Jesuits, 1828

An Island Meeting to discuss an application to found a Jesuit seminary in Guernsey. Admiral Sir James Saumarez was in the chair. He was to forward the petition against the school and the meeting's resolutions to Robert Peel, for Peel in turn to present to the King. The complete text, printed as a pamphlet by Nicolas Mauger, can be found in the Library's Petitions and Trials scrapbook, Vol. I.

Petition:

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.

THE humble and respectful Petition of the Inhabitants of Guernsey, in a Meeting assembled this 4th day of September, 1828—

MOST HUMBLY SHEWETH.

That with feelings of the deepest regret, they have learned that two French Priests of the Society of Jesuits have applied to the Authorities here, for permission to establish a College in the Island for the Education of Youth; and that although those Authorities have in the most prompt and decided manner given them a refusal, the present Meeting feel themselves bound, in defence of what they hold most dear to them, Their Religion and Loyalty, to approach Your Majesty with unfeigned expressions of the warmest attachment to Your Majesty's Sacred Person, Family, and Government, and to pray that Your Majesty may be graciously pleased to order that your Government do, on no account, give countenance to these Priests, in the matter of the Establishment which they now have in view to erect, but that any application to that effect, which may be made directly, or indirectly, to Your Majesty's Government, may be resisted.

Your Majesty's petitioners humbly take leave to annex to this, their humble Petition, the Resolutions entered into at this Meeting, and pray that Your Majesty will in your royal wisdom free them from the harmful effects which must inevitably ensue from the establishment of Jesuits in this now very tranquil part of Your Majesty's dominions; and as in duty bound they will ever pray.

Guernsey, 4th September, 1828.

[Here follow the signatures. (NB There are none printed.)]

Here are a few of the resolutions passed at the meeting:

5. THAT, in the opinion of this Meeting, independently of the blind and devoted attachment of the Jesuits, in the principles of the Church of Rome, which, of itself, constitutes a sufficient ground for their exclusion,—the dangerous and wily policy of their system—its refinement and sophistry—their art, with which they disguise its real spirit and tendency—its baneful intrusion in to every department of public and domestic life; together with the industry,—an industry which never slumbers, with which they labour to make Proselytes to their opinions, have combined, to render them, at all times, objects of peculiar suspicion and mistrust in every country, wherein they have obtained a footing.

6. THAT, considering, that the language of this Island is French, and that no obstacle would exist to the unrestricted intercourse of the inhabitants, with the inmates of the Jesuit Establishment, it is evident, that the ignorant and unwary, would at all times be peculiarly exposed to seduction.

8. THAT, it also appears to this Meeting, that the projected institution, is not less fraught with mischief, in a Political, than a Religious, point of view. Through the exercise of its insidious policy, the feelings which exist in the minds of the Inhabitants to our neighbours, nationally considered, and which, together with a corresponding predilection for the British Crown and people, constitute perhaps their strongest security against successful invasion, might be greatly diminished, or even overcome, by a change of opinion, the effects of which, would not fail to be fatally experienced in any future war.

9. THAT, this Meeting cannot forbear averting, also, to the impolicy and danger of admitting into one of the very first outposts of the British Empire, a colony of strangers, by birth, education, and religion, inimical to the country and its institutions.—Strangers, ready, on the very first emergency, and qualified to act as spies, perhaps as leaders, in any future attack upon these Islands.

&c. &c.


For more anti-Jesuit rhetoric, see the Star of January 4, 1881.