Maria Monk.

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worTc. I went ip a fright to the thickest of the
V, bushes, and Jay down, until aU again was still, aid

then ventured out to take my seat again on the turf.
f ^ D^rknes^ now came gradually on [ and with it,
'^ fears of another description. The thought struck
^ me that there might be wild beasts in that neigh-

bjourhood, ignorant as I then was of the country;
J and the more I thought of it, the more I became

alarmed. . I heard no alarming sound, it is true ; but
. I knfjw not how spon som^ prowling and ferocious
,, beast jqaight come upo|i nie in. my defenceless con-
, ditipn, and tear nje in pieces. I refired to my
Jbushes, ^nd stretched myself undei: them upon the
ground:, but I found it impossible to sleep ; and my

mind was abnost continually agitated by thoughts
^ j8n the.fiJiture or the jiast.

In the injorning the little boy made his appearance
.ligaifl, and brought me a few cake^ which he h^d

purchased for me. He showed much interest in me,

inquired why 1 did not live in a house ; and it was
;;,with difficulty that I could satisfy him to let me re-
^ inain in my solitary and e^xposed condition. Under-

fit^ding th^t I wished to continue ninknown, he.as-
; /mred me that he h^d not told evfn, his mother ^bout
„me| and I had rea;Spn: to belieye t^iat i^e faithfully
^,kept my secret to the la^. Though he lived a ojn-
. ^siderable dist^ee fr^iQ my hidin|j-p,lace,^|nd, as I

supposed, far down in the city, he visited {gf ^1^^^



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creryday.erenirheB IhttA not desired !iuntelnr»f
me any thing. Several times I rec^ved from him
some small supplies of food for the money I had
giTea him. I once gSTe him a half-dollar to get
changed ; and he bronglA Bie hack erery penny of
it, at his next risiu

As I had got my drink from a hrook or pool,
which was at no great distance, he brought me a
little cup mie day to drink out of; but this I was
not allowed to keep long, for he iM)on after told me
that his mother wanted it, and he must return k
He seTeral times arrived quite out of breath, and
when I inquired the reason, calling him as I usually
did, *' little Tommy," he said it was necessary hr
him to run, and to stay but a short tune, that he
might be at school in good season. Thus he con-
tinued to serve me, and keep my secret, at great in-
convenience to himself up to the last day of my
stay in that retreat; and I believe he would have
done so for three months if I had remained ^eie.
I should like to see him again, and hear his broken
English.

I had now abundance of time to reflect on nqr
lost condition ; and many a bitt^ thought passed
through my mind, as I sat on the groumi, or strcdhd
about by day, and lay under the bushes at night

Sometimes I reflected on the doctrines I had
heard at thenuiui^i concerning sins and paianees^
Pufgatory and HeU; and sometimeB on my tele
companioM, sod Ae trimes I had witnessed in die



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81BQ1TEL. U^

, , Sometimes I would sit and senously consider
iipw I might best de^rojr my life ; and sometimes
would, sing a few of the hymns with which I waiis
familiar : but I never feh willing or disposed to pray,
as I supposed there was no hope of mercy for me.

One of the first nights I spent in that houseless
condition was stormy; and though I crept imder
'the thickest of the bushes, and had more protection
against the rain than one might have expected, I
:^as almost entirely wet before morning; and, it
may be supposed, passed, a more uncomfortable
night than usual. The next day I was happy to
find the weather clear, and was able to dry my ^'

^monts by taking off one at a time, and spreading
,them oh the bushes.' A night or two after, how-
everj I wag ag^h exposed to a heavy rain, and had
tlie same process afterward to go through with :
but what is remarkable, I took no cold on either oc-
casion ; nor did 1 suffer any lasting injury from all
the exposures I underwent in that platce. The in-
conveniences I had to encounter, also, appeared to

" me of little importance, not being sufficient to draw
off my mind from its own troubles; and I had no
intention of seeking a more comfortable abode, still
looking forward only to dying as soon as God would

^permit, alone and in that spot *

One day, however, when I had been there abo^t
ten days, I was alarmed, at seeing four men ap-

' proftchitig ifie. All of them iiad guai^ as if oat on a

"^ shooting excursion. They expressed much surprise
gnd pity on fiadiogme-thea^and pressed me with



