The Convent

Boston Evening Transcript

Citation Information:

“The Convent,” Boston Evening Transcript, 12 August, 1834.


We passed the ruins of the Ursuline Convent this morning. They were, indeed, a melancholy and a mortifying sight. We hung our head in shame, whilst our spirit was indignant. We felt a sense of degradation, whilst we could have leapt into burning flames, to seize upon the atrocious villains who had brought this disgrace-stamped not indellibly, we thank God-this foul blot on the character and escutcheon of New England. The soul sickens-the heart grows faint-the whole man is unmanned, at the very thought of the abomination. The perpetrators of the outrage must be ferreted out, and summarily punished as they merit. The man who sits idly content with the official exertions of the police, is a traitor to good order, good government, religious principles and moral supremacy-he is an enemy to himself, to his wife, daughters, sisters-to all that loves and blesses him in prosperity-that clings to him in adversity-and demands at all times, in all places, and in all seasons, his shield’s protection. We repeat it, that it is the duty of every man who has strength enough to bear a musket, to gird himself for the fight, and in protecting property and life, protect the honor of New England, the honor of Massachusetts, the honor of Boston.

THE OUTRAGE RENEWED. A mob occupied the Convent grounds from 11 o’clock last night until half past 2 o’clock this morning. There was no force, civil or military, to oppose their violence, and they destroyed a great number of valuable fruit trees, tore up the choicest vines of the grapery, pulled down the fence, and made a bonfire, and no one resisted them!! The Charlestown Light Infantry were on duty at Mr. Cutter’s house, but having been specially posted there to guard his property, they did not feel authorized to leave their station to go to the protection of the Convent. The Charlestown Phalanx were on duty at the Catholic Church in that town.

The Mayor was at his post in the Court room all last night, ready to receive reports from the officers in command at different sections of the city, and act at a moment’s notice.

The Fusilliers were stationed at the Arsenal. A strong constituary force was posted in the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Cross, and several Infantry companies were assembled at the armories in Faneuil Hall. That the arrangement was excellent is proved from the fact that a mob collected about 10 o’clock, at the Arsenal. Finding, probably, that it was well guarded, they proceeded with threats to the Catholic Church, where they were made acquainted with the presence of the Police, and marched on, without making much disturbance, to Faneuil Hall. Here, again, they found preparations for their reception, and proceeded thence to Charlestown. Of their operations there we have spoken elsewhere. These facts are communicated to us by one who was on duty all night.

MEETING AT CAMBRIDGE. A meeting of the inhabitants of Cambridge was held today at noon, “to express the opinion of the town in relation to the late destruction of the Ursuline Convent at Charlestown.” Mr. W. J. Whipple presided, and the meeting was addressed by Hon. Judge Story, when resolutions were presented and adopted, of which, we regret that we have room only for one.

Resolved, That we, the inhabitants of Cambridge, view with abhorrence the flagrant violation of private rights in the destruction of the Ursuline Convent, and that we earnestly desire that the perpetrators may be discovered and brought to justice.

Three Justices of the Peace, and quorum, have been in session this forenoon in Charlestown, attended by Attorney General J. T. Austin. A great number of depositions have been taken, and we learn that much information is likely to result from the investigation. A valuable silver chalice, which was placed in its tabernacle and deposited for safe keeping in the Convent Tomb which infamy has desecrated, was stolen by the violaters of the grave.

As an evidence of the universal excitement which pervaded our community yesterday, as well as to apologize for the late hour at which many of our subscribers received their papers, we mention that such was the demand at our office for last evening’s Transcript, that we found it utterly impossible to get our carriers out until long after the usual time. Every copy of our paper was taken as fast as we could print them, and although our daily circulation exceeds twenty-four hundred, we issued yesterday fifteen hundred extra copies.