A College Magazine of 1861

[Author Unknown]


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 307-314

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A copy of the Wabash Monthly for January, 1861, fell into our hands a few years ago. This periodical was "published by an Association of the Students of Wabash College". The editorial staff was selected by the Association. Nine numbers a year were published, beginning in November. The subscription price was $1.00 per year. The issue for January, 1861, is marked Volume II, No. 3. The editors were J. E. Cleland, W. T. Hart, W. R. Higgins and R. B. Spillman. The contributions are either unsigned or such signatures as Oneiropolis, Cam, Keuah, and P. Roceed are appended to articles.

The table of contents for the issue in hand include: "The Fire-Fays" (a long poem); "Three Puffs" (the prophetic vision of a smoker); "Thanksgiving Journal"(printed below); "One Ideaism" (an essay dealing with the dangers of riding a hobby); "Homer—A Dirge" (printed below); "Colloqy" (a dialogue between Dr. Johnson, the man of candor, and Emperor Napoleon, the man of illusions); "Eloquence of the Waters" (an attempt at a prose poem or literary effusion on the beauties of water under various conditions and on the influence of "that most versatile of the elements.") "G'Lang" (a humorous poem of three pages); "The Friendships of College" (a stilted sentimental essay of two pages, followed by a page of miscellaneous sayings); "Editorial Miscellany" (five and one-half pages of editorial comment plus three pages regarding Exchanges.)

The Exchanges, to each of which a short passage is devoted, include: The Harvard Magazine (November, 1860); The Amherst Ichnolite (October); The Williams Quarterly(November); The Rutgers College Quarterly (October); The Union College Magazine (November); The Kenyon Collegian(November); The Centre College Magazine (November); Kentucky Military Institute Magazine (October); Oberlin Students' Monthly (November); Ladies' Pearl (November). The Beloit Monthly and the Virginia University Magazine for November are mentioned but were received too late for notice of contents.

The following selections from the pages of the Wabask Monthly described above will furnish some idea of the nature and quality of that college magazine on the eve of the Civil War.—Editor.


Nov. 29th, SUN RISE.—The amber East brightens into silvery day as the sun approaches his rising. Now he pauses as if caught on the ragged horizon, and pours streams of intercepted light through tree tops and steeples; now he is clear up above tree and spire. Hail, benignant source of joyous, generous light, is the greeting of thousands as they see how well met, good day with shining sun, when they feared clouds. Welcome Sun with thy gift, thou wilt chase base ingratitude and prevent many frowns on this day of thanks; for who could go to church under leaky clouds and through streets of mortar, and yet keep a thankful heart. A discomforting day obliterates a year of blessings. But now thou art come, and the preacher may expect a crowded church, and all may meet smiling faces. Friendship and good feeling will reign to-day. We praise not thee, beneficent ruler of the day, but Him whom thou praisest, the Spiritual Essence of light eternal, whose word placed thee on high, and let forth thy treasured light and effulgence. In thy course this day, which men say shall commemorate the goodness of the Almighty, thou wilt still see the world-worshipper assiduous in his attentions to his chosen god. Fortune will receive many thanks; many curses, too, will be lavished on the fickle handed goddess. Many hearts will be filled with true joy and gladness, returning thanks to the Author of life and all good, yet thou wilt go down upon the wrath of man, and leave many in disappointment in their plans of pleasure and gain.

12M.—Church is over. The more pious part of the community have been to the sanctuary as a kind of compensation to their consciences for the unpardonable dinners they expect to eat. The two institutions on Thanksgiving are the sermon and the dinner. The sermon is had first, as being less important and more digestible, and quickly disposed of. Thanksgiving sermons are expected to be novelties of the pulpit. On this occasion the preacher is permitted to depart from the weekly track of exegesis, creed and exhortation. He may publicly express his private opinions on politics, government or society. But whatever advantage he takes of the day, it is usually demanded that he will not slight the American Eagle. A peculiar privilege is granted to the famous bird to spread his wings and soar from the sacred desk on this day. And like other extraordinary privileges, it is expected that he will make use of this liberty. But the national bird is sick–diseased in one wing; he cannot expand his pinions for a lofty flight without showing the black plague spot. If the preacher lets him soar loftily he must administer some soothing balm. He need not venture a complete diagnosis, but he must at least offer some consolatory remarks, calculated to soothe the feelings of the bird in view of the loss of one of his diseased quills. This being done, the people and bird are satisfied and depart in peace. And now comes the "sine qua non," of Thanksgiving–the dinner. Indeed we cannot have the emotions appropriate to the occasion until we come to the table. Who does not then feel thankful that the turkies grew so large and adipose. The audience room performance was a mere form, endured with a grace in the anticipation of the more earnest services of the dining room.

Especially is the student thankful, for he has fasted all morning that he might the better appreciate the dinner. He has not attended church, but he now pays his "devours" at the feast. Students are not the greatest eaters, but they are the loudest in the praises of their Thanksgiving dinners, as any one would have known by being around College this afternoon. Every one thinks that he has had the best dinner, but those who shared the hospitality of "The Pheenicks Klubbe" declare they were never so elegantly entertained. May the "Klubbe" flourish!

