicked falsehoods, circulated by the enemies of truth, in the work called, ‘The Disclosures of Maria Monk,’ but which, in consequence of the total absence of truth from the things therein contained, I have termed (and I think justly on that account), the devil’s prayer-book. I beseech you to give my statements a fair, but impartial trial, weigh correctly the arguments opposed to them, according to your judgment–do not allow yourselves to be gulled by the empty or unmeaning phraseology of some of your bloated, though temperate, preachers. All I ask for the test of the following statement, is simply and solely the exercise of your common sense, without equivocation. 1st. I distinctly and unequivocally state, that the impugners of the Catholic religion and its doctrines, never dared to meet us in the fair field of argument. Never yet have they entered the lists in an eristical encounter, but to their cost. Why so? because we have reason, religion, and the impenetrable shield of true syllogistic argumentation in our favour. Witness, in support of the assertion, the stupid and besotted crew (pardon me for this expression, and find a proper term yourselves, for the politico-Theological Charlatans of England), who, not daring to encounter the Catholic Hierarchy of Ireland, in an honorable religious disputation, are forced to drag to their assistance those very apostates from Catholicity who were considered by their superiors unworthy of the situation they attempted to hold in that Church; for the purpose of propping up the staggering and debauched harlot, whose grave they are now preparing. Only remark how they are obliged to have recourse to the exploded scholastic opinion of Peter Dens, by way of showing the intolerance of the Catholics, who repudiate the doctrine of religious intolerance. Maryland, Bavaria, and the Cantons of Switzerland, prove the contrary by their universal religious toleration. Now I could mention, if I thought I had space enough on this sheet, numbers of Protestant divines, who, in their writings, have strongly inculcated the absurd doctrines of ruling our consciences by the authority of the Civil Magistrates. See then, how strange it is that they seek to condemn us for doctrines which we abhor, and which they practice, even to this day. Mark that for an argument against our doctrines.
“2dly. I assert, that notwithstanding all the persecutions, all the falsehood and defamation daily exercised against the Catholics and their religion, they are at this moment the only people on the face of the earth, who maintain amongst them the unity of the true faith, and the regular succession in the Ministry, from Christ and his Apostles.
“3dly. I assert, that the late scandalous production against the Catholic Clergy of Montreal and the Catholic institutions there, is a tissue of false, foul, designing, and scandalous misrepresentation. 1st. Because upon strict examination into all its bearings, it has been so proved upon the solemn oaths of a magistrate and others concerned. 2dly. Because it is no way consonant to reason or common sense to say that those living at a considerable distance, and avowedly hostile to the Catholics and their religion, should feel so interested in the matter? as the Catholics themselves, who are vitally concerned, and who had every facility of discovering any impropriety; who are zealous of the purity of their religion and its Ministers. 3dly. Because the loud cry of all the inhabitants of every denomination, from the well-known integrity, the extraordinary piety, the singular charity and devotedness of the Catholic Clergy, came in peals of just wrath and well-merited indignation on the heads of the degenerate monsters who basely, but ineffectually, attempted to murder the unsullied fame of those whom they deservedly held, and will hold, in the highest estimation.
“T. B. McMahon, _Missionary_.”
Now this letter alludes to testimony legally given, as substantiating the charges against me. What testimony is intended? Any new testimony? If so, where, and what is it? I never heard of any, of any description, except what I have inserted on the preceding pages, unless I except the violent, unsupported, and inconsistent assertion in newspapers, before alluded to. Has any testimony, legally given, been produced, which neither the Catholic Diary, nor any other Catholic paper, has either inserted or alluded to? No. The Missionary, McMahon, must refer to the Montreal affidavits; and since he has expressed his opinion in relation to their credibility and weight, I request my readers to form their own opinions, as I have put the means in their power.
