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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 36 | Chapter Index

Chapter 37: 1843-1844

At a meeting of the corporation (or Council) held Jan. 10, 1843, it was unanimously decided that each member should bring a written plan for permanent union, or formation of a community of the clergymen of the institution, a thing that had long and often occupied the minds of the associates.

On the 20th of Jan. three days before the Requiem Mass a meeting of the Students of Mt. St. Mary's was held, at which resolutions of respect and veneration for the late Bishop Dubois were passed, and it was decided to erect a suitable monument to his memory, and donations for that purpose were solicited. The proper commemoration of the services of Bishop Dubois and remembrance of him before the altar were not, however, confined to the College; wherever his spiritual children might be scattered, they kept the thought of him sacred. Rev. Mr. Gildea, who owed so much to the venerable deceased, wrote inviting Mr. McCaffrey to preach on the occasion of the requiem services held at his church in Baltimore, which were held on Feb. 16th, and at which Archbishop Eccleston pontificated.

Father DeSmet, the famous Indian missionary, visited the Mountain in March of this year. Apropos of his visit, of which unfortunately we find no record, Miss Susan McCaffrey writes to her brother under date of March 9, 1843, "I had promised Father DeSmet to write to you and I forgot all about it till this moment, when I hear he is on his way to the Mountain. He and his mission have been the last 'fashion' in Philadelphia. Nothing but collections, societies, meetings, concerts, etc., etc., going on for Father DeSmet. Ladies throwing at him their gold pencils, rings, etc.: the children gathering up all their little treasures for the little Indians; vestments, banners and clothing making for his mission ; and now if you have had the honor of a visit from our good Father and did not treat him like a prince you have not deserved to look at him. Make people like your place, by being very kind, and there is nothing better for this purpose than showing your pot-luck or a few of Sister Felicite's nice goodies with a cup of tea, etc. ..."

Here are two letters from old pupils of Father Dubois, which explain themselves:

Bishop Hughes to Mr. George H. Miles.

Dear Sir: Nothing but want of time has prevented me from signifying to your respected President, my anxiety to aid in the honorable effort of the students of Mt. St. Mary's to erect a suitable monument to the memory of the venerable founder. Be pleased to put my name on your list for the sum of $50. I would beg leave to suggest the propriety of having a monument associated with that of the late Bishop Dubois to perpetuate also inseparably from his the memory of his faithful and sainted friend through all the first trials of your now flourishing institution the Rt. Rev. Bishop Brute’. I remain with sincere wishes your (etc.) John, Sp. N. Y.

New York, March 13th, 1843.

And Father Sourin:

Dear Sir: You may place my name on your subscription list, for twenty-five dollars. I send you ten at present, with the hope that I may soon be able to forward the balance. Were it in my power I would be happy to send a larger sum to aid in the erection of the monument to him whom every "Mountaineer" must remember with love and veneration. I remain with sincere regards, Yours, etc., Edw. J. Soubin. St. Mary's, Phila., March 21st, 1843.

In the early spring of 1843 ground was broken for the new edifice, Brute’ Hall, designed, we are told, long previously by Brute himself, at the northeastern extremity of the old one, Dubois Hall, and on the 2nd of May the cornerstone was laid. It was for 56 years known as the Study Hall building.

The Council of Baltimore met in May, 1843, and during its session the Bishop of New York asked that a coadjutor be appointed for his assistance. It was also found necessary to erect several new Sees, those of Chicago, Little Rock, Hartford, Milwaukee, and the Apostolic Vicariate of Oregon Territory.

In June Bishop Hughes again visited Europe. Mr. Hassard gives an interesting account of the landing in Ireland, Bishop Purcell and Father DeSmet being his companions on the packet George Washington, 21 days passage. There was a rumor at that time of the coming of French emissaries to Ireland, and our travelers having decided to leave their vessel at Cork and cross to Dublin were promptly arrested. Their detention however was only temporary. In Liverpool Bishop Hughes was obliged to pay duty on some snuff he had with him. The officer remarked that he should do this willingly in honor of the queen. "I should like to give her Majesty a pinch," was the reply of the bishop."