8 P.M.—I learn that the student who ate an elephant "stuffed" with oysters, complains of indigestion. This shows the result of inordinate gluttony.

9 P.M.—Am invited to spend the last hours of Thanksgiving in convivio with some friends. Of course I will accept, for if on Christmas one may forget the "Star of Bethlehem," on the 22d of February his "Pater Patriae," and on the 4th of July, the "nation's birth"—surely it is a duty I owe myself and the rest of mankind, to drown in the uproarious tumult of a high old time, any dim sentiments of gratitude I may have absorbed during the day.




Not a sigh was heard, not a sob sincere, As on to his funeral we hurried; Not a soph'more shed a farewell tear O'er the spot where old Homer we buried.

We buried him gladly, one dull afternoon, The sods with our memories turning, By the light which is common to a Greek study room, And the lamps of our genius burning.

No useless coffin enclosed his breast, Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him; But he lay like a war-horse taking his rest, With all his ponies around him.

Few were the farewell words we said, And we scanned and translated in sorrow; And we steadiastly gazed on the notes as we read, And we joyfully thought of tomorrow.

We thought as we closed for the last time his lids, On the day of his demise, (a boon dear,) That the bold Sophs of next year would mourn in our stead, And we far away in the Jun. year.

Harshly they'll talk of the spirit they've raised, And for dim interlinings upbraid him; But little he'll reck whether censured or praised, While in quiet he sleeps where we laid him.

But half satisfaction was given the Prof's, When the college bell tolled for retiring; And we heard the sad moan of some absented Sophs, Who with headache were almost expiring.

Quickly and gladly we laid him down, With the charm of his beautiful story; We remembered not a line but Glaukopis Athene, Which is all we have left of his glory.


One possessing the heart's true diamond of Friendship with a kindred heart, whether he dwell in marble hall, and revel in the splendor of an imperial court, os as a little sharper on the crowded pavement of a Wall street, who accosts the stranger with, "Newspaper, Sir!" in this holds a treasure and is happy.

The gem may be polished, but even though it be "in the rough," the removing of its exterior will not deface, but with a merry sparkle it will please him more.

But around such a glorious heart-union cast the halo of a college life, and new beauties, friendships of additional charms will appear clad in all the rainbow hues.

But who are friends? Not those who love not, for friendship is but a synonym for love. Nor they whose hearts are as the cold ice mountain of the North, down whose sides a stray sunbeam may perchance have forced a little rivulet, only to see it cold and frozen at the bottom. Nor those who are as abiding as leaves on a maple tree in the month of October. These are not college friends. They bear for each other a joyous warm-heartedness which hourly intercourse, time spent in like earnest, active duties, perhaps in contest of opinion, moments which they send winging their way into the mighty past, alike laden with golden hopes and plans of future attainment; plans which they do not believe will be realized but by a noble, manly strife, a warm-heartedness, which these associations will not diminish. They cherish a sympathy, a friendship, that memory will hereafter revive and bring back to the soul in a flood of golden remembrances.

To be without a friend is to be without a home; but the heart is home—a palace of friendship, whose marble-white turrets often quiver 'mid the blue heavens above, as responding to the glad echoes of a student's friendly voice.

College boys will read each other well, and deeply, and similarities will make them friends. Though ambition be a guest, if it be not that base, ignoble kind which would tower above a fellow by removing his "pegs," there will still be a friendliness, and a natural flow of sympathy, which all, and particularly students, feel in finding those who have the "go" in them.

Respect must precede true friendship, and with the student, scholarship is often a standard.

"Our hearts ne'er bow but to superior worth, Nor ever fail of their allegiance there."

Respecting, admiring the noble efforts of his fellow, each companion is happy in bestowing an honor where he feels 'tis well deserved, and that fellow he is willing to make a friend. But college friendships, true and deep, are few; yet the rarer the gem the higher the price! Time, taken from many, is bestowed upon these few, and friendships, deep as ocean waters, are the results.

But those which some students cherish rest on yielding all opinion and action of their own to another, though they will not acknowledge it, after which they are following a blind and gloomy fate—stepping-stones to the imaginary greatness of that poor mortal who makes them such.

Real, enduring friendship is not thus—a slave—'tis monarch; and if in thought and feeling it's possessors differs, friendship in it's power o'er-rules the difference, and the sacred, innate right of opinion remains inviolate.

Yet descriptions will only paint the pictures of reality. They appear as the objects of a summer scene, clad in winter's garb—true, but still unlike the real; under their cold white shroud lying as dead; all buried, motionless and still.

To the heart that has quaffed at the fountain of college friendships these lines may recall the sweetness of those waters.


