1850 Letter to the Editor
Religious Persecution a Hoax?
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[From York Democratic Press copied from microfilm copy found in The Historical Society of York County Library, 250 E. Market St. York Pa. 17403. Italics and capitalization closely matches that found in the article. -- Contributed by Bob Coraor.]

York Democratic Press, July 16, 1850.

For the Democratic Press.

Messers. Editors: You will recollect that in my first article in your paper I publicly declared that the narratives given by Rev. Mr. SAWTELL concerning the persecution of Dr. KALLEY and others on the Island of Maderia, were never proved to be base fabrications, either by Protestant authority or any other authority, in this place or in any other place, by Mr. MARTIN or any other man. After all that has been written on the subject, I still maintain this deliberate declaration; for, if these narratives have been proved untrue, it surely can be shown when, by whom, upon what evidence, they have been proved no! If they have been proved untrue upon Protestant authority, or any other authority, that authority can surely be given! If they have been proved so in this place, or in any other place, such place can surely be named, and the evidence which was presented there can be presented here! If they have been proved base fabrications by Mr. MARTIN, as he claims has been the case, then Mr. MARTIN must still be able to prove them base fabrications, and the evidence which convinced some in his own church, may be expected to convince others who can only find access to this testimony in the public prints. I will confess to a desire to see this evidence upon which the narratives of Mr. SAWTELL have been pronounced a base fabrication. If we have been deceived in Mr. SAWTELL, we ought certainly to be made acquainted with the fact before he comes again; and all judges of the Rules of Logic know, that when a man pronounces the statements of a public lecturer to be fabrications, the whole burden of proving that they are so, rests upon himself. I repeat the declaration, that this proof has not been give; if it be not given very shortly, the public will be confirmed in their suspicions of what is the real reason!

I stated in my first number, that persecutions arose against Dr. KALLEY, because the basis of instruction in his schools at Madeira was the Portuguese Bible--the work of God! And I added, "The people had been destitute of the Bible." True--says the objector--but what Bible? "The Protestant Bible," he answers. Not so fast, however; it was no Protestant Bible, it was the Catholic Bible, the Holy Bible, the word of God! That was the Book of which the inhabitants of Madeira had been so very destitute previous to the labors of Dr. KALLEY. THERE IS BUT ONE BIBLE. The first volume of it, or the Old Testament, written in the Hebrew language--and the second volume, or the New Testament, written in the Greek Language--these 2 volumes compose the Bible, from which thousands of copies have been printed, and of which thousands of translations have been made. One of these translations, was the translation into the Portuguese language which Dr. KALLEY used and distributed, and which alone he used and distributed on the Island of Madeira. Now mark what follows:--That translation was made by ANTONIO PEREIRA, a Romish Priest, and it was sanctioned by the Queen & the Patriarch of Portuagal; it was faithfully printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society, and corresponded in all respects with the Lisbon Edition; so that the bible circulated by Dr. KALLEY was the very same translation of the Bible which was sanctioned in Portugal, both by the Archbishop and by her majesty the Queen!

Do you ask what is my authority for this statement? I reply, Dr. KALLEY stated this at a public meeting in London, on the 6th of November, 1846, and his statement was published far and wide in many of the Journals of that time, and this is a true copy of it.

