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The Jesuits


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.
[vi]
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
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