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This webpage reproduces documents in
The Catholic Historical Review
Vol. 6 No. 1 (Apr. 1920), pp66‑88

The text is in the public domain.

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 p66  Some Letters of Fathers Badin and Nerinckx
to Bishop Carroll

The following documents are printed from photostat copies of originals in the Archdiocesan Archives, Baltimore. They all have a direct bearing on the historic misunderstanding between Revs. Stephen T. Badin and Charles Nerinckx, two pioneer missionaries of Kentucky, and the early Dominicans in that state, and throw much light on the article which this issue of The Catholic Historical Review (pp15‑45) presents to its readers on that subject. They certainly give the question a phase quite different from that to which the American public has long been accustomed. Many letters of a similar character on the same topic might be reproduced, but the fact that they contain much litigious, disagreeable or other matter wholly foreign to the point at issue, determined us to limit ourselves to the publication of those that follow. The first two, as will be noticed, are from the pen of Father Badin, and cannot be over­looked by those desirous of knowing the real origin of the unpleasantness. The others were written by that missionary's friend and companion, Father Nerinckx. For the sake of correct history and illumination, notes and comments will be made on them as they appear in their proper order.

Father Badin's Reception of Rev. E. D. Fenwick on the Occasion of the Latter's Visit to Kentucky in the Spring of 1805

For the historical setting of the following document in the unpleasantness referred to above, the reader is referred to the article (pp15‑45). Suffice it here to state that the letter reveals a heart filled with gratitude and joy at the prospects held out to the Church in Kentucky by the coming of the Dominicans.

Near Bardstown, 15th May, 1805.

Most Reverend Sir:

I have the happiness this day of enjoying the company of the Revd. Mr. Fenwick which you had announced in former letters, intimating as soon as he arrived in America that, as Kentucky was likely to be a center from which true religion would be disseminated in the western countries, you would engage him to turn his views towards our desolate congregations so needful and capable of cultivation. I never doubted of your sincere wish to procure for us spiritual assistance, which indeed was not to be obtained in your Diocese without your direction or concurrence. Many are the tokens of your goodness towards me and my numerous congregations, and I have now to return my heartfelt thanks for making Kentucky the first object of your pastoral solicitude upon the arrival of St. Dominic's family. Flattering myself that I seconded your views, knowing the scarcity of Priests in your immense diocese, fully sensible of the difficulty and almost impossibility to replace clergymen as they depart from life or from duty, impressed also with the idea confirmed by former experience that much less good is done by individual clergymen, isolated as they are or unconnected with a regular  p67 body acting uniformly by the same principles of obedience, disinterestedness and zeal, seeing how the missionaries along the Mississippi have already abandoned their numerous flocks to follow the Spanish government, apprehensive also that the Service of Alm. God and the salvation of souls cannot be permanently secured to this and the neighboring countries but by the exertions of a regular body of pious and enlightened men, who shall not fail of success, when established under the Blessing of heaven in a country where there are no prejudices of the civil constitution to oppose their humane and religious views; evidencing every day the alarming progress of infidelity and vice which threatens us with an almost universal deluge, unless our youth be regenerated and properly educated; actuated by these and other congenial motives, I have made a proposal to Mr. Fenwick which is submitted to your Reverence, and which I earnestly request you to sanction. I have begged this gentleman to exonerate me of the trouble of holding so much ecclesiastical properly which in my opinion will do much more good to my fellow-creatures. Wherefore I hope you will grant me the favour or leave of transferring to that religious order the Ecclesiastical properly now in my hands, to which I have added 220 acres of my own land, the whole containing upwards of 100 acres of cleared ground, with other convenient improvements. By these means may be immediately started the intended plan of an Academy with a moderate assistance from the Catholics of this State who will undoubtedly join their cordial endeavours to procure their own happiness, that of their children and their children's posterity. I had conceived for these ten years past the desire of seeing in Kentucky such an establishment arise, the which appeared to me almost a chimera, since I saw then neither temporal means for a foundation, nor any probable hope of having the cooperation of such men as would be calculated to answer so useful designs. But how limited are the views of men! and how evident that the Divine Providence over the church is attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter disponens omnia suaviter!

As Mr. Fenwick and his brethren will assume the obligation of fulfilling the duties of the mission as well as myself, and it is important that the missionaries of the country should as much as possible be directed by the same spirit, I do humbly request and confidently hope that you will give me leave to be associated to St. Dominic's family. I conceived that wish as well as the other resolution within two day[s] after Mr. Fenwick's arrival and have never varied.

Should I have been unwilling to apply to its intended use the property trusted by Providence as a depositum in my hands, I would esteem myself accountable for the good not done, which will be otherwise done to my Parishioners and other denominations, and for the evil which might have been prevented and I hope shall be prevented by the instrumentality of Mr. Fenwick and his brethren.

Craving your Episcopal Benediction, I have the honour to be very respectfully,

Most reverend Sir.

Your obedt. Son in Xt,

Stephen Theodore Badin.​1

 p68  The reader is again referred to the article (p19), for the place which the following document occupies in the controversy. But he must not lose sight of the fact that meanwhile Father Badin had seen no Dominican. Father Fenwick returned to Maryland, with the above letter, and wrote to Rev. R. L. Concanen, as has been stated in the article, telling him of the prospects held out for his pious enterprise in Kentucky, and of Badin's proposals which, he says, Bishop Carroll "applauds and consents to." That the friar also sent Father Badin a similar message, and that Doctor Carroll wrote to the same missionary advising at least such an arrangement for the good of religion in the new west, the document which we now lay before the reader leaves no room for doubt.

The church lands in Kentucky at this time consisted of several hundred acres, mostly covered with forests and of little value. There were also two small log presbyteries. Besides these, Father Badin had a residence of the same character, known as Saint Stephen's. Doubtless the friar hoped to see the day when the land would be brought under cultivation, and used for the same good purposes to which he had seen similar property devoted in his native Maryland. The little rectories would give shelter to the missionaries and perhaps eventually become centers of extensive spiritual activities. However, when he learned that these possessions were not to be his, he bore the disappointment with that spirit of Christian resignation which characterized his whole life.

The reader, we venture to think, can hardly fail to notice how grotesque, inconsistent and preposterous this document really is. Such, however, are most of Father Badin's letters in which he tries to extricate himself from a difficulty. In spite of all his subterfuge, we fancy that those who read the document with care will have great difficulty in convincing themselves that he had only a few talks with Father Nerinckx on the subject in question, or that the Belgian clergyman was not the inspiration of practically all that it contains.

Near Bardstown 5th 8ber 1805.

Most Reverend Father in God

I am just returning from Madison Cty and avail myself of an hour of leisure to answer your favors of May 29 and Aug. 12. The last being an answer to my letter sent in May; since which epoch I have not had the honour of writing to your Reverence, both for want of leisure or opportunity and of your last favour which Mr. Fenwick made me expect shortly after his return to Maryland. Indeed the principal subject of our correspondence is so weighty that it needed time to meditate on it, especially as my venerable companion Mr. Nerinckx seems to be reluctant to give his opinion; and his zeal in the mission forbids frequent communications: for these four or five weeks we have had but very few interviews, although our lodgings be under the same roof.​2 His constitution must be uncommonly robust to do so much business as he does, and I am apprehensive his example may possibly prove detrimental to my  p69 health, as I am ashamed to be so far behind him. I return heartfelt thanks to Divine Providence for having procured us a Priest who is in omni sensu what a vicar of Christ ought to be; and who, if he lives long enough, will operate wonders here. I cannot express the happiness I enjoy in him; it is only allayed by the fear that I have of seeing in Kentucky Priests who would not be capable of imitating his zeal and disinterestedness, the plainness of his manners, his rigid sobriety, &c. &c. which are all necessary in a country situated as this is; where so many scandals have been given in the infancy of the church, and where so much good is to be done at a time when men seem to arise from a Lethargy, and express their amazement at the (dying) follies which have taken place for these three years past among various Religionists, who are ending now or sinking into Socinianism or Scepticism. Twelve Apostles of the venerable Mr. Nerinckx' disposition would make most of the western countries embrace the true faith.

