IT was in the month of September, 1842, that I found myself beyond
the walls of Rome, in the province of Sabina; in a fine country, near
Nazzano, in the neighbourhood of Mount Soracte. I had chosen this
situation as a commodious one, and sufficiently distant from the
capital, to allow me to arrange and settle my affairs, previous to my
final departure from Italy.

But how bitter was the thought that I was about to leave my native
country! Nevertheless, I saw that it was necessary for my spiritual
good I should do so, in order to follow with more advantage the path
which had been assigned to me by the will of the Lord. In no part of
Italy had I as yet been able to find a secure asylum, where I could
hope to be safe from the attacks of the pope, his monks, and his
Inquisition. Though I was set free from the prison of the Holy Office,
for want of any definite charge being established against me, I was
still under its strict surveillance. All my proceedings were watched,
all my words noted; and I was committed to the especial care of spies,
bishops, and similar agents of the government. I could not therefore
be considered as at liberty, although no longer within the walls of a

In the meantime, regardless of these annoyances, I continued to speak
without any disguise, about my departure; of my separation from Rome,
of my renouncing the Church, and of my voluntary exile. Indeed,
before being released from the Holy Office, I had altogether given
up my connexion with the Church of Rome; I had abdicated all right
and privilege of serving it, and consequently was exonerated from
all its obligations. I was desirous to avoid all future imputation
as to retaining any of its honours, its dignities, or its gifts; and
therefore I renounced them altogether. I knew that according to the
faith of the Church, it might be imagined I must retain the effect of
the unction imparted to the priesthood, by the imposition of hands. I
revolved in my mind how I could best free myself from this as well; and
I saw no better method than by altogether renouncing the doctrine, and
publicly protesting against it.

Before leaving this part of the country, I judged it expedient to apply
to Rome for my passport; not indeed so much out of absolute necessity,
as from motives of convenience. My letter was addressed to one of the
officials of the Inquisition, who called himself my friend. I received
in reply an intimation that the cardinals were not aware of the
necessity of my request; which was as much as to say, that being clear
from all imputation, and entirely set at liberty, I was unquestionably
free to go wherever I pleased. Some of the cardinals, indeed, suggested
that I had better return to Rome, in order to make my peace with the
Holy See. I received other letters, at the same time, full of dangerous
flattery and enticing offers,–the more dangerous as they were made by
my dearest friends, to whom it is always extremely difficult to reply
in the negative.

“Well,” I exclaimed to myself, “I must be firm in my resolution; the
more I am pressed and solicited to remain, the more speedily shall
my departure take place. As long as I am met with reproaches and
annoyances, I have nothing to fear; but when the opposite measure of
kindness and entreaty is adopted, I am too weak to resist; and I cannot
look for a miracle in my favour, if I needlessly expose myself to
danger. Onward, then, and let me depart, in the name of God.”

But whither? In what part of the world should I seek an asylum? At
Geneva? or at Malta? I at length determined for the Ionian Islands.
Previous to my departure, I called upon all my friends in the
neighbourhood, and I wrote farewell letters to others who were beyond
my reach. I did not neglect to visit my relations; and, having provided
myself with a servant, I set off for Ancona, stopping on the road in
those towns where I chanced to find any of my acquaintance.

The Governor of Ancona, Monsignor Orfei, (now Bishop of Cesena), was an
old friend of mine; consequently I did not hide from him the reason of
my leaving Italy, or the place I had chosen for my retreat, which I had
frequent occasion to discuss with him during the fortnight I remained
in the place. I mention all this as a proof that I neither fled from
my country, nor sought in any way to conceal myself; and that my going
into exile was a matter of free choice, dictated by conscientious
motives, and nothing else.

I left Ancona on the 4th of October, and two days afterwards reached
Corfu. I was fortunate enough to get included in the passport of a
family with which I travelled, without any separate mention being
made of my name; this was a necessary precaution, to ensure me from
molestation on the road. But at Corfu I was on free ground, protected
by the laws, and under colours that owe no obedience to the pope.

Here, then, I blessed the Lord, and offered up my thanksgiving to Him,
for having thus far preserved me from the jaws of the lion, and from
the hands of those who sought to ensnare my soul. For the first time
in my life I breathed the fresh air of true liberty–of that precious
liberty of spirit which is granted to the children of God. I sought for
a minister of the holy Evangelists; and soon became acquainted with the
Reverend Isaac Lowndes, an independent minister, and Secretary to the
Bible Society. I ran to him as a famished man would to obtain bread; I
opened my whole mind to him; I chose him for my spiritual director; and
he has always proved himself to be one of my best and most esteemed

My stay at Corfu was marked by many events. The first was a persecution
emanating from Rome, clumsily enough conducted by two emissaries of the
Inquisition–the papal consul, and the curate of the Romish Church. The
first of these had the boldness to present himself before the Lord High
Commissioner of her Britannic Majesty, with a despatch from Cardinal
Lambruschini, demanding my expulsion, as having been guilty of enormous
crimes. Being asked, however, by the consul, to state the nature of
one, at least, of these pretended crimes, he could not find in his
pocket-dictionary any term suitable for his purpose. I was subsequently
assured that the secretary of the Lord High Commissioner reproved him
for his assurance. The second of these worthies contented himself
with speaking all manner of evil of me, whom he hardly knew by sight.
It appears that both of them had a miserable pittance allowed them,
for which they amused themselves in inventing and promulgating their
abominable falsehoods. I know that the director-general of the police,
Captain Lawrence, twice summoned before him one of these detractors, a
Neapolitan tailor, and severely reprimanded him; and I also know that
this tailor confessed he had been paid for his slanders.

