Project Canterbury

Rev. Anthony Verren, Pastor of the French Episcopal Church of the Saint-Esprit, at New-York, Judged by His Works.

By Peter Barthelemy.

New York: Sold by the Booksellers, 1840.


Relata refero.

Chance has placed in our hands, incontestable proofs of a habit of slandering of so alarming a nature to society, that for a long while we hesitated to believe even the testimony of our own eyes and ears: the mind rebelled against such conviction.

We finally, however, determined to investigate the nature of the evidence submitted to us, and the result of this enquiry has but added to the mass of proof of which we were already possessed.

But here a difficulty arose: the offender is a Priest, not a poor, unknown, meek, self-denying follower of Christ; not a misanthropic, hypocritical Heraclitus; but one who is rich, honored, blessed with health, [1/2] gay, merry, fond of wordly pleasure, and sporting with all

At court and in the city.

What were we to do? to deliver him up to the ordinary mode of judical proceedings? to provoke disputes in which would be exposed a course of iniquity, alike painful to the witnesses and his victims; disagreeable to the judge and the jury, and dangerous to be published in their awful simplicity? And for what purpose? to obtain a miserable pecuniary compensation, and leave in the annals of New York the imperishable monument of a scandal so affecting to morals and religion!

Having maturely considered these things we have abandoned all idea of a criminal prosecution commenced by us, being fully prepared, however, to defend ourselves if attacked, remaining faithful to the principle,

If you wish for peace, be ready for war.

We might have remained silent, and left to heaven to mete out the punishment due to the offence; but in looking around us we find ourselves surrounded by a young wife, infant daughters and affectionate sisters. And it is on their account that we fear the poison of calumny. The least contact with this Minister of the gospel would have made him our [2/3] enemy for ever; too easily would he have read in out eyes the contempt which his deeds have inspired us with, not to find in our own family his first victims, well knowing that to be the surest mark to our own heart.

It would consume too much time to convict by discussion this hydra-headed priest, it must be done at a single blow, and perhaps in this instance we are the humble instrument of heaven to punish here on this earth this impious offender, even upon the very spot where his crimes have been perpetrated.

Strong in our conviction, satisfied with our own motives, and persuaded that we perform a duty however painful, we commence the attack. We fear nothing from the accused; although to others he appears so formidable. The culprit when unmasked will be a corpse that no galvanic power can revivify.

To Mr. Verren we wish neither death, nor even a temporary loss of liberty; we desire neither fines, damages, costs nor venal compromise, we covet not the gifts that fortune may have favored him with in this country. Let him leave a community in which there can be no peace for him, and we will forget that he has even for a moment engaged our attention. He too has a family, and if a particle of shame remain, he can decide which of us is most to be pitied, and which of us has best fulfilled the obligations imposed by his position in the world.

[4] Those who are truly religious can in no wise be affected by the merited punishment which we inflict upon Mr. Verren; since men of probity cannot be scandalized by the conviction of a villian. We entirely disregard the clamours of the weak and the wicked that may assail us, well knowing, that

Fools since Adam are always in majority.

Had Mr. Verren but followed his vicious course in secret, we would never have raised even a corner of the curtain which concealed him from the world; but the baseness which he has exhibited in his epistolary slanders, and the abyss of grief into which he has plunged some of his victims have convinced us that it is not sufficient to shun his society to be shielded from his weapons, and it is on this account that we have so much dreaded him for ourselves, our family and our friends. A snake in the grass, the brightness of day will strike him with the inertia and the inability to do evil; we leave with him only the desire of being good, and the power of practising virtue; let him do so and we are satisfied.

New York, December 25, 1839.

P. Barthelemy.


Fuit istâ quondam in hâc republicâ virtus, ut viri fortes acrioribus suppliciis, civem perniciosum, quam hostem acerbissimum coercerent. Cic. Catilinaires.

In writing his tartufe the author intended to portray, and in fact has portrayed one of the vices which characterized the age in which he lived; it is not a single individual that Molière has exposed on the stage; but it is the moral infirmity which he there exhibits, the more to be feared since it derives its power from the seductive as well as deceptive appearances which it assumes.

Fallit enim vitium, specie virtutis et umbrâ,
Cum sit triste habitu vultuque et veste severum. Juvenal

[6] A low hypocrite is not to be dreaded, but who can defend himself against the perfidious designs of one whom our manners, our religious faith and our social habits recommend to our confidence, our respect, and our veneration? The laws of all nations punish those who taking advantage of their position or of our confidence, appropriate to themselves all or a part of our fortune; but what laws can brand the hypocrite, who under the mask of religion gains access to our family fireside, and becomes acquainted with our private affairs in order to pander to his own passions, who dishonors the conjugal tie, and instead of leading our daughters in the path of virtue deceives and ruins them!

Scire voluut secreta domûs, atque inde timeri.

Our laws cannot reach the dark deeds of the hypocrite, because the mystery under which he acts secures to him almost certain impunity; and too often the cloak under which he has imposed upon our credulity, becomes the shield behind which, he contemplates, the pangs of his victims without fear.

But if too often the apprehension of false scandal adds to the insufficiency of the law to chastise the wicked, there still exists in our institutions an efficacious way in which to unmask the vice and deliver up the culprit to the severest punishment which public opinion can inflict, we may repeat with Cicero, "The [6/7] more elevated in public esteem he who tramples under foot every virtue, the more severe will be the punishment which that public will inflict."

The duty which our position imposes upon us, is far more painful than that which the genius of Molière created for him. To him was given full liberty to mix his colours, to shade his tints, to sketch his portraits and to draw his characters; his imagination has afforded him a large field which he could dispose of at will, to suit his taste and talents; from such materials he has constructed an imperishable work, convinced by his art the necessity of drawing his pictures true to nature. Horace could haze told him:

Aetatis cujusque notandi sunt tibi mores.

As to us, our task is the reverse, since our hero has gone so far beyond what might seem true, that although compelled to respect the truth of his deeds, we feel ourselves with difficulty restrained to the simplicity of mere narration.

Truth does not always wear the appearance of truth.

The vice of the age of Molière in being personified by our hero, has been so perfected that the dramatic hypocrite is only a rough sketch compared with our reverend gentleman. More fortunate than Molière we have only to brand upon the forehead this [7/8] beast of prey: it is not a corrupt majority that we attack, it is only one of those men

Fel in corde, fraus in factis

who are luckily isolated, and without other authority than an assumed position. It is sufficient to tear from him his mask; society will be avenged by the voluntary ostracism which he shall condemn himself to, and our merit though small, shall be to have told the truth. Is this then so hard to speak that we give ourselves credit for its utterance? No, it is a duty and it shall be fulfilled.

It is not only in the name of religion betrayed that we have entered upon this publication; but it is in the name of what every man holds most dear and sacred, whatever may be his creed or the doctrine which he professes.

It matters not, whether we be or be not the countryman of the man whom we deliver up to public vengeance, whether we be his friend or his confident, his colleague or his accomplice, our pen has written the truth, perhaps not the whole truth, but certainly no more; we perform a duty which we owe to society and feel to be due from us as a citizen, a son, a husband, a brother and a father; being bound by such titles to protect the domestic hearth.

[9] The American law gives the right to all to apprehend an offender, and we are ready to abide by the maxim

Quo quisque peocat, in eo punietur.


Anthony Verren was born at Marseilles, of parents who were any thing but wealthy. His education, however, was not neglected. He gave early signs of his intelligence, whilst his amiable dispositions and his precocity gained him the esteem of his teachers; but thrown too early into the world where he could only figure in the shade, he was obliged to look out for a more appropriate sphere in which his natural vanity could be gratified.

The military exploits of the empire raised the first shouts of glory which reached his ears; but he was too young to follow the stream upon which all the youth of France had embarked, and he was naturally too timid to take pleasure in the rude chances of war. Verren therefore shaped his course in a different direction.

[11] Having paid considerable attention to natural science he was induced to adopt principles that are far from being in perfect harmony, either with the doctrines of the holy scriptures or the dogmas of Rome. At this period he inclined to an opposition at the head of which, after the philosophers of the eighteenth century, stand our cotemporary savans. To maintain and demonstrate the indestructibility of matter was an undertaking not perhaps beyond his belief, nor foreign to his literary pursuits, but it was one which required both application and perseverance, and to neither of these can Verren lay claim. The world possessed for him great charm; the aridity of study, and the length of time it would require to gain a reputation together with his want of fortune prevented him from seeking it through this channel.

The restoration was inclining to favor the old abuses of the Holy Chair. The chance was a good one, and he had the good sense to seize it. The claustral life not agreeing with his natural disposition, he became a simple dayscholar at the Academy of Geneva, where without any very severe academical examination he was content to receive the simple ordination of the reformed faith. Thus do we see him entered into orders, not from choice nor conviction, but actuated by a necessity or ambition, as one takes a trade or chooses a profession.

[12] A. Verren began his new career at Ferney, a place which has been rendered famous by Voltaire. Pastor of the village he soon became its idol. The turrets, the oratory and the groves of the chateau have been the witnesses of many an act of prowess which had any thing for its object, but the edification of his flock, but luckily for him they are silent and discreet. We too shall remain dumb, and shall not describe the scenes in which the hero whose praises we chaunt was a fortunate and indefatigable actor. But there is an end to human felicity, and Mr. Verren is a living witness of the truth of this remark. Quitting his parsonage he left open a door which had been cut in the enclosures of the chateau at the instance of affectionate solicitude, in order to shorten his distance; his successor may perchance avail himself of the same passage; for although every road takes us to Rome, the shortest is always the best in intrigue as well as in geometry.

