Charles F. (Charles Frederick) Manderson.

An address delivered before the University of Nebraska, at its third annual commencement, June 23, 1874 online

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Third Annual Commencement, June 23, 1874


Printed for the University by order of the Regents





And Gentlemen of the Faculty and Board of Regents :

Exceeding loth as I would be to forego -the honor proffered me by
the Faculty of the University of Nebraska, yet I cannot but regret that
the invitation had not been extended to another, and that one more ca-
pable to perform the task allotted to me was not to address you this
evening. It has not been my good fortune, either from personal visits
or from the reports of those interested, to know much of the plan and
workings of this institution ; but to me sufficient warrant that it is all it
could reasonably be expected to be, is the fairly earned and well estab-
lished reputation of those who have had its interests in charge, and un-
der whose efficient care the experiment, inaugurated but three years ago,
is fast ripening into richly deserved and fully assured success. I
extend to you my heartfelt congratulations upon the fact. The
people of this youngest of states point to this youngest of state univer-
sities with well grounded pride and excusable boasting. Cause for
pride, indeed, is there in its establishment and operation : pride in the
government that with such bountiful hand has given the noble patrimo-
ny of fertile acres, forming the rich endowment that makes a free uni-
versity possible ; pride in the State that, mindful of its mighty future,
is quick to take advantage of the opportunity for great good, and gives
the aid of its best brain power to advise and plan for the most judicious
expenditure of the rich treasure bestowed ; pride in the corps of hard
working, efficient teachers who, using the bountiful means, by loving
labor bring about the glorious end ; pride in the pupils, alive to their
opportunity, who supplement the teacher's labor by the studious appli-
cation and aptness of the taught.

Teacher and pupil ! Old-fashioned words almost lost and obsolete in
the high sounding and stilted titles of to-day. How dear the relation-
ship they express. How great a privilege have those whose moulding,
shaping hand forms and creates the carefully educated, thoroughly dis-
ciplined, self-reliant man, leader of his race and kind.

A modern writer expresses the idea most aptly, if oddly : * * The spirit
suckles; the intelligence is a breast. There is an analogy between the

^ Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson.

nurse who gives her milk and the preceptor who gives his thought.
Sometimes the tutor is more father than is the father, just as the nurse
is often more mother than is the mother. It is a beautiful thing to
model a statute and give it life ; to mould an intelligence and instil the
truth therein, is still more beautiful." Yours, teachers of the Univer-
sity of Nebraska, is the glorious privilege to give to the youth of the
State to those who are to control its future and shape its destiny the
last touches of adornment and finish that are to fit them to grace and
ornament the station they are to fill. Upon the base and shaft erected
by home instruction and the tuition of the lower schools you are to
place the graceful capital of the higher education. Necessary for its per-
manence is the base of the Corinthian column; adding largely to its sym-
metrical beauty is its fluted shaft; but essential for its usefulness and
perfection is the wreath-encircled and vine-entwined capital. A com-
mon tool in the hand of a clumsy workman may square the plinth
and round the fillet of the base; one, inexpert, may furrow and grove
the shaft ; but the exact chiseling, trained eye, and expert hand of the
master are needed to give to the capital the delicate tracery, imitating the
fern leaf, the acanthus, and the flower, that is to make the complete
"thing of beauty a joy forever."

Fortunate this young and growing State that, keeping pace with her
rapid physical and material developement, so wonderful to contemplate,
masters of the teacher's art are industriously and faithfully at work;
in the lower schools, scattered all over her settled expanse of territory,
and in this, destined to be the chief of her educational institutions.