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qaeitkms. I wotdd not gtf them any iatb&etory
uccoaai of m3rsel( my wvnts, or inteotioBS^ being
only mnxioos that th^ might withdraw. I hvaaA
them, howeTer, too much interested to render me
some servi^ to be easily sent away; and ator
some time, thinking there would be no other way,
I pretended to go away not to return. After going
some distance, and remaining some time, thinking
they had probably left the place, I returned ; but to
my mortification found they had concealed them-
selves to see whether I would come back. They
now, more urgently than before, insisted on my re-
moviug to some other place, where I might be com-
fortable They continued to question me ; but 1
became distreaied in a degree I cannot describe,
hardly knowing what I did. At last 1 called ihp
oldest gentleman aside, and told him something of
my history. He expressed great interest for mew
offered to take me anywhere I would tell bun, and
at last insisted that I should go with him to his own
house. All these ofters I refused ; <m which one
proposed to take me to the Almshouse, and ^en to
-carry roe by force if 1 would not go willingly.

To this I at length consented ; but some deky
took place, and I became unwilling, so that with
reluctance I was taken to that instkutimi, which
was about half a mile distant*

• 8Mtk«siBd«vitofllr. HiUimvtNeiMS. The kitir «e
wbidi b# r^ra I had fiwgotten to anentioii. It eoatiined «
short account of the crimes I had witnessed in the nimneiy,
•nd wan wHtttn SB paper whish **ltiiial^aauiiy^ had boiNlht



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CHAPTBE TI.
«i«w— A* eUdmft jgrojMtWwu» and Our§at9 ^Jfr. KM/*

I VAS now at aacm soaAe eomfiyrlable» «id itft«ii4
•d with kindneM and care. It is not to be expeel
cd in aoch a place, where so many poor and auffet
ing pep]de are collected, and duties of a difficuh
itttttfie are to he daily performed by those engaged
in the care of the institutimi, that petty rexationa
should not occur to inditidnala of all descriptiona.

But in spke of all, I received kindness and sym-
pathy from several p^sons around me, to whom I
feelUiank&l

I was abmdkig one (hiy Jtt the window of the
room numb^ tweoty^siz, which is i^ the end of the
hospital building, when I saw a spot I once visited
in a little walk I took ironr my hiding-place. My
feelings were difierent now in some re^Mcts, from
what they had been; for, though I sufiered muck
from ray fears of foteure punishmeiit, for die sin of
breaking my Convei^ vows, I had gtven up the m-
tantion of destroyu^ my life^

After t had been some time in the Institution, I
feund it wa^ imported by iome about me, that I was
a fiigiuve nun; and it was not kmg after, Aat im



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SM APPIMBIX

Iriali TmnaB, bdongija^ to the iottkulioB, hrouf bt
me a secret message, which caused me some agita*
tion.

I was sitting in the room of Mrs. Johnson, the
matron, engaged in sewing, when th^t Irish wpma;o,
eifnployed ip the institution, cam^ in .aod, ^ti me
that Mr. Cd&roy was b«low« and had simt to se&me.
I was informed that he was a Roman priest, Who
often visited the house, and he had a particular wish
to Be6 m^ at that time ; having come, as I" believe,
expressly for that purpose. 1 showed unwillingness
to comply with such an' invitation,' and' did not go.
The woman told niefetther, that he sent' me word
that I need ttotthink to avoid him^ forit wotild 'be
Impossible for me to do so. I might conceal mys^
as well as I cotfld,but I should be found and taken.
No matter whisre I went, ot what hiding-place I
might choose, I should be known ; and I had better
come at once. He knew who I was ; and he was
•ttthbrizfed to take me to the Sisters of Charity, If I
Should prefer to join them. He would promise that
I mighf stay 'with them if 1 chose, and be permitted
to remain in New T6rk: 'He seAt me word fur-
ther, thJat he had' r^cdved fhll power and authority
&reT me from th^ Superior of the Hotel Dieti Nun-
fiery 'of Montreal, and wals able to do all that she
c^uld do^ US her right to dispose of tne at her will
had been imparted to him by a regular writing re^
^ived from Canada. This was alarming informar
^n for me, in the weakness in which I was at that
tfme. * The wdman ^dded, that the same authority



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€£Q1TBL. i39

had been given to all the priests ; so that, go where
I might, I should meet men infonned about me and
my escape, and folly empowered to seize me wher-
ever they could, and convey me back to the Convent,
from which I had escaped

Under these circumstances, it seemed to me that
the ofier to place me among the Sisters of Charity,
with permission to remain in New York, was mild
and favourable. However, I had resolution enough
to refuse to see the priest Conroy.

