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sorcery and magic, unless he understands lofty pinnacle of intelligence into the superfully the mental and physical process by stitious darkness of the middle ages. We which these results are obtained. The fact see editors of intelligence stepping out of is, the subject of the psychologist is rendered their road as public instructors, and distemporarily insane; the nervous system, being cussing, with grave argument, the so-called excited to an unnatural degree, overcomes “spiritual manifestations” of the day. Men the mental power, and conveys to the senses who profess to favor the spirit of human images that do not in reality exist; yet, progress, and who essay to direct their while the spectator is ready to admit his in- fellow-men on the road to mental, social, sanity, the process by which he was rendered and physical improvement, go back to the insane" puzzles the will," and sets the specu- dark ages, adopt the ignorant notions of lative, superstitious faculties at work. Many those remote times, and without perceiving persons get over this dilemma by pronouncing that all this is the offspring of their own disthe whole proceeding a hoax; but it is no tempered imaginations, deliberately publish such thing; it is the result of natural causes- those old theories revamped, and weakly by some well understood—wherein the ma- avow their supernatural belief. We have terial man obtains a mastery over the said that the most learned as well as the spiritual man in the same person, through most ignorant are subject to superstitious the predisposing influence of a weak imagina- reasoning, or rather hallucinations; but it is tion.
eminently the province of good sense, and If, therefore, the mental and physical fac- the duty of intelligent men, not only to reulties are so governed by the imagination in sist those hallucinations in themselves, but our day, as of old, and there certainly can to discourage them in others, since no good be no change in that respect until the very can be derived from them in any shape, and nature of man becomes changed,) what pre- much injury may ensue from their cultivavents popular belief in sorcery and magic! tion. The man who yields to them is imIt is owing to the simple fact that the paired in his intellect, and utterly undeservlearned who do believe in supernatural ing, in this age, and among civilized people, agencies have not, in the present enlight of the least respect or consideration. In ened condition of the world, the moral Central Africa, or the city of Iximaya, or courage to avow their belief, and because even in China, he would find kindred weakpriestcraft, having once failed in its attempt ness and sympathy; but it is entirely beneath to make it the instrument of its designs, the dignity of human intelligence, where men dares not venture on a second experiment; boast of being civilized, to listen to him. and thus there is no active element em
We shall venture to lengthen this essay ployed to fan the popular mind into a by quoting the following chapter from a superstitious tremor. It is not because the work entitled “Sorcery and Magic,” just elements of superstition do not exist and published by J. S. Redfield, Clinton Hall, pervade the minds of men. Want of en- which exhibits the uses to which popular couragement in this weak faculty has, during belief in such matters are employed where the past two or three centuries, prevented those things are fashionable. its exercise and development, and society
THE URSULINES OF LOUDUN. has been the gainer, because the intellectual faculties of men have been directed to more Soon after the period of the persecution rational and profitable channels.
of Louis Gaufridi, there was, in the town of But, if the signs of the times are true, Loudun, in the ancient province of Anjou, we are now fast approaching a period where a priest named Urbain Grandier, a canon of the two extremes of mentality are to meet, the church there, and a man who was as and mankind is to merge from its present remarkable for his learning and talent as for his handsome person and courtly manners. accusers were compelled to retract. This He was born toward the end of the six- judgment was delivered on the 25th of May, teenth century, at Bouvere, near Sablé, at 1631. It increased the exasperation of his which latter place his father, Pierre Grandier, enemies to such a degree, that the Archexercised the profession of a notary, and his bishop of Bordeaux, as Urbain's friend, uncle, Claude Grandier, was, like himself, a advised him to quit Loudun, and establish priest. Urbain Grandier had studied in the himself in some other place, out of the way college of the Jesuits at Bordeaux, and dis- of his persecutors. But the angry priest tinguished himself so much by his attain- was too proud and resentful to listen to ments and by his eloquence, that he became counsel like this. very popular at Loudun, where he obtained In the year 1626, a small convent of two benefices as a preacher. This excited Ursuline nuns had been established at Louthe jealousy and hatred of his brother clergy, dun, and being very poor, they rented a whom his proud and resentful spirit hindered private house, and were allowed to support him from conciliating. He seems to have themselves by taking as boarders a few given them some hold upon him by certain young ladies whom they educated. Their irregularities in his life, especially by his first confessor, or “director of conscience," familiarities with the other sex, which were was a priest named Mussaut, who died soon a matter of scandal in the town. Loudun, after the acquittal of Urbain Grandier by moreover, contained a large population of the Presidial of Poitiers. Urbain, rather Protestants, and Urbain Grandier perhaps imprudently, became a candidate for Mushad a leaning toward them.
