Andrew Dickson White.

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' Reprinted from the Commencement Issue,
Yale Alumni Weekly."

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[Being an address by the Hon. Andrew D. White at the Fiftieth Anniversary of the
Yale Class of 1853, delivered in College Street Hall, New Haven, June 22, 1903.]

Something more than six months ago,
I was present at the anniversary of the
most venerable university in Scotland,
and at one of the main festivities was
seated next a countryman of ours, whose
wealth and public spirit have aroused
not only wonder but admiration on both
sides the Atlantic. The conversation be-
tween us having turned upon public
benefactions of various sorts, I spoke of
the many great things waiting to be done
in the United States, whereupon my
munificent neighbor said: "Name some
of them."

Whereat a great joy arose within me;
a hope large and lucid seemed to swim
within my ken : the opportunity to give
substance to ideas and plans and dreams,
which 1 had brooded over for years.
But just at that moment, the tide of
after-dinner eloquence was turned on in
full flood, and in an instant it had swept
away my opportunity apparently for-

But the flood of eloquence has sub-
sided ; those old ideas, dreams and plans
reappear; and now the answer which I
could not give at St. Andrew's, I purpose
to give, at least in part, at Yale. I say,
"in part," for there are a multitude of
wise benefactions which I may not sug-
gest here and now. What I now pur-
pose is, to answer the question : "What
can wealthy Americans at this moment
best do for their whole country? for the
uplifting of its civilization? for the
strengthening of what is best in its char-
acter, national and individual ? for the
evolution of better modes of thought
and action on subjects of most profound
interest, not only to ourselves, but to the
nations around us and the centuries to
follow us ?"

Looking over the country, and seeking
agencies already working successfully
for the steady uplifting of American
civilization, I see, among the most effec-
tive, our great universities. They are
gradually taking rank among the first
in the world ; they have become a power
as never before. Rightly did James

Bryce see in them a main hope for our
national future. Not only are their
methods and range of instruction vastly
superior to those in the days when the
Class of Fifty-Three was gathered here,
but their advantages have been enor-
mously extended. At that time, a student
body of 500 was considered exceedingly
large. Now we have universities in
various parts of the country numbering
2,000, 3,000, 4,000, and in one case over
5,000 students.

The main reason for this improvement
in methods and range of instruction is,
that the universities are taking hold up-
on the national life in ways formerly un-
thought of. The main reason for this
increase in numbers is, that the nobly
ambitious young American more and
more realizes that, as the national life
becomes more and more complicated, as
its problems become more and more in-
tricate, as universities offer more and
more instruction in fields which fit men
for every sort of high intellectual en-
deavor, his chance, to say the least, is
better with a university education than
without it. The result is, that more and
more, the brightest yo'ung men, the most
energetic, the men of highest purpose
and clearest thought, are drawn to the
universities. It would appear, then, that
these institutions are centers from which
new influences are most likely to be
forcefully exerted through the pulpit, the
press, the courts, the legislatures, and in
public life generally.

But is this influence normally exerted
on public life as yet? I doubt it. In
our courts, it has a stronghold ; but in
our county boards, our city councils,
our legislatures, our congress and our
seats of executive power, I see no such
proportion of university-bred men as
every intelligent American patriot must
desire. We see noble examples, it is
true, especially in the executive field
of whom are Theodore Roosevelt, John
Hay, William Howard Taft, Seth Low.
But I wish to back them with many
more. Not that I would give university

" A Patriotic Investment"

men a monopoly of public duty, legisla-
tive or executive. Far from it. On the
contrary, I would always have in public
positions a very large proportion of men
of affairs men who take the most prac-
tical hold on the everyday work of life;
men who have tested theories by reali-
ties self-made men, if you choose to
call them so; but I would certainly have
our universities much more numerously
represented than at present.