Not long afterward, I was informed by the same
messenger, that the priest was again in the building, .
and repeated his request. I desired one of the gen-
tlemen connected with the institution, that a stop
might be put to such messages, as I wished to re-
ceive no more of them. A short time after, how-
ever, the woman told me that Mr. Conroy wished
to inquire of me, whether my name was not St. Eus-
tace while a nun, and if I had not confessed to Priest
Kelly in Montreal. I answered, that it was all true ;
for I had confessed to him a short time while in the
nunnery. I was then told again that the priest
wanted to see me, and I sent back word that I would
see him in the presence of Mr. Tappan, or Mr.
Sevens ; which, however, was not agreed to ; and
I was afterward informed, that Mr. Conroy, the
Roman priest, spent an hour in a room and a pas-
sage where I had frequently been ; but through the
mercy of CJod, i was employed in another place at
that time, and had no occasion to go where I should
hive met him. I afti»rward repeatedly heard, that



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900 AFPXNPIX.

1^. Conroy continued to visit the Jbouse, and to ask
for me ; but I never saw iiim. I once had deter-
mined to leave the institution, and go to the Sisters
of Charity ; but circumstances occurred which gave
me time for further reflection; and I was saved
from the destruction to which I should have been
exposed.

As the period of my accouchement approached, I
sometimes thought that I should not survive it ; and
then the recollection of the dreadful crimes I had
witnessed in the nunnery would come upon me
very powerfully, and I would think it a solemn
duty to disclose them before I died. To have a
knowledge of those things, and leave the world
without making them known, appeared to me like a
great sin : whenever I could divest myself o{ the
impression made upon me, by the declarations and
arguments of the Superior^ nuns, and priests, of the
duty of submitting to every thing, and the necessary
holiness of whatever the ktter did or required.

The evening but one before the period which I
anticipated with so much anxiety, I was sitting
alone, and began to indulge in reflections of this
kind. It seemed to me that I must be near the
close of my life, and I determined to make a disclo-
sure at once* I spoke to Mrs. Ford, a woman
whose character I respected, a nurse in the hospital,
in number twenty-three. I informed her that I had
no expectation, of living long, and had some things
on my mind which I wished to communicate before
It ahould be too late. I added, that I should prefer



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Uf tell them to Mr. Tappaii, the cfaaplaiB, of wMoh
she approved, as she considered it a duty to do so
UDder those circumstances. 1 had no opportunity,
however, to converse with Mr. T. at that time, and
probably my purpose, of disclosing the facts already
given in this book, would never have been exectitP4]
but for what subsequently took place.

It was alarm which had led me to form such a
determination ; and when the period of trial had
been safely passed, and I had a prospect of recov*
ery, any thing appeared to me more likely than
that I should make this exposure.

I was then a Roman Catholic, at least a great
part of my time ; and my conduct, in a great mea-
sure, was according to the faith and motivee of a
Roman Catholic. Notwithstanding what I knew
of the conduct of so many of the priests and nuns, I
thought that it had no e£^t on the sanctity of the
Church, or the authority or effects of the acts per-
formed by the former at the mass, confession, &c.
I had such a regard for my vows as a nun, that I
considered my hand as well as my heart irrevoca
bly given to Jesus Christ, and could never have al
lowed any person to take it. Indeed, to this day, I
feel an instinctive aversion to oflTering my hand, or
taking the hand of another person, even as an ex-
pression of friendship. I also thought that I might
soon return to the Catholics, although fear and dis-^
gust held me back. I had now that infant to think
for, whose life I had happily saved by my timely
escape from the nunnery ; and what its fiite might



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be» ia eaae it abcmld ever Ml into the po¥PW of ibe
priests, I codd not tell.

I had, howerer^ reason for alarm. Would a
child destined to destruction, like the inftints I had
seen baptized and smothered, be allowed to go
through the world unmolested, a living memorial
of the truth of crimes hmg practised in security, be-
cause nev^ exposed 1 What pledges could I get
to satisfy me, that I, on whom her dependance must
be, would be spared by those who I had reason to
think were then wishing to sacrifice met How
could I trust the helpless in&nt in hands which had
hastened the baptisn of many such, in order to hur-
ry them to the secret pit in the ceQar? Could I
suf^ose that Father Phelan, Priest of the Pariik
Church of Montreal, would see his own ehUd grow-
ing up in the world, and feel willing to run the ri^
of having the truth exposed ? What could I expect^
e^)ecially from him, but the utmost rancour, and t^
most determined enmity against the innocent child
and its abused and de^celess mother ?

