William Richards Castle William Roscoe Thayer.

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The relationship of the business man
with politics has been severed; and more
impracticable, more bad legislation, has
been enacted during these years that his
advice and counsel was not available or
was not sou^t and heeded than in all
the preceding fifty years.

However, this relationship was on the

wrong principle and had to come to an
end, and the results that I have described
are but the natural outcome of the read-
justment. But the prosperity and well-
being of the country still depends upon
the existence of a working relation be-
tween the government and the business
interests. The campaign contribution
was the wrong method of establishing
this relationship, but it is neoessaiy now
as always that for the good of the nation
there should be harmony between the
government and the business world. Out
of tins discussion and ferment, there has
finally emeiged an appreciation of the
necessity for unity in our national life, —
a realization that there can be no war on
business by the government, but that
the welfare of the country depends on
the legitimate protection of business and
nothing more. The man who puts his
money into politics must also put in his
brains if he is to make his influence felt.

After the Civil War we seem to have
thought that we had settled all the prob-
lems of representative goveinment and
that wemight then go on without thou^t
or care for the future; that the Govern-
ment was automatic in operation like
some natural force, not requiring especial
attention on the part of its citisens; that
we might proceed with absolute abandon
to the exploitation of the great natural
resources of this country and the up-
building of our individual fortunes, free
from obligation or responsibility to our
Government. And that we did with un-
paralleled success. But the period from
which we are now emerging brings an
end to that epoch and that attitude; we
seem to have come to a time in which the
influence of public opinion is again to be
the vital force in our national affairs, giv-
ing rise to a higher ideal of citizenship
than we have known in the last half-

We have seen the people of Europe, in

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Commencement. — Afternoon Exercises. [September/

the crises of the past year, rise as a man
and sink their social and political differ-
ences, and dedicate everjrthing that they
have and everything that they hold dear
to the service of their native land. It is
an inspiring spectacle for us; an example
of patriotism that we should emulate as
we enter on this new phase of our nar
tional existence. In Europe it was the
stem lesson of war that brought to the
surface the essential qualities of the peo-
ple; may it not be that by the example of
those nations we may in peace renew our
patriotism and prepare ourselves to do
the great things now required of us.

Mr. Rhodes, the day before yesterday,
in his admirable address, revived many
memories of fifty years ago as he recalled
the dangerous period through which we
then passed. I think that the times
which he described are paralleled, in
some measure, in the happenings of to-
day ; that as high an order of civic moral-
ity and duty is now required as was then
so nobly shown; that now when our
country is calling us to her standard
there is urgent need for us to show our
devotion to the nation by a subordina*
tion of all selfish interest.

** Alas! it is not when we sleep soft and
wake merrily oursells, that we think on
other people's sufferings. Our hearts are
waxed light within us then, and we are
for righting our ain wrongs and fighting
our ain battles. But when the hour of
trouble comes, — seldom may it visit
your Leddyship, — when the hour of
death comes, that comes to high and
low, — lang and late may it be yours, O
my Leddy, — then it isna* what we hae
dune for oursells, but what we hae dune
for others, that we think on maist pleas-


The preparation of the learned and
godly clergy was one of the early func-

tions of Harvard College. They went
out from Harvard College into every vil-
lage of New England, carrying with them
a love of learning. Through all the years
they have had a just and well-earned in-
fluence in the community. Their num-
bers in relation to the great body of grad-
uates may have diminished, but the
power of the great preacher to control
the souls of men still exists.

I call upon the Reverend Paul Revere


Mr. President, President of the Uni-
versity, Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers
of Harvard : I suppose no one can receive
an honor such as I have received today
from Harvard University without being
conscious, in the first place, of the great
distinction itself, and without also being
somewhat painfully conscious of his own
unworthiness to receive the distinction.

