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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 24 | Chapter Index

Chapter 25: 1833

Although Father Brute' did not unite with his young associates in official ways, and appears to have remained outside the Council, he continued to advise them to the best of his opportunity. In a letter to Father Jamison, Sept. 8,1832, he warns him about the forty thousand dollar debt, of which he had heard incidentally. He knows "nothing of the bank." He refers to Bishop Kenrick's starting the Philadelphia Seminary with three students in his own house, and thinks well of it. He seems to urge the establishment of a regular community as necessary for the endurance of the house.

"Then 'in omnibus respice finem,' you cannot remain a Seminary you cannot an Ecclesiastical College without great difficulty, to be early anticipated by your timely measures of real association, not merely by living in the same house, or even under an external tie of civil association though even this, in any form and number of associates, may be itself better for the safety of the property and better securing from State interference." He speaks also of the loss by the Romney mortgage given to F. Dubois for tuition of certain Virginia students, and on which the interest was not paid, etc., etc. Says that he declined to accept Father Purcell's proposal that he (Brute') should "resume care of the Seminarians", which he had abandoned as being less useful to them under the circumstances. It would seem that he was for stricter Seminary life than the other gentlemen thought possible. Of almsgiving he says: "Alms is a blessing to everything; and, for boys, to inspire charity is good education." Father Jamison, who had received from Egan and McGerry the entire College property transferred them by Dubois, declined Father Brute's advice on the debt question. We shall see that afterwards he handed over the property to Fathers Whelan, Butler and Sourin jointly. Purcell's name does not appear as proprietor.

As to Father Purcell himself, Brute' in a letter of April 23, 1833, actually asked him to resign:

As for your case as president, I think now, as the motive of my own wish that you remain so, was I convinced that you could be supported by certain limitations and regulations to which you cannot submit, but in fact you are too weak in your administration; it is better you resign and then, as you said, continue to apply earnestly your excellent talents to your great trust for the church here. You will find it no inconsistency and no real alteration of my perfect esteem and affection for my old friends here these 12 years and more . . . God only! Honor and service, service in the heart of our Archbishop. S. Brute’.

Father Edward Collins had gone to Cincinnati to begin his half-century of priestly work by helping 2£ hours every day as teacher at the Athenaeum. He reported in a letter of this time the death of a valuable missionary of the diocese of Cincinnati, Father Gabriel Richard, (member of Congress from Michigan and a founder of Ann Arbor College), and the raging of the cholera in Louisville. Father Collins was a great collector of books and was a model to his people, practicing temperance in the heroic degree by total abstinence. This splendid specimen of Mountaineer never left Cincinnati for any other mission. For many, many years his was a well-known figure about the town wherever his priestly duties required his presence or his tender, Christ-like pity drew his footsteps. Always the polished gentlemen, gentle and retiring, with a fund of humor and a ready wit, the shafts of which, however, were never poison-tipped, he was universally beloved by Catholic and non-Catholic. An enthusiastic member of the then volunteer fire department, he "ran with the machine" on all ooccasions which did not interfere with the requirements of his sacerdotal character. The company to which he belonged presented him with a silver trumpet which, when the modern steam fire-engines replaced the old ones, he had transformed into cruets and stand, as a present to his beloved friend, Archbishop Purcell. Brave in his character of fireman, he was not less cool in danger which brought with it no tidal wave of excitement to carry one upon its crest in a state of semi-consciousness. During the " Bedini riots " in Cincinnati (1853) the Cathedral was threatened by the mob one Saturday night. He had been in the confessional all the afternoon and as nine o'clock drew near, the hour fixed, as the Archbishop had been notified, for the assault, some one came to him and urged him to leave the church. He quietly left his seat, counted the penitents still awaiting their turn, and returned to it, saying: "I guess there will be time maybe to hear these. If not, Heaven is as easily reached from here as from the house."

A contemporary of Father Collins, William B. Walter, '35, writes very entertainingly of things in those days and brings conditions before us in a very lively way. In the Catholic Universe of Cleveland, Feb. 4, 1898, he says: " During the Cholera scare in 1832 the boys at the Mountain were every day ordered out in ranks and compelled to take a spoonful of camphor, which they did mostly with wry faces. ... I was a day scholar and, despite the alarm, used to take peaches on my way by the orchard every day. . . . Cherry trees were very common and the fruit went to waste for want of a market. Canning was unknown, so were matches. ... A man known as Jack Marshall, living at the College, made the clock for the tower. . . . Some one made a present of a young coon to Father Jamison, and when the over-fed pet died the boys gave it a grand funeral, a boy named Kuhn delivering the oration. . . . His text was: "Coons, like moons, are changeable and capricious. They rise up like sparrow-grass, are cut down like peppergrass, and fly away like hoppergrass. . . ." The boys had a greased-pig chase one time and a fleet-footed boy named Toledano was told that by greasing his own shins for several days previously he would win. He was caught in the act of doing so and was called Greasy Shins ever after, and the boy that caught the animal was known as Pig Lynch. He had succeeded by tumbling so often that he and the pig got covered with sand."

[Father Jamison used to tell coon-stories, and hence the present made him by the boys, who used to speak of him among themselves as "Coon Jamison." Like all Marylanders, he was easy and approachable in his manner.]

There was one amongst the students whose admirable boyhood is, as it were, photographed for us in the valuable records of the Prefect of Studies:

Report of William Henry Elder (future archbishop of Cincinnati) for 18S2:

Sixth Latin : Application the best. Translates with great facility and judgment. Understands the syntax well. Memory quick and very retentive. Talents excellent. Deposition ditto. Manners frank and very respectful . . .

