in the Church of Rome
by Charles Chiniquy
Where shall I find words to express the sentiments of surprise, admiration and joy I felt when, after divine service, alone in my humble study, I considered, in the presence of God, what His mighty hand had just wrought under my eyes. The people who surrounded the Saviour when He cried to Lazarus to come forth, were not more amazed at seeing the dead coming out of his grave than I was when I had seen, not one, but more than a thousand, of my countrymen so suddenly and unexpectedly coming out from the grave of the degrading slavery in which they were born and brought up. No, the heart of Moses was not filled with more joy than mine, when on the shores of the Red Sea, he sang his sublime hymn:
"I will sing unto the Lord: for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation: my fathers' God, and I will exalt Him" (Ex. xv. 2).
My joy was, however, suddenly changed into confusion, when I considered the unworthiness of the instrument which God had chosen to do that work. I felt this was only the beginning of the most remarkable religious reform which had ever occurred on this continent of America, and I was dismayed at the thought of such a task! I saw, at a glance, that I was called to guide my people into regions entirely new and unexplored. The terrible difficulties which Luther, Calvin and Knox had met, at almost every step, were to meet me. Though giants, they had, at many times, been bought low and almost discouraged in their new positions. What would become of me, seeing that I was so deficient in knowledge, wisdom and experience!
Many times, during the first night after the deliverance of my people from the bondage of the Pope, I said to my God in tears: "Why hast not Thou chosen a more worthy instrument of Thy mercies towards my brethren?" I would have shrank before the task, had not God said to me in His Word: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. And God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, the things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Cor. i. 29 29).
These words calmed my fears and gave me new courage. Next morning, I said to myself: "Is it not God alone who has done the great things of yesterday? Why should I not rely upon Him for the things which remain to be done? I am weak, it is true, but He is strong and mighty. I am unwise, but He is the God of light and wisdom: I am sinful, but He is the God of holiness: He wants the world to know that He is the worker."
It would make the most interesting book, were I to tell all the marvelous episodes of the new battle my dear countrymen and I had to fight against Rome, in those stormy but blessed days. Let me ask my readers to come with me to that Roman Catholic family, and see the surprise and desolation of the wife and children when the father returned from public service and said: "My dear wife and children, I have, for ever, left the Church of Rome, and hope that you will do the same. The ignominious chains by which we were tied, as the slaves of the bishops and the Pope, are broken. Christ Jesus alone will reign over us now. His Holy Word alone will rule and guide us. Salvation is a gift: I am happy in it possession."
In another house, the husband had not been able to come to church, but the wife and children had. It was now the wife who announced to her husband that she had, for ever, renounced the usurped authority of the bishops and the Pope: and that it was her firm resolution to obey no other master than Christ, and accept no other religion than the one taught in the Gospel. At first, this was considered only as a joke; but as soon as it was realized to be a fact, there were, in many places, confusion, tears, angry words and bitter discussions. But the God of truth, light and salvation was there; and as it was His work, the storms were soon calmed, the tears dried, and peace restored.
A week had scarcely passed, when the Gospel cause had achieved one of the most glorious victories over its implacable enemy, the Pope. In a few days, 405 out of 500 families which were around me in St. Anne, had not only accepted the Gospel of Christ, as their only authority in religion; but had publicly given up the name of Roman Catholics, to call themselves Christian Catholics.
A few months later, a Romish priest, legally questioned on the subject, by the Judge of Kankakee, had to swear that only fifteen families had remained Roman Catholics in St. Anne.
A most admirable feature of this religious movement, was the strong determination of those who had never been taught to read, to lose no time in acquiring the privilege of reading for themselves the Divine Gospel which had made them free from the bondage of man. Half of the people had never been taught to read while in Canada; but as their children were attending the schools we had established in different parts of the colony, every house, as well as our chapel, on Sabbath days, was soon turned into a school-house, where our school-boys and girls were the teachers, and the fathers and mothers, the pupils. In a short time, there were but few, except those who refused to leave Rome, who could not read for themselves the Holy Word of God.
But, however great the victory we had gained over the Pope, it was not yet complete. It was true that the enemy had received a deadly wound. The beast, with the seven heads, had its principal one severed. The usurped authority of the bishops had been destroyed, and the people had determined to accept none but the authority of Christ. But many false notions, drank with the milk of their mothers, had been retained. Many errors and superstitions still remained in their minds, as a mist after the rising of the sun, to prevent them from seeing clearly the saving light of the Gospel, it was my duty to destroy those superstitions, and root out these noxious weeds. But, I knew the formidable difficulties the reformers of the fifteenth century had met, the deplorable divisions which had spread among them, and the scandals which had so seriously retarded and compromised the reformation.