Seeing the necessity in which we are of missionaries, I was willing to make the sacrifice of my all, to procure them and assure a permanency and succession of faithful ministers, raised in the very country where they are to exercise their sacred functions: But since I have made my proposals to Mr. Fenwick, I have evidently seen that not only it would not be advantageous, but it might prove very detrimental to Religion to surrender the whole ecclesiastical property to one Order, exclusively, which in time will probably claim, besides, privileges and exemptions from the jurisdiction and control of the Ordinary. I shall not comment on the many and valuable reasons your Reverence has adduced in your last.​3 I really thought that Mr. F. at the very time I was writing my proposals was, with modesty, however, showing a grasping disposition: for he was not satisfied with one only of the church livings; but as two days before I had show'd a cheerful disposition to part with everything to establish the Order, he insisted on possessing everything: Knowing and expressly mentioning that such a disposition should be submitted to your corrective, I acquiesced although but little edified. This and other traits of character seem to confirm your observation that it is but too common among religious to think that the splendor of their Order is the greatest benefit to religion.​4 I have noticed and reflected on whatever passed between Mr. F. and me, and plainly saw that he had a great partiality to Maryland, which I was determined to counteract, according to your wishes; at our first interview in Scott Cty he expressly said within a very few minutes that he was pretty indifferent about Kentucky, and that unless better offers were made here to him than he had received in Maryland where he had very flattering prospects, he could not think of settling in our State; and that he had undertaken his journey rather in compliance to the request of your Reverence. The possession of the church in Scott Cty did not excite at all his ambition. Finally both he and his brother-in‑law appeared to be in a great hurry to return home.  p70 Being unable to obtain from him the least assistance in the mission of Scott Cty, he was at my house four or five days in my absence, and on my return home, I found them in the disposition of going back the next day to Maryland, without exploring any more of the Country, especially the extensive tracts on Green river, where a new settlement might be made for the poor Catholics who have no land or have had land or are narrowly settled in Washington and Nelson Counties. I had even the obligation of Mr. Davis for 300 acres of good land for an Ecclesiastical settlement. I represented the distress of the poor Catholics who daily importune me for that object, I insisted on Mr. F. travelling in the limitroph​5 counties, I offered my company: but they appeared so unwilling, especially Mr. Young whom Mr. F. was not likely to disoblige, that my project vanished: I was still more unwilling that Mr. F. should return to Maryland without encouragement; I knew too well that the clergy were not very ready to visit Kentucky, and I feared they would or might receive additional prejudices which would render our present condition still worse. The delays of Mr. Nerinckx, in coming to Kentucky, which I could not account for, since he might have come with Mr. F. who passed by George T. College on his way; the wish of your Reverence that Mr. F. should finish his Academy in Kentucky; the parsimony of the Catholics in general, some of whom had circulated that I counteracted the will of Priests destined for Kentucky lest my (poor) salary should be diminished; in fine everything made me too willing to give. I flattered myself, considering the want of liberality and justice in the people and too often of disinterestedness in clergymen, that the same persons might be both professors and missioners, that the Academy would supply what would be wanting to maintain the church; and in fine that men who have made a vow of poverty and would lead a temperate laborious life would not make so much expence in a monastery nor need so great salaries, as those who are not restricted by vows and have separate livings. I supposed men to be what they should be, and what yourself trusted the Dominicans of Bornheim are. My own reflections on what I have witnessed myself, and other subsequent information which I have all reason to believe correct, give me too much cause to apprehend that illusion is possible respecting the obligation of the vow of poverty.​6 — I have considered what might be the probable utility in Kentucky for our poor Catholics of a college where $100 should be paid for board and tuition. I find on a serious reflection that not half a dozen Catholic parents are able to afford so expensive an education to their children, that consequently the labors of Mr. F. and his four companions would be almost entirely applied to the benefit of other denominations, without much service being rendered to the missions which are so extensive and numerous;​7 that it could not be expected that more than one congreg. and the college could be attended to by the body of the Dominicans. On the other hand we could hardly find secular clergymen willing to become tenants under the control of a regular Order, and consequently the missions would not be sufficiently attended to nor extended and I might have the affliction of incurring censure from the Catholics who have subscribed a considerable sum for the erection of the Dominican college, in hope that they will be able to afford to their children a liberal education for a trifling  p71 consideration. On this occasion I must observe that the institution of Père Urbain is more likely to answer their expectation, because less expensive.

However as there is a prospect of great services, of edification, or respectability to Religion being procured by the Order; I am ready to comply with your direction and invest Mr. F. and Brethren, in such manner as you will point out, with one seat of land viz. that contiguous to Cartwright's Creek chapel. The land is much better than that I live on. It consists of 112 acres to which I have some prospect of adding the adjacent plantation consisting of 80 acres with good buildings, and orchard.​8 I think the land near Bardstown should be reserved for a Bishop who probably will have a living also (36 acres) in the suburbs of the Town, having received an assurance from a Catholic without heirs that such was his intention. According to the will of Mr. Fournier, I have put Mr. Nerinckx in possession of the plantation on the Rolling Fork. A Priest is much wanting in Scott Cty, Lexington and Mason Cty; I hope that some virtuous friends of Mr. Nerinckx will soon come, as he expects. A Priest also should be settled in Danville who should attend the Congreg. in Madison, and make excursions about the country. Two months ago I visited two new settlements in Shelby Cty one of which is likely to become considerable. It is about 40 miles n. e. from my residence. Two Priests are wanting about Bardstown, one for Coxe's Creek, Shelby and Jefferson Cties; the other for Bardstown, Poplar neck and Hardin Cty. There are several families where they might be accommodated. I should also have a Priest constantly with me for Pottinger's Creek alone; and after much labour, much will remain undone. I receive frequent communications from St. Vincent (Indiana). The people there appear to be in great distress for want of a pastor, and there is a great harvest to make. Mr. Nerinckx will no doubt inform you of the Catholics in Ohio State.​9

Bardstown, 12 8ber 1805.

Most Reverend Father in God

Since I wrote the above, I have had one only interview with Mr. Nerinckx, for the space of half an hour, on the subject of the transfer of the Ecclesiastical property to Mr. Fenwick, &c., although he was unwilling to give his opinion, an ominous circumstance; at length, seeing the business coming to a crisis, he expressed himself fully.​10 He thinks that such a thing is contrary to the Canons of the Church, that it is a subtraction of Ecclesiastical property, not an addition of means intended immediately for the good of souls. Indeed the Dominicans would be made independent of the Episcopal authority if they were possessors of the whole Ecclesiastical property; and the Bishop, who is by the nature of his office the Governor of the Church, must be governed by those under his jurisdiction, and seeds of schism would be sow'd,​11 as is this day exemplified at N. Orleans. For let us suppose that the Dominicans or any  p72 other Order should be possessed of the whole Ecclesiastical property; let us further suppose that error or heresy, or any substantial deviation from morals or discipline should take place in individuals or in the body; let us suppose that the Bishop of course should attempt to suspend the delinquents; in that case they will submit or they will not: if they submit, still they retain possession of the temporal property of the church, although they are incapacitated to serve it, and the congreg. must find an adequate salary for a successor: but if they submit not, the which they will probably be inclined to considering their independence otherwise, we have a schism; and the Parishioners who see the schismatic perform the same rites of the church as the genuine Pastors do (this was lately the case in France &c.), and who are not generally speaking capable of Theological discussions, or rather are prepossessed in favor of the clergyman enjoying temporal independence, and who needs or will require no salary to propagate his independence among his adherents; the Parishioners, I say, will naturally prefer such a man, whose practice cannot be rigid, to the true Pastor who has come in the Sheepfold by the door, not as the thief &c., but must receive a proper salary.​12

These reflections may be deduced from the Bull of Pius VII of Pious memory for the erection of the See of Baltimore, intrusting the Bishop with the management of the Ecclesiastical property; and accordingly I did in my Testament will that now in my hands both to Your Reverence and R. R. Coadjutor, jointly and separately.

Mr. Nerinckx expresses no little surprise at the ambition of the Dominicans of Bornheim, who hold now the property of that foundation which is worth 100,000 crowns and in better times would fetch what it is worth, without mentioning the other resources of Mr. Fenwick.​13

In fine Mr. Nerinckx, whose Charity hindered the manifestation of his opinion, until necessity urged him, does strongly suspect the purity of their faith who, when clergymen in the low countries were under violent persecution, could be with impunity strolling in the country and in the streets, and amidst the lawless soldiery of the French revolution: Their having redeemed the Bornheim property confirms his suspicions.​14 A letter does not admit of lengthy details; only he is so much disheartened at the thought of becoming partaker with them in the sacred ministry that he spoke with resolution of his leaving the State if the Dominicans trouble themselves otherwise than with a college.​15 This thing I the more heartily deprecate, as his disinterestedness is quite Apostolical, a thing little to be expected in our days; and he looks for some respectable friends, who have been tried in the crucible, and have powerful protectors in Europe, able and willing to support the Missions where they will establish themselves; and in fact Mr. Nerinckx has already received several remittances which prove that this is not an ideal scheme. I speak confidentially, because I repose myself entirely on the experience  p73 and wisdom of your Reverence. Mr. Nerinckx observes also in addition to the above that monks are but auxiliaries, that they have but a delegated jurisdiction, that they enjoy the ordinary only in becoming Bishops, and that the reverse must be the case, if invested with the whole Ecclesiastical property, and armed besides with immunities, privileges and exemptions from the ordinary.​16 I shall add only that Religious communities which have appeared to Catholic Governments so formidable or useless that their property has been unjustly made national, may at a future time become in this infidel country exceptionable also, especially if in the course of things feuds, envy, scandals, independence or rivalities were to take place, the which we have but too much reason to apprehend, considering the nature of man. If I be well informed the Legislature of Virginia has already made an havoc among the Episcopalians, a body which appeared to them too wealthy and perhaps formidable: The same alarm might possibly at a future time be raised in this country, where we have already the Trapists [sic], probably the Dominicans, and possibly the Franciscans, friends to the Revd Mr. Eagan, as mentioned in your letter of May.​17 — To conclude, as there are particular graces for every vocation, and the merciful Providence of God has placed you to rule his church, I shall trouble myself with nothing else but to follow your orders.

I shall briefly advert to other subjects. Fathers Basil and Dominic, Trappists, died at my house two weeks after their arrival in Kentucky; F. Urban has received the Viaticum several times and is now in a poor situation as I am informed. The two thirds of the community have been very sick from the fatigues of the journey. . . .​18 I sincerely rejoice at the restoration of the Jesuits and hope their services will again be felt in America more extensively: they have some enlightened friends in the Government of this State. — As to Mr. Stoddart's land, it might be expedient to receive for church purposes a small tract unconditionally, say 500 acres for the maintenance of a Bishop. I shall probably take a ride there with Col. Edwards (once of Maryland) to explore that country, but 30 or 40 miles from this. — Mrs. Abell has not become Catholic and may not become such for several years to come. — We have not as yet published the Jubilee. — I have published lately the real principles of Catholics, of which I shall send your Reverence a copy by the first opportunity. I have six dollars in my hands for your Cathedral.

I have the honour to be very respectfully, craving your Episcopal Benediction, Most Reverend Father in God,

Your very hble Servant and obedt Son in Xt.

