The Jesuits, 1534-1921
Thomas Campbell

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The Jesuits, 1534-1921
Thomas Campbell

The Jesuits, 1534-1921 A History of the Society of Jesus from Its Foundation to the Present Time


Some years ago the writer of these pages, when on his way to what is called a general congregation of the Society of Jesus, was asked by a fellow-passenger on an Atlantic liner, if he knew anything about the Jesuits. He answered in the affirmative and proceeded to give an account of the character and purpose of the Order. After a few moments, he was interrupted by the inquirer with, "You know nothing at all about them, Sir; good day." Possibly the Jesuits themselves are responsible for this attitude of mind, which is not peculiar to people at sea, but is to be met everywhere.

As a matter of fact, no Jesuit has thus far ever written a complete or adequate history of the Society; Orlandini, Jouvancy and Cordara attempted it a couple of centuries ago, but their work never got beyond the first one hundred years. Two very small compendiums by Jesuits have been recently published, one in Italian by Rosa, the other in French by Brucker, but they are too congested to be satisfactory to the average reader, and Brucker's stops at the Suppression of the Society by Clement XIV in 1773. Crétineau-Joly's history was written in great haste; he is often a special pleader, and even Jesuits find him too eulogistic. At present he is hopelessly antiquated, his last volume bearing the date of 1833. B. N. (Barbara Neave) published in English a history of the Society based largely on Crétineau-Joly. The consequence of this lack of authoritative works is that the general public gets its information about the Jesuits from writers who are prejudiced or ill-informed or, who, perhaps, have been hired to defame the Society for political purposes. Other authors, again, have found the Jesuits a romantic theme, and have drawn largely on their imagination for their statements.

Attention was called to this condition of things by the Congregation of the Society which elected Father Martin to the post of General of the Jesuits in 1892. As a result he appointed a corps of distinguished writers to co-operate in the production of a universal history of the Society, which was to be colossal in size, based on the most authentic documents, and in line with the latest and most exacting requirements of recent scientific historiography. On the completion of the various parts, they are to be co-ordinated and then translated into several languages, so as to supply material for minor histories within the reach of the general public. Such a scheme necessarily supposes a very considerable time before the completion of the entire work, and, as matter of fact, although several volumes have already appeared in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, the authors are still discussing events that occurred two centuries ago. Happily their researches have thrown much light on the early history of the Order; an immense number of documents inédits, published by Carayon and others, have given us a more intimate knowledge of the intermediate period; many biographies have been written, and the huge volume of the "Liber sæcularis" by Albers brings the record down to our own days. Thus, though much valuable information has already been made available for the general reader the great collaborative work is far from completion. Hence the present history of the Jesuits.


Institutum Societatis Jesu.

Jouvancy – Epitome historiæ Societatis Jesu.

Jouvancy – Monumenta Societatis Jesu.

Crétineau-Joly – Hist. relig., pol. et litt. de la Comp. de Jésus.

B. N. – The Jesuits: their foundation and history.

Rosa, I Gesuiti dalle origini ai nostri giorni.

Meschler, Die Gesellschaft Jesu.

Böhmer-Monod – Les Jésuites.

Feval, – Les Jésuites.

Huber – Der Jesuitenorden.

Duhr – Jesuiten-Fabeln.

Brou – Les Jésuites et la légende.

Belloc, Pascal's Provincial Letters.

Foley – Jesuits in Conflict.

Fouqueray – Histoire de la compagnie de Jésus en France.

Bournichon – La Compagnie de Jésus en France: 1814-1914.

Albers – Liber sæcularis ab anno 1814 ad annum 1914.

Tacchi-Venturi – Storia della compagnia di Gesù in Italia.

Monti – La Compagnia di Gesù.

Duhr – Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Ländern deutschen Zunge.

Kroess – Geschichte der böhmischen Provinz der Gesellschaft Jesu.

Astrain – Hist. de la Comp. de Jesús en la asist. de España.

Hughes – History of the Society of Jesus of North America.

Alegre – La Compañía de Jesús en la Nueva España.

Frias – La Provincia de España de la compañía de Jesús, 1815-63.

Pollard – The Jesuits in Poland.

Hogan – Ibernia Ignatiana.

Tanner – Societas Jesu præclara.

Lives of Jesuit Saints.

Menologies of the Society of Jesus.

Southwell – Bibliotheca Scriptorum Societatis Jesu.

Sommervogel – Bibl. des écrivains de la comp. de Jésus.

Chandlery – Fasti breviores Societatis Jesu.

Maynard – The Studies and Teachings of the Society of Jesus.

Daniel – Les Jésuites instituteurs.

Weld – Suppression of the Society of Jesus in Portugal.

De Ravignan – De l'existence et de l'institut des Jésuites.

De Ravignan – Clément XIII et Clément XIV.

Theiner – Geschichte des Pontifikats Klemens XIV.

Artaud de Montor – Histoire du pape Pie VII.

Carayon – Documents inédits concernants la Compagnie de Jésus.

Bertrand – Mémoires sur les missions.

Brou – Les Missions du xixe siècle.
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