Home | Mission & Goals | Meeting Schedule | Search | Contact Us | Submit A Story | Links

The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 12 | Chapter Index

Chapter 13: 1825 - 1826

Let us listen to one who was then a boy at the Mountain telling of those times as he knew them. He writes in 1893: "I was sent to Mt. St. Mary's Seminary and arrived there on the 12th of April, 1825. On the evening of that day my attention was attracted to two young seminarians loading muskets with buckshot. I was informed that they patrolled the premises all night (from 9 p. m. till 6 a. m.), to prevent anything like malicious intrusion, or the entrance of any one not entitled to the Seminary bounds. At six in the morning they fired a volley, to give notice that they did not carry into the building loaded guns, which was forbidden by the rules of the Seminary.

"The building we occupied was erected on the site of the one which had been burned to the ground the previous year. On account of the fire having been first discovered in the steeple or clock tower, it was justly concluded that it must have been the work of an incendiary. Let us hope that it was the act rather of some careless workman, who left some greasy rags that resulted in spontaneous combustion. No objection on any ground, could have been urged against the institution. Such a being would rival the iconoclast who would break the images in the church for the purpose of insulting Almighty God. Father Dubois, the president, had not an enemy on earth. He was a father to the boys; a father to his tutors and seminarians; a father to his priests and parishioners; in fact, he was a father to the whole district lying between Emmitsburg and Frederick City. They all brought their differences to him to settle and went away satisfied with his arbitration. He surely merited the reward of "the Peacemaker."

Mount Saint Mary's College, 1826

"Sometime after my arrival, in passing over the upper terrace, I was amazed to see Father Dubois playing marbles with some of the smallest boys of the Seminary, and one audacious little fellow, scarcely freed from his baby list, stoutly arguing with the good old gentleman over the fairness of a shot. Father Dubois appeared to be amused. I stood by to watch the game. Just then the quarter bell rang, and such a change of countenances I never beheld before or since; that face, that a moment ago was wreathed in hilarious smiles, now dropped into an aspect of the sternest gravity that could be imagined. It chilled me. With index finger extended to the building, he ordered the young gentlemen to hurry to their class-rooms without delay ; they hurried; they did not lag; nor did one of them, like Lot's wife, look behind him. He was no longer their playmate but their master, and had them disciplined to strict obedience.

"Towards the latter part of July, 1825, President Dubois called into the large study room, or hall, four of the students who had finished their academical course. They were John McCloskey, later cardinal ; Richard Vincent Whelan, later Bishop of Wheeling; Francis Xavier Gartland, later Bishop of Savannah, and Edward Sourin, later Jesuit-priest. I was too young to appreciate the merit they manifested in their trial examination. They must have stood well the test that he applied to them, for he complimented them by saying that, emerging from the Seminary walls into the world at large, they would make their mark among their fellowmen. . . .

"Among the students in the divinity class, at that time, was John Hughes. To me he appeared of rather a taciturn disposition; for when seated on the benches that margined the first terrace, under the tall poplar trees, I noticed that the occasional visit he had from knots of students, though attended with courtesy and even cordiality, was never long; in fact, he appeared to be intimate with one or two seminarians only, who occasionally accompanied him on his walks. His usual exercise was to pace up and down the garden walks, probably meditating upon the work which was to be assigned to him in the future.

"Richard Vincent Whelan went to France in 1828 with President Egan, who was in bad health. Mr. Whelan entered the Seminary of Saint Sulpice and remained there until he was ordained priest. He then returned to the Mountain, taught there ten years and was afterwards made Bishop of Richmond, and later transferred to Wheeling, Virginia.

"Francis Xavier Gartland was ordained priest, sent to Philadelphia, and then made Bishop of Savannah, where he died of yellow fever whilst ministering to his people who were stricken with that plague. Edward Sourin, after his divinity course, remained at the College for some years as professor. About the year 1838 he went on the mission in Philadelphia. In 1858 he became a Jesuit. He was one of the sweetest poets that ever left Mt. St. Mary's College. Whilst a young man, he was extremely delicate; the simple diet of the College had to be modified for him, and it was generally thought that he would die young. He however, lived to an advanced age, and died at Loyola College, Balto., about 1891. His saintly reputation secured for him special privileges from the Cardinal, which he employed in the salvation of souls. . . .