I cried to God for wisdom and strength. Never had I understood so clearly, as I did in that most solemn and difficult epoch of my life, the truth that prayer is to the troubled mind what oil is to the raging waves of the sea. My people and I, as are all Roman Catholics, were much given to the worship of images and statues. There were fourteen beautiful pictures hung on the walls of our chapel called: "The Way of the Cross," on which the circumstances of the passion of Jesus Christ were represented, each surmounted with a cross. One of our favourite devotional exercises, was to kneel, three or four times a week, before them, prostrate ourselves and say, with a loud voice: "Oh! holy cross, we adore thee." We used to address our most fervent prayers to them, as if they could hear us, asking them to change our hearts and purify our souls! Our blind devotions were so sincere that we used to bow our heads to the ground before them. I may say the same of the beautiful statue, or rather idol, of the Virgin Mary, represented as a child learning to read at the feet of her mother, St. Anne.
The group was a masterpiece of art, sent to me by some rich friends from Montreal, not long after I had left that city to form the colony of St. Anne, in 1852. We had frequently addressed our most fervent prayers to those statues, but after the blessed Pentecost on which we had broken the yoke of the Pope, I never entered my church without blushing at the sight of those idols on the altar. I would have given much to have the pictures, crosses and things removed, but dare not lay hands suddenly on them, I was afraid, lest I should do harm to some of my people who, it seemed to me, were yet too weak in their religious views to bear it. I was just then reading how Knox and Calvin had made bonfires of all those relics of old Paganism, and I wished I could do the same; but I felt like Jacob, who could not follow the rapid march of his brother, Esau, towards the land of Seir. "The children are tender and the flocks and herds with young are with me. If men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die" (Gen. xxxiii. 13).
Our merciful God saw the perplexity in which I was, and taught me how to get rid of those idols without harming the weak.
One Sabbath, on which I preached on the Second Commandment: "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image," ect. (Exod. xx. 4), I remained in the chapel to pray after the people had left. I looked up to the group of statues on the altar, and said to them: "My good ladies, you must come down from that high position: God Almighty alone is worshipped here now: if you could walk out of this place I would politely invite you to do it. But you are nothing but mute, deaf, blind and motionless idols: you have eyes, but you cannot see: ears, but you cannot hear: feet, but you cannot walk. What will I do with you now? Your reign has come to an end."
It suddenly came to my mind that when I had put these statues on their high pedestal, I had tied them with a very slender, but strong silk cord, to prevent them from falling. I said to myself: "If I were to cut that string, the idols would surely fall, the first day the people would shake the floor when entering or going out." Their fall and destruction would then scandalize on one. I took my knife and scaled the altar, cut the string, and said: "Now, my good ladies, take care of yourselves, especially when the chapel is shaken by the wind, or the coming in of the people."
I never witnessed a more hearty laugh than at the beginning of the religious services, on the next Sabbath. The chapel, being shaken by the action of the whole people who fell on their knees to pray, the two idols, deprived of their silk support, after a couple of jerks which, in former days, we might have taken for a friendly greeting, fell down with a loud crash, and broke into fragments. Old and young, strong and weak, and even babes in the faith, after laughing to their hearts' content at the sad end of their idols, said to each other: "How foolish and blind were we, to put our trust in, and pray to these idols, that they might protect us, when they cannot take care of themselves!" The last vestige of idol worship among our dear converts, disappeared for ever with the dust and broken fragments of those poor helpless statues. The very next day, the people themselves took away all the images before which they had so often abjectly prostrated themselves, and destroyed them.