2nd English : First in the class . Reads with very great taste . . . Spells very correctly. Conduct unexceptionable. Temper mild. Manners respectful, agreeable. French, One of the first in the class. William pronounces the French with taste. Geography Among the best. Manners easy and agreeable. Conduct excellent.

Judgment of the Prefects:

General Conduct. Invariably excellent. Manners polished, interesting, and cheerful. Temper mild, amiable, but not passive. Morals pure. Religion: well instructed, virtuous, pious. Talents bright. And in 1833 : Geometry . has studied four books without a teacher. ' The cheerful, polite, amiable, virtuous and pious character of the boy deserves all praise. Such it seemed to me last year and such it seems this' (J. McCaffrey.)

'Behavior exemplary: talents superior: judgment solid: temper very mild. Manners polite, respectful, engaging. Application steady and great. Disposition sociable. Fond of conversation and reading. Obliging. Solidly virtuous and pious." (The Prefects.)

So through all classes. Surely here the child was father to-the man. Search his biography and see. Medals are mentioned this year, 1832, for the first time, and probably were then for the first time used, as reference is made to the cutting and the spoiling of the die. Medals continue to be given, but, the original die is lost.

The dissolution of the "Academus Society" offers occasion for the remark that literary and other societies in colleges and elsewhere rise and disappear as simply and easily as clouds in, the sky. "Three things are hard to me," says Solomon (Proverbs xxx. 18), "and the fourth I am utterly ignorant of: The way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man in youth."

Father Gartland writes from Philadelphia, January 20th, 1833, that he has less time for study than he had at the Mountain, for of course there were very few priests then in proportion. He sends his respects to " Old Aunt Chloe." Father Xaupi left the Mountain for St. Mary's in Baltimore, perhaps to rejoin the Sulpicians, and James A. Miller entered the Seminary.

Bishop Fenwick of Cincinnati having died, John Hughes and John Purcell were nominated for the succession. The story goes that so evenly divided M'ere the merits of the two Johns that the Propaganda was for a while unable to arrive at a decision. The Pope had been told that one was a gardener and the other a teacher, and inclined towards the " gardener," saying that the country, from all accounts, needed one. Bishop England was at the time in Rome, and meeting, on one occasion, the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, was told by the latter of the quandary. "If," said his Eminence, "we knew of some fact, no matter how slight, to turn the scale!" The Bishop thought for a moment and then said: "Perhaps, your Eminence, as Ohio is a wild country and Mr. Hughes is a self-made man, he would be more suited to it." "That is it," replied the Cardinal, "thank you that is it!" In a day or so, again meeting the Bishop, he exclaimed: "Well, it is arranged! As soon as I mentioned Mr. Purcell as a self-made man we were at once agreed upon him." Bishop England was about to correct the error when he reflected that the finger of God seemed in it and was silent. When the Pope was told of the mistake he replied: "What is writ, is writ."

This association of their names and the mistake made only served to draw the hearts of the two Mountaineers closer, and Father Hughes would sometimes allude jokingly to the stolen mitre which Dr. Purcell was wearing.

John Hughes lived to wear the thorny mitre of New York and to shine in that eminence as a priest and a champion of the Union. John Purcell had received a more finished education, completing his studies in Paris. They tell of him while preaching a retreat he made a Latin quotation and, carried away by its spirit, continued for an hour to discourse to the priests in that tongue. This was the man who was chosen to cultivate the vast territory then called the Northwest, with its scattered white laborers and half-savage red men, while the gardener was sent to the richest city in the country. Archbishop Whitfield told Father Purcell that he had opposed his appointment to the bishopric, representing to Rome that the College would be ruined and that his diocese anyhow had no priest to spare, but the appointment was made on the 26th of February, 1S33. Father Brute's notes tell us that the farmhouse was burnt about this time.

In February the priests at the college assembled to form rules as a society, and after much discussion and revision they were completed on the 4th of March and accepted, and it was resolved to keep them on trial till vacation.

The appointment of Mr. Purcell to the See of Cincinnati reached the Mountain in March, but only as a rumor. Mr. Brute records the retirement on April 16 of Mr. Whelan from the Council, and on the 19th writes out the following set of suggestions relating to the office of President:

"A president here is not only so, 1, for a College; he is, 2, for Seminary; 3, for congregation; 4, for the sisters present, etc. Hence he has too much to do that he may do all the parts equally well.

"To be a good president the qualifications are:

  • "1. An exterior decent manners sufficiently agreeable and dignified, good health.
  • "2. Principles of piety justice pure life humility not ambitious.
  • "3. To be for the College, a good scholar, particularly for literature and the languages.
  • "4. A good divine for the Seminary, and the general order in the church.
  • "5. To speak well for public occasions and in general with visitors and parents.
  • "6. To know the temper of boys and their management.
  • "7. To be self-possessed calm not irritable, not disposed to speak and act from feelings admitting proper observations.
  • "8. To have diligence foresee order in time watch renew.
  • "9. To be firm, support the authority of his cooperators the duties of the procurator, etc., each of whom ' must do his own,' as Hippocrates has it.
  • "10. To correct in time the faults and abuses, and do it with purpose and system, not with caprice.
  • "11. To be diligent assiduous at his own all sufficient duties shun all extra calls.
  • "12. To have an equable, sane, well supported conduct and character.

