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Daniel Coit Gilman.

[Letter from Mr. Gilman while president of Johns Hopkins University to President Benjamin Ida Wheeler regarding the statements of an Oakland clergyman regarding the lack of religious training in the University online

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Srfc: Rev. Robert Patterson, D. D., a Presbyterian
clergyman resident in Oakland, in a communication
published in the New York Evangelist of August 21,'
1873, makes some statements over his own signature
which deserve notice, in so far as they relate to the
University of California.

However strong may be his preferences for a Pres-
byterian college, it is obvious that Dr. Patterson is
either misinformed or uninformed on the subject which
he discusses, for he could not have intentionally de-
parted from the truth.

After an unauthorized declaration that the State
University has resigned to the Presbyterian church
"the City of San Franfeisoo, and has located itself
away out on t/ie prairie across the bay, about twelve

miles out of town," he adds this sentence. ' The State
University by its constitution is debarred from religion .
At its recent commencement exercises the name of God
was not spoken ; no prayer was offered ; nor was any
reference made in any of the young men's speeches to
moral or religious ideas. Now, even an athiest does
not desire his boy to be trained a materialist."

Allow me to say that the University of California
celebrated its recent commencement at Berkeley, July
16, 1873. Its exercises were opened by a prayer of-
fered up by Rev. S. H. Willey, a Presbyterian clergy-
man of Santa Cruz; two addresses were made by young
men, one of them a brief Latin salutatory, which gave
but little scope for religious or moral ideas; the other
was by a young man of Hebrew origin, a thoughtful
comparison of ancient and modern culture; the Presi-
dent of the University in bestowing the degrees, in-
voked upon the young men, " the blessing of Almighty
God," and warned them [against " dishonesty, selfish-
ness and sloth;" the concluding address was written
by Rt. Ixev. Bishop Kip, and delivered in his absence
by Rev. Dr. Lathrop, Rector of the Church of the' Ad-
vent, in San Francisco .

A large number of clergymen of various denomina-
tions wre present, most of whom expressed their satis-
faction with the exercises. The Jewish Rabbi, the
Rev. Dr . Cohen, placed in my hand a substantial pres-
ent for the young orator referred to. Two,



at least, of the religious papers of San
Francisco, the "Pacific," (Congregational) and the
'Pacific Church man" (Episcopal,), referred to the Com-
mencement exercises in terms too cordial to be quoted
here. Since Commencement the Trustees of an insti-
tution conducted by a third religious denomination have
expressed their purpose to give up the idea of a college
and to make their establishment " a training school for
the State University or any other first-class college in the
land." Prominent persons connected with three distinct
religious bodies, are seriously purposing to build halls
or residences for the students, near to the Univsrsity
grounds'. For this purpose the Episcopalians have se-
cured already six acres of land and funds to the amount
of $5.000 or more.

In short, while the University of California is an in-
stitution of the State, and is so conducted that neither
Protestant, Catholic, nor Jew can claim that it is a "sec-
tarian" or an 4 * ecclesiastical" foundation ; it aims to
promote the highest development of character. While
the State provides* buildings and apparatus
and intellectual instruction those who desire
to secure for ycung men religious and
social culture propose to build up around the Uni-
versity churches and homes. While all such helps are
welcomed, when provided by private or by ecclesiasti-
cal liberality, the public funds are sacredly kept free
from sectarian control.

The criticisms of Hev. Dr. Patterson upon the Uni-
versity of California precede the following: " there-
fore," with which he concludes. "The Presbyterian
Church," he says, " has now before it the golden oppor-
tunity of guiding the higher education of the Pacific
Coast. Therefore, I do most earnestly beseech the gen-
erous-hearted Presbyterians of New York to give Dr.
Cunningham a hearing when he visits them in Sep-
tember, in the guise of a man of California, crying,
'Help us!'"

Hoping that "the higher education of the Pacific
Coast" will not suffer in the hands of its advocate, I am,
Mr. Editor, Yours Respectfully,



REPORT



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Online LibraryDaniel Coit Gilman[Letter from Mr. Gilman while president of Johns Hopkins University to President Benjamin Ida Wheeler regarding the statements of an Oakland clergyman regarding the lack of religious training in the University → online text (page 1 of 1)