From the beginning of this movement, it had been my plan to let the people draw their own conclusions as much as possible from their own study of the Holy Scriptures. I used to direct their steps, in such a way, that they might understand that I was myself led with them by the mighty and merciful arm of God, in our new ways. It was also evident to me that, from the beginning, the great majority, after searching the Scriptures with prayerful attention, had found out that Purgatory was a diabolical invention used by the priests of Rome, to enrich themselves, at the expense of their poor blind slaves. But I was also convinced that quite a number were not altogether free from that imposture. I did not know how to attack and destroy that error without wounding and injuring some of the weak children of the Gospel. After much praying, I thought that the best way to clear the clouds which were still hovering around the feeblest intelligences, was to have recourse to the following device:
The All Souls Day (1st Nov.) had come, when it was the usage to take up collections for the sake of having prayers and masses said for the souls in purgatory. I then said to the people, from the pulpit: "You have been used, from your infancy, to collect money, today, in order to have prayers said for the souls in purgatory. Since we have left the Church of Rome for the Church of Christ, we have spent many pleasant hours together in reading and meditating upon the Gospel. You know that we have not found in it a single word about purgatory. From the beginning to the end of that divine book, we have learned that it was only though the blood of the Lamb, shed on the Cross, that our guilty souls could be purified from their sins. I know, however, that a few of you have retained something of the views taught to you, when in the Church of Rome, concerning purgatory. I do not want to trouble them by useless discussions on the subject, or by refusing the money they want to give for the souls of their dear departed parents and friends. The only thing I want to do is this: You used to have a small box passed to you to receive that money. Today, instead of one box, two boxes will be passed, one white, the other black. Those who, like myself, do not believe in purgatory, will put their donations in the white box, and the money will be given to the poor widows and orphans of the parish to help them to get food and clothing for next winter. Those of you who still believe in purgatory, will put their money into the black box, for the benefit of the dead. The only favour I ask of them is that they should tell me how to convey their donations to their departed friends. I tell you frankly that the money you give to the priests, never goes to the benefit of the souls of purgatory. The priests, everywhere, keep that money for their own bread and butter."
My remarks were followed by a general smile. Thirty-five dollars were put in the white box for the orphans and widows, and not a cent fell into the box for the souls of purgatory.
From that day, by the great mercy of God, our dear converts were perfectly rid of the ridiculous and sacrilegious belief in purgatory. This is the way I have dealt with all the errors and idolatries of Rome. We had two public meetings every week, when our chapel was as well filled as on Sabbath. After the religious exercise, every one had the liberty to question me and argue on the various subjects announced at the last meeting.
The doctrines of auricular confession, prayers in an unknown language, the mass, holy water and indulgences, were calmly examined, discussed, and thrown overboard, one after the other, in a very short time. The good done in those public discussions was incalculable. Our dear converts not only learned the great truths of Christianity, but they learned also how to defend and preach them to their relations, friends and neighbours. Many would come from long distances to see for themselves that strange religious movement which was making so much noise all over the country. It is needless to say that few of them went back without having received some rays of the saving light which the Sun of Righteousness was so abundantly pouring upon me and my dear brethren of St. Anne.
Three months after our exit from the land of bondage, we were not less than six thousand French Canadian marching towards the Promised Land.
How can I express the joy of my soul, when, under cover of the darkness of night, I was silently pacing the streets of our town, I heard, from almost every house, sounds of reading the Holy Scriptures, or the melodies of our delightful French hymns! How many times did I then, uniting my feeble voice with that old prophet, say in the rapture of my joy: "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name" (Ps. ciii. 1).
But it was necessary that such a great and blessed work should be tried. God cannot be purified without going through the fire.
On the 27th of July, a devoted priest, through my friend, Mr. Dunn, of Chicago, sent me the following copy of a letter, written by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Illinois (Duggan) to several of his co-bishops: "The schism of the apostate, Chiniquy, is spreading with an incredible and most irresistible velocity. I am told that he has not less then ten thousand followers from his countrymen. Though I hope that this number is an exaggeration, it shows that the evil is great; and that we must not lose any time in trying to open the eyes of the deluded people he is leading to perdition. I intend (D.V.) to visit the very citadel of that deplorable schism, next Tuesday, the 3rd of August. As I speak French almost as well as English, I will address the deluded people of St. Anne in their own language. My intention is to unmask Chiniquy, and show what kind of a man he is. Then I will show the people the folly of believing that they can read and interpret the Scriptures, by their own private judgment. After which, I will easily show them that out of the Church of Rome there is no salvation. Pray to the blessed Virgin Mary that she may help me reclaim that poor deceived people."