Now, Brothers, these occasions, these
Alumni occasions, are always a cause
notable. They are notable in themselves,
and have been notable for the things
that are said at them. But to my mind
this Commencement today has peculiar
interest and significance. In the first
place, I wonder when, in the course of
the centuries since Harvard Was first
established, the President of this Uni-
versity has been privileged to announce
such great achievements as President
Lowell has announced today — in the
completion of the great Widener Library
and of the freshmen dormitories. To
find any gift comparable to the princely
gift that we see in the Widener Library
we must, I think, go back to remember
some of the gifts that came from that
distinguished alumnus whom we rejoice
perhaps to honor more than almost any
other — we must go back to some of the
gifts of Major Higginson himself.

And then. Brothers, I want to say that

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Commencement. — AJiemoan Exerdsee.


this occasion is notable on another ac-
count. It b notable because of the dra-
matic interest that attaches to one of our
most distinguished guests here today.
You have just listened to the words of a
man who comes back to us from across
the ocean, having endeared himself to a
sister Republic in the hour of her great-
est need, having endeared himself by his
courage, his manly, his noble, I may say
his American, sense of duty, who comes
back here to find his own country almost
the only great nation in the world which
is not at war at the present time.

We never come back here. Brothers of
Harvard, without being mindful of the
things that man can accomplish because
of education and that the sons of men
here in this University show that they
have accomplished in the days that are
gone. Why is it that we are always so
glad to come back here on these Com-
mencement occasions? It is not merely,
I think, because we renew our memory
of the scenes of perhaps many years ago.
It is not merely because we renew here
old friendships. It is not merely, I think,
because we recall mornings in the Col-
Iege[Chapel or afternoons in University 5.
It is not for any reason such as these.
But I believe we are always particularly
glad to come back here for these alumni
meetings because these meetings bring
us in a way in touch with the youth at
the present time in Harvard University,
and because youth stands for the future,
and because youth stands for promise.
God knows, my lm>thers, that you and I
at the present time need all that we can
get in the way of promise for the future.
And we ought, I think, to be particu-
larly glad in coming back here this year
because of the promise that there is for
the future, more especially of the United
States of America, in the youth that are
being trained here by the high ideals
and the great principles for which

this University stands and always has

It goes without saying that you and I
c^ the generations that are older have no
particular reason for being satisfied with
the work c^ our hands. And in coming
back hare we get some comfort and some
solace in the hope that the generations to
come will do better in these respects than
we have done. Harvard University is a
place to make every good American
hkppy. And it is calculated to make him
happy because of the promise that there
is in the men that are going out to take
their parts in the work of this world.

It may be that the President this
morning, in granting a bachelor's, or a
master's, or a doctor's degree, has hon-
ored some youth who in the days to come
will be able to lend his influence to keep
this great country of ours out of the en-
tanglements and the horrors of war and
to guide her definitely in the paths of

Brothers, the work of the century past,
if we may gather it up into just a word or
two^ was a work, it seems to me, of me-
chanical engineering and adjustment.
It has been a work of great discoveries
and great inventions; it has led to the in-
crease of the control of the human mind
over natural energies and forces. And
that work has been extremely well done.
It has led, you know, to the practical
conquest of the air, to the bridging of the
ocean, to the tunneling of mountains,
and finally to that most dramatic work
of all — by which the waters of two great
oceans are brought together through the
deep cut at Panama.

The work, however, of the centiuy to
come is going to be a greater work and
requiring greater zeal and greater devo-
tion. It is going to be, and it must be, a
work of human adjustment. It is a work
of teaching men and women somehow to
use for life and growth, and not for death

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CoTMMiMemmt. — Afternoon JSxerciaes. [September,

and destruction, these great forces that
have been placed within our grasp. And
I want to say that it is to this work that
the generation of young men now going
out from Harvard University will be
called upon to devote themsdves. In
the years that have passed we have had
our leagues of industry, we have had our
leagues of learning, we have had our
leagues of prophets. And it is a happy
thing that at last we are seeing organized
here in America a great league of peace.
It is a happier and greater thing still that
the Prendent of thu University has a
guiding hand upon the f<Hrmatiou and
the prospects of that league itself. It b
a happy and prophetic thing, because
just by and through his influence and
guidance he will help and guide the lives
and minds of the young men entrusted
to his charge.

