A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Items of general interest

Moderators: Global Moderators, Pandabean

Posts: 3840
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by Currie » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:05 am

From the John o' Groat Journal, etc (Wick), Friday, January 23, 1852.

GREENOCK PAROCHIAL BOARD.—A BIT OF SCANDAL.—At a meeting of the Parochial Board of Greenock, held on Tuesday last, the exposure of a Roman Catholic clergyman, while located in the West of Scotland, was brought out in the report of a committee. The name of the reverend delinquent is Priest Scanlan, who has gone to America, leaving the parish saddled with the maintenance of two illegitimate children. Scanlan was stationed first in Duntocher, then in Glasgow, and subsequently in Hamilton. Since he left, he sent the woman, whose name is Johnston, at one time, £2 10s., at another, £5, on which she subsisted till January, 1846, when she applied to Bishop Murdoch, who has assisted her till within a few weeks since. She went into the service of the Rev. Mr Maloney in May, 1842. The Rev. John Scanlan was officiating there during a portion of the year in the absence of Mr Maloney, and an intimacy of an improper nature sprung up between him and the young woman. At the end of the woman's term of servitude she went to Greenock, and, under the assumed name of Mrs Brown, wife of an engineer in a deep-sea steamer, took lodgings near to the harbour in the house of a woman named Hooson. The soi-disant "Mister Brown," the engineer, was only occasionally "at home," and when he came he never remained over one night at a time. The children are admitted to have a legal claim on that parish.

The Glasgow Mail carried a very much longer version of events, including names, dates and places, and transcriptions of the letters “Mr Brown” wrote to the young woman. If anyone is interested I’ll post the whole kit and kaboodle. A very sad story.


Posts: 3840
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by Currie » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:09 am

This is the first part of the Glasgow Mail report previously referred to. It's taken from the pages of The Morning Post, (London), Saturday, January 03, 1852.

(From the Glasgow Mail.)

The Parochial Board of Greenock met on Tuesday evening last—Mr. Sellers in the chair.

The minutes of last meeting having been read and approved of, Mr. Crawford read the following report from the committee appointed to investigate and report upon the case of Priest Scanlan and his two illegitimate children:—

On November 14, 1846, the parish of Greenock received a statutory notice, that two children, named John and Patrick Scanlan had become chargeable on the parish of Paisley, and intimating that Greenock would be held liable for advances.

Ten days afterwards a full statement of the case was forwarded, which is as follows:—

"Hospital, Paisley, Nov. 24, 1846.
"Case of John and Patrick Scanlan, illegitimate children of Ann Jean Johnston.
" Sir,—Applicant is a native of Ireland. She came to Scotland in June, 1836, and her residence since that date has been as follows:—With brother-in-law, Wm. Johnston, at Pottery, Renfrew, from June till August, 1836. Servant with Mrs. Campbell, St. Mirren-street, Paisley, from Aug., 1836, till April, 1837. Servant with Mr. Campbell, Williamsburgh, Abbey, from April to May, 1837. Servant with Dr. Richmond, High-street, Paisley, from May, 1837, to May, 1842; with Rev. Mr. Maloney, R.C.C., Duntocher, Kilpatrick, from May, 1842, to May, 1843. In lodgings with Mr. Hooson, Dalrymple-street, Greenock, from May to August, 1843. In Ireland from August to September, 1843. In Mrs. Hooson's, Dalrymple-street, Greenock, from September to October, 1843. In lodgings with Mrs. Alexander M'Lachlan, Clark's-court, Main-street, Gorbals, Glasgow, from September, 1843, to August, 1844. In Mrs. Hooson's, Dalrymple-street, Greenock, from August, 1844, to May, 1845. In Gourock from May to September, 1845. In Mrs. Hooson's, Dalrymple-street, Greenock, from September to December, 1845. In Alex. M`Lachlan's, Glasgow, from December, 1845, to March, 1846. In Main-street and Cheapside-street, Glasgow, from March to October 21, 1846. In Paisley since November, 1846.

