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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 35 | Chapter Index

Chapter 36: 1842

On February 7, 1842, Rev. John McCloskey (Father John) was elected Vice-President, and Rev. Patrick Corry, who had returned, became prefect of studies. Father McGloskey on March 4, read the treasurer's report for year ending March 1, 1842. Although no record is found of his being named to this office, it seems from this and succeeding facts that Father John began at this time to perform its duties, and, as we shall see, continued to do so for more than a third of the century. Father McCloskey was also appointed librarian, five hundred dollars were appropriated to increase the library and a committee of three appointed to buy books. It was decided that boys should no longer be flogged "for a mere trick in class," and this is the first step towards the gentle discipline of the twentieth century. Mr. Giraud was appointed to teach at two hundred fifty dollars a year, and it was decided to buy Josephine and Eliza for five hundred thirty-five dollars and to hold them until each was thirty-five years of age.

A monthly called The Mountaineer was published in manuscript at this period and was enjoyed immensely by the students in those days of few newspapers. Thomas Edgar Garvin '44 (now, 1908, Dean of our Graduates) was associate editor.

On July 9, 1842, it was ordered to give a seminarian one hundred dollars to pay his way to a foreign college and it was also decided to buy the books he would need.

On July l1th, twelve thousand dollars was appropriated for the erection of a new building; fifty dollars annually to have Masses said for deceased benefactors, the seminarians were asked to say the Litany of the Saints for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the house, the priests to say Mass for the same intention. . . . The sister-servant was hereafter to give no breakfast to persons of the congregation on Sundays or other days without permission from the President or Vice-President if she could see them; if not she may use her own judgment. [This practice would seem to be a tradition of of ancient days in Maryland when the pastor who had house and land from the State gave hospitality to communicants from a distance.] The Vice-President reported that he had contracted with John Tehan to build the new edifice (Brute Hall) for nine thousand five hundred dollars. . . .

We present a specimen of journalists' prowess at the time:

To The Mountaineer

Jan. 1, 1842

Ye wits that guide the Mountaineer.. I wish you all, "A Good New Year". May peace and pleasure hover o’er you, May truth and wisdom walk before you; May wits and poets grace your pages And force a smile from bookish sages; May all attend your welcome strain And hearing, long to hear again. May health be mine and wisdom thine, And health and wisdom, thine and mine. In vain proud critics in their might Will vent on you their venom'd spleen Or strive to crush you out of spite Because they think you "very green." In vain for youth, though seldom wise, Has nerve and energy and eyes; While age replete with books and learning For want of sight has no discerning, And thus methinks the mountaineer, Though brought to life this very year, Despite its greenness and its youth, if arm'd with Wisdom, Wit and Truth, The critics' venom may defy, And like the hero deity, Who e'en in childhood's tender hour Taught venom'd foes to feel his power, It, too, may with its censors close, And had my words the pow'r of blows I would my simple strains prolong, But as they haven't here rests my song. Teddy McGart

On Jan. 19, 1842, the Gregorian Society appointed a committee to prepare to celebrate St. Gregory's Day. Rev. W. H. Elder was elected orator, but declined. The expenses of the celebration were to be shared by all equally, and outsiders were to be invited.

A cross was fixed on the cupola of Dubois Hall; it stands there still in majesty and beauty. The Philologian Society was founded in 1842. It lasted till 1846. Its rules were very minute. Fines of 25, 12 1\2 or 6 1\2 cents were ordained for derelictions on the part of officers and members. One of the rules ran thus: No member shall be allowed to eat anything in the Society," and another, "No member will be allowed to use the spittoon except when the Society is in order." The critic in '43 was Henry F. Coleman '44, a distinguished benefactor of his Alma Mater. Among other provisions is this: "If the president shall incur any penalties he shall not be obliged to discharge them during his term of office, but he must do so within three weeks there after."

These rules are modified from time to time and recast in 1845, as was and is the way with boys and youths.

A Satire from the Mountaineer of 1842:

The pleasures of small boys.

See all the comforts, all the joys That are the lot of little boys. How envious our simple life, How free from care, how free from strife! No vice our sinless bosom stains, Nor thirst of knowledge racks our brains. As truly wise as any sage, Without a thought of coming age; No rage for Latin and for Greek Distracts our breasts from week to week. Whilst larger students spend their days In finding out how many ways To turn a Greek or Latin phrase, And wasting all their choicest hours In gathering old and withered flowers, And lose the springtime of their youth In search of words instead of truth, And pale as death or midnight ghost, And yet how little they can boast! While they thro’ Homer, Hesiod stammer, We rest contented with our grammar. And yet how far soe' er they go What more than grammar can they know? And when they're punished for mistakes See what a face the booby makes!

With blubb'ring eyes and rueful look He comes with some old, ragged book With such familiar prose and rhyme That he has conned full many a time, And begs the teacher, "Let me free, And then you'll find how good I'll be. I promise that I ne'er will tease you, And study night and day to please you." "You promise to be good. Absurd! You never yet have kept your word. Are, let you free and you'll be better! Go. sir. and get it. every letter." With altered tone and altered look He turns his heel and shuts the book.

See how he rages, how he frets, And into what a passion gets; To learn his twenty lines refuses And curses all the Grecian muses. Swears Sophocles and all may go A-packing to the shades below; And curses every ancient bard For writing so confounded hard, And thinks how happy boys had been, Had Homer, Hesiod never seen The light of day, or left a line Of all that men have called divine. And while they vent their empty rage On Poet, Orator and Sage, And with a face that tells of woe Up to the haunted chamber go, We little boys with stoic pride Contented with our lot abide. And with a firmer look we ask The teacher to point out the task, And neither cry.

Nor meanly pray, But nobly turn and walk away, And generous we forget the past And think our teachers wise at last. From other evils, too, we're free, hard logic and philosophy, And goading points of mathematics, Cursed algebra and laws of statics, Nor that infernal calculus, With differentials, bothers us. While these torment the larger boys They ne'er intrude upon our joys. We sport and play like birds of air, With hearts as light, as free from care. Ah! if they knew how well we live I'm sure that they the world would give To be as far removed as we From Latin, Greek and Geometry, And long as much for youth again As we to reach the age of men.

See as they pore each gloomy night Beneath the lamp or candle light O'er Horace and o'er Cicero, Then snugly to our beds we go And leave the world and them below, And perched upon the attic story sweetly sleep in all our glory. No thought of meat or love or clothes Disturbs our balmy, soft repose, But like wild Indians in a storm Wrapt up in skins to keep us warm And think of all the other joys That swell the hearts of liule boys. No more at present will we say Of large boys, but some future day We'll sing the dreadful doom that waits, For soapy locks and empty pates. We sign our names that all may know This comes from Adams, Grant & Co.

What a delight to know that Thomas Edgar Garvin, '44, a Gettsburg boy, now of Evansville, Indiana, Dean of our Alumni, wrote this clever satire!

In the Catholic Almanac for 1841 we find Kev. Maurice Borel, who had finished his studies at the Mountain and had been ordained priest at Vincennes, is set down as Vice-President of the college there.

Father Leonard Obermeyer, then a youth, was orator once on the Fourth of July at a for routing. The young men used to bring sulphur, dogs and guns and rout the fox from his den under Indian Lookout.

Chapter 37 | Chapter Index

Historical Society Note: In honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Grotto of Lourdes we'll be posting a at least 2 new chapter every week.

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.