Yale University. Class of 1867.

Report of the trigintennial meeting with a biographical and statistical record online

. (page 4 of 27)
Online LibraryYale University. Class of 1867Report of the trigintennial meeting with a biographical and statistical record → online text (page 4 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ot the men before I recognized them, but when they spoke of old times I remembered them —
they were just the same as when they sat on the fence. We are all boys to-night again. I
have not words to tell you how I have been affected in the last forty-eight hours since I have
been in New Haven and met you all, and I feel as though I should like to have a big pair
of arms and take you all in and tell you how much I love yoit, and I think that is the real
thing — the sentiment that is born here in College. It is just what Jim Allen says about the
friendships we made in Yale. I like to tell j'ou this to-night — I like to confess it. It is no
sign of weakness, and if we have grown to be fifty or fifty-five years of age it is no tumbling
down from our dignity to say how much we love each other. Although at St. Louis we are
a great distance from you we have kept up the Yale spirit. And we have at St. Louis Tom
Hedge. A good many of you fellows don't know Tom Hedge. (Cries of "Who don't know
Tom Hedge?") You don't know Tom Hedge since he left College. Tom ain't what he
was, but Tom is everywhere a type of all who go out of Yale, after all. He belongs to Yale
alumni associations in Chicago and in St. Louis, and in every other State in the Union where
he could go. He has a passport to every alumni association that I know of. Now, as I said.
I cannot make a speech to you, but I want to thank you for the kind words you have said, and
tell }'ou again how much pleasure it has given me to see you all — those with gray heads, those
with gray beards, those who are rich, and tho.=e who are poor. (Applause.)

Mr. Flanders: — Gentlemen, when I first left my home, a boy of fifteen
years of age. for the preparatory school at Exeter, New Hampshire, my home
being in Milwaukee, it took me four days and four nights to reach Exeter, and at
that time the City of Minneapolis was two or three days beyond us towards the
frontier. To-day Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, make a great center,
from which radiate large interests. One of our classmates made his home at
Minneapolis, and he has come that distance to visit us. Mr. Beard will now speak
to us.

Mr. H. B. Beard : — About a week ago I received a letter from a friend of mine, who was
a Yale man, but not of this Class, and in it was a clipping from the New York "Tribitne,"
and with my family around me on the veranda I took it out and read it. It spoke of the
distinguished Class of 1867 and some of its members. I read and re-read it, and it did me
good. It reminded me of a story my father used to tell. A family had a bright boy, who
grew up, and after a time became Governor of the State. The family were very much
pleased, and after election one evening they were sitting around the fireplace, discussing the
good fortune of the family, and of Tom. They were talking over the matter, when an old
colored woman, a slave who belonged to one of the family, sitting there with them at the
fireplace, arose and said : "Oh. pshaw, nobody but our Tom !" Now, when I read of the
distinguished men of our Class I rejoice that I am a member of the Class of 1867, and when

I come back to-night I rejoice that with all the distinguished men with whom I am sur-
rounded to-night I can say, after all, they are nobody but the boys of '67. When I see the
old boys I can read of the men, and can rejoice in the Class, and with the community at large.
I say I can rejoice when I read about what the distinguished doctor of divinity is doing, what
the jurist is doing, what the physician is doing. I come here to-night with my heart filled
with joy to see the old boys, and to know them as I did in 1867. It does me good. I have
seen the ups and downs of life. I have seen the hard side of life. I have seen the other side
of life. When I take the hand of a man who has been in Yale I feel as I never feel when I
take the hand of any other man. I feel as if I took the hand of a brother. I feel that if I
were in trouble, and could see a Yale man, he would sympathize with me. We are all boys
together to-night. I feel strong to-night in spite of the troubles I have been through. I feel
as Lincoln did once when he was having difficulty. He stood up and said : "There is a man
here ; there is a man there ; here is a man, and every one of us is a man, and not ashamed
of his record or of his life." I do not know of a man in Yale but who is an honor to the
community in which he lives. He is always a gentleman and a man at all times. Now,
I have looked forward to this time with a great deal of pleasure, and I will go out of this
place strengthened. I feel as if I could battle with the world. After I come here and meet
you men I go out stronger; I do not care what I meet, because I know that there is a man
here, and I got that manhood at Yale. I feel to-night that I can go out again for the next
five years, and for the whole five years I shall look forward to another reunion. We shall
have perhaps twenty years more of life, and what cannot be accomplished in that time?
What a power in this world the boys of '67 will be twenty years hence. We are not old
men yet. Let me say once more I am glad, brothers, to meet you to-night. (Applause.)

