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assuredly be a work of supererogation to say that, in 1785, several gentlemen, among them the Rev. John Carroll, afterwards archbishop of Baltimore, formed the design of building the college, which was effected four years subsequently by the erection of the first house ; that, in 1792, the schools commenced, and, in 1798, it was designated “The College of Georgetown, Potomac River, State of Maryland ;” and that, in May, 1815, Congress raised it to the rank of a university-a rank which since then it has sustained so well that its reputation is as wide as the continent. But, for the reasons above stated, we will add a few facts which must prove interesting to many of our readers. With that intuitive perception which always characterizes the Jesuit fathers, the selection of the college site, on the northern or left bank of the Potomac, so peculiarly healthy and picturesque, was an admirable one.
“ The college grounds are unequalled in the district for extent, variety of scenery, and cultivation. It possesses, as might be expected of an institution where so many learned men are always to be found, a select library of 30,000 volumes, among which there are 100 volumes printed between the years 1460 and 1520, three manuscripts written before the year 1400, and one in 1620. The museum contains an elegant and well-arranged cabinet of minerals and many geological specimens, besides an extensive collection of shells. At the distance of about four hundred yards from the college is the beautiful astronomical observatory, sixty feet long and thirty feet wide, divided from east to west into three rooms. In addition to a first-class meridian circle, a telescope with a four-inch glass, two fine siderial clocks, a transit instrument, an equatorial telescope, giving powers from 25 to 400; there are five portable astronomical instruments, and a library of 500 choice works on astronomy, mathematics, and the physical sciences, the whole being under the very erudite director of the observatory and professor of mathematics, Rev. James Curley, S. J., a gentleman whose ability is equalled only by his extreme modesty, and, it may be, bonhomie.
“The Medical Department, in Washington, forms no trifling acquisition to this abode of learning. In the college there are many societies and associations, which time has tended to make en permanence, such as the Philodemic, the Philonomosian, the Philistorian, the Philharmonic, and the Academic Societies, and the Reading Room and Dramatic Association, the latter of which is scarcely equalled, in the variety of its wardrobe and scenery, by any theatre in the world.
“The college faculty are universally admitted to be at least equal to the same number of savans attached to any other university, while the history of the country during the past halt century proves that the discipline of this institution tends to send forth men competent to fill the most exalted positions. And, indeed, such everywhere is the characteristic of the training imparted by the Jesuits."
From this extract we learn three leading facts: 1, that the Congress of the United States has not participated in the prejudices entertained against the Jesuits, but, on the contrary has rather evinced a predilection in their favor; 2, that the Jesuits have proved themselves worthy of that honor; 3, that the principal organ of public opinion in the national capital has the liberality and manliness to do full justice to their high character and successful efforts as educators. It seems that, like most of our literary institutions, George
town has suffered severely from the war ; yet the subjoined extract shows not only that it still retained a large number of students, but also maintained its proverbially high character for educational thoroughness :
“The following recapitulation shows the number of students now in attendance : In the senior department there are 43; in the junior, 35; in the preparatory, 114; and in the medical, 127; making a total of 319, which, considering the fiery ordeal that the country has just been passing through, may be said to show a very satisfactory exhibit.
“The exercises yesterday displayed a high order of merit. 'The Disinterment of Napoleon,' by Samuel H. Anderson, was an elegant production; "The Triumph of Religion,' by Stephen Douglas, was a masterpiece of composition, which, save in a few fine passages, was very well delivered; The Drama,' by Francis P. S. Lafferty, afforded much pleasure by the extensive research and animated delivery of its author;
Boadicea, the British Queen,' by Julius Soper, was happily arranged, though the voice was not well modulated : Le Paysan du Danube au Senat Romain,' by Harry Walters, for purity of style and pronunciation would do credit to an educated Parisian; 'Love of Country,' by Edward McCahill, followed; “The Potomac,' by Charles F. Naily, was a smooth piece of versification, neatly delivered, for which he received a shower of bouquets ; 'A Mejico,' by Louis Puebla, was well received ; ' Moscow,' by Hugh Kelly, showed decided talent, and was very well delivered ;
nen of Woman,' by James C. Normile, was a high eulogy paid to the virtues of the softer sex in elegant diction; “Jerusalem,' by Eugene M. Morrison, displayed talent; but the most beautiful composition, as it seemed to us, was The Exile's Return,' by James V. Coleman, a youth of scarcely sixteen summers, whose musical utterances, as we write, are still ringing in our ears. (He subsequently received four, and, if he had not been promoted during the term, would have won five medals.) 'Religion in Society,' by R. Ross Perry, A. B., was a thoughtful, philosophic, and well-delivered analysis of the condition of society before and since the dawn of Christianity; while the Valedictory, by James F. Fitzpatrick, paid a touching, heartfelt tribute to the college faculty.