Several of the Maltese, who constitute the most vile and wretched part
of the population of Corfu, had, at one time, taken it into their heads
to follow me in the streets, with insulting and threatening words; and
when some of my friends, who were more disgusted with it than I was
myself, inquired as to the reason of their doing so, they replied that
the curate had desired them. I might have called the curate to account
for this, had I been vindictively disposed; but the case was otherwise.

I must now say a few words upon a subject which perhaps may by some
be deemed foreign to “my dealings with Rome;” but still it is in some
degree connected with the principal facts of my history. And at any
rate, it will be a page devoted to the memory of two dear friends,
whose loss I have not yet ceased to lament,–to Attilio and Emilio
Bandiera, universally honoured and deplored by all good men, for the
sacrifice they made for their country.

These noble, generous, pure, and high-minded youths, were compelled,
in consequence of being betrayed, to resign their commissions in the
Italian-Austrian navy. They repaired to Corfu, at separate times; and,
as I was already on friendly terms with both of them, they requested me
to allow them to remain in my house, and partake of my table. For four
months I had the pleasure of the society of Emilio, the youngest of the
brothers; and for two months, that of Attilio. It is not my intention
in this place to relate their history, since it is already well known,
how at the head of a few Italians, they embarked from Corfu, and landed
on the shores of Calabria, where, in a skirmish with the troops of the
Bourbon king, they were taken prisoners; and, under I know not what
barbarous laws, were, with seven others, put to death; their only crime
being a devoted love for their country.

Who among the virtuous and the brave has not mourned their loss? And
who among them would not have considered himself honoured in their
friendship? None valued it more than myself, who was regarded by them
as a brother; to whom they confided their parting injunctions, and who
was a minister of the Church of which they had become members; the
Italian Church, which I opened in Corfu, in March, 1844, with Emilio
Bandiera at my side.

I have hitherto been silent before the public respecting these young
men, whilst others have spoken of them, and written the history of
their fate. But my silence was solely occasioned by knowing that the
Jesuits and their followers, availing themselves of the well-known
fact of our intimacy, had spread abroad the report that I was only
interested in the success of religious reform so far as it might
lead to a political one; that for religion itself I had no respect
whatever, and only assumed the appearance of it to ingratiate myself
with the English, whose money and protection I coveted; in proof of all
this they brought forward my friendship and intimacy with the brothers

And here observe how far malice will lead men astray. The _Dublin
Review_, in July, 1850, stigmatises me to the religious world, as a
mere political adventurer, while to the political world it represents
me as a religious enthusiast, changeable, inconsiderate, inexperienced,
and an immoral person, and a hypocrite to boot.

As to the Jesuits themselves I care little about them or their
opinions, except as they influence the minds of other people. Certain
it is that, in consequence of their calumnious insinuations, the
religious cause which I advocate, in the face of my country and before
the whole world, has in some degree been impeded.

Before I was known, and had gained the confidence of my good brethren
in the faith, it was no doubt an unfavourable circumstance in their
eyes, that I was so closely associated with persons who appeared to
have no other object in view than political alterations. I confess I
had not, at that time, sufficient Christian fortitude to meet these
insidious attacks; and, therefore, felt it prudent to be silent with
respect to my beloved friends, the Bandiera, until I should have
established my religious reputation on a firm basis, and have acquired
the confidence of the public with respect to my Mission. Now, however,
God be praised, I am so far advanced in the general estimation of the
Christian world, that I may speak out, and reply, as is incumbent on
me, to the calumnies with which I have been assailed.

If I was so united, so closely united with the brothers Bandiera, it
was because religious reform was the most noble, the most sublime idea
in their minds; and because they felt the necessity of destroying the
abhorred Papacy, and restoring to their beloved country the ancient
pure Christianity of our fathers. On this head their language and
their ideas, as well as their faith, were similar to my own. The only
difference between us was, that they had not themselves as yet put
their hands to the work, beyond confiding in Him who knows how to bring
it about by ways of His own.

A reform in the Church is not to be effected by force of arms, nor by
clamour and sarcasms. Temperate argument, and mild persuasion, and
virtuous example, are the proper means, and such as the Reformers of
the sixteenth century employed. The arguments, moreover, require to
be based upon the written Word, which among all religious sects is
received as the touchstone of truth. Now, my young friends had not the
boldness to consider themselves sufficiently well instructed in the
Holy Word to enter into a theological discussion with the people, or a
controversy with the priests of Rome. They were desirous of reform, and
in the furtherance of it they were content that I should lead the way,
declaring themselves my followers. They had the hope that, in various
parts of Italy, conscientious priests might be found capable of being
reformed themselves, and afterwards of conducing to the reformation of
others. They had a great desire to see the Bible circulated; we sent
several copies of the Diodati Edition, to friends at Venice, Trieste,
Ancona, and other places, and they themselves always carried about with
them one which I had formerly given them; we had frequent conversations
together respecting the meaning of different passages; and Attilio,
especially, carefully wrote out any particular view which might arise
in our minds on our perusal of them.

Emilio Bandiera, speaking to an Italian, who professed that, for his
own part, he cared nothing about religion, thus expressed himself in my

“It is every man’s duty to care about religion. He who makes a boast
that he has none at all is to be held in abhorrence. I would never
choose such a one as my friend–much less would I have a wife of such
a character, or children, or even servants. Do you imagine that any
society could possibly hold together, in the proper discharge of its
mutual duties, without religion? What would a political reform avail
you without it?”

