Chiniquy, Charles. Collection, 1876-1909 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection is comprised of correspondence from Charles Chiniquy, John Carroll Power, and others to Edwin A. Sherman. The letters discuss subjects including Abraham Lincoln, the Catholic Church, and a book authored by Sherman.
Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) was a Canadian Catholic priest who was ordained in Quebec, Canada, in 1833. He settled in Illinois in 1851 and laid the foundations for several French-Canadian communities in Kankakee County. In 1855 he was sued for slander by Peter Spink, a prominent Catholic man in Kankakee, Illinois. Chiniquy hired Abraham Lincoln as his lawyer, and Lincoln successfully arranged for a settlement of the suit. After clashing with his superiors, Chiniquy left the Catholic Church in 1858 and became vocal about his criticisms of the Church. In 1885 he wrote a book entitled Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, in which he charged that the Vatican was behind the Confederate cause and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Edwin A. Sherman (1829-1914) was a journalist, publisher, land surveyor, and mining expert. Following Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Sherman served on Lincoln's Grand Guard of Honor, which accompanied Lincoln's funeral train as it traveled from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, making stops in cities along the way. Like Chiniquy, Sherman was also critical of the Catholic Church.
The bulk of the collection consists of letters, dated 1878 to 1895, from Charles Chiniquy to Edwin A. Sherman. It also includes letters to Sherman from John Carroll Power (1819-1894), who was the first custodian of Abraham Lincoln's tomb and the founder of the Lincoln Guard of Honor, a group formed in 1880 to protect Lincoln's remains. In addition, the collection includes letters to Sherman regarding his 1883 book The Engineer Corps of Hell; or, Rome's Sappers and Miners, which was dedicated to Chiniquy; Chiniquy's signed promise to defend Sherman's book; a circular dedicating Chiniquy's Fifty Years in the Church of Rome to Sherman; and an undated broadside expressing anti-Republican sentiment around the 1884 presidential election.
The Library purchased these items as a collection in 1954.