Henry John Wrixon.

Jacob Shumate; or, The people's march (Volume 1) online

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debris in the creeks running from the mountain side. He
studied the reports and plans published by companies who
were working in the adjacent leads, and made notes in
the free library of Silveracre from all mining books and
periodicals that gave any information that bore upon the
problem which he was attempting to solve. But he chiefly
relied on his own observations and the conclusions that his
own experience as a miner led him to, and after over two
years spent in investigation, during which he met with some
failures in the results of his attempts to test the ground, and,
we may be sure, disappointments many and various, he at
last got together a mass of facts in support of his proposal
to bore the hills in the direction, and not far from the point,
that he had from the first indicated. Though a poor hand at
explaining things clearly, he managed to interest Mr. Fairlie


in his venture, and the Banker induced the Directors of the
Brassville branch of the Imperial Bank to ' take him up,' to
speak in the language of the Bank parlour. It was rather a
risk on his part, but he was known on both sides of the
Divide for his liberal and sagacious dealing with all promising
projects. So the necessary funds were advanced to Dorland,
then plain William, an ample lease of country, then con-
sidered valueless, was got from the Government, the mountain
side was this time thoroughly explored in the direction he
wanted, mother earth was made to give forth her secrets,
and true enough the precious ore was revealed, solid, in
masses, ' hills of silver,' as the newspapers said. The common
mining hand became a rich man, a great man, one of the
Princes of the people, rolling in silver ; when people spoke
of him, they said that whatever he touched turned to silver.
For now that he had money, dearly as he prized it, he was
sagacious enough to know that its value lay in its use, and
he wielded the power of the purse with growing experience
and unremitting industry to open out new fields of wealth,
until, as he reached middle life, he stood forth the lord of
miles of leads of shining ore, the master of millions. Not a
few envied him, disparaged him, or spoke half-despairingly,
half-sneeringly of the power of ' luck.' Others denounced
the social conditions which allowed one man thus ' to
monopolise the gifts of Nature,' and possibly satisfied them-
selves that in doing so they were actuated only by reasons
of public policy. They did not concern themselves with
the consideration that, were it not for Dorland's enterprise
and sagacity, Nature might still have been keeping her gifts
to herself. ' It might have made a differ with some of 'em,'
the successful man would say in the most unruffled manner,
' if they had found the Mine, not me.' But, generally, the
public applauded William Dorland as a great Mining Pioneer,
and recognised that but for his intelligence, determination,
and ceaseless industry the famous Van-Dorland Mine so
called after an ancestor of his would never have poured
forth its treasures to enrich the Province.

Even his enemies could not deny that, when his pro-
sperity was firmly established, he showed a broad public spirit
in the use of his wealth, and that he formed large designs


and far-reaching plans for public objects, with much the
same enterprise and confidence that he had exhibited in
piercing the sides of the Boulder Dividing Range. If he
himself and his fortunes were to the fore in many of these
projects, why, truly, we may ask, could he be expected to
leave himself quite out ?

It was so with the University called after his name. His
bounty established it, and he also gave time and attention to
the business part of the management ; and if it extended his
influence in the community, and if, at least in the more
practical departments, his personality made its weight felt in
the management and even the tone of the teaching, could he
be blamed for such a natural consequence ? As to everyday
politics, he did not join in them himself. You can make
kings, though you do not wear a crown. Apart from his
vast business concerns, and their relation to the Government,
nothing engaged his attention more than the University.
He took a real interest in it, even apart from the value it had
for him in increasing his influence with the public. His
desire was that, while teaching to some extent the arts and
sciences, of which he knew little, it should more especially
deal with practical matters, and rescue popular education
from the reproach of being merely a bookish affair, which,
instead of promoting industrial work, rather indisposed young
men and women to it. And as for social and political
science, he maintained that lectures at the University only
fulfilled part of their function when they instructed youths
in the knowledge of the text-books. Those subjects should
be taught in what he termed a live manner, so as to spread
the instruction through the young people to the public ; and
further, the University should endeavour by all other avail-
able methods to enlighten the outside people when great
issues arose in which the principles of Economic science were
concerned. For this reason, the Board of Overseers, of
which he was the President and the guiding hand, had, as
Mr. Fairlie had informed Frankfort when writing home to
him, reserved to themselves the power to sanction the
entrance into political life of the Professor of Sociology, on
being satisfied that it would not interfere with the discharge
of his duties to the University, or be otherwise hurtful to