"No president can excel at once in all the parts required; if he has good support and is not proud and sensitive he may remedy his defects and matters still go on well. Radical change is generally of doubtful experiment; more so if with persons not tried in the house that is to be delivered to them. The call for it should not be credited in the abstract, but with full detail of motive and examination of all the bearings. There is in my eyes perfect certainty that we cannot have Mr. Hughes, and there is no evidence that he would answer in all respects.

"I think the procurator, by the finances, and the prefect by his habitual vigilance and care, have much to do with the support of the house. I suspect that the duties now assigned to the president can with success be sub-divided part be given to the procurator part to a spiritual prefect already the congregation was separated he has duties that can be left to the-sacristan."

The Academus Society in the College "dissolved itself during the early part of the spring," to use the expression of McCaffrey, who does not give a reason, nor mention the names of the members, but he himself now makes his first appearance on the public stage where he played so long a distinguished part.

The Catholic Telegraph, of February 2, 1833, speaking of his eulogy of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who had died the previous year, says:

"Like the clear and crystal streams that burst from their own woodland fountain, there are—and we feel pleasure in the avowal among the sons of the Mountain those who can pour forth the rich tide of eloquence to fertilize and enrich the expanding genius committed to their care."

The Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, May 20, 1833, tells how on this day the Almshouse Board of Guardians testified by formal resolution " that this body entertains a deep, lasting and grateful sense of the generous devotedness, the serene and Christian kindness, and the pure and unworldly benevolence which have prompted and sustained the Sisters of Charity attached to this institution during the trying period of pestilence and death, and afterwards in the midst of constant suffering and disease. . . . They deserve the warmest thanks and gratitude of the whole community. . . . We regret that their rules do not permit the acceptance of any reward, as it would give us pleasure to bestow such a testimonial as might serve partially to express the grateful feelings which we entertain . . . ," etc.

The Sisters had gone there on the application of the Board transmitted through Bishop Kenrick, and had remained there during the cholera, and after it for seven months. Rev. John Hickey, S. S., through whom the communication was received, was the superior of the Sisterhood at Emmitsburg.

As indicating the enterprise of the College authorities, we have an account of an endeavor to get musicians to go from Baltimore to the Mountain for the Commencement, but it was a vain one, for "most or all of them were engaged at the theatre."

The terms at the College in 1833 were one hundred and eighty-two dollars a year. Music, Drawing and Medicines extra. The following will show the libraries and the course of studies:

Library of Theology, 6000 vols; Literature and Sciences, 3000; Students, 600. The system of studies embraced Hebrew, Greek. Latin, English, French, Spanish, German, Mathematics and Surveying, Maps, Geography, History, Poetry, Rhetoric, Oratory, Moral, Mental and Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Geology, Botany.

It would appear that French and Spanish formed part of the course, which was as follows:

1st. Year. Latin Grammar and Historia Sacra. French Grammar and Reader. Murray's English Grammar. Dictation. Arithmetic.

2nd Year. Nepos, Caesar, Mythology. Writing Latin. Greek: Grammar and New Testament. French: Grammar Reader, Lafontaine's Fables; Spanish Grammar. English Grammar Dictation. Geography. Rational Arithmetic.

3rd Year. Phoedrus. Sallust. Ovid. Graeca Minora. Lucian. French, Telernaque, Odes de Rousseau. Spanish Extracts and Exercises. English Composition Essays. Letters, etc. Geography History Algebra.

4th Year. De Amicitia, De Senectute, De Officiis of Cicero. Eclogues and Aeneid of Virgil. Greek: Thucydides, Iliad. French: L'Abeille and Boileau. Spanish: Extracts. English: Composition and Elocution. Plane Geometry. Trigonometry. Mensuration. Geography. History.

5th year. Cicero's Orations. Livy. Horace's Epistles and Satires. Graeca Majora. Demosthenes. Xenophon. Plato. Homer. Analytical Geometry. History.

6th Year. Poetry. Cicero's Orations. Greek: Longinus on the Sublime. Conic Sections. Calculus. Spherical Trigonometry. History.

7th. Year. Rhetoric. Belles Lettres. Blanks Lectures. De Oratore, Quin-tilian. Juvenal. Persius. Moral Philosophy. Globes. Astronomy. Chemistry. History. Notes were read once a week.

As John McCloskey, future president, will he a pars magna of this history, we think it well to give the estimate of him made by his namesake, the future Cardinal, this year, 1833:

John McCloskey's (Pres.) report: "Greek: application diligent and successful; judgment penetrating. Memory tenacious; talents bright. Latin: although promoted to this class recently, holds the third place. Application assiduous: attention great; memory good; talents and judgment sound. Mathematics: a faithful student; has good talents and succeeds well. Behavior: excellent; temper quick but mastered, manners respectful and reserved; gentlemanly ; very attentive during prayers; solidly pious; superior to human respect; disposition studious but not too retired. Elocution: Is one of the most successful in this branch; reads with some taste and judgment; speaks with still more; in delivery is always animated; has not a very agreeable voice ; talents and judgment good; memory very good. Temper naturally warm, but well governed ; manners reserved. John (Card.) McCloskey."

The fame of the College crossed Long Island Sound : John C. Coit, of New London, Connecticut, Aug. 26, 1833, wanted to send a girl of seven and a boy of four, with two servants, a white man of fifty and a negress of twelve years. It would appear that the College could not accommodate the party.