"You will perceive that she has lost her settlement here, in consequence of having been absent from Paisley since May, 1842, being a period of 4½ years. The children's settlement, therefore, reverts to the parish of their birth—viz., Greenock. The eldest, John Scanlan, was born in Mrs. Hooson's house, Dalrymple-street, Greenock, on June 21, 1843, and the youngest, Patrick Scanlan, also born in the same house, October 25, 1844.

"The applicant has been the victim of criminal intercourse with a Roman Catholic priest, named John Scanlan, the reputed father of her two children. Scanlan was stationed first at Duntocher, then in Glasgow, and subsequently in Hamilton. This intercourse began while she was servant to Mr. Maloney at Duntocher, and continued without interruption till Scanlan sailed for America last year. Since he left, he sent her at one time 2l. 10s., and at another 5l., on which she subsisted till January, 1846, when she applied to Bishop Murdoch, who has assisted her till within a few weeks since.

"With the exception of this connection, applicant bears an excellent character, and was much valued by Dr. Richmond, to whom she has also been much indebted of late.— I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
"JAMES S. BROWN, Inspector of Poor.
"Mr. Malcolm, Inspector of Poor, Greenock."

An inquiry was instituted, the result of which was, that the parish of Greenock held that the mother of the Scanlans had come on both occasions to Greenock for the purpose, secretly, of giving birth to her children, and, therefore, that Old Kilpatrick, as being the place of her ordinary residence, was constructively, although not actually, the parish of birth.

From that period in '46 till Aug. '51, the case remained in statu quo: but at the latter date Paisley renewed their application to Greenock, in consequence of a decision in July last, in the Court of Session, which saddled the parish of a deserted child's birth with its maintenance, the father not having acquired, or if acquired, not having retained, a settlement elsewhere.

Thus stood the case when a deputation from this board happened to be in Paisley lately on a mission relative to the contemplated asylum. It occurred to that deputation, that if the mother of the children could be seen, some further information might be got tending to elucidate the settlement, but they were not successful in finding her. As a proof of the paternity, however, the inspector at Paisley, produced a number of letters written by the Rev. John Scanlan to the mother of his children, with some other documents relating to the case, which had been put into his possession by the young woman Johnston. These were handed over to the deputation, and are embodied in this report.

The young woman's story is simply this:—She is a native of Ireland. Came to Scotland in June of '36, and resided in Paisley in three several situations, the last of these being for a period of five years, with respectable Protestant families, in the capacity of domestic servant, where she was highly esteemed, up till May '42. At this period, the following letter was given her by the writer, the Rev. John Carolan, a catholic clergyman, then in Paisley, with a view to procure her a situation in the service of a reverend brother on the north side of the river:—

"Paisley, April 21, 1842.
"Rev. Dear Sir,—The bearer, Mary Ann Johnston, is the person of whom I spoke to you the day you were here. I am deeply interested for her. She is a real good and honourable dacent girl. She has been in the one service these six years, and partly by my advice she now at the term leaves it. She is a general housekeeper, and a very nice intelligent person, as you may know from her appearance. I spoke to her about the hire; she told me she had but 6l. 10s., and had too, by herself, to attend in every way a large family. She can cook and dress, and attend nicely in that way; can wash and sew, and in fine, is the nicest servant you could meet, possessing a rich stock of good sense, and sterling virtue. She told me she would stop with you for 3l. sooner than go elsewhere for three times the hire. There was a Protestant family wanting her to go out with them in a few days to New Zealand, but this I put out of her head, as she would lose her religion by doing so. If you make your arrangements with her, I am sure you will not feel much after Mary.—I remain, Rev. Sir, yours very respectfully,
(Signed) "JOHN CAROLA.N.
"The Rev. J. Maloney,
"Cath. Clergyman, Glenhead."

