University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Notre Dame: Foundations, 1842-1857 / by John Theodore Wack

Chapter III
Tremors, 1845-1848


Father Sorin returned to Notre Dame du Lac in an unhappy mood. His trip, he felt, had been a profitless venture.{1} The attack of Badin had unsettled his position in France and had done much damage in America. He found his college and its sister institutions to be still intact but badly shaken. Sorin set to work with a will. He met Father Badin in St. Joseph, Michigan, where the two men reached an agreement; Father Badin's $400 yearly allowance would be guaranteed by a mortgage on the original property of Notre Dame du Lac to which title had just been granted by Bishop de la Hailandiere.{2}

The problems of the college, however, could not be solved by any one simple act. The total number of students remained approximately the same, thirty-four were registered in the fall of 1846. However, half of this number were new students; only seventeen had returned of the thirty-three who had been in attendence at Notre Dame at the end of 1845-46.{3} The new young men included two future Holy Cross priests who would one day teach at Notre Dame, Neal H. Gillespie, then a boy of thirteen years, and Thomas Vagnier, whose father had moved to South Bend in 1844 from Fort Wayne in order to be near the new Catholic college.{4} Also included among the new students were two with a name of awesome familiarity to the hard-pressed proctors and teachers at Notre Dame -- Thomas and John Lafontaine, younger brothers of Louis Lafontaine. There was a third Indian present, a cousin of the Lafontaines, William Richardville, who was also the son of a minor Miami chief.{5}

The faculty was slightly smaller, the result of the loss of the three seminarians the previous year. Father Cointet served as Professor of Latin and Greek, as did Father Shawe.{6} These two men constituted the actual teaching faculty of the college curriculum; the others, Brothers and seminarians, were involved in the preparatory courses or in the English Course. At the first faculty meeting, on October 1, 1846, Father Sorin began at once to institute a number of reforms. The curriculum which had been introduced in 1844 with its two divisions and five classes in each division had proven unworkable. It had been distorted by 1846 into an almost unrecognizable shape, therefore it was decided that: "Whereas our plan cannot be followed to advantage in America, as it is directly opposed to American views, Mr. Shawe shall be requested to write to Georgetown, St. Louis, & St. Mary's, Emmitsburg to have their plans of studies, that we may compare them with our own & form a plan for ourselves."{7}

Since such a new plan could not be implemented for some time, other steps were taken for the present. Some of the most mundane courses were dropped, and an attempt was made to give more weight to the Latin Course by having Father Shawe teach natural history and algebra, although without the aid of textbooks, none being available. The lack of texts was a constant irritation to the Council of Professors.{8}

On October 2, the day following the first meeting, the Council was reconvened, and at this meeting they concentrated on a liberalization of the students' routine, particularly their religious requirements. In the main they followed the advice of Father Shawe; more time was to be provided for study by cutting down on the already extensive time devoted to religious services and other related activities. For example, Sunday sermons were to be shortened, catechism was to be dropped from the Saturday schedule, and there were to be no prayers before and after class.{9}

All in all, the actions which were taken that fall were limited and tardy ones, but they did constitute a commencement in the effort to raise the academic standards of the school. Father Sorin had concerned himself too long with the basic question of survival (but then the question must be raised again: what else was he to do?), and, in his absence, the institution had revealed some serious weaknesses, particularly in the academic realm. An unusual note of self-criticism (and a disturbing view of the intellectual quality of the college) was sounded in the minutes of a meeting in December of 1846:

The O'Byrnes,{10} it was said, were spreading very unfavorable rumors about the Institution, complaining of the regulations & classes, saying the professors were unable to teach & that they would have them examined. All the counsellors, the president Sorin perhaps excepted, felt the truth of the remark relative to the inability of the Professors & added that it would be necessary to procure some able individuals or to educate & form future professors elsewhere, as here the professors had neither the time nor the opportunity of learning.{11}

If this is a true picture of the situation, and there is no reason to suspect that it is not, then it was fortunate that Father Shawe had arrived to offer his criticisms and his aid. There was no money to pay lay teachers; Sorin had to use the limited talents of his priests and Brothers and hope that a new seminarian or two might have sufficient command of some basic learning so as to be able to teach elementary courses. Mr. Gouesse, for example, was an amateur musician before he came to Notre Dame; now he was named "Professor of Music."{12} So eager was Sorin to expand his offerings, that he himself taught French that year for the time that he was there (although he must have been a wonderfully impatient teacher) and a new seminarian, Mr. Dessault (or Dessaulx) taught "Linear Drawing" (which seems to have been merely penmanship) although he required the aid of an interpreter.{13}

