Charles Evans Hughes.

An address delivered by Honorable Charles Evans Hughes online

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Commencement day



Secretary of State

JUNE 1921

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Brown 1881




Published by



The Associated Alumni of Brown University, in
sending out this copy of the Secretary of State's
address, is not considering the momentary news sig-
nificance which such an address may or may not

The friendship and respect of all Brown men goes
out to-day to Secretary Hughes. No matter what
the party politics of the hour may be, men of Brown
place their confident trust in the calm wisdom and
strong guidance of the University's loyal and dis-
tinguished son.

The address is printed because the Associated
Alumni believes that the University's pride in her
fourth Secretary of State can be surpassed only by
the loyalty of Charles Evans Hughes to his Alma
Mater. And that loyalty to Brown is expressed
fervently and without restraint in the Commence-
ment address.

But there is another loyalty in the lines, that of a
statesman and a citizen to the best traditions of
America. International policies receive little space
in this address, but the few paragraphs which are de-
voted to the subject, ring out like a clear bell among
the discordant sounds of political strife and recon-
struction discussions.

It is hoped that the printed address will be accepted
in the homes of all Brown men, no matter what their
political faith may be, as an enlightening tribute to
the College on the Hill and to the country we love,
by a loyal son of Brown and an eminent servant of
the American people.

The Associated Alumni.


OLD Brown is emerging from the period of dis-
heartening dislocation, which in common with
other universities it suffered during the war, with a
renewed youth and fresh resources supplied by a host
of loving sons and generous friends. For over 125
years the university kept its accustomed way with
a steady step and without sensational incident. Then,
under the vigorous leadership of President Andrews,
came a time of extraordinary expansion, arKi in a
few years the number of students and faculty
trebled, while available resources remained without
substantial increase.

The rebuilding of the university and the pro-
vision of essential financial equipment have been
achieved during the past 20 years under the tire-
less and sagacious leadership of President Faunce.
When in 1914 we celebrated our iSoth anniversary,
the university funds had increased from the amount
of $1,125,000, at which they stood at the beginning
of the present administration, to over $4,450,000.

But we were then, although we did not know it,
not merely celebrating our sesquicentennial, but the
close of an epoch. The new era was upon us. We
have experienced its birth pains, and the old uni-
versity has been compelled to readapt itself to meet

novel exigencies. In the movement for increased
funds we have gone "over the top" so that in the
effort to raise $3,000,000, we have secured $3,500,-
000, of which over $3,250,000 is an addition to
our income-bearing resources. These resources
have been increased six-fold under the present lead-
ership of the university. To-day we salute the new

I am here, by the grace of your committee, rep-
resenting that stratum of Brown privilege, discipline,
happiness and unconquerable youth which bears the
stamp of the early '80s. It was the day of small
things — measured in the low calculations of arith-
meticians — small classes and few teachers. Brown
had over 275 undergraduates as far back as 1853,
and there were no more in 1881. We were just
before the flood. My own class was very small, as
we graduated but 43, but I would have you believe
there was rare quality.

We have Faunce to testify to our virtue, for
which no doubt he will claim credit as an exemplar.
Moreover, it was the day of an unsurpassed athletic
renown, at least upon the diamond. Thanks to
that extraordinary chum of Faunce, the redoubtable
Richmond, the first great southpaw, who, aided by
the valiant men of '81, slew the giants of Harvard
and Yale and the other Philistines of those days.

If the faculty was small, it was choice. Let the
new era match our Lincoln, Harkness and Diman.
Our friendships, too, were precious, for you cannot
multiply true friends by additions to buildings and
endowments. I confess this hour has its especial
sadness for me, as I think of my classmates who have
passed away since the last reunion, and I should not
be true to myself or to you, my brethren of Brown,
if I did not bring to you the memory of one — the
scholar in business, the gentleman in industry, the
man of refinement and inherited wealth, who bore
the heavy burdens of great organization in order
that he might enrich this country with an increased
productivity, a civic servant with the standards of
community fellowship, the first citizen of a great
section of the Empire State — one whose roots ran
deep in Rhode Island soil — Frederick Rowland

We look back to the day when this hall was first
opened to welcome the graduating class of 40 years
ago. How little we could judge of the abounding
national life in the development of which we were
to have a part! I wonder if to-day we can look
into the future with any better assurance of prevision.

But this we may know. We have not lost
the capacity for the high and unselfish endeavor
which linked us in an unexampled unity and
joy of service in the crisis of the great war.