It may, perhaps, appear to some, an act displaying uncommon “_concern_” in my affairs, or those of the Convent, for Father McMahon to take the pains to write on the subject from Canada. I know more of him and his concerns than the public do; and I am glad that my book has reached him. Happy would it have been for him, if he could prove that he did not leave Sherbrooke from the day when I took the Black veil, until the day when I cast it off. There are many able to bear witness against him in that institution (if they have not been removed), and one out of it, who could easily silence him, by disclosures that he has too much reason to apprehend.
But to return–I assure my readers, then, that this book contains all the testimony that has been brought against me, so far as I can ascertain.
The extensive publication of the Montreal affidavits (for they appeared in the Roman Catholic papers, and were circulated, it is believed, very generally through New York), for a time, almost entirely closed the newspapers against me. My publishers addressed the following letter to the, editor of the N. Y. Catholic Diary, and waited on him with a third person, to request its publication in his next paper, but he declined. He expressed doubts of my being in the city, and intimated a wish to see me; but when they acceded, he refused to meet me anywhere but _at his own residence!_
The same letter was then offered to other editors in New York, and even sent to Philadelphia for publication, but refused. It appeared on the 29th of February, in the Brooklyn Star, thus introduced:–
_Extracts from the Long Island Star of Feb. 29th._
“Since the publication of our last paper, we have received a communication from Messrs. Howe and Bates, of New York, the publishers of Miss Monk’s ‘Awful Disclosures.’ It appears that some influences have been at work in that city, adverse to the free examination of the case between her and the priests of Canada; for thus far the news papers have been almost entirely closed against every thing in her defence, while most of them have published false charges against the book, some of a preposterous nature, the contradiction of which is plain and palpable.
“Returning to New York, she then first resolved to publish her story, which she has recently done, after several intelligent and disinterested persons had satisfied themselves by much examination that it was _true_.
“When it became known in Canada that this was her intention, six affidavits were published in some of the newspapers, intended to destroy confidence in her character; but these were found very contradictory in several important points, and others to afford undersigned confirmation of statements before made by her.
“On the publication of her book, the New York Catholic Diary, the Truth Teller, the Green Banner, and other papers, made virulent attacks upon it, and one of them proposed that the publishers should be ‘Lynched.’ An anonymous handbill was also circulated in New York, declaring the work a malignant libel, got up by Protestant clergymen, and promising an ample refutation of it in a few days. This was re-published in the Catholic Diary, &c. with the old Montreal affidavits which latter were also distributed through New York and Brooklyn; and on the authority of these, several Protestant newspapers denounced the work as false and malicious.
“Another charge, quite inconsistent with the rest, was also made, not only by the leading Roman Catholic papers, but by several others at second hand–viz. that it was a mere copy of an old European work. This has been promptly denied by the publishers, with the offer of $100 reward for any book at all resembling it.
“Yet, such is the resolution of some and the unbelief of others, that it is impossible for the publishers to obtain insertion for their replies in the New York papers generally, and they have been unsuccessful in an attempt in Philadelphia.
“This is the ground on which the following article has been offered to us for publication in the Star. It was offered to Mr. Schneller, a Roman priest, and editor of the Catholic Diary, for insertion in his paper of Saturday before last, but refused, although written expressly as an answer to the affidavits and charges his previous number had contained. This article has also been refused insertion in a Philadelphia daily paper, after it had been satisfactorily ascertained that there was no hope of gaining admission for it into any of the New York papers.
“It should be stated, in addition, that the authoress of the book, Maria Monk, is in New York, and stands ready to answer any questions, and submit to any inquiries, put in a proper manner, and desires nothing so strongly as an opportunity to prove before a court the truth of her story. She has already found several persons of respectability who have confirmed some of the facts, important and likely to be attested by concurrent evidence; and much testimony in her favour may be soon expected by the public.
“With these facts before them, intelligent readers will judge for themselves. She asks for investigation, while her opponents deny her every opportunity to meet the charges made against her. Mr. Schneller, after expressing a wish to see her, to the publishers, refused to meet her anywhere, _unless in his own house;_ while Mr. Quarter, another Roman Catholic priest, called to see her, at ten o’clock, one night, accompanied by another man, without giving their names, and under the false pretence of being bearers of a letter from her brother in Montreal.”