He abandoned Ferney, church, chateau, parsonage, groves and penitents, in fact every thing to come to New York, influenced by the same uncontroled ambition which took him from Marseilles to Geneva, or perhaps lead by an invisible hand to become a great and terrible moral example.

He is at last in America, a world new and unknown to him, what brought he with him? A mind and a conscience equally flexible, a love of scandal, a bright varnish of knowledge, genteel habits, acquaintance with the world, and a prepossessing appearance.

Quid dignumtanto feret hic promissor hiatu?

His first step was to apostatize and submit to a new ordination at the hands of a bishop, thus annulling the sacred investure of Geneva and condemning the creed he had professed at Ferney. At scarcely twenty-five years of age he had passed from materialism to calvanism, and thence to episcopacy. Is his last confession the most sincere?

Admitted into the most distinguished circles he was soon noticed by them, and not long after received a call from the French Episcopal Church, where he made every effort to develope the resources of his mind and thus add to his personal influence the graces of his person. He wished to appear a saint that the fair sex might consider him an angel. He succeeded. He made a sensation. His sermons are neither too rigid nor too wordly; he knows how to be new without being an innovator, and without great superiority he is above all acquainted with the art of being listened to. His voice is soft, conciliating and persuasive; through it his congregation began to unravel the pure and holy doctrines of the gospel, which being illustrated [13/14] by appropriate examples, are less austere and formidable than are generally received.

He is another Orpheus; every thing comes as he tunes, the marble moves, it stirs, it takes form: for him is erected at great expense a temple, a beautiful model of good taste, luxury, elegance and classical beauty, How proud is he under that sacred portico! How pompously arrogant in the middle of that nave and under that cupola so skilfully constructed; how spiritually proud in that pulpit from which he gives law to an auditory that abandons itself to the most sacred of prestiges! He is no longer the humble disciple of Jesus Christ preaching in the temple; but the illustrious pontiff fulminating his decrees. Verren is at the present moment truly great, noble and seducing, the most happy perhaps which he will ever enjoy in this world. This enviable fortune, this realization of his dreams when in Europe he will devote not to the advancement of religion, but to quench the fire that courses in his veins.

The pulpit is like an ethereal circle, from which as a vivifying star he darts his beams upon the sweetest flowers. The parterre at his feet [14/15] is composed of the most lovely fair of New York, who are all eager to listen to the new preacher. The temple becomes a theatre in which vocal music rivals instrumental harmony in its effects and talent; thither are the crowd attracted:

Sic ruit ad celebres cultissima faemina ludos.

Verren attaches himself to his parishoner not to edify but to mislead them. The impostor uses in their presence all the refinements of flattery, all the seductions of eloquence: behind them he expresses the utmost contempt. If he praises the delicacy of their graces, he afterwards frees himself from the restraint which for a moment he has submitted to.

A fair lady whom he praised to the utmost, whom he has declared to be worthy the first crown in the world, he soon after parodies as a necessary ornament of a museum of osteology; he fancies himself witty when he is only impertinent, repeating the pun in this verse,

"Mon esprit en secret l'appeloit à règner." [The pun is on the pronunciation of the last word, "à règner," which cannot be translated nor understood in English.]

[16] Such are his abusive epithets against the American ladies, except when he attacks their manners, when he is far more cruel.

The indecent language which Mr. Verren uses in his confidential communications would be an impropriety that we would not allude to if that were his only fault, but our task is to show him in his true colors to the people of New York.

In the documents which we have collected for this publication, are contained a large number of facts and anecdotes relating to many highly honorable and respectable families; these we have suppressed as giving unnecessary pain to those who are the subjects of them. We desire to create no scandal, although much may flow from our revelations, but this is not our affair. We shall indite nothing that is not strictly necessary for our object: to unmask the impostor.

We have also neglected to report many intrigues of the vestry room, many low and despicable tricks which he has directed, in order to defect the nomination of such a man and elect another, or to change and render null decisions that were contrary to his views, to cause to be adopted his own estimates for building [16/17] improvements, repairs, embellishing of the church, or a clause in the lease of such and such property belonging to the congregation, &c. &c.

All these have been laid aside by us, although it would be very easy for us to take advantage of these transactions and represent Mr. Verren rather as a cunning broker, than an upright and disinterested pastor; but although he be culpable in these respects it is not our intention to attack him on these points.

We have exhibited him elsewhere, or rather every where, except in the vestry room and in his own house, because there we consider him beyond the jurisdiction of the press.

In conclusion we sincerely express the hope that the two-fold sanctuary which we have respected, may be for him a safe asylum, where he may reconcile himself to his duties, conceal the notoriety of his faults, and give to his young family at least, the example of domestic virtue.



This chapter will be the shortest of all those we have devoted to celebrating our hero. We shall be particularly concise, not because materials are wanting, but because we wish to remain faithful to the salutary maxim which Mr. Royer Collard has thus expressed at the tribune of the Chamber of Deputies, when the laws of the liberty of the press were under discussion: "Private life should ever be sacred." Inviolable in effect shall that of Mr. A. Verren be to us, whom we shall not attack in his domestic circle; but in his character of a public man he belongs to us from [18/19] head to foot. We have the right, and we intend to use it in its greatest extent, to scrutinize his conduct, to interrogate his deeds, to search his thoughts, and to expose his actions whatever they may be. We do not think, however, that the yard of his house belongs to his house, and we have dedicated a chapter showing what takes place there habitually; beyond this all the interior of his house is held sacred by us.

The characteristic circumstances of his marriage with one of the Misses Hammersley are not yet effaced from the memory of the public; they would have believed that love had entwined with his myrtles the chains of Hymen. Be it so! we have nothing to say about it, and leave to others the task of relating the delights of that new Ariadne.

But before that future author, and before us Horace has said:

Sic visum veneri; cui placet impares,
Formas atquc animos sub juga ahenca
Soevo mittere cum joco.

Semper habet lites alternaque jurgia lectus,
In quo nuptia jacet; minimum dormitur in illo.

Sed notat hunc omnis domus et vicinia tota,
Intiorsum turpem, spcciosum pelle decorâ.


Nihil est tam voluore quam maledictum, nihil facilius emittitur, nihil citius excipitur, nihil latius dissipatur.

Vires aoquirit eundo.

Slander, My Lord, slander, there is always some of it that sticks.

Calumny!.....I have seen the most respectable people nearly crashed by it.

From Virgil to Beaumarchais and from the author of the marriage of Figaro to our Reverend hero, calumny has been considered as the most [20/21] dangerous and infallible weapon; it is to the wickedly disposed what poison is to the murderer; it has struck its victim before even its existence is suspected, and when it's presence is revealed, it is already too late; the deed is done, it progresses, it propagates itself, it corrodes, it destroys and annihilates the being- it has attached itself to. Baour de Lormian and before him J. B. Rousseau have left us fine odes and beautiful verses upon calumny, but what can the thoughts of genius teach us compared to the dark deeds of the Reverend Verren? What we are going to relate is not the mere creation of our imagination, we have the original documents in our hands to confound the author of the anonymous letters if he dare, or if he should have the impudence even to attempt to deny the facts.

In another chapter will be seen the advantage Mr. Verren derived, not from his personal en' dovvments alone, but from his so honorable position, to chose the objects he judged proper to satisfy his passions. By and by we shall show that he is not scrupulous as to age or color; like a gay cavalier he likes to sing wit Joconde,

To whatever clime I chance to go,
To change my manners well I know.

[22] Although prince of the vestry, he has met with virtue which has withstood his arts. If he fail in his attempt?, if the first hints of his declarations be received with an eloquently silent contempt then his heart opens to the sentiment of revenge; hatred springs up and every mean is used which can satisfy the imperious want to which he is a prey; woe in this case to whoever has provoked his ire!

This man, however, who diverts himself at leisure with the innocence, the tranquility, reputation and fortune of others, is not alone the slave of his own vile passions, but becomes an easy tool for the companions or the accomplices of his bad actions to move at their will. It may be said that to him the opportunity of doing evil is good fortune. It is sufficient to indicate it to him, and he becomes active, he overturns all the ground under his feet to reach and wound his victim, it matters little whether he has cause of complaint against him or not. In more than one instance into which this unhappy propensity has led Mr. Verren, he could not explain even to himself, much less confess to others the real secret motive of his attrocity. The devotion he has for vice and evil render him their victim; for he [22/23] delivers himself up to this inclination with a delight that would seem to belong to delirious fatality. We see him, we judge him with the documents now upon our table; we see him blindly assisting the petty jealousies of a woman, of whom he believes himself master because he has rendered her guilty, going far beyond what she solicited from him, and after having entered in a bad path, following it till he becomes ashamed of his own excesses, but always too late to repair the evils he has produced, to wipe away the tears he has caused to fall, to assuage the anguish he has created.

We therefore, in this chapter, attempt a task which is above his power of self-control.

Among the many facts which we might cite, we select the following, the truth of which is so cruel that it suffices to portray Mr. Verren, at the same time it permits us to render to the person who has been his victim, a public and just reparation, as well to procure for her some repose from the cowardice of her invisible enemy, which for a long time has pursued her almost to destraction.