that Institution. Of this, of course, they would be the
judges. In this way the President hoped that the seat of
learning might be the means of enforcing sound views upon
the people. Which were they? Naturally those which he
believed to be so.

The pervading principle, then, of the William Borland
University was to give knowledge a practical manifestation,
and to dignify common things and the people concerned
in them by lifting them as far as possible into the upper
region of intellect. It was a striking exemplification of the
democratising of mind ; the very antithesis of the old days,
when the knowledge of the University was confined to the
mental discipline of dead languages and logic ; and when
anything practical was condemned as undignified. Men
here were prepared for industrial pursuits, just as they were
for the professions termed learned, upon the principle, and
the very true principle, that intelligent training was as much
required for the useful prosecution of the one as of the other.
Marked attention was given to Agriculture, the course for
Bachelor of Agriculture being extensive and thorough, deal-
ing with the study of the natural properties of the soil,
chemical and physical, and the various means of modifying
its chemical composition and its physical conditions, such as
by ploughing, manuring, subsoiling, draining, irrigating, burn-
ing, and by special methods of cultivation. The composition
of the different manures were investigated animal, vegetable,
mineral, and farmyard manure and the true methods, at
once scientific and practical, for applying them ; also the
various kinds of crops, cereals, leguminous plants, forage
plants, industrial plants. The kindred industry of grazing
and the management of stock was taught, including the
veterinary surgeon's art and not omitting farriery. Instruc-
tion in the best kind of farm buildings, in tree and shrub
culture, and in the proper keeping of farm accounts com-
pleted the course. But naturally among the practical
subjects chief attention was given to Mining, as the Uni-
versity might be said to be the offspring of the Silver
Mines, and indeed was still dependent upon them for a large
part of its income. The curriculum for the degree of Master
of Mining included instruction in the principles of geology,


also in topographical and mechanical engineering, mining
chemistry, metallurgy, applied mechanics, together with
practical training in mechanical and electrical machinery.
But the most important feature in the teaching was the out-
door work that the students were required to undertake for
some six weeks every year. Visits were made under the
superintendence of their instructors to the leading mines
(and particularly to the great Van -Borland Mine); and
work was done in company with gangs of working miners,
in connection with shaft-sinking, drifting, stoping, timbering,
underground haulage, hoisting, mine drainage and ventila-
tion ; while their attention was also directed to matters
connected with the surface plant and machinery, mine build-
ings, and water supply. The students were divided into
squads, and were placed under the direction of a foreman
for practical work, while the University instructor attended
to give the theoretical and scientific bearing of the facts.
Sometimes, when the President happened to be at Silveracre
during the students' visit to the Mines, he would accompany
the party down the shaft and along the drives himself, and,
clad in suitable miner's dress for the descent, he seemed like
the old penniless, but still hard-working Bill Borland again.
On these occasions, his favourite form of solemn irony where-
with to rally the students was to ask them, if he had been
able to do so much without any University degree, what
must they not be able to achieve with it ? Two years' study
and the passing of examinations, that were practical quite as
much as theoretical, were necessary to obtain the degree of
Bachelor of Mining, while a third year's extended experience
was required to secure the status of Master.