On June 5th of this year, 1S33, died one of the greatest men the Mountain ever trained. William Byrne, 1780-1833, came from Ireland very much as John Hughes had, and their early lives were similar in many respects. He was thirty years old when he began his Latin studies at the Mountain, September 2, 1810. It was hard and distasteful, and he was at the same time a prefect. The Chronicler knew many such at the College, and one of them, hearing it read of St. Ignatius that he had in his thirtieth year sat down with boys of twelve to study Latin, said: " It is one thing to read the life of a Saint, but quite another to live it. I have, with God's help, done a little of that, and know what courage it requires."

Byrne was transferred to St. Mary's, Baltimore, for his higher studies, and after being ordained sub-deacon went to Bardstown, Kentucky, where he completed his studies and was ordained priest September 18, 1819. How entirely he possessed the confidence of Bishop Flaget is shown by his almost immediate appointment to take the place of the great Father Nerinckx. The spirit of Dubois is so clearly recognized in the career of this great pupil of his, that we present him to our readers as one of our jewels, and insert what Archbishop Spalding, one of his own scholars and assistant teachers, says of him in his " Sketches of Kentucky": "Shortly after his ordination Mr. Byrne was appointed pastor of the St. Charles and of Holy Mary's and of the six adjoining stations. Though his health had been impaired by a long and rigid course of study, yet he labored in his new charge with the most indefatigable industry. He was always at his post, and never was known to miss an appointment. Whether sick or well, he might be seen, by day and by night, on horseback visiting the sick, or attending his congregations or stations. His zeal was fed by labors and difficulties, as fire is fed by fuel. Besides his ordinary duties, he visited monthly the congregation of Louisville, more than sixty miles distant. As a preacher, he was not eloquent nor pathetic, but his discourses were plain, solid and instructive. His style was different from any which we find laid down in books of rhetoric it might be called the pointed. He had a quick eye to observe the faults and deficiencies of his flock ; and many who would not be led to the practice of virtue by the honeyed tones of persuasion, were at least often deterred from open vice by his pointed invectives from the pulpit. He eradicated many evil customs, and did much, both by word and example, to stimulate that spirit of sincere piety for which those congregations are now so conspicuous.

"He had lived so long in colleges, and had so long fulfilled the responsible office of prefect, that he had become tired of that kind of life and had firmly resolved never more to engage in it; and he was not much in the habit of changing his resolutions. Yet the ignorance of the children in his various congregations, and the consequent difficulty of teaching them their religious duties, whilst most of them could not read, made him think seriously about establishing some institution for elementary instruction, by which the inconvenience might be remedied.

"The difficulties were great and appalling. But what were difficulties to him? They only quickened his zeal and nerved his resolution. He had neither money to build, nor men to conduct such an institution. But his energy supplied every difficulty. Once he had overcome his great repugnance to the undertaking by persuading himself that it promoted the glory of God, and the good of his neighbor, all other obstacles vanished. He laid his plans before the Bishop, who had already entertained similar views, and who warmly approved them, encouraging his zeal with a solicitude truly paternal. He immediately set about his task. The first thing to be done was to procure a site for the seminary. He purchased a farm and paid for it by subscriptions raised among those favorable to his undertaking. As there was, however, but little money in the country at the time, he had great difficulty in raising the necessary amount, and especially in converting into cash the articles of produce subscribed by many. The farm paid for, the next thing was to erect suitable buildings. An old stone distillery on the premises was soon fitted up for the purpose of an academy of learning. Mr. Byrne was himself almost constantly with the workmen, and laboring with them bareheaded under a scorching sun. He made an arrangement with the parents of children that everything contributed by them to the institution, either in money or work, should be refunded in tuition, which was to be at the very lowest rates. The parents were to pay nothing for board, only furnishing a certain quota of provisions per session. A plan so reasonable and so fully adapted to the wants of the community could not fail to be successful. At length the long and anxiously expected day for the opening of the new school arrived, and it was on that day filled to overflowing. It was early in the Spring of the year 1821, and the new institution was called St. Mary's Seminary.

"Thus was laid the foundation of a school which, with more trials and difficulties than have perhaps fallen to the lot of any other institution, has subsisted with ever-increasing popularity for twenty-two years [this was written in 1844], and has at length taken its stand among the chartered Colleges of the country. [It still flourishes in 1908.]

"It was founded by one man, amidst difficulties which would have appalled almost any other it was sustained for more than twelve years by the indomitable energy of one man. It boasted no money endowment, but it could boast an endowment far more noble unquenchable zeal, hallowed by religion. The Rev. Mr. Byrne was President, sole disciplinarian, sole prefect, sole treasurer, and at first almost sole professor he filled every office. And at the same time he was often compelled to attend missionary calls. Yet he found time for everything. Often have we known him, after all had retired to rest, to go several miles on horseback to attend a sick call which he could not find time to attend during the day, and after returning and taking a brief repose, to be the first one up in the morning. His quick eye immediately discovered those who possessed the greatest talent, and amidst all his other occupations he found time to train up several of those for teachers. Thus in less than a year he had raised up a body of tutors and officers, who subsequently relieved him of much labor, and, after the manner of Mount St. Mary's, continued their studies whilst engaged in teaching those branches which they had already learned.