Miss * * * * whom we mention with as much pleasure as respect, came to New York, that she might devote her time to tuition. Her talents, [23/24] her education, her virtuous conduct, the amenity and urbanity of her manners, had gained for her the esteem, the friendship and good wishes of the most distinguished families in the city.

Introduced to the pastor of the French Episcopal Church, Miss * * * found in Mr. Verren a minister, who laying aside all pedantic austerity, showed himself by the instruction which he imparted, and the gracious manner in which he treated her to be worthy of the high mission entrusted to him.

Our Reverend hero is himself under that secret influence, so full of those charms which we experience in the society of an intelligent woman, who is lively without coquetry, and who talks sensibly without wasting her time in idle prattle. He invites her to come to his church, and although the worship is different from her own, the desire of hearing French preaching induced her to accept the invitation.

Mr. Verren who is fond of busying himself with other people's affairs becomes soon well acquainted with the position of his new acquaintance; he offers his services with the greater eagerness, because his only interest is the [24/25] satisfaction he feels in being the protector of true merit; but his efforts, if sincere, are superfluous: his PROTEGEE has friends more happy to serve her.

An occurrence insignificant in itself allows Mr. Verren to find suitable lodgings for Mademoiselle. These lodgings make part of a handsome house, engaged by the Reverend gentleman for the husband of a young lady, handsome and adorned with natural wit, that, in order to shine, had nothing to borrow from a memory adorned with serious and useful study. The daily contact of two female characters so little congenial could unavoidably bring about no other than a sad result. The one polite, talkative without freedom, disdaining an easy victory, content to let her superiority appear without deriving advantage from it; the other good-humored, gay, playful, at her ease and in her sphere whenever the conversation was within her comprehension, but embarrassed, uneasy, humbled when questions of moral philosophy were treated of, or where the discussion led by people of talent embraced history, literature, science or politics. Very familiar with the fluctuations of prices in the market and with domestic chit-chat, but unacquainted with any other subject, the mistress of the house [25/26] at first only ruminated in silence on her conscious nullity; she then grew uneasy and manifested ill-humor without explaining the cause; there ate avowals against which self-lore revolts. Then after many endeavors to punish and humble her whom she could not rival she framed in the dark her schemes of petty vengeance.

Mr. Verren was naturally the person in whose bosom she deposited part of her sorrow. He listened like a good pastor.

While the storm was rising at a distance, Mademoiselle * * * * had ceased going to hear the sermons of Mr. Verren, perhaps not because she had already perceived a falling off in the merit of orations pretty well written and not badly delivered, but because these orations, or sermons if you will, always supported a doctrine which she could not acknowledge as hers; this circumstance so simple, so natural, so justifiable in her condition, was perfidiously interpreted to the Reverend gentleman, and disposed him blindly to favor a resentment, the secret of which was unknown to him, but with which he from this instant indentified himself with, as if in embracing the cause of another he was revenging himself. He went therefore far beyond what the greatest jealousy would had have carried the handsome companion of his friend.

[27] About this period, Mr. Verren who never loses sight of his wordly interests, wished to settle Miss * * * * in some business. He, however, met with a prompt refusal, which he might have avoided by a little tact and management. He should have been conscious that the learned character of his calling, forbade him from entering into any operation that might become a broker.

He should have kept his importunity for solicited service, and the more trouble and anxiety that he gave himself to explain the sureties and advantages of the money that he coveted, the more he lowered his dignity. In this proposition prepared with studied care, and for which he seemed to have invoked the shade and talents of the unfortunate Vatel, Mr. Verren was more pressing than the apparent motive required, and the positive refusal he experienced opened his heart to a series of emotions, which vigilant jealousy worked, and incessant and inquiet rivalry improved with advantage. [A celebrated cook, whose suicide is mentioned in Madame de Sevigne's letters.]

Mr. A. Verren believed himself despised, he persuaded himself that he was so, so powerful is conscience which leads us to imagine, that others see through our baseness. He despised! he will have satisfaction, but in his own way. Quick! ink, paper, a pen and even pencils, he must write lies, [27/28] and frame outrages. Yes, reader in truth, our Reverend divine draws not well, nevertheless he loves caricature; if he knew not how to form an eye, trace a nose or a mouth, to make amends he excelled in making other features. Should he ever attempt to edit the popular work of Dr. Tissot, for the use of those arrived at the age of puberty, believe us he would reserve for himself the care of the plates, and he would load it with as many as the text would allow.

Whilst mending his pens and his pencils, and thinking what he shall do, a mouth that he likes for more purposes than as a communicator of thought, informed him that Mademoiselle * * * * being in company with several other ladies who had expressed themselves on the very gallant manners of the Reverend gentleman, said, "If he passes for a libertine he does not prove himself much better than the generality of his sex."

There was nothing malevolent in this simple remark, on the contrary, we may readily perceive in it a frankness and natural goodness of mind. For in not excluding Mr. Verren from the generality of men notorious for their subjection to the passions, she cast upon him no animadversion, she sought on the contrary to make him participate in that absolution, that secret amnesty of which pretty women are no misers in such circumstances. But though innocent [28/29] in itself this report roused the demon which inspired him. The word libertine burst upon him like a ray of light, 'tis the electric spark that fires his imagination, and vivifies all the erotic resources it possesses. Before he was uncertain as to what plan of vengeance to pursue, but that word caused every nerve to thrill. We are told that Achilles disguised as a female in the court of Lycomedes, betrayed his sex at the sight of a sword which the cunning Ulysses disguised as a merchant, exposed to his view among the articles of the toilet. Such was the word libertine to our Reverend gentleman.

He knew where Mademoiselle * * * was well received, whence her resources, where her friends and protectors, 'tis there the blow will be struck,

He writes to Madam B--------, Madam D-------- and Mr. C--------several anonymous letters and prepares others, the originals of which in his own hand writing are in our possession. The respect we have for ourselves and readers preclude the possibility of our quoting them. Never have Aretin and A. Piron in the shamelessness of their poetical rage pictured such obscenities. The sweeping imputations contained in these letters, are clothed in so much epistolary form, that a master hand is discoverable in every line. The calumny increased and extended itself.

Quelque grassier qu'un mensonge puisse être.
Ne craignez rien; calomniez toujours:
[30] Quand l'accuse confondroit vos discourse,
La plaie est faite; et quoiqu'il en guérisse,
On en verra du moias la cicatrice.

Few persons have given credit to the advice and confidences of the anonymous writer; some of them mentioned the subject to Mademoiselle * * * others were less candid, but their reserve did not deceive that lady who had too much knowledge and experience of the world, on the contrary it convinced her that she was the victim of an unknown and powerful enemy. She was so cruelly grieved that she was obliged to renounce an establishment that could not have failed to have prospered under her skilful management; if we had not revealed it, she would be even now ignorant of the source whence the calumny sprung; but we have fulfilled a duty which lays her under no obligation to us. We are sufficiently rewarded for our efforts in the belief that we have restored to her that peace of mind she so much needed, even amid the consolation, kindness and attention bestowed upon her by the numerous friends by whom she is surrounded.


De votre fête hymen voici le jour
N'oubliez pas d'en avertir 1'amour.

Madam *** had just lost and interred her husband. An afflicted, but an economical widow, she did not like the extravagant Artemisa erect over the ashes of the departed, a costly monument to speak her grief to posterity; but secretly and in solitude mourned the friend she was never too see again in this world of sorrow- Nothing incites more to sadness than the self-imposed retirement of an affectionate and recently wounded heart, but this sadness which for a time humors and excites itself, soon becomes frightened and astonished if not wearied at the isolation in which it finds it is plunged. Between society and affliction there is a gulf which the former [31/32] never cares to fill, (so little are we affected by the sorrows of others) j but which the mourner for her earthly happiness is forced to pass as soon as possible. Like a pouting child we see the new made widow seeking a reconciliation with the world; as between the tomb and the ball-room the altar intervenes, so the church is commonly the path by which she seeks to reach her object. It is at the altar we breathe the sweet vow of unalterable love, and it is there we seek impunity for a perjury yet more sweet. It is in the bosom of the priest (the mediator as we all know between temporal and heavenly power) that we pour our sorrows, in his knowledge we look for consolation, and the heart is then disposed to open itself to the words of peace, of pity and of hope.

Our modern widow of Ephesus had arrived at this chapter in the ordinary events of life when she applied to Mr. Verren, not as the fine gentleman filled with sympathy for the sorrows that consumed affectionate hearts, afflicted with attractive charms and twenty-five summers; but the minister of that God who said to the woman taken in adultery, "Go and sin no more."

The parties met to speak of another world. Mr. A. Verren a truly erudite connoisseur, discovered with his eagle glance the cause and depth of the evil. He pointed out a remedy, but the widow started [32/33] as if the proposition would burst the cerements of the grave and call her late lord before her. She trembled from head to foot, and murmured out her fears of the vengeance that heaven inflicts upon the perjured. The smiling pastor like a second tartufe said to her:

Je puis vous dissiper ces eraintes ridicules,
Madame; et je sais l'art de lever les scrupules.
Le ciel defend, de vrai, certains contentements,
Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodemens.
Selon divers besoms il est une science,
D'étendre les liens de notre conscience.
Et de rectifier le mal de l'action,
Avec la pureté de notre intention.
De ces secrets, Madame, on saura vous instruire,
Vous n'avez seulement rni'a vous laisser conduire.
-----------------------n'ayez point d'effroi,
Je vous reponds de tout, et prends le mal sur moi.