Rev. Edward Sourin S.J. Class of 1830

"The Rev. Father Pise, Professor of rhetoric and poetry, was the handsomest man at the College, and was supposed to be the handsomest man in the United States. His hair was combed back in tresses, his countenance was delicately chiseled, his figure was perfect, and his step was elastic, every movement evinced grace. He had schooled himself to that degree that he did not appear to be conscious of it. He was too intelligent for that. His bearing was affable and cordial to every one connected with the College, from the President down to the most humble individual that challenged the protection of the institution. He was learned and accomplished, and held the sincere affection of every person who met him even by occasional contact. The Archbishop called him to the Cathedral at Baltimore. . . . Through the influence of Henry Clay, the great Kentucky statesman, he was made Chaplain to Congress, and served two years. He was lionized in Washington Society, from which he was called to New York by Archbishop Hughes, who placed him over St. Peter's Church in that City. The finances of St. Peter's Church were not in a prosperous condition, nor did they improve much under the direction of Dr. Pise, who was not a business man. The Archbishop transferred him to St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn, under a financial guardian, where he remained until he reached an old age, and died, 1866, beloved by all within the Church and all without who had come in contact with him.

"St. Anthony's lake was made about 1828-30 under Anthony Hermange, who was Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy. He acted as engineer. It was made by the boys exclusively. In its bed originally there was a gulley or ravine, filled with small saplings, brushwood, and noxious weeds, all of which were grubbed out by willing hands. Two stone walls, a few feet apart, were built at the mouth, and the intervening space filled up. The water was let in and the gates shut down; unfortunately, it ran out as fast as it ran in. This was the result of two years' labor, every Thursday being devoted to it and an occasional half hour after dinner. The boys were down-hearted, but there was no such word as "fail" in Professor Hermange's vocabulary. He explored the neighborhood for miles around, and found a body of adhesive clay. He excavated the filling already made between the walls, and substituted this clay; rammed it solid, and laminated the space to the top. The water was let in, and developed a beautiful sheet, without a single leak. Warm congratulations were showered upon him, but though warm they were empty. The boys would cheerfully have given him a banquet, but they were poor. They had no money in their pockets, and Father Hilary Parsons, then Procurator, would not give them a cent; but they had an abundance of gratitude, and that they showered upon him with an overflow.

"The ball alley was built in 1829 on the lower terrace, [it was torn down in 1897.] It was started under the auspices of Father Francis B. Jamison. The sisterhood was at that time extending their plant and for that purpose were making brick on the premises. Mother Rose White, who was always good and kind to the Seminary and College, let Father Jamison have as many bricks as suited his purpose and the alley was built. The large boys appropriated one face, the middle boys the other, whilst the wings were left for the smallest boys. The ball alley was occupied at all times, during recreation, for about two years ; but after that time was not much in demand. The "smoking alley" takes its name from a promenade between the tall trees (French allee) on the back terrace.

"The amusements of the boys were gunning, fishing, trapping, swimming, and skating. Gunning was popular, for game was plenty. All kinds of birds were thick in the forest, but it required money to buy powder and shot and to keep the guns in order. While Father Jamison held the purse, his affection for the boys and his disposition to indulge them made it easy, by importuning, to get what money was required. Some of the parents complained that their children were spending too much money. No doubt at his own request the purse was taken away from Father Jamison and given to Hilary Parsons. A committee was formed to wait upon Father Parsons, to obtain what money was necessary for an outing; to the demand he gave a blank look, shook his head more in sorrow than in anger, and replied, "Not one cent beyond the monthly pittance allowed by the College rules." The boys went to Father Jamison in a body, muttering that

"Father Parsons was as close as a clam."Father Jamison said, " You now see, boys, what my indulgence to you has done to me. It has deprived me of my purse; when I go to Father Parsons he looks doubly blank; he knows full well he will never get back a cent again ; but you know, and I know that Father Parsons is a good reasonable man. I get all that is needed for the College supplies, for your comfort, and even what is needed for the repairs of the house and the improvement of the grounds; when that is done his whole duty has been performed, and we can ask him to do no more."

