John Gilmary Shea.

A history of the Catholic church within the limits of the United States ... online

. (page 6 of 50)
Online LibraryJohn Gilmary SheaA history of the Catholic church within the limits of the United States ... → online text (page 6 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


for baptism, an altar stone, chalice, vestments ; while a third
box contained trifles for presents to the Indians, bells, combs,



* In this ndd the Susquehannas sent a spear at an Anaeostan In-
dian, piercing him through the body below the arm-pits. He was car-
ried in a dying state to Piscataway, where Father White prepared him
for death, and touched his wounds with a reliquary containing a particle
of the True Cross. As he was summoned to attend an aged dying Indian
at some distance, he directed the Anacostan's friends to take his body
when he died to the chapel for burial. The next day as the missionary
was returning in his canoe, he was met by this very man, perfectly re-
stored to health, a red spot on each side showing where the wound had
been. He declared ** that from the hour at which the Father had left
him he had not ceased to invoke the most holy name of Jesus, to whom
he ascribed his recovery. The missionary urged him in view of so great
a favor to thank God and persevere, treating with love and reverence that
holy name and the most holy cross." *' Relatio Itineris," pp. 87-8.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



MABYLAND mSSIONS. 69

fishhooks, needles, thread, &c.; a small mat to pitch as a tent
when they had to sleep in the open air, and a larger one for
rainy seasons. The servant is equipped for hunting and for
preparing food when taken. In our excursions we endeavor,
when possible, to reach some English dwelling or Indian
village at nightfall ; if not, we land, and the missionary se-
cures the boat, gathers wood and builds a fire, while the
others go out to hunt. K they take any game it is prepared ;
if not we lie down by the fire and take our rest. If fear of
rain threatens we erect our hut and cover it with a larger
mat spread over, and, thank God, we enjoy this humble fare
and hard couch with as joyful a mind as we did more lux-
urious provisions in Europe ; with this present comfort tliat
God imparts to us now a foretaste of what He will be-
stow on those who labor faithfully in this life, and He miti-
gates all hardships with a sense of pleasure, so that his divine
majesty appears to be present with us in an extraordinary
manner." *

Meanwhile Lord Baltimore had applied to the Propaganda
to establish a mission in Maryland, and give faculties to a Pre-
fect and secular priests ; the Sacred Congregation accordingly,
in August, 1641, issued faculties, which were transmitted to
Dom Eossetti, afterwards Archbishop of Tarsus. The Jes-
uits remonstrated in an appeal to the Holy See, saying, " The
Fathers do not refuse to make way for other laborers, but
they humbly submit for consideration whether it is expedient
to remove those who first entered into that vineyard at their
own expense, who for seven years have endured want and
sufferings, who have lost four of their number, laboring
faithfully unto death, who have defended sound doctrine and
the liberty of the Church, incurring odium and temporal

> "Relatio Itmeris," Annual Letter, 1642, pp. 80-8.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



60 THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

loss to themselves, who have acquired the koguages of the
Indians." *

This memorial arrived too late. The Propaganda had
already acted on the petition of Lord Baltimore, and in 1642
two secular priests arrived in Maryland to begin the mission
established by the Sacred Congregation. The names of these
pioneers of the secular clergy in this coimtry are not re-
corded, and we have no details of their labors. On finding
that they were expected to take a difEerent theological view
of questions for which they had not been prepared, they
declined to condemn the course pursued by the missionaries
already in the country, leaving it to superior authority to
decide the question after due examination.*

Meanwhile attempts had been made in England, through
the intervention of Mrs. Peasley,* to effect a reconciliation
between the lord proprietor and the missionaries. Lord
Baltimore long resisted all advances, but finally yielded, ex-
acting severe conditions,* which the provincial was to sign,

' ** Memorial " of F. Henry More. Foley, *' Records," iii, p. 363.

' Through the kindness of His Eminence Cardinal Jacobini search
was made in the archives of the Propaganda for any record of the facul-
ties granted, but, unfortunately, none could be traced. Neill, in his
" Founders of Maryland," p. 103, charges these priests with not keeping
faith with Lord Baltimore ; but this is most unjust, the Propaganda hav-
ing sent them out to act as missionaries, not as judges on a point of canon
law, which could have been decided at Rome had Lord Baltimore sought a
decision.

» Letters of W. Peasley, Oct. 1 and 7. 1642, of Ann Peasley, Oct 5.

