Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez

Discourse on Authenticity
of the Secreta Monita.

I. It is certainly of the greatest importance, in determining the value of the SECRETA MONITA as evidence in estimating the character of the Society of Jesus, to come to some satisfactory conclusion as to the authenticity of the work itself. If it can be shown to be really what it purports to be, then indeed the most secret principles of the most extraordinary and most universally execrated fraternity that ever appeared amongst men, are plainly laid open to the public view; and all may see the profound source of all those active, extended and unceasing operations, by which these persons kept so large a part of the world in ceaseless commotion for so many years.

If indeed the work be not perfectly authentic, that is, if instead of being the real Secret counsels of the order emanating from its very head, revealed by accident; it should appear to be a revelation made by an expelled Jesuit, as some of them say, or a mere supposititious composition as others pretend, compiled from their various authors and embodying what an enemy might suppose they would say, if they officially propounded their real secret instructions, the case would perhaps appear to be somewhat weakened. But even then, if an expelled member had written it, it might all be true; and while the power to show it was not, if indeed it was not, would be complete in the society, its failure to do so, added to inherent evidence of genuineness, in the work itself, might establish its reality on as unquestionable grounds as if it had the imprimatur of the general himself upon its face. Or if the last supposition can be considered as possible, a compilation of the most clear and well defined rules of action drawn from unquestionable sources, and thrown together into one volume would seem if possible the very clearest mode, of exhibiting the general and real spirit of the body, to which all the writers belonged.

There are schools of morals, of politics, of crime, as well as of letters and of all things else. It is a wide, terrible, and peculiar school whose opinions and conduct are here illustrated. And if it be faithfully done, by the laborious compilation and classification of materials drawn from a thousand sources, a more impressive and fair method cannot well be imagined.

II. It is certainly past all dispute that this book has, for a very long period, been in possession of the world. Here it is, handed down to us through several centuries. To sneer at it, and pass it by, is simply to establish its unanswerable authority. To be unable to give any satisfactory account of it; is to let it prove itself. It exists; it could not have produced itself. Whence did it come? But three solutions are possible.

1. It is an authentic work, containing the real facts it pretends to contain; and being what it purports to be.

2. It is the work of some expelled Jesuit, and may be more or less true, according to his knowledge of what he tried to reveal, or his integrity in telling truly what he knew.

3. It is the work of an enemy, who never was a Jesuit, but who has pretended to put into the mouth of the chief authorities of that order, what he believed they would say, if they uttered their real sentiments on the points here treated of.

III. Let us then briefly examine each of these suppositions in turn. And first, is this work authentic? I reply there is scarcely a particle of reason to doubt it.

1. In the British Museum there is a work printed at Venice in 1596, with this title "Hae Formulae diversarum Provisionum a Gaspare Passarello summo studio in unum collectae et per ordinem in suis locis annotatae." At the end of that (and where more likely?) the SECRETA MONITA, in Latin is copied in Manuscript, apparently by a Jesuit, for his own private use;—with solemn cautions at the end, similar to those found in the printed preface to the work itself, that the utmost care was to be taken that few, and these most trusty, should know them; and that if ever imputed to the society, they must be denied.

2. In the year 1658, there was a translation of the work from Latin into English, published in England. This edition is frequently to be met with. In the preface to it, it is related that Duke Christian of Brunswick took possession of the Jesuit College at Paderborn, in Westphalia, when he entered that place, and gave the Library and Manuscripts to the Capuchins, who found the SECRETA MONITA amongst the archives of the Rector. It is also asserted that other copies were found at Prague and elsewhere.

3. Dr. Compton, the celebrated Bishop of London published another English version of the SECRETA MONITA in the year 1669; having satisfied himself, after full examination, of the genuineness of the work.

4. In the year 1717, there was published at Amsterdam, a Latin edition of the SECRETA MONITA, under the title of "Machiavelli Mus Jesuiticus," inscribed to John Krausius, a Jesuit. A copy of this edition is in the British Museum.