Mr. Flanders : — There used to be a good deal of mvisic in the Class of '67. I
believe there is some left, and I think we might have a song. I will ask George
Adee to start it up.

Mr. Adee sings the "Cork Leg." Chorus by the Class. (Great applause.)

Mr. Flanders: — Gentlemen, it is said that at one I'rie an Englishman and a
Yankee were travelling in the State of Colorado, and iho question arose as to
whether Englishmen had any sense of humor in them, or were capable of compre-
hending anything humorous. The American said they had not, and the English-
man disputed it. Finally they came to a little blacksmith shop with a sign which
said. "Four miles to Bitter Creek. If you cannot read go in and ask the black-
smith." The Yankee began to laugh. The Englishman asked what he was
laughing at. The Yankee said, "You cannot see the joke. I told you so, but I
will set up the champagne if you can see it by 12 o'clock to-night." That night
the Englishman woke the Yankee out of a sound sleep, telling him he saw it.


"What do you see?" "Well/" said the Englishman, "I see the joke." "What is
it?" "Why, the blacksmith might not be in, you know." Gentlemen, the next
classmate who will address you is not an Englishman, and his name is Tom
Hedge. To say that you do not know Tom Hedge is to confess yourself un-

Mr. Hedge : — Well, I do not feel much like seeing jokes or exhibiting any ; I have been
considerably sobered up in coming back here, but I am much rejoiced to find that I am not
an old man yet. In this last five years I have sometimes suspected that I was getting
old, but in the last few days I have found out that a man never needs to get old. When I
came here last Thursday I saw Ingham with white hair, but he is the same old Ingham that
we used to know. I saw many more heads that I did not see so distinctly thirty years ago
as I do now ; but I have not found anybody in the Class of '67 who has worn out his old
College feeling. He may have put it away ; he may not have been conscious at all times in
his life that it was governing him and controlling him, and making him stand straight in this
world, but it has been a sort of outer conscience to him, which has never deserted him. I see
that every one of us has that same outer conscience, that same Yale feeling, which comes
right back and takes possession of him, and makes him a boy again, perhaps a little wiser,
but I do not know and do not care : we have been wise enough to be good and true to each
other — that goodness and truth which is the best gift that Yale could give us. The boy
who was a good boy to his classmates has been a good boy to his neighbors, to his wife, and
to his boys and girls ; and these Yale meetings — these kind words spoken to one another,
spoken heartily and sincerely, as they always have been in my experience, because I have got
it to say right here and now — and I have belonged to two classes in Yale College — I do not
remember a time when I was not treated with all kindness and sincerity by every man in
Yale College with whom I associated, and nobody can tell what a bankrupt debtor I have
been to the courtesy and good will of you all. Now, I have got a boy here in College, and
the only thing that bothers me is this suggestion that somehow or other the old spirit is not
here. I do not believe it. I believe that the Yale spirit is going to live here forever. I
believe that our boys, who are succeeding us, are going to be just as true to themselves and
their neighbors, and their country, as we can be. It has given us all extreme pleasure to see
this old Jim Spencer coming back from the Old World the same true Jim Spencer he was
thirty years ago. He has done me more good to-night than any minister in any church has
done in the last five years to this assembly, and I do not throw this out as a challenge, because
it will not be accepted as a challenge ; it will be agreed to. Now, I say to you fellows, those
who do not come to these meetings often, come often. And, Air. Chairman, you have been
one of the worst, you have all the facilities to come, and all the transportation — your pocket
full of it. (Laughter.) You Yale fellows with your knowledge of the world, do not let this
Cockney spirit get possession of you, that the United States is located east of Albany. The
United States of America owns east of Albany, but the United States of America is located