* They resigned all claim to the lands ceded by the Indian king, and
agreed to take no others ; they accepted the English statutes against
pious uses, as in force in Maryland, and agreed to take up no lands except by
special permission of Lord Baltimore ; the missionaries were to claim no
exemptions or privileges in Maryland not legally allowed them in Eng-
land, except that corporal punishment was not to be inflicted on any
missionary imless for a capit'vl offense. No missionary was to be sent to
3Iaryland without special permission of Lord Baltimore ; any missionary



Digitized by VjOOQIC



MARYLAND MISSIONS. 61

and every missioDary sent oat was to obtain direct permission
from the lord proprietor and take an oath of allegiance to
him.'

Under these stringent conditions two Jesuit Fathers were
proposed to Lord Baltimore, and, receiving his sanction, sailed
for Maryland in 1642.* But, though harmony was restored,
the missionaries must have felt discouraged and hampered,
and the new Conditions of Settlement issued by Lord Balti-
more • bear the impress of great jealousy of the Church, '
reviving the English ideas of mortmain, and inadvertently
paving the way to direct persecution of the whole Catholic
body.

The Puritan party in England, while the Anglican church
was dominant, sought the support of the Catholics who suf-
fered like themselves from the rule of the State church,
although the scaffolds did not run red with Paritan as they
did with Catholic blood.

tlieo in the colony, or subsequently sent, was to be recalled within a year
at the request of Lord Baltimore. No missionary was to be allowed in
the colony who did not take an oath of allegiance to him as lord pro-
prietor.

* The Conditions In 1648 excepted specially all corporations, etc.. as
well spiritual as temporal, and prohibit^ their acquiring or holding land
without special license, either in their own name or in the name of any
person to their use. Kilty, p. 41. Those in 1G49 forbade any ad-
venturer or planter to transfer lands to any such corporation or in trust
for it, without license. lb., p. 50.

*"Relatio Itineris," p. 89, is incorrectly translated "two others"; it
should read "two new Fathers." Who they were even the minute re-
tesrches of Br. Foley and Father Treacy fail to enable us to say posi-
tively. There are three letters extant of W. Peasley and his wife Ann,
addressed evidently to the provincial in September and October, 1042.
"I have prevailed for the present employment of two of yours." They
were to sail in Ingle's vessel, but may not have come.

* " Puncta ab Illust Dom. Barone Baltimore concepta quae subscribi
exigit a R. Prov. Soc. Jcsu in Anglia." MSS. Stonyhurst, vol. iv., No.
108. " Omnibus has praesentes lecturis." lb.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



62 THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

In Virginia, Puritan settlers from New England were
treated with great harshness by the authorities, zealous ui>-
holders of the Anglican church ; Claybome, who had tendered
the oath of supremacy to Lord Baltimore, being then an
adherent of the dominant party. To these harassed Puritans
Lord Baltimore oflfered an asylum, and many settled in Mary-
land. When the civil war was enkindled in England these
men began to evince great hostility to Lord Baltimore and the
Catholics. After the royal power fell Claybome joined the
Puritan side, and, taking as his lieutenant a reckless sea
captain named Ingle, once, as generally believed, a pirate,
but now a zealous Puritan, commanding a ship which he
called The Reformation, resolved once more to attempt an
overthrow of the authority of the Baltimores. Aided by the
ungrateful Puritans, who supported their old enemy against
their friend, Claybome not only held Kent Island against
aU the efforts of Governor Calvert to reduce it, but with
Ingle's aid invaded St. Mary's country, drove the governor
from his capital, compelling him to seek flight in Virginia,
and made himself master of the province.* He let Ingle
loose on the Catholic settlers, and pretending the authority
of a letter of marque, this raflSan plundered the houses of the
chief Roman Catholics, like Comwaleys and Fenwick, and
especially the missionaries, and for two y^rs maintained
a reign of terror in Maryland. Ingle had brought some of
the missionaries over to the province as captain of vessels
chartered or owned by Lord Baltimore, and was familiar



' " The Maryland authorities had invited to the province the Puritans
persecuted in Virginia, and any who wished to come from New England,
where the rule was too strict for many. But these new comers proved
most ungrateful. ' Finding themselves In a capacity to oversway those
that had so received and relieved them, they began to pick quarrels,

yrg an old writer, * with the Papists.' " " Leah and Rachel," cited

ks, *• P. E. Church in Maryland," p. 89.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



MISSIONARIES DEPORTED. 63

with their residences and their persons. The Catholic gentry
and the missionaries were the chief objects of his mahce.
Invading their estates with a lawless band, he drove ont or
seized the people, carried off and destroyed property, leaving
the honses mere wrecks. Captain Comwaleys estimated the
damage d<Hie his place in February, 1645, at three thousand
pounds.