S. T. Badin.

P. S. I have thought proper to inclose my letter to Mr. Fenwick for your Reverence's inspection, which you will be good enough to seal and send, if you think it answers the purpose.​19

 p74  Father Nerinckx's First Letter to Bishop Carroll Touching on the Dominicans

It has been told in the article how Bishop Carroll did not acknowledge the receipt of the above letter from Father Badin, but took advantage of a later one to defend the friars; and the reader has doubtless noticed how Father Badin insists, in the document just given, that Father Nerinckx would wish to make at least a part of Kentucky a mission under the care of Belgian priests. Indeed, Father Nerinckx's heart was set on this project. He refers to it in a number of his letters. It was a laudable ambition; but the good priest should not have suffered himself to become so embittered against the Dominicans because their presence was an obstacle to his plan. Like himself, they were sent to Kentucky by the bishop. Yet, although he had signified his intention of leaving the state, unless they confined their labors to the proposed college, hardly had the first two sent west, Wilson and Tuite, reached their destination, when he begins to write, belittling not only their zeal, but that of those who were still to come. Both this project of a Belgian mission and this spirit of disparagement may be seen in the following letter to Bishop Carroll.

J. M. J.


Illustrissime ac Reverendissime Domine!

Fasciculum litterarum vobis tradendum curo benevolentia vestra fretus, in finem eum destinandi Rdo Dno Brosius, quem quaeso, ne gravetur ipsas in Europam transferendas tradere, salva enim fuit prima litterarum missio, quam ipse curavit; plurimum illi debitor sum; Deus remunerator sit ejus! ac in grati erga eum animi testimonium sincerissima mea vota pro illius illiusque familiae dilectae et valetudine et salute dignetur accipere. Unum petere mihi liceat ac requirere ab illustriss. Dntne Vtra, ut scilicet non gravetur vel paucissima verba addere litteris meis ad Dm De Wolf Antverpiam; magnum enim hinc litteris meis pondus accedet et fides, in subsidium Americanae missionis et viros et ornamenta et nummos postulantibus.

RR. PP. Dominicani bini jam dudum in hanc regionem advenerunt, coeperuntque aliquamdam Religionis rei ieram navare, ut egestate spirituali pressis imo deficientibus succurrant; ast ut apparet, modicae durationis erit eorum adjutorium, cum ex repetitis eorum assertionibus constet illos non ad missionum suppetias sed ad ordinis sui propagationem exiisse, quamquam tamen dicant se quod poterunt facturos in monasterii sui vicinia;​20 argumentum itaque certissimum incongrue ipsis bona Missionis aut titularium Ecclesiarum fore concedenda, ac spes insuper infirma valde colendi hujus Evangelici agri, ubi sentibus et tribulis spinisque plena omnia, quae semen quodvis suffocant, vix una alterave manu ad resecandum occupari valente; desiderium ergo manifestare cogor habendi in hac regione R. Dm De Cuyper nostratem et si qui sunt alii (:non est tamen hic Dominus singulariter mihi notus:) qui huc accurrere vellent; res sane urget; nam est hic videre miseriam. Porro si fas mihi est mea sensa promere, vereor non expedire nostrates in longe dissita a se loca mittere, quia adventantes novi, plane peregrini nec  p75 quo se recipiant, cum advenerint, commode invenient, nec cum laborando defecerint seniore aut morbo languerint, ubi mortem praestolentur felicem, ut apud suos facile reperient; ad hoc quae ex patria nostra forte possent subsidia expectari in unam aptius regionem quam in dissitas a se mitterentur, sic ut horum concessa veritate unicum fere videatur superesse, delectus scilicietº istiusmodi regionis; quae autem praeferenda sit, notissima Illustrissimae Dnatnis Vtrae sagaxque prudentia pro gloria Dei determinare dignabitur; omnia, apprime nosco, loca in universa vestra Dioecesi vehementissime desiderant operarios, sed vix credo fieri posse, ut major inveniatur penuria, quam hac in parte, ubi mea quidem opinione fructus sat uber, tardus licet, insuper datur sperari; nolim tamen cuiquam importunus nimis persuasor esse, ut huc advolet, nisi solo Dei zelo et proximi charitate ferveat, solum quae Christi sunt quaerens, certus, quod quae sua sunt, non sit inventurus, atque hisce tantum sub promissis volentem omnem huc amantissime invito.

Non possum non repetere ardentissima mea vota, ut cum operariis aliis Episcopus unus adveniat, non qui videat semel gregem transiens, sed qui visitet semper illi cohabitans vir omni exceptione major, cui committatur grex, ipse fere miseria miserior.

Casuum duorum in causa matrimoniali statum ad Illustrissm Dnatm Vtram transmisi, qui quaeso ne oblivioni tradantur.º Litteras quoque cambiales 100 Dalerorum recipiendorum per Illtm Dm Vtram per virum in George-town itinerantem misi, ex quibus 90 designaverim pro tribus campanis in turribus appendendis, quae si emptae sint bonum est; quae si non sint, optarem unam tantum emi valoris ut in praecedentibus notavi, ac de reliquis nummis coemantur libri precum, piarum instructionum ac catechismi & notato in charta quadam eorum pretio, plurimum enim hic libri desiderantur; inter illos optarem aliquoties invenire libellum, cui titulus Fifty Reasons. Hoc negotium forte R. De Brosius non dedignabitur cordi habere, ut autem huc adferantur opportunitas, puto, proxime aderit, cum multos audiam huc transire paratos. Coeterum paternae vestrae solicitudini quam possum

Commendatissimus tota observantia signor

Illustrissime ac Reverendissime Domine

Humillimus obseqtissque

vester servus

C. Nerinckx,


6 febr, 1806

Holy Mary's at the Rolling F.​21

P. S. Multum salvere opto R. D. Beeston. Oro placeat inclusas pro R. D. De Bart destinandas ipsi curare.

The following document shows its writer to have been a master of bitter invective. It almost staggers belief that a pious and humble man could employ such violent language. If his ministrations among the people were anything like as harsh as the way in which he speaks of them here, they could not have been otherwise than unpopular with many. Few, we think, will be found who will accept Father Nerinckx's characterization of the early Catholics of Kentucky, nearly all from the old Maryland colony, or born in Kentucky of Maryland  p76 parents. For the answer to his charges against the Dominicans, for the sake of brevity, we must refer the reader to the article of which we have spoken (pp15‑45). Suffice it here to say that Father Nerinckx, through the arrangement of Father Badin or Bishop Carroll, had now lost, or was on the point of losing, Saint Ann's, his favourite mission. There he contemplated building a brick church which would be the first in Kentucky but this parish was soon to be given to the Dominicans, if it had not already passed under their care. Doubtless this was as fuel added to the fire. Nor should it be forgotten in this connection that the gloomy, rigorist principles with which Fathers Nerinckx and Badin were deeply imbued, also had their part in the inspiration of these ugly letters against the friars, whose teachings and ministrations were not only milder, but more Catholic. This brought the people to the Dominicans from far and wide, which was more than the other two good missionaries could hearº with equanimity. But for further information on this point see article.

J. M. J.

2 Junii 1806.


Illustrissime ac Reverendissime Domine.

Gratissimas vestras, Illustme Dñe, nec minus desideratas recepi salvas; plurimum me confuderunt expressa in iis benevolentiae in me sensa, quibus qualiter respondeam non invenio.

Rvdum De Cuyper et mihi et populo huic ereptum summopere dolui, ob hoc maxime, quod casus hic sit nostrates alios a capessendo itinere absterriturus, et, circumstantiis quibusdam praeter haec attentis, videatur praesagire frustra fieri tentamina ad Missionem quamdam Belgarum, quam quidem ordiri tam fatuus non praesumerem, sed adventantibus ad hoc a Deo viris esse a servitio, quantum mediocritas mea fert, peroptarem; ast Dominus est, quod bonum est faciat.