[I can satisfy those ridiculous fears of your's, my dear, and easily rid you of those scruples. 'Tis true, heaven forbids us certain pleasures, yet it is allowed us to compromise it's decrees. There is a science which permits us in some cases to loosen the ties of our conscience, and to purify the evil of the action, by the purity of the intention, We will teach you, my love, these secrets, permit us only to direct you. -----------------be not afraid, I am answerable for all, and take the evil upon myself.]

Like a submissive lamb Madame * * * heard the shepherd, but as yet did not surrender. She was divided between her future happiness or her earthly repose; the world is a severe judge, and exposure a death blow to the woman who once forgets herself; although she could not refute the passionate language of her insiduous director, she yet obeyed the [33/34] "still small voice" of a heart formed for virtue, and manifested the fears she could not express.

Verren determined on a last effort. The ground upon which he found himself engaged and where he wished to triumph, was no longer that of Duane Street, (see ch. 5). Madam * * * * had gathered from her marriage an experience which rendered laughable all the attacks of our skilful engineer who sought to surprise her. He changed his tactics as easily as he had apostatized--so elastic was his conscience!

Minister of the Most High, he dared to promise future pardon for all the sins of his penitent; on this side she was satisfied, but Verren is unable to preserve her from the censure of the world; that is of little consequence to one determined on success-- and again invoking his sacred character he proffered pledges of a different nature.

Les gens comme nous brulent d'un feu discret,
Avec qui, pour toujours, on est sûr du secret.
Le soin que nous prenonsde notre renommve,
Repond de toute chose à la personne aimée
Et c'est en nous qu'on trouve, acceptant notre coeur,
De l'amour sans scandale et du plaisir sans peur.
[People of our garb love with discreet ardor, with us you are always sure of secrecy. The care we take of our reputation, is a security for her whom we love; and in accepting our heart, she is sure of having lave without scandal and pleasure without fear.]

Madam * * * * knew not what reply to make; she [34/35] sighed, shed a few tears, glanced upon the past and leaving the present and future to the care of her spiritual director, closed her eyes in voluptuous languor upon the abyss that opened beneath her.

These secret interviews were frequent. After so long a widowhood the lady was greatly in want of a pastor to purify her soul, and he was soon successful in quieting her fears; if some peeadillbes remained un-pardoned they no longer disturbed her mind, had not Verren said to her, yea repeated it a hundred times

Je vous réponds de tout, et prends le mal sur moi!

Behold our widow at last consoled, and could we believe the promises of the Reverend gentleman, Magdalen would not be the only pretty sinner admitted to the dwelling of the blessed; but the terrestial happiness in which he made her taste graces all divine, hastened to load the lady not less than her inconsolability. Mr. Verren who was not a widower, was obliged to divide his cares and his consolations, and often to quit the widow for his conjugal obligations, and sometimes to neglect even these for his pastoral ones; it was too much for him, and notwithstanding all the holy fervor which the worthy [35/36] Reverend possessed, the desire of self preservation inspired him with the idea of advising the half consoled widow to re-enter the married state. The idea was original coming from him, notwithstanding it was perhaps the idea of a step necessary for both. And setting himself at once to find out the happy legetimate successor of the departed husband, his eyes rested upon a good easy man, honest at heart, but rather ill-favored. This, however, was no bar to the affair; had not Venus Vulcan for a husband? And as the husband elect had but like Vulcan a physical imperfection and no other attribute of that divinity, the invisible net was not to be feared. The rest may be guessed; Mr. A. Verren is a cunning man .... occasionally.

The altar was again decorated for the pretty widow; if custom had deprived her of the plea" sure of carrying the virginal bouquet; if the classic sprig of orange flower did not ornament her waist, her brow was not less calm, her step less timid, her glance less angelic, nor did she enjoy less the sweet tranquility of heart. Her peace was made with heaven; she has obtained a tender absolution from the holy minister who had probed her heart to the bottom, and who received [36/37] once more from her ruby lips the sacramental YES, which this time, however, he inscribed on his official record. Relations, friends and acquaintances all united, and met in the banquet hall, glistening with the light of a thousand tapers, which soon resounded the steps of the happy guests.

De votre fête, hymen, voici le jour;
N'oubliez pas d'en avertir l'amour.

Mr. A. Verren in his quality of officiating minister occupied the place of honor; the husband of his convenience smiled upon him with gratitude, and Mr. A. Verren who neither could nor wished to be behind hand in the return of this sentiment with the good man, smiles in his turn. His words were addressed to him, but with his foot he interrogates his consort, and by the natural consequence of this communication, the eyes of the lady sparkled in time with his foot to sing sotto voce

"De votre fête, hymen, voici le jour;
N'oubliez pas d'en avertir l'amour."

Cupid well armed was upon his guard, and the happy, blind and confiding husband thanked his predecessor for not having carried away all his treasures with him.

[38] The immoral and criminal duplicity of our hero was not checked on so good a path, it remains for us to relate a final trait, that reveals at once the character of the man.

We have just seen the entire oblivion of every principle of a husband, minister and friend. We are going to show the interested and basely covetuous lover; for it is again by the aid of anonymous letters that he seeks to gratify his shameful propensities.

Commercial relations called the husband to England, his wife was to follow him. Separation became painful to her who abandoned on the American soil, the cold remains of a man who she had much loved, and likewise the mortal coil of one still quick, who in the name of heaven had made her taste so many earthly pleasures. Oh! to be seperated from this one, to quit him forever while yet quick, became for her a bitter and poignant sorrow, what a void would be left in her heart! They could not correspond, prudence forbade it, they dared not ask the consolation! this resort gives to affectionate souls, they provided themselves with another.

[39] "L'art d'écrire, cher lecteur, fut sans doute inventé
Par l'amante captive et l'amant éloigné."
[Heav'n first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid--Pope.]

But the art of painting in minature no doubt owed its existence to love, which though widely separated from its object, prudence deprived of the power of writing. Features faithfully copied sooth'd the pains of absence! We love to look into eyes which are always lovingly opened upon us, to place in a beautiful mouth the expression of tenderness which have so many times sounded in our ears; it was then to this unequivocal witness of affection our young lady had recourse to call to the mind of the holy lover, the remembrance of such an affectionate parishoner.

The portrait painted by a skilful hand was enclosed in a rich medallion, in which was likewise inserted a lock from those long and beautifully arrayed tresses that Verren loved so well to contemplate, floating over shoulders of alabaster worthy of the chisel of Praxiteles. In those delicious moments which he chose to recall to his penitent the life, the adventures and exaltation of Magdelen: mercy to every sinner.

[40] The medallion was a valuable present, not only from the associations which enshrined it, but likewise from the workmanship and the cost of the metal which protected its fragility. The rich and delicate love, the ingenious and disinterested heart of a lovely but sinful woman--all that can mitigate severe censure was reflected in this truly feminine attention, there was a poetical tenderness in this parting gift; it was however all lost upon Verren. He weighed the gold in his usurious hand: he put side by side the raven tress and the ivory, and judged that all would not pay his fees as officiating minister at the nuptial ceremony of rich people.

As he should have blushed.... No! we deceive ourselves, the hypocrite knows not how; we would say that he should not have dared to have asked a compensation for his services, from a man whom he constantly caressed as a friend, and who feared to wound him by offering a mercenary reward for a marriage forwarded by himself, A. Verren wrote two anonymous letter?, the first was without effect; the second ran thus and was addressed to the too confiding husband. "My friend, at a small party of good company [40/41] where I was a few evenings since, you were the subject of considerable conversation. Every one expressed much surprise that you had not yet satisfied the minister for his trouble. They said, how is it possible that a man well born, of quality and who lives in good style, has not yet......:... surely it cannot be, we cannot believe belies the good opinion we always entertained of him.........he lowers himself, &c."

Circumstances made it appear possible that these letters were written by Messrs. B. and E. although in rather a silly manner. Such, however, was not the case. The lady only was not duped; it is difficult to deceive the penetration of a woman who knows us as well as the lady in question knew our Reverend gentleman. Vexed and indignant with her base and unworthy director, she took a bill of twenty dollars and presented herself at the house of Mr. A. Verren, to whom she hastened to pay the debt in question, with as much ease as if nothing had ever passed between them, after which she handed for his inspection the anonymous letters received by her husband. Verren was obliged to peruse them under the scrutinizing eyes of a woman whose feelings he had wounded, and who was forced to despise him, to whom she had sacrificed all [41/42] that a virtuous woman holds most dear. Her looks but too plainly expressed her feelings. Verren had no excuse to make; they parted coldly: but the charm was broken, and he had rendered it impossible that a single honorable thought of himself should again dwell in the heart of a young, spiritual affectionate woman who seemed fashioned by the hand of love itself.


L'hypocrite en fraudes fertile
Dès l'enfance est pétri de fard,
Il sait colorer avec art
Le fiel que sa bouche distile.
Et la morsure du serpent
Est moins aigüe et moins subtile
Que le venin caché que sa bouche répand.

Every honest man loves to do good. The sweetest and most self satisfied feeling of which we are capable, is that of having relieved the misfortunes of others. Charity is one of the predominant virtues of Christianity, and is so justly considered as the foundation of all religion, that ministers are more particularly called upon to exercise its duties. Thus we [43/44] often see pious persons devoting their fortune to charitable uses, the distribution of which is left to the clergy; a legacy received with gratitude which enables them to distribute alms with a discernment that doubles its value. To give is generally easy; to give well is always difficult.

