FOUNDERS 1 DAY
REV. GEORGE W. GALE, D. D.
IN COMMEMORATION OF
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY THE FIFTEENTH
THE MAIL PUBLISHING CO.
" WHO THAT LOVES THE SOUL OF MEN CAN LOOK ON
THIS FIELD AND NOT FEEL HIS HEART AFFECTED, AND NOT
TAX HIS ENERGIES TO THE UTMOST, AS WELL AS OFFER
HIS MOST FERVENT PRAYERS TO THE LORD OF THE HAR-
VEST, THAT HE WOULD FURNISH THE LABORERS? WHO
THAT LOVES THE INSTITUTIONS OF HIS COUNTRY, CAN
LOOK UPON IT WITHOUT ALARM, WHEN HE REFLECTS THAT
IN A FEW, A VERY FEW YEARS, THEY WILL BE IN THE
HANDS OF A POPULATION REARED IN THIS FIELD ; AND
REARED, UNLESS A MIGHTY EFFORT BE MADE BY EVAN-
GELICAL CHRISTIANS, UNDER THE FORMING HAND OF THOSE
WHO ARE NO LESS THE ENEMIES OF CIVIL LIBERTY, THAN
OF A PURE GOSPEL?" GEORGE W. GALE.
(EXTRACT FROM "CIRCULAR AND PLAN" 1836.)
The public exercises in celebration of the fifty-seventh anni-
versary of the Founding of Knox College took place on Thursday,
February 15th, 1894- The morning exercises were held in the
Old First Church. The addresses made on that occasion, mem-
orable because of the addresses, will be found within. In the
afternoon a complimentary entertainment was given in the
Presbyterian Church by the Conservatory of Music and the
Department of Elocution, under the direction of Prof. W. F.
Bentley, the Director of the Conservatory, and Miss Grace
Chamberlain. In the evening an address was delivered in the
Presbyterian Church by the Hon. George R. Peck, of Chicago.
This eloquent and inspiring address is published in full in this
brochure. After the address a reception was given in the par-
lors of the church by the Trustees and Faculty of the College.
The addresses are published by order of the Executive Com-
mittee of the. Board of Trustees.
KHOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
OLD FIRST CHURCH
10 O'CLOCK A- M-
ME. JOHN H. FINLEY, Presiding.
Music, KNOX COLLEGE CADET BAND
Invocation,. DR. A. F. SHERRILL
Greeting from the City, MAYOR F. F. COOKE
The Founders, - HON. W. SELDEN GALE
Early Days, PROF. GEORGE CHURCHILL
Sons and Daughters of Knox, DR. C. W. LEFFINGWELL
(Rector St. Mary's School.)
Sisters of Knox, - DR. JOHN E. BRADLEY
(President Illinois College.)
Song, "Ave Maria" Faure, - MRS. F. J. BENTLEY
The Mission of the Christian College, - REV. WM. S. MARQUIS
(Pastor Presbyterian Church, Rock Island.)
The College and the Church, REV. C. W. HIATT
(Pastor First Congregational Church, Peoria.)
The College and the University, DR. ALBION W. SMALL
(University of Chicago.)
Song "To Sing the Praise of Dear old Knox" STUDENTS
The Value of a College Education, - HON. L. S. COFFIN
The Future of Our College, - PROF. ALBERT HURD
Founders' Day Hymn. (Composed by Prof. L. S. Pratt.)
Benediction, REV. E. G. SMITH
Music, KNOX COLLEGE CADET BAND
2 O'CLOCK P- M-
Complimentary Entertainment Given by the Knox Conservatory of
Music and the Department of Elocution to the Citizens of
Galesburg and the Students of Knox College.
\ Petite Suite for String Orchestra, George Saint- George
I. Preludio. II. Allemanda. III. Sarabanda. IV. Minuetto 1st;
Minuetto 2d. V. Bourree. VI. Giga.