On another occasion, when one of his countrymen asserted that, good or
bad, he would never change his religion, Emilio observed:–

“Your words are devoid of sense. If the religion you profess be, in
your estimation, good–keep it; watch over it, and defend it; if,
on the other hand, it be not so good as you first thought, by all
means change it forthwith; that is to say, get rid of your present
false notions, and take up those better opinions which hitherto you
have not had. It was so that our ancestors did, whether Gentiles or
Jews; as soon as they perceived that their religion was no longer
good, in obedience to the dictates of their conscience they adopted
Christianity, which appeared to them the only true one.”

Both the brothers had a high regard for truth, in its pure and simple
form. I will here quote a passage from the note-book of Attilio:–“The
most important truth must, of necessity, be religious truth: it is
present with us at all periods of our life, and is connected with all
our necessities. The influence of religion is universal, and I believe
that, whoever has the folly to endeavour to escape it, is nevertheless
pursued by it, in spite of himself. Every individual in society who is
irreligious, has to endure a greater struggle than he is aware of, and
the more obstinate he tries to be, the more he has to endure.”

O blessed spirits! without doubt you were visited with heavenly
consolation, at the extreme moment of your separation from this
miserable life. You believed in the words of our glorious Redeemer;
you confessed yourselves sinners before Him, since every living soul
is such in His sight. But in the eyes of men ye were justified. It was
neither interest nor ambition that led you into the midst of danger,
but a disinterested love for your country and your fellow-men. He
who judges of the merit of an enterprise by its success, may say that
your prudence was at fault in undertaking it; but I am of a different
opinion. I assert that you were in political matters what John Huss
and Jerome of Prague were in those of religion, the precursors and the
first martyrs. May the Lord bestow His blessing on your labours, by
blessing also the labours of those who may follow in your steps!

The two brothers left Corfu with twenty followers. Above a hundred
Italians remained in the Ionian Islands, all equally acquainted with
what was going on, and in which all were interested. No opposition was
made to their project of forming armed bands upon the mountains which
traverse Italy, the chain of the Appenines beginning in Calabria, in
order to strengthen the revolution which had become necessary for the
country. The two Bandiera, Morro, Ricciotti, and Nardi, with a few
others, were the first who offered themselves for the enterprise;
and accordingly they set out to join the forces that were already on
the mountains, expecting their arrival. A single night would have
been sufficient to take them there, as the mountains extended to the
sea-shore. But, unfortunately, three days were lost among the inhabited
parts, and this delay was fatal to them.

Thus it was that they fell into the hands of the enemy; not by private
treachery, as has been falsely and malignantly represented. What
treachery could there be where there was no secrecy? Their intentions
and their expedition were known from the first, to everybody, and twice
they had an encounter with the King’s troops. Yet, would it be believed
that the desire to calumniate and injure me has pushed the writer of
the article I have already alluded to, in the _Dublin Review_, so far
as to make him dare to assert that I, their friend, their counsellor,
their bosom-refuge in their hour of trouble–I it was, who tempted
these valorous brothers into the battle field, and procured their
capture and their death, in order that I might possess myself of their

Had I been capable of harbouring the thought of such an enormous
crime towards any human being whatever, towards them at any rate, I
could have no motive for doing so; since they arrived at Corfu in so
destitute a condition, that they were actually obliged to part with the
few articles of dress they could spare, in order to supply themselves
with the requisites for their expedition; this they stated in a letter
to Mazzini, shortly before they left Corfu, which letter he published
in his memoirs of them.

When my friends set out for Calabria, I also took my departure from
Corfu to settle at Zante. It was understood between us that I should
undertake in that place, where I could be free from interruption, a
work connected with the religious reform of Italy, and it was settled
that I should there receive communications and instructions from them,
as to my future proceedings.

My exile was not similar to that of other emigrants who were left
in peace by all parties. I had never given cause of offence to my
government in political matters, but I had done so with respect to
its religion. I had not designated the monarch as a knave, but I had
stigmatized the Pope as an impostor: it would have been a small matter
for me to unmask the character of a man who has always been a slave to
ambition and self-interest; I rather chose the task of disclosing to
the world the presumptuous iniquity of one who calls himself holy and
infallible as God Himself; the Spiritual Father of all men; the Lord
over all believers; placed above all; with the power to save and to
destroy; to open heaven, and to close the gates of hell. Such a centre
of blasphemy, such an exalted idol, I resolved to combat and overthrow;
I felt an enmity towards this enemy of God, this falsifier of holy
truth, this opposer of every moral and civil improvement: I determined
to wage such an incessant warfare against him that he should finally be
obliged to succumb, and while life remains to me I will continue so to
do. Let the Jesuits, the Inquisition, the priests, and all their spies
combine their efforts against me. I heed them not, neither do I fear
them, however numerous they may be. The power of hell has no influence
over those who are commissioned to preach the kingdom of heaven.
Against them, as it is written, “the gates of hell shall not prevail.”

WHEN I left Rome, and threw myself as an exile into the Ionian Islands,
I confess I had not at first a clear idea of the task that Providence
had assigned me. Still I felt as if I was destined for some high
purpose. I acknowledged the hand that was guiding me through new ways
and unknown paths, and in my humble prayers to the Lord I repeated the
words of the prophet: “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.”[93]

Often did I meditate on the designs of Providence. But how can man
comprehend the ways of God? It was with me as with the great German
Reformer Luther: he felt that he was in the hands of the Lord; he felt
the necessity of obeying the voice which called on him to reform the
Church; and he was obedient, without knowing what he performed. I, too,
obeyed a divine call when I separated myself from Rome, and, renouncing
her honours and her dignities, quitted Italy for a foreign land, where
I knew not what awaited me from the hand of the Lord: I only knew that
I was ready to execute His will.

