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 22 | Chapter Index

Chapter 23: 1831-1832

Mr. Louis B. Binsse of New York, long well known as the stout champion of the rights of the Catholics detained in the Randall's Island House of Refuge, the eloquent panegyrist of the regular orders and the pleasing correspondent of several papers on both sides of the Atlantic, came to the College in this year, 1831.

The following letter is to Mr. Purcell from the youth's father.

New York, July, 27th, 1831.

Sir: . . . I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you then and of talking with you on a subject which interests me more than any other; and that is the education of my son. It would have been easy doubtless, for me to have him make his classical studies at the New York College [Columbia, doubtless], but independently of the chaos of studies which is there pursued, what I fear most is the frightful anti-Catholic doctrine with which their lectures and their books are in some sort impregnated. I think little of science if religion does not keep step with it, or rather I do not believe there can be true science without true religion.

I am the brother of M. Binsse de St. Victor, a well-known writer of the Catholic party in France, and the intimate friend of the Abbe’ F. de la Mennais; but by a singular awkwardness, my brother has always in Europe signed himself by the last part of his name and I here by the first.

[Brute’ himself corresponded with the fallen champion of Christian liberalism, de Lamennais, whose brother, we say in passing, founded a community of brothers that are now (1908) doing good work in the Church in America. Many of Brute's letters have been lost, but of those of de Lamennais to him some are found in the works of the latter]

In the year 1884, on the occasion of the sacerdotal Jubilee of Cardinal McCloskey, Mr. L. Binsse fils, the subject of the above letter, wrote for the Catholic Review, an account of these days at the Mountain: "I first made his, the Cardinal's acquaintance, in the fall of 1831 at Mount St. Mary's College, Md., which I had entered as a student. . . . Dr. McCaffrey taught the first class of Latin and Philosophy, and Rev. E. Sourin taught the first Greek. Both were thoroughly and deeply learned in their respective branches and devoted lovers of them. There was no chance for the students in that institution to get ponies (so easily obtainable in this city) to save themselves from labor in the study of the classics. His Eminence was at that time second prefect of studies, professor of the two higher Latin classes, and of elocution and declamation. In this last respect he was facile princeps of his colleagues, although several of them were speakers of good and impressive delivery. He had a clear, ringing voice, graceful attitude and gestures, and altogether so well managed as to quickly bring an audience into sympathy with him.

Perhaps for this reason it was assigned to him to read aloud in English, as was the custom there, at the service on Good Friday, the Passion of our Lord according to St. John. He read aloud beautifully and with great effect. It was also his province at the commencements to give out the names of the fortunate recipients of premiums and academic honors, and the students felt that no other person in the College could do it with the same effect as he. There was among the students generally a very great respect for him and for his acknowledged abilities, so much so, that while they usually had nicknames for the other prefects in authority over them, they had none for him. There was a belief prevalent among them, which I remember to have heard expressed on frequent occasions, that he was in due course certain to be called to the highest dignities of the priesthood.

There were then in the College very few students from New York City. Probably because I was a townsman of his, he manifested much interest in me and befriended me at the proper time by getting me advanced in Latin to the class which he taught, and in which I read the sixth book of Virgil with him. I recall with pleasure how interesting the recitations were made by his cultivated literary appreciation and by his lucid explanation of the religious belief of the Romans, interwoven in Virgil's beautiful verse. At other times, out of school hours, I was benefitted by his agreeable and instructive conversation and his friendly advice, and for that purpose was often invited to his room. Upon one of these occasions he related to me how, when a young boy, living with his mother on a farm in Connecticut, he once had such a narrow escape from being killed. To a friend of mine he has avowed that this Providential (I might say miraculous) preservation of his life in that dreadful accident proved with him a determining motive of vocation to the priesthood. The accident happened this way: Some laboring men were employed on the farm hauling logs on a cart drawn by oxen, and after getting a load ready, they left the cart standing, while they went to their dinner nearby. Young John McCloskey thought after they had left, that there was a grand chance to have a fine ride; so, getting into the cart, he took hold of the whip and applied it vigorously to the oxen. The poor brutes started on a run, which the juvenile Phaeton at first considered very fine fun, but as he knew neither how to guide nor to stop them, they very soon got off the road and upset the cart with its heavy load upon him. The men hearing the noise, came in great haste, accompanied by his sister (who, upon this occasion, as he told me, assisted with powerful strength) and lifted the cart off him, not expecting to find him alive. For weeks he was confined to his bed, such a sufferer from bruises and the shock that he could not bear to be touched, and no one but his sister could attend to him. So fearfully had he been crushed that for weeks after convalescence his eyes were red with the blood suffused through their surface."