"The slaughter house, the barn and the stable were located to the right of the College. The blacksmith shop stood not very far from the lake, but near the College. The blacksmith shop was given up to those boys that possessed intuitive mechanical ideas. They built for the lake two pretty row-boats, which were in constant use. Some enterprising young men built a sleigh, for which they were highly complimented. On an auspicious day when the snow was ten inches deep, they thought they would initiate their sleigh by a first trip. For this they secured the patronage of Father Alexander Hitselberger for a visit to Mother Rose, at the sisterhood. They drove up nicely to the College, borrowed blankets from Sister Matilda Coskery, and installing their patron, they commenced their ride, amid the vociferous approval of all the boys on the terrace. When they had proceeded about half way, they found the sleigh had not been properly hooped. The two sides fell out, and the back also gave away ; the consequence was that they were compelled to turn homeward, and endure all the fun the boys lavished upon them, which they bore with tolerable grace. This was not the end of it: the attention of Father Purcell was called to the destruction of College property in their housing of the vehicle. He told Mr. McCloskey, later Cardinal, their prefect, the boys must be punished. Mr. McCloskey requested the boys to inform on themselves, which they did. To some he gave one hundred lines of Horace's 'Ars Poetica,' and to others a large proportion of the speech of Daniel Webster, in reply to Mr. Hayne, when South Carolina attempted nullification on the inspiration of John C. Calhoun, her great statesman. 'Humano Capiti Cervicem Pictor Equinam?' and ' The Union, One and Inseparable, Now and Forever,' were heard sounding, resounding and reechoing through the college walls and premises. . . .—John Honey-well, ex'-33"

We are indebted to Mr. Basil Elder for these anecdotes: "Though Professor of Theology and Moral Philosophy, Brute was, during recreation hours, a most interesting and amusing conversationalist, and always attracted a crowd of boys as well as teachers. His shovel, pick, barrow, etc., he of course left in one of the grottos. The barrow, which he had made himself, had a creaking sound which was heard at quite a distance. One day while he was entertaining a group on the portico he suddenly paused, fixed his gaze on the Mountain, and all distinctly heard the creak of his wheelbarrow. He immediately started up the Mountain like a young man. One or two followed, and sure enough he found one of his seminarians using his barrow for a little private work!

"Another episcopal alumnus of the Mountain, with whom perchance you were acquainted, the Most Rev. Wm. H. Elder, was brought in a gig from Baltimore, when only five years old, by his father to see me, who at the time was supposed to be ill. The new building was in progress, and as the President was showing us through a room being plastered, some one suggested that little Billy Elder be mounted on the platform and asked to make a speech. Immediately he was lifted up. Father said: 'Well, Billy, you will have to make a speech to the party!' Billy raised his hands, solemnly looked up to the ceiling and exclaimed: 'Man like a vapor full of woes, cuts a caper and down he goes!' at the same moment throwing himself on his hands and knees upon the floor. You may judge the surprise and laughter from the company. That was his first appearance at the Mountain. How many earnest and instructive lectures did he give in that same building years after to students and Seminarians! You must pardon an 'Elder' brother for his pride in the younger scion whom he so fondly venerates.

"A challenge was sent to a club in Emmitsburg to come and play at the College as soon as the new ball alley was completed, which invitation, being accepted, the challengers were ingloriously defeated on their own ground."

Another of Mr. Basil Elder's stories must find a place here: " It was the custom with Father Dubois to give holiday the first skating day of the season. One frosty morning, when the students as usual had tramped up the mountain to Mass, the boys thought symptoms favorable and urged three of the smallest to beg the President, as he came out of the sacristy, to give us a skating holiday. Ranks were just forming to descend. Mr. Dubois answered, 'No ! no ! my children, the ice is not strong enough it would be dangerous !' Then little Bob Harper, son of General Harper and grandson of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, sprang up into Mr. Dubois' arms, exclaiming, 'Oh, please, Mr. Dubois!' and the two slipped and rolled together in the snow. A burst of laughter followed as they struggled to their feet, in which the President joined, and said to the first Prefect, Mr. Hughes, ' Well, you may send down to the creek, and if the ice will bear let them go skating today!' . . . Our report being favorable, we were greeted with applause, and soon most of the students were en route with their skates, whilst a few took their guns for hunting. Jose Baragus, a little Mexican, was filled with wonder, then terror, and at last with surprise and delight at walking upon the ice and seeing the fish beneath. . . ."

The author of "Lives of Deceased Bishops," and after him Bishop Bayley, repeats the item, saying that " in 1824 Father Dubois severed his connection with St. Sulpice of Paris. [He had already done so with the Baltimore house in 1818.] "This is not quite correct. Though separation was broached in 1824, it was not carried out till 1826. "In 1824 we still negotiated to remain Sulpicians. In 1824 there were yet further exchange of letters, suspension of final separation. ..."(Brute's Notes.) We find, in fact, a letter from M. Deluol S. S. to Father Brute’ of date 20th March, 1826, in which he says: "... You are about to receive three letters from M. Gamier (the Superior in France); one for us, the other for the Archbishop and the third for M. Dubois on the subject of the establishment at Emmitsburg. M. Gamier says that he is obliged to announce to M. Dubois, by the advice of all our gentlemen of Paris, that from this moment the resolution of the General Assembly will take effect, and that in consequence, St. Sulpice will no longer exercise the least jurisdiction over Emmitsburg or over the members of the community who remain there. They must hereafter act in their own name, without power to use the name or the authority of the society. Mgr. the Archbishop has received his letter this morning; that which was addressed to M. Dubois has been sent to the post, I think that he will receive it at the same time that this reaches you. I will not make a single comment upon the matter, except that I wish and I hope that neither charity in general nor personal friendship will be the least lessened and that mutual good offices will continue as usual."

