Protestant Verdict on Maria Monk

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER XXII (5) start of chapter

We may dismiss this revolting case with a few lines from the statement of Colonel Stone, of New York, who, in company with some half dozen other persons, all of them Protestants, visited and inspected the Hotel Dieu, of Montreal, the scene of the alleged iniquities, which included child massacre scarcely less wholesale than Herod's slaughter of the innocents. It may be remarked that several parties, many of whom were not without faith in the 'Awful Disclosures,' returned from their investigation with the same conviction as that expressed by Colonel Stone, who says:—

I have rarely seen so many ladies together possessing in so great a degree the charm of manner. They were all affability and kindness. Cheerfulness was universal, and very unlike the notions commonly entertained of the gloom of the cloister. Their faces were too often wreathed in smiles to allow us to suppose that they were soon to assist in smothering their own children, or that those sweet spirits were soon to be trodden out of their bodies by the rough-shod priests of the Seminary. .... Indeed, I have never witnessed in any community or family more unaffected cheerfulness and good humour, nor more satisfactory evidence of entire confidence, esteem, and harmony among each other.

Having tested every wall in the building, examined every receptacle for potatoes and turnips, every dungeon devoted to the incarceration of soap and candles or loaf sugar, poked at mortar with an iron-shod stick, peeped into every corner and crevice of the whole establishment, and elaborately traced his progress and its results, the Colonel thus pronounces the judgment of an intelligent and rational mind:—

Thus ended this examination, in which we were most actively engaged for about three hours. The result is the most thorough conviction that Maria Monk is an arrant impostor—that she never was a nun, and was never within the walls of the Hotel Dieu—and consequently that her disclosures are wholly and unequivocally, from beginning to end, untrue—either the vagaries of a distempered brain, or a series of calumnies unequalled in the depravity of their invention, and unsurpassed in their enormity. There are those, I am well aware, who will not adopt this conclusion, though one should arise from the dead and attest it—even though 'Noah, Daniel, and Job,' were to speak from the slumber of ages and confirm it.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

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