Charity and beneficence are sister virtues but never rivals. Benificence has founded establishments where the infirmities of this life are solaced without distinction of age or cause: hospitals are open to all those who suffer physically. Charity on the contrary is more particular in the distribution of her liberalities, and bestows them only after enquiry. Hospitals receive the old, the indigent and the incurable; and in the world the heads of the church whose office it is to carry hope and consolation to the bosom of afflicted families, become naturally the best judges that a generous heart can employ to give properly.

Since the foundation of the French Episcopal Church in New York, a special fund had been consecrated to certain acts of charity, and for a long time the pastor was deservedly the only distributor. This power so honorable to him who was endowed with it, seems nevertheless limited for Mr. A. Verren to a simple official formality. It might be thought perhaps that several hundred dollars left at his disposal to be distributed according to his wishes in [44/45] small sums, became for him full of embarrassment which augmented in consequence of the number of miseries which he had to relieve and his facility to distribute money which it was so agreeable to give. The details of distributing alms are now reduced to the formality of signing a check on the treasury of the congregation, which though of the smallest amount is paid to the person thus succored. However small the part allowed to him in that draft of integrity, it still leaves to Mr. A. Verren the power of exercising his despotism and of yielding to his base passions.

For a long time the treasury of the French Episcopal Church was opened with as much justice as precision to a family composed of a man and wife; the youngest of which could reckon more than sixty winters, the half of which they had passed together. Poor trades people limited in their wishes, they lived upon the produce of their labor. Each day brought them bread, but soon their increasing years diminished these necessary resources, they became indigent: accustomed to place their confidence in God and to thank him daily for the blessings bestowed upon them, they constantly implored in his temple a continuance of their strength and health. The appearance of this venerable couple fixed the attention of the founders, so in other times were Philemon and Beaucis honored and assisted.

These good people instructed that they could rely [45/46] upon succor so necessary to their subsistence, presented themselves each month confidently, and with gratitude, at the parsonage house. They considered Mr. Verren as the true minister of a God of goodness, who did not forget them at the close of a long but irreproachable life, nor did they even think of mourning when Mr. Verren forgetting, that the manner of giving doubles the value of the gift, caused them to call several times before giving the check for the accustomed sura. Far from suspecting in the conduct of the pastor a natural antipathy to the unfortunate, above all to that of the aged, our old couple returned peaceably, hoping another day to find him less occupied. Mr. Verren does not like to trouble himself where he has no personal motive, and as there was nothing flattering in the necessity he found himself in of receiving, hearing and serving these old people, poor and isolated in the world in which he was so fond of moving and shining, he became angry at each time he was obliged to receive their visit. The consequence of his bad humor, was that he made them renew many times their request without cause or excuse. At last the pertinacity of the poor people made their presence so irksome, as to be a kind of persecution to the unworthy rector; they however, were far from considering themselves importunate, since they came less to solicit than to receive what the distributor was obliged to grant. One day his impatience broke all bounds, his anger carried him away, and he cursed the [46/47] couple who remained confounded, speechless and trembling, before the apostle of Jesus Christ, who was vociferating the dreadful words of "Go to all the devils in hell!"

Ah! Mr. A. Verren.

"Quoi! vous êtes dévot, et vous vous emportez!"

To appreciate how barbarous and cruel was such conduct for those who were the object of it, it must be remembered that they were very old, pious, having not only respect but even the utmost veneration for their pastor. In the evening of life when one foot is already in the tomb, and we are preparing ourselves to appear before the Creator, his minister becomes for us a holy intercessor. It is to him we open our heart and ask if we are in a state of grace, and well prepared to render an account of our life sufficiently long. The elder we grow, the more our faculties become weakened, the higher we prize the words of the interpreter of the text. It was notwithstanding in these circumstances that the Reverend Verren in the place of consoling absolution, sends to hell those whom God has enjoined upon him, to serve, to clothe, to nourish, and lastly those to whom he has been ordered to give pecuniary assistance.

[48] Troubled in heart and soul, terrified and full of tears, oar good people departed from the inhospitable house of our small-footed prelate, not to go where his impious mouth had sent them, but to Bishop O---------, to whom they related their case and asked spiritual counsel. This ecclesiastic so worthy of his high station used persuasive, conciliating and consoling language towards them, and sent them away more tranquil and happy. But his duty was only half executed, it remained with him to reprimand. He sent for the imperious and choleric Verren. Our readers may suppose what took place between two men who worship God in the same manner. It is enough for us to relate the new feelings to which this conversation gave birth in the heart of Mr. Verren.

"Dieu fit du repentir la vertu des mortela,"

but Mr. Verren who has no ambition to practice a single virtue either by inspiration or repentance, swears and promises to himself that the old couple Barbelet, for we must give their name, shall repent their infamous report.

The vestry of the church decided that a stipulated sum should be paid henceforth monthly to these old people by the treasurer without any farther [48/49] formality. Thus this allowance is no longer occasional, arbitrary or customary; it becomes now a vested right.

It is but just to add that by this resolution, the vestry having authorized the treasurer to pay monthly the sum allowed to Barbelet, they freed Mr. Verren from what was to him an insupportable burden. But in this act of humanity, wisdom and foresight, the vestry gave satisfaction to each party, in this way, that the assistance allowed was too little for the wants of that poor family, and that Mr. Verren was to have the power to augment it from time to time by an additional draft when in his judgment it was necessary.

The part left to his good feelings or his charily was a snare into which his perverseness causes him once more to fall. When we say the snare, we do not pretend to say that the snare was intentional; but though accidental and resulting from the circumstances, Mr. Verren had not sense enough to evade it. To the demand of additional assistance the Reverend gentleman was deaf, or to be exact in this simple expose of facts we will say that he listened to the too plausible motives of the demand, that he was [49/50] even willing to grant it, to give it his sanction, his signature, but on a condition to which Barbelet was not willing to subscribe. Mr. Verren is firm, he determined to persist until hunger, misery and privation shall have procured a full and complete retractation, worded and prepared by himself, of the complaint made to his bishop, or till his slander may once more have been brought in play to aid his base conduct.

Minister of the God of mercy, far from forgiving those by whom he pretends to have been offended, he leagues himself with the infernal deities against virtue, suffering without support in this world, where power too often constitutes right.

It was in vain that the poor couple Barbelet presented themselves to Mr. Verren, he fears not to require a declaration which he knows to be a lie. Their refusal did not shake his determination; "Sign or you will get nothing." They would not sign, and notwithstanding the privations to which they are a prey, during this inclement season they do not sign it. Ah! it is not at the age of more than sixty that we begin a career of disgrace; it is not with a flourish of a pen that we would sully a long life of honesty. [50/51] This is what Mr. Verren would not believe: he is not yet satisfied.

Barbelet and his wife did not cease to visit the church, although an unworthy and hypocritical minister officiated there; they went not for him, but for Him who sees and judges all. Their presence was embittering to Verren. If for some there is no greater burden than to receive a favor; for the unjust and the wicked nothing is more hateful than the sight of those who have a right to accuse them, so true is it that we cannot stifle the voice of conscience.

Our Reverend gentleman determined to get rid of them at any price, to lose sight of those whom he had dared to send where no hope is permitted. He determined to be stopt by no means whatever, and crime itself shall be invoked to aid him.

"Tant de fiel entie-t-il en l'âme d'un dévot?"

Anonymous letters of which he has so often availed himself, are in this case arms not sufficiently powerful, it is necessary to resort to perjury, but perjury clad in all it's forms. With this view he opened his mind to a member of the vestry, he explained to him his unhappiness, [51/52] described to him the anguish he was a prey to, and avowed to him that he would enjoy no rest, no satisfaction while those Barbelet were under his eyes. He dared to entreat, to conjure, to beseech this vestry man to accuse at the next meeting, those old people, and to declare openly that they kept a house of ill-fame. That affirmation would be sufficient to drive them from the temple, to forbid their entering it, will make up for their refusal of retractation, and will justify all his conduct towards them.

Foedius hoc aliquid quandoque audebis?

All the eloquence of Mr. Verren shipwrecked in this cause, against a man who thus far, had been but too weak and condescending, in making himself the confident and instrument of his bad actions; but there is a limit where even slavish devotion ceases and to that limit Mr. Verren had forced him. A first refusal did not discourage him; he returned several times to the charge and became troublesome, and even so commanding that the vestry man was obliged to retire entirely from the affairs of the Episcopal Church, and lastly to break off all connexion with Mr. Verren who had become too despicable and odious in his eyes.

The Barbelets, still without receiving an addition to the small assistance voted by the vestry, and faithfully paid by the treasurer, a prey to a thousand little [52/53] privations, consequent upon their noble refusal; they do not, however, discontinue to visit the church; it is probable that it is the only place in this world where they and the pastor could meet, because in the next the just and the wicked have each a separate dwelling, and our old people would not go where Mr. Verren wished they should precede him.


Maxima debetur pueris reverentia.

Nondum experta novi gaudia prima tori.

.......Null a reparabilis arte
Laesa pudicitia est.