The springs of faith, of mutual trust, of fel-
lowship, have not dried up. Our men did not
go forth to fight for this nation as one of im-
perialistic designs and cunning purpose, or to
protect a land where avarice might find its
surest reward.

They offered their lives, and all the energies
of the country were harnessed in the supreme
e£Fort, because we loved the institutions of lib-
erty and intended to maintain them, because
we hated tyranny and the brutality and ruth-
lessness which found expression in the worship
of force, and because we found our fate linked
with that of the free peoples who were strug-
gling for the preservation of the essentials of

With them we made common cause, and, as
from one end of the country to the other rang
appeals in the name of civilization itself, the
whole nation responded. You cannot obtain
such a unity of efiFort in this country, with vol-
untary sacrifice on every hand capping the most
extraordinary demands of Government, unless
that efiFort is inspired by lofty ideals.

It was America, the exemplar of free institu-
tions, aiding humanity in their preservation, that
called forth the supreme endeavor. This senti-
ment is still with us, and after all, despite the need
of correct analysis and cool judgment in working

out our economic problems, it is the aspiration of
our people and their attachment to the conceptions
of a well-ordered liberty which constitute our secur-
ity in peace as they proved to be the inexhaustible
source of national power in war.

I am immersed in the activities of a public office
which has a fine Brown tradition. Three of my
predecessors in office were sons of Brown Univer-
sity, William L. Marcy, Richard Olney and John
Hay. I believe that when Olney was graduated
here, he took for the subject of his address, ''Patriot-
ism in Literature," and certainly no one has put more
patriotism into official literature than the great Sec-
retary of State under President Cleveland. The
principles advocated by John Hay are the postulates
of the Department of State. You may remember
the words of his poem at the centennial of Alma

'Thus bright forever may she keep
Her fires of tolerant freedom burning."

It was the tolerant freedom that young John Hay
loved which inspired the cardinal policy of the open

It would not be fitting for me at this time to dis-
cuss our foreign relations. But I am glad to say
that the message of America is one of cordial friend-
ship to all nations. We have no questions which
mutual good will and the processes of reason can-
not solve. We have no subtleties, no duplicity of

meaning, no soft words to conceal a purpose ot
self-aggrandizement at others' expense. The only
method of diplomacy we know is that of candid dis-
cussion of the merits of problems. This, we think,
is the way to prosper a cause believed to be just, and
we shall advance no other.

The world is settling down, but it is not yet set-
tled. The counsels of power and expediency still
dominate, as the serious problems left by the great
war press for solution. This country seeks not an
acre of territory by reason of its participation in the
struggle that lead to victory, nor do we wish any
exclusive advantages in the possessions which as a
result of war have passed under new control. We
simply ask that we shall not be excluded from equal
privileges wherever our interests are affected. That
seems to us to be a reasonable position.

This is a time when it is vastly important that
the principle of equal opportunity for legitimate en-
terprise should be maintained in order that in the
development of natural resources essential to the
progress and security of nations, there should be a
fair and equal chance for all. The frank recogni-
tion of this principle will offer the basis of that
genuine co-operation of which we delight to speak,
and will diminish the occasions for misunderstand-
ing and antagonism. It is believed that inter-
national agreements may well be made which will

assure complete reciprocity with respect to oppor-
tunity in the development of natural resources
throughout the world.

I believe that our people are thoroughly deter-
mined that we shall safeguard our future by reserving
independence of action in such exigencies as may
arise according to our conception of duty at the
time. They are not disposed to put their liberty
in pawn. Nor is it desirable that our helpful in-
fluence should be frittered away by relating ourselves
unnecessarily to political questions which involve
rivalries of interest abroad with which we have no
proper concern.

It is equally true that we cannot escape our rela-
tion to the economic problems of the world. It
would be impossible to view with indifference ar-
rangements which would deny to our people equal-
ity of economic opportunity or agreements involving
what we believe to be an unjust discrimination
against us. It must not be forgotten that the pros-
perity of the United States largely depends upon
the economic settlements which may be made in
Europe, and the key to the future is with those who
make and control these settlements.

We desire to see conditions stabilized and a re-
newal of the productivity which depends upon secur-
ity of life and property — upon the perception of
opportunity and the feeling of hopefulness which

is needed to quicken industry. We desire also to
find a sound basis for the helpful intercourse of
peace and to see the beginning of a new era of
international justice secured by the application,
through appropriate institutions, of the accepted
principles of right.


Online LibraryCharles Evans HughesAn address delivered by Honorable Charles Evans Hughes → online text (page 1 of 1)