"The Seminary had become very popular throughout Kentucky; its strict discipline, and the moral and literary advancement of its pupils, were justly admired. Its founder had liquidated almost all its debts and had nearly completed an additional building for the accommodation of more students, when God permitted the whole to be consumed by fire; he was absent in Louisville at the time, and we well remember the sadness which sat on his brow when on the next day he rode into the inclosure, and beheld the smouldering ruins of what had cost him years of anxious toil; yet the suddenness of the shock did not unnerve him, it gave him new energy. In a few short months St. Mary's Seminary arose from its ashes fresher and more beautiful than ever. During the months in which the new college was being erected Mr. Byrne toiled day and night; he was not a mere looker-on, but he took part in the work. While not thus employed he was engaged in giving instructions to several of his more advanced students whom he retained with him. In a few years he had recovered from the pecuniary embarrassment consequent upon the late accident by fire; he had also paid the debts of the new building, and of an additional edifice almost completed, when in one night, by another severe visitation of Providence, this last was consumed by fire, involving him in a debt of more than four thousand dollars. He was not discouraged by this last misfortune, and offered up the Holy Sacrifice the next morning in thanksgiving to God for having preserved the main building. While those who came to condole with him seemed sad and dejected, he treated the matter lightly, and observed smiling, that his only cause of grief was the loss of his hat, which he had forgotten in the new building on the evening previous.

"Nothing daunted, he rebuilt the burnt edifice on a more enlarged plan, and was in a few years enabled, by patient industry and rigid economy, to pay all his debts and place the institution on a firm and enduring foundation. It may here be proper to glance at the advantages which St. Mary's Seminary has bestowed upon the country, especially during the twelve years, from 1821 to 1833, that it was under the immediate superintendence of its founder. During all that time the number of students ranged from eighty to one hundred and twenty ; and taking the average hundred, we ascertain that the institution gave instruction, partial or complete, to at least 1,200 youths. These were from all parts of the State, and many of them, on their return to their respective neighborhoods, established private schools, which they endeavored to assimilate to their Alma Mater. Thus the benefits of education were not confined to those who had been students of St. Mary's Seminary ; this institution gave an impulse to knowledge which affected the whole State, and extended to the adjoining States. And all this good must be attributed to the energy of one man. Those who know how difficult it is to found, and how much more difficult it is to keep up a literary institution, must be impelled by these facts to give him more credit than is usually awarded in such cases.

"We now come to an act in his life which displays his character more perhaps than any other, and which must forever endear his name to St. Mary's College and immortalize it with posterity. He had founded St. Mary's had clung to it amidst all its misfortunes and vicissitudes, for twelve years he had twice raised it up from its ruins he had spent thousands on thousands of dollars upon it; the property was his own, the fruit of his own industry; and he made a free donation of it while living to the Society of Jesuits, believing them much better qualified to conduct it than himself, and thinking that he could be employed more usefully elsewhere. Though advanced in age and worn out in constitution, yet he thought of renewing in his declining years the scenes of his more vigorous manhood.

"He had been on a visit to Nashville, and having seen the necessity of an institution such as St. Mary's at that place, where the Catholic religion had to contend with neglect and scandals, he had resolved to make it the theatre of his future labors. In a letter to Bishop Flaget, he observed, that all he needed in leaving St. Mary's to found a new institution was his horse and ten dollars to bear his traveling expenses. Some time before this he had conceived a similar idea in regard to an establishment near Paducah, in Jackson's Purchase. This last enterprise he had, however, abandoned, probably because he had reason to believe that his absence at that time might be detrimental to the interests of St. Mary's; at least it was not because he deemed such an undertaking impracticable, for whoever knew him must have learned that to him few things appeared, or were, impracticable. He had made up his mind in regard to his undertaking at Nashville, and he delayed it for a short time, only to aid for a season his friend, Rev. Mr. Elder, in the administration of St. Joseph's, which was then laboring under pecuniary difficulties.

"At the request of the two Jesuits he still retained the office of President of the College, but his twofold work as missionary and educator was done and ready to receive its fitting recompense the crown of a martyr of charity.

"The cholera was lurking in Kentucky in 1832, but in the following year it ravaged the neighborhood of St. Mary's, and called for the highest exercise of Father Byrne's charity and zeal. On the 3d of June he was sent for to give the rites of the Church to a colored servant, about five miles from the college. After administering the last Sacraments he returned. On visiting the house the following day he found her dead.

"Returning late at night with the seeds of the disease in his own system, he retired at once to bed ; but he arose betimes in the morning of the 5th, and, though weak and suffering, he repaired to the altar and offered up for the last time the great Sacrifice of the New Law for the living and the dead. From that altar he was borne to his bed; and eight hours later he had entered into the rest after which he had been striving from the hour he had been capable of discerning the end of his creation. There was not a blot of selfishness in his nature."

How truthful is this rare eulogy is proved by the testimony of the Jesuit Fathers in their archives; these tell us:

"During the two years that Father Byrne remained at St. Mary's after his proffer of the house and farm to the Society his whole course of action was but an exhibition of Christian disinterestedness towards those who, after a brief while, were to succeed him in the ownership and control of the institution. While arranging to pass over the farm and college to us, he continued to spend all the surplus money he received in improving the college buildings, apparatus and accessories. He did everything as though he were himself to enjoy the fruits of his labors. He did this, too, in the face of the fact that, dispossessing himself of his property and means, he was literally casting himself on the care of Providence in his old age, which was fast approaching, without any human provision for his maintenance. No better proof than is here recorded could be given of the truly apostolic character of this good man. He had led a most austere life, and he was as remarkable for his devotedness to duty as for his perseverance and energy."

Archbishop Spalding, visiting the Mountain one time, said: "I feel that I must be one of you, for I was educated by a Mountaineer, Father Byrne, founder of St. Mary's College, Kentucky."