Mr. McCloskey (Card.) while a seminarian to Mr. Jamison.

His Eminence John Card. McCloskey, '30

New York, Aug. 3rd, 1831

Rev. and dear Sir: The favor of Mr. McCaffrey which accompanied your note was received early yesterday morning. It was my intention to answer it last evening, but you will sigh over the loss of my seminarian-regularity when I assure you that it was after 12 o'c. at night before I could extricate myself from a company of learned gentlemen who called here to enjoy the society of Mr. Ryan with whom I board in fact, his house is constantly besieged by "Literati" and I of course as being a great friend of Mr. Ryan's and a gentleman from Emmitsburg, must submit to the rather irksome, but certainly most beneficial necessity of being introduced to them. Indeed it seems to me that if I could enjoy for the space of one year such society as I here mingle with, and listen to such learned conversations as I almost daily hear, I could derive from it more information, that is, more practical information, than from nearly two years' study. And I really feel more at ease in the company of such men and can join more freely in their conversation, than when condemned to waste my time with females or dandies and obliged to supply them with ''small talk.'' But enough of this you have no time to lose in reading such trash. You will however, I hope, excuse me, when I assure you that I merely introduced the subject to let you know that I have opportunities of making our College known to many who enjoy high literary reputation and who, it may be, will one day prove useful acquaintances, and depend upon it, such opportunities I do not fail to improve . . . But to come at last to the point. It is your wish that I should exert myself in this city to procure students for our College, and to this end you have invested me with the necessary authority for acting as your responsible agent, which honor I duly acknowledge. I must, however, confess that I do not think that my exertions as an authorized agent are necessary because Messrs. Purcell and Hitzelberger are expected daily and will no doubt be in town in the course of one or two days, and everything which regards contracts and money matters can be attended to by them; as for myself, my time is so much occupied with my family and friends that I have very little leisure to attend to anything else. You may, however, rest assured that whatever I can do will be done cheerfully. In the circle of my own acquaintances I have interested myself in the behalf of the College as much as I could. I have succeeded in getting one scholar, which is better than nothing. He is the son of a gentleman who is now a merchant of New Orleans with whom I am well acquainted and who is at present on a visit to his family on Long Island. He is a good Catholic and I will vouch for his punctuality and readiness to pay his bills. He will send his son for perhaps five or six years and such a one is worth having his name is James Mullen, a namesake of the Rev. gentleman who finished in 1824.

I have visited several other parents and endeavored to persuade them to send their sons to our College but their objections are so many it is very difficult to meet with success. The sole chance we have is among those who are anxious to have their children reared good Catholics. I visited yesterday a lady who is very eager to send one of her sons. I did not see her husband, but will see him tomorrow, as I am invited to spend the evening with him. Perhaps he can be persuaded, but it will be difficult, as he is a lawyer in good practice and too high-minded to send a son to a "place so little known." [The New Yorkers were almost as provincial then as they are in 1908.] There are five or six other families where there is a chance and I will try it. But I can neither promise myself nor you success. Rev. Mr. Purcell has gone to Canada as you know. He received a letter from Mr. Laroque requesting him to visit Montreal as there were two or three other boys besides his son who would likely be sent to the Mountain. Mr. H. is with him Mr. Hitzelberger preached in this city and gave universal satisfaction indeed all were delighted with him . .

