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exonerate them from the charge of having practised artifice in getting up a pretended miracle.
“ To defend truth, and vindicate the respectable inhabitants of New Hall from groundless ill-natured calumny, is' my object in this address , and for that purpose I will first give a short history of Miss O'Connor's case, to correct the misrepresentations and false reports that have been published respecting it.” P. 9.
Before we enter on the narrative, it is but doe also to Dr, Badeley, his protegés, and ourselves, to disavow every intention of imputing the daring and blasphemous deceit, too often falsely denominated a pious frand, to any of the individuals concerned, or to reflect upon their hopesty and honour. We are very far from being desirous to hold up to ridicule strong religious impressions, if they be not unquestionably feigned and hypocritical, though we may consider them erro. neous and enthusiastic: still less are we inclined positively to deny that circumstances, however unusual, have occurred, when their occurrence is unequivocally asserted by reputable persons. We would not affix a stigma on the character of a witness without reasons far more cogent than those which meet us here.
Most assuredly, if we had any doubts, the statement before ys is not calculated to remove them; for we shall shew (passim) that it is very incomplete as evidence, and by no means" a full refutation of the numerous false reports and misrepresentations” which we are assured have been propagated on the subject.
“ On the 7th of December, 1820, Miss Barbara O'Connor, a nun, in the convent at New Hall, near Chelmsford, aged thirty, was suddenly attacked, without any evident cause, with a pain in the ball of the right thumb; which rapidly increased, and was succeeded by a swelling of the whole hand and arm, as far as the elbow. It soon became red and painful to the touch. Mr. Barlow, the skilful surgeon to the convent, was sent for ; and applied leeches, lotions, blisters, fomentations, poultices, long emersions in warm water, and' every thing that was judged proper, a long time, without much benefit. One cold application dimi. nished the swelling, but occasioned acute pain in the axilla and
Leeches were applied to the axilla, and the same cold lotion ; by which means the pain was removed from the axilla, and the hand and arm became as bad as before.
“ On the 5th of January, an incision was made in the ball of the thumb; only blood followed, no pus. Mr. Carpue, an eminent surgeon, from Dean-street, was sent for on the 7th, and enlarged the incision, expecting pus; but none appeared." P. 9.
A temporary amendment procured by a course of medicines, partly mercurial, was but of short duration.
“ The symptoms soon returned, as bad as ever, notwithstanding the general health was perfectly re-established; and notwithstanding every thing was done which the London and country surgeons, in consultation, could suggest, during a whole year and a half.
“ Mrs. Gerard, the superior of the convent, having heard of many extraordinary cures, performed by Prince Hohenlohe, of Bamberg, in Germany, employed a friend to request his assistance, which he readily granted, and sent the following instructions, dated Bamberg, March 16, 1822." P, 11.
TO THE RELIGIOUS NUN IN ENGLAND. « On the 3d of May, at eight o'clock, I will offer, in compliance with your request, my prayers for your recovery. Having
confession, and communicated, offer up your own also, with that fervency of devotion and entire faith which we owe to our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Stir up from the bottom of your heart the divine virtues of true repentance, of Christian charity to all men, of firm belief that your
prayers will be favourably received, and a stedfast resolution to lead an exemplary life, to the end that you may continue in a state of grace.
“. Accept the assurance of my regard.
P. 13. “ Miss O'Connor's general health being re-established, and the surgical treatment of the hand being out of my province, I did not see her for some weeks ; but having occasion to visit some of the ladies on the 2d of May, I was requested to look at Miss O'Connor's hand and arm, which I found as much swollen and bad as I had.eder seen them. The fingers looked ready to burst, and the wrist was fifteen inches in circumference. I did not then know the reason of my being desired to see the hand and arm on that day, not having heard of the application to the Prince.
“On the next day, the 3d of May, (a day of particular notice by the Catholics,) she went through the religious process prescribed by the Prince. Mass being nearly ended, Miss O'Connor, not finding the immediate relief she expected, exclaimed, " Thy will be done, O Lord ! thou hast not thought me worthy of this cure, Almost immediately after, she felt an extraordinary sensation through the whole arm, to the ends of her fingers. The pain instantly left her, and the swelling gradually subsided ; but it was some weeks before the hand resumed its natural size and shape. Now, I can perceive no difference from the other.” P. 15.
Here Dr. Badeley breaks off the thread of his narrative; and we shall take the opportunity to remark on some important omissions in bis evidence. It is not said whether the
letter dated the 16th of March is known to have been the only one received from Prince Hohenlohe. It is moreover rather to be inferred from the terms of it that some previous correspondence had taken place; and how is it to be ascertained what this communication might have been ? Other directions might have been given, and followed; and these of a medical description.
With regard to the account of what passed at the mass, and of the commencement of the recovery, it is not stated from whom it was received. The only Protestant who perhaps could properly have been called in to bear witness to the sudden change which was anticipated, was it seems not only cautiously excluded, but denied any previous information of the expected miracle. What assurance have we beyond the general character for veracity, which we suppose the nuns, to bear, that there was any sensible effect produced on the 3d of May, at eight or nine o'clock? Did any one who was inclined to disbelieve the miracle perceive the immediate subsidence of the swelling. It is plain that the personal testimony of Dr. Badeley thus far amounts only to his baving seen his patient in a state of good bodily health, but with her arm still swollen on the 2d of May. All the rest was bearsay.