5. There are also in the British Museum several German editions of the SECRETA MONITA.

6. In the year 1722, another edition of this work was published in London, dedicated to Sir Robert Walpole, prime Minister of England.

7. Another Edition, and which is supposed to have been the last that appeared in England, was published in 1746. This, as well as the last preceding Edition, has the Latin, and English, on opposite pages; and are both preserved in the British Museum.

8. In the year 1727, a French edition of the SECRETA MONITA was published at Cologne under the title Les Mysteries les plus secret des Jesuites contenus en diverses Pieces originales.

9. In the year 1831, the first American edition of the SECRETA MONITA was published at Princeton N. J. with the original Latin on one page, and a very diffuse English translation on the other. This edition is said on the title page to be printed verbatim from the English edition of 1725; which is one not contained in the above list, and will therefore be added, by the reader as an additional testimony. In the advertisement to this edition a statement is made, which I suppose relates to the edition, numbered 4 in the above series. If however the statement relates to a different edition, it forms an additional support to the proof in the case. The story in substance is that a bookseller in Amsterdam, by name John Schipper, bought a copy of the SECRETA MONITA at Antwerp, and reprinted it. The Jesuits hearing that he had such a work, demanded it of him, but he had sent it to Holland. A Jesuit of Amsterdam, soon afterwards learned from Van Eyk, a Catholic Bookseller that Schipper was printing a book that concerned the Society; he replied that if it was only the Rules of the Society he should not be under any concern: but desired him to ascertain what it was. When the Bookseller discovered that it was the Secreta Monita, the father greatly agitated said, it must be denied that this piece comes from the Society. As soon however as the book appeared, the whole edition nearly was bought up by the Jesuits. From one of the few copies not suppressed, the book was reprinted, with this story prefixed, there said to be taken from two Roman Catholics of Credit.

Now, here is:

  1. The Venice Edition of 1596, or thereabouts.
  2. The English edition of 1658, taken from the Paderborn and Prague copies.
  3. Dr. Compton's edition of 1669, to which let us add the other English editions of 1722, 1725 and 1746, and the first American edition of 1831, as all drawn from the same source, though this is entirely gratuitous.
  4. The Amsterdam edition of 1717, to which add the other two Amsterdam editions, mentioned in the first American edition, which is also gratuitous.
  5. The several editions, (supposing them to be reprints of each other, which is gratuitous,) found in German in the British Museum.
  6. The French edition of 1727.

At the least we produce six separate, and wholly independent proofs, from six different sources that this is a perfectly genuine and authentic record. These records are found in the Latin, German, French and English Languages. They extend over a period exceeding two hundred years. They were found in five or six sovereign states, the most of which, professed the Catholic faith and one of them, Venice, under the very eyes of the Sovereign Pontiff. And they all agree, in every fact, stated by each. Now it would be the most incredible event ever established by proof, if this various and concurring evidence should be proven to have accidentally conduced all to the very same result and still all be false. It would on the other hand be the most extraordinary circumstance ever conceived of, that so many persons, in so distant places, and so separated by ages, should conspire, and succeed in practising such a fraud as this, upon the minds of men. Indeed it is hard to imagine, how the genuineness and perfect authenticity of any record, could be established on more irrefragable proofs.

IV. There are however those who deny that the SECRETA MONITA is authentic: but make the allegation contained in the second of the three suppositions made above. This brings us to consider, whether as they say, this book may not be the work of some expelled Jesuit, and therefore false.

It may be observed that, it would not by any means follow that because the Jesuits had expelled a man, therefore all his statements must necessarily be false. Perhaps the contrary would be quite as fair a conclusion; unless indeed, all the allegations of history against this order be false. It would seem, amongst the most probable events, that an upright man, who chanced to become possessed of their real designs, would desire to leave them as fast as he could; and would thus subject himself to expulsion, if that were their way of treating the refractory.