She did obtain the situation at Glenhead, and went into the service of the Rev. Mr. Maloney in May '42. The Rev. John Scanlan was officiating there during a portion of the year, in the absence of Mr. Maloney, and an intimacy of an improper nature sprang up between him and the young Woman.

At the end of the young woman's yearly term of servitude, having peculiar reasons for quitting, she went to Greenock, and under the assumed character of Mrs Brown, wife of an engineer in a deep-sea steamer, took lodgings near to the harbour, in the house of a woman named Hoosan. The soi disant " Mister Brown," the engineer, was only occasionally "at home," and when he came, he never remained over one night at a time. He was tall, remarkably good-looking, and had a dash of mystery and romance in his composition, that favoured the conclusion that he was, despite his rough overcoat, and large muffler which concealed his features, an engineer of the better sort. It never occurred to any one that he was the Rev. Mr. Scanlan.

Things went on thus till 21st June, '43, when the young woman became the mother of a young Brown, which was immediately put out to nurse; and a fortnight afterwards Priest Scanlan, alias Mr. Brown, addresses her from Glasgow:—

To Be Continued ……………………………


Posts: 617
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:42 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by garibaldired » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:44 pm

Oh, Alan, you know how to keep us hanging on your every word! :D

Looking forward to hearing the rest.
Thanks for posting.

Best wishes,

Posts: 3981
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 11:49 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by nelmit » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:04 pm

What a story!


Posts: 3840
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by Currie » Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:13 am

Hello Meg and Annette, I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Next are the first of the letters written to the young woman by the reverend gentleman.

(Post Mark, July 4, 1843.) " Monday Evening."
Dearest Ane,
"I now proceed to redeem my promise of writing to you. Mr. Scanlan is in Glasgow, and will be there until Friday next. Mr. Maloney is not yet came meet me at renfrew on Friday about one a clock you need not come up at once and speak to me but rather stop in the boat and I will go in the same to Glasgow hoping that you and yours are well I am with deepest love yours."

In August following, the priest and the young woman are found rusticating in Ireland. He returns to Scotland before her, when he writes her as follows

" August 23d, '43.
"I am happy to inform you that we had a very pleasing passage to Scotland, Diversified much by a cargo of regular Paddies who fought like Trogans without I should think any cause save the love of displaying their dexterity. They frequently made such a rush that we were all well nigh swamped. I hope you are in good health and enjoyin the scenery of Louths smiling valleys. I am at present in Glasgow but am not quite certain whither Greenock or it will be my destination. Neither of them will long. I am quite determined upon it. I did not call at Greenock, but I intend to go down about the end of the week. When you come over you can easily see me by sending a message in different writing well sealed or remaining some place convenient until you see me pass by. be convinced of what I told you often.
"Yours very sincerely A FRIEND."

After passing a month in Ireland, the young woman returned to Greenock in September, and in October thereafter she left for lodgings in Glasgow, where the Rev. Mr. Scanlan had become located in the discharge of his priestly functions. He continued to visit her regularly there—almost every day. The opportunities for doing so, however, appear to have depended at times on the absence of the superior.

"21st June, 1844.
"Dear Ane—I endeavoured by every means in my power to spend this night with you but I declare it is not in my power. Do not be angry the Bishop will be going from home shortly at which time I can remain more than one night. This I declare is the truth. I hope to be able to see you this afternoon.—Yours, J. SCANLAN.
"To Mrs. Brown "Care of Mrs. M'Laughlin
"Clarkes Court "main St "Gorblas."

After eleven months' residence in Glasgow, she returned in August, '44, to her old quarters in Greenock, there being again a pressing necessity for her doing so, and Mr. Scanlan's next letter is addressed to her there.

"Glasgow 15 Oct 44.
"Dear Ane—You are always accusing me of not being very strict in the fulfilmuent of promises but you see how exact I am in performing the promise I made to you of writing this day—I am in good health and if it be possible I will call down on friday first if not on monday certainly —I hope you are well—believe me to be
"yours sincerely."