We quote a portion of Father Dubois' letter to the Archbishop apropos of this subject: "... Whatever plan I adopt, upon whatever footing I place this institution, it is necessary to provide the means of consolidation and of perpetuating instruction. I am growing old, I must assure myself successors. Separated from St. Sulpice, I can only form a religious or political "(sic, "civil " he means, doubtless)" society, or unite myself to a body already existing and recognized by the church. The sad experience which I have had from the moment of my union with a foreign society induces me to prefer to form one entirely American for the reasons specified above. But a similar religious society cannot be formed without the concurrence of the ordinary. . . . I prefer a society something like the Fathers of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul, as the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's resemble the Sisters of Charity of France, established by the same St. Vincent. Nothing need prevent the addition of a branch of brothers of a superior order to the lay-brothers who hold towards the boys the same functions which our Sisters hold with so much edification towards the girls, either for hos­pitals or free schools. This branch is to be composed of pious and instructed laymen, who whether because of having begun their studies too late, or from want of talent for ecclesiastical studies, or a too tender conscience, or any other cause, cannot be promoted to the priesthood. Fully instructed here, they will be able to render the greatest services by gratuitous teaching, above all in cities. As such a body is not a religious order, will not make the solemn vows and only annual vows as the sisters do, I do not expect any difficulty in obtaining the approbation of Rome. . . .

"In case of a refusal on your part to cooperate in the establishment of such a society, there remains one other resource, which is to call upon a society already recognized and approved by the Church. Deign, Monseigneur, to weigh in the balance of the Sanctuary and reflect upon what I have the honor to submit to your attention. . . .

"Deign, then, Monseigneur, to honor me with a reply to the following questions:

"1. Will the gentlemen of Baltimore resume this establishment?

"2. If they refuse to do so, as I do not doubt they will, shall I continue it as a seminary or as a college?

"3. What plan will you prefer relating to the succession which I must assure to this establishment? "

Answer of the Archbishop to the foregoing:

Baltimore, April 10,1826.

I thank you very much, my dear M. Dubois, for having communicated to me the letter of M. Gamier ; for I have never received the copy, as you suspected not being a member of St. Sulpice. You ask me what you ought to do in your present position. I will answer you frankly and before God.

The only thing for you to do, and certainly what a true love of the Church, a sincere piety and even human prudence would prompt, is to reduce your establishment to a Petit Seminaire; that is to say a house of education in which a number of young men of the world would be formed to Christian virtues and directed in the study of Belles Lettres and Philosophy. Among the number of your pupils there will be found, I trust in the providence of God, many who will manifest a vocation for the ecclesiastical state. These will become the particular and cherished objects of the care of the Directors. In this latter class, there will probably be found some of my diocese who cannot pay for their tuition. As a means of reimbursement, as you yourself observed, they will be held to assist in instruction during a reasonable time. They can then as actual practice, begin to teach several small classes during the last years of their classical studies. Their course of literature and Philosophy being ended, you will be at liberty to retain them for a shorter or longer time with you, either before or after they have made their Theology at Baltimore. In the latter case, to ensure their services to you, I will not ordain them beyond deacons and subdeacons. And observe that in this plan, it will not be in the power of the gentlemen of Baltimore to select and retain the best subject, as you have so often displayed a fear of their doing, seeing that it will depend entirely upon the Archbishop who will be interested in the prosperity of the Petit Seminaire of Emmitsburg ; if it is at last wisely organized) to give them willingly to the Superior of this house, until their services fully compensate for the expense at their education. . .