Well--what else says Dr. KALLEY?-- He is speaking of what he terms Popery. He says "In England she wishes to persuade men that she is not the enemy of the Bible itself, but only of spurious and adulterated editions, and she made a similar profession in Madeira. In 1840, the Bishop of Funchal expressed a wish to see a copy of the Bible that was being put into the hands of his people. One was gladly sent to him. On the 21st of May he placed it in the hands of three Canons of the Cathedral, and appointed them as a committee to examine it, and to report to him as to its correctness or incorrectness. Two years and four months afterwards, he published a Pastoral, wherein he stated that the Commission had reported "that there was scarcely a verse of any chapter either in the Old or New testament that was not more or less notably adulterated"! And he added, that "he excommunicated, ipso facto, all who should read those Bibles"! On reading this Pastoral, I was confounded. I did not believe that the British and Foreign Bible Society had issued an unfaithful reprint of PEREIRA'S Bible, and could not suppose it possible that 3 canons should risk their character by stating a bare-faced flasehood. What was my surprise in finding upon getting a copy of the Lisbon Edition of the bible, and comparing it with that of the Bible Society, that in the Gospel of St. Matthew there was not an alteration in any verse of that book! I immediately published an answer to the Pastoral, advising that His Excellency the Bishop should suspend his curse upon the Work of God, until it could be seen whether the other books were as correct as St. Matthew's Gospel. In consequence of the Pastoral, the Judge came to the jail with a public prosecutor and other officers, and ordered all the boxes of the Prisoners to be searched for Bibles--and he took away every copy of the Scriptures that he found there! The Chief Police Magistrate went to a school supported by English charity, and took away 30 Bibles, and all the Testaments he could find!--During the ensuing week the commission published an answer to my observations, in which they reasserted, that there was scarcely a verse of any chapter, either of the Old or New Testament, that was not adulterated! But the comparison of the 2 Editions went on; upwards of 5000 verses were examined and the result was, a complete Refutation of the Commissioners Report!--

Within 2 months after the Bishop's curse on these books of God, there came from Lisbon an order from the Portuguese Government in which Her Majesty the Queen approved of these very Bibles, and stated that they were approved by the Archbishop also! But notwithstanding this, the Bishop's curse still rests upon the book of God; the Priests, from the Pulpit, declare that it is a Book from Hell, and should be burned with the hands that handle it; and, when my house was attacked on the 9th of August, 1846, every copy of the Sacred Scriptures which was found was actually thrown into a fire, on the public street, by the mob, when they assertained that their expected human victims had escaped their outrage." Address by Robert R. Kalley, M.D., London, 1846.

So much for the kind of Bible distributed in the schools and among the people of Madeira by Dr. KALLEY--so much for the love of truth and the sincerity of the Romish powers upon that Island--so much for my former statement that the Priests declared the bible a Book from Hell!

This statement of Dr. KALLEY corroborated as it is by Capt. TATE, Rev. Mr. HEWITSON, and others who were at the same time on the Island, proves that the Bible of which the people of Madeira were so destitute before the arrival of Dr. KALLEY--the Bible which Priests and people in that country so bitterly hated --the Bible which was the basis of instruction in Dr. KALLEY'S schools--the Bible which made those schools and the whole influence of Dr. KALLEY so detestable upon that Island--was the Catholic Bible in every sense--it was the genuine Romish Bible; the genuine Universal Bible; the true Word of GOD. Do any of your readers then ask, why it was that Catholic authorities in Madeira should oppose their own Catholic Bible? The answer is at hand: it was because, when the people began to read the Bible for themselves, they could not find in it any authority of many of the doctrines, assumptions, and usages of their church, and wished to connect themselves with a more Scriptural Communion, and to become disconnected with the church which was unsupported by the word of GOD. In this way, the interests of the Priesthood were seriously threatened--this was a daily and an increasing grievance--hence the strenuous measures which were adopted!

In my first article I adduced the testimony of Dr. DE MATTOS, a native of Madeira, now the Pastor of the 400 Portuguese who have been brought to this country, and located in Illinois. I stated what his testimony was--that it confirmed the statements in toto of Mr. SAWTELLL. But this testimony is not "the mere ipse dixit of a Mr. DE MATTOS." It is the evidence of an eye-witness of those terrible persecutions--it is the testimony of a fellow sufferer with these banished Portuguese Christians--it was given in New York in May last in a Christian assemble, with the open Bible before him, not with anger but in sorrow, with deep solemnity, and in the fear of GOD. He stated that more than 1000 Christians had been forced to leave Madeira for conscience sake--that they were quiet and peaceable persons--that they said nothing against the established Religion of the Island--that they did nothing against it but refuse to adore the crucifix, to acknowledge the consecrated wafer to be very God, to confess to men, and be obedient to arbitrary authority--that some of these persons were in Trinidad--that 400 of them were now in this country--and that he blessed God for taking them out of the mouth of the lion and the bear, and establishing them in so much comfort in a land where there was "Freedom to worship GOD."