“The graduation and distribution of medals and premiums followed, the announcements being made by Rev. Joseph O'Hagan, S. J., in his usual felicitous manner, and the awards made by the Most Reverend Archbishop Spalding, assisted by the Rev John Early, President of the College:
The degree of Doctor of Music was conferred on John Caulfield, of Ireland.
"The degree of A. M. was conferred on R. Ross Perry, A. B., D. O.; William L. Nicodemus, U. S. A.; John H. Thornpson, M. D., England; Cypriano Zegarra, A. B., Peru; Walter S. McFarland, A. B., D.O; James H. Dooley, X. B., Virginia.
“The degree of A. B. was conferred on the following students : James F. Fitzpatrick, Alabama; Joseph Forrest, District of Columbia ; John C. Wilson, District of Columbia; Edward McCahill, New York; Francis P. S. Lafferty, Pennsylvania; John A. Pizzini, Virginia.
“In the class of Natural Right, the gold cross was awarded to R. Ross Perry, A. B., of Washington, and the usual rewards of medals and premiums succeeded, to youth from every section of the United States, Cuba, Mexico, &c.
“At the close the archbishop made a brief address expressive of the pleasure that he felt in witnessing for the first time the annual commence
ment, which was the fiftieth, it being eiglity years since the foundation of the college. It possessed, he said, the prestige of antiquity, and increased as the country had increased; under the shadow of the capital, it prospered as the government had prospered. He bore witness to the studiousness of the young men present, and remarked that those trained there would be a solace to their parents and ornaments to society. He inculcated in a few words the duty of religious observances, which would lift them up towards the sphere of the angels of God. Be faithful,' he added, to the instructions here received, and let the memory thereof guide you, so as to be ornaments to your country and futurity, to which this is but the preface.'”
This needs no comment at our hands ; suffice it to say that there is not an important statement which it contains of the truth of which we are not convinced, either from our own personal observation, or from the testimony of those in whom we have the most implicit confidence. It is not strange, then, that a large proportion of the students of Georgetown are Protestants of different denominations ; nor have we heard of one whom the most zealous of the fathers have sought to convert to their own religion.
Without any disposition to disparage other institutions, we may say that there is but one other Jesuit college in the United States which has any just claim to be ranked with that of Georgetown-we mean the College of the Holy Cross, at Worcester, Massachusetts. On this point we believe, there is no dispute among the fraternity themselves; all of whom assign the same high rank to the two institutions mentioned. In noticing the latter, two years ago, we ventured to express the opinion that, although the Legislature of Massachusetts has sometimes been guilty of certain indiscretions unworthy of the superior intelligence of the Bay State, if it were aware of the high standard of education at Holy Cross College, it would discard its prejudices against popery for once, and unanimously grant it the charter which, in a thoughtless, not to say evil, moment, it had refused some years previously. The trial has since been made, and we are glad to add, for the sake of all concerned, that it has resulted as we had predicted. Hitherto the students of Holy Cross had to get their diplomas from Georgetown, even when they proved themselves worthy of the highest honors that could be conferred by old Harvard itself; but this disgrace to Massachusetts no longer exists, for the Boston Post informs us, in its excellent report of the recent commencement, that “ the last Legislature of the Commonwealth granted the College a charter, thereby placing it on an equal footing with other nstitutions within its borders." The Post then
proceeds to give the following account of the commencement exercises :
“The president of the College is Rev. James Clark, S. J., a gentleman of high culture and rare scholastic attainments, and he is assisted by gentlemen every way fitted for the positions they are called upon to occupy. The institution, we are pleased to learn, is in its full tide of success, there being about one hundred and thirty scholars in the various classes, and there is every prospect of a large increase at the commencement of the next collegiate year.