The Jesuit, or Catholic Sentinel, a journal established by Bishop Fenwick of Boston, July 27th, 1833, copies from the National Gazette a Protestant lady's account of a visit paid to the Seminary of Baltimore, from which we take a few paragraphs:

There is almost always associated with the Catholic institutions an appearance of neatness, elegance, economy and utility something to woo the student to his studies, or to awe the visitor in his devotions. There were on these grounds three Catholic chapels, a Seminary for common education, and a theological school. (Doubtless the word Seminary refers to St. Mary's College) The principal chapel is furnished with an organ of considerable power and is built in a style of imposing architectural beauty, copied from some Grecian model, I have forgotten what. The ladies occupy the lower floor. The gentlemen are put in the gallery. The priests occupy a position, of course in front, and they are numerous, more so than I have hitherto seen in my journeying. this being the focus of the church and school. The priests were chanting vespers, and this continues for an hour and a half with unvarying chant upon the organ, all in Latin of course. .Before this we wandered into the other chapels, neat, elegant little places for retirement and private devotion. Our Catholic friend dropped on her knee before every altar as we passed; and after being absorbed in reflection for a moment, resumed her conversation and her guidance. We saw a confessional, an indescribable little closet, into which and out of which penitents were entering and retiring according to their turn. We went back of the chapel, upon a captivating little walk, in the center of which a little hill had been built, by which were the graves of a few distinguished Catholics, and upon which were shrubbery, small trees in short all the appearances of a wood, so that you had to take but a few steps from the city to be in the solitude of the country.

All this wandered over, we came upon the grounds of the Seminary. A bright little boy some twelve or fourteen years of age, raising his hat. inquired of the ladies if he could be of any service, and then politely offered to conduct us about. We accepted his offer and passed many of the boys of the school who, with a priest at their head, were not exactly playing but exercising taking the air and the priest with his whole heart and soul was participating in their feelings and amusements, all their sayings, and yet preserving his dignity, and with a slight slap of his hands awing them to silence, when they became obstreperous.

This was an interesting scene and one worthy of imitation. Indeed, the more I see of Catholic priests in private, in the social circle, in schools and colleges, the better I think of them, of what seems at least to be genuine piety, rigid devotion, and admirable adaptation of means to ends. Here was the priest as learned probably as any of the College, and, in learning the Catholic priests of this country generally speaking, are pre-eminently distinguished, clothed in his long black robe, and yet with all the sanctity of a preacher to preserve, on the Sabbath too, and the dignity of an instructor to guard, affectionately guiding his pupils in their exercises, silencing them with the least reproving nod; and then, this over, leading them willing to the chapel and to their devotions. In but few, very few of our institutions, are things managed so happily. We went to the garden, among the flowers of the hot-house, where they are cultivating specimens of almost all sorts, for the eye of the amateur as well as the botanist. All was interesting, all was beautiful. Our little guardian escorted us till the bell sounded for Vespers, and then all of us wended our way to the chapel, and participated in the services . . .

The same Jesuit, September 2Sth, says that no Seminary could educate a large number of clergymen, "for the plain reason that there is none which possesses the necessary funds. That of Mount St. Mary's, which has sent forth a greater number of priests educated in whole or in part within its walls than any other in these states, has been enabled to do so only by extraordinary toils and sacrifices on the part of the directors and professors. The venerable Bishop of New York, who left that noble monument of his zeal and disinterestedness, where he found a wilderness, had to create all the resources by which he effected his benevolent purpose. His successors (I can vouch for what I say, having known and loved that calm retreat of piety and learning) have been embarrassed by equal difficulties, which must increase precisely in proportion to the willingness to extend more widely the benefits of that ecclesiastical education which it is in their power to bestow. This, it is believed, is the history of every similar Catholic institution in the United States."

At this time occurred an event of intense interest to the Mountaineers of that day and to those of our day. It was the visit of Dubois. We copy the account from the Catholic Herald of Philadelphia, October 31, 1833:

"I was a gratified spectator of the reception to the Rev. Mr. Dubois and the honors paid him at Mt. St. Mary's College. Imagination can do more than words to represent the universal ardor to welcome the arrival which was felt not only at that institution of which he was the founder, but among a numerous congregation, to every member of which his many virtues and amiable qualities have endeared him : at St. Joseph's also, the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity, a society whose peerless merit is acknowledged by our country at large, and for which we are indebted chiefly to his fostering care and forming hand; in the town of Emmitsburg, which gratefully recognizes him as the author of its prosperity; and throughout the entire vicinity, where his services to the cause of religion, charity and learning are generally appreciated as they deserve to be.

"The merry peal of the harness bells and those of the College announced his approach, and the officers and students, with the venerable Professor Brute at their head, went out in procession to meet him. Seven years had elapsed since he was called away to adorn by his virtues a more dignified station, and the scenes constantly recurring during his visit could only be compared to the return of a long-absent father to the midst of his children. It was affecting to see the old and the young, the poor and the rich, the distinguished and obscure, coming alike to receive once more the paternal benediction of him whose instructions and counsel had enlightened, whose voice had guided and consoled, whose example had edified them, whose hands had administered to them the blessings of religion for a space of more than twenty years. One universal sentiment of heartfelt respect, veneration and gratitude seemed to pervade the whole community. Protestants of various denominations no less than Catholics expressed an ardor truly creditable to their feelings to testify their high sense of regard for his distinguished services and character.