It is manifest duty imposed upon me by the charge which the Church has confided to me to say to too that the das of Theology most be closed at the beginning of the next session. The subjects of my diocese who are actually in Theology and are not necessary to you, I will send to Baltimore. I have talked the matter over with our Baltimore gentlemen. Notwithstanding their pecuniary embarrassments, they have promised me to receive four or five during next September—viz., Messrs. McCaffrey, Gildea and two or three others whom you may select, provided that they be young men of piety and earnestness. Our gentlemen hope to be able to receive an equal number each year, besides those who can pay their board, of whatever diocese they maybe. As to your actual theologians who belong to the neighboring dioceses, I beg you will send me a list of them, for as I would be infinitely distressed that they should suffer by a necessary arrangement, I most assuredly consent to their finishing their Theology at Emmitsburg, it being well understood that their class is exclusively for themselves and will be certainly closed at the latest in two years from the loth of next August. (The bishop of Philadelphia can certainly provide a pious and sufficiently instructed priest either at Lancaster or Wilmington to teach Theology to his own subjects. Besides, in order to begin a College and live in part by its profits, it is only necessary that he write a circular to all his missionaries, directing them to preach every year in their respective parishes a Charity sermon in favor of those young Students of the Sanctuary. I do not know whether I am mistaken, but it seems to me, that in a diocese so wealthy there will be found sufficient means to defray the expenses of their education.)

I willingly consent to the foundation of a religious Society composed of lay-brothers and missionary priests.

1. The lay-brothers to confine themselves to the education of poor boys, as the Sisters of St. Joseph's do to that of the girls; they should have a rule analogous to that of the Sisters ... I must exact that among others, they have a rule which is binding implicitly, as well upon the Superior as the Council of this Community, never to establish a single school of the Brothers in any place in the diocese of Baltimore or beyond its limits, without my written permission, or that of my successors. This is, after all, the spirit of the Church, for the religious instruction of youth is a kind of mission, which the bishop alone can give. The quality of obedience to the Archbishop imposed upon the members of this branch of the Society, will be determined by several rules, as well as that due to their immediate Superiors.

2. The priests will be consecrated to the Mission. They assume the constitution of the Lazarists, modified by the usages of this country ... I insist that the rule shall be inserted in their constitution which St. Charles Borromeo prescribed to the Oblates. the observation of which has been the principle and the source of the immense good which these holy priests have worked in the diocese of Milan ; that is to say, that they make a vow of obedience to the Archbishop of Baltimore and to his successors, by which they bind themselves to go at his command to all parts of his diocese as he shall judge advantageous for the salvation of souls; whether it be to work in a permanent manner as pastors, or to visit, as on circuit, among families scattered about the country and afford them the succors of religion. But as this Society will inevitably be ruined if the Ordinary should order the Superior and the members of the council upon the Mission, it shall be decided that the vow of obedience before mentioned shall be suspended in regard to them, as long as they are in the position of Etat Majeur; but also that none can become of this Etat Majeur, nor leave it without a previous and written approbation of the Archbishop.

This Society shall have a professor of Theology for its members, who shall not be admitted to this study until after their noviciate and the taking of their vows. Their obedience, as that of the brothers, to the Archbishop and to their superiors, will be determined by positive and distinct rules. These, my dear Sir, are my ideas upon the Society which you desire to establish. They will without doubt, require revision, but they suffice for the moment. Will you be kind enough to show this letter to Messrs. Brute’ and Hickey?

I am with respectful esteem, Sir, Yours, etc., Amb. A. B.

Father Dubois sent this letter and his own, to which it was a reply, to Bishop Conwell, of Philadelphia, giving him at the same time a long history of his struggles and trials since the foundation of the College, and asking him to accept the institution as his diocesan seminary. But Bishop Conwell had his hands full at the time with the famous rebels of St. Mary's congregation and could not assume any new responsibilities.

Of date July 28th, 1826, Brute has a memorandum in which he sets down that the "replies from Paris in June continue to regard the Mountain as belonging to St. Sulpice. They authorize the education of ecclesiastical subjects to be commenced here, but not to be carried on either to Philosophy or to Theology. The Archbishop, however, has already authorized Philosophy. As for Theology, he seems to wish to reserve the education of the subjects of the diocese for the Seminary at Baltimore and for the Jesuit Novitiate. I cannot but believe that this plan is the best. . . Yet subjects for Baltimore may still continue to study Theology here, as already allowed, but they will be examined before the Abp. employs them. Already there are so many vocations that there is no place for Fathers Kerney and Lucas. It is his profound and conscientious conviction ' that we ought to do all in our power to avoid having ecclesiastics, whether of Baltimore or other dioceses, make their studies here. M. Dubois is entirely too much occupied to teach in the Seminary. He is obliged to absorb too much of the time of theologians and ordinandi. These latter in Baltimore and Georgetown are principally occupied with their own studies, and at the latter place they have been ordered to study, and apply themselves exclusively to study, for four years in Theology."He, Brute, is in favor of actual separation of the clerical from the lay students, although still " keeping both under the same roof."

. . . As we have seen, however, the Jesuits as well as the Sulpicians sometimes taught while studying. In Baltimore this was still done in 1828, though they had several priests and several lay professors.