And it was His will, I doubt not, that a work should be commenced,
which will be the most important, the most illustrious of all the
events of the present age–the religious reformation of Italy, the
establishment of a new church, to be called the Italian Church;
founded on the ancient doctrines of Christianity, with its original
form of worship, and with no other novelty than the adoption of the
language common to the country. For three centuries has there been
a struggle for religious reform in Italy, which has occasioned the
sacrifice of thousands of noble victims, burned by the Inquisition of
Rome, drowned in the Lagoons of Venice, and hungered, poisoned, or
strangled in the prisons of Naples, of Tuscany, of Piedmont, and of

The popes, the true tyrants of their country, have uniformly
endeavoured with all their might to arrest its progress; and they had
the power so far to destroy it as to cut the tree down to the earth,
leaving only the trunk and its living roots under the soil. This
reform so necessary for the people, and so desired by all good men,
now appears as the dawn of a brighter day than has ever yet arisen
upon my beloved country. It derives not its name from men, but from
the Divine Founder of our belief, and is consequently only known under
the denomination of Christian Reform; and as being more particularly
connected with Italy, and as the language of worship ought to be
exclusively that of the country, so the Church which is to be the
result, has received the title of the Italian Church.

The reformation that we advocate and preach, is not founded on novelty.
We profess no other belief than what the Holy Scriptures distinctly
and directly authorize; and we repudiate all that in later ages has
been added by men. Our worship, therefore, goes back to the practice
of primitive Christianity, pure, simple, and spiritual: adapted to
the requirements and the devotion of the faithful; not bound by laws
to any particular form, but varying according to the necessities of
times, places, and persons. Our doctrine is in agreement with the
Bible, and our forms are similar to those of the Reformed Evangelical
Church. The slight difference that may exist between ourselves and the
members of other reformed churches, does not prevent us from hailing
them as brethren. Moreover, as we profess to derive our origin from
no one principal founder, and render thanks to God for having through
his grace enabled us to reform ourselves, we are willing to extend our
sympathy towards all our Christian brethren, whatever may be their
denomination. We even hope that our Church will be distinguished by a
greater spirit of conciliation, than is perhaps to be found in others.
Each of us will be enrolled in the Evangelical Alliance, and will
preach the doctrines of union, and concord; faith, charity, and good

Whether we shall adopt the Episcopalian or the Presbyterian form of
government, I cannot as yet say. To tell the truth, I am not at present
much interested in the question, since I consider it altogether a
secondary one. It will greatly depend on the Bishops of the Latin
Church in Italy. If they receive and promote our views, it is probable
that they may, like the Bishops of England, be received by the general
body of the Reformers; otherwise, they will be done away with; as is
the case in Scotland, Switzerland, and other countries: we shall have
pastors in their stead, and among them some will be appointed, as
presidents, to offices of greater authority. I am inclined to believe
that the change of name will be sufficient to induce the reform. The
word bishop is of Greek origin, and would be better rendered by the
word moderator, inspector, or superintendent; which would at once
get rid of the idle notion of the reformed bishops, respecting the
Apostolic Succession, and all its presumed rights and privileges. I
maintain the absolute necessity of a complete and thorough reform of
what is degraded and abused. As to anything further, I am, for my own
part, indifferent about it.

The Italian Church must be built on the ruins of the Latin Church,
which is already an anachronism. The Church of Christ must arise
from the destruction of the Church of the Popes, which has become a
blasphemy and an impiety. I do not believe it possible for the Church
of the Priests to be reformed; it must be destroyed, as it is written
in the 18th chapter of the Revelations. It is the people of this Church
that will be reformed; and it is precisely the object that I myself and
a few others are endeavouring to effect.

The religious reformation of Italy, at the time I am now writing, in
the month of December, 1850, has already made considerable progress;
and, except for the interference of an Inquisition, similar to that
which existed in the time of Pius IV. and Pius V., it is impossible,
humanly speaking, for it to be checked.

Undoubtedly, in some parts of Italy, it is yet concealed, inasmuch as
it is denounced by the present government; and may be said to exist,
as was the case with the Church herself, in early times, among the

We have seen with our own eyes, the Bible itself persecuted not only in
Rome, but in Tuscany also. A scandalous process was instituted against
a printer, for having published the New Testament, according to the
faithful version of Diodati; at a period, too, when the liberty of the
press was pretended to be unrestrained. In Piedmont and Genoa, the
people are more fortunate, as the Bible is allowed to circulate among
them; and our brethren the Waldenses, since they have obtained their
civil freedom, have also had their religious liberty granted them. But
in all other parts of Italy even the Jews are better off than we are.
They are allowed to assemble together and to open their temples to the
public; they can educate their children in their own faith, and they
are not subject to the pains and penalties of the Romish Church. The
Jews are, at least, tolerated in Rome; but we are not. Still we have
our secret meetings, even in the papal city; with a prison staring us
in the face, we read our Bibles, and meditate on their contents, and
we converse with each other on the essentials of salvation, through
our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the true faith, as revealed in his Holy
Word: and to these vital points we adjoin all that is necessary for
Christian doctrine, at the same time confuting the errors of the Church
of the middle ages. And what our brethren are personally engaged upon
in Italy, we, who are banished on that very same account, are carrying
on in other countries. The day will assuredly come when we shall be
re-united, and publicly return thanks to God, for having associated us
in the same faith, and saved us through the same hopes. And this day we
trust is not far distant.