But an expelled Jesuit is, I apprehend, a rarer being, even than a candid one. They know little of priests, little of Rome, nothing of the spirit of the Society of Jesus, as they profanely call themselves, who can for one moment suppose, that the high and trusty dignitaries of the order, (and none else knew their secrets,)—would escape with expulsion, and the power to reveal them. The cord, the bowl, the dagger, are instruments not perfectly unknown to this fraternity; and none ever knew better, that the dead speak not. The light of history must be put out, and the ferocious spirit that even in this free land gnashes on us with its hideous teeth must be more warily concealed, before such stories about expelled Jesuits can gain credence.

But if this were the work of expelled Jesuits,—the order must have been peculiarly unhappy. For, from the proofs adduced, there must have been at the least four of them, widely separated in country and distant by generations from each other! This Venetian Jesuit about 1596, and this Jesuit at Amsterdam in 1717, nearly a hundred and twenty years after him: these Jesuits at Prague and Paderborn about the middle of the seventeenth century, and those French Jesuits at Cologne far into the eighteenth, eighty years apart; how could it be, that so many of them should have been expelled as if for the very purpose of miraculously writing falsehoods, that were perfectly identical! Upon the whole, this is a better story than that for which some are silly enough to say they have the unanimous consent of the fathers, about the miraculous translation of the Septuagint, by seventy men, in seventy cells who in an incredibly short time turned all the old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, all using identically the same words!

The story originally set on foot by one CORDARA, (as quoted by Mr. DALLAS, the English defender of this order,) and afterwards repeated by the Jesuit GRETSER, that the SECRETA MONITA, was the production of an expelled Polish Jesuit, by name Jerome Zarowich; and that it was written by him in 1616; is not only absurd, but is contradicted by himself. It is absurd to suppose that any one man could have produced the whole copies of the work, under the circumstances already stated. It is equally absurd, to call a man the Author of a work in 1616, which was in existence about 1596, as is shown above, in a distant country. But Gretser himself says, that the SECRETA MONITA, was put into the Index of prohibited books, and its perusal condemned at Rome in 1616; which proves clearly, that it could not have been at that very time in a process of composition, at Cracow in Poland, hundreds of leagues from Rome!—This admission shows, however, the great antiquity of the work; and its being put into the Prohibitory Index, shows the great anxiety of the Jesuits to have it suppressed; and confirms the story told in the first American edition, about one of the Amsterdam editions. Those who wish to see GRETSER demolished, may examine DR. JONES' Defence of the Bellum Papale.

These persons however call this work, a mere forgery: not giving the expelled Jesuit, even a pretext for his alleged libel on the society. This however is as ridiculous, as it is shamelessly false.

In the first place, if any one man ever lived who was capable of producing, from his mind, this system of subtle, profound and all grasping crime, (which is hardly credible,)—then it may be confidently maintained, that if he had ever fallen into the hands of this society, he was just the man, that the world's wealth could not have purchased from them.

Again, whoever will attentively read over these secret counsels, will at once perceive that they exhibit a system so peculiar in all respects, as could only have been suggested and concocted under the most extraordinary circumstances. It is such as must have been social in its origin,—and founded on the common sagacity, experience, forecast, and interests of several, if not many, utterly unscrupulous minds. There is no possible account of this system's origin, that can be so incredible as that which pretends, that one man produced it by mere excogitation. If that were indeed so, it would be the greatest intellectual wonder the world ever beheld.

But the truth is, that the minute proofs, which establish the fact that this book is no forgery, are so remarkable, as to force us to admit its genuineness, or to shut our eyes to truth.

In the first place, the style of the Latin composition, is such that it must have been written, by persons, having slight pretensions to learning. The expressions are occasionally grossly ungrammatical; very often most singularly vulgar. And yet the scope of the whole is awful!