* * * * *
_Reply to the Montreal Affidavits, refused publication by the Catholic Diary &c._
“To the Editor of the Catholic Diary.
“SIR–In your paper of last Saturday, you published six affidavits from Montreal, which are calculated, so far as they are believed, to discredit the truth of the ‘Awful Disclosures’ of Maria Monk, a book of which we are the publishers. We address the following remarks to you, with a request that you will publish them in the Catholic Diary, that your readers may have the means of judging for themselves. If the case be so plain a one as you seem to suppose, they will doubtless perceive more plainly the bearing and force of the evidence you present, when they see it brought into collision with that which it is designed to overthrow.
“First, We have to remark, that the affidavits which you publish might have been furnished you in this city, without the trouble or delay of sending to Montreal. They have been here two or three months, and were carefully examined about that period by persons who are acquainted with Maria Monk’s story, and were desirous of ascertaining the truth. After obtaining further evidence from Canada these affidavits were decided to contain strong confirmation of various points in her story, then already written down, only part of which has yet been published.
“Second. It is remarkable that of these six affidavits, the first is that of Dr. Robinson, and all the rest are signed by him as Justice of the Peace; and a Justice, too, who had previously refused to take the affidavit of Maria Monk. Yet, unknown to himself, this same Dr. R., by incidents of his own stating, corroborates some very important parts of Miss Monk’s statements. He says, indeed, that he has ascertained where she was part of the time when she professed to have been in the Nunnery. But his _evidence_ on this point is merely hearsay, and he does not even favour us with that.
“Third, One of the affidavits is that of Miss Monk’s mother, who claims to be a Protestant, and yet declares, that she proposed to send her infant grandchild to a Nunnery! She says her daughter has long been subject to fits of insanity, (of which, however, we can say no traces are discoverable in New York,) and has never been in a Nunnery since she was at school in one, while quite a child. She however does not mention where her daughter has spent any part of the most important years of her life. A large part of her affidavit, as well as several others, is taken up with matter relating to one of the persons who accompanied Miss M. to Montreal last summer, and has no claim to be regarded as direct evidence for or against the authenticity of her book.
“Fourth, The affidavit of Nancy McGan is signed with a cross, as by one ignorant of writing; and she states that she visited a house of ill fame, (to all appearance alone,) although, as she asserts, to bring away Miss M. Her testimony, therefore, does not present the strongest claims to our confidence. Besides, it is known that she has shown great hostility, to Miss Monk, in the streets of Montreal: and she would not, it is believed, have had much influence on an intelligent court or jury, against Miss M., in that city, if the latter had been fortunate enough to obtain the legal investigation into her charges, which as Dr. R. mentions, she declared to be the express object of her visit to that city, in the last summer, and in which she failed, after nearly a month’s exertion.
“Fifth, The affidavit of Mr. Goodenough is contradicted in one point by the letter of Mr. Richey, a Wesleyan minister, which you insert, and contains little else of any importance to this or any other case. * * * *
“Sixth, You copied in a conspicuous manner, from a Catholic paper in Boston, a charge against the book, the groundlessness of which has been exposed in some of the New York papers, viz. that large parts of it were, ‘word for word and letter for letter.’ (names only altered,) copied from a book published some years ago in Europe, under the title of ‘The Gates of Hell opened.’ We have not seen in your paper any correction of this aspersion, although the assertion of it has placed you in a dilemma; for, if such were the fact, as you asserted, the Montreal affidavits would have little application to the case. Besides, that book, having proceeded from Catholics, and relating, as was intimated, to scenes in European Convents, divulged by witnesses not chargeable with prejudices against them, is to be taken for true with other names; and therefore the charge of extravagance or improbability, which is so much urged against our book, is entirely nullified, without appealing to other sources of information which cannot be objected to.