Who can doubt the future of this University 1 ? Captious critics and
envious enemies may find fault and severely condemn. Unmolested let
them indulge in one of the dearest of the rights of the American citi-
zen to grumble. Good will follow from the criticism, and, if needed,
reform will result from the condemnation. "The sounding whip
and rowels dyed in blood" but force the mettlesome steed to greater
energy and redoubled exertion. With its corps of professors in-
creased; its library filled with the student's choicest friends; with
physical, chemical, and physiological laboratories and museums af-
fording practical instruction in the higher sciences; with large
and well-arranged dormitories, giving cheap, but good and healthful
living; with ample and tastefully arranged grounds; with its commo-
dious and well-built edifices (in the erection of which there shall be no
"job" or "ring," but a fair contract honestly fulfilled); its curriculum
opening to the seeker for knowledge all channels and avenues, I see
the Nebraska University realizing the ideal of one who knew what the
highest of schools should be "A place in which thought is free from

Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson. 5

all fetters, and in which all sources of knowledge and all aids to learning
should be accessible to all comers, without distinction of creed or coun-
try, riches or poverty." Then will its well earned fame make this
' ' Magic City of the Plain " the Mecca towards which will press the crowd
of pilgrims who testify their homage to the All Knowing God by the
culture and developement of his best gifts to man, and whose pursuit
of the knowledge which is power knows no limit and will be confined
to no beaten path.

We are told that in ancient Corinth, near the celebrated brazen
statue of Hercules, was the beautiful fountain Pirene, so called from a
nymph fabled to have dissolved in tears at the death of her daughter,
who had been accidentally slain by Diana. This fountain, constructed
of white marble, was celebrated for the salubrity of its waters, which is-
sued from artificial caverns and were collected in an open basin. This
was so celebrated in antiquity that Pindar characterizes Corinth as the
"City of Pirene," and the Delphic oracle, according to Herodotus,
speaks of the citizens as those "who dwell around the beautiful fountain
Pirene." This charming City of Lincoln, with its amazing growth,
may become noted for much that is great; but chief of all will be the
gladdening fact that it contains within its limits this institution of learn-
ing. Some historian will speak of it as the " City of the University,"
and those who here find their homes will be known as "those who
dwell around the beautiful fountain" of knowledge from which flow
salubrious waters, refreshing and blessing all who live upon Nebraska's
broad prairies.

In no one thing has the civilized world made more rapid progress
in the last few years than in its systems of education and the perfection
of the details of the teacher's art. The common school system of the
country receives most hearty support in all communities, and the tax
imposed for its existence and progression is paid with greater cheerful-
ness than any other. The architect and the decorator are permitted full
play to their powers of beautifying and adornment in the erection and
finish of school edifices that ornament our choicest situations, giving
to our verdure-clad hill-tops a most fitting crown.

The report of the National Commissioner of Education for the year
1873, gives us intelligence most pleasing to contemplate, as showing
the liberal open-handedness of the American character, and the inclina-
tion of the citizen of the Republic to ' ' put his money where it will do
the most good." One of the tables of the Commissioner shows the
gifts of individuals for educational purposes during the year 1873. The
names of the benefactors, amount of each benefaction, and the name of
the institution receiving the same are given in detail. A summary of the

6 Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson.

tables shows the amount of benefactions received in each State (where
the amount exceeds $1000.00), and the class of institutions to which
they were given; the aggregate for the year for all purposes being
$11,226,977; and, as an index of what the giving public deem the most
important, so far as that fact is evidenced by the table, I give the fol-
lowing statement of the direction of their generosity :

They gave to

Colleges and Universities .... $8,238,141

Schools of Science 780,658

Schools of Theology 619,801

Medical Colleges 78,600

Superior and Secondary Instruction of Women 827,246

Libraries 379,011

Museums of Natural History 131,680

Deaf, Dumb, and Blind 19,000

Peabody Fund 135,840

Miscellaneous 17,000

Of course the amount of the aggregate would be largely increased
were it in the power of the Commissioner to obtain information of all
the benefactions for the cause of education in the country, for many
there be who " do good by stealth and blush to find it fame."

Happy the thought, too, that the days of strictly sectarian schools
are numbered that the straight jacket of an intolerant bigotry no long-
er binds the powers and limits the progress of the student seeking a
many-sided knowledge. His question to-day is not "What denomina-
tion or sect founded and has charge of the school to which you invite
me 1 ?" but "Where is the place where I can have the freest range for in-
quiry, obtain the guiding hand of the most competent instructors, and
the best opportunity for mind improvement 1 ?"