"It was Tuesday evening, October 15th, that the Bishop arrived at the College. On Wednesday he celebrated Mass at St. Joseph's. I had not the happiness of being present, but when we recall the fact that he had been the Superior of the Community from its infancy until his promotion to the episcopal dignity, we may imagine how ardent must have been the sentiment of filial piety in the breasts of those whose refined and elevated sympathies for human sufferings have given to many a mind a new and exalted conception of human virtue. I was told that among the tributes of respect, an address in French composed by one of the young ladies in their excellent boarding school attracted the admiration of the venerable prelate and others who heard it by the beauty of its thoughts and style and the evidence it afforded of the successful cultivation of the youthful mind in this interesting female academy." [The writer leaves to the imagination of his readers the visit of the holy bishop to the nearby grave of Mother Seton and those who rested with her in the God's Acre of the Convent.]

"Next morning a crowded congregation, including persons of various religious persuasions, assembled in the church at Emmitsburg to hear Mass and to listen to the pious exhortation of one whose voice for so many years had been familiar to them. The ladies of the town, in anticipation of his visit, prepared with their own hands a beautiful cope, which on this occasion they presented as a testimonial of regard for his virtues. On Friday he celebrated Solemn High Mass in the Mountain Church, assisted by Rev. John Hughes, of Philadelphia. The Rt. Rev. F. P. Kenrick, Bishop of that city; his brother, Rev. P. R. Kenrick ; Father McCosker, of Chambersburg, and the Rev. Professors and Seminarians of the institution occupied the Sanctuary. During the impressive services he addressed the numerous auditory in the simple but moving language of paternal interest and affection. There was that winning charm in the opening words of his discourse which art might labor for in vain, but which truth and nature alone can bestow:

"My dear children: for I may justly call you by that name many of you have grown up under my own eyes;, many of you have I washed in the regenerating waters of Baptism; many have I led to the Sacraments of reconciliation and peace; my children, listen to the voice of your father again. . . .'

"Am I deceived or is not this genuine eloquence, the eloquence of the heart? I observed that many of the Sisters of Charity, together with their scholars, had come, as if eager to catch every lesson of wisdom and piety that fell from his lips, and to present the fervent tribute of their hearts in union with the adorable sacrifice he was offering up to heaven. During the course of the previous day he was waited upon by the theological students, one of whom, in the name of the body, delivered an appropriate and eloquent address, a copy of which I shall send you if I succeed in obtaining it. The Rt. Rev. Prelate replied in his usual happy and paternal manner. His distinguished associate, Dr. Kenrick, in like manner addressed the seminarians, at the request of their very learned director and theological professor, who in return voiced his respect for those two successors of the Apostles in the happiest strain of piety and eloquence.

" The students of the College had testified their joy on the arrival of the founder and father of their Alma Mater; they now resolved to give a more marked expression of their sentiments, and for this purpose invited him to a celebration in the College hall. The members of the St. Cecilia society performed, in excellent style, some delightful pieces of music; a song composed by one of them was sung in the true spirit of youthful festivity, and a poetical address was pleasingly delivered by Master Charles Fry, one of the youngest of their number. The reply of the venerable prelate was calculated to make a deep impression on the minds of his youthful hearers, in favor of solid and profound classic and scientific learning, in favor of animated study in its pursuit; but above all, in favor of piety and virtue.

"In company with Bishop Kenrick he left the College on Friday morning, to take his seat in the Episcopal Synod at Baltimore, and his departure was regretted by all as sincerely as his arrival had been welcomed."

This report naturally lacks the warmth that only a child of the Mountain could impart, but one can begin to realize the feelings of Dubois, Brute, Hughes, and the others, clerical and lay, who had witnessed and shared in the "Beginnings of Mount St. Mary's," as they met that day in the very place itself. Dubois came no more to the College, but had the consolation before he died to offer the Divine Sacrifice at Frederick, in the splendid church, built where he had his "upper room," in 1794.

On the occasion of his visit to the College a day of Jubilee was observed, and for it the following poetical greeting was composed and sung:

To Rt. Rev. J. Dubois. Our hearts are light, our spirits bright, We're blithe as birds in spring ; To cheer our home, a Father's come, 'Tis joy that bids us sing.

In cheerful play we spend the day, In festive song the night. While he remains our merry strains Shall prove our hearts' delight.

No solemn looks no learned books No studious toil today, Nor can we, while we see him smile Do aught but sing and play.

Time in his flight, o'er scenes more bright. May spread his passing wing, But here he'll pause to know the cause Why we so blithely sing.

His book shall note the strains that float Around St. Mary's Hills And give to fame the cherished name Each heart with joy that fills.

In connection with Dubois' visit, the reader will be interested in knowing that at that time the horse-cars were succeeded by a daily train of steam-cars from Baltimore to Frederick, " only twenty miles distant from the College," as the prospectus had it; there were stages three times a week from Frederick to Emmitsburg; Gettysburg to Emmitsburg also three times a week, ten miles; Baltimore to Westminster and Gettysburg daily, respectively thirty and fifty miles; Westminster to Emmitsburg twice a week, twenty-five miles.

The cholera appearing again in Baltimore, Father Richard Whelan wrote from the College offering his services, which the Archbishop, in a letter of July 9th, 1833, calls a "heroic act, edifying and consoling to me in particular. ... I therefore cannot oppose on the contrary, must approve his charitable and truly ecclesiastical offer, which will draw a peculiar blessing of Heaven upon him. ... I am pleased to see you are all equally ready to go to the front of danger. . . ."