If I should be so fortunate as to secure any more students I will leave the settlement of money matters, etc., to Mr. Purcell whom of course I will introduce to the parents . . . As for myself you will see me at the Mountain next Wednesday and if I have not time to call on all I would wish, I will leave their address with Mr. Purcell who can effect a great deal more than I can. I will take the trouble to collect the names, address, means of introduction, etc., etc., of all with whom there are any prospects of success, and these I will give to Mr. P. to act by. I have already said that it is utterly impossible for me to devote much time to it. I am determined to force myself out of the city next Monday. Excuse haste. Yours with respect J. McCloskey.

A note from Dr. McCaffrey's diary tells that " the prefects of this year Aug. 15, '31 to Aug. 15, '32 were Rev. John McCaffrey, John (Card.) McCloskey, L. Obermeyer and John Duffy."

In 1831, Aug. 20, William Henry Elder of Cincinnati, whose maiden speech we have chronicled in his " elder" brother's loving words, began his collegiate course.

Mr. Jamison was in New York at the time, to whom Mr. Purcell writes; bidding him sell the organ recently purchased even at a sacrifice of $300. It was finally brought to the college and lodged in the church "where the negroes stand."

On Sunday October 1st. at Gettysburg, by Rt. Rev. F. P. Kenrick, his bishop, the Rev. Thos. R. Butler, future president, was ordained priest and F. X. Gartland, future Bishop, deacon. Mr. Butler sang his first Mass in the Church on the Hill, the next morning. Rev. I. V. Wiseman left the Mountain at this time for Ohio. Mr. Pise who had been on the missions in the Baltimore diocese left for New York. [Priests went from one diocese to another with very slight formality in those days.]

Mount, 6th, Oct., 1831

The same to the same: Mr. Brute’ had a chill on Saturday. Poor man he wept yesterday at reading in a French tragedy by Voltaire: "Je vais auR des Rois demander aujourd' hui Le prix de tous les maux que j'ai soufferts pour lui." Heaven will bless and lengthen, I trust, his declining years . . .

The question of abolishing the Seminary at the Mountain being still agitated, it was feared by the friends of the College that the deed would be accomplished, notwithstanding the efforts made, particularly by Father Brute, to prevent such an unfortunate issue. On the 28th of October a Council was held to deliberate upon the Archbishop's letter ordering that the faculty cease teaching Divinity on the 25th of September, 1832, and to appoint a committee to see His Grace ? The Archbishop, as we gather from Father Brute's notes, was desirous of the preservation of the College, but could not understand the injury done to it by the suppression of the Seminary Department, which would deprive it of so many of its teachers.

The views of the Council were laid before the Archbishop by letter or letters, to which the following is his reply:

Baltimore, 30 Nov., 1831.

Rev. and dear Sir: On sitting down to answer your last letter, my first impressions are those of admiration and gratitude, considering the unceasing efforts of you and your associates to sustain and improve the highly valuable College of Mount St. Mary’ s and your unabated fortitude and energy to meet and surmount the difficulties you have to encounter, difficulties arising not from your government but under that of others. I feel grateful for your indefatigable labors in the cause of religion, and assure you that it is my sincere wish and ardent prayer that Mount St. Mary's College may be a Catholic College in perpetuum. At the same time I hope that the piety of its Professors and scholars will ensure to it the protection of the Blessed Virgin and through her patronage, the aid of God, to deliver it from danger and debt.

