Vincit qui patitur: THE TRIALS OF A GREAT-HEARTED BISHOP

December 6, 2015 Leave a comment
diram qui contudit hydram Ev’n he who crush’d the far-famed Hydra’s rage
notaque fatali portenta labore And dared so long a fateful war to wage
subegit, With monsters dire, those monsters all o’erthrown,
comperit invidiam supremo Found Envy could be quell’d by Death alone.
fine domari. — Horace Ep. 2.1.10-12 Tr. Francis Howes (London 1845)
George Washington Doane, the Bishop of New Jersey 1832-1859, in an early photograph. Brady-Handy Collection, Library of Congress.

George Washington Doane, Bishop of New Jersey 1832-1859, in an early photograph. Brady-Handy Collection, Library of Congress.

A tale is told that in Burlington, one October morning, a snake met a swift and grisly end beneath the heel of George Washington Doane.

On the streets of a small riverfront city of the mid-1800s, seeing a snake would have been fairly commonplace, but the man in this encounter was far from ordinary. Soon to complete his twentieth year as the bishop of New Jersey, he had long held a place of eminence not only in his church but in the civic and cultural life of the state and nation. Thanks to a rare combination of exceptional intellect, talent and zeal, together with a genial nature and seemingly boundless energy, he was at once venerated and controversial. Any preacher might have thought, as he “kicked the now harmless carcass off the sidewalk, and quietly went on his way,” of the biblical curse on the serpent, doomed to eternal enmity with the human race. But on this day Doane faced a more personal foe: he was fighting for his very survival as a bishop, and this had emerged as a day of destiny.[1]

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Hic inter flumina nota : IN THE STEPS OF THE NEW JERSEY VERGIL

December 5, 2015 1 comment

 

A view of Crosswicks Creek from the former estate of Joseph Bonaparte, Bordentown.

For centuries, familiarity with Vergil’s poetry was such that the employment of his verses in inscriptions could be habitual, even unconscious. While these traces are far less frequent in the Garden State than in places of greater antiquity, the poet is no stranger to our landscape. Most citations still to be found are conscious and deliberate, and each has a story to tell. Read more…

CLEMENT ALEXANDER PRICE 1945-2014

November 6, 2014 Leave a comment
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Clement Price and the Newark replica of Venice’s monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni. Photo by Jim Pathe/The Star-Ledger.

 

Dr. Clement Price of Newark was a veritable Renaissance man, a voice and force for the humanities in his city and state. He showed that the stories we have to tell are what bind us together, and he insisted on our right and duty to tell them. Clement Price has left us, but he has left us a legacy beyond price.

Sit tibi terra levis.

 

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PARSIPPANY’S MUSE

October 11, 2014 Leave a comment
Henry Inman, Unidentified lady, c. 1835. Oil on canvas. Gift of Prosper Guerry, New-York Historical Society, 1951.371.

Henry Inman, Unidentified lady, c. 1835. Oil on canvas. Collection of the New-York Historical Society. Used with permission.

As dusk settled over the dozen or so dwellings clustered along Parsippany Brook, locals and visitors bundled against the cold began to congregate in front of the brick Academy building. This small community had every right to be proud of its theater, newly installed in the school’s upper room, and of the homegrown talent that would bring the night’s dramatic and musical offerings to life. But, while the crowd took its seats in excited anticipation, within the mind of at least one audience member there was much unease. Read more…

MOST FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH

December 16, 2012 Leave a comment
Details of windows at St. Ladislaus Church, in New Brunswick (above), and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Woodbridge (below).

Detail of window at St. Ladislaus Church, in New Brunswick, designed by Asztrik Kákonyi.

Ego sum, wrote Michael Kováts, libertate et natione Hungarica praeditus. But the facts seemed at variance with that proud introduction. As his letter went on to reveal, the 52-year-old Kováts had a record of long service to foreign powers, principally the king of Prussia, where despite a noble lineage he had been compelled to enroll in the army as a raw recruit. Through harsh discipline he had risen to be a captain in the Free Hussars, a light cavalry unit that took its uniform, tactics and name from his native Hungary. Nevertheless, Kováts faced strict limits on his vaunted liberty and, when he finally resigned his post and returned to his homeland, he was beset with personal and financial problems. Now, at the start of 1777, he was in France seeking a new employer, and not a European one.

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EXEMPLARIA VITAE MORVMQVE

The main entrance to Memorial Hall, on the campus of The Lawrenceville School. In Owen Johnson’s story The Varmint, Memorial Hall became “the abode of Greek and Latin roots, syntax and dates, of blackboards, hard seats and the despotism of the Faculty.”

In the first-century debate about whether to send young children to school or educate them at home, Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was squarely on the side of school.

The two major assumptions in favor of home instruction – that schools corrupt morals, and that a child will get more individual attention from a private tutor – did not sway the author of Institutio oratoria.  The morals of the young, according to Quintilian, could be as easily corrupted at home,[1]  and children could be as effectively taught at school – even in a large one, for the best instructors tended to attract the greatest numbers of  scholars.   Read more…

Tela inter Martia : A SALEM SOJOURN

Old Pittsgrove (formerly Pilesgrove) Presbyterian Church (1767)

In colonial New Jersey, all loyal and peaceful subjects of the Crown were guaranteed the right to “their Judgments and Consciences in matters of Religion.”[1]   A visit to one of the most pastoral areas of the state teaches us that the coexistence of different communities of faith does not always ensure peace within them.

William Tennent and his sons – all of them ministers – would become catalysts for controversy not long after their arrival from Ireland in 1718.  Read more…

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