Ten days afterwards their second child, Patrick Scanlan, was ushered into life in the birthplace of the former; but in the interim the anxious father-expectant writes again.

"Saturday evening Oct 20th 44.
"Dear Ane—I suppose you received my letter stating that I could not see you until monday next—Now I find it will not be in my power to go to Greenock until the day after that is tuesday—though the difference of time is not very much I thought it better to write. "yours &c &c”

He must have gone to Greenock on the promised visit and returned to Glasgow. The next letter acknowledges receipt of tidings of the interesting event of the 25th Oct., that gave him another son.

"October 29 1844.
"Dear Ane—I had a letter on yesterday from a particular friend of yours telling me that you are well, need I say that it gave me the greatest pleasure to hear it, yes though you may think otherwise I can assure you there is not a person living whose happiness is more dear to me. I rather think I will not be able to see you before the beginning of next week least you want anything in the meantime you will find a note enclosed in this letter.
" I am yours sincerely."

About this period the Rev. Mr. Scanlan is promoted to a charge in Hamilton, from which he writes her in Nov. :—

"Hamilton Monday morning.
"Dear Ane—I trust the state of your health will permit you to come here and see me on Wednesday first—you will get a coach starting for this place from meinzes Hotel Trongate at the following hours—10—12 forenoon and 3 and 5 afternoon—when you do come here enquire for Hervies lodge near the town house—if you cannot come write to me & I will call down this week.
" I am yours sincerely."

The next letter is from Hamilton to her in Greenock, arranging for a meeting in Glasgow, and is as follows;—

"Hamilton 23d Nov. 44.
" Dear Ane—I hope you are in good health—if you are much improved I would like to see you next week—not in hamilton recollect for I am just now going to Airdrie to collect for the chapel and in all probability I will be there during the week to come, but in Glasgow—need I say that you are dear to me still before long you may be certain that I will prove it to be true, this may sound in your ears as a mere empty expression but time will tell write to me on monday next to Airdrie and do not be afraid to do so as I can assure you there is not the slightest danger—mention the place and the hour—be sure now and take care of yourself from the cold, take a little more medicine for I am still in terror lest anything should be wrong with you, the post is nearly going so I must stop.—Yours very truly, J. B.
Direct Catholic Chapel
"Airdrie for me.”

The meeting arranged for has evidently taken place between this and the following letter :...

"Hamilton, Dec. 11, 44.
"My Dearest Ane,—Enclosed you will find one pound, which I hope will defray your expenses until I see you again—if possible I will call down next week—however, it would give me great satisfaction to hear from you as soon as this reaches—do be pleased to write to me and mention the day you will come up here.—Yours truly, J. B.”

A meeting of the lovers must have taken place between the 14th and the date of the next letter, the 23d December, for he speaks of having committed an "act of folly," which he attributes to drink—

"Hamilton, Dec. 23, 1844.
"My Dearest Ane,—I am very sorry that my folly should have fallen upon you so heavily as it did. If I were in my sober senses you may depend it would not be so—pardon me this offence and as god is my judge it will be the last. I hope you are improving in health—take good care of yourself if it be possible I will expect you on Wednesday first by the 3 o'clock coach—I will be down to see you at the New Year when I trust you will be in better spirits than the last time —I have got so severe a cold that I am not able to leave the house—least you should want in the mean time I have sent the enclosed note.—I am my Dearest Ane yours sincerely, J. B."
"For Mrs Brown in Mr. Hoosons Dalrymple Street Greenock."