Having read that letter to the people on the first Sabbath of August, I said: "We know a man only after he has been tried. So we know the faith of a Christian only after it has been through the fire of tribulations. I thank God that next Tuesday will be the day chosen by Him to show the world that you are worthy of being in the front rank of the great army Jesus Christ is gathering to fight His implacable enemy, the Pope, on this continent. Let every one of you come and hear what the bishop has to say. Not only those who are in good health must come, but even the sick must be brought to hear and judge for themselves. If the bishop fulfills his promise to show you that I am a depraved and wicked man, you must turn me out. You must give up or burn your Bibles, at his bidding, if he proves that you have neither the right to read, nor the intelligence to understand them; and if he shows you that, out of the Church of Rome, there is no salvation, you must, without an hour's delay, return to that church and submit yourselves to the Pope's bishops. But if he fails (as he will surely do) you know what you have to do. Next Tuesday will be a most glorious day for us all. A great and decisive battle will be fought here, such as this continent has never witnessed, between the great principles of Christian truth and liberty, and the principles of lies and tyranny of the Pope. I have only one word more to say: From this moment to the solemn hour of the conflict, let us humbly, but fervently ask our great God, through His beloved and eternal Son, to look down upon us in His mercy, enlighten and strengthen us, that we may be true to Him, to ourselves, and to His Gospel, and then, the angels of heaven will unite with all the elect of God on earth to bless you for the great and glorious victory you will win."
Never had the sun shone more brightly on our beautiful hill than on the 3rd of August, 1858. The hearts had never felt so happy, and the faces had never been so perfectly the mirrors of joyful minds, as on that day, among the multitudes which began to gather from every corner of the colony, a little after twelve o'clock, noon.
Seeing that our chapel, though very large, would not be able to contain half the audience, we had raised a large and solid platform, ten feet high, in the middle of the public square, in front of the chapel. We covered it with carpets, and put a sofa, with a good number of chairs, for the bishop, his long suite of priests, and one for myself, and a large table for the different books of references I wanted to have at hand, to answer the bishop.
At about two o'clock p.m., we perceived his carriage, followed by several others filled with priests. He was dressed in his white surplice, and his official "bonnet carre" on his head, evidently to more surely command the respect and awe of the multitude.
I had requested the people to keep silence and show him all the respect and courtesy due a gentleman who was visiting them, for the first time.
As soon as his carriage was near the chapel, I gave a signal, and up went the American flag to the top of a mast put on the sacred edifice. It was to warn the ambassador of the Pope that he was not treading the land of the holy inquisition and slavery, but the land of Freedom and Liberty. The bishop understood it. For, raising his head to see that splendid flag of stripes and stars, waving to the breeze, he became pale to death. And his uneasiness did not abate, when the thousands round him rent the air with the cry: "Hurrah for the flag of the free and the brave!" The bishop and his priests thought this was the signal I had given to slaughter them; for they had been told several times, that I and my people were so depraved and wicked that their lives were in great danger among us. Several priests who had not much relish for the crown of martyrdom, jumped from their carriages and ran away, to the great amusement of the crowd. Perceiving the marks of the most extreme terror on the face of the bishop, I ran to tell him that there was not the least danger, and assured him of the pleasure we had to see him in our midst.
I offered my hand to help him down from his carriage, but he refused it. After some minutes of trembling and hesitation, he whispered a few words in the ear of his Grand Vicar Mailloux, who was well known by my people, and of whom I have already spoken. I knew that it was by his advice that the bishop was among us, and it was by his instigation that Bishop Smith had refused the submission we had given him.
Rising slowly, he said with a loud voice: "My dear French Canadian countrymen, here is your holy bishop. Kneel down, and he will give you his benediction."
But, to the great disgust of the poor grand vicar, this so well laid plan for beginning the battle failed entirely. Not a single one of that immense multitude cared for the benediction. Nobody knelt.
Thinking that he had not spoken loud enough, he raised his voice to the highest pitch and cried:
"My dear fellow countrymen: This is your holy bishop. He comes to visit you. Kneel down, and he will give you his benediction."
But nobody knelt, and, what was worse, a voice from the crowd answered:
"Do you not know, sir, that there we no longer bend the knee before any man? It is only before God we kneel."
The whole people cried "Amen!" to that noble answer. I could not refrain a tear of joy from falling down my cheeks, when I saw how this first effort of the ambassador of the Pope to entrap my people had signally failed. But though I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for this first success He had given to His soldiers, I knew the battle was far from being over.
I implored Him to bide with us, to be our wisdom and our strength to the end. I looked at the bishop, and seeing his countenance as distressed as before, I offered him my hand again, but he refused it the second time with supreme disdain, but accepted the invitation I gave him to come to the platform.
When half way up the stairs he turned, and seeing me following him, he put forth his hand to prevent me from ascending any further, and said: "I do not want you on this platform; go down, and let my priests alone accompany me."