Here is another and very discriminating letter from an old student:

Rev. Thos. Heyden to the Rev. John McCaffrey. Rev. and Dear Sir: I have been written to by the Secretary of the Dubois Monument Association for the purpose of aiding in that highly laudable project. I shall be extremely happy to contribute my mite for so deserving an object, but at the same time I would beg leave to suggest the propriety of connecting the name of the immortal Brut6 with the same monument. Both the good men labored in the same cause with the same fidelity, the one attending to the temporal well-being of the great concern the other to the more important and the nobler part, the spiritual and ecclesiastical department. St. Mary's Institute derives great glory from these admirable personages, but I should say chiefly from the lamented Brute’, who had the charge and how nobly did he fulfil it of forming the young men of the house for the holy ministry and thus supplying the American church with its future pastors and bishops. How often did he support the sinking condition of Mt. St. Mary's during its varied trials in which even the fortitude of Rev. Mr. Dubois himself would have failed were he not sustained by the wisdom, energy, zeal and consolation of his powerful auxiliary, the Rev. Dr. Brute’ the saint and the sage. If the services of the former were extraordinary those of the latter were invaluable and incalculable.

I would then, with all deference, submit that the names of Dubois and Brute’ should be inscribed on the proposed monument which most appropriately should stand in front of the college. Upon it then surely numbers would gaze with infinitely more interest, and I know your list of subscribers would be greatly augmented by the adoption of the suggested improvement. Thus these great men who in life were united in so glorious a work, in death would not be divided as regards the monument which their grateful admirers have devised to perpetuate their memories . . .

Archbishop Eccleston writes this apology at Commencement time:

"June 17, "43." Engagements for Confirmation will deprive me of the gratification of distributing the premiums in the two noble institutions of the Mountain and the Valley."

Bishop Miles presided, and President McCaffrey addressed the graduates at the Commencement; there were six orations all in English and George H. Miles was valedictorian. The usual banquet followed and the Catholic Herald as well as the United States Gazette gave glowing accounts of one of those most interesting of occasions, the graduation of young men. Rev. Thomas McCaffrey was First Prefect in the year 1843-44. Major Andre of the Music Department left this summer for Fordham, and Prof. Henry Dielman came to fill the place he held till his death, forty years later. He was spoken of in the Freeman's Journal of Sept. 16, 1843, as "well and favorably known throughout the Union and in Europe .... a gentleman of polished manners, unrivalled skill, a composer of good judgment and exquisite taste."

The corner-stone of Worcester College was laid June 21 1843, and Dr. Pise made the address. He also delivered an oration on Feb. 22nd of this year before the Washington Temperance Guard at the Broadway Tabernacle, New York. C. B. Northrop, father of Bishop Northrop, '60, did the same on the 4th of July before the Washington Society in St. Mary's Church, Charleston, S. C.

Aug. 4th, '43, Father Hickey writes from Baltimore saying that Mr. Talmage of New York wrote inquiring about Bp. Dubois' naturalization: " The Mountain and even St. Joseph's would be in a great pickle in case he had not been naturalized, on account of his holding real estate." It must have turned out all right, as we hear no more of the matter.

Prof. Henry Dieman, Mus. Doc.

Nov. 30th. Bishop Purcell brought a fine painting of the Assumption, given by the Queen of Spain for St. Joseph's Academy, Emmitsburg. He started from Havre for New Orleans in the sailing ship Vesta, but was obliged to make an English port and came in the "Steamer." The name of the latter is not given but doubtless it was the only one then running between our country and England.

On Jan. 10, 1844, "The Monument Association" sent out a circular asking for subscriptions. In it Dubois is called the "Founder of Mount St. Mary's and the Father of St. Joseph's, the Mother-House of the Sisters of Charity." They said that "the sum of five hundred dollars has already been collected. We find no further reference to the monument; it was never erected. Should the project ever be revived, surely no spot would seem more suitable than that one half-way between the College and church, on the mountain side where stood the log-house in which Father Dubois spent the winter of 1805-06. Perhaps however no monument is needed. Bishops frequently have no monuments, and founders of colleges do not require them. "Si quaeris monumentum, cir-cumspice."

At any rate two glorious monuments were designed in the Dubois and Brute chapels of the beautiful church which was begun in 1857, and on which a great sum of money was expended. We shall read of it later, and the new church begun in 1907 will contain memorial altars of those eminent men.

The recommendations of the last Council having been promptly acted upon by the Holy See, the bulls for the consecration of the three new bishops reached New York in February. Rev. John McCloskey, the future Cardinal, who was named coadjutor of New York, came down to this loved Alma Mater to spend some days in quiet retreat before his consecration. The other two named were Rev. William Quarter, also a Mountaineer and Andrew Byrne; the former to Chicago the latter to Little Rock.

Bishop Hughes was the officiating prelate at the consecration and was assisted by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Fenwick of Boston and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Whelan of Richmond. Rev. Dr. Power, V. G., preached in the morning, Rev. Dr. Pise in the evening.