Again, the turn of the expression, is such as to render it certain, that the authors of the Latin did not think in English. I dare not use the same confidence as to other languages,—but I believe no scholar will deny, that the manner of writing shows that the authors could not have thought either in French or German.—It is probable that one individual put this work originally into form, as we find the expression "inquam,"—I say, etc.; and it is nearly certain that that person was a Spaniard. For first, the spelling of the Latin is sometimes peculiar, and resembling the Spanish; and secondly, unusual technical words, are drawn from that language. Such are syndicationibus, (Chap. vii. 8.) from the Spanish, Sindicado (judicium,) the judgment or authoritative sentence, instead of the French Syndical, which could not express the sense intended; and the German Syndicat which only means the tribunal itself. So also, Cilicia, (Chap. vii. 9.,) which passing by the Latin Cilium, from which the word might have been formed, and the French Cilice, uses almost the very letters of the Spanish Cilicio, a hair shirt.—

Such peculiarities seem to draw down our minds almost irresistibly, to the very band of detestable, ignorant, and yet shrewd conspirators, who originated, and for the first fifty years, controlled this fearful and diabolical corporation. Their very speech betrayeth them.

So again the whole turn of thought, in those numerous and most infamous passages which relate to females, and especially to widows, show evidently, that the prevailing ideas were drawn from a state of society neither English, French, nor German, but peculiarly Spanish.

Thus too, some of the most incredible things contained in the whole book, and which no audacity would think of forging, and nothing but absolute truth could embolden a man to assert, from the very unreasonableness of the thing, and the certainty of exposure, have actually been remarkably exemplified in practice, years after their publication. In chap. vi. 1. for example, it is coolly laid down as a settled rule of conduct, that initiated Jesuits are in certain cases to pledge their faith and stake their souls, on the behalf of those they wish to gain over to their object. This, I admit, seems wholly incredible. And yet the Duke of Brunswick, has solemnly declared to mankind, that one of the most weighty reasons (being the 50th of his series) which induced him to turn Catholic was precisely this. He had asked many Protestants if they would agree to be damned in his stead, if he remained a Protestant, and their religion should by chance be false; and not one would agree to it! But on the other hand, many Catholics readily agreed to such terms, if he would become one of them. The little volume containing the Duke's reasons, (just such reasons, as one would expect to see used to justify such an act,) has been actively handed about by Papists, as an instrument of proselyting, in various parts of America.

Still further, the most minute details of these terrible chapters, have been fulfilled even in this community, at the end of more than two centuries after the wonderful book was put into the prohibitory Index at Rome. Of this I make three signal citations.

1. In the preface to the book, they are directed as a principle, to deny their own rules, acts and every thing, no matter how true, certain, and estimable, provided policy requires it; and to have uninformed or unscrupulous members to confirm their denial by oath. Now in this very city, I have known priests, and many others, deny the very decrees and canons, of their most famous councils; and openly traduce as calumniators, those who quoted their books, printed by Archiepiscopal authority in our very midst, and sold daily every where!

2. In the first chapter, it is recommended as peculiarly important, to have connections with Hospitals, Prisons etc. In this city at this time, an order of female professed, holding the nearest intercourse with the Jesuits, has possession of two of our most important public institutions, for the sick. In one, if not both, there are mass altars, at the expense of the public; and the compensation given, to these females, (of the order, two of whose members were witnesses to the will forged by the late Rector of the Cathedral) is kept secret, while the public is made to believe that nothing is paid for their services.

3. In Chapter viii. the method is pointed out by which the sons of widows may be induced to join this monstrous fraternity. Now it so happens, that both Mr. Whitefield the last Archbishop, and Mr. Eccleston the present one, were widows' sons! And what is worse, of Protestant extraction. And what is final and conclusive, if the best proof in our reach is to be credited, both Jesuits!

These are only specimens, of the exact and minute fulfilment, of lies forged two hundred years ago, as they would persuade us by an expelled Jesuit in impotent, and sheer malice! The least that can be said is that our priests and prelates, and their sisters, have been most unfortunate in their accidental confirmations of those falsehoods!

V. We now come to the last supposition, of which the case seems to admit; namely, that the SECRETA MONITA, is the work of some implacable enemy of the Society, who never was a member of it, but has here exhibited the principles by which he believed, or at least wished to persuade others, that its secret affairs were conducted.