Among the families by whom our reverend hero was received as a welcome guest was the family of Mr. C--------, in Duane Street, who expected to meet in the constant visits of the head of the church, both [54/55] a protection and good example for his numerous family, which consisted of a son and several young daughters; the conversation which was varied was always of the purest morality; this circumstance had made the presence of Mr. Verren almost a necessity for Mr. C--------, who being obliged to devote himself almost entirely to commercial affairs, saw with satisfaction that he was so well replaced at home.-- His son had just set out for the South, where he intended to remain for some time: meanwhile the eldest daughters divided between them the cares of house-keeping and of welcoming their visitors. The youngest, scarcely fifteen years of age, excluded herself entirely from society, and for this purpose had chosen as her favorite retreat the lowest apartment in the house which looked out upon the street) whence there was a direct entrance.

This young lady of a florid complexion, as is usually the case at her age, was nevertheless conspicuous for the developement of her form and the gracious contour of her person, seldom to be seen at her tender period of life; her soul, the serenity of which nothing had as yet troubled, was disposed to confidence, her mind cultivated by a good education was fond of virtue, which the natural dispositions of her heart made sweet and dear to her; her taste for study separated her from her sisters, and the Reversed pastor willingly encouraged her inclination for [55/56] the retreat, expecting to take advantage of the time stolen from their presence and superintendance. Under pretence of religious and moral conferences, he appointed particular hours for his visits, which, however, he took care to arrange in such manner as to apprehend no interruption, and that their frequent and mysterious regularity might not cause remarks adverse to his purposes.

After having thus prepared the field where hereafter his lascivious tactics were to be displayed, nothing more remained for him to do, than to prepare his victim to suffer martyrdom with the most discret resignation. It is not to an Elmira that he adresses himself, it is not a wordly doctrine that he is obliged to paraphrase, in order to connect it with his secret designs, but it is an entire new morality which he is obliged to create, and which he must make her adopt as simple and in common practice. Seduction borrows a language opposite to that of conversion; seduction addresses itself to a young soul, naturally so ductile that it receives every form that the seducer pleases to give. Conversion on the contrary has a double end to reach; at first it must destroy adopted and practised principles, in order to substitute those which are new and opposite. The hypocrite may say:

"Ah! ce n'est pas pécher que pecher en silence"

[57] Because he must avow that the act he proposes to his victim is a sin, yet it loses much of its weight in consequence of the secrecy with which it is surrounded

"Le mal n'est jamais que dans 1'éclat qu'on fait.
Le scandale du monde cst ce qoi fait l'offense."

But the seducer in order not to shock the heart he wishes to enslave, and in order not to alarm that virtue he endeavors to destroy, must make no mention of the word SIN. The sacrifice which he covets would not seem perfect in his eyes unless it were attended with simplicity and nature. The singular novelty of the doctrine he preaches in impassioned language, cast a doubf in the mind of a young girl of fifteen, which the bewilderment of the senses increased; this moment which he has prepared and which he waits for, is the triumph which is now his own, but by a kind of subtle perversity he delays to seize upon it, he enjoys it in silence, he allows it to inflame, to be consumed and to be extinguished in an infatuating ignorance, in order to see it reappear with more power and intoxication, and forced to solicit apparently the entire abnegation of itself. The wretch has even compelled the victim to solicit the executioner to hasten the sacrifice. Such was the line of conduct from which Mr. Verren did not deviate for a single moment.

Already several weeks have elapsed that were to [57/58] bring to capitulation virtue ignorant of its value, but which as yet guarded itself by the instinct of it's own preservation; the hour seemed to have come: to his words, to his language, to his supplications, to his dramatic arts Verren dared to add the attack; his immodest hands have seconded his brazen tongue, but if the soul was shaken and irresolute, if the mind was moved and troubled in this moment of tumultuous feeling, reason regained it's dominion, personal dignity revolted against the gross-ness of such profanation, innocence had not yet succumbed.


If we compromise the decrees of Heaven

our seducer effected a reconciliation with his own senses; in his disappointment he might say with Dryden:

If Jove and Heav'n my just desires deny,
Hell shall the power of Heav'n and Jove supply.
[Virgil has also said: Flectere si nequeo Superos, Acherontas movebo.]

He implores her pardon, he humbles himself, but the impostor fawns only in order to seize again his victim, he violates the promise of forgetfulness of the past, intended by him only as a postponement of his purpose, and in the kiss of peace again inebriates [58/59] himself with voluptuousness, and exclaims with transport like Heloise:

"Couvre moi des baisers, je réverai le reste!" [Give all thou canst,--and I will dream the rest.--Pope]

She has not yet quite succumbed; at each conference were new attacks, but also fresh resistance, resistance, without discouragement, since the assailant is each time vanquished by the natural exhaustion of material energy; the danger is pressing, already the dove no longer trembles under the hand of the sacrificer; no longer does the sacred sword wear an alarming aspect; she is still ignorant that like the knife of the Druids it sheds the purest blood of human victims immolated at the altars of profane men; yet a little more imprudent confidence and the young maiden will know that innocence and mystery were never long united. Under these circumstances it is reported that her brother, her dear brother had arrived, and that jealous for the honor of his family, he will soon take under his protection the sister he had quitted with regret.

At this news Verren was alarmed, he feels he must give up that which he had so much coveted. He must raise the siege even without the honor of having made a breach; like a timid general and unskilful diplomatist, he has consumed his time and wasted his [59/60] forces without having vanquished or seduced his prey; she escaped his hands stronger by virtue of the power he has revealed to her, and without benefitting himself; notwithstanding his perfidy, he is the sport of one who can boast only her ingeniousness.

However, in separating from her he will leave a memento of their so mystical conferences. Upon the arrival of the brother, Verren had already discontinued his visits, and when the young lady left New York for Europe he presented her with a costly pencil case. A philosophical writer has said that the oaths of love should be written on sand, and our Reverend hero wishes the remembrance of his own to be more durable without, however, their being engraved.

Scripta manent,
Facta probant,

but the simple marks of a pencil are too soon effaced; a suitable emblem of his passion for the young traveller, who knew no more of him than as a pale and counterfeit impression of true love, the traces of which cannot have such a duration as to remind her hereafter of it's ephemeral existence: like a thought inscribed on the flying sheet of an album.

This intrigue of the holy man did not cause him to lose, sight of either his personal security or his interest. His security admonished him to retire before [60/61] the consummation of his victory, and his interest, if credit be given to him in his confidential communications, he accounted for the amount paid for the famous pencil-case, as being one of the thousand occasions he had of doing good and relieving misfortune.


Un écrit anonyme n'est pas d'un honnête home;
Quand j'attaque quelqu'un, je le dois, je me nomme.

The visit of the Prince de Joinville to New York worked up as we well remember the self-love of many individuals. Every one wished to be French, and the French themselves did not understand each other, one wished this; another wished that. The rich importer forgetting that he lived in a free country, tried to substitute the aristocracy of money for that of birth or true merit. Those who were disposed to pay a large sum for admission thought that they alone [62/63] should approach the prince; but there was no pit nor gallery, the boxes held all. Such was the intention of these matadors in asking for a distinction, which, however, they are very far from practicing in their mercantile logic, since though they place in the same line the costly tissue of Thibet, the modest print of Mulhouse, and the durable stuff of Jouy, they do not offer them at the same price. The mechanic, on the other hand, in his simplicity, seriously believing in the principles of equality, which in France he had been persuaded reigned absolute here, demanded a public entertainment, where he might see close to him one of the sons of him who in 1830, we very well remember, shook hands with the workmen of Paris, and drank with them from the canteen at the bar of the corner.

Those who were judicious wondered at so extraordinary an infatuation towards a young man who had not yet made his first essay in arms, and who was known only by "the gentleman his father," as was wittily said by a very simple man.

As for the gentlemen of the press, they wondered at nothing, but laughed at all sides, expecting in this, as in all cases, a good dinner; for on these occasions they are always or almost always invited whether French or not, because the Amphitrions when they have good manners and tact, like to se e the good taste, order, intelligence and liberality which signalized the festive occasion publicly noticed.

The dignified, were the only persons who seriously thought of the proper way to receive a son of France, of being remarked by him and in advancing their fortune to serve their ambition. The latter were in our opinion alone justifiable, since a visit from the king's heir in an ultramarine state, is as good fortune to the public functionary resident there and distant from the official mutations which occur at his court, as is a rise on silk or cotton to the importer or a change of dress or furniture to the tradesman.

At last, however, gentle reader, of all the projects which had been proposed by the intelligent gentlemen who are the officious disposers of public rejoicings, at New York, one was finally chosen, which it was reasonable to suppose would give to the Prince de Joinville a cordial and flattering reception. Upon the Consul General of [64/65] France devolved the arduous task of drawing up the lists of invitation and designating the guests, a painful task indeed, almost one of the thirteenth labors of Hercules. Everyone wished to approach the sun, all wished to be planets, few consented to be satellites, no one wished to remain a star; they were like the American army, which consists of all officers. All hearts were overjoyed, their satisfaction knew no bounds and seemed to mount the third heaven; some say that there were some who lost their wits, so great was the rage for appearing at the grand festival. Oh! Mr. de la Forest had a most difficult task to perform. Did he well? He did his best and no one complained; the best and shortest eulogium which can be passed upon his conduct in this trying occasion.

We may be mistaken in this, but mean that no one complained openly, or with reason. To Mr. Verren was it left to create a schism. The why and wherefore is too curious not to be given in detail. Trifles require time to acquire importance: witness the balloons!