One hundred and fifty years ago, as
some of you probably know, there was
a great and most destructive fire here
among the college buildings. Harvard
Hall was burned to the ground and the
library was destroyed, and out of the
collection of books that were left to the
College by John Harvard only one vol-
ume was saved, and that volume bore
the title of "The Christian Warfare
against the World, the Flesh and the
Devil.'' That is the kind of warfare.
Brothers of Harvard, that men c^ light
and learning and infiuence should devote
themselves to in the days to come. It is
a warfare against war, and it is a warfare
against the greed and the lust and the
ambitions that lead to war. Emerson
said that in every period of human his-
tory some one nation more than any
other embodies the sentiment and future
of mankind. At this present moment
America is once again that country.
With her ideals and with her attain-
ments of democracy, of liberty and of
peace, she certainly embodies the sen-

timent, and we hope the future, of man-


We are all agreed that just laws can
only save the fabric of society when they
are fairly administered. Here the author-
ity of the courts is recognised and the
judges honored. There are differences
of opinion as to the best method of secur-
ing your judges. We in thu state have
adopted one method; our imperial neigh-
bor up to this time has followed another
method, — but in presenting the guest
of today to the suffrages of the people
they took care to present a man who had
served in the army of the United States,
— that same qualification John Marshall
had. We do not forget that our own cap-
tain, who has adorned the bench in the
state and in the nation, also had that

I present to you His Honor, Edgar
M. Cullen, late Chief Justice of the
Court of Appeab of New York.


President Walcott, and Gentlemen: I
can hardly express to you the pride with
which I receive today the honor whidi
your Alma Mater has conferred upon me,
to which honor I owe the pleasure of be-
coming now, at least to a certain degree,
a member of your Association. The mark
of distinction was doubly grateful to me
Jsecause it came after I had been retired
from public life by reason of my age —
a retirement which usually consigns one
to oblivion.

Gentlemen, I am of the first generation
on the paternal side of my family and of
the second generation on the maternal
side that was bom in this country. You
are the alumni of the oldest college in the
United States, and many of you can
trace your lineage back to men who were
in this country when this college was

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1915.] Commencement. — Afternoon Exercisee.


founded. I revere the memory of my
forebears as highly as any of you do
yours. Nevertheless, it is and should be
to you a subject of just pride that your
ancestors took such a prominent part in
achieving the independence of the coun-
try, in the formation of its institutions
and its laws, and exercised what almost
might be termed a dominant influence
over the thought of the nation.

I am frank to say that very often I envy
you your heritage. But at times I find
some consolation. That this country or
its institutions is in any serious danger
from the attacks of socialists and anarch-
ists I cannot believe. But, gentlemen, of
late there has grown up from the most
highly educated part of our people quite
a dass — or "cult" I might term it —
who would teach us that the institutions
which their and your ancestors founded,
the constitutions which their and your
ancestors framed, were all wrong when
adopted, or at least are now worn out
and merely a dog on the progress to
which these over-modest children of the
twentieth century would lead us; the
road to progress as they believe it, in
which they wish to follow, by regulating
all human conduct by law and by con-
trolling by statute all our prejudices —
which are or ought to be a man's most
cherished possessions. This cult, too,
gentiemen, or at least most of its mem-
bers, can boast of an old American line-
age, and they are not without quite a
strain c^ good New England blood in
their veins.

Now, my family is so new in the coun-
try that none of its members, neither my
father, in his lifetime, nor myself, ever
ceased thanking God for this country
and its institutions, and never ceased to
revere the Declaration of Independence
— the charter of personal liberty which
asserts the doctrine that governments
are made for men, not men for govern-

ments or for the state, and the Consti-
tution c^ the United States — which
guarantees us personal liberty and the
right of self-government. We have n*t
been here long enough, gentiemen, to be
willing to discard those things as archaic
or effete.

