There is no question of the legality of the pope's act; whether he was morally culpable, however, continues to be a matter of bitter controversy. On the one hand, the suppression is denounced as a base surrender to the forces of tyranny and irreligion, an act of treason to conscience, which reaped its just punishment of remorse; on the other hand, it is as ardently maintained that Clement acted in full accord with his conscience, and that the order merited its fate by its own mischievous activities which made it an offense to religion and authority alike. But whatever the guilt or innocence of the Jesuits, and whether their suppression were ill-advised or not, there appears to be no ground for impeaching the motives of Clement, or of doubting that he had the approval of his conscience. The stories of his having swooned after signing the brief, and of having lost hope and even reason, are too absurd to be entertained. The decline in health, which set in shortly after the suppression, and his death (on the 22nd of September 1774) proceeded from wholly natural causes. The testimony of his physician and of his confessor ought to be sufficient to discredit the oft-repeated story of slow poisoning.