Some of these Portuguese Christians have placed their testimony upon permanent record. "Perhaps Mr. EMERSON has this record; if so, let him produce it." With the greatest pleasure. I am glad there is a call for it. It affords me an opportunity of spreading before this community one of the most remarkable documents of modern times. It is a document drawn up last winter in the city of New York, in the presence of Rev. HERMAN NORTON, Rev. THOMAS DE WITT, D.D., Rev. ROBERT BAIRD, D.D., and others; and these men assure us, over their own names, in the Journals of last winter that "these witnesses have given the fullest evidence of their love of truth, in sacrificing everything on earth for the Gospel's sake; their testimony therefore may be received with the most implicit confidence."

Testimony of Living Witnesses to the facts of the recent Persecutions on the Island of Madeira

"We, the undersigned, are all natives of Madeira: We were all born and educated in the Roman Catholic Church: We have always been in the habit of attending mass, confession, and the various ceremonies, feasts, and fasts of that church. We knew of no other way of Worship, because we had never seen nor read the word of GOD. We did not know there was such a book as the Bible, in which was found the history of Jesus Christ and of the Apostles, until Dr. KALLEY began to circulate it in Madeira. In reading the Bibles we received from him, we learned, for the first time, that we must be saved by the Blood of Jesus, and not by penance, and mass, and purgatory. We found that the virgin and saints are not mediators, for there is only one Mediator between God and man, that is, Christ Jesus. When we began to rejoice in Jesus as our only mediator, and to read the bible with joy, then we were forbidden by the Priests and the Government to read it. The Priests began to take our Bibles and to burn them. Many of the Bible-readers were thrown into prison. Some of us have been in prison 2 years, and others 3 years. We have been driven from our houses and our country---have wandered in the mountains, and slept in caves--because we read the word of GOD, and desired to live according to its precepts, and for no other reason. We were compelled by the Priests and the Government in Madeira to flee away and leave all our goods, and houses and lands; and, on this account, we are now destitue, in a strange country. To the truth of all these things we are prepared to testify before all the world."

signed by Age [nos. hard to read on film]


























and 33 others.

Here is the recorded testimony of 58 persons, men and women of mature age, with their names and ages annexed, given in the presence of christian men in New York last winter, while many of the Portuguese fugitives were waiting there to learn their ultimate destination. It is evidence in this case which has all the solemnity and weight of testimony on oath in a Court of Justice. Of course, the fair-minded and candid, all who "have minds capable of reasoning," will recieve this testimony, and reflect upon its solemn meaning; and I will not on such testimony believe in the persecutions upon the Island of Madeira, have no reason for believing in any Historical fact whatever--for example, that Prof. WEBSTER killed Dr. PARKMAN--that Pope Pius IX fled from Rome in the disguise of a coachman--that there was a war recently between this country and Mexico--or that Gen. ZACHARY TAYLOR has been President of the United States!

It has been said that Dr. KALLEY could not have been eminent as a Physician, because when he lived in Kilmarnock he was "skilled in Drugs." There is not a doubt of it--he must have been well skilled in Drugs--and this will go far towards accounting for his subsequent success as a Physician. But on this point I have better evidence yet. It is found in the Narrative published in New York, in 1849, by Rev. HERMAN NORTON of that city. Mr. NORTON says--"The facts and incidents of this Narrative we have derived from those who were personally acquainted with them at Madeira." Well--hear Mr. NORTON. "Dr. KALLEY had acquired great reputation in Madeira as a very skillful Physician. He was consulted in the most difficult and hopeless cases, by all classes. His success had been remarkable in cases that were considered hopeless by other Physicians, and this inspired great confidence in his medical skill." --p. 142.