“But before closing, allow us to remark, that you, who claim so strongly the confidence of your readers in the testimony of witnesses in Montreal, who speak only of things collateral to the main subject in question, must be prepared to lay extraordinary weight on evidence of a higher nature, and must realize something of the anxiety with which we, and the American public generally, we believe, stand ready to receive the evidence to be displayed to the eye and to the touch, either for or against the solemn declaration of Miss Monk, whenever the great test shall be applied to which she appeals, viz. the opening of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery at Montreal. Then, sir, and not till then, will the great question be settled,–Is our book true or false? Affidavits may possibly be multiplied, although you say, ‘Here, then, is the whole!’ Dr. Robertson may be called again to testify, or receive testimony as Justice of the Peace,–but the question is _not_, what do people believe or think _outside_ of the _Convent?_ but, _’what has been done in it?’_
“By the issue of this investigation, Miss Monk declares she is ready to stand or fall.
“You speak, sir, of the ‘backwardness’ of persons to appear in defence of Miss Monk’s book. We promise to appear as often on the subject as you are willing to publish our communications. In one of the paragraphs you publish, our book is spoken of as one of the evils arising from a ‘_free_ press.’ We think, sir, that ‘a free press’ is exposed to less condemnation through the ‘Awful Disclosures,’ than the ‘close Nunneries’ which it is designed to expose.
“New York, Feb. 22d, 1836.”
* * * * *
The above was afterward copied in other papers. The following certificate appeared in the Protestant Vindicator, and other papers, in March, 1836, introducing the two first witnesses.
“_The truth of Maria Monk’s ‘Awful Disclosures’ amply certified._
“We the subscribers, having an acquaintance with Miss Maria Monk, and having considered the evidence of different kinds which has been collected in relation to her case, have no hesitation in declaring our belief in the truth of the statements she makes in her book recently published in New York, entitled ‘Awful Disclosures,’ &c. We at that same time declare that the assertion, originally made in the Roman Catholic newspapers of Boston, that the book was copied from a work entitled ‘The Gates of Hell opened,’ is wholly destitute of foundation; it being entirely new, and not copied from any thing whatsoever.
“And we further declare, that _no evidence has yet been produced which discredits the statements of Miss Monk; while, on the contrary, her story has received, and continues to receive, confirmation from various sources._
“During the last week, two important witnesses spontaneously appeared, and offered to give public testimony in her favour. From them the following declarations have been received. The first is an affidavit given by Mr. William Miller, now a resident of this city. The second is a statement received from a young married woman, who, with her husband, also resides here. In the clear and repeated statements made by these two witnesses, we place entire reliance; who are ready to furnish satisfaction to any persons making reasonable inquiries on the subject.
“W. C. BROWNLEE.
“JOHN J. SLOCUM.
* * * * *
(AFFIDAVIT OF WILLIAM MILLER.)
“_City and County of New York, ss._
“William Miller being duly sworn, doth say–I knew Maria Monk when she was quite a child, and was acquainted with all her father’s family. My father, Mr. Adam Miller, kept the government school at St. John’s, Lower Canada, for some years. Captain Wm. Monk, Maria’s father, lived in the garrison, a short distance from the village, and she attended the school with me for some months, probably as much as a year. Her four brothers also attended with us. Our families were on terms of intimacy, as my father had a high regard for Captain Monk; but the temper of his wife was such, even at that time, as to cause much trouble. Captain Monk died very suddenly, as was reported, in consequence of being poisoned. Mrs. Monk was then keeper of the Government House in Montreal, and received a pension, which privilege she has since enjoyed. In the summer of 1832, I left Canada, and came to this city. In about a year afterward I visited Montreal, and on the day when the Governor reviewed the troops, I believe about the end of August, I called at the Government House, where I saw Mrs. Monk and several of the family. I inquired where Maria was, and she told me that she was in the nunnery. This fact I well remember, because the information gave me great pain, as I had unfavorable opinions of the nunneries. On reading the ‘Awful Disclosures,’ I at once knew she was the eloped nun, but was unable to find her until a few days since, when we recognized each other immediately. I give with pleasure my testimony in her favour, as she is among strangers, and exertions have been made against her. I declare my personal knowledge of many facts stated in her book, and my full belief in the truth of her story, which, shocking as it is, cannot appear incredible to those persons acquainted with Canada.