In refutation of such an opinion, if any one ever held an opinion so entirely absurd, it may in general be observed, that the whole amount of proof for two centuries, and the universal consent of all disinterested persons, to the sufficiency of that proof, cannot be set aside by the suggestion even of probable conjectures, still less by such as are highly improbable, indicating a different state of case. Now all the learned, both Protestants and Catholics, so that they were not Jesuits, have constantly and with one accord, received this book as authentic in the fullest sense. Every person who has written expressly on the subject of the Jesuits, not being one of their creatures,—all who have had occasion to touch incidently on the subject, all compilers of current opinion, and received truth in the present and past ages, unanimously agree, that these secret counsels, are the mystery of iniquity, by which this association has produced so much harm. Surely something above conjecture and assertion are wanting to rebut this unanimous consent.

It may also be observed, that he who will carefully examine this system, will see, that organized as human society has been, and without pronouncing on the merit or demerit of the system itself; it is in the highest degree clear, that if the Jesuits had adopted such rules of conduct as these, they must have produced great and lasting effects. On the other hand, if we look back at what the Jesuits have done and suffered, we see in these rules, the clearest exposition of their greatness and their overthrow. To my mind, no proofs of genuineness could be more complete, than those which thus spring up, from the very nature of the case, and stamp themselves indelibly upon it.—And this is most remarkably true, if we remember, that the production and publication of this work, occurred within less than sixty years after the origin of the order,—before the developement of its greatness, and its general infamy for its crimes; and has come down side by side with it, through successive ages crying to the world, at once with the voice of prophecy, and the undeniable truth of history!

The difficulties which must have existed in the way of any attempt to compile such a work as this, from the most abundant sources even, are so very great, that it is next to impossible any man could have done it, without committing such and so many blunders as to render detection certain. That an obscure and now forgotten person should have accomplished such a work, is not capable of belief. That such a person should have completed and issued such a work before the great mass of the publications from which they say he pretended to draw it, were written, is childish folly to assert. And that these mighty and terrible Jesuits afterwards wrote these works to confirm what the SECRETA MONITA, had before said, or to give a colour to the allegation, that it was so compiled, no one will be mad enough to pretend.

The new state of the world out of which this order arose made it different from all things that had existed before. In compiling this work, the author must know all their peculiarities, must understand their entire design, must enter into their prejudices—must see through their code of morals—must be perfect master of their grand scheme, and all the means by which it was to be compassed. See their peculiarities, their contempt of all other orders, their asserting contrary to all other orders, that the Church was a monarchy (chap. ix. 16.) their devotion to the education of youth, their special intrigues with the great; their snares for widows and servants—the singular privileges, personal and social, of the order, the peculiar difficulties that they had met with, in different places, and the especial hatreds they had already conceived, their whole plan, and their whole profound, sagacious, corrupt, complicated, and secret machinery! Who could know, who could gather out of scattered volumes even if they existed, or by private industry and opportunities, such a system as this! It is out of all the bounds of belief, that such a system could be so formed, and then so fitted, as this has fitted.

But if any choose to think otherwise, then let them rest satisfied that he who should gather up, out of a thousand sources the true principles and policy of any order of men, from their own writings and actions, would thus give the most complete and comprehensive view of it, that could by possibility be produced. It would then stand forth, a living, moving, acting creature; and not, as in the naked principles, dogmatically laid down, a great, but inanimate outline. Let them rest assured moreover, that he who did this, in the case in hand, with no very ample materials, at the period the work was done, if ever, has accomplished a work, the like of which cannot be produced out of all the annals of the world, for perfect accuracy and immeasurable success. If such a man ever lived, we may safely pronounce him, the most remarkable of his race, and mourn that he has left behind no trace of his being, but this stupendous triumph.

VI. There is in this case one peculiar circumstance which gives to the authenticity of the SECRETA MONITA, the seal of absolute certainty, while it casts the darkest shade over the society. Why have the Jesuits any secret rules or instructions, or principles of conduct or objects of effort? Why this secrecy? And how, at so early a period of their history, as the end of the sixteenth century, was the author of this work, supposing him to have been no Jesuit, to have known with such certainty, the existence and the nature of such secrets?