The houses of the Jesuit Fathers at Potopaco and St
Inigoes were similarly plundered and wrecked, but this tem-
poral loss was little compared to the af3ietion of the hunted
and scattered Catholics when they beheld the venerable
Father Andrew White, the founder of the Maryland mission,
and Father Thomas Copley, fall into the hands of this man,
who, treating tliem as criminals, loaded them with heavy
irons. After being kept confined for some time, the two
missionaries were sent by Ingle to England.

There the two Fathers were indicted under the penal laws
of 27 Elizabeth, for having been ordained priests abroad and
coming into and remaining in England as such, contrary to
the statute, a crime punishable with death. When brought
to trial, however, they pleaded that they had been brought
violently into England, and had not come of their own will,
but against it. The judges acknowledged the force of the
argument and directed an acquittal. They were not, it
would seem, liberated at once, but were detained in prison
and finally sent out of England under an order of perpetual
banishment.

Father White reached Belgium, whence he endeavored in
vain to r^^in the missions of his beloved Maryland ; but his
advanced age and his broken constitution would in them-
selves have made him no longer fit for such a laborious life
as awaited the priests who attempted to revive religion
there.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



"1



64 THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES,

As we CED no longer record his labors on our soil, it Ib
well to sketch here the life of this founder of the Maryland
mission. Father Andrew White was bom in London in
1579, and was educated at Douay, where he was ordained
priest about the year 1605. Returning to England as a
seminary priest he fell into the hands of the authorities -at
the very threshold of his missionary career, and after spend-
ing some time in prison, was sentenced to perpetual bam'shment
with forty-five other priests in 1606.' Seeking admission to
tlie Society of Jesus, he was one of the first to enter the
novitiate opened at St. John's, Louvain, where one of his
fellow novices was the celebrated Father Thomas Gamett,
who, returning to England, died on the scaffold in the fol-
lowing year. Father White went through his period of
probation with great humility and piety, preparing for the
dangerous mission of his native land, to which at the close of
his novicesliip he was at once sent There he labored with
great zeal and fruit, attending by stealth the oppressed Cath-
olics, encouraging them in trials, sustaining their faith, and
when an opportunity offered, instructing Protestants and
reconciling them to the faith of their fathers, the recollec-
tion of which was still fresh in most English families. Aft«r
some years his superiors appointed him to a professor's chair
in one of the colleges maintained by the English province in
Spain.

His ability, learning, and piety found an ample field, and
he was prefect of studies, professor of sacred Scripture, dog-
matic theology, and Hebrew, at Valladolid and Seville, hold-
ing also the position of superior or minister. It is an evidence
of his great merit and learning that he was admitted to the
four vows as a professed Father on the 15th of June, 1619.-

' Challoner, "Missionary Prieste."

• Foley, " Records of the English Province," iii., p. 884.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



FATHER ANDREW WHITE, 66

After forming future martyrs and apostles in the colleges of
the societj, he was sent to Belgium, where he taught theol-
ogy at LouYain and liege for several years, till, at his earnest
request, he was allowed to share the labors of those whom
he had trained for the post of periL' His career in the
Maryland mission among whites and Indians has been
already traced* After his second banishment he succeeded
in reaching England, and was assigned to the Hampshire
district, or residence of St Thomas of Canterbury, spending
the last years of his life in the house of a Catholic nobleman.
As his weakness increased he was urged to prepare for death,
but he answered, " My hour is not yet come, nor is St. John
Ihe Evangelists day." When that festival arrived, in the
year 1656, he heard interiorly : " To^y thou shalt be with
me." He then directed a fellow-priest to be summoned,
and, receiving the last sacraments, closed his mortified life
December 27, 1656. Through life to its close, on his mi&-
sions and in prison, he fasted twice a week on bread and
water. When his jailer once told him that if he treated his
poor old body so badly he would not have strength to be
hanged at Tyburn, the apostle of Maryland replied : " It is
this very fasting which gives me strength enough to bear all
for the sake of Christ" *

When Fathers White and Copley fell into the hands of
higle. Father Bernard Hartwell, who had been sent out in
1645 as Superior of the Maryland mission, seems to have

' Tanner, " Societas Jesu Apostolomm Imitatrix/' Prague, 1694, p. 808.