Ut ordine pergratis vestris respondendo prosequar, pauca de desiderato hic Episcopo tangere nunc occurrit: doleo simulque horreo, tantae rei tantillum me sive in modico sive in magno ad arbitrium compelli, pietati tamen ac observantiae in patrem judicans cedendum, quod Dominus voluerit suggerere exponam, cujus maxime causa agitur; parcat, quaeso, Deus optimus miseriae meae! Condonetque Illustris. Dñatio Vtra adolescentulo et contempto, qui de seniore sensa edere cogor! Addecet sane, ut, si fieri potest, vir eligatur et regionis et morum populi gnarus, qualem, in superioribus vestris memoratum Rvdum Dm, judicio quoque meo designasti; scientia ejus in utrisque litteris, si ipse judicio quid valeo, apparet mihi supra mediocrem, quae si per tempus et negotia liceret, fusior haud dubie ad magis profunda esset; ratione plurimum valet judicioque et prudentia (:mense proximo, qua nescio die, annum aget trigesimum nonum:); doctrina existimo sana est, paratus decisioni superioris audiens esse; zelus ejus sat superquerque est notus, qui forte Gallici fervoris plusculum habet et subamarae cujusdam rigiditatis, quique, si modico mansuetudinis melle temperatus esset, et suorum palato magis gratus esset, et majoris in inveteratis curandis putidisque vulneribus esset usus, quod quidem in causa est quod non tam generatim diligatur — quamquam et hoc fatendum, populum hic multam partem difficilem, indocilem, ingratum, immorigerum, dyscolum, indifferentemque esse, et sine ullo omine religionis, ejus venerandum nomen blasphemare facientes. Mea quoque ipsius sors est, diris a pluribus convelli, odioq' adjectis, etiam de morte minis, satis acerbo devoveri ac proscindi, dum  p77 interim alii, nec forte numero minores nec minus religiosi, dociles, alacres et in pietatis officiis ferventes nec male erga me affectos sese demonstrant; in quo priores gravem vix intelligo; non in temporalibus sane, cum nil recipiam, et annum medium ad Ecclesiae restaurationem remiserim, quae quidem ipsa nil hinc sperare potest, non enim ad sacras liberalitates usque hujus religio populi provecta est hactenus, qui vix si Deus aut spiritus est, audivit aut vere credidit; puto spumas lunaticorum illorum ex eo maxime provenire, quod qui captivos ipsos tenet infernalis tenebrio, Domini correptus verbis, timensque expelli miseros miserrime afficiat, sed novimus haec apostolicorum operariorum esse fercula et obsonia post labores ac defatigationes; at justo longior modo haec digressio​22 — temporalia negotia satis dextere trahat, pietatis studiosus est, a cujus exercitio forte aliquantulum consortiorum amantior impeditur, quae tamen ab adventu meo, in ejus domo aut nulla aut rara fuerunt; ast cum foris est, invitatus non summa reluctantia renititur, quod quidem facere se inquit intuitu boni hinc sperati; haec de ipso assertio potius aliena est quam mea, quamquam tamen quoque mea; dicebat enim haereticus quidam honestioris sortis: I like very well Mr B, but he is too fond of company. Et revera quamvis bonum aliquod forte subinde sperari detur, vereor tamen ne mala nimium praeponderent; ego potius a parte priscorum starem, v.g. Conc. Aquil. [?]:​a "Convivia et nimiam laicorum familiaritatem multarum offensionum et scandalorum originem debent clerici in quocumque graduº constituti declinare ac fugere," et S. Hier. ad Nep.: "Convivia tibi vitanda sunt, et maxime eorum qui honoribus tument," &,º ac alibi: "Nunquam petentes, raro accipiamus rogati . . ." "Saepe fit, ut contemptui sit ecclesiastici ministerii dignitas," dicit Conc. Med. IV. Et iterum S. Hier. "Valde despicitur clericus, qui saepe vocatus ad prandium, usu recusat etiam necessitate aliqua compulsus," & alia plura, quae quidem omnia magis in hac patria quam in nostra, ubi ea verissima ipse comperi, vera arbitror; haec sunt, quae praecipue notare potui; nec in iis quidpiam videtur apparere, quod a ministerio, terribi[li] quidem, arcere ipsum debeat; nam supposita etiam allatorum veritate facile emendari emendenda [sic] poterunt seria ipsius ministerii consideratione; coeterum neminem ego nosco huic loco magis aptum;​23 interim rogo atque obtestor, ut, quam possunt minime, mea sensa in hanc determinationem influant, qui in peccatis natus sum totus.

Pro campanulis illis tribus, de quibus in anterioribus, schedulam illam cambialem 100 Dalerorum destinaveram, quam Illustr Dñatio Vestra litteris inclusam ad me misit, saltem ad tantum ex eo capiendum, quantum illis solvendis erat necessarium; in posterioribus tamen mentem meam parum immutatam reperies, casu quo necdum sint emptae; nempe praeferram (:attento quod ipse solus sumptus haud dubie sim facturus, voluntate populi, quae quondam veleitatisº cujusdam speciem habuit, vix aut ne vix ad contribuendum inclinata:) ex residuo, empta unica campanula 30 dalerorum pro Ecclesia residentiae meae, libros pios, precum, catech., &., coemi quorum magna hic penuria; inter hos Scripturam S. mihi mitti optarem; quod si emptio facta sit campanularum, bene est. Mittantur in Louisville in ripa fluvii Ohio situm vicum, cum inscriptione ad virum catholicum, De Gallon vocatum, pistorem ibidem, quem  p78 quamprimum rei certiorem faciam. Novas litteras cambiales huic includo in hunc finem, missas ad me particulari quodam, ut exprimit Dñus De Wolf in litteris suis; valent 105 daleros; alia adjumenta vix expecto, quae tamen non negantur sed offeruntur potius, verum cum intelligam illos circa Jesuitarum et Trappistarum institutiones plurimum occupari eisque allaborare, satius duco illis impensas fieri quibus major Dei gloria procurabitur; de me minus solicitus pro modulo, quantum licet, conabor, nec deerit mihi nec qui semper paterne mei curam gessit utcumque indignissimi. Modica, ut mihi scribunt, spes est obtinendi ex patria nostra viros, cum qui zelosi sunt ibidem ipsi sint necessarii, et inertibus non indigeamus. Trappistae in patria nostra magis magisque tolerantur et increscunt, religiosae hospitales et filiae charitatis dictae a praefectis et Episcopis expetuntur, pastores fere ex mendicato vivunt, et reliqua rerum facies, aiunt, sat lugubris est. Promittunt benevoli isti homines cistam aut cistas ad petitionem meam mittere, ornamentis altaris plenas, quorum distributionem Illustriss. Dñationi Vtrae relinquent, in qua, quaeso, meminisci hujus loci non dedignabitur, populo hic praeter paupertatem bonae voluntatis defectu laborante; amant ipsi generosi et religiosi viri domum sibi assignari Philadelphiae aut New Yorki, cum directe Antverpia in alterutrum portum saepe occasio occurrit mittendi; valde autem raro Baltimorum, nisi prius Amstelodamum missio fiat, quam incommodam dicunt et sumptuosam; sed ego nescio utrum cum Philadelphiam appellant non sit plus solvendum quam Baltimori, quod adventitii Dominicani innuunt, qui ultra 135 Daleros ibidem solvere coacti sunt, quod Illustriss. Da Vtra melius noscere poterit, qualiterque se res habeat, aveo edoceri, ut ipsis quam potero citissime locum designatum annunciare valeam, et modum quo procedatur.

Fideles ad Post Vincennes cum R. D. Badin invisi, cui itineri mensem prope dedimus, errantes sicut oves quae perierunt invenimus, et certissimus videtur eorum totalis interitus nisi adjutrix manus advolet; pessimi sunt homines, vitiis variis libidinis maxime et perjurii immersi. Ecclesiae praecepta de festis observandis, legesque jejunii ac abstinentiae pro nihilo habentur, verbo, non est species neque decor sed contritio et infelicitas. 80 ibi circiter, puto, sunt familiae, sed plures in circuitu dispersae; vehementer desiderant sacerdotem habere, qui eis opituletur, quamquam multum timeam ut ipsi pareant; gens est otio diffluens, a labore aliena, sequax voluntatis. Necesse est sane pastoris habitatio sit ibi tristis, amara, desolata; de temporalibus tamen R. Ds Rivet curam habuit. Gubernator loci operam suam offert, ut advenienti sacerdoti procuret annue 200 Daleros, quos recipiebat Ds Rivet; quibus ego potius renunciarem, quos non dubito religionis libertati maxime nocivos, uti ex relictis quoque in domo mortuaria scriptis palam est. Sylvestrium praeterea duae tribus sunt, nempe les Myamys et les Loups, in quibus magna spes apparet conversionis; prior populosa habens 1500 viros ad arma aptos, posterior 800 capitum; hi jam eo processerunt [?], ut Ecclesiam habeant, in qua congregantur Dominicis et festis ad audiendum cathechismum &, qui per duos laicos mercede conductos populo proponitur; distant hi a Post Vincennes 400 fere milliaribus, illi autem in ejus fere vicinia sunt siti; obtuli me ad quamvis ex eis stationem, si ita superiori fuerit visum, uti per hasce Illmae Dñtñi Vtrae me offero, quamquam ipse fatear, non obstante bona quacumque voluntate adjuvandi proximum, oportere me magis inquirere locum, in quo numerum mensium meorum flendo lugendoque transigam judicium durissimum expectaturus; instantissime tamen iterum repeto, insisterem ut ad aliquos horum derelictorum mitterer,  p79 nisi absolutissima nullitas mea contrarium clamaret; videtur omnino quoque necessarium in aliquo locorum istorum Episcopatum erigere, attentis locorum distantiis cujus consilio, statutis ac decisionibus stetur, nec suspensi animi in varia detorqueantur, multoque promptius is media adinveniret, sine obice aut dilatione de mediis judicandi ac decernendi quae e re Ecclesiae esse valerent.

In Louisville spes magna apparet obtinendae quamprimum Ecclesiae, si sacerdos sit, qui hanc subinde valeat visitare; imo audeo dicere ac certum videtur, pro numero sacerdotum fidelium quoque numerus augeretur: O mittat Dominus operarios in messem, quia multa jam alba sunt ad illam! Quod autem illustriss. Dñatio Vestra dignetur hic me consolatorem consiliariumque agere viri luminis tanti ac experientiae, videtur mea quidem mente abs re esse, nisi dicendae sint tenebrae luci lucem tenebrositate sua addere, aut, quod fere idem innuit, ut luceat lux magis efficere. Certum interim est Rvdum illum Dm nullo meo consilio aut re indigere, quo tamen obstante non longius migrare intendo nisi in domum illam, in cujus possessionem me induxit, ubi, quo res melius agantur praesentem me esse oportet, cuique soli loco, utcumque modico, invigilando, toto, ut dicitur, meo homine opus habeo, sicut duae congregationes reliquae Sti Caroli et Stae Annae nimirum quantum vires meas excedant. Hoc est dictamen mentis meae, paratae interea ad maxime contraria quaevis; obedientia enim excusationi locum tribuet aliquem, ubi ausus temerarii ratio sufficiens nequit inveniri.​24

Trappistarum res satis tarde procedunt ac lente, cujus congregationis quidem ruinam timeo, nisi novis auxiliis hominum ac nummorum, quae utraque promittuntur ex patria nostra, fulciatur; prospere magis, videtur, omnia fierent si R. P. Urbain, quod frequenter ipsemet illi suggessi, ab humilioribus fundamentis ordiretur, nec de eligendo loco ad defatigationem usque anxiaretur; verendum ne continuis suis excursionibus rem minuat, minusq' bonae de Trapistis opinioni ac famae consulat.