Four of the bishops present that day were of the Mountain, besides Dr. Pise and doubtless many others of the priests.

Let us follow Bishop Quarter '29 to Chicago, up to this, one of the stations of the Bishop of Vincennes, where the Jesuit Allowez, the first white man to tread the soil of Illinois, had established his Ottawa Mission in 1667. Chicago however as a white settlement was in 1844 only eleven years old.

Leaving New York on the 18th of April, accompanied by his brother Rev. Walter J. Quarter '39, he reached Chicago on May the 5th, Sunday morning. Notwithstanding the fatigue of his journey he said Mass in the old church and preached in the new one. The old church was a frame building on what is now Wabash Street near Fort Dearborn and the Chicago River, where Marquette had encamped two hundred years before.

The new church then unfinished was afterwards the Cathedral. At that time the brick walls of the church were merely roofed and four posts stood upright, the beginning of a steeple.

"The building was not plastered; a temporary altar was stuck up against the western wall. There was no vestry; the sanctuary was enclosed with rough boards; the children were seated on benches on each side.

There were neither columns, nor steps, nor doors except temporary ones made of rough boards; and worse than all, even that much of a church was burdened with about three thousand dollars of debt. Add to this, that on the adjoining lot, the whole purchase money, about $1000, was unpaid, as also four hundred dollars on the graveyard. Nearly five thousand dollars therefore, some of it bearing interest at from ten to twelve per cent "was what the first Bishop of Chicago, had to face, besides an unfinished church and a poor congregation. What a prospect had he! Dark and dreary enough it must have been, but there was before him a bright star, beckoning him onward; and with his eye steadily fixed on that hope-star, he faltered not.

Early in June the two priests belonging to Vmcennes who had remained in Chicago were recalled, leaving the new Bishop without a single priest, until in the latter part of the month he ordained three. The story of this diocese is the story of all, rapid and what might be called miraculous increase of people and churches. By the inscrutable Providence of God Bishop Quarter was called away from his labors in his forty-second year, dying suddenly the night of April 10,1848, after having preached on the Apostolicity of the Church in the morning of that day, Passion Sunday.

The importance attached in those days to College societies is indicated by the prominence of their honorary members and the acknowledgment made by these. In the year 1844 we have a delightful letter from Father McCloskey in the Spring before his consecration as Bishop, in which he accepts the invitation of his fellow collegians in a manner at once most courteous and heartfelt, but tells them that he may be prevented from fulfilling the engagement, as indeed he was by his elevation to the See of Albany. Carroll Spence, 37, writes in similar style a letter of apology. This gentleman afterwards reached great distinction in the service of the government, was minister to Constantinople and the first of the western ambassadors to make a treaty with Persia. ... We give a sentence from Cardinal McCloskey's letter:

"I frankly confess that the affection which I bear my Alma Mater you cannot easily exaggerate or overrate, and when you allude to that affection as a motive for urging your request you take from me all power of apology or excuse. . .

At this time the riots in Philadelphia were exciting a painful interest through the country and Rev. Mr. McCaffrey wrote a letter to Mr. Gowan of that city, from which we quote a few paragraphs.

Mt. St. Mary's College, May 16th, 1844.

" . . .I never was ashamed of my country until Philadelphia made me so. I never before blushed to own that I was a native American. Thank God, I am not a Philadelphian! Last Friday night on receiving your letter and the newspapers which told of the burning of St. Michael's and St. Augustine's churches and the imminent danger of St. Mary's and St. Joseph's, I resolved to start for Philadelphia without delay in order to look after my poor exposed sister and my sister's children, but I was implored to refrain from doing so, because a Catholic clergyman dared not then show his face in any part of Philadelphia, and my presence at Dr. McNeil's might have only had the effect of pointing his family out to the mob. . . .

The attempt was made in New York before the late charter elections there. The unparalleled forbearance of the Irish in New York and Brooklyn, their meek submission to all the insults and outrages offered to their national and religious feelings, and the certainty that they would resist till death an attack on their churches and orphan asylums (for they were armed and prepared) disappointed their dastardly enemies. . . . Baltimore will be spared such scenes, because there is a sounder state of public feeling there, and because the Catholics have long since made known their determination to die for their altars and asylums and to sell their lives as dearly as possible. This is a fact; the civic authorities and the whole public of Baltimore know it. Philadelphia, therefore, was the selected field of action. . . .

Oh, if the Irish were not, even the poorest and the most ignorant of them, men of higher principles, of better hearts and better consciences than their cowardly assailants and the hypocritical miscreants in office, who aided and abetted the destruction, all Philadelphia would have perished in flames. I cannot even yet think, speak or write coolly on these matters. . . .