If Sorin's interest in collegiate matters waned late in 1846, it was because his attention was caught up that winter with other affairs, especially a critical three-sided debate between Notre Dame du Lac, the Motherhouse at LeMans, and the Diocese of Vincennes. Two separate incidents, which had had their origin in the period before Sorin had voyaged to France, provoked the quarrel, rekindling the embers of suspicion between the three which had died down so few months before. The first incident arose when the unwelcome news reached the ear of the Bishop concerning Sorin's interests outside of the Diocese of Vincennes. De la Hailandiere knew that Sorin had ambitions to extend his work to other dioceses -- in fact, to all dioceses -- of the United States. The Bishop was determined to prevent this. The agreement between Father Moreau and the Bishop had committed the Brothers to remain in the diocese, and, of course, the move of the novitiate to Indianapolis was intended to keep them tied to Vincennes. To his surprise, while Father Sorin was abroad on his journey to France, de la Hailandiere heard that Sorin was contemplating the acquisition of a college in Kentucky. In anger, the Bishop told those at Notre Dame du Lac that, if any of their number went to the new college, he would expel them all from his diocese.{14}

The college in question was St. Marys College, situated near Lebanon, Kentucky. The college was an old one as American colleges go; it had been founded in 1821 and had been taken over by the Society of Jesus in 1832. The charter of the college was granted in 1835, and the school was by then a comparatively large one, drawing students from all over the South and West.{15} The Jesuits, however, had also taken over St. Xavier College (now Xavier University) in nearby Cincinnati in 1840, and, in 1846, they were offered St. Johns College (now Fordham university) in New York.{16} They then determined to leave St. Marys College.{17}

In January, 1846, Bishop Chabrat, the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Bardstown, in which St. Marys College lay, wrote to Father Sorin, offering him this college.{18} The timing of the letter was important, although inadvertently so, for it arrived at a critical moment: Father Badin was upset over Father Sorin's sale of the land in Louisville, Bishop de la Hailandiere was writing to demand the move of the Brothers to Indianapolis,{19} and Father Sorin was reluctantly making ready to journey to France to defend his position.

Understandably, the proposal had an immediate appeal to Sorin. If the Motherhouse would agree to accept the college, he might find an answer here to his difficulties with Bishop de la Hailandiere, for he could then rove from the Diocese of Vincennes under the protection of Bishop Chabrat. He therefore wrote to that Bishop, telling him that he might accept the college if certain terms were met; Sorin wanted title to all of the lands of the college, some four hundred acres, plus the buildings erected by the Jesuits. In addition he asked the Bishop to secure sanction from the other American bishops so that Sorin might make the Brothers' novitiate (which he planned to establish at St. Marys) the central novitiate for all of the dioceses of the United States. In return, Sorin promised to add to the college, as well as a Brothers' novitiate, a "school of arts and trades," and an English school -- in essence, he offered to duplicate Notre Dame at St. Marys.{20} While at this time he did not speak openly of abandoning Notre Dame du Lac, it was obvious from Sorin's term which he had stipulated to Chabrat that he hoped thereby to circumvent Bishop de la Hailandiere's restriction of the Brothers to Vincennes and to bring himself out of the control of the difficult and angry Bishop whose ambitions for the Brothers of St. Joseph were at such variance with his own. We can see here the scope of Father Sorin' s dream, now boldly stated: a central novitiate for all of the dioceses of the United States. The new college, of course, under such a system would achieve the national position which Sorin had first dreamed for Notre Dame du Lac.