The seal of public condemnation appears to be placed .upon that
principle so fraught with danger to the common school system the
division among religious sects of the monies collected for educational
purposes. Let us see to it that in our own fair Nebraska this perni-
cious doctrine takes no root, for its growth would be into a deadly upas,
blasting our dearest interests.

I read in the Register and Catalogue just issued by the Faculty that
' ' the advantages of the University are afforded to all citizens of the com-
monwealth, free of charge for tuition, without regard to sex or race, on
condition only of possessing the intellectual and moral qualifications
requisite for admission." A noble offer truly, and one that is apace
with the age.

Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson. 7

The subject of sex in education, and the proper course to pursue in
educating the women of our country, here meets its easiest and readiest
solution. There has been much theorizing upon the question as to
how the vacuity of many feminine lives had best be filled. Here is
the practical experiment worth all the theories combined. An even
chance with man her equal and co-worker should .be afforded to wo-
man to make her his efficient help-meet. This proffered bounty of the
State gives it to her. The higher education here afforded will fit her
to take her place in the professions, in which she is yet to find a sphere
as suitable and well-fitted to the delicate refinement of the true woman
as the home circle. But who will say that in domestic life and in the
administration of the household a higher education will not the better
fit her for the performance of the detail work, the efficient doing of
which makes the home, over which she is the presiding deity, what it
should be? Let her bring to bear upon the questions of ventilation,
temperature, and the housewife's economics a thorough scientific knowl-
edge; to the arrangement of light and shade, color and decoration,
that high artistic judgment only to be obtained by careful and long con-
tinued study, and home is made more pleasant, and man is made hap-
pier, better, and more capable of producing great results. God speed
the young women whose names appear upon your Catalogue! Pio-
neers they of a great multitude of their sex who, in after time, will here
be fitted for the work as well as the play of life. " He who educates a
woman educates a race."

The act of the Legislature establishing the University authorizes the
following departments:

1. A College of Ancient and Modern Languages, Mathematics, and
Natural Science.

2. A College of Agriculture.

3. A College of Law.

4. A College of Medicine.

5. A College of Practical Science, Mechanics, and Civil Engineer-

6. A College of Fine Arts.

You have been enabled to organize two of these departments the
College of Literature, Science, and Art, and the College of Agriculture.
Here is a blending of the ornamental and the useful, the elegant and
the common, that brings to our minds the remark of our genial scholar,
Irving: "In America, literature and the elegant arts must grow up
side by side with the coarser plants of daily necessity."

Let there be no discouragement in the fact that the list of students
is as yet a small one, and that they are confined to a portion of our ter-

8 Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson.

ritory. As the lower and high schools of the State continue the im-
provement that has marked them for the last two or three years, the
need of the more advanced learning here to be acquired will be felt;
and as the great expanse of country west of us is settled by the agricul-
turist, the training here to be obtained will be sought by eager crowds.
Man seeks with avidity that which pays. Ignorant farming is unpro-
fitable farming. This fact is to this necessarily agricultural State an im-
portant one. Scientific labor, affording profit to the individual, affords
profit to the state. You are doing good work in graduating under the
bachelor's hat and the master's bonnet the scientific, trained tiller of the
soil, having theoretical and practical knowledge of mechanical physics,
vegetable physiology, arboriculture, horticulture, meteorology, farm
economy, the anatomy and physiology of domestic animals, and stock
breeding. I hope the time is close at hand when, upon some of the
broad acres of fertility adjacent to this institution, there will be estab-
lished a college farm, where the agricultural theories here advanced
may be put to the test of practical working. This will bring the in-
quiring student into readiness for action, with gun loaded and primed,
and the "forty rounds of ammunition in his cartridge box," and the
skilled discipline in his knowledge box, that will enable him to do suc-
cessful battle with the enemies of the farmer's peace. He would be a
foolish commander indeed who would confine his men to the book
study of tactics, . the cleaning of accoutrements, and the burnishing of
guns. They would never "fright the souls of fearful adversaries"
until, by efficient drill and practical manoeuvring, they were rendered
fit for active service as well as dress parade.