No law of God or man forbids Christians to defend their houses and churches against a lawless mob, and as your mayors and other men in authority never will do their duty against a mob, unless they are frightened into it, I doubt much whether the Catholics of Philadelphia ought not to have armed for the defence of their altars and asylums, notifying first the civil authorities of their determination to do so and soliciting their co-operation. It is this course of action which has thus far saved New York from the everlasting disgrace now branded on the city of Penn and of Brotherly Love. That inscription standing out from the blackened wall of St. Augustine's must give all good men their only consolation in such evil times: "God seeth." He will reward the patient victims of calumny and persecution. . . . The residence of the warm-hearted, the generous, the charitable Dr. Hurley is a heap of ruins. When pestilence spread panic through that city he turned his private dwelling into a cholera hospital and obtained Sisters of Charity to nurse the sick and dying. . . .

Priest-hunting was one of the mob's amusements. Rewards were loudly offered in the crowd to any one who would catch a priest. Like their prototypes, the atheists of Paris during the reign of terror, they wished to hang a priest to a lamppost. Every Catholic clergyman was obliged to abandon his house in disguise in order to save his life. In disguise they visited the sick and dying to offer them the last consolations of religion. The houses in which they were supposed to be secreted were threatened with the vengeance of the rioters and marked with a cross. The families who concealed them did so at the peril of their lives. . . .

Professor Lagarde heard from Father Miller, '41, that during these riots the latter disguised himself and entering the crowd began shouting and pushing like the rest, and so reached the tabernacle of St. Augustine's and was so happy as to carry off the pyx containing the Body of the Lord, a fact to which Father Faber alludes in the "Blessed Sacrament," Sect. VI. Book II.

Besides St. Michael's and St. Augustine's church the seminary, dwellings and libraries had been destroyed by a mob called ' Native Americans' organized in Independence Square, where now (1908) stands the statue of Commodore John Barry, the Catholic Irish sailor, and the first man to reach the highest rank in the navy of the revolted colonies. . . .

An attack on the Catholic Churches being threatened in New York, Bishop Hughes called on Mayor Harper for protection, and this being refused said: "then we shall defend ourselves. . . . But it is better to anticipate trouble. ... I know my people. If one of our churches is injured, to-morrow night will not see a Protestant house of worship standing in this city." On election night, 1844, a mob of over a thousand persons came up the Bowery to burn the cathedral, but getting wind of the three thousand armed men under Bishop Hughes' leadership that stood prepared within the grounds, they did not care to approach and the incident was closed.

Francis P. McFarland left this June for Rose Hill College, Fordham, New York, and Mr. Thomas O'Neil was ordained priest in Baltimore during the vacations. The Archbishop wrote that "since he could not go to the Mountain the Mountain(eer) must come to him." The newly ordained was made pastor of Emmitsburg.

The Commencement was held in the new Brute Hall this year, and the graduates were five in number.

Father McCaffrey was thrown from his horse this summer, and the accident elicited the following from his quondam pupil, George H. Miles, who had become a Catholic while at the College and with whom he had the closest and most affectionate relations.

Baltimore, July 31st, 1844. (My 20th birthday.)

My dear President: I can't, for the life of me, say seriously that your unfortunate fall has made me very uneasy; not that it were untrue, for indeed we were all alarmed, but because of your reiterated boasts of superior horsemanship present themselves so ludicrously now, that mirth mingles rather ceremoniously with my regret. A Buchephalus is too much for our modern Alexander. I would humbly recommend in future a more legitimate creature for sick calls the gentle ass. There is a cross on his back on which thou mightest securely ponder with more advantage to thy soul and comfort to thy body. Do not suppose the recommendation selfish. I should be loath to totter under such a load, tho' my legs were strong as the pillars Sampson shook. I have an irresistible temptation to laugh at you, but will no further indulge it, though I would give my birthright to see you limping along like Be'le'ke's three reasons. . . .

Apropos of priestly titles in those days, Archbishop Eccleston, in letters of March 29, 1842, speaks of the Jesuit president of Georgetown as "Rev. Mr. Ryder," and, July 7, 1844, refers to him as Mr. Ryder.

Aug. 29, '44. The "John England Institute" of Baltimore invited President McCaffrey to lecture in their winter course.

Francis Coyle, afterwards pastor at Emmitsburg, worked as a mechanic on Brute1 Hall and it becoming known from his conversation that he was a man of parts, was invited to enter the Seminary, and in due time was ordained.

Chapter Index

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