and has its throne in the Mississippi valley, and you fellows want to come out there and see
how we live. Mortgaged ! Yes, but we can pay it if you only give us time. Bob Ingersoll
?aid once, a friend of his was standing on the hank of the Missouri River and he said : "The
Missouri River is all right, only give it time.' Now, then, 1 want you to come west and see
the Rocky Mountains and Milwaukee, and Anheuser Busch in St. Louis, where every educated
man thinks A. B. stands for Anheuser Busch. We have an association there of over two
hundred people, and they can tote the Anheuser Busch. We have an association in Chicago
of, I do not know how many Yale men. We have an association in Minneapolis. Ya'e
College has taken possession of the Western country, and you fellows have been living here
thinking that you were Yale College and the United States of America. Boys, I thank you
for the attention you have given me, and for the responsive kindness with which you have
met me from the time when I came as a Sophomore in 1864, and I hope to see you again for
fifty years more.

Mr. Flanders : — Gentlemen, we have heard from the profession of the law,
we have heard from medicine, we have heard from hankers. We have with us
to-night one classmate whom I have not seen for more than thirty years, and yet
he looks as he did in Yale in those days, except that he is grayer. He has come
to us from the land of alligators and oranges — Sprague, from Tampa.

Rev. F. M. Sprague : — I think it was Dr. Holmes who said once that he was seventy years
young. That sentiment has been often expressed, but if anybody asks me my age I feel
like saying that I was fifty-four years young. I often wish to spend my life over again. A
fellow in Cambridge was very much surprised to read his obituary notice. The neighbors
came in to learn the particulars. At length the situation became intolerable, so lie went to
the editor of the newspaper which published the obituary and asked him what it meant,
showing him the notice. "Ah, it is a mistake, I see," said the editor blandly, "I should
think it was. I am not only alive, but I was never better in my life." "Oh, yes," said the
editor. "Well, what do you propose to do about it?" "Do about it?" said the editor.
"Yes. this is intolerable. What do you propose to do about it?" The editor said: "Well,
we will make it all right. We will put you in the list of births, and start you over again.'
I think, perhaps, some of us would like to be started over again. Most of. us have done
what we could. I have not done as well as some of the class. I have kept track of certain
ones in my section. I have been well acquainted with Dunning and Dexter, who are widely
known as editors and authors, and Bruce first on the lecture platform. I know Burrell. and
Walker lived in my section; he has done splendid work in the pulpit and in science. I had
occasion a year or two ago to ask for a good lawyer in Springfield, and I was told that
Spellman was the best lawyer in Western Massachusetts. The question with me is whether
I have done the best I could, and I think I can truly say that notwithstanding my sins of


omission and commission I have tried to do the best I could. We have all of us by this
time learned from experience the truths of life. We do not want any authority to tell us that
we are bound to be true to ourselves without injuring others — that God does not settle up
with us every Saturday night — that that man lives honestly who lives best. I have not been
here for some time, and I am somewhat amazed at the changes here in Yale — fifteen new
buildings and four millions in money as a gift within the last ten years. If I remember
rightly the present graduating class numbers 279, and changes equally great have taken place
in the character of the text books, and especially in the methods of instruction. I read not
long since that Greek was no longer required at Harvard. I do not know how it is in Yale.
To think that a man can go through Yale and get his degree without ever having seen a
Greek grammar ! We all learned at Yale to get superficiality. I think I learned that here
in Yale. It seems to me that this is the curse of much of the modem thinking. Assump
tion seems to me to be substituted for verity. Verity is at premium. Revolutions are readily
accepted on mere assumption, and on evidence, too, that logically makes our old poet turn
over in his grave. There is one statement which was made by our Secretary that has been
alluded to this evening, and that is that the average attendance at our class reunions is more
than that of any other class in proportion to the number of graduates. That is an astonishing
statement : one reason is that we have had a better Secretary than any other Yale class.
(Cries of "You are right there.'") But is it the class spirit? I can hardly think that will
explain it ; it lies deeper than that.

(Mr. Sprague was interrupted here by the visit of the Class of 1877. who
came into the room singing, "Here's to good old Yale, drink her down.")