He next complains of indisposition:—

"Hamilton 1st Jany 1845.
"My Dear Ane—I received a letter from Mr. Richmond on yesterday morning in which he says that you are not well as yet, this grieves me very much especially now as alas I am beginning to feel what sickness is—I am still confined to bed & in the Drs opinion will be so for another fortnight—I hope the day will soon come when we will see each other well again—Yours most sincerely, J. B."
"Enclosed is a note
For Mrs Brown
in Mrs Hoosons
Dalrymple St

His next solicits a visit to his sick chamber, a fortnight afterwards. The next shows that she had gone on the solicited visit, had been apprehensive of discovery at the railway station. But he is recovering :—

"Hamilton, 28th Jany. 45.
"Dearest Ane,—I received your note and feel most happy that you are not anything the worse for coming here on that cold day. Do not trouble yourself in the least about what you saw at the railway terminus what do you care about them I am considerably improved though not quite well as yet, in case I am better by the end of the week I will be down. You will find one pound enclosed in this note. Give my best respects to Mr. richmond and the Hoosons.—Yours truly, J. B."

Three days, after this letter, he has found he has miscalculated his strength, and writes another explaining that he is worse, and enclosing a note. Less than a week afterwards he writes again:—

"Hamilton 5th Feby '45.
" Dear Ane,—I hope you are far on in the way of recovery by this time—I am considerably better since l last saw you though not quite well as yet—I went to Glasgow on Saturday for the purpose of remaining here to collect but I had to leave on Sunday morning and come here—on next sunday though I will be there and then I will send you some money or go down in the middle of the week—take good care of yourself and keep from the cold.—Yours sincerely J. B."

A few days thereafter he again writes from Glasgow :—

(Post mark, Feby 10, 1845.)
"Glasgow, Monday evening.
"Dear Ane,—I came to Glasgow on yesterday morning —I will Go down some day in the course of the week to see you I hope you are quite well, my best respects to the hoosons.—Yours truly J. B." "NB enclosed is one pound note. "
Mrs. Brown in Mrs. Hoosons Dalrymple St. Greenock.

The next letter shows that the Rev. Mr. Scanlans's position becomes critical; suspicions have been awakened in Glasgow, and he is rigorously questioned, but refuses to "confess."

"Glasgow, March 3, 1845.
"Dear Ane,—I now proceed to write to you according to promise. I was very rigorously questioned on the day I left you about where I was which I refused to tell. I will not leave on the business I was speaking on untill after Easter. I beg of you to get a girl to assist you with the children or you will have no comfort or peace let me know what you have determined on. I would advise you strongly to leave the place you are in. Make up your mind whether you will go to Hamilton or remain in Glasgow and let me know all about it, direct your letter to Hamilton let it be there on Saturday. Cheer up your spirits and bear all things patiently for a little longer the time is fast approaching when you will be better circumstanced. I am really afraid to go down this week though it may happen that I would—now do not forget writing to me again saturday first.—Yours truly J. B."

The next letter promises a reform in his drinking habits

"Hamilton 13th March '45.
"Dear Ane,—I hope you have been well since I saw you last. I am getting somewhat better than I was at that time though not so well as I could wish to be by any chance. I have not tasted spirituous liquors of any kind since that time & indeed in future I will not make so free with it as I was accustomed to do you will find a note enclosed. Perhaps I would go down on friday though I am not certain of so doing as yet. Write to me as soon as you receive this & let me know whether you have made up your mind to leave that place and how you are getting on. " Yours truly J. B."

And again, two days afterwards, he writes a note saying he would be down on the Monday following. The next letter makes allusion again to the very foolish act of December, from the consequence of which she does not yet appear to have recovered.

"Hamilton 22 March 45.
"Dear Ane
"I receivd your letter to day. I am sorry to learn that your health is not improving of course you have to blame me for it. Never will I forgive myself that very foolish act I was guilty of—prepare yourself to come to Hamilton on Tuesday next & I will send the servant out of the way. Do not bring any of the children with you unless you wish to ruin the whole of us. You can easily get some person to take care of them for one night. recollect now Teusday night I will have all things ready for you. The time is fast approaching when neither you or myself will be in bondage we will arrange a great many little matters when you come up. Write to me on receipt of this & believe me to be ever —Dearest Ane yours faithfully J. B.
"N.B.—You will find a note enclosed."

The next is indicative of a coming rupture.