In the Mechanic arts about equal attention was given by
the students to class-room work and shop work, which latter
included pattern-making, moulding, casting, and forging. A
novel feature in the William Borland University was that,
under its protection, in affiliated schools were given lessons,
termed the Affiliated Schools Course, in cooking and dress-
making for the instruction of young women, of which Mrs.
Borland was the patron, and in which she and the President
took an active interest. Frankfort was rather amused by
the particulars of these courses of instruction, which, though


not taught directly by the University, were not considered
unfit to be prescribed under the shadow of its authority.
The culinary syllabus was most complete, beginning with
teaching how to boil potatoes and going on to all the per-
fection of confectionery ; while that for dressmaking began
with hemming and darning, and went through working
button-holes to all the intricacies of special work with the
sewing machine. When his friends sometimes joked the
President about his concern for these homely matters, he
would reply, ' It's because ye don't take it rightly. The wife
and I are thinking the while for the people the poorer sort,
ye know and nothing helps them more, morality and all,
than good food on the board and the wife pleasant and
neatly dressed. A bit of steak like a piece of stewed leather,
wife a sloven end the Divorce Court ; or maybe divorce
without the Court : husband clears out Judge Harding the
other day there talks of incompatibility of temper ; but what
causes that ? Incompatibility of food and of person.'

In due time our Professor received his formal appoint-
ment, signed by the President on behalf of the Board of
Overseers, and with it a polite request from that gentleman
that he would favour him with an early call, so that they
might talk over matters and become better acquainted with
one another than they had had an opportunity of being during
their formal business interviews. Frankfort did not delay in
making the desired call. When he entered the first room
of the suite, he found it not inappropriately furnished for
an apartment in a seat of learning ; only that everything
seemed to be so new. Before the President came in, he had
an opportunity of looking round at the oaken bookcases.
With their close-fitting glass doors and green leather edging,
they were quite attractive to a man of his tastes ; though, to
be sure, they were more spick and span than could be ex-
pected if they were more often resorted to ; while the books
themselves, fresh and glittering in all the glory of gilt and
morocco, looked as if they were distinctly connected with
the plutocracy of literature. As being so, they seemed to
have put away from them all poor shabby relations. There
were among them no old soiled-looking folios of perhaps a
high pedigree intellectually, but now presenting a dingy


appearance, as being in reduced circumstances ; no rare
copies, or scarce early editions, useful as showing the altera-
tions in later editions ; nor books round whose authorship
dispute rages ; or others that are nothing in themselves, but
of interest because men, otherwise great, wrote them ; none
that were distinguished by the autograph of some notable
man who once had owned them, or had notes on the margin
showing the workings of the mind of some unknown student
in the past upon the page that we are conning over, his
personality lost for ever in oblivion, but his ideas still there
to mingle with ours. The copies of the antique busts about
the room were very pleasing, but rather fresh, and there were
two noble heads, one of Shakespeare and the other of Milton,
on the spacious mantelpiece on either side of the striking
bust of the Honourable President himself. On the writing-
table of polished oak there was a handsome desk, with a
curiously -carved escritoire, a morocco -bound blotting-pad,
extensive and spotless, and stacks of milk-white paper all
impressed with the University crest, a soaring Eagle, with the
Motto round the wings, ' Onward and Upward.' How unlike
the dingy room and little deal desk in Scotland at which
Frankfort used to toil through many an anxious night ! It
seemed to him that it would be quite a pleasure to sit down
and work away at such a table. A handsome vase, spotless
and bright, stood near the escritoire, containing a brilliant
bunch of camellias, which the Curator had sent from the
University Gardens. He always kept the vase thus furnished
with the flowers of the season on days when the President
attended at his office.

