BLTC Press Titles

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Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Life of Patrick Hues Mell

by Patrick Hues Mell


The following incidents occurred while Mr. Mell was a student at Amherst. They are given in this connection to show the keen sense of his own rights and the high spirit and independence that were so characteristic of the man during his whole lifetime.

Not long after entering he was walking on the streets of the town with some of the boys, when they noticed a large negro approaching them with a swaggering, self-important gait. This negro was the bully of the town; most of the students seemed to be afraid of him and he fully recognized his supremacy. He was accustomed to see the boys give him the sidewalk whenever they met. Young Mell was not cognizant of this state of affairs; and living at the South, he was raised to believe that the negro was of an inferior race, and must always show the white man the respect due him on account of his superior station. So that when this burly fellow approached them on the streets of Amherst Mr. Mell expected nothing else but that the sidewalk would be yielded to the white boys. The young Southerner was all the more amazed and indignant when the impudent negro, not onlyrefused to give the right of way, but brushed against him and spun him around. This indignity so roused his anger that he impetuously sprang on the negro and gave him a violent blow between the eyes before he had time to collect himself. Blow after blow followed upon head and eyes until the man was brought to his knees. Young Mell then placing his hand in his pocket as" though he would draw a pistol, said: "Now, you black rascal, hereafter whenever you pass me if you do not give me the right of way you will rue it. Now leave or I will do you bodily harm." The negro, ever after was polite and humble whenever he met Mr. Mell. As soon as the encounter occurred the other boys took to their heels and left Mell to fight it out by himself.

Prof. Fiske was the Professor of Physics in the college and he was entrusted with the money that Mr. "Walthour gave Mr. Mell for his expenses. This gentleman was also a minister, and while preaching one Sunday to the students, he took occasion to say some things concerning slavery that were very obnoxious to the Southern young men who were in his audience. It Mell turned to one of his companions and said he would not remain any longer to be insulted, and immediately rose ind walked out of the room. The next day the young man was sent for by the Professor and was asked why he left during the services; the reply came promptly: "Whenever any indignity was cast upon Southern institutions the Professor must not expect Southern young men to stand by quietly and give their endorsement thereto." This offended the Professor very much and he reproved Mr. Mell for what he was pleased to call his disorderly conduct.

A lecturer from South Carolina came to Amherst and advertised that he would lecture on some theme of popular interest. Some of the Southern youths, among them Mr. Mell, called on him and took him under their special care and entertained him while he remained in the town. The first night the house was well filled and the lecture was greatly enjoyed by all. On the second evening, however, the lecturer took occasion to allude to some subject that was specially obnoxious to the audience; this infuriated the people and the speaker was silenced by hisses and rotten eggs. Mr. Mell, with some of his Southern friends, occupied seats on the stage. The offensive utterances of the speaker, they very much regretted and condemned, but

ey thought it would be unmanly to desert him now and leave him to the rough treatment of some of the ill disposed in his audience. The people left the hall in -confusion. A mob gathered at the door to take the man in hand when he should leave the house. Although the students were very much ashamed of their protege yet they felt honor required them to stand by the lecturer through the trouble and as far as possible relieve the embarrassment. After a hurried consultation the popular (?) lecturer was rushed out the back part of the building, and the students, with Mell at their head, placed themselves at the front door and at a given signal, threw themselves suddenly into the midst of the crowd, yelling and brandishing sticks and producing the utmost confusion. The boys were thus 'enabled to escape in the darkness from the struggling mass of people. The Faculty learning of the disturbance wrote to the parents and guardians of the boys and advised them of the unruly conduct of their wards. Col. Walthour, in a strong letter to young Mell, reprimanded him severely and threatened to withdraw his support if he did not reform. This gentleman would not listen to an explanation and thus roused the just indignation of the young man, who was the perfect soul of honor, and he resolved to decline all proffers of future assistance.

Several days after the above occurrence, Mr. Mell was walking down the college campus, and just as he passed a room in which the Freshman Glass was holding a meeting, a young man of the Sophomore Class threw open the door and cast a handful of pebbles on the heads of the inmates, doing some damage to the property. This boy then ran away leaving Mell very near the open door. The Freshmen rushed out and surrounded him and asked him if he did the deed. "Oh no," he replied. "Who did it then?" they asked. But he refused to tell, and the boys proposed to mob him and force him to tell who committed the outrage. But Mell quietly told them he was not responsible for the damage done and the first man who laid hands on him would suffer. He would not submit to any indignity from them without a desperate struggle. His determined air, and the reputation he had already made in the college as a cool-headed, dangerous man when aroused, made the boys hesitate. Some of the Southern boys of the Freshman Class cheered the intrepid young man and immediately stepped to his side with the statement that he was right in his position and they would stand by him. This manifestation put a quietus on the crowd and they permitted Mell to pass on his way unmolested. The Faculty soon learned of the trouble also and sent word to Mr. Mell to appear before them to answer to certain charges made against him for insubordination and disorderly conduct. When he came in their presence the President asked him if he had committed the outrage on the young men.

"I did not," replied Mell.

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