Mr. Adee proposes "Three times three for the Class of 1877." (Cheers.)
A member of the Class of 1877 proposes "Three times three for 1867." (More

By a member of 'tj: Gentlemen of '67, the Class of '"JJ has been having so good a time
that it wants to find somebody who is having a better. It is looking for somebody who is
younger who knows a good thing. When a man gets to be forty-two he thinks he is old until
he gets to be fifty. None of us have yet got to be fifty, as you can see — none of you are thirty
or forty, as we can see by looking at you. We have brought in this testimonial, which you
can see is still cold. (Holds up a bottle of champagne.) This is the expression of our
cordial feeling for all Yale men. I take pleasure in passing this on to the Chairman, who, I
understand, sits at the head of this table, and may it do you much good.

(Members of '"jy. "Here's to '67, drink her down.")

Mr. Fl.wders: — Gentlemen of the Class of 1877 (cries of "We are here") : I am. as the
representative of the Class of '67 and with their full approbation, delighted to welcome you


f^ OF THK ^\


here lo-night, and to say to you that the keys to our hearts are yours, and their chambers are
for you to occupy. The gentleman who acted as the spokesman for '"JT, with all the ability
which we know that class had, both in College and since, seems to have been remiss in his
attendance upon the lessons that were inculcated by the tutor or professor whom we called
Gibbs, for he seems not to understand the first principles of arithmetic, when he thinks that
the Class of '"j"] is younger than '67, for I venture to remind you, gentlemen of '"JT, that under
that system of arithmetic which prevailed when we were in College, six and seven made
thirteen, and seven and seven made fourteen, and thirteen is younger than fourteen. No.
gentlemen, we are your juniors to-night, and as your juniors we delight to honor you, and
to welcome you to our hearts and to our festive board. (Cheers.)

A member of the Class of 'yj proposes "Three times three for '67," to which
'67 responded by singing "Here's to 'jj, drink her down."

Mr. Sprague (continuing) : — Now, the coming in of this class just illustrates what I am
about to .say, that it was not strictly good fellowship or the love of Alma Mater that is the
secret of this bond between us. It lies deeper than that ; it is the consciousness that we are
co-workers with the Almighty Himself in the development of the human mind. Here is the
real secret uf the good fellowship which exists here in Yale. I have come a long way to
attend this meeting — some twelve hundred miles — and I have been richly repaid for coming.
I am going directly back to my work there, and this meeting will remain a bright spot in my
mind. If I live I shall be here at the next reunion. I feel very grateful for
the cordial reception that I have had personally, and I close by wishing every member
of the class continued prosperity and happiness. (Cries of "Good".)

Mr. Flanders : — Gentlemen, I live in what one of the Class has been pleased
to call a suburb of Chicago — some eighty-five miles north of it. Many things
have been claimed for Chicago, but I never heard it said that it was noted for its
modesty, but you have heard to-night, and this morning, that the members of the
Class of '67 are distinguished for their modesty, and one of our Class, as modest
as any of the 104 that graduated, or of the 165 who at all times were members of
our Class, is a citizen of Chicago, and a citizen in the profession in which Hedge
and myself and others have been engaged, and we know that a lawyer in active
practice is rare indeed who can follow the fortunes of his client without incurring
some hostility. One such man there was in the city of Chicago, and President
Cleveland, in the exercise of the discretion vested in him, chose him to fill the hon-
orable position of Circuit Judge of the United States. John W. Showalter, a judge,
a citizen, a lawyer of whom all lawyers in the City of Chicago speak well, and
whom they were glad to see appointed to the bench — a judge whose adverse de-


cisions are accepted by lawyers as strong, able and persuasive, will now speak to
you. You will listen to him, gentlemen, as attentively as we of the Bar in his cir-
cuit are accustomed to listen to him when he speaks from the bench.