"Hamilton 16th Apl '45.
"Dear Ane,—I hope you are well. Strange things have occurred since I saw you these I will explain upon monday next when I intend if possible to call down and see you. Enclosed you will find a note.—Yours truly

And again, two days afterwards:—

"Glasgow, 13th April, 1845.
"Dear Ane—I see it will not be in my power to go to see you on monday night. I am in dread to go in consequence of a recent occurrence which I will explain when next we meet—come to Mr. M'laughlin's house on monday and I will meet you there at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, give my compliments to Mr. Richmond and the Hoosons. "Yours truly, J. B.
"Mrs. Brown in Mrs. Hoosons Dalrymple
"Street, Greenock."

The next letter makes it evident that the whole affair has exploded, ……………….................

To be continued,


Posts: 617
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:42 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by garibaldired » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:02 am

Waiting with bated breath................ :D

Best wishes,

Site Admin
Posts: 5592
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:47 am
Location: France

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by SarahND » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:06 am

As am I 8) What a tale!


Posts: 3840
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by Currie » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:43 am

Hello Meg and Sarah,

The story continues, and it appears that Father Scanlan is even more of a Cad and Bounder than he first appeared to be.

The next letter makes it evident that the whole affair has exploded, for he has beat a hasty retreat
to Dundee, whence he writes :—

"Dundee, 5th May 1845. " Dear Ane,—Enclosed you will find two notes which is all I can spare at present, in consequence of the very poor place I am in. You will not hear from me for 10 or 12 days again. I hope you are well in health take good care of yourself and be sure to go down the water— it will undoubtedly serve you—I am very uneasy about what I was
speaking to you about though I heard nothing of it since. I really do not know how to act, you can form no idea of the intense anxiety with which I am racked. I am just now writing to the big man—have you seen an account of the great dinner in Dundalk get one of the Irish papers, it is worth reading. I expect in the course of a few weeks to spend some time with you in case you are down the water.—Yours very truly. J. D.
"Mrs. Brown."

This was the last letter he was permitted to address her in Scotland. On Thursday evening about the middle of May, 1845, the " Engineer,"—that is, the Rev. John Scanlan, arrived at "Mrs. Brown's" lodgings in Greenock, bringing with him a large trunk. He said he was on his way to England, on a mission to collect for some chapel maintenance scheme. He remained two nights, left "Mrs. Brown" some flannels to repair against his returning, and also his watch, and a ring with his name engraven on it, and proceeded to Liverpool on the Saturday evening. The young woman Johnston, who will be easily recognised in "Mrs. Brown," suspected his going out of the country, and was driven to despair. In the following week he wrote her from Liverpool. The letter will tell its own story:—

Liverpool 20th May 1845.
"Dear Ane,—Enclosed you will find a post-office order for 3l. which is all I can afford you at present. Do not be alarmed at what I am now about to tell you. When you last saw me in Greenock you were astonished at my boldness in going out if you then knew the cause you would not. I was then in the very act of leaving the country because the Bishop threatened to suspend me in consequence of something that was transpiring about you. This I would have told you if I thought that you could bear up against it. Do bear it Ane and I will do everything in my power for you and my dear little fellows. I am about to start for New York in the course of 5 hours, from which place I will write to you immediately on my arrival. I intend to write for my sister also and bring her with you. I implore of you now to bear up against this, also to live very sparingly think more of a halfpenny than you did of a shilling before.—Yours truly " J. B.
"Mrs. Brown Greenock,"

The poor young woman with her two deserted children then went to Greenock, where, in June, Scanlan wrote her from America.