Yet, my mind would sometimes still incline ia
the opposke direction, and indulge the thought, thai
perhaps the only way to secure heaven to us botbt
was to throw ourselves back into the hands of the
Church, to be treated as she pleased. Wh^, th^e-
fore, the fear of immediate death was removed, I
roiomiced all thoughts of comnmnicating the sub-
stance cf the &cts in this volume. It happened,
however, that my danger was not passed. I was



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Men Seised wfih very aknmiifsyiiqttoms; thtftmjr
detire to disclose ifiy story revived.

I had before h&d an opportanity to speak in pri-
yate with the chaplain ; but, 'as it was at a time
when I supposed myself out of danger, I had ^efet'
red for three days my proposed cofnmunieatioB,
thinking that I might yet avoid it altogether. When
my symptoms, "however, became more alarming, I
was anxious for Saturday to arrive, the day which
I had appointed ; and when I had not the opportu-
nity on that day, which I desired, I thought it migfbt
be too late. I did not see him till Monday, when
my prospects of surviving were very gloomy ; and
I then informed him that I wished to communicate
to him a few secrets, which were likely otherwise
to die with me. I then told him, that while a nun
m the Convent of Montreal, I had witnessed the
murder of a nun, called Saint Francis, and of at
least one of the infants which I have spoken of in
this book. I added some few circumstances, and I
believe disclosed, in 'general terms, some of the other
crimes I knew of in that nunnery.

My anticipations of death proved to be unfounded ;
for my health afterward improved, and had I not
made the confessions on that occasion, it is very
possible I never might have made them. I, how-
ever, afterward, felt more willing to listen to instruc-
tion, and experienced friendly attentions from some
<if the benevolent persons' around me, who, taking
an interest in me on account of my darkened un-
26*



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j^ntanding^ furaiahed me with the BHde, w»im«m
^TCT ready to counsel me when I desired it

I soon began to bdieve that Goi migkA have in-
t^^ded that his creatures should learn his will by
reading his word, and taking upon th^oa the free
exercise of their reason, and acting under respiHi-
sibility to him.

It is difficult for one who has never g^ven way to
such arguments and influences as those to which
I had been exposed, to realize how hard it is to
^ink aright a^r thinking wrong. The Scriptures
always affect me powerfully when I read th^n ; hut
I feel tiiat I have but just begun to learn the great
truths, in which I ought to have been early and
thoroughly instructed. I realize, in some degree,
how iris, that the Scriptures render the people of
the United States so strongly oj^posed to such doc*
^nes as are taught in the Black and the Congre-
gational Nunneries of Montreal. The priests and
nuns used often to declare, that of all heretics, the
children from the United States^ were the most diffi"
cult to be converted; and it was thought a great
triumph when one of them was brought over to " the
true £uth.'' The first passage of Scripture that
made any serious impression upon my mind, was
the text on which the chaplain preached on the Sab-
bath after my introduction into' the house — ^^ Search
the Scriptures."

I made some hasty notes of the thoughts to which
it gave rise in my mind, and often recurred to the
sttljeet. Tet I sometunes questkmed the justioe of



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die views I begmi to eatertaio, and wal ready to
condemn myedf for giTing my mind any liberty to
aeek for information concemiiig the foundations of
my former foith.



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CHAPTER ril.

PraptmHon to goto Montreal and tettify against tiie frUttt-^
CommencemerU qf my journey— Stop at TVoy, WhUthaU^
Burlington, St. Albania, Plattsburgh, and St, John**— Ar-
rival at Montreal— ReJUctiont on parsing the Nunneryt &^

About a fortnight afler I had made the disclo-
sures mentioned in the last chapter, Mr. Hoyt called
at the Hospital to make inquiries about me. I was
introduced to him by Mr. Tappan. After some con-
versatioD^ he asked me if I would consent to visit
Montreal, and give my evidence against the priests
and nuns before a court. I immediately expressed
my willingness to do so, on condition that I should
be protected. It immediately occurred to me, that
I might enter the nunnery at night, and bring out
the nuns in the cells, and possibly Jane Ray, and
that they would confirm my testimony. In a short
time, arrangements were made for our journey, I
was furnished with clothes; and although my
strength was as yet but partially restored, I set off
in pretty good spirits.

Our journey was delayed for a little time, by Mr.
Hoyt's waiting to get a companion. He had en-
gaged a clergyman to accompany us, as I under*
stood, who was prevented from going by unexpect-
ed business. We went to Troy in a steamboat;
and, while there, I had several interviews with
some gentlemem who w%f informed of my history,



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^■dwiatiadteseeBiB. Tkejiq^tearedto bede^ly
impressed wkh the impoitajace of my testimony^
and on their reeomm^sdation it was detenaiiied that
w6 ishovHd go to St Alban's, on Our way to Ma&*
Ureal, to get a gentleman to accompany us, whose
adrice and assistance, as an experienced lawyer^
were thought to he desirahle to us in prosecuting
the plan we had m view : viz. the exposure of the
crimes with which I was acquainted.