What is the cause of this insufficient
representation of the universities in our
public life? A pessimist might answer
me by pointing to Mr. Lecky's book on
"Democracy and Liberty"; but need we
go so far? In my opinion, the main
cause is one which Mr. Lecky does not
touch. Happily we need not despair ; for
I believe that it will be found in a fact
which patriotic munificence can re-
move; in the fact that, as a rule, our
universities do not yet offer their stu-
dents, who wish to enter public life, the
instruction which fits them thoroughly
for it; the instruction which would
make a university-bred man ipso facto
presumed to know something more about
public questions and to handle _ them
more easily than do his fellow citizens.

We have magnificent provision for in-
struction in the sciences, in literature, in
all that pertains to various professions;
we are rapidly taking the lead of the
world in much of the instruction having
to do with the application of science to
the arts; laboratories abound, and at the
center stands the great new Institution
for Research at Washington. But I see
no equal provision for fitting men to
grapple with the problems of American
politics. The universities have indeed
done admirably in part of this field.
Political economy in its various branches
is taught far more thoroughly than ever
before. The same may be said of vari-
ous departments of history; and here
and there good work is done in inter-
national law; but the fact remains, that
when the average American graduate
leaves his alma mater, he is rarely, if
ever, prepared to discuss leading ques-
tions, or even to study them with refer-
ence to discussion, in such a manner
that his neighbors recognize in him the
man who can handle such questions with
more knowledge and skill than very
many men who have not had his train-
ing. In this respect, politics remain very
much as when Lowell stated the condi-
tion of things in his "Biglow Papers":
"God sends country lawyers and sich-like

wise fellers
To drive the world's team when it gits

in a slough."

May I plead my .own experience? It
happened to me, a few years after my
graduation, to be tossed into the legisla-
ture of one of our largest States.
What led to 'this choice, perfectly un-
expected to me, was the fact that I had,
while in a foreign country, published a
political pamphlet which, though it virtu-
ally fell dead there, aroused the interest
of my fellow citizens in one of our in-
terior cities. I went to the capital of
the State to take my seat with a hope
that there were some subjects on which
I might impress my ideas, and never
was man more disappointed. Before I
had been in the place a week, I envied
from the bottom of my heart Lowell's
"country lawyers and sich-like wise fel-
lers." I looked up with awe to the man
who had been supervisor, or trustee of
a public school, or acquainted with the
practice in our justice's courts. Never
was a man more unfit for his duties,
and I burned the midnight oil humbly,
long and sadly, in making up my ele-
mentary deficiencies.

It may be said that the knowledge,
which I found myself then in need of, is
of a kind which comes by practice in the
lower regions of public life. To a cer-
tain extent, that is true ; and let me
here confess that never in my life did
I learn in ten or twenty times the same
period so much of human nature as
when, while holding a university profes-
sorship, I was suddenly made the fore-
man of a petit jury on a horse case.
Let me here recommend to the young
men who go from these halls, that they
do not slight opportunities to do service
upon grand juries or petit juries.

But there is a group of subjects
which, if well presented to the university
youth, would, in my opinion, arouse in
very many a legitimate ambition for dis-
tinction won by true public service.
would fit them to realize such an ambi-
tion in a manner good for themselves and
for their country, and would enable them
so to grapple with public questions,
great or small, as to insure them a hear-
ing, whether they take part in discussion
with pen or with tongue ; and let me add
the opinion that, if this group of sub-
jects were presented in our universities,
widely and well, the effect would be
powerful in steadily uplifting our whole
civilization, for the more satisfactory
working of our political institutions
throughout their whole range, for the
betterment of American character, and
for the healthful influence of our Re-
public on the world at large.