“Sworn before me, this 3d day of March, 1836.
“BENJAMIN D. K. CRAIG,
“Commissioner of Deeds, &c.”
* * * * *
_From the Protestant Vindicator of March 9._
“The following statement has been furnished by the female witness above- mentioned; the name being reserved only from delicacy to a lady’s feelings.”
(TESTIMONY OF ANOTHER OLD SCHOOLMATE.)
“I was born at Montreal, and resided there until within a few months, and where my friends still remain. I was educated among the Catholics, and have never separated myself from them.
“I knew Maria Monk when quite a child. We went to school together for about a year, as near as I can remember, to Mr. Workman, Sacrament- street, in Montreal. She is about one month younger than myself. We left that school at the same time, and entered the Congregational Nunnery nearly together. I could mention many things which I witnessed there, calculated to confirm some of her accounts.
“I knew of the elopement of a priest named Leclerc, who was a confessor, with a nun sent from the Congregational Nunnery to teach in a village. They were brought back, after which she gave birth to an infant, and was again employed as a teacher.
“Children were often punished in the Congregational Nunnery, by being made to stand with arms extended, to imitate Christ’s posture on the cross; and when we found vermin in our soup, as was often the case, we were exhorted to overcome our repugnance to it, because Christ died for us. I have seen such belts as are mentioned in the ‘Awful Disclosures,’ as well as gags; but never saw them applied.
“Maria Monk left the Congregational Nunnery before I did, and became a Novice in the Hotel Dieu. I remember her entrance into the latter very well, for we had a ‘jour de conge,’ holiday, on that occasion.
“Some short time subsequently, after school hours one afternoon, while in the school-room in the second story of the Congregational Nunnery, several of the girls standing near a window exclaimed, ‘There is Maria Monk.’ I sprang to the window to look, and saw her with several other novices, in the yard of the Hotel Dieu, among the plants which grew there. She did not appear to notice us, but I perfectly recognised her.
“I have frequently visited the public hospital of the Hotel Dieu. It is the custom there for some of the nuns and novices to enter at three o’clock, P.M., in procession with food and delicacies for the sick. I recollect some of my visits there by circumstances attending them. For instance, I was much struck, on several occasions, by the beauty of a young novice, whose slender, graceful form, and interesting appearance, distinguished her from the rest. On inquiry, I learnt that her name was Dubois, or something like it, and the daughter of an old man who had removed from the country, and lived near the Place d’Armes. She was so generally admired for her beauty, that she was called ‘la belle St. Francois’–St. Francis being the saint’s name she had assumed in the Convent.
“I frequently went to the hospital to see two of my particular friends who were novices: and subsequently to visit one who had a sore throat, and was sick for some weeks. I saw Maria Monk there many times, in the dress of a novice, employed in different ways but we were never allowed to speak to each other.
“Towards the close of the winter of 1833-4, I visited the hospital of the Hotel Dieu very frequently, to see Miss Bourke, a friend of mine, although I was not permitted to speak with her. While there one day, at the hour of _’conge’_ or _’collation’_ which, as I before stated, was at three P.M., a procession of nuns and novices entered, and among the former I saw Maria Monk, with a black veil, &c. She perceived and recognized me; but put her finger on her lips in token of silence; and knowing how rigidly the rules were enforced, I did not speak.
“A short time afterward, I saw her again in the same place, and under similar circumstances.
“I can fix the year when this occurred, because I recollect that the nuns in the hospital stared at a red dress I wore that season; and I am certain about that time of year, because I left my galoshes at the door before I went in.
“The improper conduct of a priest was the cause of my leaving the Congregational Nunnery: for my brother saw him kissing a [illegible] one day while he was on a visit to me, and exclaimed–‘O mon Dieu! what a place you are in!–If father does not take you out of it I will, if I have to tear you away.’