saut's place, but was rejected, it was afterward Between the years 1620 and 1629, Urbain said, on account of his scandalous character. Grandier had had several serious quarrels, The office of director of conscience to the and some lawsuits, with the clergy of Lou- Ursulines was given to his old enemy Midun. A priest named Mounier had pub- gnon. This affair seems to have caused a lished libels upon him, and Urbain prose- revival of animosities which might otherwise cuted and obtained a judgment against him, have sunk into oblivion. and exacted the full penalty with unfeeling Meanwhile the young scholars of the conrigor. He had gained an action against vent appear to have felt dull in the company another priest named Mignon, a canon of of their teachers, and they determined to the church of St. Croix, in a matter relating amuse themselves with frightening them. to a house which the latter claimed, and he For this purpose they left their beds by had made Mignon his personal enemy by night, made dreadful noises about the house, the offensive manner in which he exulted in and took advantage of secret passages and his defeat. By such proceedings as these, peculiarities they had discovered in the and by his real or reputed amours, he had building to play a variety of pranks, which gained many enemies. In 1629, he was they laid to the charge of the ghost of the accused before the court of the Bishop of late spiritual director, Father Mussaut. The Poitiers of scandalous intrigues, and even nuns communicated their terrors to Mussaut's of having secretly introduced women into successor, who soon suspected the intrigue; his church for improper purposes, and he he saw to what advantage it might be turned, was condemned by the official to be ejected and obtained the confidence of the girls who from all his benefices. But some irregular- were carrying it on. He not only encourity having been discovered in the proceed- aged them to proceed, but he soon brought ings, Urbain appealed, and obtained a decree the nuns themselves to join in his plans. of parliament, referring the case to the Pre- Mignon now proceeded more systematicsidial of Poitiers; and he was acquitted of ally in instructing his patients in the parts the charges brought against him, which his they were to act, and taught them to coun
terfeit all the strange postures and contor- were then ushered into a chamber where the tions of one supposed to be possessed. He superior lay in bed, and Mignon and his gained the nuns to his purposes, not only fellow-exorcist began their operations. When by holding out to them the hope of enrich- the patient first saw the priests and their ing and glorifying their order, but by telling companions, she appeared to be seized with them that they would be the means of con- dreadful spasms, and screamed fearfully; founding and perhaps converting the numer- but under the hands of the exorcists she ous heretics in and about the town of Lou- became calmer, and Mignon proceeded to dun; and he assured them that Urbain interrogate her spirit in Latin. To his first Grandier was himself a secret heretic. As question, “Propter quam causam ingressus far as we can judge, the motive which had es in corpus hujus virginis?" (for what cause most weight with the nuns was the prospect did you enter the body of this virgin ?) of enriching themselves by this “ pious fraud," Astaroth answered, with the utmost dociliand the superior of the convent entered ty, “Causa animositatis,” (from animosity.) warmly into the design. Having prepared “Per quod pactum ?" (by what pact ?) said every thing for his purpose, Mignon sent for Mignon. “Per flores,” (by flowers,) replied a bigoted priest of the neighborhood of the demon. “Quales ?" (what flowers ?) asked Loudun, named Pierre Barré, a man who the priest. “Rosas," was the reply. “Quis had assumed the character of a saint, to misit?" (who sent them!) “Urbanus." "Dic support which he performed a variety of cognomen,” (tell us his surname.) To this extravagances. With the assistance of this demand the demon replied, with the utmost man, who was rejoiced at the opportunity of readiness, “ Grandier." Determined to posexhibiting the effects of his own holiness, sess all the particulars, the exorcist continued, Mignon began by exorcising the superior and “Dic qualitatem,” (tell us his profession.) two of her nuns, and they carried on their "Sacerdos,” (a priest,) said the spirit. "Cujus proceedings in great secret for two or three ecclesiæ ?" (of what church ?) “Sancti Petri,” days. They then entered into communica- (of St. Peter's.) Then said the priest, “Que tion with another priest, who bore a very persona attulit flores?" (what person brought indifferent character, and made him their the flowers ?) to which the instant reply was, messenger to two magistrates, whom they “Diabolica,” (a demon.) invited to witness the exorcising of two nuns