I answered him: "It may be that you do not want me there, but I want to be at your side to answer you. Remember that you are not on your own ground here, but on mine!"
He then, silently and slowly, walked up. When on the platform, I offered him a good arm-chair, which he refused, and sat on one of his own choice, with his priests around him. I then addressed him as follows:
"My lord, the people and pastor of St. Anne are exceedingly pleased to see you in their midst. We promise to listen attentively to what you have to say, on condition that we have the privilege of answering you."
He answered angrily: "I do not want you to say a word here."
Then stepping to the front, he began his address in French, with a trembling voice. But it was a miserable failure from beginning to end. In vain did he try to prove that out of the Church of Rome, there is no salvation. He failed still more miserably to prove that the people have neither the right to read the Scriptures, nor the intelligence to understand them. He said such ridiculous things on that point, that the people went into fits of laughter, and some said: "This is not true. You do not know what you are talking about. The Bible says the very contrary."
But I stopped them by reminding them of the promise they had made of not interrupting him.
A little before the closing of his address, he turned to me and said: "You are a wicked, rebel priest against your holy church. Go from here into a monastery to do penance for your sins. You say that you have never been excommunicated in a legal way! Well, you will not say that any longer, for I excommunicate you now before this whole people."
I interrupted him and said: "You forget that you have no right to excommunicate a man who has publicly left your church long ago."
He seemed to realize that he had made a fool of himself in uttering such a sentence, and stopped speaking for a moment. Then, recalling his lost courage, he took a new and impressive manner of speaking. He told the people how their friends, their relatives, their very dear mothers and fathers in Canada were weeping over their apostasy. He spoke for a time with great earnestness of the desolation of all those who loved them, at the news of their defection from their holy mother church. Then, resuming, he said: "My dear friends: Please tell me what will be your guide in the ways of God after you have left the holy church of your fathers, the church of your country; who will lead you in the ways of God?"
Those words, which have been uttered with great emphasis and earnestness, were followed by a most complete and solemn silence. Was that silence the result of a profound impression made on the crowd, or was it the silence which always precedes the storm? I could not say. But I must confess that, though I had not lost confidence in God, I was not without anxiety. Though silent and ardent prayers were going to the mercy-seat from my heart, I felt that that poor heart was troubled and anxious, as it had never been before. I could have easily answered the bishop and confounded him in a few words; but I thought that it was much better to let the answer and rebuke come from the people.
The bishop, hoping that the long and strange silence was a proof that he had successfully touched the sensitive cords of the hearts, and that he was to win the day, exclaimed a second time with still more power and earnestness: "My dear French Canadian friends: I ask you, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Saviour and mine, in the name of your desolated mothers, fathers, and friends who are weeping along the banks of your beautiful St. Lawrence River I ask it in the name of your beloved Canada! Answer me! now that you refuse to obey the holy Church of Rome, who will guide you in the ways of salvation?"
Another solemn silence followed that impassionate and earnest appeal. But this silence was not to be long. When I had invited the people to come and hear the bishop, I requested them to bring their Bibles. Suddenly we heard the voice of an old farmer, who, raising his Bible over his head with his two hands, said: "This Bible is all we want to guide us in the ways of God. We do not want anything but the pure Word of God to teach us what we must do to be saved. As for you, sir, you had better go away and never come here any more."
And more than five thousand voices said "Amen!" to that simple and yet sublime answer. The whole crowd filled the air with cries: "The Bible! the Holy Bible, the holy Word of God is our only guide in the ways of eternal life! Go away, sir, and never come again!"
These words, again and again repeated by the thousands of people who surrounded the platform, fell upon the poor bishop's ears as formidable claps of thunder. They were ringing as his death-knell in his ears. The battle was over, and he had lost it.
Bathed in his tears, suffocated by his sobs, he sat or, to speak more correctly, he fell into the arm-chair, and I feared at first lest he should faint. When I saw that he was recovering and strong enough to hear what I had to say, I stepped to the front of the platform. But I had scarcely said two words when I felt as if the claws of a tiger were on my shoulders. I turned and found that it was the clenched fingers of the bishop, who was shaking me while he was saying with a furious voice: "No! no! not a word from you."