Hon. John W. Showalter : — My dear Classmates : I cannot think of a blessed thing to
say in the way of a speech to-night. I thought until just before I started to come out here
that I was not destined to come out here at this time. I made up my mind all at once
yesterday morning that I would get on the cars and come, so here I am. So far as my
experience goes, it has been customary when a speech has been requested of a fellow for the
presiding officer to indicate something of the sort beforehand. Now, Morse did not tell me
that I was expected to make a speech here, and I had not thought of anything to say. Of
course, it flashed through my mind that I might be called upon, and I tried to think of
something, but I became so mixed and tangled up that I got nothing straight, and I really do
not feel fit to make any intelligible speech to-night. I came out here to see the Class once
more as a Class — as an organization — and I find that it has stood the disintegrating force of
thirty years quite strenuously. I judge that from the statistics I have heard here of our
reunions, and' how our meetings compare with other classes. I came here to pay my
respects to the Class of '67, for one purpose, and I came to see each of my classmates who
should come here, face to face again, and to take him by the hand, and I came, of course,
also to see the old university town. I find that the town has grown almost out of my
recollection. I traveled down this street here that runs between us and the University to see
if I could find the old place where I roomed, and I declare that I could not identify the house.
It was somewhere near here towards the Sheffield Scientific School, but I do not know where
now. Gentlemen, I wanted something better to say, but perhaps I may say. as well as any-
thing else, that I am very glad indeed to see you again. Your faces retain some of the old
familiarity, and as I look around begin to look again like those of the men that I knew here
thirty years ago. As it has been said by our distinguished President here, I live in Chicago.
I am still a single man. I have no establishment there to invite anybody to, but I shall
always be glad if any of my classmates who come to Chicago will drop around to see me at
the Monadnock, and we will go out and eat and drink and compare notes together. I go
to Kentucky sometimes, down to the dark and bloody ground, or Blue Grass region, as it
is sometimes called, to ?ee my father and mother, who are still living, but I can usually be
found in Chicago, and I shall always be glad to see those of the class who come there. It
seems to me that I am not one of those men who have the aptitude to say graceful and
amusing things. Of course, as a practicing lawyer I can talk when the subject is before
me. and I can talk as a member of the Bar fluently enough, but when I am called upon off-
hand I seem to be lost, and I must ask you, gentlemen, to excuse me with these few remarks,
and when I come around here five years from now, if your President thinks it worth while,
and will signify it to me, I will endeavor to put some things down, and talk as well as I can.


Mr. F'landers : — In my wanderings last summer I was at Niagara for a
few (lays and met a former resident of Milwaukee, now a banker in the city of
Buffalo, and it soon came out that we had common friends, and I inquired with
reference to one of our classmates in Buffalo particularly, and he told me that he
was the President of one of the principal banks, if not the principal bank, and that
he had in the city of Buffalo, as he had in Yale College, a host of friends. No
member of the Class of '67 will doubt that one of whom I speak is that royal gen-
tleman, Bissell, who will now speak to you.

Mr. a. D. Bissell : — Well, boys, you knew Flanders when he was in College, and you
believed him to be truthful, and I guess I did, too, but he has made some very inaccurate
statements in speaking of me. He did meet a friend of mine in Niagara Falls, and that
friend induced Flanders to talk with me over the telephone, so that you can take all that he
said of me with considerable allowance. However, I was here five years ago ; I told you
several things about myself, and they were disagreeable enough, so I won't repeat them; but
I will pick up the record from that time. I am thankful for several things, chief of which
are that I am not in States Prison or in the Cemetery, and I am glad that you are all in the
same fix, for otherwise you would not be here. I told Morse that I would not be here, for
there were some sad things to contemplate after thirty years, but he persuaded me to come.
I thought that we had been traveling for thirty years since we left College, and I thought
that several of us must be nearer heaven than we were, and I thought that some of us old
sinners would get some benefit from our classmates, and con'^equently I made up my mind
to come back here. I am very glad to meet you all. I have realized that men seem great
when you look at them from a distance, but I never before realized that we had so many
distinguished men in our Class as I have realized to-night. I never really thought of our
classmates as distinguished men. I knew them as boys, and thought they were getting along
about as I was, but I now look at this class in another way, and I am very glad to say so
to-night. T am very happy to be here to-night, and also to repeat what Flanders has .said,
that I live in the city of Buffalo. Buffalo is the crossroads of the United States : everything

Online LibraryYale University. Class of 1867Report of the trigintennial meeting with a biographical and statistical record → online text (page 4 of 27)