Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

the councils of Castile, the inquisition, órdenes, and hacienda or exchequer, to which were also invited several distinguished theologians who took part in the deliberations. Of the eleven members constituting this council, ten cast their votes for the annulment of the compromise, and thus it was declared in the royal decree of December 4, 1766. The Jesuits were then required to pay thereafter one per decem upon all the produce of their haciendas, ranchos, and ingenios, or sugar plantations.13

The society of Jesus on the 31st of August, 1750, had in the province of New Spain, which included Guatemala, Cuba, and Florida, 625 members, of whom 382 were ordained priests. About one half of them were natives of America, and the larger portion of the latter were born in Mexico. In the summer of 1767, when disaster overtook the society, there were in the province of New Spain 418 priests, 137 escolares, and 123 coadjutors, making a total of 678, of whom 464 were natives of America, 153 from Spain, and 61 foreigners.15 The society had in the province one casa profesa in the city of Mexico, 23 colleges, one house of probation, eight convictus et seminaria, and five residences. It had taken root in every province of the country, controlling 103 missions with 104 priests, besides one visitador-general of missions and his associate. 16 In 1766 the provincial, Father Francisco Ceballos, had, after due delib

13 The viceroy had the orders published in Mexico, and endeavored to execute them, but the Jesuits again opposed a resistance. Rivera, Gob. Mex., i. 408-9.

14 In the Spanish dominions, including all America and the Philippines, there were 5,167, of whom 2,774 were priests; in Portugal, 1,754, of whom 927 were priests; in France, 1,542, of whom about half were priests. In the world, 22,642, of whom 11,345 were ordained priests. Cat. Personarum et Domiciliarum (1-21); Comp. Jesus, Col. Gen., 24.

15 Comp. Jesus, Catálogo, 4-70. The neophytes converted and directed by the order in Mexico were 122,000; in the rest of America, 191,000; in the Philippines, etc., 165,000; making a total of 478,000. To that number must be added the neophytes in the Portuguese possessions. Boero, note, in Expulsion des Jésuites, 220.

16 In Upper Pimería, 8; Sonora, 18; Sinaloa, 16; Chinipas, 7; Taraumara, 13; Tepehuane, 12; Piastla, 10; Nayarit, 6; Lower California, 13. Cat. Personarum et Domicil. (1-21). All existed in 1767.

eration, solemnly relinquished to the viceroy all the missions, more especially those in California, offering to establish others among the heathen whenever desired. This must have been put forth as a test, with a full conviction that the surrender could not and would not be accepted. And so it proved. The viceroy called a council, consisting of oidores, the auditor de guerra, and the fiscal, who asked the opinions of the bishops and governors of the regions where the missions were situated. The bishops and most of the governors objected to the renunciation, stating their reasons. The viceroy then referred the matter to the crown.17

This great association, notwithstanding its wealth and almost unlimited sway over the Roman Catholic mind and conscience, was now to undergo a great calamity. Persecution, dire and relentless, was at hand. On the 27th of February, 1767, King Carlos III., after a consultation with his intimate counsellors, and for reasons that he reserved in his royal breast, issued a mandate to his minister of state, the conde de Aranda, for the expulsion from his dominions in Europe, America, and Asia of all the members of the society of Jesus,18 that is to say, ordained

17 Meanwhile the California missionaries asked to be at least relieved of the two southern missions, which were troublesome, overtasked, and less fruitful, particularly since the opening of mines. The request was not granted. Clavigero, Storia Cal., ii. 169-70.

18 The order had been expelled from the dominions of King José I. of Portugal, by a royal decree of September 3, 1759, in which the Jesuits were declared traitors and rebels, and the society's estates confiscated. On the same date of the previous year the king was shot at and wounded in the public streets, and the Jesuits were accused of being at the bottom of a plot; three of their number were imprisoned, and the chief among them suffered death, against the express disapproval of the pope. The expulsion was said to be the work of the minister of state, marqués de Pombal, the first to raise the standard of persecution, who had resolved to reform the church, bringing its members under the control of the royal government; to accomplish which he committed numerous acts of despotism and cruelty, notably those against the Jesuits. So was asserted by their friends. The expulsion from Portugal was followed by the suppression of the order in France. A decree of the parliament of August 6, 1762, declared it inadmissible in any civilized state, because of its hostility to natural rights, as well as to spiritual and temporal authority. The society should be dissolved and its property confiscated. Other decrees were passed, and finally, King Louis XV., in November 1764,

[blocks in formation]

priests, lay-brothers, or coadjutors who had taken the first vow, and novices who refused to abandon the society, together with sequestration of their estates. 19 The order was confirmed by the pragmatic sanction of April 2d, published the same day, making known the royal action in the premises, and that the exiled would be allowed, out of the income of the suppressed society's property, a yearly pension of one hundred pesos to each ordained priest, and ninety pesos to each lay-brother, the foreign born and those of immoral conduct being excepted. It was strictly forbidden them to write anything savoring of rebellion against the royal act, under penalty, in the event of violation of that clause, if it were only by a single member, of the forfeiture of the pensions of all his brethren. Nor was this all. Any Jesuit who should, without the king's express leave, return to the Spanish dominions under any pretext whatsoever, even that of having resigned from the society and being absolved of its vows, would be treated as a proscript, incurring if a layman the penalty of death, and if a priest that of confinement, at the option of the ordinaries, 20