“The weather yesterday was all that could be desired, and, as we before remarked, the attendance was large. His Excellency Gov. Andrew, accompanied by Colonels Adams and Wetherell of his staff, and SurgeonGeneral Dale, were present. large number of the clergy of the Catholic Church were also present, among whom we noticed Right Rev. Father McFarland, diocese of Hartford; Very Rev. J. J. Williams, Vicar-General; Rev. James Healy, Secretary of the diocese; Rev. Fathers Denver, Brennan, McShean, Lasco, and Tracy, of Boston; Rev. Fathers O'Riley and Powers, of Worcester; Hnghes, of Hartford; Delaney, of Pawtucket; Fagan, of Collinsville; E. M. Sheridan, of Blackstone.
* The study room, in which the exercises were held, is a large and very convenient place for such services. It was very handsomely decorated with evergreens, and long lines of oak leaves entwined together radiated from all parts of the room. Above the platform the American flag was displayed, looped up with beautiful bouquets of fragrant flowers. At an early hour the friends of the institution, and of those who were to bear the more important duties of the day, began to assemble, and by the time assigned for the commencement of the services the room was full, a large portion of the audience being of the fairer sex. At eleven o'clock the exercises were commenced by music by an orchestra composed of students of the college, under the direction of Mr. George P. Burt, Professor of Music in the institution.
" Where each one did so well it would be invidious to particularize, and it is sufficient to say that each member of the class did himself great credit. The Valedictory by Edward McSweeney was beautifully written and touchingly delivered, and the Prisoner's Vision, by Mr. Burke, and an essay on War and Warriors, by Mr. Donworth, were excellent.
"At the conclusion of the exercises, the degrees were conferred as follows:
"A, M.-Charles Stone, Esq., of Missouri.
"A. B.--Michael Flattelly, Ireland ; James Gavin, Massachusetts; Wm. Halligan, New York ; Edward J. P. Kennedy, Canada East; Cornelius F. O’Callaghan, Massachusetts ; Michael M. Green, Massachusetts; Francis E. Calligan, Massachusetts; Edward McSweeney, New Hampshire ; John P. Donworth, Maine; James Kiely, Massachusetts; all of the graduating class,"
This is followed in the report by a long list of students, who, having distinguished themselves in their respective classes, were rewarded with crosses of honor, and premiums, which we are informed were presented to each student by tbe Governor of the Commonwealth. The report of the proceedings appropriately concludes as follows:
“ The diplomas and prizes having been distributed, Gov. Andrew was introduced to the audience and was received with hearty and genuine VOL. XI.-NO. XXII.
applause. He commenced by saying that he congratulated the faculty of the college, the students of the Holy Cross, and all who are its patrons, upon the happy auspices which had attended the services this day. He was glad to see the growing numbers of the college and the continued interest manifested by its friends and patrons. As a citizen of this old Commonwealth he loved and revered every institution where men cultivate sound and honest learning, and whatever may be our differences of opinion, religious or political, we can always agree in our common devotion to that which is the basis of common intelligence. He trusted that the institution would live many prosperous and happy years. The governor then spoke of the care and toil of a student's life, and urger his young friends to persevere in their work until they had surmounted all obstacles, never forgetting that they were citizens of a great republic, where every man bas a duty to perform to himself, his country, and his God. The governor was in his happiest vein for speech-making, and his remarks were rapturously applauded.
“The exercises of the day closed with a dinner in the college building, which was attended by the faculty, officers, invited guests, and others. The whole occasion was one long to be remembered by the friends, patrons, and students of the Holy Cross."
Our Jesuit colleges nearer home are entirely of a different character, and our readers will remember that we have spoken of them accordingly from time to time, but without any disposition to be harsh or hypercritical. Whatever has been urged to the contrary by those chiefly interested, our criticisms have been honestly made; yet, if the conductors of any respectable institution thought we did them injustice, we would cheerfully allow them to vindicate themselves in our pages, exacting no condition further than that they would do 80 like gentlemen.
The institution at Fordham is one of those which have refused to furnish us a copy of their last annual catalogue, because we ventured to make some criticisms on their former one. The loss, however, is not serious; we can assure the Reverend President that he has not in the least disturbed our equanimity by his declining to favor us with a glance at that pamphlet. At the same time, we may be permitted to think that the president of St. Xavier's College, in this city, has acted much more like a Christian minister, an educator, and a pbilosopher in pursuing the opposite course, for the Rev. Father Loyzance has had the politeness to send a messenger to our office with a copy of his catalogue.
Now, if the reader will have the curiosity to turn to our “Commencement" article in the number for September, 1864, of this journal, he will see how much more harshly we spoke of St. Xavier's College than of Fordham. Trifling as this fact may seem at first sight, it affords new proof of the injustice of holding a whole community responsible for the con