And now a great change was to be brought about, no less than the removal of Father Dubois from his beloved institution.

The Rev. Luke Concanen, D. D., had been consecrated to the See of New York in 1808, it being one of the four original dioceses separated from the jurisdiction of Baltimore and forming Archbishop Carroll's province at that time. The others were Boston, Philadelphia and Bardstown. Bishop Concanen died at Naples and the first Bishop of New York never saw his diocese, so that Rev. Anthony Kohlman remained Administrator for six years, until 1814, when he was replaced by Rt. Rev. John Connelly, who wore the mitre eleven years.

The energetic and saintly founder of the Mountain College was not a character to be ignored in the councils of the Church, and when Doctor Connelly died and a successor was looked for, the Rev. John Dubois' name was one of the three sent to Rome. The Bulls arrived in Baltimore some time in June of this year.

We are left without details of Father Dubois' transfer to New York, but among Father Brute's notes are to be found many detached memoranda relating to the difficulties which beset the Mountain at this time. Through the withdrawal of Father Dubois the conduct of affairs was in the hands of very young men, Father Brute being Superior of the Seminary only. In a note dated Aug. 1st, 1826, he seems to review the available forces of the Faculty with a view to re-organization under some regular form of religious society, which, as we have seen, was M. Dubois' desire; supposedly he was only carrying out that desire to its issue. It ends in the following words, which speak in every line his controlling principle "To follow whither Providence leads."

General Views:

1. This is not a new undertaking, but preserving an actual order of Providence.

2. Continuing, since the data exist, so much of real, actual good.

3. Giving further time to Providence to declare its will for future good to lasting generations.

4. Preventing considerable difficulties to the Bishop (Dubois) elect, giving him means to go safely and do good.

5. To prevent scandal to religion and considerable mischief, great many sins, &c.

6. To exercise many precious virtues.

7. To trust God's hidden Providence and avoid being accessory to troubling its order by refusing co-operation.

8. Preparing a much more favorable sequel of events, than if now to let all things go to confusion.

It was the happy chance that as the carriage which was conveying two new pupils to St. Joseph's one day in the middle of August entered the gate of the Sisterhood, a buggy in which were two gentlemen was driven by towards Emmitsburg. The girls were told that the older of the two the "Little Corporal" was the Rev. M. Dubois, just about to start for Baltimore to be consecrated bishop. Later he returned to bid farewell to both institutions. And that farewell!

To what shall we compare the parting of the founder, the defender of this grand creation, with the child of his love, his labors and his desires, and of which he was the strong prop and stay ? The home of twenty years is to be his no longer ! Farewell to the walls which up there, hung as it were in air, hold the wondrous presence of Him who had been his support and strength through so many dark days and would be his exceeding great reward in the bright hereafter; to those which, down below, enclosed his all of earthly love. Farewell the cares, the anxieties, the responsibilities that the Divine Spirit of Charity had welded into so many golden cords by which to hold him ; farewell the calm and happy days in which his heart had evoked fresh courage from the devotion of his children and the sweet soothings of nature's beauties. Farewell the mountain peak whose graceful height catches the morning's earliest gleam and holds the glittering darts of day's effulgence until the sun sinks down in a splendor of crimson and purple and gold behind it! Farewell the love of those young hearts! No! not farewell to that! for love will follow him wherever duty shall draw his footsteps but farewell the daily intercourse with the sacred confidences, the trust and obedience of the young minds in whose development he had such pride and interest; to the brother priests and tutors who shared his duties! Farewell to the broad and fruitful valley; to those other children of his priestly fatherhood, scarcely less dear than his own Mountaineers, who pace the linden-shaded paths of Mother Seton's home with heavy hearts, grieving for his departing! Farewell the simple folk in the village beyond!

Farewell, a long farewell to all the thousand ties that bind his heart as with adamantine chains to these scenes and this people.

He might well have said:

I had not lived till now, could sorrow kill. And I must even survive this last adieu And bear with life to love and pray for you.

Although Dubois and Brute both earnestly sought and worked out the good of the college, still they had each his own character strongly marked and his own views.

Of date April 6,1825, as we saw, Father Brute’ had written a long letter to Abp. Marechal against Dubois' project of handing over the college with all its assets and debts to the sisters, He says that Dubois did not take him at all into consultation about things, "even things concerning all." On May 5, the same year he wrote to the Bishop of Philadelphia that he differed with Dubois, the latter holding that we could teach theology to the students of other Bishops with their consent, whereas Brute1 held that the Archbishop of Baltimore could forbid it absolutely to all inmates of the college.