De Dominicanis nostris binis haud dubito, quin R. Ds Badin sit sua sensa traditurus. Vix equidem jam haesitare potest quin prognosticam meam assertionem oculatus arbiter agnoscat, speculatione tanta differunt ab ipso, praxi vero in quibusdam tota. Quantum vero jam dicere expediat, quantumve dici valeat, vix ausim censor esse; interim hoc asseveranter, puto, pronunciare possum: Fortasse gentem multiplicabunt, sed non magnificabunt laetitiam nec faciem terrae renovabunt. Hoc verum est; petulci nostri insolescunt magis, et qui sin amore metu saltem tantisper coercebantur laxatis jam habenis proruunt ac extento collo incedunt refugii civitatem invenisse se ovantes; plurimum sibi insuper promittunt ex adventu duorum residuorum, qui indulgentias plenarias non de poenis peccato remissa culpa debitis sed et de reatu culpae incurrendo allaturi expectantur vel ardentissime; forte minus exactus sum dum plurali numero promiscue utor, nam videtur P. Tuite, paucioribus tamen litteris excultus, justae disciplinae addictior; alter autem ut apparet, multis litteris, siquidem multis, non ad insaniam sed ad mollitiem, quae forte propter salis acrimoniae defectum infatuatio dici potest, adductus est: mollem illum vocat R. Ds Badin, apud populum easy audit; utrum tamen ad exorbitantes laxistas relegandus sit judex nolim esse.  p80 Ego rigidus censeor, R. Ds Badin rigidior et acrior;​25 verum tamen pleriqui ab acribus ac pungentibus (:si tamen nostra talia revera sint:) veram sanationem potius citiusque sperantes, mellitaq' apium arbitrantes fastidire incipiunt, ac pristina remedia inquirunt, pacem inter et pacem justum tantaeque, id est, aeternae consequentiae, discrimen subolentes.

Ab illius R. P. adventu res matrimonialis (:haec enim antequam ipse huc advenerim, multi rumoris ac murmuris occasio fuerat:) omnino pro votis equorum ac mulorum in parte carnali decisa est, quamvis in re sacramentali pro sanctitate nihil hactenus videatur inventum; omnia jam licent in matrimonio et forte brevi omnia expedirent. Res eo est, uti relatum est mihi, ut quaedam dixerit, laxato hoc ursi sui fune se amplius ferenda non esse: I kan no more; quae antea intra honesti tori repagula naturae regulis laeta vivebat, religionisque gaudebat adjumentis ac sacris laetabatur juribus, a bruti insanientis secura excessibus. Porro doctrina ista si vera sit, actum est de ritualibus nostris, de pastoralibus, &.&., de omnibus dicam christianae praxeos regulis; insulse sane (:sit dicto venia:) Tobias egerit, priusquam hoc sacramentum magnum in Ecclesia esset, tot sanctae castitatis conjugalis, finisque conjugalis copulae sancti tam expressa edendo vota ac specimina; vereorque ne forte quaedam (:pudet dicere!) sortem subeant uxoris illius Levitae Jud. 19, non alienis exfornicatae libidinibus, sed propriorum enecatae carnali furore, succumbant. O quam pulchra est casta generatio! Istae similesque speculationes ac praxes, si pro genio cujusque contra mandatum Domini, apostoli repetitum consilium omnemque sanorum scholasticorum opinionem pro praxeos regula debeant haberi, non video, quod spiritui privato haereticorum valeat juste opponi. Hoc solum restabit, ut cum pagano condoleamus infelicitati Ecclesiae saeculorum praecedentium, et fideles illorum temporum dicamus miserrimos, quibus haec porta empyrii fuit clausa, quorum plurimi essent damnati, qui quod honestum est turpe existimantes, a propriis sacerdotibus male instructi ac recepti ex conscientia erronea peccaverunt. Longior hic fortasse sum, quamquam vix dicendi finem inveniam; sed parcet solita vestra benignitas, confido.​26

Hoc interim ardentissime desiderarem, ut (:si forte iste ordo figat mansionem, quod vix credam, attenta quam praevideo modica pecuniaria assistentia, consideratoque quod non a tam humilibus videantur initiis velle incipere:) ut regularis observantiae verus amator et animarum zelo plene accensus ex alio quodam ordinis illius coenobio huc advocari posset; quid  p81 enim de tali institutione Religioni decoris sperandum aut veri nominis boni, ubi homines seipsos satis amantes, pondusque diei et aestus plusculum exhorrescentes, a regularis disciplinae censore ac custode tanto remoti spatio, plebis catholicae mores cui praeerunt, ad suorum normam formabunt? quos quidem absit ut improbos dicam, tamen vix religiosae observantiae zelo animatos aestimabo. Plura hic scribere nec jam vacat, R. P. Urbain jamjam has in itinere ad vos secum assumpturo, nec forte rebus non satis hactenus plenis ac maturis convenit. Quae autem querulus satisque fortasse acris, miserrimus ipse ego ac nequissimus patri ac Episcopo scribo non rogatus quidem,​27 solius, confido, gloriae Dei zelo, si modo dicreto [discreto?] satis, et rei christianae amore sunt exarata, ut quantum fieri potest, si religiosae institutiones, quod optandum, hic locum inveniant, allaboretur ut viri perfecti, quod perfectionis status sonat, obtineantur; quorum enim vana est religio aut vix a saeculari discreta commercio, novimus in patria nostra nunquam satis flenda experientia quantum religioni obfuerint, hic autem majus hinc timendum malum, si quos nos perfectos vocatione viros gloriamur communis aut mollioris forte vitae homines deprehendant, sicque pro aedificatione iis, qui ex adverso sunt, scandalum detur. Ideam quidem minus favorabilem mihi impresserant de hujus collegii patribus vix ante ne nomine quidem mihi notis omni exceptione majores viri nostrates, illi ipsi, qui missionis Americanae rem tam zelose amant curare, cum unus eorum mihi dicebat velle se, ut si forte comites illos haberem in maris trajectu, tamen quantum possem a familiari consuetudine abstinerem; noverant enim R. PP. viam media in persecutione totius electi cleri nostri libere incedendi et obambulandi tyranno ipsis, quo titulo Deus scit, uti juratoribus parcendo, quod saltem bonis omnibus violenter suspectum semper visum fuit; ad hoc bons usi sunt ad emendas possessiones suas, quod zelantes pro religione plus satis probarunt fieri non potuisse sine expressa vel tacita accessione ad tyranni votum; deinde P. Wilson ipse in officialem publicum a gubernio electus fuit, Praefectoque Departimentº multum acceptus, collegium eorum varios numerabat alumnos, filios hominum parti tyranizantiº aut addictorum aut subservientium, quibus si addamus expressiones quasdam in favorem status miseri Ecclesiae Gallicanae, quam pius nullus non videt amaritudine amarissima repletam, vix dubitare ausim, quin talis farinae viri cautissime sunt tractandi, qui si iniquitati volentes nomen non dederint, tamen usque ad scandalosam mollitiem condescenderunt; praevidensque jam, quod illi ipsi, talium principiorum morumque viri (:delicatuli enim sunt, sat bonam valetudinis et corporis curam agentes, non tamen sunt potui multum dediti:) sint aliquando futuri, si res ipsis succedat, Seminarii KKyaniº professores, aut saltem pro longo tempore, ni aliter misericors providentia disponat, numerosiorem constituturi cleri hujus partem.​28 De his omnibus paulo amplius verba facere ad cautelam oportere me censui, ne fortasse tacuisse postea poeniteat, seroque paretur aliquando medicina; interim non pluris haec mea  p82 expositio valeat opto, quam attenta frivolitate mea, ac pudenda miseria valere judicabitur.​28a

Sunt et alia quaedam quae scribere luberet, sed per tempus non licet. Hoc tamen addam pro laude populi hujus plurimam partem utut dyscoli, multam in iis mea opinione spem boni inveniri, si animarum eorum directores utut exacti, et, si placet, etiam stricti, modo mansueti, mites et infirmitatis eorum condolentes sint; acerbitas ipsos terret, sed pietas paterna etiam invitos trahit; defectu tamen sacerdotum necesse est ut plurimi pereant, quod quidem quantopere me, utcumque indolentem, affligeat non sum [par?] exprimendo.

Alias hic iterum includo litteras cambiales, quas particularis quidam per D. DeWolf ad me misit; dignabitur opto Illtriss. Dñatio Vtra illius curam habere, expensasque quae in gratiam meam factae sunt, solvere. Veniam itaque humillime petens de omni gravamine quod vobis causo; precibus, si quid valeo, conabor resarcire. Coeterum enixis votis pro duplici vestra prosperitate bonorum omnium largitorem incessanter obtestans, qua par est filiali observantia, debitaq' reverentia, studio animoque signor

Illustrissmae ac reverendiss. Dñationis Vtrae

humillimus obedientissimq.

Servus C. Nerinckx,


P. S. Plurimum salutis illustrissimo coadjutori, Rdis DD Beeston, Brosius, &c., aliisque benevolis nostris, quorum post vestras, precibus sacrificiisque totum me commendo.​29

Document No. 5 is only a postscript to a letter that can no longer be found in the Baltimore Archives. Taken together with a later letter of date, March 21, 1807 (Baltimore Archives, Case 8 A, U 4), it shows that the document of which it was a part, was long, largely devoted to the missionary's ideas of the Dominicans, severe in the extreme, and aimed at preventing the friars from becoming the professors of the future diocesan seminary. With this latter point, however, Father Nerinckx needed not to have troubled himself, for nothing seems to have been farther from the friars' minds.