Before Sorin left for France, he wrote to his old friend, Father Delaune, in Madison, Indiana, requesting him to keep an eye on the situation in Kentucky.{21} Delaune took up the task with enthusiasm, buying some furniture from the departing Jesuits and also purchasing extra land, all with borrowed money. The Bishop of Bardstown had requested some twenty thousand francs from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith at Lyons, and this, Delaune felts, would more than cover the debt.{22}

In the meantime, Sorin arrived at LeMans, where he placed the matter before the General Chapter. It was decided here that nothing would be done until news was received from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith concerning its expected subsidy. Delaune, however, determined to go ahead with his plans to open the college, feeling that even if the subsidy was not received (and he fully expected that it would be quickly granted), he could open the college and maintain it for a year. Even if Sorin did not come to St. Marys, Delaune felt that he would be able to survive until the Bishop could turn the college over to another society or find some other means of staffing it.{23}

But it appeared that Sorin was to have nothing to do with the development of any college or novitiate at St. Marys. The Chapter at Notre Dame de Ste. Croix, angry over the manner in which Sorin appeared to have involved them in the debts of Father Delaune, told Sorin to return to America and concentrate his efforts on Notre Dame du Lac. The Congregation in France would deal directly with Delaune and the Bishop of Bardstown.{24}

While Sorin was returning to Notre Dame du Lac, word was received in France that, due to a clerical error, the subsidy granted to St. Marys College was only two thousand francs.{25} Delaune now grew frantic, his earlier calm shattered by thoughts of the pressing debt, and he wrote to Sorin, frankly stating that he had had no real commitment from Father Moreau, just one letter, and that he had based his hopes primarily on Sorin's enthusiasm of the past January.{26} Delaune urged Sorin to take up the new college of St. Marys even if it meant abandoning Notre Dame du Lac; he implied that this might be the best thing to do, for it would free Sorin from Vincennes.{27} But Sorin could do nothing, since he had been expressly forbidden to take up any further establishments or to interfere in Kentucky, but he does seem to have written to Father Delaune, offering him some encouragement.{28} Overeager to reassure his friend and confident that Moreau intended to act by sending a mission to Kentucky from France, Sorin once again plunged into a controversy with his Motherhouse, for in this letter he somehow gave the opinion to Delaune that Ste. Croix had accepted St. Marys College and would soon send a group of Brothers.{29}

The situation had now reached a point where the Motherhouse at LeMans was becoming increasingly involved in St. Marys whether or not they felt such an involvement to be desireable. The paths which led to this are difficult to follow. Certainly Sorin had been impulsive in his earlier decision to seek some means of acquiring the college in Kentucky, and he influenced the subsequent actions of Delaune with his enthusiasm and confidence. Delaune, however, was also premature in his thinking and in his actions, taking on more responsibility than had been expected of him. In addition, sure of the subsidy from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, he began to translate Moreau's interest into a positive commitment. Finally, Sorin himself must have received the opinion, before he left France, that Moreau was seriously considering the new foundation, and he must have imprudently imparted this opinion to Delaune, who then began to look anticipatorily to France and Moreau for the "promised" aid.

In the meanwhile, in January, 1847, Delaune opened the college in Kentucky with some fifty students, more than attended Notre Dame that year. He had hired a few professors, but he daily expected the Brothers to arrive.{30} Sorin could not appeal to Moreau for the sake of Delaune; he had been told in France that all affairs would be handled between LeMans and Kentucky directly, and he had already skirted the edge of religious disobedience if he did write to encourage Delaune. While there was no mention of the plight of Delaune in Sorin's letters to Moreau,{31} the position held by Sorin was made quite evident when Father Cointet wrote to Moreau urging him to accept the new foundation and telling him that Ste. Croix and Notre Dame du Lac were at least partially responsible for the situation by the "rosy promises" which they had given to Delaune.{32}

If this were not enough to aggravate the General Chapter in its meetings in the spring of 1847 at LeMans, a further incident had occurred to arouse them. This concerned the proposed move of the Brothers' novitiate to Indianapolls. If Father Sorin had hoped that the foundation of the new college in Kentucky would take him out from under the undesired aegis of the Bishop of Vincennes, he had been disappointed by the decision of the General Chapter of the previous year. It now seemed that he was at least temporarily confined to Indiana.

