Past President Produced Patriotic Poetry

PER_Verhaegen, Peter J_0001

Peter J. Verhaegen, SJ

Saint Louis University archives will be closed along with the rest of the university in honor of Independence Day. However, we wanted to commemorate the occasion for our patrons in some way. Luckily, the University historical records contain a letter written by Saint Louis University’s first president, the Belgian-born Reverend Father Superior of the Missouri Mission Peter J. Verhaegen SJ, which contains delightfully enthusiastic and patriotic praise of George Washington, General Jackson, Kentucky and Louisiana! In honor of our nation, we present that letter alongside transcribed samples of Verhaegen’s lyric, which demonstrate the affection he held for his new home.

Excerpts:

On George Washington:
Verhaegen_Excerpt_Washington
“All hail then to George Washington,
Columbia’s noblest pride!
Perennial fame be his that won
Our freedom’s golden tide!”

On Louisiana:
Verhaegen_Excerpt_Louisiana
“On fertile Soil with trees & Shrubs e’er green
Louisiana reigns – a beautious Queen!
Her Crown – white pearls; her Sceptre – Nectar Cane,
Gold forms her mantle & good cheer her train.”

On General [Andrew] Jackson:
Verhaegen_Excerpt_Jackson
“Devoted to his Country’s weal,
He Served her with unflinching zeal.
His foes did growl; but growl they might,
He e’er pursued what he thought right.”

On Kentucky:
Verhaegen_Excerpt_Kentucky
Corn-cracker is the sobriquet[sic] she got;
But queer names do not matter:
When Strangers Settle on her fruitful Soil,
We Know what makes them fatter.”

The Letter in its Entirety:

Verhaegen_Letter_p1

Page 1

Verhaegen_Letter_p2

Page 2

 

Verhaegen_Letter_p3

Page 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verhaegen_Letter_Outside

Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This material comes from the following archival record:

DOC REC 001 0027 004
Saint Louis University Historical Records
Letter Books
Letter Book 4
1835-1885
1 Item

It is available for viewing in the Archives and Rare Books reading room of Special Collections, located in room 307 on the third floor of Pius XII Memorial Library, which is open Monday through Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm … barring University holidays, of course.

Tim Achee

About Tim Achee

Timothy P. Achee is a former faculty member in the Archives unit.

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