Indeed Dubois and Brute were very different characters and disagreed on many a score. One was strong-headed, obstinate, self-sufficient; the other a mystic, full of piety and zeal, extremely gentle, but withal set in his ways. "You tell me to take care of him," writes Dubois to Archbishop Marechal Jan. 9, 1821, "he is not a man to allow himself to be taken care of. ... He is restless, and lets no one else rest." He thought that Brute", though meaning well, was not practical enough and was rashly zealous; hence he would not allow him to interfere in the government of the College nor of the parish, and endeavored to have him replaced by young Father Hickey as confessor of the sisters. These opposite traits, however, doubtless made them all the more attached to each other, Dubois, trusting the spiritual government of the College to his ascetic friend, and Brute gladly yielding the temporal to his strong-minded associate. " What good," he says piquantly, to the Archbishop; "What good is my rustic learning before the pro ratione voluntas of M. Dubois?"

We shall see later how Fathers Egan and McGerry, as well as Purcell, acted independently of Brute’, evidently having slight confidence in his ability for business, however much they esteemed him as a teacher and venerated him as a spiritual guide. Indeed Brute frequently complains of being overlooked, in the management of the College, by young priests whom he himself had trained.

Dubois was extremely generous and perhaps unbusinesslike too. He started without a single cent, went into debt and the debt kept on increasing. We find in one place that a house in Baltimore belonging to the College remained untenanted for a year, at a loss of two hundred dollars. But Father Dubourg himself, his early adviser, apparently had as little worldly wisdom as the annuity to Chloe Brooke goes to show, and as for Brute, he put whatever money went his way into books. His private library, brought from France, amounted to 5,000 volumes. In his " Life of Archbishop Hughes," Mr. Hassard quotes Brute to this effect:

"... I paid Mr. Egan for the tracts, say 50 cents, all I then had of money; for it is a literal truth, only speak not of it— I have no more money from my friends than either Gartland or Sourin, or any one. In fact, I need none."

Read this letter to Abp. Marechal from a " Palm Arbor."

April 18, 1821.

Monneigneur; It is two years since M. Deluol has sent me my stipend for the past two years $100 in all. Deign to accept half of it. You are our Father your needs are the greatest the good to be done at your hands is the surest do not refuse me this fresh gratification. I enclose the money . . Only bless and pardon for so many faults, your poor priest, S. G. B.

In 1823 he sends him another fifty dollars, his own poor salary (literally a "salarium") telling the Archbishop to "use it for Virginia which had recently been added to his burdens." There is Apostolic poverty in spirit not only, but in truth. We shall see more of it when he goes to Indiana.

We may speak here of Brute's Gallic humor, shown in his description to the Archbishop of the banquet at the Convent on St. Joseph's Day, 1823, "cheese, eggs, small bread and one fish, a john-fish which returned nem. con., intact to the kitchen." He bids the Archbishop visit " our noble city of Emmitsburg 'urbem quam dicunt Romam vir magne putavi Stultus ego huic nostrae similem 'and our rough Mountain of St. Mary's. ..."His exquisite pen-and-ink drawings with classic quotations are very frequently met with, for he was, as the same Archbishop wrote to Bishop England," a man of prodigious learning but invincible modesty," and the Baltimore and Quebec archives show this.

Bishop Dubourg 19 Mar., 1822, wanted Brute for Bishop of St. Louis, and describes him thus: "A man of universal knowledge, of eminent sanctity, whose zeal was in the past considered excessive, but which age and experience have toned down to the proper degree; for the rest, possessing in a high degree the power of making himself beloved because his heart is the tenderest and humblest that I know of, blessed finally, with strength proportioned to the immense labors he would have to undertake." (Quebec Archives.)

This man "of extraordinary learning and still more extraordinary sanctity," as Archbishop Elder calls him, was an overflowing spring of erudition for our bishops. He assisted our greatest theologian, Bishop Kenrick, in his synods and his seminary not only, but in his compilation of his course of theology, writing him numerous letters on the subject. The Ordinary of Baltimore appealed to him constantly for advice in the work of Provincial Councils for the whole country. He corresponded with Charles Carroll of Carroll-ton, Judge Gaston, Bishops Dubourg, Cheverus, England, and many other prominent persons. Bishop England asked his help in many letters, of which twenty-three are preserved. In one he says: "A thousand thanks for your kindness and aid to me." Again: "I know of no one so well fitted as you are to prepare the materials for me. . . . Give me your ideas and liberty to use them as I can. I need extensive knowledge of the history of literature, and I need books. ... I suppose I know mankind as well as you can, but it is very plain that you know books better than I ever can. . . ."(Alerding's "Diocese of Vincennes.") If we still admire the writings of the great Bishop of Charleston, let us remember who was his "guide, philosopher and friend."