While the agreement made between Moreau and de la Hailandiere did not officially bind Ste. Croix to the transfer of the novitiate,{33} the community in France clearly intended to make such a move, and Bishop de la Hailandiere clearly expected that it would be done -- and, in fact, wondered irritably why it was not yet done.{34} Cut off from the projected foundation in Kentucky, Sorin reluctantly began very tentative steps to move the novitiate. He had seen Bishop de la Hailandiere in December in Vincennes,{35} most certainly the subject had been brought up there. Sometime thereabout, one of the Brothers, Brother Joseph, was sent out to sell Catholic books from door-to-door; Father Sorin told him to look around while he was in Indianapolis to see if there was worthwhile property available there for the novitiate.

When the Brother arrived in Indianapolis, he received information concerning some twenty-seven acres of land which were suitable for this purpose. Although he had no real authority to buy the land, he hastened to commit himself to the purchase when he heard that local Protestants, learning of the proposed novitiate, hoped to dissuade the owner of the land from selling. The contract which Brother Joseph authorized called for the payment of $4500 for the land.{37} The news of the purchase was an unpleasant surprise for Sorin.{38}

Mr. Gouesse, on his way to Vincennes to be ordained,{39} stopped at Indianapolis to see if there was a possibility of removing Notre Dame from the obligations of the contract. After viewing the situation, he felt that they were obligated to pay. Accordingly, Sorin decided to sanction the purchase, even though he was aware that the Motherhouse should normally have been consulted. Sorin felt that any other action would mean the loss of faith in the veracity of Notre Dame in Indianapolis and, most important, would arouse the anger of de la Hailandiere, who had been delighted by the news of the purchase and who had written to the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in Lyons for funds for the novitiate.{41} Certainly Sorin felt that the action was also in conformity with the desires of the Motherhouse, even though there had been no official permission to act.{42} He wrote to Moreau and told him of the purchase, adding that he had no funds to pay the debt, but that the Council at Notre Dame du Lac was confident that Moreau would help them in this.{43}

But Sorin was disappointed by the actions of the General Chapter when it met to consider, along with its other affairs, the two problems which had been raised in America: the land in Indianapolis and the college in Kentucky. In a meeting on April 22, 1847, the Chapter refused to acknowledge the contract made by Brother Joseph and accepted by Notre Dame du Lac, leaving the college with the responsibility for the debt.{44} In addition, the General Chapter took up the question of St. Marys College. It was decided that while Ste. Croix had no formal responsibility there, men would be sent to staff the college if the Bishop of Bardstown were to receive the twenty thousand franc subsidy for the college which had been originally requested from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, or if the Bishop would at least cover the debts of the college. One of the Auxiliary Priests, Father Saunier, was to be sent from France to Kentucky; he was to take some religious with him from Notre Dame de Ste. Croix and receive additional personnel from Notre Dame du Lac. He was not to be the president of the new college; this was Father Delaune's position. Father Saunier was to be Delaune's assistant.{45} With Saunier, the Chapter sent a memorandum which was to be read before the Minor Chapter of Notre Dame du Lac,{46} and which contained the criticism leveled by Moreau and the General Chapter concerning Sorin's participation in the recent events in America.

In June, 1847, Father Saunier arrived at Notre Dame du Lac, where he read the memorandum. The document reproached Sorin on several grounds, particularly the preparation of the financial accounts of the institution he had founded. In particular, it called for the taking of steps to prevent the possible financial collapse of Notre Dame du Lac, and, if this proved to be impossible, to assure that such a collapse would not also bring down Notre Dame de Ste. Croix. For this reason, Moreau refused to acknowledge the purchase of the land in Indianapolis. In addition, the memorandum dissolved the existing Minor Chapter at Notre Dame and substituted a new one in its place, adding Brother Gatian to the Chapter and making Father Cointet the assistant to Father Sorin. Moreau also called for a complete and exact rendering of accounts; a copy of all administrative acts; a complete financial statement; an inventory of all buildings; and complete building plans. There were to be sent to LeMans over the signature of all members of the new Minor Chapter.{47}

The reading of the document left Father Sorin unsettled and uncertain as to what course he should follow to prove to Father Moreau that Notre Dame was not bankrupt and that conditions there were not what they seemed to be in France. There was a certain amount of frustration inherent in the situation, for Sorin needed some way to expose the circumstances of Notre Dame to Moreau so that the French Superior could see them with the greatest clarity -- but the distance between the two in miles prevented them from an open exchange, and, in addition, there was the significant difference between the methods of life in France and in America. Finally Sorin chose to lay the problem before the reconstituted Minor Chapter:

Fr. Superior [Sorin] having asked of the council whether it was opportune that he should answer article by article all the chief accusations laid on him and on this council by the council of Our Lady of the Holy Cross, or not, was advised to leave to Divine Providence the care of his and our justification. That recrimination, was it said, would perhaps stir up the minds rather than calm them. It will, then, be sufficient to send to the Motherhouse the accounts, the plans of the buildings and the other documents required by Rev. F. Rector. In consequence, the different counsellors will prosecute as fast as possible the different inventories. The same F. Supr. added that if the Council of Our Lady of Holy Cross were not pleased and contented by the reception of those documents, he was quite determined to abdicate his charge, and the reason he alleged was that he would not like to be the cause of the disunion between us and the Motherhouse. However it is well understood that he would submit his wishes and proposal to the decision of Rev. F. Rector and his Council.{48}

Accordingly, the proper documents were prepared and signed at the Minor Chapter meeting of June 21, 1847.{49}

Regarding the financial condition of the institution, the accounts prepared were quite clear:

     Summation of accounts, 5th Aug. 1841 -- June 17, 1847

     Receipts from foundation up to present date   $39656.32
     Expenditures "    "       "  "     "     "    $39391.00

                               Balance on hand     $  265.32

     Debts due Institution & Property for Sale     $ 8436.80
       "    "  to Sundries                         $ 3979.80

     Moveables as per Inventory                   $15,090.70{50}

These figures did not include the value of the land or the buildings; the cleared farm lands and the orchard had certainly increased the value of the real estate. Quite probably, although not certainly, the figures do not include the debt recently contracted at Indianapolis.

The Minor Chapter also decided to send Brother Vincent to France, in order that the position of Notre Dame du Lac might be made more apparent, but, since a payment was due on the land in Indianapolis, money had to be borrowed for this purpose and there was none for the proposed trip.{51} Sorin then wrote an impassioned letter to Moreau, protesting that the financial condition of Notre Dame du Lac was not at all what Moreau believed it to be; he foresaw that the restrictions which had been placed on him and on his institution would bring ruin; particularly he objected to the changes which had been made in the Minor Chapter. He asked to be transferred, since he felt that under the circumstances he could accomplish no further good at Notre Dame du Lac. He added that he was considering leaving the Auxiliary Priests, as he had previously hinted in his own chapter meeting.{52} Moreau's reply was gentle, but he relented in nothing.{53}

Father Saunier departed from Notre Dame du Lac for Kentucky; he took one Brother, and, later, four Sisters from Notre Dame to St. Marys College.{54} Thus the two incidents had been judged from France: the purchase of the land in Indianapolis was not approved (and Notre Dame du Lac was solely responsible for the debt involved), Father Saunier was on his way to Kentucky, independent of Father Sorin, and Notre Dame du Lac and its Founder stood reprimanded by Notre Dame de Ste. Croix.

An innocent victim of the controversies was the college at Notre Dame itself. Unable to function properly without the full attention of Sorin, the social and intellectual life of the institution took a turn for the worse. The academic year had begun with Sorin's sorely needed reforms; his attention to the college and his wise consultation with Father Shawe augered well for the future of the school, but, once the disputes began to devour his time in the winter of 1846-47, his close interest in the day-by-day affairs of the college was seriously diminshed. Sorin found it necessary to be absent from Notre Dame on several occasions that year (he had, of course, just returned from an absence of some six months). In December he was in Vincennes, in January in Detroit,{55} in April in Indianapolis. Each time that he departed from Notre Dame there was a breakdown in authority. In April, for example, Cointet was also absent on his missions and Gouesse was unwilling to exercise any authority except that of the Prefect of Discipline, a job which involved the execution of the rules of the school rather than the formulation of rules or the passages of judgements in cases of discipline. As a result, despite the presence of Granger, discipline collapsed, and it took several faculty meetings on Sorin's return to straighten matters out.{56} Brother Gatian, as was his wont, openly charged Father Sorin with neglect: "Our Boarders have been very insubordinate during the last season . . . This extraordinary misbehavior is attributed to the frequent journeys of the Superior & to the frequent negligences of Masters which proceed from a want of good understanding between them and the Superior."{57} In the meeting of the Minor Chapter of June 28, 1847, the Chapter expressed alarm that Father Sorin was making plans to travel to Fort Wayne to secure a loan; they felt that the college would suffer in his absence as it had done before.{58} Of course there was little that Sorin could do about this except to travel as infrequently as possible, yet there were occasions when he found it absolutely necessary to be absent from the college, despite the difficulties which his absence engendered.