• Annual Letter, 1656, cited by Foley, ill., p. 888. This author gives,
pp. 868-270, two letters of Father Andrew White. His Indian Catechism
is extant at Rome, but of his Maryland Granmiar and Yocabulary noth-
ing is definitely known. The recovery of Father White's Indian works
wcfuld be the more valuable, as he was beyond all doubt the first
Enghshman who attempted to reduce an Indian language to grammat
ical forms. See, too, " Woodstock Letters," xiv., p. 884.
6



Digitized by VjOOQIC



66 THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

eluded the persecutors ; while Father Eoger Kigbie and John
Cooper escaped to Virginia by the aid of Indian converts or
were taken there as prisoners. Both died in that provmce
in 1646, how or where no record remsdnfi to tell, but certainly
victims to the hatred of the Catholic faith, even though they
did not perish by the hand of violence. Both were young
and zealous; both were of the number of twenty-three
young Jesuits who in July and August, 1640, wrote to the
Provincial, Father Edward Knott, earnestly seeking to
be sent to the Maryland mission. These letters full of
zeal and devotion, are preserved as precious treasures in the
College of the Sacred Heart at Woodstock, Maryland, and
from them we reverently traced the fac-similes of their signa-

tures. Father Koger Eigbie arrived in Maryland in 1641,
and soon won universal esteem. Though prostrated by
serious disease at Patuxent, he persevered, mastered the
language of his flock, and composed a catechism in it.
Father John Cooper, a native of Hampshii-e, reached Mary-
land in 1644, and the next year was torn from his flock.

Father Hartwell, the Superior of the mission, did not sur-
vive these terrible blows. His death too is recorded in this
fatal year. Not a priest was left in the province of Mary-
land.'

So closed the first period of the Maryland mission. Its rec-
ord is a noble one. Imbued with Catholicity the province had

» Foley, "Records of the English Province," iii., pp. 875-887; vii.,
pp. 168, 842, 650; B. U. Campbell in U. S. Cath. Mag., vii., pp. 629,
850 ; Rev. W. P. Treacy, *• Catalogue of our Missionary Fathers, 1684^
1805," Woodstock Letters, xvi., pp. 89-90.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



MARYLAND MISSIONS. 67

been conducted with a wifidom seen in no other colony. The
deetitntion, famine, and Indian wars that mark the early days
of other settlements were unknown in Maryland. Catholicity
was planted with the colony, and exercised its beneficent
influence ; the devoted priests instructed their people assid-
uously, teaching the young, and reviving the faith of the
adults ; men led away by false doctrines in England, moved
by their example, sought light and guidance. Full of apos-
tolic zeal these priests extended their care to the Indian tribes
along both shores of the Potomac to the Piscataway, and up
the Patuxent to Mattapany, so that nearly all the Indians on
those two peninsulas were thoroughly instructed in the
fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and many received
into the church had learned to lead a Christian life. The
success had not been attained without sacrifice ; five of the
devoted priests in the short twelve years had laid down their
lives; two were in chains to stand trial and perhaps face
death on the scaffold.'

^ The question has been mooted whether it is proper to say that Mary-
land was a Catholic colony. It has been well replied: "The colony
whose only spiritual guides were Catholics, whose only public worship
-was according to Catholic rites, was a Catholic colony" (Scharf, i., p.
166) ; and surely it was so when the Catholicity was active, zealous,
exemplary, and edifying. The ** Objections Answered Concerning Mary-
land/' a document of the time of the settlement, discusses at length
-whether the Catholic colony of Maryland would be dangerous to New
Jhigland and Virginia.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



CHAPTER m.

THB HABYLAKD MISSION BESTOBBD. 1648-1668.

"With the triumph of Claybome and Ingle Catholicity
seemed so utterly overthrown in Maryland that Lord Balti-
more lost heart, and thought of abandoning the province.
He gave orders to secure his personal property and send it
over to England. But his brother Leonard was made of
sterner stuff. Gathering a force in Yirginia he suddenly
surprised the faction in Maryland and recovered possession
of the province, where the authority of the lord proprietary
was once more established.

The field was again open to the labors of the priests of the
Catholic Church. It would seem that Lord Baltimore again
applied to the Holy See for secular missionaries, but failed to
obtain them,* and the Jesuit Fathers were permitted to re-

» Foley, ** Records," iii., p. 887.