Every variety of style appears in Brute's correspondence, but he is always honest and fearless. His letter to Abp. Carroll begging that the Seminary be not suppressed is very pathetic, and those to his associates in Baltimore on the subject are aggressive and emphatic.

The College debt on Father Dubois' departure was thirty thousand dollars, an enormous sum for those days, and the property, with all its improvements, slaves, stock, etc., was valued at the same amount. A great part of the debt came from having paid Mrs. Brooke eight hundred dollars a year for twenty years, with which arrangement Dubois had nothing to do, and from the burning of the new building, which was valued at sixteen thousand dollars, and on which, as far as we know, there was no insurance. We presume that the Little President himself is responsible for this last circumstance.

The retiring President, who held everything in his own name, deeded it all to Fathers McGerry and Egan, and in the transfer were included seven men and ten women slaves. (Land Records of Frederick County, Lib. I, S. 28, p. 63.) Archbishop Marechal proposed closing the College, but Fathers Egan and McGerry prevailed on him not to do so. Meanwhile Dubois, Brute’ and Xaupi were no longer Sulpicians, but there was no ill-feeling, and the new Bishop of New York made his retreat before consecration at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore. There were a hundred boys and the usual number of masters when its founder left the Mountain.

Robert Harper made his first communion at the College Mar. 11, 1826. His grandfather wrote him this letter:

Baltimore, Mar. 25, 1826.

My Dear Robert: I am much pleased with your letter of the 11th. You have made your first communion ; continue to receive, frequently, the Eucharist; the practice will enable you to lead a pious life, to discharge all the duties of a good Christian, and to secure to you in the life to come, everlasting happiness. I long to see you and shall expect you to pass the time of your vacation at the manor, for I am always happy when I have you with me. Your sister is well. She slept here last night, being detained by rain ; she sends her love to you &c . . . God bless you, my dear grandson, I am your affectionate grandfather, Ch. Carroll of Carrollton.

(From the Catholic Herald, Aug. 14, 1834, in a notice of the death of Robert Harper.)

. . . John Baptist Purcell, future Archbishop of Cincinnati, was ordained priest in the grand historic church of Notre Dame de Paris on the 21st of May in this year 1826.

The Masters this year were John McCaffrey, Alex. L. Hitzelberger, D. A. F. Deloughery, George A. Carrell, Luke Berry, E. J. Sourin, J. B. Gildea, E. Whelan, M. D. Egan, F. B. Jamison, Quarters, Burke. T. R. Butler. H. Dickehut, F. X. Gartland, Jas. M. Butler. Ed. T. Collins. Jacob Stillinger, Kelly, and J. A. S. Lynch. Of these Egan and Lynch were priests. . . Award of Premiums, June 26. 1826:

The two following young gentlemen appear to have excelled throughout the year by their talents in every branch, by their deportment, capacity, application and amiable disposition ; as they will obtain premiums in their respective classes it is thought sufficient to mention their names at present: Master John McCloskey of New York (Cardinal) and Master Edward J. Sourin of Philadelphia.

Others mentioned that day were "Michael Spann of South Carolina; Zebulon Owings of Md; Daniel McMeal, Md.; Henry Daingerfield, Va.; Edward Purcell, Ireland; Thomas Sumter, S. C.: Louis Bordelou, La.; David Whelan; Joseph Fry; John Grover; Peter Maitland; William Little; Charles Snowden ; Edward Frisby, George Wilson ; Louis De Bouillon; George Graham; Eugene Lynch; John Pise; James Hickey; Francis Mitchell; J. C. Whelau; Francis Sumter ; Thomas J. Stone." Others mentioned came from various states and some of families very prominent in history. We make room for this paragraph as showing the Democratic, American spirit of the College:

For virtuous and amiable conduct Thomas Jefferson Stone of St. Mary's has obtained a premium by eighty votes from his professors and fellow students. In justice to several others it is necessary to observe that the following young gentlemen obtained a great many votes for the same as stated hereunder: John McCloskey, 34 votes; Edward Sourin, 31; Robert Harper, 28; William Stansbury, 27; James Hickey, 21; David Whelan, 15; Charles Spann, 6; which entitles them to accessits.

Chapter Index | Chapter 14

Special thanks to John Miller for his efforts in scanning the book's contents and converting it into the web page you are now viewing.