The sound from the inner room of the emphatic stroke
on the table bell, summoning the attendant to take a
message to some department of the University, disturbed
Frankfort's observations, and as he looked up the President,
staid and deliberate in his aspect and carriage, walked in.
His appearance was not out of keeping with his surroundings.
He had a solid, Bank-director sort of aspect ; his originally
reddish hair and beard were now a little tinged with a
grayish hue, and with his blue eyes, somewhat dulled by
care and years, he looked out upon you solemnly nay, even
with a tinge of sadness. You could not say that his aspect


was exactly that of a refined man, but there was an un-
doubted surface or veneer of, you might call it, culture,
arising from many years passed in the exercise of high
matters of business an exercise that develops both mental
power and the habit of self-restraint, and also the composed
bearing of the outward man. In his manner he displayed
that self-satisfied, almost superior, air which often belongs to
the successful man of business, but which yet wants that
native-born ease which attaches to birth and aristocratic
surroundings, even with people who may be poor creatures
enough in themselves.

' Most pleased to see you and greet you, Professor
Mr. Frankfort on your own account and also on your uncle's.
One of the soundest men we've got, sir. Friend of mine too,
sir indeed, I may say a friend in need.' For the President
was far too much a real man to forget his old friends, now
that he had risen.

' It is a pleasure to me, Mr. President,' replied Frankfort,
' to meet the founder of this noble Institution.'

' Yes, sir, our Institution is certainly noble in its purposes ;
and you have probably seen from our calendar there,' said
the President, pointing to a copy bound in leather and gilt
that lay on his table, ' how wide and practical our aims
are.' He added slowly, ' Knowledge is power, the books
say ; but it's not so of itself, unless those who have it use it,
and don't keep it as something to be enjoyed by a few.'

' Certainly all progress tends that way,' answered Frankfort
with ready sympathy. ' It's no use the few going on, if the
mass are left behind ; in fact, they cannot go on, unless they
take the others with them.'

' That's why we've been proud,' said the President, ' to
have been among the first to practically recognise the new
light that education has thrown on manual work, and, I may
say too, manual work on education. We consider that
when you apply mind to work you help to train the hand,
certainly ; but we also consider that when you train the
hand you help to train the mind. Teaching a boy how to
make a cedar desk well, improves his mental power as well as
his manual skill. If he makes the desk well,' he added after a
moment's pause, ' he'll be better able to use it well afterwards.'


' Undoubtedly skilful manual training is mental training
up to a point,' said Frankfort. ' When you get to the
higher branches of learning, mind can only brighten itself up
by conflict with other minds. You cannot then help the
mental process by practical work.'

' But you would not class your own science, the Socio-
logical, with these : the more practical it is made the better,
to be sure.'

' Certainly. Still, my function concerns only the im-
parting of knowledge ; men must afterwards apply this
practically, as their judgment directs, in the outside life,'
replied our Professor.

' True very true,' said the President. ' Still, with regard
to your science too, it stands true that the value of know-
ledge is to apply it to actions ; and how can you do that
with social knowledge unless you make an impression on
the public outside the College as well as the inside.'

' I hope that the truth of the principles of Social Science,
as I will teach them, will expand from and through my
scholars to the public outside. That's the best way in
which I can be practical, is it not ? '

' To be sure,' said the President, musing ' to be sure.
Yet yours is in itself such a practical science, and your
message, so to speak, is so full of value to us all, we hope
that there will be found ways for spreading your sound
views outside the Academic Hall as well as inside.'

' Yes, there is always the Press. One can publish
Lectures, if the subject be not merely academical.'

' True. And then no doubt you have minded the
condition that the Overseers can sanction a Professor
entering Parliament, when satisfied that such a course would
be useful to the public- teaching the public, in fact.'

' As to that, I have not fully considered it,' said Frankfort,
pausing a little in like manner even as the President himself ;
4 the functions of a Professor and of a Politician, though they
may tend in the same direction, do not lie in the same plane.'

' In what way ? I don't follow you right out,' said the
President. ' You put forth sound views in either place,
Parliament or lecture-room.'

' Yes, but the dual position needs some consideration.


As Professor one is bound to the University. As Repre-
sentative his position is altered. His duty is to the country
and what he judges to be best for it.'

' But ye would not say one thing in the one place and a
different in the other ? ' gravely said the President.