Although the fact of his being a pastor of a French congregation would not have assured him a seat at the feast in honor of the prince, Mr. Verren would have moved all New York to obtain [65/66] one. He! miss an opportunity of showing himself in public, He! who for want of the theatre had chosen the pulpit to say: "Look ye crowd it is I who speak." He! say we, to remember on that occasion that modesty is a sacerdotal virtue, no! to suppose this, would be to suppose him capable of an effort towards excellence.

The Consul General then sent him a letter of invitation.

Socrates was accused of hypocrisy and was told that the index of all vices was marked on his countenance. The sage answered: "it is true, but I knew myself very early, and had the courage to subdue my evil propensities."

If physiology was known to the ancients, we have besides phrenology, of which they were ignorant, and these two sciences united have enabled us to discover on the head of Mr. Verren, baseness, cupidity, artifice, dissimulation and pride. But you cannot find on it goodness, veneration, approbation or self-esteem. Those narrow temples, that contracted forehead so retreating, that sharp and almost pointed top leave no place for virtues which distinguish the good and religious man. Those thin lips, that pointed [66/67] nose, that sinister look, those fascinating eyes, like the tempter of Eve, designate anger, imposture and wickedness; the care and elegance of his dress and toilet betray vanity, but do not reveal self satisfaction.

Well! these signs which do not deceive the observer, show themselves in the acts both of his public and private life. It would be sufficient for us to analyse scientifically the characteristic marks of Mr. Verren's head, to prove him at least false and hypocritical. But the adversaries of the science would side with him; his friends, if any remain, would excuse him even in his excesses, whence we also would conclude, that in yielding to his natural inclination, he shows himself to be scientifically wicked; but in order to avoid any dispute on this head we will let his own acts speak for themselves. Every one can judge of the fact, and we are grossly mistaken if experience do not still strengthen phrenology.

However, the much desired day at last has come; at the appointed hour, putting on all the coquetry and elegance of a young abbot of the time of the regency, smelling of amber and rose, treading lightly on his toes, and pretending to none of the gravity in mien and person which so well suits [67/68] the minister of a grave and religious worship, our Reverend hero flutters and whirls about before his Psyche, preluding in this way his visit to his royal highness. The Abbé Bernis did just so in order to attract the notice of Louis XV. His madrigals had unvailed the witty courtier and opened for him the way to favor. He was protected by Madame de Pompadour, who at that time could do any thing except to soften the austere virtue of old Cardinal de Fleury, who constantly refused to inscribe the name of the witty Abbot on the list of benifices, and ironically answered to the description made to him of the unpleasant position of M. de Bernis in these two verses so well known as being written by the young Abbot;

Quand on sait aimer et plaire
A-t-on besoin d'autres biens?

But the reigns of Pompadour and Du Barry have passed away as well as that of Dubois, and although Mr. Verren has before him these famous examples of the success of impudence and vice, yet he comes too late, for we are greatly deceived if he ever become either a bishop or a cardinal.

Nothing is so soon forgotten as the remembrance of those privations with which we have been afflicted, except the appearance of those virtues which we should possess and practice. Mr. Verren evinces both these traits of character. If the prelate whom [68/69] we have just mentioned acted as he had done, it was much later, and when fortune had quite spoiled him; however we must acknowledge in the abbot-cardinal a levity of mind which could hardly become enfeebled by age and in which it is impossible to discover a natural hardness of heart. If at times he was unjust towards poverty and modest talent, it was without reflection, and never for the pleasure of humiliating, and still less for that of vengeance; but lie was really possessed of great intelligence.

A trait in his character deserves mention here, since it is consonant with the pride of our poor man of Marseilles, now become a rich apostle of the gospel.

In one of his circuits the primate cardinal was received at Rhodes, the principal place in his diocese, with all the honors due to his high rank; he was fond of music; one day he was told of a poor deserving minister who was officiating at a small parish out of town, as being a singer of great merit. He replied that he would hear him after dinner; the friends of the curate thought his fortune would be made if he were so fortunate as to please the cardinal. The priest arrived and sung in his best manner. The cardinal was delighted with hearing so fine, so sonorous a voice, and when the vocalist of the surplice had exhausted his stock, beckoning him with his handmaid: ''Enough Abbot I am satisfied with you......but you must be warm, [69/70] pass to the office and refresh yourself.--------Thank you, my lord, I sometimes sing, but I never drink there," replied the offended priest who was himself at least of as high extraction as M. de Bernis. [Office designates in French the dining room for servants, and the celebration of the holy mass,--hence the pun.] That word caused the cardinal to reflect upon himself, and if he punished the boldness of the reply, though deserved, he did not, however, oppress his inferior.

In his behaviour towards the family of Barbelet Mr. Verren ought to have imitated, though it had been in his faults, the Abbot who had become a cardinal.

The reader will pardon us this long digression from our subject, sometimes the mind must be elevated from the object which occupies it most.

"A monster painted without art would be too unsightly to the eye."

But to return to the history of our hero, there he is, a true drone in the clerical hive, distributing his salutations upon the right and left, curvetting here and stammering a compliment there, and appearing to give himself much ado, least he should be lost in the multitude of guests with no one to gaze upon him; however it is no matter lie will make amends for that at dinner. Silting near the prince he will wait for and seize if he does not start, the occasion of placing before him an impromptu which he has prepared for eight days past; but alas in this world

[71] Vanitas vanitatum
Et omnia Vanitas!

a vague report reaches his ears; he feels angry, he is uneasy, he is on the point of tearing his ruffles so much is he vexed at this bad news. He sends a faithful emissary, and he learns that his cover is placed far off from the royal guest whose welcome they are celebrating, so very far that every hope vanishes of setting up for a ready speaker and wit. In spite of himself he is obliged to be modest and reserved. He cannot accept this part, he will not accept it; pride overcomes reason. Under pretence that the place appointed for him was not suitable for his dignity, he does not even present himself in the saloon of reception; perhaps he hopes even to shine by his absence, but he mistakes, it is scarcely remarked, and he is as easily replaced there as elsewhere; in fact it was soon forgotten that he was ever spoken of. The expense of his last toilet is nothing, his green-room rehearsals are not entirely thrown away, they will do for another occasion, but his mortification will bear it's own fruits. Never did a hissed actor or unsuccessful author curse more cordially a "stupid majority."

He considers how he shall best calm his wounded self-love. Heaven had nothing to do in this affair, but he who pretends to be a minister endowed by the Almighty, addresses to him what he is pleased to [71/72] call an injury rendered more aggravated, because it was premeditated. He is one of those men who know, however, to make a cover

Of the interests of Heaven, for their own resentments.

Pastor of a reformed worship he expects to be equal to the head of the Mother Church. By reflecting on what remains for him to do, he is forced to yield to the humiliating conviction that his faults are caused by his too susceptible pride, and that if he speak of indignity, he will join ridicule to scandal. The fear of such a report keeps him within the bounds of prudence; still the whole occurrence together with his constrained position serves only to aggravate the wound.

Meanwhile a newspaper very innocent in every respect gave all the details of the festive occasion; every line of which caused new mortification to Mr. Verren. In his opinion every thing was ridiculous and stupid; the description, the journal, the editor, the compiler, dinner, stewards, prince, poet, songs and toasts, were all that could cause nausea or provoke gaping almost as bad as a poor sermon: Mr. Verren has skill in that.

This publicity given to the particulars of a festival which could not be brilliant when deprived of the lustre of his presence, suggested to him the idea to pour out all the bile by which he is suffocated [72/73] upon the head of the honorable functionary who had done his best, who had respected etiquette and fulfilled all the courtesies of society.

He takes the pen in hand, but is troubled by his own reflections, for occasionally he has some, lest by his style he should be recognized as a disappointed guest, and as be was the only one dissatisfied he determines that he will not, this time, expose himself; he will wait a while.

A more suitable opportunity soon offers. The journal which we have mentioned above devotes some lines in eulogizing a French public functionary who having obtained from his government leave of absence, came to spend some time with the French Consul General. Ah! this is a good chance for the coward who is upon the watch; quick, a most biting letter of the greatest severity against the man who would not permit him to sit down upon the coat-skirts of M. de Joinville. He will attack the son and the father-in-law together, and kill two birds with one stone. "Quick, my secretary, copy this foul pasquinade!"

Of all the meanness which his cowardice is capable of, we are now about to expose that which is most ridiculous as well as odious. We wish to show Mr. Verren under all his forms, and to leave our readers nothing to desire. The following letter was [73/74] written by his hand, was composed by him, and was sent by him to the Consul General. Remember, it is a minister, a pastor, a man of education who borrows such language, such a style towards a high public functionary, and without any motive or provocation, or without a possible admissible excuse. Here nothing is disguised, it is indeed Mr. Verren who degrades himself, who undervalues himself at his own free will; his natural disposition breaks out. Had he confined himself to a spirited or witty anonymous letter as he could, and certainly would have done had he known that a day would come when the real author would be revealed, we might perhaps have pardoned him; for every honest man says with the good Andrieux:

Aux travers de l'esprit aisément je fais grace,
Mais les fautes du ereur, jamais je ne les passe.

What after this are we to think of the meditations and recollections of this divine, if alone and by himself he do not fear to express himself in such terms! But our readers are kept too long in suspense; here is a specimen of Mr. Verren's style:

"You impudent rascal, who disgrace the French name in this country, tell us in the columns of the famous Courier des Etats-Unis, how many bottles of brandy, and how many visits to the B--------1[In the original the word is written out.] [74/75] have you paid to that bribed, muzzled, conceited fellow De Behr, to write in his asinine effusions, the ridiculous article concerning that other simpleton Hauteville, who is indeed worthy to be reckoned one of your family. Execrable brute, brigand in look, in carriage and in deed, it. is well fur you never to walk without your two guardian angels as another has said, were it not for them I would slap you the first lime that I encountered your disgusting snout."