President Purcell was in Richmond on college business, and writes July 16th, 1833:

"I know not whether my excursion into the old Dominion will have a favorable influence on our next year's school. I have hitherto had no promises of students from Norfolk or Portsmouth and I have only just now arrived in this wretched relic of kingly dominion; a misnomer if called the ' Capital' of a great State. Creagerstown exhibits no dissimilar view of it, excepting only the difference in size between the two ruins. The church here is a frame building, long and low strikingly recalling to mind the bloody days when the doctrine taught in it was proscribed and its ministers had to hide the Holy Mysteries from profanation and themselves from the gallows. Mr. O'Brien, I understand, has collected $2,000 towards the erection of a new church, felidori omine. The site of the present one is retained. . . . Although I have had no encouragement in Norfolk, circumstances would induce me to believe that there will speedily be a reaction in that place in favor of the Mountain. ... I am happy, at any rate, that I came here, for I have made the acquaintance of several wealthy inhabitants of the towns I have named who, I have no doubt, will cheerfully subscribe to the good work for which we intend, I presume, next year soliciting the aid of the friends of religion. . . .

"I preached in Portsmouth in the morning and in Norfolk in the evening. Lieut. Seton (son of Mother Seton) and several naval officers came to church to Portsmouth. William dined with me and we chatted, chatted without ceasing. He is a noble, independent, worthy son of Mt. St. Mary's. He longs for the end of this ensuing two years' cruise that he may come to visit us. He begs all our prayers for Mrs. Seton's conversion and his own safe return. ..."

Meanwhile Brute’ continued to combine exercise with utility in his "herculean amusement" of terrace-building, and abandoned the plan of a community which Providence did not allow him to carry out.

Although he had suggested Father Purcell's resignation, we find him afterwards endeavoring to retain him, and it was for this reason perhaps that the latter did remain until September, though the Bulls and himself also reached the College July 30th.

Mr. McCaffrey tells in his journal that Mr. Purcell acted as President, opened studies, etc., on August 15th, and "about the 20th," Mr. Jamison, the Vice-President, became President, and Mr. A. L. Hitzelberger, afterwards a Jesuit and a renowned orator, Vice-President. This is the only record. The new prefects were Daniel Byrne, Thomas McCaffrey, James Quinn and Patrick McCloskey. How often occurs this name of McCloskey, and how honorable it is in the history of the Mountain!

"Mr. Purcell left the Mountain the forepart of September. The ties of gratitude and affection which bound the young prelate to his Alma Mater were peculiarly strong. A stranger in a strange land, he had knocked at her gates with a trembling hand, listening only to the voice which called him to the altar. Nestled within her motherly arms he had grown in grace with God and man, and now in the strength of his young manhood, in the freshness of his fine powers, in obedience to the Divine mandate was to go forth into the wilderness, to cover with unwonted lustre the history of the next half century, to carry for the rest of his days his Master's cross. The parting with the dear old sod, stained by the blood of martyrs; the looking for the last time up into the sky which smiles and weeps by turn above his native land ; the bidding adieu to his own, so near and dear, ever there where the

Bells of Shandon, Sound so grand on. The pleasant waters of the river Lee

was not more painful than this, the severing of the links oi' love which grappled his heart, like hooks of steel, to the old white college building, the little chapel looking down upon him from its eyrie on the Mountain-side, the play-ground and the forest primeval, through whose bosky glades and shadowed recesses he had loved to wander, drawing inspiration from the beauties of the earth, and teaching others to look through Nature up to Nature's God. The human associations and friendships there formed were never forgotten nor broken, for a tender, a loving and an earnest heart beat beneath the purple soutane, and one withal, as pure as his priestly surplice." This is Mary Meline's tribute to the first Bishop she ever knew, the fourth President of the Mountain, who was consecrated for Cincinnati, October 13, 1833.

On the occasion of Mr. Purcell's leaving the Mountain previous to his consecration, an address was read to him, in reply to which he said: ..." it shall be among the greatest pleasures and holiest occupations of my present station to exert renewed energies that the students frequenting the College of Cincinnati, the Athenaeum, may rival, I dare not say surpass, you in talents, in love of science, morality and virtue."

Sunday, July 21,1833. Father Brute’ preached the panegyric of St. Vincent at the Convent and was deacon. Father Jamison was there the other Mountain priests being away on vacation, except Father Parsons who was ill. Six boys from the College present. There are 74 or 75 sisters, "seminarians" and candidates they call them, in all. Dr. Hermange was married to-day at the Carmelites in Baltimore to Mary McFadden by Father Xaupi. He left to reside in Cincinnati and was replaced by Dr. Wm. E. A. Aiken, Professor of Natural Philosophy.

July 30. Father Whelan writes for sisters to aid the cholera patients at Williamsport. A letter from Cincinnati explained how a young boy was sent to the Mountain on account of the maternal care of the sisters," which he required.

Father Hughes in a letter of Oct. 30, from Philadelphia, gives us a curious sign of the times by finishing thus: "When I am displeased with you, I shall imitate your example, and pay the postage of my letter, so that it may carry its rebuke on the back of it. In the mean time believe me sincerely yours." Portage was heavy and friends showed confidence by allowing the receiver to pay it on delivery.

Lamps are spoken of this year and a stamp for books in order to exclude prohibited ones by confiscating those not stamped by the authorities of "this dear spot of our Lords creation," as Purcell calls it.

Chapter Index

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