' Of course not. Still, you see the distinction,' said
Frankfort, rather interrupting the Honourable Mr. Borland,
as that gentleman slowly proceeded :

' Surely surely ; yet we want to be practical in our
Sociology, just as we are in our Mining, and to make our
weight felt as a University in the social questions of the day.'

' But there is the difference. The Professor makes his
weight felt by teaching truth to his classes, and trusting
that it will filter outside. With the Representative the
whole ground shifts : the public become his class, or rather,
indeed, his master in a sense, his teacher. I do not for a
moment say that the two characters are irreconcilable ; only
the question has not come sufficiently near to me practically
to have made me think it out." Thus Frankfort spoke on,
getting interested in the distinction that he was drawing.
When he looked up he found the solemn eye of the
President had rested upon him, observing him with

' Good sound doctrine, Professor,' he said quietly ' con-
stitutional, I may say. Your uncle told me that you were a
constitutional authority as well as the rest. Still, when the
people need teaching, what I wanted to express was that the
University should show the light of knowledge hold up
the torch, one may say. It can only do that through its

' That, of course, would not apply to the party politics of
the day.'

' Well, to be sure,' said the President, ' not to ordinary
political business such as goes on daily, as you remark.
I don't know that they are worth any man's attention.
But great social questions now that go to the foundations
of the people's wellbeing and industrial life '

' Such as would be taught from my Chair ? ' remarked
Frankfort interrogatively.

' Well, yes, I suppose ye would include them,' said the


President, looking round the room slowly till his eye rested
upon the three busts over the mantelpiece ' I presume you
would deal with them, the Currency question, the great
Silver problem Bi-metallism, you know, ratio of silver to
gold vital for us, there we might tell. We might teach
the people all the more, ye see, if we had a little political
voice as well,' he added, looking round on Frankfort
again. ' Truth is great, sir, and it will prevail there's
Latin for that, I believe but at times it wants a bit of

Our Professor as yet knew nothing of the problems,
alive or sleeping, that concerned Excelsior ; but he in-
stinctively felt that he was getting on delicate ground, so he
merely replied in the tone that one assumes when closing a
conversation :

' As for me, my idea is for a man, whether Professor or
Politician, to maintain whatever he believes to be true where-
ever he acts and whatever the subject.'

The Honourable Mr. Borland looked up at him in a
prompter manner than was usual with him, as if he were
quite struck by his remark, and, grasping his hand, said with
a warmth rather uncommon with him

' Give me your hand, Professor give me your hand.
Your views are not merely constitutional, I might call them
morally sound worthy to be your uncle's nephew.'

They walked down to the University gate together and
cordially parted, Frankfort declining, with many thanks, the
President's proposal to drive back to town in Mrs. Borland's
handsome brougham, in which that lady had called at the
University in order to bring the President home. In truth,
he preferred the freedom and novelty of the electric trams,
and as he hurried along to the city, he thought for a moment
or two on the conversation that he had just had with the
President ; but only for a moment or two, for if that
gentleman's views were a little astray upon some points, his
public objects appeared to be laudable. You could not
expect a self- trained man, who never himself had the
advantages of a University education, to fully enter into the
sense of almost dignified isolation that belonged to the
calling of the teacher of scientific truth.


Soon our Professor was established in his Chair, delivering
lectures on Sociology, that were marked by considerable
learning and much enthusiasm for his subject, to a bright
class, mostly composed of young men, but which also con-
tained several young women. Women in Excelsior had not
yet been granted equal political power with men,asthe political
suffrage was still limited to the male sex ; but the advanced
politicians were in favour of giving it, and of securing to
women an absolute equality of political rights with men.
Time was only needed to secure the victory. Several of
the more energetic type of women attended the Lectures in
Sociology, as a means of preparing themselves for the duties
that they would afterwards have to discharge in the political

Online LibraryHenry John WrixonJacob Shumate; or, The people's march (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 45)