With this the fit ended, and of course of the convent of the Ursulines, possessed, the examination could be carried on no as they said, by evil spirits. The first ex- longer. Mignon took the magistrates aside, bibition before the magistrates took place on and discoursed with them on the extraordithe 11th of October, 1632. Before the pro- nary scene they had witnessed, pointing out ceedings began, Mignon informed the ma- to them its resemblance to the affair of Louis gistrates that the nuns had been troubled Gaufridi, which had occurred twenty years for some time with a visitation of spectral before. The Romish clergy in general seemed appearances, which had ended in some of inclined to believe implicitly in th possesthem being possessed with demons. He sion, and the Capuchins showed a particular said that the superior of the nuns was pos-animosity against Grandier. The laity were sessed by the grand demon Astaroth, and astonished at these extraordinary revelations, that one of the nuns was in the possession and it is not to be wondered at if a great of another devil whose name was Sabulon; portion of them were led by the priests, and and although the nuns themselves, as he thus easily prejudiced against the accused. assured the magistrates, were totally ignorant The calling in of the magistrates had given of the learned languages, the demons knew the affair more importance; the first two all languages, and preferred making use of | invited had probably been selected as those those which were no longer spoken. They most likely to be imposed upon by priest
craft. They were admitted to another ex- whole town became violently agitated by periment next day, (the 12th of October,) the dispute between the priests and the civil and after the demon who possessed the authorities. The bailli followed up his desuperior of the convent had been duly exor- cree by taking a decided part against the cised, he repeated the charges against Gran- nuns, and he gave Grandier warning of every dier, adding that he was not only a priest, new step which they took. The priests, but magus, (a magician.) On this occasion however, now set the civil power at defiance, the guilty roses were asked for, and a bunch and, preparing to act under the authority of of those flowers were produced and burnt the Bishop of Poitiers, they continued their before the company, but, to the disappoint- exorcisms of the nuns, and, having collected ment of them all, they did not, as was ex- together a number of the least reputable pected, emit a noxious odor under the action medical practitioners of the place, men they of the fire. The principal civil officers of knew were willing from credulity or knavery the municipality now interfered, and on the to be their tools, they obtained their signa13th of October the bailli of the town, with ture to a statement of the truth of the posthe lieutenant civil, the lieutenant criminal, session. Upon this, the bailli publicly inthe procureur du roi, the lieutenant à la pré-hibited the priests from exorcising or further vôté, and other officers, went together to the proceeding in this case ; but they again reconvent of the Ursulines. It would appear fused to acknowledge his jurisdiction. that some of these municipal officers were They accordingly went on exorcising more Protestants, and the bailli, especially, was openly and boldly than ever. Another nun known as a man of good sense and justice. was now found to be possessed, and her deWhen they arrived at the house occupied by mon confessed that he was Asmodeus, and the nuns, they were shown into a waiting that he had five companions in the possesroom, where they were left a considerable sion of this single victim. He also declared time, until Mignon condescended to make that Urbain Grandier was the magician who his appearance, and inform them that the had sent them. This occurred on the 24th demon that morning had refused to answer of November; on the 25th, the civil officers, except in private, that the examination had who were present, insisted on trying the prebeen a very extraordinary one, and that he tended powers of the demons to speak all would give them a report of it in writing. languages, and the bailli asked the patient