extinguished the order, permitting its members to reside in France subject to the ordinaries, and submissive to the laws of the kingdom, though later they were forced to quit the country. The suppression was the result, as the partisans of the Jesuits alleged, of palace intrigues. Madame de Pompadour, the king's mistress, entertained a great animosity to the order, because of the opposition of one or more of its members to her residence at court, and brought her influence to bear upon the king, the minister, duc de Choiseul, and other men, all affiliated in the new school of philosophers, to accomplish the ruin of the society of Jesus. It is not my purpose, it being not within the scope of this work, to enter into a full disquisition of the actual causes that prompted the policy of these two prominent sons of the Roman church, the kings of France and Portugal, nor into the history of their negotiations on the subject with the head of the church. The question is fully treated by a number of writers, to whom I must refer the reader. Among them may be mentioned: Expulsion des Jesuites; Encyclopædia Britannica; Dictionnaire de la Conversation; Bustamante, Suplem., in Caro, Tres Siglos; Id., Expatriacion, in Alegre, Hist. Comp. Jesus; Beaufort, Ilistoire des Papes; Alaman, Disertaciones; Mendo, Crisis Comp. Jesus (i.-xiii.), and 1-284.

19 Subsequent decrees prescribed the mode of disposing of the property. Belena, Recop., i. pt. iii. 336-40.

20 Aiders and abettors, and persons knowing of such arrivals who failed to make them known to the authorities, incurred the penalties prescribed in the


The causes prompting the Spanish sovereign to adopt so extreme a measure, very much against his feelings as we have been told by some friends of the victims, were, as I have said, reserved to himself. It has been asserted that the grounds on which the council based its advice were purposely or otherwise removed from sight, thus not enabling us to judge with any degree of certainty what it was that had biassed the king's mind; and fault has been found with his reticence in a case calling, in his judgment, for so severe a punishment. But if that record is lost, the causes are extant in another equally important document, of which I possess a copy and will take notice in this connection.

A measure of such magnitude affecting so vitally the interests of the church, could not have been consummated by a faithful Catholic and high-minded king and gentleman, such as Cárlos III., without apprising the Roman pontiff of the intention, and perhaps of some of his motives. He dutifully discharged that obligation. His action met with opposition on the part of Clement XIII., who felt both distressed and indignant; indeed, the destruction of a religious order from which the papacy derived so much support and so large a revenue, could but be unpalatable, aside from other considerations, such as the possibility of the pensions being suddenly stopped, and the pope's treasury becoming burdened with the maintenance of the poverty-stricken. His Holiness made up his mind not to receive the ejected Jesuits in his dominions.22 Still, Cárlos was a powerful monarch, and a stubborn one, upon whom the fulminations of the vatican would fall harmless; conciliation was then the

royal rescript. Comp. Jesus, Catálogo, 1-2, 36–73; Beleña, Recop., i. pt. iii. 337; Col. Real Decreto, Feb. 27, 1767, in Reales Ord., v. 226-39.

21 He has not been included among persecutors out of extreme charity for his blindness. Expulsion des Jésuites, pref. He acted 'siguiendo agenos in. flujos.' Alaman, Hist. Méj., i. 83.

22 This is made to appear in the official correspondence of the duc de Choiseul, and the marquis d'Aubeterre, French ambassador at Rome. Expul sion des Jésuites, 398–438.



only available recourse. It was thought that he might be amenable to papal reasoning; that something might be gained by a friendly interference to obtain a revocation, or at least a suspension of the obnoxious decree. The plan was tried and failed. Indeed the pope's brief of April 16th, overpraising the virtues and other merits of the Jesuits, at that particular time, and bespeaking favor for them, was a blunder; at all events, it did not mend matters.

The king submitted the brief for advice to his council, which on the 30th of the same month met in extra session, and after minutely reviewing its contents, expressed the opinion that the pope had no business to interfere in a matter so entirely temporal in its nature, and of the king's exclusive province; and that no power on earth had any right to call him to account for his decision thereon, much less after he had, from pure courtesy, advised the pope of his action in the premises. The council, furthermore, not recognizing in the Jesuits the merits ascribed to them, but on the contrary many serious faults that made them dangerous, could see no reason why the sovereign should abandon or even modify his order.23 It concluded

23 It has been said that the real reason was that Clement XIII. and his minister Cardinal Torregiani had seen through the motives of the enemies of public order and opposed them with all their might. Schall, Cours d'Hist., in Alaman, Disert., iii. 305. The king's council said, the hand of the Jesuit general, Lorenzo Ricci, could be detected in the brief, he being the confessor and spiritual adviser of the cardinal, with an influence potential. It charged the Jesuits with the introduction of false doctrines in the church and corruption of morals, probably referring to what has been published under the title of secret instructions of the Jesuits, of which I have a copy, but whose authenticity I have no means of verifying. It accused them of being promoters and accomplices in several riots, rebellions, and regicides in various kingdoms of Europe, as evidenced in solemn decisions standing against them in courts of justice; of being the persecutors of bishops, and keeping prelates, chapters, orders, universities, etc., in turmoil by banding themselves as to have their own opinions and schemes prevail over those of other respectable corporations or persons: 'assi sedio â conoser la Compañia desde qe se fundo; y assi se hallaba quando V. M. se sirvió por su Rl. Decreto de 24 de Febrero mandarla extrañar de sus Dominios.' The necessity was denied of the society's existence; and even its usefulness was greatly doubted, as it had tolerated superstition in America; and in the Philippines caused a revolt of the natives in favor of the English; and everywhere its members had made themselves the actual sovereigns; y en todas las Yndias, como en el Paraguay, Moros, Maynas y Orinoco, California, Sinaloa, Sonora, Pigmería, Nayarit, Tayanularit,

« AnteriorContinuar »