“After the last sight I had of Maria Monk in the hospital, I never saw nor heard of her, until after I had been for some time an inhabitant of New York. I then saw an extract from ‘Awful Disclosures,’ published in a newspaper, when I was perfectly satisfied that she was the authoress, and again at liberty. I was unable for several weeks to find her residence, but at length visited the house when she was absent. Seeing an infant among a number of persons who were strangers to me, as those present will testify, I declared that it must be the child mentioned in her book, from the striking resemblance it bears to Father Phelan, whom I well know. This declaration has also been made by others.
“When Maria Monk entered, she passed across the room, without turning towards me; but I recognised her by her gait, and when she saw me she knew me at once. I have since spent many hours with her, and am entirely convinced of the truth of her story, especially as I knew many things before which tend to confirm the statements which she makes.”
[“It is superfluous to add any thing to the above testimony. Let the Roman priests of Montreal open the Hotel Dieu Nunnery for our inspection, and thus confute Maria Monk: or, Mr. Conroy is again challenged to institute a criminal process against her, or a civil suit against the publishers of her volume–They dare not place the eloped nun or her booksellers in that ‘Inquisition;’ because they know that it would only be ‘putting themselves to the torture!'”–_Ed. Prot. Vind._]
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_From The Protestant Vindicator of March 16th._
“We recommend the following communications to all persons who doubt the wickedness of Nunneries. The young gentleman who sent us the letter is now in this city, and we have heard the same statements from other witnesses. That subterraneous passages from the Seminary to the Nunneries, we ourselves have seen, and close by the spot designated by our correspondent:–
(STATEMENT OF J. M.)
_”Underground passage from the Jesuit Seminary to the Hotel Dieu Nunnery, Montreal._
“I have been informed that you are endeavoring to obtain facts and other incidental circumstances relative to the Black Nunnery, in Montreal, and the disclosures concerning it, made by Maria Monk, in which are many hard things, but hard as they are, they are not indigestible by us Canadians; we believe that she has told but a small part of what she must know, if she was but half the time there which she says she was. Maria Monk has mentioned in her book something about the underground passage which leads from the Black Nunnery to other places in Montreal. That fact I know by ocular demonstration, and which nine tenths of the Canadians also will not deny, for it has been opened several times by the labourers, who have been digging for the purpose of laying pipes to conduct gas and water. While preparing a place for the latter I saw one of those passages; the earth being removed by the labourers, they struck upon the top of the passage, and curiosity led them to see what was beneath, for it sounded as though there was a hollow. They accordingly removed the large flat stones which formed the top of the passage. Many persons were looking on at the time, and several of them went down into it; when they returned after a few minutes, they stated that they went but a short distance, before they came to an intersection of passages, and were afraid to proceed further. Shortly after, several priests were on the spot, and prevented the people from further examining it; and had the place shut up immediately, while they stood by and guarded it until it was all done. The appearance of that part of the passage was the same as I saw while they were laying the water pipes. The floor of it in both [illegible] where I saw it was clean to appearance, with the exception of a little dirt that fell in on opening them, and of stone flagging. I have heard much about these underground passages in Montreal, in which place I have spent the most of my days. I give you my name and residence: and if you should be called upon from any quarter for the truth of this statement. I am ready to attest it upon oath; and there are others in this city who have witnessed the same things. The places where those openings were made in the underground passages were in St. Joseph street for the water pipes; and for the gas pipes in Notre-Dame street, near Sacrament street, at a short distance from the Seminary.
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About the close of February last, a note was sent me from a person signing himself the man who took me to the Almshouse. Soon after I had an interview with Mr. Hilliker, whom I recognised as my first protector in New York, and to whom I owe much–indeed, as I think, my life. He kindly offered to give me his testimony, which follows:–
_From the New York Journal of Commerce_.