As I was about to show him that I had a right to refute what he had said, my eyes fell on a scene which baffles all description. Those only who have seen the raging waves of the sea suddenly raised by the hurricane can have an idea of it. The people had seen the violent hand of the bishop raised against me; they had heard his insolent and furious words forbidding me to say a single word in answer: and a universal cry of indignation was heard: "The infamous wretch! Down with him! He wants to enslave us again! he denies us the right of free speech! he refuses to hear what our pastor has to reply! Down with him!" At the same time a rush was made by many toward the platform to scale it, and others were at work to tear it down. That whole multitude, absolutely blinded by their uncontrollable rage, were as a drunken man who does not know what he does. I had read that such things had occurred before, but I hope I shall never see it again. I rushed to the head of the stairs, and with great difficulty repulsed those who were trying to lay their hands on the bishop. In vain I raised my voice to calm them, and make them realize the crime they wanted to commit. No voice could be heard in the midst of such terrible confusion. It was very providential that we had built the scaffold with strong materials, so that it could resist the first attempt to break it.
Happily, we had in our midst a very intelligent young man called Bechard, who was held in great esteem and respect. His influence, I venture to say, was irresistible over the people. I called him to the platform, and requested him, in the name of God, to appease the blind fury of that multitude. Strange to say, his presence and a sign from his hand acted like magic.
"Let us hear what Bechard has to say," whispered every one to his neighbour, and suddenly the most profound calm succeeded the most awful noise and confusion I had ever witnessed. In a few appropriate and eloquent words, that young gentleman showed the people that, far from being angry, they ought to be glad at the exhibition of the tyranny and cowardice of the bishop. Had he not confessed the weakness of his address when he refused to hear the answer? Had he not confessed that he was the vilest and the most impudent of tyrants when he had come into their very midst to deny them the sacred right of speech and reply? Had he not proved, before God and man, that they had done well to reject, for ever, the authority of the Bishop of Rome, when he was giving them such an unanswerable proof that that authority meant the most unbounded tyranny on his part, and he most degraded and ignominious moral degradation on the part of his blind slaves?
Seeing that they were anxious to hear me, I then told them:
"Instead of being angry, you ought to bless God for what you have heard and seen from the Bishop of Chicago. You have heard, and you are witnesses that he has not given us a single argument to show that we were wrong when he gave up the words of the Pope to follow the words of Christ. Was he not right when he told you that there was no need, on my part, to answer him? Do you not all agree that there was nothing to answer, nothing to refute in his long address? Has not our merciful God brought that bishop into your midst today to show you the truthfulness of what I have so often told you, that there was nothing manly, nothing honest, or true in him? Have you heard from his lips a single word which could have come from the lips of Christ? A word which could have come from that great God who so loved His people that He sent His eternal Son to save them? Was there a single sentence in all you heard which would remind you that salvation through Christ was a gift? that eternal life was a free gift? Have you heard anything from him to make you regret that you are no longer his obedient and abject slaves?"
"No! no!" they replied.
"Then, instead of being angry with that man, you ought to thank him and let him go in peace," I added.
"Yes! yes!" replied the people, "but on condition that he shall never come again."
Then Mons. Bechard stepped to the front, raised his hat, and cried with his powerful voice; "People of St. Anne! you have just gained the most glorious victory which has ever been won by a people against their tyrants. Hurrah for St. Anne, the grave of the tyranny of the Bishops of Rome in America!"
That whole multitude, filled with joy, rent the air with the cry: "Hurrah for St. Anne, the grave of the tyranny of the Bishops of Rome in America!"
I then turned towards the poor bishop and his priests, whose distress and fear were beyond description, and told them: "You see that the people forgive you the iniquity of your conduct, by not allowing them to answer you; but I advise you not to repeat that insult here. Please take the advice they gave you; go away as quickly as possible. I will go with you to your carriage, through the crowd, and I pledge myself that you will be safe, provided you do not insult them again."
Opening their ranks, the crowd made a passage, through which I led the bishop and his long suite of priests to their carriages. This was done in the most profound silence, only a few women whispering to the prelate as he was hurrying by: "Away with you, and never come here again. Henceforward we follow nothing but Christ."
Crushed by waves of humiliation, such as no bishop had ever met with on this continent, the weight of the ignominy which he had reaped in our midst completely overpowered his mind, and ruined him. He left us to wander every day nearer the regions of lunacy. That bishop, whose beginning had been so brilliant, after his shameful defeat at St. Anne, on the 3rd of August, 1858, was soon to end his broken career in the lunatic asylum of St. Louis, where he is still confined to-day.
Continue to Chapter Sixty-Seven
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