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« it possible for the powers of man to devise a sys« tem more calculated to infuse solid learning and « virtue into youth, than the plan, which they pur« sued with unremitted ardor and

perseverance.. Has not his Holiness by his constitution proved, that I was not wrong in my judgment ? « The « Jesuits were instructors most capable of forming

youth to Christian piety and the fear of God, « which is the begining of wisdom, and to instruct ~ them in science and letters. If


Sir John,





fathers of the society as those, who have been educated by them? Voltaire, about 17 years before he assumed his Nom de Guerre Christmoque (the Scoffer of Christ), and entered into the impions confrairie pour écrasser l'infame (for which see Hist. Let. to Sir J. C. Hippisley, p. 152), namely in February, 1746: thus wrote to Pere de la Tour. « As to « the Dutch libel, which reproaches me with being attached u to the Jesuits, I will not say it is guilty of slander: on the a contrary, I confess it has asserted a truth. I was seven years « under the tuition of men, who take indefatigable paius to « cultivate the manners and minds of youth, without any « other regard, than the consciousness of doing good; and « am I to divest myself of gratitude to such masters? Nothing « will ever root out of my heart the memory of Father Porée, « who never had a pupil, that did not love and reverence him « as a parent. No man ever rendered learning and virtue so « amiable. The hours of instruction, when he was the Pre« ceptor, were always hours of delight. I had the happiness « of being taught by more than one Jesuit, of the character of « Father Porée, and I know that he has successors, that are « worthy to succeed him. I had perpetually before me exama ples of the utmost diligence, frugalicy, and order : men, « whose whole time was divided between the superintendance « of our morals and instruction, and the functions of their ria gid profession : and to this truth every individual of the « thousands educated by them will bear witness.) Nemo repente fit pessimus. When that unfortunate man unfurled the flag of impiety, and declared open war against Christianity, no wonder at his efforts against that society, which he well knew to be its firmest bulwark.


have found it your duty to hold me forth in debate as stating inaccurately in 1813, that « the society « in Russia flourished in all its vigour, where it had « its General, its professed, etc.» Do not the words of his Holiness bear me out in the correctness of my statement? By our brief of the 7th of

March, 1801, we granted to the said Francis « Karew and his colleagues, residing in Russia, or « who should repair thither from other countries, « power to form themselves into a body or congre

gation of the Company of Jesus; they are at li

berty to unite in one or more houses to be point« ed out by their superior, provided these houses « are situated within the Russian Empire. We « named the said Francis Karew, General of the « said Congregation, we authorised them to resume ( and follow the rule of St. Ignatius of Loyola, « approved and confirmed by the constitutions of « Paul III. our predecessor etc.)

Without recapitulating what little I did say in my first Historical Letter, of which you have taken notice, that I had written a very diffused eulogy of the order, in which I had been educated, and that I had not drawn a fair picture of the character and objects of that order. I before told you*, that « St. Ignatius formed his society entirely for the

good of others: they were not to be cænobitic « recluses, merely to work their own way to Hea« ven by contemplation and penance : but were to « be ever active in the vineyard to teach, preach, « and be devoted to every labour, that could be

availing to the sanctification of souls.» Surely the words of the bull, which specially authorise them in future to follow up the character and objects of their original vocation and institute, fully

* Hist. Lei. to Sir J. C. Hippisley, p. 128.

prove, that my picture of them was fairly drawn. « We declare besides, and grant power, that they « may freely and lawfully apply to the education « of youth in the principles of the Catholic faith, « to form them to good morals, and to direct col« leges and seminaries; we authorize them to hear « confessions, to preach the word of God, and to « administer the sacraments in the places of their « residence, with the consent and approbation of « the ordinary, etc. * » I before told yo , « (1) that « an observer of the conduct of the fathers (not la« bo ing under your Catholic fears) will impar

tially allow, that wherever war has been de« cla ed against the altar and the throne, the Jesuits « have ever been the first in the breach, the foremost « to face, and the last to turn their backs

turn their backs upon dan« ger.» And what upright juryman would not find the fact substantiated by the testimony of his Holi

« We should deem ourselves guilty of a great « crime towards God if, amidst these dangers « the Christian republic, we neglected the aids, « which the special providence of God has put at « our disposal; and, if placed in the bark of Peter, « tossed and assailed by continual storms, we « refused to employ the vigorous and experienced « rowers, who volunteer their services, in order to « break the waves of a sea, which threatens every « moment shipwreck and death. » In a word do not these few comprehensive and impressive words of his Holiness, The Catholic world demands with unanimous voice the re-establishment of the



* N.B. I said p. 169 of the Russian Fathers, « instead of « going to Naples to receive orders, they received them from « Russian Roman Catholic Bishops: nor do the ordained re« fuse to acknowledge the authority of their Diocesans.»

(1) Hist. Let. to Sir J. C. Hippisley, p. 142.

Jesuits, 'most triumphantly establish the fact of my accuracy in re-echoing the wishes of Catholic Ireland. « Give us more colleges of those « useful, those upright, disinterested, and expe~ rienced teachers and evangelists, » and justify the reiterated marks of astonishment, that any. Catholic fears should subsist of the order of Jesuits. As you are well aware, Sir John, that all I huve formerly said upon the establishment or rather preservation of the order of Jesuits for a time in Prusia, and permanently in Russia, was said with a view to shew, that the only two great governments in Europe, under which the society had existence and civil establishments, not being catholic, had no protestant fears of them. The words plante si rare, upon which you, Sir John, have played with a clumsy affectation of sarcasm, are the words of the Protestant King of Prussia, which he wrote to Voltaire before he had been vaccinated with Catholic fears on that head. *. As they are probably familiar to most of your friends, who understand the French language, I will close this letter with an English version of them, for the benefit of those, who are not deeply versed in the philosophistical annals of that day. Ganganelli leaves me my « dear Jesuits, whom they are persecuting every « where. I will preserve their precious seed, that « I may supply others with it, who may wish to « cultivate among themselves this scarce and va« luable plant. have preserved this order, whe« ther right or wrong, heretic as I am, and what « is more an infidel. In our countries we find no « Catholic of learning, but among the Jesuits.

* Historical Letter to Sir J. C. Hippisley, p. 166, 167: where that manquyre practised upon his Prussian Majesty is detailed.

« We had no one else capable of teaching sehools, « We must therefore either have preserved the Jesuits, or let all the schools break up, »

I have the honour to be,

due consideration,

your devoted humble servant,

FRANCIS PLOWDEN. Paris, February 1815.

with every

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