P. S. Paratis jam ad discessum litteris sat temporis superest ut notulas quasdam superaddam. Mors viri vere plorandi a digna tanto viro vidua matrona nunciata nulli dubio locum linquit; Dominus De Wolf ergo obiit, verum mihi amicum ereptum lugeo damnumque non vulgare ambae Indiae sentient; interim Dominus est, qui disposuit, quod bonum est in occulisº suis faciat! Erat huic religioso viro intimus amicus, zelo hujus simili aut eodem animatus, rerum gerendarum justitia ac theologica etiam scientia supra sortem  p83 suam instructus, confessorum nostratium hortator et consolator, principique De Gallitzen, quam pariter vita functam intelligo ac doleo, familiaris; est viro huic nomen J. Peemans. Mercator est satis dives Lovanii, ubi habitat prope canalem, quem quidem puto ad Revdiss. Dnatem Vestram litteras dedisse. Videtur omnino e re Christiana in hac regione futurum, si zelotae hujus pius zelus litteris foveatur, casuque quo ego aut alii, inter quos praesertim Jesuitae duo novelli ex ea regione adventitii, aut forte Illustriss. Dnatio Vtra ipsa, cui et novum hunc annum et alios post hunc multos totis votis benedictione coeli plenos exopto, e vivis evocaretur, res taliter disponantur, ut cooperatione viri illius iter servetur apertum et Missionariis in hanc Regionem, et iis, quibus Missiones valeant juvari.

Nuperrime mihi dicebat R. P. Urbanus expectare se ornamenta ex Europa, quae ipsi et Rdisso Episcopo competebant; nil ad hoc respondi, sed ad me scripsit Ds Peemans & Ds De Wolf, quod coemissent ac congregassent varia ad ornatum Ecclesiarum nostrarum, qualiter res se habeat ignoro; sed et praeterea scribit ad me soror mea varia quoque comparata ex pecunia ad me pertinente et ab aliis procurata, quibus forte pecunia quoque aliqua addetur, imagines pro catechese,º Crucifixi, Rosaria, &, pro quibus jam tertio scripsi; horum non dubito quin mentio sit exprimenda in litteris; idem nuntiat vidua Dñi De Wolf, quae etiam addit Remonstrantiam, Ciboriumque et casulas, &, mittenda fore; hos ergo articulos, quantum fieri potest, ad me mitti optarem, cum partim sint futuri mei proprii, partim mihi donati, cumque nullum hic sit medium super habendi quidquam in Ecclesiis, nisi quod ex propriis coemimus, totumque meum, quod valde modicum est, in hunc finem expenditur. Ipsa vidua De Wolf spondet se pro me facturam uti piae memoriae maritus ejus mihi promiserat, petitque assignari modum faciliorem, de quo in superioribus mentio, mittendi quod volunt in Americam ad certum correspondentem, et an similia quaevis liceat huc inferre, ad quod respondi ipsi licere. Sic enim opinor.

1 Januarii 1807.

Diu multumque deliberavi, utrum hanc de Dominicanis mentionem facere deberem; nempe miserrimus ipse confundi deberem, cum vel minima de proximo defavorabilis suspicio animum pulsat. Sed ad scribendum compulerunt me rationes sequentes. 1a Videtur gloria Dei et bonum proximi, in nova Ecclesia hac, requirere ut omnes possibiles cautelas adhibeantur. 2a Memor praesertim quot modo infelices sacerdotes haec nova Ecclesia passa sit, ac ipso hoc tempore iterum (:qui casus hic quidem populo huic hactenus ignotus est:) patrem Flyn [sic] spatio aliquo temporis hibernum [?], nullis instructum credentialibus ex Episcopi parte; hic vir ex testimonialium defectu si non suspectus, saltem minus probatus, ex consensu tamen R. Dñi Badin in quibusdam Ecclesiis conciones habuit congregationesque varias obivit numquam tamen confessarius nisi paucissimorum, quem quidem ego judicabam satius in monasterio Trappistarum remansurum. Ut vero fatear verum non sunt hic fundatae contra ipsum quaerelae factae, sed ut jam ex rescriptis ejus intelligimus in Sti Ludovici aut alio ibidem Louisianae loco, ut litteralis est epistolae ejus sensus, intrusit se pastorem, vel potius a Laicis, aedituis nempe, intrusus est, quamquam, benignius interpretando, credere debeamus a vicario ibidem generali ipsum jurisdictionem habuisse, nullis tamen instructum testimoniis episcopalibus, quia, ut jam videmus, Illusstmaº Dantneº Vtra omnem illi denegante positive jurisdictionem; faxit Deus, ut negotium hoc  p84 infaustum non habeat finem!​30 maxime cum vicarius ille ipse, Maxville [Maxwell] opinor nomen est, apud catholicos nostros non tota famae integritate gaudeat, cujus R. Ds Badin se dicit aliquando mentionem ingessisse in litteris ad Illustrissm Dntm Vtram datis; absit tamen simile quid de Dominicanis suspicari, quod potius de me ipso timendum esset, cujus quidem timore et securius certiusque uni necessario, animae scilicet saluti propriae consulendi causa, in animum iterum admisi cogitatum quem in patria nostra tantisper foveram. Trappistarum nempe ordinem ingrediendi, maxime summa Regulae observantia post novorum adventum virorum illectus, ac praesentissimae certissimaeque ruinae meae in missionaria vocatione periculo ad stuporem perculsus, arbitransq' legatione mihi imposita functum me abunde, cum transmarinum iter primus tendando aliis occasio et hortator fuerim ad sequendum in hanc regionem, in qua sperandum fore ut fructum centesimum faciant. 3a Quia Patri certus sum me scribere, cujus sagaci pietati ac discretioni res scrutanda tuto justeque committatur. 4a Ut verum fatear, stomachum mihi parumper moveri sensi, intelligens Patrem Wilson gratis asseruisse Dm Stevens, quem alii melioribus argumentis temporis hujus Athanasium vocarunt, interdictum aut suspensum esse et censura notatum propter importunum scriptandi zelum, sub eadem sane censura erat S. Athanasius et alii quivis qui pro muro aeneo Ecclesiae fuerunt adversus quosvis Ecclesiae desertores aut persecutores et ignavos propugnatores. Praeterea falsa nimis est et a calumnia vix distans assertio, meliusque esset solidas quasdam redargutiones in medium adducere, quibus moderni illius Athanasii oracula labefactentur, sed tam vasto in imperio tota saeculi illuminatione adjutus nemo hactenus id attentare publice verbo aut scripto ausus est, nedum P. Wilson praetendet facere.​31 Omnibus ergo bene combinatis videtur in cunctis hisce transparere, salvo meliori, segnior pro defendendis orthodoxae fidei principiis zelus, justo quaedam major in erraticam pravitatem indulgentia, ac tepescens quidam ad currendam arctam Evangelii viam fervor, contra praeclarum effatum Excell. Episcopi Grassensis (A. Godeau) dicentis: "In declarationibus casuum contingentium sequimini hoc generale axioma; ut eligatis semper eam opinionem, per quam Deus magis glorificatur, et quae majorem habet conformitatem cum arcta via Evangelii." 5a Quod nihil intenderem nisi Illustm Dnatm Vtram pro modulo meo rogare obtestarique, ut quantum fieri potest, alii ordinis ejusdem viri probati vereque ad Religionem propagandam apti religiosi advocentur, qui hic praesint ut prosint. Hisce unis ac solis vicibus mentem sat superque expressam autumans finio, ac si quaedam ausu temerario aut indiscreto sint expressa veniam precans, ausim protestari sine bile aut felle, sed propter solam conscientiam scripsisse, quod cum  p85 fecerim forte nunc ad nauseam in posterum exoneratum me ac exemptum censendi ratio erit abundans.​32

Father Nerinckx's letters, with all his humility, show him to have been superlatively sensitive — too much so for his own happiness. This, it seems to the writer, was the cause of much of his worry. The documents again indicate that his troubles were largely imaginary, and that he gave too ready an ear to gossip. Pious and zealous though he was, his sensitiveness, imagination and proclivity to accept idle talk at its face-value led him, at times, into the most bitter and violent language. In harsh invective the document, which we are now to lay before the reader, surpasses even that of June 2, 1806. For the reply to these reiterated charges against the Dominicans the reader is again referred to the article mentioned (pp15‑45). The extravagance to which the good man could go, in his perfervid moments, is evidenced by the ultra-severe attack of this letter on Basil Elder, father of the late saintly Archbishop Elder of Cincinnati, an exemplary Catholic, and an intimate and trusted friend of the metropolitans of Baltimore from Carroll to Spalding.

J. M. J.

Illustrissime ac Reverendissime Domine!

A paucis septimanis litteras vobis destinandas Revdo Dño Badin tradidi; post has rursus officiosissimas ab Illustrissima Dominatione Vestra accepit, quae quo sunt magis sincerae eo quoque magis ad confundendum me sunt aptae. Litteras meas sat longas invenies, minus tamen quam, eas esse optarem, sed taediosas nimis. In ipsis mentionem facio dubii debiti numerarii, quo forte obstringor, rationem reddo deinde de distributione facta ornamentorum sacrorum, quae maximam partem ex propriis meis et consanguineorum liberalitate religiosa sunt comparata; tum unam aut alteram paginam impleo, non Apologistam agendo pro me, cujus hactenus, pro summa Dei optimi in me clementia, necdum indigui, et dubito perquam, utrum etiam illius unquam, nisi gloria Dei aut bono proximi id requirente, usum sim facturus, sed aliquam reddo rationem praxis meae, quam 20 et amplius annos, sub oculis tot venerabilium virorum, martyrum forte aut intrepidissimorum orthodoxae fidei certo confessorum in agitatissima patria nostra, sub insignissimo Duce Joanne Henrico Eminentissimo illo Cardinale, sine ulla contradictione secutus sum, et ad quam sequendam ab iisdem ipsis sum et verbis animatus et scriptis, quae reposita apud me servo, non ut laudis hinc aliquid circumferam, cum praeter confusionem nil mihi juste supersit in tempore et in aeternitate, sed ut sint quasi quaedam regula, quam inoffense liceat sequi. Tandem facta matura reflectione super actuali rei catholicae hic statu et positione mea praesente ac illa, quam sine dubio futuram tandem praevideo ex rebus contingentibus et anfractibus, per quos inimicus homo mala sua pellit, priusquam major procella fiat, finivi litteras meas dando dimissionem meam cum gratiarum actione infinita pro tot tantisque in me beneficentiis ab Illustrissima Dominatione Vestra toties  p86 repetitis; hoc unum addebam, ut liceret pro tempore, quo hic degerem, in privata domo sacra facere.