In regard to the liberality of Dr. KALLEY, for which proof is requested, I will quote again from Norton's Narrative, p. 13. "Even the municipal authorities of the city of Funchal, the principal city on the Island, were constrained to pass a vote of thanks to Dr. Kalley, for what they called 'his disinterested acts of benevolence and philanthrophy, such as the establishment of schools in different parts of the Island, at his own expense, furnishing the people with medical attendance and medicines gratuitously' &c." This is something. But I have something more on the same point. It is a certified copy of a letter from Dr. Kalley, written since his escape from Madeira, and enclosing 50 pounds sterling to aid the poor Portuguese in settling in this country. Here is an extract from the letter, see page 212 of Mr. Norton's Narrative.

"To the Corresponding Secretary of the American Protestant Society,

Malta, Jan. 22d, 1849

My Dear Sir,

I received a few days since a letter giving me definite information as to the proposed object in removing the emigrants from Trinidad to the States. I now understand that it is, to obtain land and locate them on it, so as to form a small Protestant Colony of Portuguese. I feel deeply grateful to the American brethren for this kindness; and if I had known the object sooner, would at an earlier period have addressed a few lines to you, to say that you would receive 50 pounds sterling to aid in carrying it out. This sum will be remitted to you along with this, by my brother-in-law, John H. Spencer, of 48 Fenchurch St., London

Very truly yours,


Here also is a letter from his brother-in-law, see Narrative of Mr. Norton, p.213.



"LONDON 48 Fenchurch St.,

February 9th, 1849

My Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to enclose you herewith a letter from Dr. Kalley; and in accordance with his desire ...[illegible]... sight, or otherwise, as you may arrange with Messrs. John & Robert Osborn of your city.

Believe me, My dear sir, Yours sincerely, J.H. SPENCER"

In regard to Dr. Kalley's being "a violator of the laws, a disturber of the public peace," what says Capt. J. R. TATE, of the British Navy, who was an eye witness of the outrages perpetrated upon Dr. Kalley, and who with Capt. Chapman and others resued him and several other British subjects from threatened DEATH. He says, (see Tate's Narrative,) Dr. Kalley had always strictly kept himself within the limits unjustly assigned to him by the decision of the Court of Relacao at Lisbon. Indeed, so uniformly had he done this, that, although a law of the Inquisition, dated 1603, was brought into operation against him, a law which could not have been acted on against a subject of Portugal, in consequence of its direct opposition both to the spirit and letter of the existing Constitution, his very enemies could bring no charge against him!" Quoted by Norton, p. 110.

But I pass to another point. Your correspndant says "there was on the Island an Episcopal place of worship, toggether with a resident clergyman, and also a Presbyterian church. We have heard nothing of the persecution of these--it may therefore be asked, why did persecution arise against Dr. Kalley?" This, however, will account for much of his incredulity concerning the whole matter. I can truly say that I am sorry that he had not heard of the persecution of these also--as this might have made the other persecutions more probable to his mind, and might, possibly, have prevented his accusations of Mr. Sawtell.