"New York, June 25th, 1845.
"Dear Ane
"I arrived here on yesterday evening, after a beautiful passage on board the ship John R. Skiddy, from Liverpool, the sea was very calm during the whole voyage except one evening, when it blew a very hard gale but it did not continue long, you have no idea of the beauty of the scene while it lasted. I never imagined that the sea could appear so awfully grand as it then did, but I am sure you have already got more words on this subject than you relish. I am certain that your state since I saw you, has not been the most pleasant however you cannot believe me when you take all the circumstances into consideration if I remained but one other week I am certain that I would have been suspended how miserable then both you and the poor little fellows should be is at least pretty evident, I could endure all myself but to see you in want I never could. I have suffered more since I last saw you than I thought possible for me to endure. Many a restless hour I have since spent in almost a state of distraction more on your account than my own though I assure you I have no idea of the manner in which I will act as yet, bear up your spirits, and I trust that you will know comfort yet. I am in rather a delicate state of health and therefore I have to confine myself here a week or so. This state of health does not arise from any bad conduct on my part since I saw you but from a sort of general debility and a cold I caught in the ship. I have not tasted spirits of any kind since then nor do I intend to do it for some time at any rate. You will find the half of a £5 bank of england note enclosed in this the other half I will send you by the next packet. to be candid I am not well able to afford so much at present £4 is what I intended to have sent but I could not get an order for it without a great deal of trouble so the balance turns up in your favour you can easily get change for it in one of the Greenock banks, in the course of a few weeks I will send you as much more as I can. Now I beg of you my dear Ane to take care of yourself and my dear little fellows and I hope I will be able to send for you very shortly give my best respects to Mr Richmond and all your Friends and believe me to be dear Ane yours most sincerely. JOHN SCANLAN
"Mrs Brown Greenock, Scotland.
"N.B. write on receipt of this and direct your letter as follows care of Right Rev. Dr Hughes Catholic Bishop New York for me.
"Let the outside writing be very legible."

The next is the only remaining letter of Scanlan.

"New York 30th June 1845.
"Dear Ane,—Enclosed you will find the half of a £5 bank of england note which you can get cashed at any of the Greenock banks by paying a little discount, the other half I have sent a few days before though I have reason to think that this will reach you first in the other letter I desired that you would write to me as soon as possible and send your letter to the care of the Right Rev. Dr. Hughes New York now in case this reaches you before you write do not do it on my account, as I am about leaving New York for Boston this evening if I do not succeed there you will hear from me shortly, keep up your spirits and I trust all will turn out for the better, mind yourself and the little fellows, in the other letter you have a full statement of the reasons that induced me to act as I did farewell at present my Dearest Ane and believe me to be very sincerely yours "JOHN SCANLAN.
"Mrs. Brown."

In September the mother and her two deserted children returned from Gourock to Greenock, where she remained till December following. She then went to Glasgow. She states that early in 1846, her means of support being then entirely exhausted, and being in utter want, with her two children dependant on her for support, she applied to "the clergy" there for aid and advice in her friendless and forlorn condition. One of the body there, high in office, told her that Scanlan had been sent off to America, not on account of his connection with her, but with a mill girl, and that he had been granted a character much better than he deserved, to procure him a charge there. The same dignitary urged her to write Scanlan for assistance, and she got the rev. gentleman who at the outset had been the means of her going to serve priest Maloney at Glenhead, to write a letter addressed to Scanlan, at St. John's, New Brunswick, where it had been ascertained he had become located. This letter from subsequent causes was never despatched, and is preserved among the other correspondence. It is as follows:—

“Greenock 24th Feby 1846
"Revd. Sir,—In the spirit of religion and christian charity I now appeal to you, a person named Anne Johnston with whom you are acquainted applied to me lately in a most deplorable condition in rags as to her person in starvation as to her body in a Hell as to her soul, she and her two children were in the utmost distress when I herd her sad tail of which you formed the principle theme I gave her a trifle in charity as I knew her to be good before but which was soon exhausted. That her case may not go abroad before the world I apply to you in her name for some assistance to her, she is unwilling that she would make known her distress to others as the more she would communicate it to, the more scandal would be given. I consider you are bound not in charity but strict justice to send her something there is no evading this application, I was slow to believe her at first but she possesses writings of your's which are decisive on your connection with her, you know the cause of her misfortune as you are the father of her two children this fact is undeniable, or I would never think of speaking thus it was with reluctance and only after being convinced in various ways I believe this fact. The creature bore all patiently to the utmost extremity and then aplied to me as a last resource, for the sake of Religion for the sake of Justice for the sake of suffering humanity in her person, let not this appeal be made in vain. If this is disregarded another application will be made in another form and I would recommend attention as soon as possible to the present note. There is no backing out of the difficulty either to send her something, or matters will inevitably be published. I hope you will answer this either with money or without as matters are very peculiar with this girl at present.
"I remain Revd Sir yours very faithfully "JOHN CAROLAN.
"Revd J Scanlan
" St Johns New Brunswick."
"Mr. Mellhenie