The world offers greater premiums for learning to-day than ever in
her history. Time was and not far distant when the choice of the
scholar was limited to the three so-called learned professions, law,
medicine, and theology. Now the student has not only the choice, if
he seeks to labor with brain -rather than hand, to be doctor, lawyer, or
clergyman, but he may be architect, teacher, scientist, engineer,
chemist, or journalist. All are honorable professions, affording lead-
ership, and none of them so crowded but that there is yet room
upon the higher seats, and none of them but give to ability and
energy all the fame and gain desired by the most ambitious.

I hope to see the day when the science of government and the pro-
fession of politics will be taught in this and similar institutions through-
out the country. I hear you exclaim, "What! would you educate
our youth to become politicians 2" Yes! I would indeed. Not poli-
ticians, however, in the common acceptation of the term not office
seekers, but statesmen. I would lift our rulers to a platform of cul-

Address by Hon. C. F. Maud er son. p

tured ability and brain power, from which they could see something of
more importance than the question of their next election or return to
office, and who would suppose that statesmanship meant something
better than "hearing of the grange movement, and returning to one's
constituents dressed in a hickory shirt and cowhide boots." Politics is
a filthy pool mainly because of the foul creatures who bathe in its
waters. Cleanse them, or let an educated public sentiment forbid
their ablutions, and the political waters will purify and be sweetened.
The perpetuation of American institutions requires that brighter intel-
lects and better integrity should fill the " high places of the land." To
have our best men in position requires that our best men should be
trained in the profession of politics, that they may enter the field
where the nation's honors are awarded to the victor, trained to achieve
success, and to fill with efficient, pains-taking, honest service the places
sought for them. I do not wish to be understood as advocating a
school where politics shall be taught as a trade, to be pursued as one's
chief calling. Far from it; for that is one of the evils of the day that I
seek to remedy. What I do plead for is the thorough education of the
American scholar in political economy, constitutional, international,
municipal, and parliamentary law, the governing science, finance, and
the machinery of law making and diplomacy. With this training the
scholar will enter politics as a purifying influence, and the vulgar, de-
basing means of vulgar, debased men will be no longer a lament of the
present, but a disgrace of the past and a warning to the future. Is no
lesson to be learned by the American student from the admirable po-
litical life of CHARLES SUMNER 1 Not only his prominent leadership,
his polished readiness in debate, his efficiency as a law-maker, but also
.his honesty of purpose, integrity in action, earnest .championship of
the right, and singular purity of life, arose from that carefully trained,
scholastic ability that made him the greatest senator of his time.
The touching of no political pitch defiled Massachusetts' noblest
son. As FRANCIS BACON says: "The sun, though it passes through
dirty places, yet remains as pure as before."

Words of wisdom and of warning come to us from the pen of one of the
ablest men who ever made politics a study, one who was driven by that
searching study into the fore-front of the vanguard of radical extre-
mists the reformer, JOHN STUART MILL. He says: "No govern-
ment by a democracy, either in its political acts, or in the opinions,
qualities, and tone of mind which it fosters, ever did or could rise
above mediocrity, except in so far as the sovereign many have let
themselves be guided (as in their best times they always have done)
by the counsels and influence of a more highly gifted and instructed

io Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson.

few." The "sovereign many" of this country are to decide in the
immediate future many important questions affecting their greatest
interests, the welfare and, perhaps, the fate of the republic. The
power to solve these questions does not, like Dogberry's reading and
writing, "come by nature." They are matters that require careful
study, deep research, and the labor of trained brains. "The highly
gifted and instructed few " must step to the front, armed and equipped
for the leadership that conducts, by well-known paths, and with no
needless waste of material, to the desired victory.