6. But let us return to Miss O'Connor, whom we left in the chapel, free from pain. This was on the 3d of May. I did not see her again till the 11th. Then it was that I first heard of the application to the Prince. Upon her being informed that I was in the convent, she came into the room, to my great astonishment, putting her hand behind her, and moving her fingers without pain, and with considerable activity, considering the degree of swelling; the hand and arm having hitherto been immovable, and constantly supported in a sling. I immediately exclaimed, “What have you been doing ? Nothing, 1 declare,' she said, except following the instructions of Prince Hohenlohe.'
“ As she could already use her fingers a little, although only eight days had elapsed, and they were still much swollen. I asked for a sheet of paper, and folding it up in the form of a letter, inquired if her London surgeon had been informed of the cure. her replying in the negative, ' Then be so obliging, Madam,' said I, to address this to him, and I will write the letter as soon as I reach home. She immediately complied, and wrote very legibly.' P. 19.
Here the admissible évidence is just this ;-that on the 11th of May the size of Miss O'Connor's arm was considerably reduced, and that she could use her fingers a little though they were still much swollen. Her declaration that
no external application or kind of medicine had been employed might be very true, but her“ Protestant physician”. cannot speak to this important point of his own personal knowledge. In short, that a real affection of Miss O'Connor's arm remained incurable, or at least oncured, though it was relieved, for a year and a half, cannot, we think, be fairly doubted by any one who believes Dr. Badeley's word-and this .we do implicitly. But it may be said, with much justice, that the Doctor does pot perform all that his title-page promises, when he merely attests a gradual and partial cure having taken place, between the 2d and the 11th of May, of a complaint which he does not represent as unlikely to give vay with more rapidity than many others. And this is all he does—for he bears no personal attestation to the instant or mode of the recovery. We do not say that they were not as they were described, but still some mercy should be shewn. to those persons who may have been less inclined than ourselves to accept the testimony of the inmates of New Hall. They might not be either “ignorant" or "illiberal,” and yet might pause before they gave full credence to that which was “ professed to be a miracle,” unsupported, as it appears to stand, by any“ impartial” testimony but such as Dr. Badeley here adduces.
Admitting, however, the fact, that the letter from Prince Hohenlohe was actually received before the 3d of May, and that the recovery of Miss O'Connor's arm was not incipient before that date, but sensibly commenced at the time previously determined on, as the day and hour on which prayers should be offered up on her behalf; and that no medicine or sanative treatment of the arm was employed, but that the Prince's directions, relative to her devotional exercises alone, were simply followed-admitting all this, and it is perhaps quite enough, --we arrive at the knotty question, to what canse are we to ascribe this “extraordinary cure?" it miraculously“ performed by” Prince Hohenlohe? Was it “performed by” the Prince without a miracle? or was it not at all performed by him, but by the operation of certain natural causes, which were not only sufficient, but eminently calculated to produce the desired effect ?
Now, this recovery either was a miracle, or it was not one: either it was wrought by an especial act of the Almighty First Cause, or it was to be attributed to the operation of natural second causes. The Catholic denominates it a miracle, and unhesitatingly iinputes it to the efficacy of Prince Hohenlohe's prayers.
The Protestant on the other
E VOL. XIX. JANUARY, 1823.
hand affirms,-or at least on Protestant principles must be expected to affirm,-that, supposing the circumstances attending it to be duly authenticated, it was produced in some way or other by second causes, in the common course of nature; for he sees nothing to warrant bis belief that any special exercise of Divine power was either required, or was manifested, in a recovery by no means unusual under similar conditions. The Catholic very consistently makes use of the term miracle, if he believes the cure to have been performed by Prince Hohenlohe, that is, by virtue of his prayers at a certain pre-appointed moment: under the same conviction, who could deny that it was a miracle? For surely to be vested by God himself with a power to heal the sick without the use of external means, and simply by intercession for them, is to partake of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, to possess the power of working miracles such as the Apostles had, and such as we believe none since their age have had.
What greater claim to the title of miracles can one assert for those wondrous cures, which have for so many centuries been accepted as authentic by the Roman Catholic Church, and which have canonized their respective authors ? To a consistent Catholic the case must appear equally miraculous, whether the Saint whose prayers are supposed to have effectuated the recovery be living or dead; whether it be St. Thomas à Becket, or Prince Hohenlohe, whether supplications be addressed to the tomb of the former, or a request be written by the post to the friend of the latter, to secure their respective good offices and prevailing intercession. It would be ingratitude to refuse to the Prince what would be eagerly accorded to the Saint,--the credit of having wrought a miracle.
We admit, then, that on Roman Catholic principles, it is not wonderful that the Nuns of New Hall should boast their miracle; we attempt not to argue with them, for it were in vain: but it by no means follows that Protestants are justified in viewing the matter at all in the same ligbt. We cannot but express our astonishment, that any persons should be found to reason with reference to it, on exclusively Romish principles, and yet by omitting the word miracle deceive themselves into a belief that they are holding very anticatholic opinions. What says Dr. Badeley of the first class of persons who received his confirmation of this “wonderful” recovery? What says Dr. B. of himself? “I told them that their sentiments were very much my own!!" On the adopted sentiments of Dr. Badeley's we have an observation or two to