Res, mea quidem opinione, pejores, magis seriae et sequelarum pessimarum evadere possunt; notitiam aliquam dare, quamvis non dubitem, quin tota res sit amplissime vobis referenda, mei muneris duxi pro gloria Dei, quam, prout affectus sum et sentio, nullo tamen ordine, promam.

1o Dissentionum, arrogantiae et tumultuantis petulantiae hujus populi verissima Epocha est adventus Dominicanorum in hanc Regionem; ante hoc tempus nil, quod inveniri potest, in publicum hujusmodi prodiit, et si quaedam minus gratia laterent, a discolis quibusdam clam absumenda erant sine ullo multitudinis damno, cujus erat passim, sin modo, anima una saltem brevissime unienda ad opus quodlibet etiam perfectum; res porro sic procecisset, si RR. illi PP., uti ego volens obligatus feci, inquisiissent a vicario Episcopi et Pastore loci de vitiis eradicandis, de viribus plantandis, &. Nec ego hactenus video, cur ab hoc ordinario, canonico et necessario ac indispensabili modo deviarint, nisi vel ut hominibus placeant, quod nescio utrum consecuti sint, aut sine ministerii injuria consequi possint; vel ut commodis suis studeant, quae res satis ipsis, ut puto, ex voto cessit, cum interim pro bono generali Ecclesiae nil sit, quod factum ab ipsis possit monstrari. Quaecumque congerunt quomodocumque ad domus propriae usum applicant; fabrica, forte quia animum habent titulum illius Ecclesiae extinguendi et ad S. Rosam transferendi, quod etiam de Ecclesia sperata in Springfield vereor, Stae Annae in eodem omnino statu est, in quo illam ipse reliqui. Quoad regimen spirituale, (:in insipientia dico:) erat ibi melius ante adventum illorum quam in ulla alia congregatione; abhorrebant a publicis conventiculis maxime nocturnis, a choreis, a matrimoniis cum haereticis et consanguineis, ab habitu mundano et ornatu; infantes et adolescentes maximam navabant pietati et doctrinae christianae operam, publicis nempe certaminibus et proemiis stimulabantur. Conjugati ab omni licentia statui injuriosa scrupulose et ex virtutis motivo abstinebant, Dominicis diebus religiose ac pie a summo mane ad finem usque officii pars maxima et vere magna in templo praesto erat; nunc autem, uti audio, omnia haec transierunt velut umbra; matrimonia cum haereticis ineuntur vel facillime. De causis matrimonialibus alias scripsi. Miror ego quod de haereticis aliquando Erasmus, laxistarum et molliorum confessariorum eorumque poenitentium semper in nuptias aut choreas exire tumultus, indeque comicam magis quam Evangelicam videri praxim. Nempe in Scot[t] Cty, in Stae Annae in Simpsons Creek felium viscera plurium pedes electricarunt. O miseram pietatem quae hisce eget animalis exercitiis!!! Saltationes diurnae permittuntur et peccata non sunt, et sic de aliis (:nam amo brevis esse:) quae quidem, quod nunquam somniavi, si concederem mala non esse, numquam tamen adhuc eo potui penetrare, cur saltem recepta hic, et sine murmure servata (:paucis exceptis:) non servarint, cum nullis immutatione sua prosint, et plurimis, quod forte magis postea patebit, obsint; nec de hac novorum daemoniorum annuntiatione Ecclesia habet quod sibi gratuletur. Quod si ab insensato etiam audire consilium liceat, ego cathegorice ab ipsis exquirerem, velint ne Missionarii esse aut Religiosi tantum manere? Nempe jam passim missionarium agunt ubi commodi hinc aliquid sperare datur, et religiosos tantum se dicunt ubi tantum labor subeundus, hujus ego testis esse possum; pro parte autem, quam in Missionibus habere vellent, omnino jurisdictioni Vicarii illos subjectos vellem et communi Ecclesiae bono intentos; pro parte vero monachali omnino ad severioris disciplinae normam  p87 adhortarer, ad ipsosque evocarem homines quosdam, vero illius ordinis spiritu plenos, aut ab ordinis generali postularem. Cujus autem characteris hi religiosi sint, ipse quantum potui aliquando vobis coram exposui, ac certior fieri poteris, illustrissime Domine, per excellentem illum amicum Lovaniensem D. Peemans, qui (:nisi forte piae memoriae Ds De Wolf fuerit:) de caute cum eis agendo me praemonuit. Nam modice mihi noti erant. Haec sufficiant pro semper.​33

2o Est apud vos versipellis quidam de grege homuncio, Basilius, melius Basiliscus, Elder qui plurima venena in has usque partes evomit, quamquam quidem a bonis quibusvis, imo et ab haereticis honestioribus, cum paucis adhaerentibus sibi, contemptui habeatur; pro injuriis, quibus, a me nunquam provocatus, me afficit publice (:nam litterae ejus publice legendae traduntur:) ex corde ipsi remitto, quia in eo crassissimam admitto ignorantiam et stupidissimam. Tali dedicatore damnationis nostrae etiam gloriamur. Tertul. de Nerone. Addito huic, quod et qui accusationis schedam conscripsit a pauculis signatam, sit homo de animantium potius quam hominum genere; hoc volo tantum, ut recordetur in amaritudine animae suae, si callosa necdum sit, quas turbas concitaverit in Domo Dei, quarum sit causa sequelarum, et serio de reparatione cogitet. Ego sincerissime judico hominem hujusmodi sacramentis ullis indignissimum priusquam de reparato scandalo planissime constet. Gloriatur tenebrio ille, se ab illustrissima Dominatione Vestra omnium quae dicit, vel plurium saltem, testimonia ac faventes habere rationes. Ego vero non dubito, quin mendaciter et gratis id asserat; tamen, ut candidus sim, vereor, ne litterae (:ego nullas hactenus vidi:) quae nomine illustrissimae Dominationis Vestrae circumferuntur a paucis istis hypocriticis et rebellibus familiis, multum pondus tribuant calumniis eorum; lugebo multum, si unquam verae sint, et quod ostentant contineant, quia, quomodo reparari res possit, non invenio, nisi forte cap. ult. Libri Esther suggerere modum quemdem valeret.​34

3o Summa capitum accusationum contra me, quantum expiscari possum ex dictis et scriptis et propriae conscientiae interrogatione, haec est: 1o. Surrectio matutina hora 4a. Hujus accusator est R. P. Fenwick, et haec quidem hora est, quam ipse tenere deberet. Sed fallitur, dum dicit me longius dormientibus absolutionem negare. Si nosceret R. P., quid in Paraguay Jesuitae introduxerint, et devotiones in Belgica usitatas, ipse hora 4a pro servis et ancillis missam celebraret.​35 2o. Prohibeo promiscue choreas ut malas. 3o. Prohibeo visitationes promiscuas inter diversi sexus personas. 4o. Prohibeo et aversor matrimonia cum haereticis &. 5o. Requiro ante matrimonium praeparationem ad Banna et Sacramenta frequentanda. 6o. Regulas in ipso Matrimonio servandas praescribo. 7o. Preces diebus Dominicis et festivis toto mane, publicas, servatis intersticiis, mando. 8o. Continuas exactiones facio pro fabricis Ecclesiarum (:fortunate non dicunt quod mihi ipsi illas faciam:). 9o. Prohibeo excessum vestium et ornatum obscoenum (:addam ego, quod et censores foeminas habeam aetatis provectae, quae in Ecclesiis huic invigilent:). 10o. Acerbior sum in correctionibus dandis &. Basil Elder vocat me tyrannum.36  p88 Tandem dicunt: apud me is too much confinement. Hoc si verum sit, miror cur quotidie tam multi a mane ad vesperam quocumque vado fores et aures meas obsideant? Si sint alia praeter haec crimina, de quibus accusor, ignoro; ego autem cum similes praxes in vita S. Caroli aut alterius sancti lego, puto has ad eorum commendationem plurimum facere, et ego nescio quale foret ferendum judicium de illo confessario, qui attentaret poenitentes suos ad directe oppositam praxium mearum obligare vel inducere: v.g. nullam ante matrimonium requiri praeparationem, nullas in Mat.o sequendas rglasº &. Deinde si vera nostra sunt crimina, cur non canonice citamur &. &. ad quid condemnamur in populo priusquam convincamur in judicio?

4o Plures de populo nostro lugent hanc calamitatem, turmatim se offerunt ad signandam contra calumniatores protestationem; id quidem me inscio fecerunt, et Dominica seqte intendo omnino prohibere, ut causam meam agant, quia nemini injuriam me fecisse cognosco; ideoque cuncta Domino commendo, qui quod bonum est in oculis suis faciet. Interim gaudeo, quod huc venerim nulla temporali spe animatus, gaudeo insuper quod nil hic temporale acceperim, sed et cuncta, quae divina providentia mihi fuerat largita, expenderim ad majorem ut puto ejus gloriam. Unum omnino doleo, quod cum nostrates mei sacerdotes horum notitiam habuerint, animo minus alacri forte sint adventuri; ego tamen ad veniendum invitare illos non desinam. Haec sunt pauca, Illustrissime Domine, quae superioribus meis addenda judicavi. Iterum atque iterum orationibus benevolentiaeq' vestrae commendatus, cum voto quantocius recipiendi dimissoriales vestras, quae simul testimoniales aliquae sint, signor votis perfectissimis

Illustrissime ac Reverendissime Domine

Humillimus obedientiss'q'

Vir Servus.