Eight years have now passed away since I first put my hand to this
great work, and it has never, during all that time, ceased to go
forward. As a minister of the Gospel, a servant of the Church, I called
on my brethren to arise from their slumbers, and witness the brilliant
light that was brightening the horizon. I called upon them to break the
bonds with which they had hitherto been fettered; and, with the Bible
in my hand, I endeavoured to enlighten their eyes, and convert their

Could I know that the day would arrive when I might myself behold the
salvation of my country, I would ask of the Lord that I might then
depart in peace from this life, singing the song of Simeon,[95] and
hoping for the benediction of the Almighty.

I have been accused as a man of extravagant desires, of overweening
ambition. I do not deny it. My desire is that the people of Italy
should be no longer the slaves of the priesthood, at once the prey and
the laughing-stock of the Jesuits; that they should worship God, and
not bow down before a wafer, a painted canvas, sculptured brass, or
wood, or stone, or dry bones: that this beloved people should be taught
to believe in the revelation of God, and not in the false inventions of
the priests. These and similar desires have possessed my mind, and led
me to implore their fulfilment from the Lord. And as to my ambition,
it is to be foremost in this good work, and to teach others to labour
effectively, through the grace of God, in the same holy cause.

My preaching in the Italian Church, as I have already stated, began
about eight years ago, and I have been continually occupied in carrying
it forward. From Corfu to Zante, and from thence to Malta, where, in
the midst of opposition, not only from my enemies, but also from my
weaker brethren, I established my church.

It was contrary to the opinion and advice of many that I went to this
latter place.

“Reflect,” they wrote to me, “on the ignorance and barbarity of the
people; consider that they are much more subject to their priests and
their monks, than they are to their English rulers, and that they will
wage an incessant warfare against you. You will endanger your own
safety, and run the risk of injuring your cause; you will also endanger
us, who are powerless to afford you assistance.”

I received this letter in Cephalonia, at the moment I was setting out
for Malta, and it came from one whom above all others, I had expected
to labour with me, in the vineyard of the Lord. It was displeasing
to me; and in the panic fear with which the writer appeared to be
possessed, I clearly saw the suggestions and instigations of that evil
one, that adversary the devil, who, as St. Peter says, “as a roaring
lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,”[96] and who now
sought to devour my works.

At this time, too, in order to impede my progress, a Maltese journal,
notorious for its bad and abusive character, thought fit to publish
several articles against me. In one of them, written by a Portuguese,
probably connected with some foreign policy, after stating that I
was come among the Maltese to convert them to Protestantism, it was
proposed to the people to welcome me with a _chiarivari_ of cudgels,
stones, and other offensive missiles. This man had previously met me
at Zante, when he told me he was himself a Protestant, and wished me
all manner of success.

Another writer, who I believe had been an English clergyman, but who,
on account of his misdeeds, had lost his situation, asserted that I
was well paid for what I was doing by the Bishop of Gibraltar, and
that I was nothing more than an agent, for my own private interest. I
had met him a short time before in Cephalonia, where he inhabited the
same house with myself, and he also, with many friendly protestations,
encouraged me in my views.

In a third article I was roundly accused of political intentions; of
having led on the two brothers, Bandiera, to their destruction, and
of being an impostor and a hypocrite; and the public was accordingly
called upon to treat me as I deserved. The writer of this tirade was
a miserable Italian, of whose character the less that is said, the
better; I congratulate myself on never having exchanged a word with him.

These three articles appeared either the day before or the very
same day that I arrived at Malta; but instead of being discouraged
or alarmed at their threats, I boldly advanced before my enemies,
defied their malice, and provoked their indignation still further,
by publishing my writings, and opening the Italian church. These
proceedings silenced the reports against me; the fears that were
entertained of me gradually faded away; there was no longer any
occasion to dread a public disturbance on account of the Italian
church; on the contrary, it began to meet with encouragement, when
it was seen that it was frequented by some of the most respectable
inhabitants of the place. Our congregation began to assume an air of
stability. Others were associated with myself in the ministry, and it
was my intention to consult them on all matters of importance. In this
way I proceeded to compose the liturgy,[97] prepare a collection of
hymns,[98] and make other arrangements, so that in the event of my
absence, the work of God might still go on.

The Rev. M. A. Camilleri, a Maltese and a Roman-catholic priest, a
worthy and excellent person, was the first to associate himself with
me. He invited me to his own house, and set about making preparation
for the establishment of our chapel. He conducted a religious journal,
entitled “The Indicator,” which subsequently became the organ of the
Italian Church. It was not long before we were joined by a young
bare-foot Carmelite friar, called Father Antonio, but whose real name
was Pietro Leonini Pignotti, a Roman. He had been for some years at
Malta, among the friars of his order, and used frequently to engage
in conversation with us on spiritual matters. I admired him for the
sincerity and openness of his character, and expected much from the
zeal and affection he displayed for the religious reformation of our
country.[99] Leonini was followed by Saccares, who was sent to me from
the Bishop of Gibraltar. He also was a young friar, of the Capuchin
order, from the Roman States, and renounced his obedience to the Church
of Rome in order to join us.

In this manner our small family increased in number, and I foresaw that
it would continue to do so. My letters from Italy spoke of many persons
who were desirous to associate themselves with us; among others, my old
pupil in theology, whom I had always esteemed, and augured well of his
future destiny, Father Luigi de Santis, a Roman by birth, and curate at
the Maddalena in Rome. He wrote to me in the most affectionate style,
and it was with great pleasure I communicated the contents of his
letter to my friends, who, together with myself, could not but admire
how the Lord chose out of Rome herself, the men that were to combat
against her.