When I was a boy there might be
found in many of the advertisements of
the newspapers, on many placards in
many establishments, the notice that
"No Irish need apply." In most of the
plays on the stage the Irishman was the
typical butt and subject of ridicule —
not merely of humor. The Irish neither
sought nor obtained any dvil rights bill
nor any censorship of the stage. If the
position which they now have in public
esteem is different from that hdd by
them formerly, it is due to their own
exertions and achievements and not to
the force of legislation. I say this not to
detract one iota from the obligation that
they and all immigrants to this country
owe to it and to its institutions. On the
contrary, in my judgment the greatest
boon the government of the country
could confer on them was to leave them
free to fight their own way to success,
equally untrammdled and unfavored by

For this reason all immigrants, from
whatever nation or race sprung, should
always fed that thdr whole supreme
loyalty is due to this country and to this
country alone. But at the same time,
gentiemen, frankly it is my opinion that
they should be very loath to approve
any radical innovations in the sphere,
functions or power of its government. I
fear that there are some families that
have lived in America too long; so long
as to become unoonsdous of the great
blessings we all enjoy here, and to be too
eager for change. There are times when
I think that if my people had been here
longer I might have fallen into the same

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Commencement. — A/iemoon Exercises. [September,

8ftd case. That, gentlemen, when I am
too envious of you is the consolation I
take to myself. Now that I am one of
you I hope I shall have less of envy, and
less need of consolation.


Near the entrance to the Soldier's
Field there stands a monument of smooth
and attractive design, upon which are
the names of six young men, graduates
of Harvard College. Beneath it are the
lines in which a wise poet set the sum-
mons which they heard when they of-
fered their lives on the field of battle.
Their associate, who shared the same
ventures that they underwent, returned
to civil life, but not unscathed. In all
the intervening years he has been a
leader in every movement for the bene-
fit of his fellowmen. Brave, generous,
high-minded, tender and true, where is
there a better son of Harvard than
Henry Lee Higginson!


Mr. President: You have already said
that fifty years ago Harvard Coll^^ re-
ceived the soldiers of the University, the
alunmi who had come home, and gave
them such a welcome that nobody would
forget it who was there. Our great Gov-
ernor gave us a warm welcome, and Mr.
Lowell read that wonderful Ode which
brought tears and joy to us. It was very
welcome. Now, will you listen to a few
more words about our Civil War and its
lessons and its happy memories ?

It is pleasant to remember our com-
rades whose names are in the cloister,
and it is pleasant to remember our com-
rades who came home to do further ser-
vice and who have died, one after the
other, until very few are left. It is pleas-
ant to remember the gallant and gener-
ous deeds on the part of both Confeder-
ates and our Union men which marked

our Civil War. It is pleasant to remem*
ber that the men on both sides, although
they took horses, food, forage, where
they could get them, and sometimes
burned houses, never did^things for
which men would be ashamed.

At the North the older and younger
men of our day had grown up loving the
Union, and some of them hating slavery.
And at the South our brothers had grown
up with exactly the opposite feeling.
Presently it became dear that the matter
had got to be thrashed out, and it was
thrashed out with a vengeance. Sdiool-
mates, classmates, friends, took the side
to which they naturally belonged, and
relatives met each other on the field.
The women of the North and the South
gave all their time and strength and
thoughts to the care of the soldiers; and
it was they who suffered most.

What was the lesson of the first act in
the drama set on our national stage in
1861? Simply to teach men and women
that they were of very little conse-
quence, and that th&r country, their be-
lief in mankind, all their hopes, were of
far more value than they themsdves.
Many a man had lived a quiet life in a
comfortable home and was awakened by
the burning question and taught to take
a larger view of life. Having seen that
light he^never could forget it. And that
light has illuminated and uplifted his life
and taught him to see the beauty of ser-
vice to his fellowmen.

Run over the list in your minds of the
men prominent in Massachusetts who
went to the front and died on the battle-
field, or in consequence of the battle-
field. The list is far too long to repeat,
but I may select a few names.