For many years they did indeed deny that any such secret rules existed; and doubtless, they will now deny, that these are the real secret counsels by which their affairs are conducted. But about the middle of the last century, when the society was suppressed in Portugal for being accessory to the assassination of King Joseph I. and suddenly expelled from Spain for their complicated crimes; their constitutions and secret records fell into the hands of the public. And in the famous controversy before the great Chamber at Paris, between the merchants of Lyons and Marseilles and the French Jesuits, in the year 1761, about the immense losses in the Martinica trade, the court demanded, and in a luckless hour the Jesuits produced, their secret constitutions; thus falsifying all their former statements.

But it had been long certain, that what was now first admitted was really true. In the year 1624 the University of Paris, charged this order with being "governed by private laws, neither sanctioned by kings, nor registered by parliaments; and which they were afraid to communicate, having done all in their power to prevent their being seen by any other than those of the society." (Hist. of the Jesuits p. 329 of vol. 1.) How perfectly does this accord with their own maxims, in their preface to the present work; let no one who knows our secrets, be allowed to join any other order, except the CARTHUSIANS who preserve strict retirement and perfect silence; WHICH THE SEE OF ROME HAS CONFIRMED? So that the allegation of the unknown libeller who the Jesuits would have us believe forged the Secreta Monita, is confirmed by the direct declaration of the University of Paris, and placed past doubt by the indirect confirmation of the Pope himself!

But I will produce one more witness,—PALAEOX, Bishop of Angelopolis, in his famous letter to POPE INNOCENT X. dated Jan. 8, 1649, writing of this society, demands "what other Religion has a secret constitution, hidden privileges, and concealed laws of its own? And what other order has all those things which relate to its government involved in so much mystery? There is suspicion in mystery. The rules of all other orders are open to all; even the Rules and Canons of Popes, Cardinals, Bishops, and the whole clergy; the privileges, instructions, and statutes, of other religious orders may be seen and consulted in almost every library; and the lowest novice in the Franciscan order may read at one view, what his duty would be, if he should ever become the General of his Order. BUT THE SUPERIORS OF THE JESUITS DO NOT GOVERN THEM BY THE RULES OF THE CHURCH, WHICH ARE KNOWN TO ALL, BUT BY CERTAIN SECRET RULES, (Regles Cachees) WHICH ARE ONLY KNOWN TO THOSE SUPERIORS." (See p. 36, of the edition printed at Cologne, in 1666.)

VII. Such a system can of course be found nowhere else; for such another order, never was established amongst men. Indeed the only real ground for hesitation is the reluctance with which the heart allows itself to credit such things of this kind. If history were less replete with the crimes of this atrocious fraternity, if the irresistible evidence of the past, left us some room to question the utter and horrible depravity of this order; there might be some room left, to relapse into a grateful incredulity of such amazing sin. But there is not "a single hook on which to hang a doubt."

If every thing that is impartial in history, can be said to concur with irresistible light and power, upon one single point, it is that this society has been the most perfectly diabolical that ever was conceived. If there is in the wide compass of human thought, one expression, that in every dialect used amongst men, conjures up at once, all that is wicked, fearful and degraded; the supreme union of sin, activity and genius; the very essence of what is to be hated, feared, and shunned, that expression is, a Jesuit priest! Whence this universal execration? Whence this "unanimous consent," of all countries and ages against them! The Infidel, the Catholic, the Protestant, and the very father of the faithful: Hume, De Thou, Mosheim, and Gongenilli, as specimens of all; Protestant England, Catholic Venice, Infidel France, Pagan China, as a committee of the universe; why have all, every where, denounced, abhored Jesuitism, as the sum of all evil! Reader, examine, ponder these secret counsels, and you will see the solution of this problem; and in that solution you cannot but find the fullest authority for asserting the genuineness and authenticity of the book itself.

Upon the whole, there cannot be a doubt on the mind of any candid man who will examine the subject, that this SECRETA MONITA, is no forgery; that it is no ingeniously deduced system; but that it is sustainable by proofs the most conclusive in its pretensions to be the real secret counsels of the society of Jesus, profanely so called; drawn up at a very early period of its existence; combining all its experience; revealing its grand purpose—and constantly followed by its leading spirits.