This brings back the question re-
ferred to at the beginning: "What are

A Patriotic Investment"

the best things which a man or a com-
bination of men of wealth could do now
for the country as a whole?" And I
would now make answer :

The thing which I would recommend
is the establishment, at the foremost
institutions of learning in the United
States, numbering perhaps twenty-five in
all north, south, east and west <>f
sundry professorships and scholarships
bearing directly upon public affairs.

i. First of all, I would establish, in
each of these institutions, a professor-
ship and at least two fellowships in
Comparative Legislation. Various coun-
tries have made a beginning in this al-
ready. The most notable example, per-
haps, was when Laboulaye was called to
such a professorship in the College of
France at Paris. His lectures marked
an epoch, and they did much to make
up for the depressing influence upon po-
litical morality exercised by the Second
Empire. As one who attended his
courses of instruction, I can testify that
nothing could work more strongly and
healthfully upon the minds of thinking
young men than his presentation, not
only of legal ideals, but of practical
courses of political action based on his
studies of the best that had been done
in other countries and in his own coun-
try at other epochs. Looking at the
problem as it stands to-day, it would
seem that nowhere would professors and
students in this field be supplied with
such abundant material for thought and
work, or encouraged by such certainty
of fruitful results as in our own country.
To say nothing of the legislation of so
many other constitutional countries,
which is open for study to an American
professor, he has in our own land, not
only our national legislature, but some
forty-five state legislatures, constantly
working at the solution of every sort of
practical problem in government. Here,
in the efforts of all these legislative
bodies, can he study, near at hand, as in
no other country, all sorts of attempts
to solve the problems of government,
from the most crude to the most subtle,
and from the most wise to the most far-
cical. The endowment of professorships
and fellowships at so many centers, to
which there would be attached the duty
of studying the best solutions arrived at
in all these legislatures, foreign and do-
mestic, could not fail to have a most
happy influence. At present the in-
struction in all our law schools is in
answer to the question, what our law
is. The instruction which I propose
should answer the question, what our
law ought to be.

The first. result of all these endowed
professorships and fellowships would
naturally be, to interest, in all parts of
the Union, great numbers of young men,
earnest, vigorous, and, in the best sense,
ambitious. The next probable result
would be, that many of these men would
influence their fellow citizens helpfully
on various important questions. An-
other exceedingly likely result would be
the increasing entrance of such men into
positions executive and legislative. Yet
another would be a steady and intelli-
gent improvement in the laws through-
out the country ; and in addition to this,
there would come, in the legislation of
our various States, an increasing tend-
ency toward homogeneity a consumma-
tion most devoutly to be wished.

It may be said against one of these
expectations of mine, that the entrance
of young men thus trained into public
life does not appear to be by any means
sure ; that we constantly see men of
high education passed in the race for
public position by men of little or none.
In answer to this, we must concede
that native force will always be a strong
factor in contests for public position ;
but we must bear in mind that hitherto
our universities, while they have given
general culture, and a special culture
fitting men to speedily help clients, or
patients, or parishioners, have not given
a culture which fits a young bachelor
to stand early on the platform and show
his fellow citizens that he has a grasp
of principles underlying practical issues
and a thoroughness of knowledge bear-
ing upon them which most other men
have not.

To say that young men, thus thor-
oughly trained for the most intelligent
discussion of public questions, would
not have, in most cases, advantages in
the competition for honorable position
in public life, would be an indictment
against American institutions and the
American people which, if shown to be
true, might well make us despair of the
Republic. So far from this being the
case, the history of our people, from the
beginning to the present hour, proves
that, as a rule, any man who has really
any thing to say to them on public
questions, which ought to be said, will
finally get a hearing and win support.

2. And now to -my second proposal.
Besides the improvement of law, there is
needed an improvement of Institutions ;
and for this purpose I would establish,
in our more important universities, to
the number of say twenty or twenty-five,
professorships and fellowships of Com-
parative Administration.

"A Patriotic Investment."