"We invite attention," says Mr. Norton in his Narrative, "to the course adopted to drive other Protestants, from Madeira. The Misses Rutherford were English ladies, residing in a place on the Island called Quinta das Angustias. These ladies were known to be Protestants, who were the friends of the Bible-readers. They had permitted some of the Portuguese females to come and read the Bible in their house. Hence the purpose of the Priests to compel them to leave the Island. The chief agent in this disgraceful work of persecuting innocent females, was Conego Telles, a Jesuit of high standing in the Roman church. This man had the distinguished honor, or rather the shameful distinction, of leading the mob in an attack upon the house of defenceless ladies. As Capt. TATE was an eye-witness of these events, we prefer that he should describe them in his own language." Then follows Capt. TATE'S account of these transactions, occupying 10 or 12 pages, which I can give you hereafter, if you wish it. He begins in this way: "Conego Telles, a dignitary of the church of Rome, and a Jesuit, educated in England, was the first to excite the mob to open violence. This he did on the 2d of August, 1846, on the occasion of Miss Rutherford giving permission to a Portuguese gentleman to meet a few friends in the Quinta das Angustias, which she was occupying with her sisters, as a summer residence. The object of the meeting was prayer, praise, reading the sacred scriptures and the perusal of a letter from a common friend in England. Between 30 and 40 came together for these ends on the morning of the 2d of August, and at half past twelve the meeting separated. On Senhor Arsenio reaching the outer gate of the grounds, he met Conego Telles, and a younger Priest, in Canonicals, with a mob of people. The Canon stood in his way, and thrust an Image in his face, bidding him to "kiss it" and "adore His GOD!" Senhor Arsenio clamly replied "why do you interfere with a peaceable citizen?" He then called him 'heretic,' 'renegade,' 'apostate,' with other irritating expressions, which failed however in calling forth any similar ones in return, for 'when he was reviled, he reviled not again.' The next act of the Canon was a direct breach of the peace. He violently knocked off Senhor Arsenio's hat, and by his gestures and action excited and urged on the mob to similar conduct. At length, after much ill-treatment, the gentleman escaped through the mob, toghether with three or four others who ventured to follow. The whole day the gate was besieged, and the most threatening language used against the Misses Rutherford and the people under their roof. The mob would no doubt have retired before night, and dispersed, had they not been urged to remain by the unholy example of the Canon, who, instead of leaving the neighborhood, continued with other Priests to go about among the crowd till night. It is also worthy of remark, that though the Police were on the spot during the afternoon, they did not disperse the mob, nor was even an attempt made to do so before leaving the ground at sunset! There was no patrol during the night--no police kept in readiness to repress any outbreak on the part of the people! ***At length, about 10 o'clock at night, when I returned to the house to afford them my protection through the night, we perceived a number of men armed with bludgeons standing at the front door, and at once warned them off the grounds. Miss Rutherford addressed them in Portuguese, using every argument to induce them to retire. The people were at the same time assured that the case would be represented in the morning to Her Britanic Majesty's representative at Funchal. To this they replied that they "did not care for the English Consul--there was no law for the Calvinists--and they could appeal to the Governor!" **

Crash then succeded crash--and blow followed blow. What a contrast between those within and those without! Here, was Christ--there, was Anti-Christ; here was the seed of the Woman--there the seed of the Serpent! After a few more crushing blows, the door of the house flew open! ***At length we heard the yell of triumph. The vic...[illegible]...not thought of. They were all on their knees in prayer to God! One was seized--his head laid open to the bone--and himself thrown over the bannisters to the ground." And so the history goes on. The lives of the English ladies and of the Portuguese in their house, were only saved by the entrance of the soldiers who at length came to the scene and restored order, and the next day, when Capt. TATE reported this outrage to the Consul, the subject was treated by him with the greatest indifference. "He hoped--he trusted--he felt assured, that the offenders would be punished; but this was a case for the courts of law, and not for him to interfere in! I then asked the Consul as to the protection which the Misses RUTHERFORD might expect for their lives and property during the ensuing night, and (will the reader believe me when I say) the representative of Great Britain referred them to the office of Police! 'The Head of Police would, he had no doubt, provide them with a sufficient force!' " See Tate's narrative.

"These acts, adds Capt. TATE, terminated not on the 2d of August, but continued from day to day, and from one degree of outrage to another, till two British resident's houses were broken open and one of them plundered! One British family was at a moment's notice driven from the Island! Another British subject's house was openly attacked! The British Consul was invaded by a band of ruffians! Three British families were obliged to seek personal safety on board a British ship! And two others in the British Consulate, Eleven British families were thereatened by the populace! Another British subject was obliged to leave the Island under threats of assassination! One British lady, died in the bay, hurried by violence to the grave , and others were brought to the verge of dissolution! While hundreds of Portuguese Protestants were driven from their homes, their houses broken into and plundered, and themselves hunted, as was David of old, like a partridge in the mountains! One of them at least was barbarously murdered! Such were some of the consequences directly arising from the breach of the peasce by a Canon of the Cathedral Church of Funchal, Conego Telles, a dignitary of the Church of Rome." See Tate's Narrative.