(AFFIDAVIT OF JOHN HILLIKER,)
_”City and County of New York, ss._
“John Hilliker, being duly sworn, doth depose and say–that one day early in the month of May, 1835, while shooting near the Third Avenue, opposite the three milestone, in company with three friends, I saw a woman sitting in a field at a short distance, who attracted our attention. On reaching her, we found her sitting with her head down, and could not make her return any answer to our questions. On raising her hat, we saw that she was weeping. She was dressed in an old calico frock, (I think of a greenish colour,) with a checked apron, and an old black bonnet. After much delay and weeping, she began to answer my questions, but not until I had got my companions to leave us, and assured her that I was a married man, and disposed to befriend her.
“She then told me that her name was Maria, that she had been a nun in a nunnery in Montreal, from which she had made her escape, on account of the treatment she had received from priests in that institution, whose licentious conduct she strongly intimated to me. She mentioned some particulars concerning the Convent and her escape. She spoke particularly of a small room where she used to attend, until the physician entered to see the sick, when she accompanied him to write down his prescriptions; and said that she escaped through a door which he sometimes entered. She added, that she exchanged her dress after leaving the nunnery, and that she came to New York in company with a man, who left her as soon as the steamboat arrived. She farther stated, that she expected soon to give birth to a child, having become pregnant in the Convent; that she had no friend, and knew not where to find one; that she thought of destroying her life; and wished me to leave her– saying, that if I should hear of a woman being found drowned in the East River, she earnestly desired me never to speak of her.
“I asked her if she had had any food that day, to which she answered, no; and I gave her money to get some at the grocery of Mr. Cox, in the neighbourhood. She left me, but I afterwards saw her in the fields, going towards the river; and after much urgency, prevailed upon her to go to a house where I thought she might be accommodated, offering to pay her expenses. Failing in this attempt, I persuaded her, with much difficulty, to go the Almshouse; and there we got her received, after I had promised to call and see her, as she said she had something of great consequence which she wished to communicate to me, and wished me to write a letter to Montreal.
“She had every appearance of telling the truth; so much so, that I have never for a moment doubted the truth of her story, but told it to many persons of my acquaintance, with entire confidence in its truth. She seemed overwhelmed with grief, and in a very desperate state of mind. I saw her weep for two hours or more without ceasing; and appeared very feeble when attempting to walk, so that two of us supported her by the arms. We observed also, that she always folded her hands under her apron when she walked, as she has described the nuns as doing in her ‘Awful Disclosures.’
“I called at the Almshouse gate several times and inquired for her; but having forgotten half her name, I could not make it understood whom I wished to see, and did not see her until the last week. When I saw some of the first extracts from her book in a newspaper, I was confident that they were parts of her story, and when I read the conclusion of the work, I had not a doubt of it. Indeed, many things in the course of the book I was prepared for from what she had told me.
“When I saw her, I recognised her immediately, although she did not know me at first, being in a very different dress. As soon as she was informed where she had seen me, she recognised me. I have not found in the book any thing inconsistent with what she had stated to me when I first saw her.
“When I first found her in May, 1835, she had evidently sought concealment. She had a letter in her hand, which she refused to let me see; and when she found I was determined to remove her, she tore it in small pieces, and threw them down. Several days after I visited the spot again and picked them up, to learn something of the contents but could find nothing intelligible, except the first part of the Signature, ‘Maria.’
“Of the truth of her story I have not the slightest doubt, and I think I never can until the Nunnery is opened and examined.
“Sworn before me, this 14th of March, 1835.
“Commissioner of Deeds.”
The following challenge was published in the N. Y. Protestant Vindicator for six or seven weeks, in March and April, without a reply.
“CHALLENGE–The Roman Prelate and Priests of Montreal–Messrs. Conroy, Quarter, and Schneller, of New York–Messrs. Fenwick and Byrne of Boston–Mr. Hughes of Philadelphia–the Arch-Prelate of Baltimore, and his subordinate Priests–and Cardinal England of Charleston, with all other Roman Priests, and every Nun from Baffin’s bay to the Gulf of Mexico, are hereby challenged to meet an investigation of the truth of Maria Monk’s ‘Awful Disclosures,’ before an impartial assembly, over which shall preside _seven_ gentlemen; three to be selected by the Roman Priests, three by the Executive Committee of the New York Protestant Association, and the Seventh as Chairman, to be chosen by the six.