C. Nerinckx.

30 Junii, 1808.​37

The above documents may be considered in the nature of pièces justificatives to the article in the present issue of the Review. Many other documents might be added as source-material for the subject, but we venture to state that those given will enable the reader to form a truer perspective of the well-known misunderstanding between these two pioneer missionaries and the Dominicans of Kentucky.

V. F. O'Daniel, O.P.

The Author's Notes:

1 Baltimore Archives, Case I, G 9. — Although it is somewhat French in its phraseology, there can be no doubt about the meaning of this straightforward letter, or the impression made on Father Badin by the humble Dominican.

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2 This certainly proves the truth of Fenwick's statement to Concanen that Bishop Carroll "warmly applauds and consents to" the two proposals contained in Badin's previous letter. However, the prelate evidently left the final decision of the matter to Fathers Badin and Nerinckx, the latter of whom had started from Georgetown College for Kentucky before Fenwick returned to Maryland.

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3 This also shows that Bishop Carroll advised giving the church lands in Kentucky to the friars. Yet he waited to hear Father Nerinckx's wishes in the affair before making the transfer. So also it may be remarked here that Fenwick's character is so opposed to what is said about him in the rest of this document, that those who have studied the man will be compelled to believe Father Badin drew generously on his fertile French imagination. A number of his letters show him to have done this at times. Here the change is so sudden and the inconsistency so patent that the influence behind it all cannot be concealed.

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4 Father Badin must have misread Doctor Carroll's letter. The rest of the document, the fact that the bishop himself was a religious and his high regard for Fenwick would indicate this at least.

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5 Limitrophe, a French word for neighboring.

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6 All this is evidently the inspiration of Father Nerincx.

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7 Yet the college was most beneficial to the Catholics, many of whom received their education practically gratis.

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8 This shows how it happened that Saint Ann's church passed to the charge of the Dominicans. However, they did not get the land, although it was given, largely at least, by the people for the use of the priest who should serve them.

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9 Likely Jacob Dittoe had written of the spiritually destitute condition of the few Catholics in central Ohio. But Father Nerinckx never, as far as we have been able to discover, visited that state.

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10 This is another proof that Bishop Carroll himself sanctioned and advised the transfer of the ecclesiastical property to the Dominicans. We recur to this so often because we have heard a person maintain that this letter shows the venerable prelate demurred to Father Badin's proposal.

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11 This letter is published in the Records of the American Catholic Historical Society, XXIII, 166 ff. But the part from this comma to the end of the next paragraph is omitted.

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12 This bit of curious English and Jansenistic and Gallican canon law, omitted in the Records, etc., must have provoked Bishop Carroll to a smile.

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13 The property at Bornheim belonged to the Dominicans in England, not to those in America. Just at that time, the house could have been bought for 25,000 florins. So, too, were Fenwick's resources practically consumed by the purchase of Saint Rose Farm.

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14 For this matter see article, pp32‑33.

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15 Father Badin is afraid that the Dominicans will not labor on the missions. Father Nerinckx says that if they do, he will leave Kentucky. This looks like the friars were "between the devil and the deep blue sea."

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16 This speaks for itself. But we submit that Father Nerinckx should not have let his desire to establish a Belgian mission in Kentucky, a laudable ambition though it was, carry him to such extremes against the Dominicans sent there by the bishop.

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17 What a change from Badin's previous letter!

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18 The matter omitted here is of a delicate personal nature, and has no bearing on any Dominican or on our subject.

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19 Father Badin's letter is in Case 1, G 10 and 11, of the Baltimore Archives. Evidently the one who indexed these archives was led, by its double date, to think that there were two letters. We do not know whether Bishop Carroll gave Fenwick the letter enclosed for him; but it is probable that he did not.

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20 Wilson and Tuite, the two fathers then in Kentucky, were specially intended for the novitiate and college which the friars proposed opening. In view of Fenwick's oft-repeated intention, it is safe to say that this, and this only, was what they told Father Nerinckx.

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21 Baltimore Archives, Case 8 A, U 2.

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22 This harsh language about the Catholics in Kentucky certainly forms a strong contrast to the praise which the friars unfailingly bestowed upon them.

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23 This certainly sets aside the statement which one reads here and there, that Father Nerinckx did not think Father Badin a suitable candidate for the miter.

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24 This indicates that Saint Ann's was still under Father Nerinckx's jurisdiction; but it seems certain that Father Wilson attended the mission from early in 1806, and that it had already been determined to place it permanently under the Dominicans.

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25 Compare Father Nerinckx's original given here (from the words "Forte minus exactus sum dum plurali numero promiscue utor," to this point) with Maes' rendition of it (Life of Rev. Charles Nerinckx, p174); and do not overlook that author's quotation marks. The "alter" pater was Father Wilson. Here is Father Maes' translation: "The people call these reverend gentlemen easy; Rev. Badin pronounces them extreme laxists, and I (who, although severe, look upon my colleague as altogether too rigid and stern,) think that he is not mistaken in his estimate of them." Compare also Maes' parenthetical clause with the parenthetical clause in the next line of the text: "(si tamen nostra talia revera sint)."

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26 All this excoriation of the Dominicans is one paragraph covering three long, closely written pages. We have taken the liberty of dividing it into several. Compare this paragraph with Maes' rendition of it in op. cit., p175. In a footnote on the same page he attempts to prove that Father Nerinckx had "formed a correct idea of the state of affairs at St. Rose's" when no such place as Saint Rose's existed. But for further information on this matter see article, pp15‑45. Surely no one, not even Father Maes himself, can justly take exception to our attempt to set right all this misrepresentation and unfair treatment.

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27 These words prove conclusively that Father Nerinckx wrote these things solely on his own initiative. But see Maes's translation (op. cit., p176, second paragraph) of the end of the document: "Since you expect me to look after the interests of religion in this region." These words, in spite of that translator, are not in the document.

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28 In rebuttal of all this see article, pp31‑33.

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28a One cannot suppress a feeling of astonishment at seeing Father Maes (op. cit., p176) translate the latter part of this paragraph: "I feel all the more free, my Lord, in writing to you as I have done, from the fact that I foresee that the Dominicans will be professors of our Ecclesiastical Seminary,º or at least will constitute a majority of our clergy, if Providence does not interfere; and I might be sorry afterward, but too late, not to have spoken my mind on the subject, since you expect me to look after the interests of Religion in this region. . . ." Our surprise is all the greater because the last clause is not only an interpolation, but is in ill accord with Father Nerinckx's statement referred to in note 27; while the whole paragraph, as rendered by Maes, is so toned down as to make the Belgian missionary's charges the more plausible by making them less bitter and extravagant.

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29 Baltimore Archives, Case 8 A, U 1.

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30 Bishop Spalding (Sketches of the Early Catholic Missions in Kentucky, pp259 ff.), speaks of this clergyman in terms of high praise. Certainly could anything of a really serious character have been said against those early Dominicans, it would have found a place in the uncharitable documents of the day. That nothing of the kind is recorded proves them to have been splendid priests. It may be further submitted here that Father Nerinckx's frequently recurring "miserrimus ipse," his confusion at casting the slightest suspicion on others, and his protests at writing thus solely "for the glory of God and the good of his neighbor" ill accord with his many caustic strictures. Perhaps, after all, Rev. G. I. Chabrat does not deserve the censure that has been passed on him for consigning that missionary's writings to the flames.

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31 As the reader will doubtless remark, Father Nerinckx, as is the case with nearly all the others, makes this charge on mere hearsay. However, history would hardly place Rev. Cornelius Stevens on so high a pedestal as Father Nerinckx would have him occupy.

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32 Baltimore Archives, Case 8 A, U 3. — Another letter of March 21, 1807 (ibid., U 4), shows that the lost document of which the above postscript was a part, contained a whole list (elenchus) of charges against the laxity, want of zeal, etc., in the friars; and that the object of all this was to prevent them from getting charge of the future diocesan seminary. The words: "Hisce unis ac solis vicibus mentem sat superque expressam autumans," etc., at the end of the postscript, would indicate that Father Nerinckx had forgotten how often he had written on the same topic. In spite of his protest that he is now finished with the matter, he recurs to it, at least, again and again in his letters for the next three years or more.

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33 For the reply to these renewed charges see article, pp35‑36.

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34 For further information on Basil Elder, and how Maes gives the name as "B––––– E–––––," and otherwise renders this paragraph, see article, pp36‑37.

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35 Maes, op. cit., p180, translates the second sentence of this accusation: "Rev. Father Fenwick is my accuser on this head, and that is the hour that he himself as a religious ought to keep." But, as the reader will notice, the clause "as a religious" is not in the original. Yet the last sentence, about Paraguay, etc., which shows the mind of Father Nerinckx, is left out altogether by that author.

Thayer's Note: We're all human; on p38 of his paper, Fr. O'Daniel himself commits the same two errors, an interpolation and an omission, in a single passage and with about the same minor consequence.

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36 Maes, op. cit., p180, again renders Basil Elder "B––––– E–––––"

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37 Baltimore Archives, Case 8 A, U 5.

Thayer's Note:

a The quotation appears to be from the acts of the Fifth Council of Aquileia (1596), chapter 11, De vita et honore clericorum. It seems to have been most frequently excerpted in French works on Catholic morals, but is also found in books of Jesuit spirituality.

Page updated: 6 Nov 13