All this confirmed me more and more in the opinion that the very “set
time” was come, when a religious reaction was about to take place in
Italy, against the Church of the priests, and that it was conformable
to the will of God. Another idea now entered my mind, to connect a
college of missionaries with our Italian Church in Malta, from which we
might send forth our new preachers throughout Italy. This, however, did
not take effect, for it is written, “My ways are not your ways, neither
are your ways my ways.”

I had already communicated my project to several of my friends; I now
spoke of it to Dr. Gobat, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who was passing
through Malta, and several meetings were held on the occasion. It was
settled that my plan should be proposed to the Malta College Committee
in London. Accordingly, in the month of May, 1847, I set out for this
capital, in order to arrange as to the best mode of carrying the plan
into execution.

The Committee appeared to be pleased with my idea, and to be willing to
follow it out. It was proposed to unite my college to their own, and to
call it the Theological Branch of the College of St. Julian, at Malta;
which was to be placed under my direction, with the understanding that
in all important matters I should communicate with the Principal.

I have no doubt that the Committee of the Malta College were sincere
in their offer to grant me this support. The readiness with which they
entered into my views, their approbation, and the promises they made
me, were sufficient to make me believe that the hand of Providence was
in the affair. I was not, indeed, acquainted with all the members of
the Committee–some of them were not present–but the few objections
that were raised, were overruled by a majority of votes in my favour.

Everything was well arranged; one thing alone was wanted, and that was
money, which some people deem the most essential of all things; for my
own part, I have never given it the first place in my consideration,
having always hitherto found it supplied by the good providence of
God, when it was most needed.

In the present instance, however, this very necessary article was
required, not only for my theological branch, but also for the college
itself, or rather for the school for the youths. The mode of procuring
it was to be by calling meetings; and for this purpose I made a tour,
accompanied by a Secretary belonging to the Committee, through the
principal towns in England; holding these meetings at various places,
which afforded a large amount in donations and subscriptions.

It is almost incredible, the sympathy which many persons evinced for
this Missionary College. My name, the story of my conversion, my
protest in my letters to the Pope, the Italian Church, all afforded
abundant interest to those who saw that a reformation had already
commenced in Italy, through a religious movement at Rome.

My brethren in the cause were immediately summoned to the spot destined
for the Theological College. To Leonini and Saccares were added De
Santis, and also Cerioni, of Jesi, in the Roman States, who had lately
come from Alexandria, where he had been Secretary to the Bishop of
Cairo. A fifth came from Smyrna, an Armenian priest named Giovanni
Keosse, who stated that he had escaped through the assistance of a
bishop, and under the protection of the Austrian Ambassador, from
the clutches of the Roman Inquisition, which had laid hold of him at
Constantinople. I cannot tell how it happened that this Keosse, on his
arrival at Malta, was placed by the Principal of the College among my
people. I should have been willing enough to have received him, if he
had brought any recommendations with him. But he came in a furtive sort
of a manner, and the reports I heard concerning him were by no means to
his advantage; so that I began to suspect some evil design on his part;
and in fact he soon showed himself in his proper colours.

A bundle of papers arrived one day at the Committee of the Malta
College in London; they were anonymous, and contained vile, and at
the same time ridiculous charges against Leonini and Saccares. I was
informed that Keosse was the author of these slanders; the Armenian,
received from motives of kindness, was already a traitor, who stabbed
in the dark. I needed no further proofs of his baseness to give him to
understand that he must forthwith take his departure: he then thought
fit to throw off the mask; he was an agent for the opposite party.

“I think,” said one of my friends to him, “you need not wait the coming
of Dr. Achilli; he has declared that if you cannot prove the truth of
your accusations, he will without ceremony turn you out of the house.”

In fact, finding himself discovered, the Armenian did not think proper
to wait my return; he departed, saying, he could live no longer where
such disorder was going on.

I arrived at Malta in the December of the same year. The accusations
against the two priests were proved to be false, and Keosse was
declared to be a calumniator; I therefore caused a sitting to be
held before the two authorities of the College, the Principal and
the Vice-Principal, Keosse being present; and at this sitting he was
prohibited from all interference with my theological branch. I imagined
that he would also be expelled from the other departments, but he had
more favour and protection than I anticipated; he received money to
sustain his charges, and to endeavour to substantiate them; and at the
same time, through the interest of some of the officials, he obtained
the situation of Professor of the Turkish language. So that, although I
dismissed him, another brought him back; I closed one door against him,
the Principal opened another, for his re-admittance.

Five months of vexation, opposition, and annoyance succeeded. It was
in vain that I complained and protested. This Keosse was employed as
a tool, to separate me from the Malta College, to make me close the
missionary department, and to lose all the ground I had previously
gained. Nay, what was the worst of all, he had the art to induce some
English clergymen, and others who called themselves Protestants, to
oppose themselves to my proceedings.

I have been rather diffuse on this head, as it relates to the history
of the Italian Church. Keosse himself, after having accomplished his
mission,–the college being destroyed, and myself compromised in the
estimation of those who were not acquainted with the business,–after
having awakened discord, inseminated scandal, turned Protestantism into
derision, and elated the Jesuits with their victory, now turned his
back on the Malta Protestant College, and repaired to Rome, to receive
the reward of his labours: doubtless he will be made a bishop.

We see, then, that the Italian Church can already boast of persecution,
in the treatment of her promoters, who have been oppressed and
calumniated, and betrayed by false brethren. And this very circumstance
may be adduced as evidence of its divine origin, since the early
Christian Church was equally afflicted and unfortunate. Indeed, such
trials are promised to all the followers of Christ. Let us thank God
that we have been accounted worthy to suffer for the truth.

