JESUITS, or SOCIETY OF JESUS. A Roman Catholic Society founded by Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard, born in 1491. Members of the Order bind themselves to yield the most blind, implicit, and unlimited obedience to the General of the Order. Before the conclusion of the 16th century the Jesuits had obtained the chief direction of the youthful mind in every Roman Catholic country in Europe. They had become the confessors of almost all its monarchs, and the spiritual guides of nearly every person distinguished for rank or influence. At different periods they obtained the direction of the most considerable courts, and took part in every intrigue and revolution. Their great principle of action is not so much the advance of Christianity, as the extension of the Papal power; and in effecting this, their great maxim is "the end will justify the means." The Society is still flourishing, and has a power which is probably as little imagined as it is unknown to all but themselves.