In the center of this question of Sorin's inability to pay proper attention to the college could often be heard the young voice of Brother Gatian. From the beginning of the days of the college, this Brother, just twenty years old in 1847, was outspoken in his criticism of anything which he felt to be amiss in the administration or the faculty. With the frankness of youth coupled with an impatiently idealistic character, this intelligent and usually capable young man tilted with every windmill on his horizon. As secretary to most of the administrative councils of the institution, especially the Council of Professors, Gatian increasingly grew tactless and even arrogant in his recording of the minutes. Prior to 1847, Father Sorin ignored his attitude and always signed the minutes without comment (or at least without written comment).

Insofar as Brother Gatian could see the situation, Father Sorin was undermining the college by his absences, his lack of discipline, and his general disregard for the rights and self-respect of those who taught and worked in the college. Father Sorin had, of course, a much more cosmopolitan view of the success or failure of the college; he would at times be forced to neglect its administration, hoping that his subordinates would be able to maintain control in his absence. Gatian, unaware of the true depths of Notre Dame's predicament, increased his attacks on Sorin's administration, implying that the others were too weak to stand up with him. As a result, he caused serious dissension in the Council of Professors, creating the exact opposite of the more efficient and severe administration for which he clamored. More and more, the Council meetings became outright battlegrounds between Gatian and Sorin, where battles were "won" by the Superior, causing more and more authority to fall into Sorin's hands and giving Gatian further reason to protest. In the absence of Father Sorin, no one wished to take responsibility for even the least controversial proposals of Brother Gatian; as an obvious result, little was accomplished at those meetings which Sorin did not attend.{59}

Early in 1847, the controversy between the two men broke into the open. On February 11, 1847, Sorin refused to sign the minutes of the previous meeting which contained a particularly sharp criticism of Sorin's "leniency."{60} This turn of events did not halt the Brother. In succeeding sessions, the language of the minutes continued to be vitriolic, sometimes going far beyond the matter which had been covered at the meetings. On May 6, 1847, Gatian wrote an entry in the Council minutes entitled "Tyranny:"

The Counsellors were again unanimous in declaring that Mr. Thos. Bracken ought to be dismissed. But Fa. Cointet, as usual, would not act. This Council in fact is an assembly destitute of power & authority, since the President is absolute there & follows his own notions whatever may be decided or said against them.{61}

After Father Sorin returned from a visit to Indianapolis, Brother Gatian confronted him with these minutes, which Sorin patiently signed. In the second session of a meeting on May 10, 1847, the case of the delinquency of one of the Lafontaines (inevitably!) was brought up:

When Mr. Thos. Lafontaine's turn came & Bro. Gatian asked for his dismission for having three time attempted to strike Bro. Stephen & having made use of horrible oaths & cursed his professors and overseers, the President in direct violation of the rules, declared himself absolute, by the very fact of his not only refusing to dismiss him, but even to consult the Counsellors, according to the laws of custom in order to ascertain what should be done with him . . . .{62}

At this point in the meeting, Sorin told Gatian to mind his business as secretary, a rebuke which Gatian recorded in the minutes.

Gatian went further in his attack on Sorin. In November of 1846, he wrote directly to Father Moreau to complain of these "tyrannical" actions of Sorin.{63} It is noteworthy that one of his complaints regarded Sorin's tendency to become Americanized. He charged that Sorin, in addition to being too dictatorial, consulted with the Americans rather than the French priests or Brothers.{64} When one reads Sorin's own rather low opinion of the American as a potential religious,{65} this charge seems rather absurd, but there was truth in it. As has been mentioned heretofore, Sorin was quick to adapt to the character of the new country so that a blind devotion to the methods of the Old World would not imperil his success. When he established Notre Dame du Lac, he instituted the type of curriculum and discipline that was most familiar to him, that of the French seminary-college. However, time proved that such a system was not readily adaptable to the American environment, and it was decided to make some changes in it. Brother Gatian, while he expressed no faith in the excellence of the French academic system, at least as it was applied at Notre Dame, often let it be known that he felt that the French disciplinary system should be rigorously applied in the United States and at Notre Dame du Lac, especially. This, in fact, was precisely the point at which he and Father Sorin parted company. Sorin could be flexible and pragmatic, for he was a man of supreme self-confidence; not so Brother Gatian who needed the security of rules to observe; liberty, to his thinking, came solely through the carefully constructed bonds of a just society.