And yet the Italian Church of Malta was beautiful in promise! The
College was her seminary; but she herself was free and independent. My
first agreement with the Committee was couched in the following terms:–

“If the College and the Theological Branch are under the patronage
of the Bishop of Gibraltar, do not on that account imagine that my
Church will also be subject to him. I shall consider it my duty to be
equally courteous to him as to yourselves; but neither in one nor the
other do I recognise the head or ruler of our church. Furthermore I
declare, that neither my companions, nor myself, not being members of
the Anglican Church, we purpose to be in communion with all Christian
reformed churches whatever, beginning with your own.”

These were my very words on accepting my office, and uniting myself to
their body. And in accordance with these sentiments I may add, that
we occasionally enjoyed communion with the Episcopal Anglican Church,
and also with the Scotch Presbyterians; and at our own church, on the
Thursday before Easter in 1848, we had the satisfaction of partaking
of the holy communion with Christian ministers and members of many

The Italian Church disclaims the spirit of sectarianism, and
fraternizes with every other church that lives in the purity of
the Christian Faith; she abhors the spirit of intolerance and
exclusiveness. She desires to be Catholic, in the true and original
sense of the word.

The Italian Church I had established at Malta augured well, not only
for the place itself, but for the whole continent of Italy, and for
the island of Sicily also. I do not think it possible for the Anglican
Church to prosper in Malta. All the efforts that have been made to that
effect, for the last forty-eight years, have proved to the contrary.
The English language is not adapted for a people who have received
the language of Italy, through tradition, from the Knights of Malta,
and from its commercial relation with Sicily and the Levant, whose
merchants carry on their traffic in Italian. Besides it is to be noted
that the people have no sympathy with the religion of their rulers,
when they are on bad terms with their governors. Ireland is a speaking
example of the truth of this remark. If reform be at all possible in
Malta, it must be of Italian origin, and the Italian language must be
employed, both for teaching and for worship.

My esteemed friend, Camilleri, who exclusively devotes himself to the
service of his native place, is at length convinced of this fact, and
joins me in the work I am undertaking.

It may be urged that the Maltese have a language of their own; but
it is neither studied nor cultivated, and is little esteemed; it is
entirely confined to the lower orders, and is a spoken not a written
language: the Italian, on the other hand, is the language of the
educated classes. I have always advanced these arguments to those who
sought to ameliorate the religious condition of this people. I have
discountenanced the translating into the Maltese language either the
New Testament or the English liturgy; as has been done by the Bishop
of Gibraltar: since whoever in that country desires to read, chooses
the Italian language, which is preferred to all others. And it is on
this account that none but an Italian Church can hope to supersede
the Latin one; and that only after a long laborious effort. Provided
the Italian Church were established in Malta, it would greatly tend
to its extension in Sicily, since the place is much resorted to by
the Sicilians, both for business and pleasure; and lately indeed by
unfortunate refugees. During the whole time that our Church was open,
many worthy Sicilians frequented it in preference to any other; and
each of these, on returning home, carried with him at least his Bible,
with the Christian Catechism, which we gave away on the occasion.

All is now over, through a jealousy the most foolish, the most
incoherent I ever heard of. Weak men suffered themselves to be deceived
and overcome, and after having made their first false step, had the
folly to persist in and vindicate their error. I witnessed the fall of
a Church, which yet was “built on the foundation of the Apostles and
the Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.”[100]
I had to lament over the destruction of the work we had effected in
the Lord’s vineyard, and the dispersion of the labourers. Oh, how many
tears have I shed over the destruction of our infant Church! God alone
knows all that I have done to raise and preserve it. Those who, to
their eternal disgrace, have occasioned this evil will doubtless meet
with due punishment. At any rate, I have the consolation of being free
from remorse.

These reverses, nevertheless, served to instruct us with respect to
the future. I, in particular, had occasion to acquaint myself with
many things that I had not known before, and to undeceive myself with
respect to many others. I had it in contemplation to commence my work
with an appeal to the priests of the Romish Church. Their conversion
would naturally have led to that of the laity. I argued with myself
that if I could gain over to the Gospel of Christ the present ministers
of the Romish Church, and separate them from the Pope’s bulls, the
people would assuredly follow their example; that the conversion of the
ministers could not be a very difficult matter, since as they are all
more or less read in the Holy Scriptures I could call their attention
to them, and make it evident how widely Papistry is separated from
early Christianity. “The Bible will be the touchstone,” I said, “to
which I can refer the two doctrines, Christian and Papist. The Bible
itself will decide the question.”

My reasoning was just, and I have found by experience that whenever a
priest has consented to undergo the trial, he has finally been obliged
to yield, and has acknowledged me to be the victor. The same success
has attended my writings; Cerioni has frequently assured me that some
articles of mine in the “Indicator” led him to examine the question,
and that the consequence was his abandoning the Romish Church; and the
same was asserted by two other members of the Theological College,
besides many others. Similar success occurred in Rome. Many declared
themselves willing to abide by the testimony of the Bible, but as sure
as they came to argue the matter, so sure was I to gain the victory.
I shall not relate here how many of the priests, seeing that from
the authority of the Scriptures the falsity of the Romish doctrines
was made manifest, ended by concluding that the Bible was no better
authority than the bulls of the Popes, or the decrees of the Councils.
I wish to confine myself more particularly to the mention of those who,
impressed with the authenticity of the Holy Word, and convinced that
the principles of Christianity cannot disagree with its teaching, drew
the natural consequence that Popery is not Christianity.