KNOX CONSERVATORY STRING ORCHESTRA.
2 SELECTION From Tennyson's " Idylls":
Part I Gareth at the Court of Arthur.
Miss GRACE CHAMBERLAIN.
3 SONG " Were I the Streamlet," C. Francis Lloyd
Miss SARAH L. BARNDT.
4 STRING ORCHESTRA (a) Herzwunden, \ r .
(b) Der Fruhliug, j * ieg
5 ORGAN SOLO Concert theme, with variations in G, - Guilmant
PROF. F. W. MUELLER.
6 SONG Doris (a Pastorale) , Ethelbert Nemn
(Accompaniment for Piano, Violin and " Cello,"
Miss FLORENCE J. LEE.
7 SELECTION Part II. Gareth's Quests.
8 STRING ORCHESTRA Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana,
8 O'CLOCK P. M.
HON. CLARK E. CARE, Presiding.
ORGAN SOLO "Festival March," Henry Smart
PROF. F. W. MUELLER.
INTRODUCTORY ADDRESS, HON. CLARK E. CARR
ADDRESS, HON. GEORGE R. PECK
"THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT."
"Zt is a fortunate thing for this institution that it is located in a region to
which nature, has given her kindliest smiles; a land of meadow and of garden, and
of goodly people living in goodly homes. * * * I cannot help thinking that the
subtle law of heredity has played a powerful part in the success which has hitherto
attended the work of Knox College. * * * Tlie iron which was in the blood of
the pioneers gives tone and vigor to the students of to-day. * * * What Knox will
do in the future depends upon the character of the teachers who fill the chairs,
but, after all, the students themselves must set the mark of the institution."
(Col. George R. Peck, in Founder's Day Address.)
I would give more for the ideals, the purposes
of the men and women whose lives have gone
into the structure of this College than for all
the libraries that wealth can buy.
(Dr. Small, in Founders' Day Address.)
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY,
At half past nine o'clock on the morning of Founders' Day the trus-
tees of the college, the guests of the day, the faculty and the students
formed a line at Alumni Hall and marched across the park to the
Old First Church, the college cadet band leading the march with music,
the classes challenging one another with the college yell arid displaying
flags and streamers of purple and old gold. The "Old First" was filled;
the students on one side of the house, the townspeople and other friends
on the other side. The stage was tastefully decorated and an oil paint-
ing of General Knox, loaned by Mrs. F. C. Rice, a great-grand daughter,
hung at one side. The cadet band played an overture, after which the
chairman, President Finley, spoke a few words of welcome to those
who had come to celebrate the day with the faculty and students, and
said: "When the Legislature at Vandalia was voting on this day,
fifty-seven years ago, to charter Knox College, the colonists at "Log
City" were taking the first steps toward the organization of a church,
the church under whose ample roof we are met today. This is, then,
the birthday, too, of this church. It is fitting, therefore, that the first
voice raised this morning in thanksgiving for the past should be that of
the pastor of this old church, which has been so closely associated with
the college in the memory of her students. Dr. A. F. Sherrill will lead
us in prayer to the God who led our fathers to these prairies."
PRAYER BY REV. A. F. SHERRILL, D. D.
O Lord our God, our fathers trusted in Thee and were not ashamed.
They came here and builded well. They placed the college and
church side by side they fostered good industries. They laid broad
and deep foundations for good society, for true and enduring welfare.
We thank thee for them and their labors into which, we enter; may we
10 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
follow their good example. May thy blessing be upon us as we come
together on this Founders' Day, and into this house hallowed by scenes
and memories of the past. Make all hearts glad while the sky and nat-
ural world around us are telling of thy glory. May the special object
which has called us together be accomplished. May we see and realize
the critical time which has come to our beloved college; may we call it
our opportunity, and may many hearts be quickened to new interest and
to genennis giving, so that this noble institution of Christian learning
shall not be divided in its works but gain large means of power and use-
fulness. May old friends remain and be strong; may new ones be add-
ed, and from this hour may there date new interest, enthusiasm, devo-
tion, which shall only increase with the growing years. And may all
the learning, all the money, all the lives, be consecrated to the good of
one another and to the glory of thy great name. Amen.