Comments on the school's discipline (or rather the lack thereof) were almost continuous in Brother Gatian's brief "Journal," especially in the spring and summer of 1847, when he became a Cataline in his warnings of the dangers of leniency. He demanded a rigid set of regulations, but the liberty-conscious western Americans would not tolerate such a system. Father Sorin wisely chose to seek a system which would be based in strict discipline but which would not be so severe as to alienate American students. In this search, it was natural that he turned to other American colleges and to those more familiar with the American character such as Father Shawe (who also counseled moderation in discipline, much to the disgust of Brother Gatian ).{67} Shawe, although he was English by birth, was one of those whom Sorin called on for advice rather than simply following the freely-offered opinions of his French compatriots who looked on America as an alien country. This was a sensible state of affairs: how could be attune his college to the American idiom by consulting the French?{68} But Gatian held him responsible for not doing precisely that, for rejecting

Gatian's pleas for greater authority for the teachers and prefects so that they might have the power to discipline, and for accepting instead the leniency and greater freedom which Sorin found was peculiar to the youth of the American frontier and which he of necessity came to employ.

The quarrel between the two grew intense in the spring and summer of 1847. When Sorin created the first Minor Chapter at the request of the Motherhouse, Gatian was conspicuously absent from the list of members.{69} The memorandum which Father Saunier brought to Notre Dame du Lac called for the formation of a new Minor Chapter, to which Brother Gatian was conspicuously the only addition (except, of course, for Father Saunier himself, who was only to hold the rank of "substitute member" of the Chapter).{70} Those in France seem to have given much credence to the letters of Brother Gatian,{71} as his appointment to the Minor Chapter implies, but had the Motherhouse had access to his journal and the minutes which he wrote, they might not have taken the charges of the young man so seriously.

The controversy continued well into the next scholastic year when, most probably after learning that Gatian had again written a confidential letter to Moreau,{72} Father Sorin spoke out against this practice, telling the Brothers that he wanted an end to such letters. Gatian openly defied him in a meeting of the Minor Chapter,{73} and, as a result, found himself expelled from the Minor Chapter; a letter was written to Father Moreau for the Chapter by Brother Vincent, giving the reason for the younger Brother's expulsion.{74} Following this unhappy event, the writings of Gatian were more subdued, although by no means repentent.

The academic year of 1846-47 ended on the first of August with the usual distribution of premiums in a ceremony undistinguished by any comment in the college records. Outbursts of student behavior marred the last few months of the school's operation and, according to Gatian, had reached a point so severe that several of the teachers, all new seminarians, threatened to leave the college.{75} At one point even Father Sorin agreed to the establishment of a disciplinary classroom, refered to inelegantly as the college "jail," as a place to keep the worst offenders, but he thought better of it, and the project was never put into effect, giving his young opponent yet another example of his peculiar sympathy with the plight of the American student.{76}

Questions of discipline soon sank into unimportance in the wake of an onslaught of epidemic disease. Sometime after the annual Fourth of July celebration, a malady of some sort once again seized the college as it had the previous summer, this time striking down both Father Sorin and Brother Gatian (ironically, both fell ill on the same day at almost the same time), as well as many others, students, teachers, and workmen.{77} Much of importance had to be put off, there were few meetings of any sort held that summer. One person died of the fever, an Irish Sister who worked at the college as a laundress, Sister Mary of Mount Carmel.{78} The fever was common throughout the country that summer, but the illness at Notre Dame was unusually severe. The death of the Sister was the fourth death in the scholastic year; as has been previously noted, a Brother and a seminarian died in the fall of 1846, and one of the Indian boys, William Richardville, fifteen years of age, had also died that year. The cause of the boy's death was listed as "consumption;" he died in March, 1847.{79} Richardville was the first student to die at the college.

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