One day the dignitary referred to, asked her if she had yet written to Scanlan, and she said she had not; he told her it was too late now, as he had written out about his conduct and he would be deposed from the priesthood. Her children were admitted into a Catholic Orphan Institution as "orphans Brown." She was strictly charged not to tell that she was the mother, nor seem in any way attached to them. Strong efforts were made to get her to go off to America, not for the purpose of joining Scanlan, whom she was to avoid. She was told she would easily forget her children which she was to strive to do, and they would be provided for at home. Three pounds were given her to enable her to procure a passage out, but as this sum was not sufficient for the purpose, even had she been willing to go, she never went, as she was much attached to her children, and could not think of parting from them, and besides had no prospects in America. The dignitary got from her all Scanlan's letters. He gave her frequent pecuniary assistance, and paid one pound to teach her sewing. Hearing that in the Catholic Orphan Institution eruptions had broken out upon her children, she insisted on having them out, and she got the following order for this purpose :—

"Please let the bearer have the two Browns. They are no longer to be inmates of the Institution. "JOHN MURDOCH.
"Let the children have their clothes."

She did find them all broken out into eruptions or scabs, and one of them almost blind, apparently from gross neglect. The dignitary from that period became very angry with her, but others of the priesthood sympathised with her, and . . . [The expressions of the report are here so strong, that we must decline publishing them.] She then applied to him to have her letters returned, but these he was most anxious to retain. He asked her if any one had put her up to this ? and she answered No, but that the letters would be useful to her in making a claim upon the Parochial Board in behalf of her children, and she insisted on having them? but she only got them after threatening to apply to the sheriff on the subject. He then threw them to her across a table in great wrath, his eyes rolling in his head like a tiger's. She was not sure whether she got the whole of her letters returned to her, not having counted them previous to giving them. On getting her letters she had occasion to pass through the chapel during mass, and he, observing that she did not kneel like the others, dared her to leave without joining in the ceremony, but she would not listen to him, and hastily left. She never called afterwards, knowing from his excited feeling against her, that she had no further kindness to expect at his hand. She then applied to the Parochial Board in Paisley, being in utter wretchedness, and her children were taken into the Parochial Institution there, in the state in which they were removed from the Catholic Orphans' Institution, and provided for at what will in all probability be the expense of the ratepayers of Greenock.

These are a portion of the facts of this deeply interesting narrative, and such of them as could not be culled from the correspondence have been obtained from the poor woman, who also related many instances of the gross immorality of other priests, but which it is not necessary to introduce into this narrative. She seems now thoroughly alive to the hollowness of the professions of those among whom it has been her misfortune to fall a blighted, though not yet, a ruined woman, who has unfortunately given way to the refined and delusive cajoleries of one whose celibastic vows and priestly office, ought to have been a guarantee against such foul and wicked deceit towards his own housemaid.

Finally, there appears to be no other course left this board …………………………………….

To be continued,


Site Admin
Posts: 5592
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:47 am
Location: France

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by SarahND » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:44 am

What a cad and bounder!

Posts: 617
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:42 pm
Location: Dorset, UK

Re: A Troublesome Priest Transferred.

Post by garibaldired » Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:13 pm

He's even worse than I thought initially!

Post Reply