If greater security for holding the property and transmitting it for its religious end and purposes will be best obtained by act of incorporation, I willingly consent to this measure, nor will I dictate as regards the names to be inserted in the act as members of the corporation, except however, that no one of another Diocese be a member of the incorporate body unless he obtain his exeat and actually be admitted as a Priest of this Diocese. But now what I do and (as I think) any Bishop would or ought to object to, is to exonerate every member of the incorporation from the obligation of fulfilling the promise of obedience which each of you made to me and my successors on being ordained Priests. Besides to enter into an engagement with you that all the members of your body shall, if they will, remain fixed at the College during life would be in me unjustifiable to grant, for many reasons: The first that strikes me is, suppose the President of the College himself should be known to me as unworthy either to preside or even profess in the College, yet in virtue of such an engagement joined to the act of incorporation he could continue in spite of me. You know that the Bishop has not only a right, but is bound to make a visitation of Seminaries and Colleges and see that none but worthy Presidents, Superiors and professors have the government of the Catholic youth. Besides why would you bargain with your Bishop and bind him down to terms as you would a common man? You ought to look upon your Archbishop as a father, not as a tyrant, you ought to place full confidence in his paternal government and not entertain for a moment any kind of suspicion of his treating you harshly, or of doing anything that may injure or ruin your College. This you ought to be assured of, whoever may be your Archbishop, and by placing this trust in me you will not be deceived. Though I cannot make the promise you ask, because I cannot concede any right attached to my Episcopal government, yet as long as I judge any of your members essential or necessary to the College it is not my intention to call him out. With regard to Mr. Whelan, were he even desirous to come out on the mission, I would object, on account of his age, for some years to come. As you wish all uncertainty to be removed as far as possible, I come to another essential point. The late Archbishop recommended to my fostering patronage, Mount St. Mary's College as a College, not as a Seminary, after the five years of teaching Theology would expire. They did expire, the 25th. September last. I have the very same motives he had to restrain your institution to a College, allowing however Theology to be taught until the 25th. September next, when it is absolutely to cease.

With regard to what was written by Abp. Mar’echal about Mr. Jamison that he was to be one of the permanent members of Mt. St. Mary's, this does not in the least prove that not only he but all its members were to remain there permanently. Nor was it a privilege in favor of Mr. Jamison but a condition on which he consented to ordain him Subdeacon.

Such are my views and intentions to which I propose to conform, and I assure you that they are my own; no one having suggested any of them. I mention this that you may not judge wrong, as you would, were you to attribute them to any person but myself. I am, Rev. and dear Sir Yours faithfully in Christ, James, Archbishop of Baltimore.

Meanwhile Bishop Dubois had visited Europe, and during two years and some months had collected a considerable sum of money for his poor diocese, intending to establish a seminary of his own. Mr. Hughes, writing to Mr. Purcell, expresses the hope that "Almighty God will put it into the heart of Bishop Dubois to place the money which he will have collected in Europe in your institution as a perpetual fund, and let the interest educate with you candidates for his diocese, instead of attempting at his age the establishment of a Seminary."

Bishop Dubois did not allow this expression of hope, by subsequent action on his part, to become a prophecy. He returned to New York in the latter part of November, Rev. Father McGerry with him. The latter stayed in the State until 1834 and then went west.

Rev. Andrew C. Byrne, one of our priests in New York, writes to Mr. Jamison, Nov. 16, 1831:

. . . You have no doubt, ere this, heard of the pillaging and conflagration of St. Mary's Church in this city. It was robbed of three Chalices, one Ciborium, the Remonstrance and the Candle-Sticks. The Blessed Sacrament was crumbled to atoms and thrown about the Sanctuary. The Church was afterwards set fire to in three different parts, and in order to render their escape easier, the sacrilegious villains muffled the tongue of the bell, the only one the Catholics in the city had, and it was melted in the fire. Father Luke Berry, '27, died of the shock . . .

But the hearts of all at the Mountain were beating anxiously all this time, feeling that the very existence of their beloved College was threatened certainly was limited to but a few months. The following letter, signed by the Faculty, was written to the Archbishop on

Dec. 29, 1831.