The Chairman: This day is the birthday not only of the college
and the church but also of the city of Galesburg. To plant here on the
prairies a Christian institution of learning was the object foremost
in the minds and the plans of the colonists. Around this college the
town was planted and so the "College City" may well celebrate with us
this day. I regret, and I bring the regrets of the present Mayor of our
beautiful city, that he cannot himself give the greeting of the citizens
of Galesburg, but the presence of so many of you here this morning
with our students and your interest in the growth of the college, express-
ed in many and helpful ways, give evidence of the cordiality of the
greeting you have in your hearts for the institution which is walled in by
your houses and shops We are gathered to-day to pay tribute to the
memory of those who gave usKnox College the Pilgrim Fathers of our
little community, and I know of no one who could more fittingly speak
the first words than the son of its founder, the "first citizen" of Galesburg
to-day the Hon. W. Selden Gale, whom I now have the pleasure and
honor of introducing to you. He will speak concerning
"THE FOUNDERS OF KNOX."
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The germ from which Knox College grew may be found in the vil-
lage of Western, Oneida county, N. Y., in the year 1825. George W.
Gale was born in 1789. He was the son of one of those men who in co-
lonial times crossed the Connecticut border to occupy the land between
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 11
New England and the Dutch settlements on the Hudson. At the time
of his birth that emigration had passed up the great river of New Eng-
land to New Connecticut, as they called it, and founded the State of
Vermont. Connecticut men had begun to settle the country above the
Dutch settlements on the Mohawk. Hugh White and his sons had just
begun to clear the forests for Whitesboro', the oldest village in the west-
ern half of New York, the cradle of Knox College. Mr. Gale, an orphan
at an early age, affectionately cared for by older sisters, the wives of
thrifty farmers, trained to habits of industry and given such advantages
of education as were available, graduated from the college and the theo-
logical seminary which New England men had founded in Schenectady and
Princeton. After being licensed to preach, his first mission was to the new
settlements near Lake Ontario; his first settlement, at what was then the
thriving town and is now the pretty village of Adams; his parishioners
enterprising villagers and energetic farmers. At thirty-five years of age,
to his great disappointment and the regret of those he served, who loved
him, his health gave way. Compelled to abandon his profession he feared
forever he found a retreat in a small village on an estate belonging to a
lawyer who had left it for a time; a beautiful situation, a few acres of
land, and, in the old style of the professional man's establishment, an office
on the street at the foot of the lawn.
With habits formed in an education by those to whom idleness was
reckoned a crime, he could not be without occupation, and soon he had
half a dozen students for the ministry about him. They .read his books,
they came to his table, they worked his land. Two years he spent in
Western. ' It was at that time that the great religious revival swept like a
prairie fire over central and western New York. It brought to the sur-
face the so well known Charles G. Finney, who dropped the law for the
gospel while chorister in Mr. Gale's church at Adams, and got his
first theological reading in Mr. Gale's library.
Mr. Gale left Western with some ideas. Sharing, though with his
characteristic moderation, in the religious enthusiasm of the day, he
deeply felt the want of educated ministers to provide for the new con-
gregations in the growing country. The young men on the farms and
in the shops who, by natural talents, were well adapted to the min-
istry for these he wished to provide better educational facilities.
He attributed his loss of health to the change of habits, going
from active life on the farm to the sedentary life of a student a danger
which he thought should be carefully guarded against. Athletic games
12 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
and exercises might have seemed a wasteful misuse of time and strength
to one trained to think all time must be profitably or usefully spent. He
thought a college might be established where the students could be pro-
vided with labor for a portion of each day, securing the necessary health-
ful exercise and help to pay their way.