“An eligible place in New York shall be appointed and the regulations for the decorum and order of the meetings, with all the other arrangements, shall be made by the above gentlemen.
“All communications upon this subject from any of the Roman Priests or Nuns, either individually, or as delegates for their superiors, addressed to the _Corresponding Secretary of the New York Protestant Association_, No. 142 Nassau-street, New York, will be promptly answered.”
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_From the N. Y. Protestant Vindicator of April 6, 1836._
“THE CHALLENGE.–We have been waiting with no small degree of impatience to hear from some of the Roman priests. But neither they, nor their sisters, the nuns, nor one of their nephews or _nieces_, have yet ventured to come out. Our longings meet only with disappointment. Did ever any person hear of similar conduct on the part of men accused of the highest crimes, in their deepest dye? Here is a number of Roman priests, as actors, or accessories, openly denounced before the world as guilty, of the most outrageous sins against the sixth and seventh commandments. They are charged before the world with adultery, fornication, and murder! The allegations are distinctly made, the place is mentioned, the parties are named, and the time is designated; for it is lasting as the annual revolutions of the seasons. And what is most extraordinary,–_the highest official authorities in Canada know that all those statements are true, and they sanction and connive at the iniquity!_–The priests and nuns have been offered, for several months past, the most easy and certain mode to disprove the felonies imputed to them, and they are still as the dungeons of the Inquisition, silent as the death-like quietude of the convent cell; and as retired as if they were in the subterraneous passages between the Nunnery and Lartigue’s habitation. Now, we contend, that scarcely a similar instance of disregard for the opinions of mankind, can be found since the Reformation, at least, in a Protestant country. Whatever disregard for the judgment of others, the Romish priests may have felt, where the Inquisition at their command, and the civil power was their Jackal and their Hyena: they have been obliged to pay some little regard to the opinion of protestants, and to the dread of exposure. We therefore repeat the solemn indubitable truth–that the facts which are stated by Maria Monk, respecting the Hotel Dieu Nunnery at Montreal, are true as the existence of the priests and nuns,–that the character, principles, and practices of the Jesuits and Nuns in Canada are most accurately delineated–that popish priests, and sisters of charity in the United States, are their faithful and exact counterparts–that many female schools in the United States, kept by the papist teachers, are nothing more than places of decoy through which young women, at the most delicate age, are ensnared into the power of the Roman priests–and that the toleration of the monastic system in the United States and Britain, the only two countries in the world, in which that unnatural abomination is now extending its withering influence, is high treason against God and mankind. If American citizens and British Christians, after the appalling developments which have been made, permit the continuance of that prodigious wickedness which is inseparable from nunneries and the celibacy of popish priests, they will ere long experience that divine castigation which is justly due to transgressors, who wilfully trample upon all the appointments of God, and who subvert the foundation of national concord, and extinguish the comforts of domestic society. Listen to the challenge again! _All the papers with which the Protestant Vindicator exchanges, are requested to give the challenge one or two insertions_.” (Here it was repeated.)
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_Testimony of a friend in the hospital_
_Statement_ made by a respectable woman, who had the charge of me during a part of my stay in the Bellevue Hospital, in New York. She is ready to substantiate it. It is now first published.
“I was employed as an occasional assistant in the Bellevue Hospital, in New York, in the spring of the year 1835. My department was in the Middle House and the pantry. I was present one day in the room of Mrs. Johnston, the Matron, when a man came in with a young woman, and gave a note to Mrs. J., (which I understood was from Col. Fish.) the Superintendent, Mr. Stevens, being out. The female was dressed in a light blue calico frock, a salmon-coloured shawl, and a black bonnet, under which was a plain cap, something like a night-cap, which I afterward understood was a nun’s cap. Being occupied at that time, I paid no attention to the conversation which took place between her and the Matron; but I soon heard that she was a nun who had escaped from a convent in Canada, who had been found in a destitute condition, by some persons shooting in the fields, and that she was in such a situation as