Lord Baltimore complained to Agretti in 1669 that the Holy See for
four and twenty years had refused to send missionaries to Maryland,
which carries back his unsuccessful application to 1645. M^. Urban
Cerri, in his report to Pope Innocent XI., speaking of Maryland, says :
" A mission might easily be settled in that country, the said lord having
frequently desired it of the Congregation." Steele, " An Accoimt of the
State of the Roman Catholick Religion," p. 169. It was apparently weU
known that Lord Baltimore wished, about this time, to substitute other
missionaries. In "Virginia and Maryland; or the Lord Baltimore's
printed Case imcased and answered," London, 1665, we read : '* The bet-
ter to get friends, first made it a receptacle for Papists and Priests and
Jesuites, in some extraordinary and zealous manner, but hath since dis-
contented them many times and many ways ; though Intelligence with
Bulls, Letters, &c. from the Pope and Rome, be ordinary for his own In-
tersts." (Force's edition, p. 12.)
(68)



k



Digitized by VjOOQIC



MISSION RESTORED. 69

Tisit the land where their heroic little band had labored amid
suffering and death. Father Thomas Copley was sent over
as he had been eleven years before. Writing to the General
of the Society on the 1st of March, 1648, he reports his
arrival with his companion in Virginia in January. From
diat province he penetrated to St Mary's, where he found
his flock collected after having been scattered for three years.
Once more was the holy sacrifice offered in the land, confes-
aons heard, baptism conferred ; but caution was still required,
and the priests performed their sacred duties almost secretly.
Leaving his companion. Father Lawrence Starkey, concealed
apparently in Virginia, Father Copley then proceeded to his
Lidian neophytes from among whom he had been torn by
Ingle's men.

Though the authority of Lord Baltimore was restored, the
state of affairs, and especially of the Catholic Church in
Maryland, became very precarious. Puritans expelled from
Virginia had been allowed by Lord Baltimore to settle in
Anne Arundel County, but from the first they disavowed his
authority as supporting antichrist. As their numbers in-
creased they made conmoion cause with Claybome, and began
to outniunber the Catholics, who, for a time, had formed the
majority, especially of the landholders, as the contemporane-
ous records of wills show.

The illustrious governor, Leonard Calvert, did not long
survive his triumph. This devoted Catholic died amid his
family and friends on the 9th of June, 1647, leaving the gov-
ernment of the colony to Thomas Greene. Li the following
year Lord Baltimore appointed William Stone as governor,
and, in view of a future preponderance of Protestants,
endeavored to establish, as by a charter of liberty, that free-
dom of conscience which his father and himself had so long
advocated and practiced.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



70 THE CHURCH IN THE COLONIES.

In pnrsnance of his instmctions Governor Stone convened
an assembly at St. Mary's, on the 2d day of April, 1649. This
body consisted of the lieutenant-governor. Stone represent-
ing the Catholic proprietary ; the council, Thomas Greene and
Kobert Clarke, Catholics ; John Price and Robert Vaughn,
Protestants ; and nine burgesses, Cuthbert Fenwick, "William
Bretton, Gteorge Manners, John Maunsell, Thomas Thorn-
borough and Walter Peake, Catholics, and Philip Conner,
Richard Banks, and Richard Browne, Protestants. The as-
sembly is a famous one in history, as it passed an " Act con-
cerning religion," which, after inflicting penalties on any one
who should call another by a sectarian name of reproach,
proceeds in these noble words: "And whereas the enforc-
ing of conscience in matters of religion hath frequently
fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in those common-
wealths where it has been practiced, and for the more quiet
and peaceable government of this province, and the better
to preserve mutual love and unity amongst the inhabitants,
no person or persons whatsoever within this province or the
islands, ports, harbors, creeks, or havens thereunto belonging,
professiug to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth
be any ways troubled or molested, or discountenanced for or
in respect of his or her religion, nor in the free exercise
thereof within this province or the islands thereunto belong-
ing, nor any way compelled to the belief or exercise of any
other religion, against his or her consent." *

" The passage of this act," says McSherry, " is one of the
proud boasts of Maryland, and its exact execution until the

' The acts of 1649, 1650, eighteen m number, were drawn up by Lord
Baltimore and transmitted to the Assembly, which passed only a part in
1649 (April 21) and the rest April 25, 1650, in sessions held at St. Mary's.
They were confirmed together by Lord Baltimore's declaration, dated



Online LibraryJohn Gilmary SheaA history of the Catholic church within the limits of the United States ... → online text (page 6 of 50)