There were in that day few men of wealth, as wealth is estimated
now, but there were men well-to-do, enterprising and religious. Able to
gain the confidence of such men, by personal solicitations Mr. Gale collect-
ed enough money to buy 100 acres of land, to erect buildings with suitable
rooms for college exercises, dormitories then a necessary part of college
outfit for 100 students; various other buildings; some books and appa-
ratus, and some endowment for professors. The students in classes,
with monitors chosen by themselves, were employed three hours each
day in farming or gardening, except some who had trades, for whom
shops were provided. Three hours' work paid for board and room-rent.
The government was a regular democracy the monitors in meeting
managed affairs, with little oversight by the faculty. Young men com-
ing from farms and shops and some from wealthy parents who liked the
system, brought together under the religious excitement that prevailed
and the temperance and abolition excitement that followed, were gener-
ally more mature than usual in college, and I will venture to say that no
greater amount of either enthusiasm or brains was ever brought together
in any college with equal numbers. As a training school for debaters it
was unequaled. Its most brilliant specimen was Theodore D. Weld.
Mr. Gale never intended to spend his life teaching. He got the in-
stitution to running so it paid its expenses, and having secured good
hands, as he thought, to leave it in, he retired after six years' connection.
At that time the westward movement of population continued with ac-
celerated force. The favorite field with New Yorkers was Michigan.
Mr. Gale had developed more ideas. In the west where land had but a
nominal cost, the outfit for a manual labor college would be greatly re-
duced. The west was the coming field; it would be well to prepare for
the work on the ground where the work was to be done. He had seen
all his life land advancing in value with increase of population. He
saw in that the means of college endowment. He thought the advance
might be greatly hastened if settlers would move in a body, taking with
them what made the difference between an old settlement and a new. If
land, he said, is worth |1. 25 per acre where settlements are sparse, it
will be worth at least $5.00 per acre with schools, churches and good so-
REV. HIRAM H. KELLOGG, D. D.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 13
ciety. His plan was to secure the settlers, purchase a township of gov-
ernment land at $1.25, parcel it out to the settlers at $5.00 and with the
profits establish the schools. Such attractions would draw together those
who could appreciate them. Before he left the Oneida Institute, I have
seen in his study plans of a township and village in Michigan. After
leaving the Institute much of his time was devoted to correspondence,
visiting friends who would sympathize with him, or might take part in
such work. He knew what making a farm in heavily timbered lands in-
volved, and reflection and examination satisfied him that in the prairies
of northern Illinois there was a fairer field than even the beautiful oak
openings of Michigan. He found ready co-operation in his associates in
the Presbytery. The most active and efficient assistance came from
Rev. Hiram H. Kellogg, who had established a ladies' seminary, in some
respects a counterpart of the Oneida Institute, and who afterward became
the first president of Knox College. At the close of 1834 the plan had
been developed and a subscription begun. Among the first to join was
one who became the backbone of the enterprise Silvanus Ferris. A
personal friend and by marriage a relation of Mr. Gale, forty years before,
with his axe and little wealth besides, with a lovely young wife (I knew
her when she was no longer young what she was in her girlhood those
still older than she have told me), he passed White's settlement, where
Whitesboro' was to be, and cut out of the dense forest his farm. There
he was a pioneer in that cheese industry that has spread from the town
of Norway over the counties around. With marvelous industry he had
acquired a handsome property, when, at sixty-four, with the buoy-
ancy of youth, he joined the expedition, and for twenty-five years was
one of the chief builders of the college. May 6th, 1835, at the Presby-
terian church in Rome, the subscribers to Mr. Gale's plan met and or-
ganized, appointed a managing committee, and Mr. Gale general agent.