Most Rev. Sir: We, the President and Vice President and those whom you have permitted to associate with them for the preservation and welfare of an Institution endeared to you by its past services no less than the cheering promise of future and more efficient exertions in the cause of religion and science; endeared to you by the happy results to the Church of America and particularly to this Diocese as well as by the pledge which its present flourishing condition offers of increasing and permanent blessings to our holy religion, have been encouraged by the assurance of your letter of the 30 November to submit to your paternal consideration and to your sense of justice the great embarrassment into which we are thrown by the ceasing of Theology, and the inevitable ruin of our beautiful establishment consequent on such requisition. The urgency of the case which we have not failed to represent to you as our Father in previous letters, and the fear lest any misconception of your views might be occasion of further epistolary communications, have made it desirable to us to depute some of our own body, who may wait on you in the name of us all, to ascertain clearly and positively your final intentions on the subject of your last letter. We deem it the more necessary to ask a personal interview as the latter part of your letter requiring the cessation of Theology (the teaching of which is the only means in our power to furnish the College with the necessary tutors,) seems at variance with the kind and paternal feelings contained in the first page. The two Rev. Gentlemen, Messrs. Jamison and Brut6 who wait on you, will respectfully communicate to you our views relative to the Institution. They will represent to you our truly critical situation, particularly that of the President and Vice President who, although neither of them was party to the original contract of five years, and consequently not obligated to the arduous task of continuing the Institution after the departure of Mr. McGerry, have at your special request and with the warmest assurances of protection and aid from you, assumed all the responsibilities to the creditors of the Institution and to the Public at large, little thinking that yourself, Most Rev. Sir, would in the short space of two years deprive them of the only means they possess to fulfil these obligations.

What then is to be the fate of this institution? What will become of its credit when thus deprived of its only resource for the supply of teachers ?

What will become of the association, how shall it be formed when two of its important members, already approved by you, are by your letter debarred the right of membership ?

What shall we say to our present students of Theology who must by next June have provided elsewhere for the prosecution of their studies? How shall we secure Professors for the ensuing year?

How shall we avoid the scandal which must necessarily attend the breaking up of an Institution so generally and so favorably known to the Public, and which, it pains us deeply to say, must break up, must cease to exist, if thus effectually deprived of the means of existence.' These are questions which our embarrassed and painful situation impels us to refer to you as our common Father, our Archbishop, the fountain of relief as well as of all authority in this Diocese. Messrs. Jamison and Brute1 will in our common name entreat you to grant indeed to our College that protection which your kind expressions so fairly pledge and accept our joint assurance of love and respect for you as our Superior and protector and of the faithful discharge of our sacred duties.

This touching appeal was sent to Baltimore as soon as written, that is, on the Thursday or Friday of the Christmas holidays.

"The Catholic Press" of Hartford, Conn., reprints from The Philadelphian a " Defence of Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland," signed by John B. Purcell, President, and dated at the College, May 5, 1831.

It appears that a young man had been dismissed for gross insubordination and seditious behavior. " In a word, it is almost evident that this young man came or was sent for the express purpose of producing one of those Collegiate insurrections with which this Institution has been unacquainted, Thanks to the unbending energy of our discipline, which is blind to the distinctions of age, and presses with equal impartiality on the child of ten and the child of twenty-five."He then attacked the College in The Philadelphian, and obliged Dr. Purcell to defend it. In doing so the President published a letter from students living in the house, and the following from former ones:

Frederick City, May 4th, 1831.

Respected Sir: Having seen in a late number of the Philadelphian an article calculated to impair the future usefulness of the institution over which you have the honor to preside, we deem it our duty as Protestants, and an act of justice to the gentlemen associated with you, to state, that during our residence at the College, we observed nothing in the conduct and treatment of Protestant students to support the author of the article alluded to in any of his assertions.

We entered the College Protestants (of whom there was then a large proportion); we left it such: we never perceived any distinction made on account of difference of religious belief no persecution for opinion's sake the honors of the College were conferred on those, and those only, who merited them by their superior knowledge of the branch they have studied, their talents and good conduct.

We think Mount St Mary's a valuable institution, and highly approve its rules and regulations, and the manner in which they are administered.

With due respect, etc. Wm. R. Sanderson, G. M. Tyler. Rev. J. B. Purcell, D. D., President of Mt. St. Mary's College.

The Commencement of 1831 was a great event, being the first at which a Bachelor was graduated. He was alone, and it is a coincidence that Seton Hall's first graduate, forty years later, was also alone. Drawings, maps, paintings and penmanship were exhibited. At one o'clock a small balloon was sent up. Father Purcell addressed in Latin the graduate and those who were to receive the degree of M. A. There was a Greek and a Latin ode. A speech on Poland lasted 20 minutes; one on Chivalry 30 minutes. There was a Spanish oration on Columbus, and lectures, with experiments by the students, on Hydrostatics, Caloric, Pneumatics, and Analysis. The Professor of Physics, Dr. Hermange, was a graduate of Maryland University, and had studied in Paris, Montpelier and London.