Urbain Grandier professed to despise the what was the Hebrew word signifying water. intrigues of his enemies, but he could not She held down her head and muttered somehelp feeling alarmed at the formidable league thing, which one of the witnesses who stood which had been raised against him. He de- very near her declared was a mere refusal termined first to apply for protection to the in French to answer. But one of the priests, spiritual power, and he hurried to lay his who was suggesting to her, insisted that she complaint before the Bishop of Poitiers. said zaquay, which he declared meant in This prelate, however, as we have seen be- Hebrew aquam effudi! On a previous ocfore, was not friendly to Grandier, who could casion, they had risked an exposure by maknot obtain a personal audience, but was re- ing the demon speak bad Latin. They now, ferred back to the civil authorities for redress. therefore, began to be more cautious, and On his return to Loudun, Grandier went to carried on their examination of the demons the civil court, and presented a formal charge in a more secret manner. At the same time, of conspiracy against the priest Mignon; they tried to gain the bailli over, but in vain. and on the 28th of October, the bailli issued The confessions of the demons still turned a public order of the court against the cal- mainly upon the delinquencies of Grandier, umnies of the priest. Mignon protested but they began also to talk against the earnestly against this proceeding, and the Huguenots, provoked no doubt by the incredulity of the civil magistrates. As the plot was deranged by the unexpected anlatter had exposed some of their tricks, and nouncement that the Archbishop of Bordeaux had given them considerable embarrassment, was on his way to Loudun. On several octhe nuns were now made to say in their fits casions, the priests had declared, to explain that they would no longer give any answers some temporary intermission of the fits, that in the presence of the bailli or other muni- | they had succeeded in driving away the decipal officers.
mons, but that they had subsequently been The priests now made their appeal to the sent back by the magician. When news Bishop of Poitiers, who at last openly es- came of the approach of the archbishop, poused their cause ; and, on the 28th of they disappeared entirely, and the nuns beNovember, he appointed two commissioners, came quiet and tranquil. Some prudent the deans of the canons of Champigni and directions given by the archbishop seem to of the canons of Thouars, to examine into have put a stop to further proceedings, and this strange affair. With their countenance even Mignon and Barré let the matter drop, and assistance, the exorcisms commenced so that little more was heard of it. anew; and when, on the 1st of December, The Ursulines were now the sufferers. the bailli went to the convent, and insisted They fell into general discredit ; people upon being admitted to the examination, and took away their daughters,* and they fell upon being permitted to put questions to the into distress. They laid the blame of their puns when exorcised, he was refused by sufferings on their director Mignon, who had Barré, who now acted as chief exorcist. led them into the expectation of deriving The bailli then formally forbade him to put great profit from their imposture. any questions to the pretended demons tending to defame individuals ; but Barré merely
* Tallemant des Réaux, who has preserved so replied that it was his intention to use his
many anecdotes of this period, tells us that Le own discretion in this respect. The priests Couldray Montpensier, who had two daughters had now every thing at their own will, and
boarding with these nuns, immediately took them
away, and had them well whipped, which he found they were sanguine of success, when their an efficacious method of driving out the demons.
SONNET: TO THE EVENING STAR.
BY S. F. FLINT, AN ILLINOIS LAD,
If that ethereal world where now thou art
Is but the home of firm, enduring peace ;
And from this grosser sphere obtain release :
Tells of the purity of thy domain,
And feel no more of sorrow or of pain;
And feel Heaven's blissful breath upon me;
Where seraphs' radiant hands have won me;
gaze on distant tapers bright as thine.