It may be asked, What advantage do I gain in converting a priest from
the Church of Rome? I answer, I gain a friend, an associate, in a holy
cause; one who, if I desired it, would be ready, for his own part, to
nominate me his bishop. If I was an ambitious man, I could assume an
authority over most of these whom I have thus won over to the truth,–I
could become their head, and establish a Church which should be called
after my name; and so add another to the numerous sects which already
divide the Christian world. But there is no danger that this will
take place; I have invariably rejected the idea, whenever it has been
suggested to me, as unworthy of a minister of the Gospel. Priests,
above all people, are naturally inclined to sectarianism; they are
accustomed to regard the Church as of higher importance than the Bible;
according to them, Religion is not the work of God alone, but of God
and man together. Hence it is that the Priesthood, in every Christian
sect, is that which divides, opposes, denounces, and excommunicates. It
is through the Priesthood that we have schisms, and we shall continue
to have them so long as in the Church of Christ the believer is not
placed before the minister, the spirit before the form, grace and faith
before outward rites and observances.

The Roman priests, more than any others, naturally fall into this
error; being desirous, even in their reform, to preserve their old
customs. But there is another obstacle of no less importance–the
priest has been accustomed to live, as they term it, by the Altar.
We know it is written, “The labourer is worthy of his hire;” and
Jesus Christ himself quotes the old saying, “Thou shalt not muzzle
the ox that treadeth out the corn.” It therefore is clear, that every
minister, of whatever sect he may be, who duly works, has a right to
be decently provided for. But this doctrine, though sound in itself,
becomes nevertheless objectionable, when it is made a dominant
principle, the axle on which the wheel must turn. The minister who
serves the Gospel is maintained by those to whom he dispenses its
truths; but he is not equally to be so maintained, on the sole ground
of his priestly office, when he is unemployed.

It is a difficult matter to drive this idea from the heads of the
priests and monks of the Romish Church, the major part of whom are
accustomed to an idle life, setting aside the _laborious_ duty of
saying Mass; so that even when they leave their ancient creed, from
motives of conscience and clear conviction, their first inquiry is,
how they are to live. Hence it follows that many of them are kept in
their allegiance to Rome, because they fear they shall die of hunger if
they desert her. Others, on the contrary, deceived by false statements,
forsake the Church of Rome, and throw themselves boldly into any reform
whatever, under the vain hope of finding the means of becoming rich
in so doing. The first err through too great timidity, and the second
through too great rashness. Both the one and the other are very little
serviceable to the cause. I have had experience with both kinds–with
those who before joining me looked for an agreement on my part that I
should always be at the expense of their maintenance, and with others
who unreservedly associated themselves with me, under the idea that I
should, with a liberal hand, supply them with all the money they wanted.

On the contrary, I have been poor ever since I left the Church of Rome;
still I never solicited aid from any other than God alone. I admit,
however, that His goodness never failed me. I have laboured hard to
gain my living, but have never eaten the bread of idleness; and I have
sometimes, through my own exertions, been able to minister to the
necessities of my brethren. I have never regretted the privations I
have had to undergo; I have even frequently concealed them, in order
not to be burthensome to others. My companions have seen all this,
and can bear witness how I have confided my wants to the care of
the Divine Providence, and how often it has happened that some one
has spontaneously come forward to our relief, at the moment we most
required it; through the agency of man we have been fed by the hand of

But the priest who leaves the Church of Rome, persuaded of the truth,
yet not converted by it, is always in search of “what he shall eat,
what he shall drink, and wherewithal he shall be clothed,” and becomes
unhappy and desponding if he be not regularly supplied according to
what he thinks necessary.

The idea of providing for these priests, and the great difficulty of
finding the means of doing so, has, in fact, hitherto prevented me from
calling them to me. I had had a sad experience on the subject, when I
associated myself with those at Malta. As long as they were well fed,
peace and harmony prevailed; but the very day our means failed, they
rebelled against me, with the exception of one or two, and turned out
ungrateful, unthankful, and altogether unworthy.

This lesson, amongst others, has taught me that in my work of reform I
must not seek the aid of priests. They would be nothing but a burthen
and a trouble to me. It is not they who constitute a reform, but the
believers; and among them it does not appear to me that the priests,
as a body, hold the first place; if by the word believer is to be
understood a man endued with faith and religious zeal. I hope our
Italian Church will institute good laws with respect to its ministers;
in the meantime, I shall get my operations forward, without again
associating myself too closely with any of the priests who may be
converted. I shall exhort them to work as I do, and gain their own

St. Paul “laboured with his own hands;” and why should not a priest,
who has not much to do in his ministry, employ his leisure time in some
civil or literary employment? I even indulge the hope that we may at
last return to the old practice in this matter, when the priests did
not form a _caste_, but were merely the heads of the families that
were the most respected; and were chosen by the people, on account of
their wisdom or piety, to the office of minister or elder.

The inconveniences to which we are now subject in Italy, through the
priests, warn us in time, as to what arrangements we ought to make
respecting them. It is certain that as to exalt Christ we must abase
the Pope, so to raise the spirit of Christianity we must combat the
idolatry of mere forms; and that to purify Religion, which has become
corrupted by priests, we must in every possible way make war against
everything that comes under the head of priestcraft.


[93] 1 Sam. iii. 9.

[94] _Vide_ M’Crie’s “History of the Reformation in Italy;” Baird’s
“Sketch,” &c.

[95] Luke ii. 29.

[96] 1 Peter v. 8.

[97] “Form of Divine Service in the Italian Church in Malta.” Malta:
1847. Printed by Vassalli.

[98] “Psalms and Hymns for the Italian Church in Malta.” 1848. Printed
by Vassalli.

[99] He made profession of his faith in a letter to the General of
his Order, published in the _Indicatore_, and circulated at Rome as
extensively as possible. Vide Appendix, Indicator I. March 1847.

[100] Eph. ii. 20.