Remember Robert Shaw, who, at the
bidding of our Governor, left hu own
regiment and the comrades of whom he
was so fond, and took the colored regi-
ment. His father and mother, wife and

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Commencement. — AJiemoon JExerciaes.


sisten, bade him go, — and they never
saw him again. I like to think of that
beautiful boy whom we loved so well«
leading his colored men to an attack
which he knew meant death.

We may not forget John Gray, who,
afta a distinguished military career
came home to be a light in our law
school and the staff and comfort of his
friends; and Wendell Holmes, who,
though often wounded, lived to be a
counselor, teacher, judge, justice of the
Supreme Court; and Edward Hooper, a
tireless agent of the Sanitary Commis-
sion and later a valued Fellow and Treas-
urer of Harvard University. We had a
bad reverse at Balls Bluff, with the Po-
tomac River running swiftly behind us,
and because Colonel Raymond Lee
could not swim, Paul Revere and Charles
Peirson dung to him and were captured
with him. None of us will forget that
when James Savage was badly wounded
at Cedar Mountain, Harry Russell would
not leave him, although he knew that by
a late edict from Richmond all Yankee
officers captured were to be hanged. At
Gettysburg, our first scholar. General
Frank Barlow, who, insensitive to
danger, always sought the dangerous
places, was lying on the ground severely
wounded. Confederate Generals Gordon
and Early, riding by, noticed him. Gor-
don said to Early: "There lies a Yankee
general; shall we do something for him? '*
Early replied : " It is useless; he is too far
gone.** Frank raised himself on his elbow
and said: "Damn you. General Early. I
will lick you yet.** And he did. Think of
Charles Lowell, a man sensitive to
danger, who lost thirteen horses in the
Shenandoah Campaign of 1864, because
he choee to go where he could best see
and do his work, and at last, in leading
the winning charge, met his death
quietly. His letters show how his ideas
had changed. In his earlier days he had

thought of his own education and of prep-
aration for a brilliant and useful career;
during the war he saw that he had no
right to himself, and that his true career
was that of service to his fellowmen and
his country.

For an instance of the highest bravery,
read Captain Haskell*s story of Pickett*s
attack on our lines at Grettysburg,
ordered by the hardest fighter in the
world — General Robert Lee — ordered
against the remonstrance of Longstreet,
who never flinched. There, our 19th and
20th Massachusetts Regiments and
many others met and rolled back the
high tide of the war, and there Paul and
Edward Revere, Macy, Driver, Henry
Abbott, little Herbert Mason and many
others bore their part. Some were killed,
and some survived. There, Lieutenant
Cushing, fearfully wounded and holding
his body together with his hands, gave
Pickett's men one more shot from his
last gun, and then fell dead among his
men lying around him.

At another point the 2d Massachu-
setts Regiment, well-placed, was await*
ing an attack, when an order came to
them to move forward to an impossible
position. Charies Mudge, in command,
called out: "Men, it's murder, but it's
orders"; and, jumping over the stone
wall, was killed. But the regiment moved
on, and was badly hurt. Presently a
skirmisher was shot, and Captain Robe-
son ran forward and put him on his back.
Robeson was killed. Then Charles
Morse, senior living officer, dressed the
regiment under fire and brought it out.
Obedience, gallantry, generosity, cool-

Toward the end of the war, in 1864,
splendid old General George Thomas, a
Virginian by birth, moulded into a
fighting force a mass of disorganised
soldiers and quarter-masters' men, and
met and broke to pieces a gallant army

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CommeneemerU. — Afternoon Bxercises. [September,

under Hood. After the war. General
Thomas's own sisters would not ac-
knowledge his existence, because he had
dung to the cause of the Union.

Perhaps you know Confederate Cap-
tain McCabe*s story of the last success-
ful attack on our lines at Petersburg.
General Gordon, with General Lee's
permission, planned a night attack on

Online LibraryWilliam Richards Castle William Roscoe ThayerThe Harvard graduates' magazine → online text (page 12 of 103)