Nehemiah West, Thomas Gilbert and Timothy B. Jarvis were appointed
a committee, instructed to explore Indiana and Illinois between the 40th
and 42nd degrees of latitude and to find a suitable location where an entire
township of government land might be procured. The committee re-
ported that they had not been able to find a suitable location, and, as land
was being rapidly taken up advised that a committee be sent out
with funds to buy a half township, as soon as one could be found. Mr.
Gilbert bought for himself land two miles south of Knoxville and re-
ported that half a township might be had there. The report was dis-
couraging; the amount of land in half a township seemed too small to
14 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
effect what was desired, but at a meeting held August 19, 1835, Mr.
Gale, Mr. Ferris, Mr. West and Mr. Simmons were directed to proceed,
find and purchase half a township, and were provided with funds for the
purpose. The committee, except Mr. Gale, who wae left sick at De-
troit, went to Knoxville as advised by Mr. Gilbert. They stopped with
Dr. Hansford, the veteran pioneer, the first physician settled in Knox
county, and at that time the proprietor of half the town plat of Knox-
ville. Learning their errand, he proposed to show them all the land
they wanted, and lying between Knoxville and Henderson Grove they
found as fair a prairie as the sun shone on. Their satisfaction was min-
gled with regret when they found they might have had the full comple-
ment of land if they had come prepared. On the 7th of January, 1836,
the subscribers' meeting at Whitesboro received the committee's report.
They approved a plan laying out the purchase the town plat in the
center and lands adjoining reserved for the college. The remaining
lands were appraised at from $3 to $8, according to location, averaging
$5. Each made his selection, bidding for choice when there was compe-
tition. The proceeds of sales, it was agreed, should first cover the ex-
pense of purchasing; the remainder, with all lands unsold, to be conveyed
to the college when incorporated, meantime remaining with the commit-
tee in trust.
In the spring of 1836 the colonists began to arrive at the purchase.
With them came friends, who, pleased with the scheme, joined in.
Others came in from New York, and a company from Vermont, headed
by Matthew Chambers and Erastus Swift, looking for homes in the west,
were attracted to the colony and became part of it. The first settlers
found shelter at Henderson Grove; some in the cabins of the settlers,
who within the seven years before had lined the Grove with a tier of
farms; some erected cabins on colony land at the Grove.
On the 15th day of February, 1837, the charter of Knox College
Before the close of 1836 about forty families connected with the
colony had arrived; the Presbyterian church was organized in a small
building erected for the purpose. Prof. Losey opened a school, the real
beginning of Knox College; and here let me mention the good fortune
of Knox College and Galesburg, that among the men brought to Oneida
Institute by Mr. Gale and who followed him to Galesburg, were two
men, accomplished scholars and teachers of great ability, who gave the
college its original form and prestige and impressed upon it the charac-
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY, 15
teristics that have marked it in all its history Nehemiah H. Losey and
Inness Grant; one a graduate of Middlebury, the other of Aberdeen.
Mr. Losey came in 1836 as teacher, surveyor, accountant; his services were
indispensable. Prof. Grant came when the college needed a professor
of languages. In 1836 the building of Galesburg on the prairie began.
The school was opened never to be closed. In 1846, in this house, then
unfinished, was graduated the first senior class of Knox College.
I will not go further. I have followed the founders of the college.
It is to their credit that they laid so firm a foundation on which so fair a
fabric has been raised. At the very outset the character of the founders
drew to them co-workers of like principles and tastes. The institutions
they founded which they and their associates have built, have continued to
draw those who can appreciate such institutions. That influence will
continue; the characteristics will be permanent; Knox College will be
surrounded by a cultured people.
The Chairman: We have among our faculty several immortals;
men whose memories will never die at Knox. One of these is Professor
George Churchill, Emperor of all the "Preps," and King of all our hearts.
Though he seems as young as any of us, he has a memory and
experience which cover the whole history of Galesburg and of Knox
College. He will tell us of the "good old days."