At the end of the volume we give a facsimile of the original.

The grossness of ibis piece of Billingsgate is sufficient to cover the author with eternal infamy. None of his shafts reached the point against which they were directed: mud does not corrode marble. M. de la Forest was in formed who was theauthor of this anonymous letter; he was urged to use it as an instrument of his vengeance, but was contented to say in the language of J. B. Rousseau:

Moi, j'aime mieux pardonner une injure,
Que d'illustier un faquin ignoré.

but we who have as yet received no injury from Mr. Verren think differently, and shall therefore render notorious this sneaking black coat.


Man is an incomprehensible being! In studying him we are often led to believe that the pagans were better than we, who worship the living and true God; at least their actions were compatible with their belief, and every one worshipped some particular divinity, under whose protection or influence he wished to place himself. The drunkard devoted himself to Bacchus, the Cyprian to Venus and honored Lucina. Warriors worshipped Mars, who never saw the base or coward among his officials; rogues, impostors, thieves and lovers feared Jupiter, but enrolled them selves under the wings of Mercury. For us--we acknowledge a Supreme Being, good by his essence, and though we all wish to honor and serve him, we commit all manner of crimes; we are more guilty than heathens, for we are hypocritical and perjured.

[77] Mr. Verren, as a clergyman, has betrayed all his duties, all his obligations. He is hard towards the poor, perfidious to his friends, unfaithful to his wife, a blasphemer of his GoJ, and yet to hear him speak he is the worthy apostle of the Holy Evangelist. It is not enough that he shews himself as a bad priest, as a man he is yet more incomprehensible. lie whose passions are unbridled, who feeds upon egotism, who delights in transferring his affections, who immolates friend, mistress and faith to the capricious wants that devour him; keeps, however, the little constancy which heaven has given him, to the sole and last friend which remains to the poor. He is passionately fond of dogs, the living image of fidelity and devotedness. He quits not the object of his protection any more than St. Roc, leaves his quadruped.

Pour un homme tel que le notre,
On doit être surpris, je crois
Que Monsieur Verren, une fois,
Ait su prendre sur lui d'imiter un apôtre.

Our pious gentleman, it is Mr. Verren of whom we are speaking, has a thousand cares and attentions for the canine race, which he refuses to the poor of his congregation. His purse is never opened to give a shilling to the indigent, and yet [77/78] he has often paid fifty dollars for a dog, or for the services of a veterinary surgeon. Meat prepared by his orders, and often under his personal direction is furnished in abundance to his canine favorites. You will ask of us reader, which race the gentleman prefers? that is yet an object of remark.

Mr. Verren is not partial to the elegant and graceful greyhound, the intelligent and coquettish spaniel; the fierce and courageous bull-dog; the active and persevering terrier; the rapid and indefatigable hound; or the patient and watchful pointer; it is none of these, but it is the superb and lazy dog of Newfoundland.

If we were not fearful of committing an unpardonable sin in supposing that the worthy Reverend expects to pass from this world to the regions of the damned, we would be led to believe that he is trying to make interest with Cerebus beforehand in flattering that guardian ef his future home: but the idea that the pastor Verren ever thinks of preparing for himself a kind reception in the infernal mansion, cannot enter the mind of any one who considers the trouble he is at, and the efforts he makes to prepare for himself one of the [78/79] most incommodous places that Dante has described as appropriated to the wicked. Whatever may be his real motives secret or apparent, it is nevertheless true that he spends to procure dogs of that species, to feed them, or to cure them when sick, sums which would make many families easy, and misery less painful to the old Mr. Verren who in Marseilles is closing his life in poverty.

No one, says an old French proverb, is more prodigal than a miser when he commences an expensive life: we may paraphrase this and say that no one is more generous and affectionate to animals than he who makes sport of human affections. Richelieu played with his cats, and the blood which this prelate shed upon the scaffolds can hardly be washed away by the tears which he caused to flow. However he spent whole hours in contemplating with delight the graceful movements of his kittens. Notwithstanding there was more anology, more physiological affinity in the taste of this cardinal than can be found in this mania of M-. Verren, who seems to be a man of anomalies.

In placing Mr. Anthony Verren in comparison with some great historical names we do our [79/80] best to avenge him for not having approached the Prince de Joinville as near as he would have desired, but if our parallels are always deficient; it is not our fault, nor that of the great men whose names have dropped from our pen; the fault is with Mr. Verren, so unfortunate in his proximity; one would almost believe that it is his glory to be without model, without master, and without imitators; if it be so, he has this time obtained our wishes that he may be gratified, and that with him may forever be extinguished the race of the deceitful and the hypocritical and above all of the anonymous slanderers.

The most fatal gift, that heaven in its wrath has given to mortals.


We have reached the end of the task we had imposed on us, and we think we neither have said too much nor too little.

If we had said more, we would have betrayed secrets which are not our own, and would have afflicted many families. We have chosen our examples where the fewest wounds were to be re-opened; where a too piercing light could not annihilate a sweet peaceful security. There are illusions which it is inhuman to destroy.

If we had said more, we should also have been justly accused of malice, wickedness and hatred against a man who is quite a stranger to us.

On another side, had we said less, our accusations [81/82] becoming vague, would have been considered as betraying a love of scandal, and a desire of a vulgar notoriety, which would have blunted our arrows, and taken away from our behaviour the character of moderation, difficult to be kept in the species, which we have endeavoured to maintain.

We have wished to be strong, just, true. We were forced then to be brief in the narration, sparing the number of the chapters, and prudent in the choice of the facts.

We wished to establish four principal points;

1. Hardness towards the poor.

2. Dissolmness of morals.

3. Immorality in his principles.

4. Habits of vice and calumny.

We think we have accomplished this end! our merit is limited not to have exposed, but to have dared to bring before the tribunal of public opinion, a man in the high position which Mr. Verren occupies. A word about ourselves perhaps will explain what will be called our great temerity.

Engaged in France, during more than fifteen [82/83] years with the liberal opposition press, we have early fed upon the hatred for despotism, hypocrisy and Jesuitism. In a daily controversy and daily becoming more animated, we have often paid by our liberty, and our fortune, till in 1830 we had also payed by our person, our sincere attachment to the public liberty.

The first success of the revolution of 1830 changed our offensive position. But when that great republican victory was not any longer considered, and only treated as a simple event, we were not then permitted by circumstances to reassume the part we had fulfilled, against a dynasty to which we had never been tied by any sentiment of gratitude or personal obligation. We then thought of gaining a position which in future would be less liable to change, than is generally obtained by the spirit of public parties.

Since our residence in the United States, very nearly six years, our views have been directed to public and agricultural economy: nevertheless we have not spent our leisure in idleness. A confidential but always a befitting collaboration, which we are always ready to avow, has often occupied our time when not otherwise employed, [83/84] and has served to direct us, and to invite us to reassume our French editorial and literary habits. It is when a temporary truce suspends these sports of our pen, that more materials than was necessary to reanimate that antipathy we have always felt for scamps and hypocrites were placed into our hands and called us from our frivolous compositions. In grasping vice, if we may use the expression, in a mortal strugle, we are obeying feelings as innate to our heart, as is the forgetfulness of every virtue to the man whom we attack. We war not against the moral character which we delight to honor, and with which he has been fortunate enough to clothe himself. One of us must necessarily succumb in the contest which we have deliberately undertaken, and for ourselves we do not fear the issue. The noise of his fall would not even disturb the silence of the solitude where we love to dwell.

Unknown and still more, a stranger to the society of New-York, we expect nothing from it; neither praise nor blame, persecution nor vengeance, thanks nor felicitations. Upon our pas-Sage we have attacked an evil doer, as a traveller crushes a viper beneath his feet. His action is natural but not meritorious; even so do we esteem our own.


It is with the original letters which we have in our hands as with the other materials, the difficulty is in choosing the one least offensive to morality and modesty, least wounding to particular persons. We think that the one which we have given, answers our end perfectly well, at least we assure the reader that it is the least dangerous under these various bearings.

Ab uno disce omnes.

All the other documents, letters, witnesses, reports, rumours, &c. &c, we keep in reserve to aid us, not in attacking, for we never, like the ass kick the dead lion, but in defending ourselves, if [85/86] audacity and folly join themselves to traduce us, either before a court of justice, or in public opinion, because of this publication.

We hope that our moderation will be appreciated.

The fac simile which follows can not effect the person for whom the original was written; we will therefore ho excusable for giving it a publicity, which becomes indispensable to our task.

N. B. The words as "Another has said" which begins the antepenultimate Hue, are not as one would believe a simple trivial expression, but an allusion to another bad composition which Mr. Verren has clothed in dramatic form by a certain, Mr. M--------e and in which he made Mr. de la Forest and several other respectable persons play a part. This interlude in one act, of which a very few copies were printed, composed on the occasion of the visit of the Prince de Joinville, has been distributed by its authors, who have had the courageous modesty to remain anonymous. The whole of it is meanly written, without wit, without point, without taste, and in no respect could fix the attention, and deserves from us no other notice.

Project Canterbury