It is certainly of the greatest importance, in determining the value of the Secreta Monita as evidence in estimating the character of the Society of Jesus, to come to some satisfactory conclusion as to the authenticity of the work itself. If it can be shown to be really what it purports to be, then indeed the most secret principles of the most extraordinary and most universally execrated fraternity that ever appeared amongst men, are plainly laid open to the public view; and all may see the profound source of all those active, extended and unceasing operations, by which these persons kept so large a part of the world in ceaseless commotion for so many years.
If indeed the work be not perfectly authentic, that is, if instead of being the real Secret counsels of the order emanating from its very head, revealed by accident; it should appear to be a revelation made by an expelled Jesuit, as some of them say, or a mere supposititious composition as others pretend, compiled from their various authors and embodying what an enemy might suppose they would say, if they officially propounded their real secret instructions, the case would perhaps appear to be somewhat weakened.
But even then, if an expelled member had written it, it might all be true; and while the power to show it was not, if indeed it was not, would be complete in the society, its failure to do so, added to inherent evidence of genuineness, in the work itself, might establish its reality on as unquestionable grounds as if it had the imprimatur of the general himself upon its face. Or if the last supposition can be considered as possible, a compilation of the most clear and well defined rules of action drawn from unquestionable sources, and thrown together into one volume would seem if possible the very clearest mode, of exhibiting the general and real spirit of the body, to which all the writers belonged. There are schools of morals, of politics, of crime, as well as of letters and of all things else. It is a wide, terrible, and peculiar school whose opinions and conduct are here illustrated. And if it be faithfully done, by the laborious compilation and classification of materials drawn from a thousand sources, a more impressive and fair method cannot well be imagined.