Ladies and Gentlemen, Citizens and Students:
With a plan so wisely and carefully prepared, in the hands of men
chosen for their peculiar adaptation to their several duties, and all in-
spired with the grand purpose of planting Christian educational institu-
tions to aid in shaping the character of the coming empire of the "far
west," success seemed inevitable, and success did come, but through con-
tinuous years of hard labor by the founders, teachers and the entire
band of colonists who had been drawn hither by their faith in the plan,
their desire to aid in its prosecution and their hope of participation in
the benefits arising from its accomplishment. Log City was the tem-
porary home of the colonists and its name indicates the primitive char-
acter of their dwellings. It was built in the grove three miles north-
west from the college site. As soon as these shelters were built a meet-
ing house of "shakes" was erected, in which to have a school on work
16 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS 1 DAY.
days and a place for worship on Sundays. In this meeting house, during
the first winter, was held a series of meetings that resulted in the conver-
sion of most of the young f Mks in the colony. At the close of these
meetings, on February 15, 1837, just fifty-seven years ago to-day, the col-
onists held a meeting to organize a church, and on the same day the
state legislature in Vandalia, then the capital of the state, granted a
charter to Knox College. So the college and the church were born on
the same day were twins, and in their early history they were one and
inseparable, devoted to a common cause, laboring for each other, shar-
ing the common burdens and rejoicing together over the common suc-
cesses. In spite of the hard times caused by the panic of 1837, the colo-
nists one after another moved out upon the prairie and built houses.
The prairie upon which the city stands was a typical prairie, a thing of
beauty which none but those who have actually seen a virgin prairie in
all its changing dress of green, its moods of sunshine and shades as the
clouds pass over itssurface, can fully appreciate. When the village had
been laid out and the site of the college determined, a few of the found-
ers met upon the site and with uncovered heads knelt down, and the
oldest one of the group, with his long, white hair streaming in the wind,
gave thanks to God, and with impassioned earnestness, dedicated the
beautiful prairie, the village, and the college the center of all, to the
I fully believe that prayer was heard and the dedication accepted by
the Lord, for the enterprise grew apace, the village grew, new colonists
came and in November, 1838, the college was at home for the first time
in its first building, now familiarly called "The Old Academy", which
stood just where the First National Bank now stands, and is now the
residence of Mr. A. Nelson, the second house north of the bank. This
building was shared by college and church alike, and was the place
where the colonists were wont to assemble to hear passing lectur-
ers, and to discuss all the great reforms of the day, for they were
leaders in the anti-slavery movement, in the temperance cause, in the
work of missions at home and abroad, and all other causes in keeping
with their great plan of helping to shape for good the character of the
coming western empire. From the first occupancy of their building, re-
vival followed revival, in which church and college alike were equal act-
ors and equal recipients of the attendant blessings, until the building
seemed the very gate of heaven to the many who, within its walls, had
first felt the grace of God in their hearts.
PROFESSOR NEHEMIAH H. LOSEY.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 17
The atmosphere was a safe one for young people to live in and for
all, both young and old, to breathe, to enjoy, and to grow better in.
Strangers in the place at once felt the presence of something that inspired
all that was good in them and repressed all that was evil. A story is
told of a man, who, passing through the village in the stage and being
much pleased with everything around him, asked the driver what kind of
a place this was, and the man answered that it was such a place that he
did not dare to swear at his horses anywhere in sight of it.
As I call up my boyhood memories of the first few years of the
school, one man stands in the forefront as the real presiding genius of
the school and that man was Prof. N. H. Losey. He was an "all 'round
man," good in everything; could teach Greek and Latin if necessary,
was thoroughly at home in mathematics, quick and accurate in his calcu-
lations, remarkably clear and concise in his explanations, showing up
the curiosities and mysteries of mathematics in such a way as to arouse
all the enthusiasm there was in his pupils. I think it is especially due to
Prof. N. H. Losey that Knox College has from the first taken high rank
in its teaching of mathematics. But not in this line was Prof. Losey's
great power during the first few years of the school; it was rather in
physics and chemistry that he excelled. With almost no apparatus to
begin with, in a short time he had constructed such laboratory appliances
as to enable him to show off the wonders of those sciences in such a way
as to attract large numbers of scholars from the surrounding country.