Look at the problem in its simplest
form. Here are 80,000,000 and soon to
be 100,000,000 of the most active-
minded and energetic people in the
world. The number of its combinations
for every purpose seems infinite. There
are not merely State, county, city, and
village organizations, but institutions
dealing with pauperism, inebriety, lunacy,
feebleness of mind, incipient crime,
chronic crime, and beside these an in-
numerable number of minor corpora-
tions, combinations and arrangements
bearing upon the public welfare. What
some of them are our newspapers tell
us from time to time to our shame, as
recently in various articles devoted to
the State of Delaware and the cities of
Minneapolis, St. Louis and Pittsburg.
Some other organizations are, no doubt,
happy in their methods and admirable
in their results, but the room for im-
provement still remains large.

An experience of my own is perhaps
in point. Several years since I pro-
posed an experiment on these lines at
Cornell University, and there was called,
for a succession of years, as a lecturer
to the Senior classes, a gentleman emi-
nent for his theoretical and practical
grasp of one great class of subjects to
which I have just referred, namely, the
proper organization and conduct of in-
stitutions dealing with crime incipient
and chronic, pauperism, inebriety,
lunacy, feebleness of mind, and the
like. The course of lectures which he
offered was taken by a considerable num-
ber of students. They became deeply
interested. Under his lead, they did
what might be called research work,
their researches being made at every
sort of public institution for the relief
or betterment of their fellow men. Be-
ginning with the nearest county jail and
almshouse, they made visits to a large
number of the principal asylums, pris-
ons, penitentiaries, reformatories of the
State of New York, took notes, heard
what their professor had to say on each,
asked questions, and took part in dis-
cussions. Several of these men, since
that time, have been, in the legislatures
of New York and other states, among
the foremost in promoting a wiser man-
agement of public institutions like those
they studied during their university
course. One of them* indeed, has greatly
distinguished himself by his success in
devising and securing the passage of
laws for the improvement of the civil
service and for the better administra-
tion of cities in the most populous State
of our Union.

3. I now come to my third proposal.

This has reference to an improvement
which has already begun and which
shows admirable fruits. I refer to the
establishment, on a large and broad
scale, in the leading universities
throughout our Union, of Professor-
ships and FcUoicships in International
Law. We of the Class of '53 were among
those who saw the feeble beginnings of
this instruction. Those who came soon
after us were so fortunate as to receive
it from him whose memory we so deeply
venerate President Woolsey. By him.
more than by any other since Henry
Wheaton, international law has been
brought to bear on American students,
both as a means of culture and as an
aid in patriotic endeavor.

But the provision for such work needs
to be far more widespread. And first
in the interest of the great number of
active-minded young men for their
best development, intellectual and moral.
In the study of international law there
is not only a constant appeal to those
intellectual powers which are exerted in
comprehending and developing its prin-
ciples, but there is an appeal, no less
constant, to the conscience of the stu-
dent and his sense of right and wrong.
No matter what aberrations have at
times taken place, the Law of Nations
is developed especially in accord with
the rules of right reason; and in the
development and statement of these rules
of right reason there is constant appeal
to the moral sense of the student. Mod-
ern international law began with this
appeal in the minds of Ayala, Gentilis
and Grotius, and having gone far afield
indeed under Machiavelli, it returned
under their influence to its higher ideals
and better methods in the great arbitra-
tion treaty of Washington, the Alabama
Tribunal at Geneva, the Venezuela
Tribunal at Paris, and the International
Peace Conference at The Hague.

But there are other interests of a
more general sort; look for a moment at
those of our own country. She is ex-
tending her relations throughout the
world as never before; her diplomatic
corps is every year getting a better hold
upon the world's affairs, and her con-
sular service has already become next to
the largest if not the largest in exist-
ence. In both these services we need a
larger proportion of men t rained in
those principles of international law
which give a fitness to grasp and advo-
cate the principles on which American
dealings with the nations should be con-
ducted. We hear much said regarding
the extension of what is called "( )ur
Empire." Many discussions and dccla-

A Patriotic 'Investment

rations on this subject have been more
vivid than illuminating: great space has
been given in them to men of high pre-
tensions and low expedients pretensions
far transcending justice, and expedients
far below any which a self-respecting
nation ought to consider. The training
of a large body of young men in all
parts of our country, which I propose,
would result in a force sure to be felt
through the pulpit, the press, in popular
discussion, in the legislative bodies, and
in the diplomatic and consular services,
in behalf of national soberness and inter-
national honesty.

