صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

or indeed any real wish to annihilate us; but that they were shrewd enough to understand the force,“ in the community in which we live," of the adage, “no pater noster, no pay !”

Now, is it not a singular fact, that, except in one or two particulars, the course of Provost Stillé toward us has been exactly like that of Mayor Hall? One chieftain as well as the other has sought to shield himself and his accomplices from criticism, which it is notorious was eminently deserved, by publishing a private letter, courteously written to him under the supposition that he was a gentleman. No canon of social ethics is more universally recognized in any enlightened community than that he is no gentleman, let his position be what it may, who would be guilty of such meanness. But in justice to Mayor Hall, it should be said that he had the manliness and decency to apologize to us fully for his violation of the amenities of life; and he is entitled to the more credit for this because he made the apology while the Ring, to which he belonged, and in whose defence he had assailed us, was still intact—none of the forged vouchers, or other tangible evidences of guilt, having yet been found against its members. Another difference between the two chiefs is that Mayor IIall took the part of himself and his friends in pretty good English; and that when he rose to deliver a speech, if he made his audience laugh it was not by his bad English, but by his ready wit. Because, on reflectionon consulting his better nature-Mayor Hall acted thus gracefully, we have never reproduced in this journal, or in any other, the letter to the Herald in which we denounced him, with, perhaps, undue severity, for having forgotten that he was a gentleman.

But let us observe the contrast in the points indicated. Provost Stillé let out his “cat” in a very awkward way.' Not but he kept the animal long enough in durance-more than two years! Finally, after the great battle has been raging for a whole month, the Provost, acting on the advice of one of his gunpowder friends, as shown above, enters the field with his cat, and after receiving a little brushing up in his syutax and orthography is led into action by the Inquirer, as follows:


Dr. Stiilé, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, has sent us the following letter explanatory of another letter which has achieved some recent notoriety:

“UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, January 27, 1873. “ ED. PAILADELPHIA Inquirer --As there seems to be a good deal of curiosity to know why the Provost of the University took no notice of a so-called Latin letter written to him by Dr. Sears, that portion of the letter which the doctor did not print in his article is here given :

"Nunc te audire bene oro. Quoniam renunciationem doctæ et inclytæ universitatis tuæ in nonnullis ephemeradibus vidi permissionem dicere peto, ut placeret multum mihi si esses tam bonus quam meum ascribere intereas quas in isto modo honoras et faves. Spero ut nuila bona ratio sit cur eam posses ponere in N. Q. R. Complures collegorum ac universitatium in patria nostra regulariter nuntiet in trimestre modesto meo. Gratissimum mihi'faceris si vis in hoc negotio me favere.


"Your readers must decide whether a Latin letter from the Provost would not have been wholly incomprehensible to one who is evidently ignorant of the rudiments of that language, and also whether Dr. Sears' 'zeal' for the advancement of classical learning in the University was not somewhat quickened · by the Provost's strange obtuseness and ignorance in failing to understand what was meant by renunciationem nuntiet.'

C.: J. S.”

Of all the suicidal acts committed by Provost Stillé, in his official capacity, this is undoubtedly the most fatal. First; our modest epistle is sadly mutilated; prepositions and nouns are jumbled together as if they too had got into a row with each other. Yet, even in this “ laid out” state there is no such expression, in any part of our letter as “renunciationem nuntiet;" that which the learned Provost quotes as settling the point in regard to our ignorance. But the merest smatterer in Latin can see presently on what side the ignorance really is.

First, however, we will mention a little incident. A few years ago we attended the "commencement” exhibition of St. Xavier's College, in this city. The audience being composed chiefly of Irish servant-maids and their beaux, when any allusion was made to “ould Ireland” by the orators of the occasion the cheering and stamping were worse than deafening. In making some jocose comments on this state of things, it occurred to us that it might be well for us to fortify ourselves with a little Latin. Aware, from experience, that let us write what we would—no matter how—in that tongue, our New York Jesuit Fathers would show their own superior learning by abusing it, in order to show some friends who took an interest in such matters how spurious this learning was, and at the same time to afford them a hearty laugh, we transcribed a few sentences from that part of the seventh book of Cæsar's Commentaries in which he describes the manners and customs of the Gauls, commencing with the following: “ Conclamat omnis multitudo, et suo more armis concrepat," etc. Just ten days after our number containing this is issued, a certain New York Catholic paper is sent ns, in which our utter ignorance of Latin is demonstrated as beyond question! It was so gross that no abuse was considered too severe for us, or in fact severe enough. “A fellow," says our critic, “that knows no more about Latin than to write “multitudo concrepat,” only makes himself ridiculous and contemptible when he pretends to give any opinion whatever of our great Jesuit colleges." The construction, “suo more armis," was condemned with equal indignation and severity. In this case the epithet “savage” was entirely too mild for us; and so we were decorated with half a dozen infinitely worse. But to this day our only reply has been a hearty laugh at the contemptuous abase we had brought on the Latin of Julius Cæsar ! *