On October 17 following, President Purcell announced that the candidate for degrees, besides a critical knowledge of the vernacular, "must prove himself, on examination, to be a master of the most difficult Greek and Latin authors and well acquainted with Mathematics and Philosophy. Nothing less than a thorough course of scientific and classic studies shall entitle a student to his degree. . . ." Father Purcell set up a standard which American colleges have not reached, if they have attempted it, in the classics at least. We have given and borne academic degrees, but they are far below those of Europe in value.

Hoping more from a viva voce interview, as we have already intimated, Father Brute and Mr. Jamison at noon of January 1, 1832, left the Mountain via Frederick to visit the Archbishop in reference to the teaching of theology. They remained all night at Frederick and reached Baltimore at 5 p.m. on Monday.

The leaflet in Father Brute's handwriting, after recording the circumstances of the journey, continues:

"Saw the Archbishop with Mr. Jam., and took supper with him; he offered us beds, and (the Archbishop) after supper opened the matter.

"1. He expressed his determination, as had the Archbp. before him, to have but one Seminary.

"2. Yet desired also that the College of Mi St. Mary's should continue to prosper.

"3. ' If I cd. myself be convinced by the coming June that teaching Theology is necessary to its preservation, I wd. certainly grant it. He repeated that at least 3 or 4, perhaps 5 or 6 times, in the very words: ' I tell you, if you could convince me that teaching Theology was necessary, I wd. grant it!'

"4. But it is for the present his conviction that it is the very cause of the increase of debt. He made a calculation of 20 at $150 a year (cost of each theologian) during five years, to show that it has required an outlay of 815,000, the very thing that sinks the Mountain.

"5. 'There is no real need of those teachers.' He showed that from the Almanack we have more tutors than St. Mary's and Georgetown. He thinks we have too many in our faculty, teach too many things, and that reducing all around will prosper the house.

"6. It will be moreover by 'following my advice archbp. that the blessing of God will come; 'it is by acting against his inclination and his predecessor's, that we have not had this blessing; try obedience and you will be blessed reduce the number of classes.'

"7. If we bring about and teach as far as philosophy this will be enough; St. Mary's might then receive the subjects (of this diocese) for their divinity. . . ."

On Jan. 5, Mr. Jamison wrote from Baltimore:

"The Archbishop has asked me for a list of all our classes, the number, the length of time of each the different branches taught the list of debts number of students their pay, etc., etc. I shall call tomorrow and detail what I think necessary."

The rumor of the disestablishment of the College had gone abroad and Father Hughes wrote to Father Purcell from Philadelphia, Feb. 21, 1832 :

"The effects of the intended suppression of your establishment for it will be tantamount to a suppression have been to my mind a subject of much speculation and regret. Have you cast in your mind what you shall do? How will you dispose of yourself ? What will be done with your ecclesiastics, especially those who do not belong to Baltimore? Is the in stitution which it took so much pains and labor to raise and which was becoming the hope of the American Church, to be smitten by the hand that should protect it, and prostrated in a day? Or does God mean to display another instance of the folly and shortsightedness of human wisdom by bringing something better from its ruins?

"If the mind of your Archbishop and his determination in your regard be like the laws of the Medes and Persians, then I tell you what have the back door open, and back out; not forgetting as you cross the Maryland and Pennsylvania line, to shake the dust from off your feet. Neither do I want you to come alone ; but bring all the zeal, disinterestedness, and talent of your establishment and have the glory of instituting the diocesan Seminary of Philadelphia. There is, adjoining the new Church, a building which will suit admirably both as to location and internal arrangement. You may either rent or purchase it. I will have means provided, without your being obliged to furnish them in advance. After enjoying this building and its advantages for a few years, you will be able to dispose of it at considerable profit, and to remove, if you wish it, to some favorable place in the neighborhood of the city, with the advantages of an established school and reputation.