We travelled from Troy to Whitehall in a canal
packet, because the easy motion was best adapted
to my state of health. We met on board the Rev.
Bfr. Sprague of New York, with whom Mr. Hoyt
was acquainted, and whom he tried to persuade to
accompany us to Montreal. From Whitehall to
Burlington we proceeded in a steamboat; and there
I was so much indisposed, that it was necessary to
call a physician. After a little rest, we set off in
the stage for St. Alban's ; and on arriving, found
that Judge Turner was out of town. We had to
remain a day or two b^ore he returned ; and then
he said it would be impossible for him to accompa-
ny us. AHer some deliberation, it was decided
that Mr. Hunt should go to Montreal with us, and
that Judge Turner should follow and join us there
as soon as his health and business would permit*

We therefore crossed the lake l^ the ferry to
f%Utsburgh, where, after some delay, we embarked

* Bfr. Hunt was recommended ae a highly respectable law-
yer ; to whose kindness, as well as that of Judge Tomer, I M
myself under obligatSons.



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398 Apmimx.

in ft vteamtxMit, which took us to St Joim's. Bfr.
Hunt, who bad nfot reached the ferry ^rly enough
to cross with us, had proceeded on to • ♦ *^, and
there got on board the steamboat in the night. We
went on to Laprairie with little delay, but finding
that no boat was to cross the St Lawrence at that
place during the day, we had to take another pri-
vate carriage to Longueil, whence we were rowed
across to Montreal by three men, in a small boat.-
I had felt quite bold and resolute when I first
consented to go to Montreal, and also during my
journey : but when I stepped on shore in the city, I
thought of the different scenes I had witnessed there,
and of the risks I might run before I should leave
it. We got into a caleche, and rode along towarde
thfe hotel where we were to stop. We passed up
St. Paul's street ; and, although it was dusk, I re-
cognised every thing I had known. We caftte tit
length to the nunnery ; and then many recollections
crowded upon me. First, I saw a window from
which I had sometimes looked at some of the dis-
tant houses in that street ; and I wondered whether
some of my old acquaintances were employed a»
■ formerly. But I thought that if I were once with-
in those walls, I should soon be in the cells for
the remaindcfr of my life, or perhaps be condemned
to something still more severe. I remembered the
murder of St. Francis, and the whole scene returned
to me as if it had just taken place ; the appearance,
language, and conduct pf the persons roost active in
her destruction. Those persons were now all tiaar



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»MF9W ' ~ 299

mb 4^d would use all exe^ionstbey safely might,
ta get me again into theix pctwer.

And certainly they had greate^r reason to be ex-
asperated against me, than ag^ij^ that poor help^
less non, who had only expressed a wish to es-
cape.*

When I &uBd myself safely in Goodenough^s
hotel, in a retired room, and began to. think alone,
the roost gloomy apprehensions filled my mind. I
could not eat, I had no appetite, and I did not sleep



• My gloomy feelings however did not always i^reTaiL I had
Jk>pe8 of obtaining evidence to prove my charges. I proposed
to my companions to be allowed to proceed that evening to ex-
ecute the plan I had f(Srmed when a journey to Montreal had
firs« been mentioned. This was, to follow the physician into
the nunnery, conceal myself under the red calico sofa in the
sitting-room, find my way into the cellar after all was still, re-
lease the nuns from their cdls, and bring them out to confi^
my testimony* I was aware that there were bayards of my not
succeeding, and that I must forfeit my life if detected— but I
was desperate ; and feeling as if I could not long live in Mon-
treal, thought I might as well die one way as another, and that
I had better die in the performance of a good deed. I thought
of attempting to bring out Jane Ray— but that seemed quite out
of the question, as an old nun is commonly engaged in cleaning
a community-room, through which I should have to pass ; and
how could I ho^e to get into, and out of the sleeping-room un-
observed? I could not even determine that the imprisoned
nuns would follow me out— for they might be afraid to trust
me. However, I determined to try, and presuming my com-
panions had all along understood and approved my pkn, told
them I was ready to go at once. I was chagrined and mortified


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Online LibraryMaria MonkAwful disclosures → online text (page 18 of 25)