4. Now to my fourth proposal. It is,
that there be established, at the leading
universities of our country, professor-
ships and fellowships for the History
of Civilization, and that there be knit
into them obligatory instruction in Po-
litical Ethics. In the middle years of
the last century we had in this country
a man who made his mark in this field,
and won the high approval of men as
far apart as Woolsey, the Helenist-Puri-
tan President of Yale, and Buckle, the
agnostic historian of civilization in
Great Britain. It was my privilege to
know him well. This man was Francis
Lieber. But he lived and wrought too
early, and the Civil War called him
from academic service to public duties.
Still his influence was precious, and
there are many now living who can
testify to the value of what they then
gained from him, both morally and in-
tellectually. But in the growth of
American universities, the time has now
come when such professorships can do
work vast and beneficial. Their pur-
pose would be, to show what the essen-
tial progress of mankind in civilization
has been, and to deduce from this what
environment should be promoted, and
what powers should be cultivated for
the evolution of the civilization which
we hope for. As to the incorporation
into the main professorship of a de-
partment of political ethics, it would,
I trust, serve to show, in the history of
civilization, the working of "a Power
not ourselves, which makes for Right-
eousness." An abiding sense of this,
deeply inwoven, forms a tough warp and
a serviceable woof for all really great
statesmanship. There would doubtless
be other professorships covering vari-
ous fields of history, general and spe-
cial ; but I should expect this, which
I now propose, both to derive light
from all these and to shed light upon
them. I should also expect it to be
effective in so influencing other his-
torical professorships as to keep out

of them scholastic pedantry, party
bigotry, and sectarian narrowness. In
any case, such a course of instruction
could not fail to enlarge beneficially
the minds of those who follow it, to
heighten in them a sense of civic duty
and responsibility, and to make them,
in whatever community their lives may
be cast, the advocates of those insti-
tutions and policies which tend to the
real greatness of the nation.

5. And now, as the fifth and final fea-
ture in this group of studies, I would
suggest professorships and fellowships
for the History of the United States.
Many years ago, a Berlin professor, in
my hearing, scouted the idea that a his-
tory of the United States could be writ-
ten at that time or for centuries to come.
To his mind American history was the
record of a squalid Tyre and Sidon, the
annals of fanatics and shopkeepers or
say, rather, of beasts of prey more igno-
ble than Milton's kites and crows. The
events of the last forty years have ended
that view ; they have revealed Ameri-
can history as a subject suggesting in-
numerable trains of fruitful thought.
In various universities such professor-
ships have already been established ; but
I would have more of them, until lec-
tures on the growth of our national life
shall be offered at every university.
That this would promote a deep feeling
of enlightened patriotism ; that it
would stimulate a desire in many to
join in high public activities for noble
ends ; that the trains of thought thus
set in motion would inure to the ad-
vancement of what is best in legislation
and policy; that the ideas thus struck
out would gradually filter down into the
thinking of the people at large seems
to me certain.

But you will perhaps be surprised that
I end my group of studies fitting men
for public life just here, and especially
that I omit from my list political econ-
omy and its cognate subjects. I make
this omission because that department
is already established in every institu-
tion fit to call itself even a germ of an
American university.

But while providing for these more
severe studies, I would add two counsels
of perfection. I would summon to the
aid of this more severe group the human-
izing influences of literature and art.
Large provision is already making in
our universities for the study of litera-
ture. We of the Class of '53 recall a
time when there were at Yale no lectures
on literature of any sort, ancient or mod-
ern, and we may well rejoice that there
are now two professorships devoted to

A Patriotic Investment."


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