There may be some other institutions where the spirit of brotherly kindness is as well developed as in Wabash College, but we are inclined to doubt whether any of them exceed us in that respect. The relations between our literary societies are of the most amicable nature. Think not, reader, that it is from lack of "fire" in the members, for assuredly never was the esprit du corps higher than at the present date. Every term, our public debates evince the truth of this assertion. These contests are of two descriptions. In the one, each society is represented. In the other, the debate is carried on by certain members selected from but one society. The debates are always followed by original oratorical compositions. The participants in all these exercises feel a great interest in them, and therefore make preparations which tend in their results to gratify the audience, and benefit the students. The members of the respective societies of course have and hold their opinionse on the merits and demerits of the performers, but do not give them such unnecessary expression as to embitter the literary associations against each other. The time was when members of one society could not enter the hall of the rival organization without a special vote, and the first time they were admitted even by such a vote, it was considered an act of the most sublime magnanimity and self abnegation. Now, however, by a law to be found on the books of the societies, a member from one can enter the other at any time, except during the reading of the minutes and the transaction of miscellaneous business, whereas a person who does not belong to either society cannot enter unless by special vote. The consequence is that every night of meeting visits are exchanged, and a brotherly spirit is fast taking the place of the old barbarian disposition. Persons who were members of these societies under the old regime, on their occasional visits to college are astonished to find that deadly cuts against the opposition body are not received with the rapturous applause of yore. It appears to this generation as incongruous as the offer by a grimy New Zealander of a piece of roasted "white man" to a member of the American Peace society.

The different classes also fraternize more now than in days agone. The great beauty of such dispositions among our students is, that it will have a powerful effect on their future lives. They will not be so much inclined to bigotry in religion, and dogmatism in politics, and prejudice in other things if they, now, even while they have warm hearts and strong passions, learn to bear and forbear. The world will never accomplish its destiny till men begin to give each other the "right hand of fellowship." Then may no "pent up Utica" confine our powers, but may we commence now to be true cosmopolitans, having the green globe for our fatherland, and mankind for our countrymen.

—WAR.—We have one southerner in our institution. In consequence of his late attempt at secession we have telegraphed for the Lafayette gun squad and Dodworth's brass band, intending to blow him into three or four septillions of pieces. In the meantime Capt. Blinn has detailed a corporal's guard of seventy-five thousand cadets, who keep watch night and day. They all wear mustaches and pick their teeth with sword bayonets. The rest of the cadets are getting their uniforms made. Any further attempts at secession will be promptly met. A deputation of the oldest citizens waits on the perjured sesessionists nineteen times a day, with elaborate and reliable information as to what will follow any of his rash acts. Every train lands multitudes of hardy yoemanry "in our midst." Three hundred and fifty-five powder mills have been erected in the campus, and their "thunderous energy has supplied the red hand of destruction" to things, and smashed them considerably. The young ladies of this city have cut off their ringlets and presented them to the students for beau strings. James Buchanan has ordered two pieces of "ordinance" to be brought to the scene of action from San Francisco by the pony express. Queen Victoria having heard of the matter through the Atlantic Telegraph has ordered Albert Edward to form the nobility of England into three battallions, and advance to the rescue. The Nuke of Dewcastle is first "sirgent." Lord Brougham carries the trumpet, and the entire corps of the London Times will accompany the expedition to print bulletins. The population of the Orient, amounting to seven hundred millions, led by Tommy, with three swords, are also coming. The "Great Immense," a new ship thirteen miles long, eighty-seven wide, and three hundred and twenty-nine in depth, has been built especially for this occasion, by Hongti & Co. The Zouaves of the French army began to swim across the Atlantic ocean on the 17th ult. Their splendid bands, playing "Partant pour la Syrie," are carried on the shoulders of the grenadiers of the Imperial Guard who expect to wade across. L. Napoleon Threeeyes, himself, is at the head of the procession, floating by the buoyancy of his moustache. Alexander of Russia is drilling the other monarchs of Europe in "double quick," and expects to come over with his "awkward squad" if the attempt at secession is not quashed by the 4th of July. No southerner can repel, in any short period, at least, the forces we have enumerated.

We are down on the following things:

First, we are down on the sentiment vox populi vox die est.

We are down on the idea that practical men are always right.

We are down on the idea that practical men are always wrong.

We are down on Procrustean ideas generally.

We are down on bigots and bigoted anti-bigots.

We are down on the sentiment, "our country, right or wrong."

We are down on the sentiment that anarchy, in either College or state, is liberty.

We are down on the idea that there is any man so wise that his assertions should be swallowed with closed visual orbs.

We are down on the idea that some persons can read every other man's character at the distance of four hundred yards.

We are down on the idea that a man can drink whisky in this part of the nineteenth century and preserve his self-respect.

We are down on the idea that brass and blasphemy are essential parts of a gentleman's character.

We do not believe that selfishness and dissembling are ever found in a lady's character.

Finally, we are down on from sixty-five to eighty-nine millions of the one-eyed, hook-nosed, wooden-legged ideas now found in the world, and wish they were all tied to the tail of Eckne's comet.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.