We had by no means forgotten this when writing to the learned Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. Accordingly, in order to be prepared for the worst, we had our Latin epistle carefully copied with a copying-press, thus securing a perfect fac-simile of it. From this the paragraph we gave in our last number was taken, and in which t was printed for

* De Bello Gal. L. VII, C. XXI.

m—the third person for the first. We now present our readers the whole letter exactly as it was penned :

“Kal. xii, Nov. 1871. “Ad Dr. Carolum J. STILLÉ, Præfectum, etc. :

“CARE DOMINE.—Quando eram in urbe amena tua, nuper, visitabam tuum auditorium. Volebam per multum te videre, sed infeliciter foris eras. Verum est, certé, quod Prof. Johannes McElroy valde comis et jucundus erat. Equidem, si placet tibi, vellem multas gratias illi, per te, agere pro urbanitati suæ.

"Nunc te audire benè oro. Quoniam renunciationem doctæ et inclytæ universitatis tuæ in nonnullis ephemeridibus vidi, permissionem dicere peto, ut placeret multum mihi si esses tam bonus quam meum ascribere inter eas quas in isto modo honoras et laves. Spero ut nulla bona ratio sit cur eam non posses ponere in N. Q. R.

“Complures collegorum ac universitatium in patriâ nostrâ regulariter nuntiat in trimestre modesto meo. Gratissimum mihi faceris si vis in hoc negotio me favere.

“Vale, care Domine.

“Edvardus I. SEARS."

The paragraphs, the sentences, the capital letters, even the punctuation, are all the same. We certainly do not mention this by way of boasting of our letter. Had we been writing an English letter to any respectable newspaper, for publication, we would have taken more pains with it than we did with that Latin communication to Provost Stillé. But, hurriedly written as the letter was, we can prove to the satisfaction of any impartial, competent judge, that our Latin is much more grammatical, and much more lucid than Provost Stillé's English. And if we do so, we think it will be admitted that there was some method in our savagery, even when we tried the effect of Latin on the learned stomach of that gentleman. Every experienced physician is aware that even the vulgar salts and senna have sometimes worked miracles, after all the milder and less nauseous medicines have been exhibited in vain ; and 80 it has been in the case of our last venerable patient!

Thus, take our first paragraph. No one acquainted with the principles of the Latin language need be informed that all the other verbs in the passage testify that the use of t instead of m, was but a mistake. It was one moreover which occurs in the best editions of Cicero—nay, it was one which Cicero himself might have made with his stylus, the same as Macaulay might in the hurry of composition write has for have. In that passage there are three other verbs in the first person singular, viz. : eram, volebam, vellem. Why does not any of these end with a t? Why does not any of those that are, and should be, in the third person end with an m? Why is each verb in the indicative mood, the subjunctive, or the infinitive, in accordance with the principles of the Latin language ?

Now let us pass to the part of the letter published with such an overwhelming flourish by Provost Stillé. It will be seen that the preposition inter and the pronoun eas are made one word by our learned Provost! It will be seen also that he makes nuntiat " nuntiet-nuntio being of the first conjugation, and, therefore, forming its third person singular, present (historical) tense, just as we have used it. And this “ nuntiet” he makes govern renunciationem, which occurs only in a former sentence, nay, in another paragraph, where it is the accusative of vidi ! *

* We will now give Provost Stillé an opportunity of demonstrating what a fine Latin letter he would have written us by return of mail only that in the plenitude of his benevolence he was loath to puzzle us, and put our ignorance to the blush! Such thoughtful tender-heartedness deserves our warmest gratitude. Accordingly we beg leave to make the following proposition : Let a tribunal be formed consisting of four provosts or presidents of colleges, or universities, and two editors; two of the former and one of the latter to be chosen by him, we to be allowed the same privilege in choosing the remainder. Let this tribunal meet at the Continental Hotel, on a certain day to be previously agreed upon, and place the learned Provost at one table at one end of the room, and the savage editor at another table at the opposite end of the room. Let it be expressly provided that “such a practice" as “the occasional presence of strangers," " when the object was to gain a knowledge of the details of our system," be not set aside, but remain in full force.

After all the necessary preliminaries have been arranged, let a letter be dictated in the vernacular tongue_"a mere begging letter," or a threatening letter, as may be deemed most suitable for so memorable an occasion to be rendered, off-hand, into Latin without any swagger, bolstering up, trick,

« السابقةمتابعة »