“Cheer up, Mr. Chiniquy,” reportedly said Abraham Lincoln, circa 1855, “I have the perjured priests in my hands. Their diabolical plot is known, and if they do not fly away before the dawn of day, they will surely be lynched. Bless the Lord, you are saved!”
This quote comes not from the movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” but from a book by “ex-Romanist” Burke McCarty, The Suppressed Truth About the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. McCarty, in turn, seems to base the alleged quote on a book by Charles Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.
Charles Chiniquy (image above) led a division from the Catholic Church into the fold of the Presbyterians, and was once defended by Abraham Lincoln, summarized the Oak Park Reporter (Oak Park, IL), on Feb. 23, 1899 (“Story Of Chiniquy”). Chiniquy had been ordained a Catholic priest in Montreal in 1833. In 1851, the Rev. Chiniquy visited Illinois and took a liking to the French-Canadian settlement at Bourbonnais Grove (now called Bourbonnais) near Kankakee. Chiniquy later conflicted with the Bishop of Chicago, O’Reagan. By 1857, according to the Oak Park Reporter, Chiniquy had been excommunicated.
Bishop O’Reagan, Chiniquy’s enemy, used a land speculator named Spink as his tool to bring up charges against the priest, reported the Delphos Daily Herald (Delphos, OH), on Feb. 15, 1899 (“Rev. Charles Chiniquy”). “Chiniquy was defended by ‘Abe’ Lincoln, and was honorably acquited. Bishop O’Reagan was deposed, but his successor, Bishop Smith, wished to subdue Chiniquy, and after a stormy interview declared that Chiniquy was no longer a priest of Rome.” Father Chiniquy became an apostate when, in 1860, the pastor and his congregation were received into the Presbyterian Church.
This much is beyond doubt: that there was a Catholic priest named Charles Chiniquy who was defended by Abraham Lincoln and who afterward abandoned the Roman faith. He also wrote a book, published (second edition) in 1886: Fifty Years in the Church of Rome.
In Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, Chiniquy relates how he was urged by friends to retain Abraham Lincoln as his attorney. Chiniquy went to the telegraph office and sent a wire to Lincoln, asking him to defend “his honor and his life.” Old Abe wired back, “Yes, I will defend your honor and your life at the next May term at Urbana [Illinois].”
After a last-minute victory over the opponents of Charles Chiniquy, Abraham Lincoln generously offered to consider the case pro bono (no fee charged), but Chiniquy, although impoverished, insisted that Lincoln must take some money. A fee of $50 was decided upon. As for the rest of the money, Chiniquy claims Lincoln laughed and said, “I will pinch some rich man for that and make them pay the rest of the bill.”
It was at this point that Chiniquy began to fear that Lincoln had made powerful enemies in the Catholic Church and might someday pay with his life for defeating the “perjured priests.” At this thought, Chiniquy broke into sobs. Lincoln was surprised at these tears, since he and Chiniquy had been victorious. Chiniquy tells in his book how he explained to Lincoln how a band of Jesuits had been witness to the dramatic trial and its outcome. Nothing could compare with the rage of these Jesuits against Abraham Lincoln, who had wrenched Chiniquy “from their cruel hands” and had made “the walls of the court-house tremble” with his “eloquent denunciation of their infamy, diabolical malice, and total want of Christian and human principle…”
“What troubles my soul, just now, and draws my tears,” allegedly said Charles Chiniquy to Abraham Lincoln, “is that it seems to me that I have read your sentence of death in their bloody eyes.”