"The project may perhaps startle you by its novelty, but it is altogether practicable. Let me know your ideas in reference to the subject generally, and then I shall have more to say. Now if the ruling powers will have it so that you cannot be better employed after the 25th. September, 1832, what would you think of coming to join me? Or if you would not, whom would you recommend that could? A man of sound but not enthusiastic piety; mild in his temper; honest, open and sincere in his disposition. As to his learning, I should not think it an objection if he resemble Sir Roger de Coverly's chaplain (Spectator, No. 106) in some respects, provided always, nevertheless, that he is capable of writing and pronouncing well his sermon, and does not as the New England critic on pulpit oratory has it think himself privileged to 'talk nonsense in the name of the Lord.' Now, if you know any such person, won't you let me know it? for I have reason to believe that Bishop Kenrick will put no obstacle in the way of my desire to have an assistant. ..."

In the Spring of this year 1832 Rev. D. F. Mayne, vicar-general of Florida, an old Mountaineer visited the College. Father Brute' has this note on March 15:

Rev. M. Pelissier died the loth and was buried the 17th, St. Patrick's day, between the graves of the Rev. M. Lynch and M. Thomas Egan, father of the Rev. M. Egan. Rev. M. Purcell the Superior (sic) said the High Mass 9J and preached. The Sisters went to Communion. R. I. P.

Father Brute also wrote a long eulogistic letter regarding the young priest, for whom he seemed to entertain a high regard, and whose ordination the College had requested, though his services as a priest would be brief and limited mainly to his good example and offering of the Divine Sacrifice.

Jan. 10, 1831. There was a stage once a week from Frederick to Emmitsburg, but the roads were so bad that it started two hours before dawn. Many came on horseback and the latter manner of travel was very common on account of the bad roads. Everybody knew how to ride.

Jan. 19, '31. J. M. Palmer, a Protestant of Frederick, sending back his boy who had left the Mountain without his consent, cautions Father Purcell about admitting to the College an infamous journal published in New York and called The Protestant, which had occasioned very unpleasant differences between the students, many of whom were Protestants. He signs himself " affectionately Yours." . . . The boy having returned home again in a similar way his father obliged him to walk back. It was '21 1/2 miles on a "dirt road." . . .

Jan. 22, '31. Mr. ——— (a member of the State legislature) is opposed to allowing your College to "hold property without limit," and indeed "thinks your estate already too large."

Feb. 9, '31. A boy in Frederick said " nine boys had left the Mountain on acct. of persecution and ridicule of Protestants." This was of a piece with the libel before alluded to.

Mar. 1, '31. Michael G. Ege writes from Carlisle that a report is going round that in consequence of maltreatment from the Catholic students fc'ty Protestants have taken their departure from Mt. St. Mary's. Crescit eundo.

Mar. 11, '31. A Spanish gentleman writes from Winchester, Va., begging to be employed at the College. He has a place at W., but Mass is offered there only once in two months in a private house for the " five or six Catholics."

A patron in Marlboro, S. C., Nov. 14, '32, writes that he had given a letter enclosing a draft for $900 to a man to post. The latter had forgotten it and after many weeks found it almost crumbled to pieces in his pocket.

Nov. 26, '31. A young man who had been dismissed writes from Louisiana " I cannot tell but Mt. St. Mary's has a charm which I cannot resist, and when I will be able to see that College again I will be truly happy . . . It is always with pleasure that I think of the "Papist Minister" (Jamison?). [Jamison wore a long beard and perhaps so got this soubriquet.]

Montreal, Mar. 21, '31. "I am convinced that boys derive much more ad­vantage than most people are aware of from social, unrestrained conversation with good and wise grown-up persons, who have their good at heart, and I am more than grateful for your interest in my boy . . . I admire your motto ‘Croyez et vous pourrez' or as Napoleon put it: 'Vouloir est pouvoir ' . . I sent my son to the United States in consideration of the infancy, as it were, of our Religion in that country and the daily attacks made upon it and its ministers. The Church was never more beautiful and more resplendent with virtue them when suffering persecution under the Roman Emperors. The waters of the ocean are far more clear and limpid in the agitation of a storm than after a long calm ..."[The boy afterwards became Mayor of Montreal. His name was Alfred Laroque.]