One thing more, and I will close this article. I cannot close without it, because it answers an objection which is urged with some apparent justice. The objection is, how can these things be, when Madeira is under the Catholic government of Portugal, and between that government and Great Britain there is a treaty, which gives British subjects the right of enjoying the practice of their religion unmolested on the Island of Madeira, providing they interfere not with the religion of the country!

My answer shall be the production of evidence which "cannot be called in question"--such evidence as will gratify the taste of persons of profound "scholarship"--such as will be accounted "worthy of a minister of the Gospel"--and such as all persons may well read, mark, learn and inwardly digest, for the promotion of their intelligence. I begin with an extract from The North British Review:

"The conduct of the British Consul, a Mr. Stoddart, was the most extraordinary of all. He was appealed to again and again for protection by British subjects, but in vain. Miss Rutherford, Dr. Kalley, and Mr. Tate, pointed out to him their danger; showed him how a word from him, the least show of firmness and decision would have prevented all the outrages. But their remonstrances might as well have been addressed to the waves. He 'hoped,' and 'trusted' and 'felt assured,' that the authorities would do their duty, and when the outrages had been committed, when British property had been consumed in the flames, British residences entered and plundered in violation of treaty, and British subjects were obliged to fly to the sea for their lives, still the British Consul, their appointed protector, 'hoped and trusted and felt assured' that the authorities would punish the offenders. The Consul was forewarned of the intended attack on Dr. Kalley's house, and immediately on receiving notice of it he set off for his country-house, that he might be away from the scene of outrage! His pusillianimity encouraged the mob to beseige the Consulate, threatening to burn it to the ground. They were prevented by Captain CHAPMAN, whose presence effected what that of any resolute determined man in uniform, and this in apparent authority, would have done before. No wonder our author (Capt. Tate) should indignantly exclaim "Englishmen must blush for the honor of their country, when they see the flag of England lowered in peace, which was not lowered in war--lowered to the rabble of Portugal, which was not lowered to the armies of France."

I conclude this point with an extract from Mr. NORTON'S history of these events.

"When the tidings of these outrages reached Portugal, the British Ambassador there, more faithful to his trust than the Consul at Madeira, entered his solemn protest against these reckless proceedings. The Queen of Portugal was compelled by this act to appoint and send a Royal Commission, to investigate the affairs at Madeira especially with reference to the treatment of British subjects. This commission came and made their investigation. In their view, the conduct of the government at Madeira was so unjustifiable that they requested the administration to resign. They all resigned, except the Administrator do Concelho. His dismission was immediately sent from Portugal, and a new Governor was appointed at Madeira." --Norton, p. 81.

Messrs. Edittors, I have in my possession other records concerning this case, particularly a certified copy of some of the proceedings fo the Portuguese Court on the Island of Madeira, which would shed a still brighter light upon the desperate character of the persecutions upon that Island. I shall be very happy to furnish any of these records for your columns and I can furnish them as abundantly as may be desired. My object is not controversy, but TRUTH; I am conscious of no desire to wrong the Roman Catholic Church; some of the members of that church are my personal friends; but when a great Historical fact is called in question--when persecutions of meek and humble Christians, who History is world-renowned, are denied, and the motives of those who speak of them are publicly impugned--when an example of suffering patience for conscience sake such as the world has rarely seen, is laughed at and despised--then I can say, magna est carites, major est VERITAS, Friendship is great, but TRUTH is greater--and I am willing to take even this public way of defending Her sacred interests.


Any documents upon the subject of the persecution upon the Island of Madeira and elsewhere may be obtained at 150 Nassau St., New York.


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