The people needed no teachers in deciding the questions of our po-
litical past. These, the answering of which makes up our history,
needed no learned argumentation: Are all men created free and equal?
Shall the people rule? Shall there be taxation without representation 1 ?
Shall slavery exist in free America 1 ? May a state secede, and by
secession defeat the experiment of self-government? The counsel and
influence of the instructed few was not needed by the sovereign many
in their solution. They were questions addressed to the heart rather
than the head. They appealed to an innate sense of right found in any
bosom, whether learned or ignorant. The answers to all were written
in the heart's blood of the people.

But what of questions like these that are of the hour, or are at the
threshold ready to knock at the nation's door : Shall we increase the
paper currency of the country without reference to a metallic basis ?
Shall we resume specie payment 1 ? Shall we, by increase of revenue,
speedily pay off the national debt? By what means can we best stop
'official corruption? Shall there be more appointable or elective officers?
Shall the appointing power fill offices by competitive examinations?
Shall we adopt minority representation and cumulative voting? What
is the relation of labor and capital, and how shall we best prevent
conflicts destructive to both ? What shall be done toward regulating
corporate monopolies, so that the rights of the people and the rights
of the corporations may both be maintained ? Shall legislation aid or
check co-operative enterprises ? Shall education be compulsory ? Shall
there be an intelligence qualification to the right of suffrage? Is it
best that woman should vote? Shall we stop Mongolian immigration?
What shall be the status of the Chinaman and the Indian? Shall
we attempt, by legislation, to control the social rights of the citizen?
What distinction in civil and social rights shall be made in bringing all
upon the plane of equality? The power to answer these does not
"come by nature." Their deliberation and determination will require
the best work of the ripest scholars of the age, whose intellects, while

Address by Hon. C. F. Manderson. n

fascinated by the investigation, will be taxed and sore wearied in the

Therefore it is that I plead for instruction in the science of govern-
ment and of politics. The demand of the times is for the culture and
scholastic training, that imperatively forces him who has it to full in-
quiry, and to hear both sides of every question presented. We want
to supplant the heated, hasty partisan, with the cool, deliberate states-
man. By doing so, we aid our glorious republic to help the world "to
come up higher," and we give to the ambitious scholar the exalted
place described by HERBERT SPENCER among "those who elaborate
new truths and teach them to their fellows, and are now the real rulers,
the unacknowledged legislators, the virtual kings."

The cultured gentleman who, two years ago, filled this place, urged
in most forcible and elegant language ' ' the duty of the state to pro-
vide the higher education." The argument of his address was as
convincing as its diction was polished. Did I not feel that it would
be a trespass, unwarranted by the occasion, my desire to-night would
be to advocate at some length the duty of the state to provide the
lower, or more general education, and to provide it by enforcing the
attendance of the untaught upon the school. In view of the fact that
the learned gentleman who last year addressed you, made strong oppo-
sition to compulsory education (with me, I confess, a pet hobby), I
cannot refrain from attempting to uphold the cause that received such
severe treatment at his hands, even at the risk of trespassing a little
upon your kind attention.

The necessity of grounding republican institutions firmly upon the
bed-rock of the education of all the people is fully recognized by him.
He says with apparent full appreciation of a fact that needs no argu-
ment : "Education is the support as well as the guaranty of the
perpetuity of a free government," and again, "discerning legislators
* * * have discovered that liberty and education go hand in hand
that to grant the one without providing for the other, is to endanger
the very structure of free government itself." Yet, notwithstanding
these well grounded assertions, the learned gentleman makes open op-
position to compulsory education, and disputes the right of the gov-
ernment to save itself from danger, and, perhaps, destruction. The
idea of obligatory education strikes his conservatism unfavorably, be-
cause he says, it is a new one. If age is essential to give it respectability
then give "it high place and careful consideration, for it is no new
thing. It is, at least, as old as PLATO, the Greek philosopher. In
Plato's Laws, yth book, we find: "In these several schools let there


Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Frederick) MandersonAn address delivered before the University of Nebraska, at its third annual commencement, June 23, 1874 → online text (page 1 of 2)