April, 1831, a card appeared in several papers announcing that " the Rev. F. McGerry, formerly president of the College, who is now in Europe, having dissolved all connection with the establishment, the management of it will, as it has been since his departure, be continued in the hands of the Rev. John B. Purcell as President, and the Rev. Francis B. Jamison as Vice-President, who alone are proper and responsible agents."

A Philadelphia publisher, writing April 10, '31, says he is coming, being "anxious to see your ' Heaven on Earth,' I hear so much about."

April 21, '31. The pictures imported came to the Institution, and are probably two Madonnas, one of "the Chair," the other "the Annunciation."

In those (1831) days, when the bed and bedding was brought, a charge was made for the cot.

April 29, '31. A mother writes: "Willie's nose has something the matter with it which is making it grow crooked. Please make him keep pushing it to make it straight. . . If he takes part in any violent exercise, please see that he cools off slowly."

June 23, '31. The Baltimore stage company writes asking that the boys walk to Emmitsburg (two miles and a quarter), as the road thence to the College is very rough and extremely dangerous for vehicles to traverse before daylight. The coaches came up the evening before in order to start early in the morning.

Aug. 1, '31. A physician writes from Richmond that his younger brother, who is going to the Mountain, " is not, on account of too much paternal care, as far advanced as we could have wished."

Aug. 31,'31. The ''Catholic Miscellany" of Charleston, was "circumscribed with regard to funds," and asked Father Jamison as their "friend and agent," to make collections around Emmitsburg.

Happy Retreat, Sept. 3, 1831. Rev4' Sir, I suppose you are not in the habit of marrying a slave without permission of the Master. This is to inform you that I have no objections to Charity's getting married. Respectfully yours, John Shorb. To Rev. F. B. Jamison, Mt. St. Mary's College. This is the first time we find the term "College" used instead of Seminary.

14 Sept. '31. A father writes that his boy complains of having to learn 18 Greek "out of a book in which the rules, etc., are given in Latin, and he doesn't know enough of the latter language to do so.''

John Keenan writes, Oct. 3, '31, "I made applications for students both in Lancaster and Columbia, but without any success. Riches, not literature, are principally courted by the blood of Pennsylvania. They will very shrewdly tell you that a common portion of education is less dangerous to and more consistent with temporal advancement, than the useless and too great refinement of a College course."

New Orleans. Oct. 15, '31. "I was brought up a Quaker and would prefer that ray son should be of that denomination, but if he wants to follow his mother's creed, I wish you to take particular care of his religious studies. . I want him to be a truly religious man and a good Catholic."

Dec. 14, '31. An old student writes from Pittsburg, saying he is glad to hear that the " Academus" is flourishing, as he knows of no institution better calculated to bring out the latent springs of talent in the youthful heart. . "He gives the example of a speech an hour long made by a member of a debating society in Pittsburg, and considered masterly, though the speaker was under twenty-two years of age.

New York, Nov. 30, '31. Bishop Dubois got back from Rome and Spain with " a respectable sum of money and many valuable clerical books."

Dec. 19, '31. The College having paid a certain loan the lender wrote congratulating it on its prosperity and reputation.

Phila , Dec. 31, '31. One McNichol writes telling how Stephen Girard was buried on St. Stephen's Day in the Holy Trinity cemetery by permission of the Bishop. Girard was 83 years old and unmarried. There was no Mass because the Freemasons would not leave the church. Dr. McCaffrey used to tell how Bp. Kenrick would have officiated himself had they done so, but on their entering after the corpse in regalia, he said: "Take this out of this church."

"Dated from the Propaganda. Aug. 31, '29," is a letter from P. J. Maitland to Father Purcell. It is on the inside sheet of a Phila. letter of same date from another party.

Chapter Index

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.