He was as truly the wizard of Knox College at that time as is Edison the
wizard of Menlo Park today. When he lectured on chemistry not only
the students and the colonists were attentive listeners, but the people^f rom
the groves round about came for miles and gazed with wonder and admi-
ration at his experiments with electricity, olefiant gas, laughing gas, and
magic lantern shows of things comical and instructive. Then, too, he
was a good organizer, a strict disciplinarian, a good manager and always
a true gentleman.
I have spoken of Prof. Losey as one whose life and labors had great
influence in giving a decided character for good to the school. In this
line the name of Prof. Inness Grant should always be associated with
that of Prof. Losey; not that the two men were alike, for they were to-
tally unlike, and yet each had the power to inspire and lead young men
into their respective fields of study. Prof. Grant was a Scotchman, pos-
sessing to the full all the sterling virtues of his nature, quaint in his lan-
guage, always saying just what he meant and saying it so that the hearer
18 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY,
had no trouble in understanding the pith of the matter; a man with pro-
found convictions on the great questions of the day and fearless in the
expression of these opinions. He despised men of mere pretense but
admired those who lived and acted under a true devotion to duty. His
ringing speeches to the students to work because it was their duty to
themselves, to their parents, to their friends and to God, inspired hun-
dreds of them and made them nobler and better men.
I never pass by the "Old Academy" without a flood of memories of
the early days coming over me, and I often wonder if the members of
the family now occupying it as a residence do not sometimes, in the
stillness of the night, when the ghosts of the departed are flitting through
the rooms, hear the walls echoing the orthodox sermons, the eloquent
anti-slavery speeches, the sound advice given to students, the eloquent
orations of the upper classmen and the still more eloquent declamations
of the lower classmen, to say nothing of the incipient efforts of "prep,
dom," with which the walls and ceiling of the house must be thoroughly
Early in the "forties" the Old Academy became too small to accom-
modate the audiences that gathered to hear the college exhibitions, lec-
tures or other entertainments, as well as the congregations on the Sab-
bath. Hence, college, church and citizens determined to provide a
building that should be ample for all such gatherings, and especially for
the college commencements that would soon put in an appearance. The
outcome of this determination was this church building in which we are
to-day assembled at that time the largest audience room in the state out-
side of Chicago. The first audience ever assembled in the building was
at the first commencement of Knox College, in June, 1846, when nine
young men were graduated: Bush, Davis, Hitchcock, Holyoke, Leonard,
Martin, Olney, Richardson and Smith were the immortal nine; men good
and true, who have done grand work in three continents. Five of
them have gone to their reward and four remain, whose faces are often
seen at the annual commencement exercises of the college.
The day was a great one for Galesburg. All rejoiced; founders, fac-
ulty, students and citizens, for they were sending out their first corps of
trained men to fight life's battles, and from that day until now Knox has
not failed to add its annual companies of young men, armed and equipped
to do good work in the world.
For many years this old building was the place where all assemblies
of the people, religious, educational or political were held. Here sang
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 19
the Hutchinsons and the Alleghanians; here lectured the most distin-
guished platform orators of America invited to Galesburg by the students,
and here during the civil war Chaplain McCabe and others equally elo-
quent made speeches that still ring in the ears of those who heard them.
This evening you will be called into another church, one of the
most beautiful in this part of Illinois, which will show what an influence
Knox College has had in educating the community architecturally.
I have been more or less intimately connected with the College from
its very beginning. I as a lad of ten years was a pupil in the first year
of the school and am now in my thirty-ninth year of consecutive service
as an instructor. My life has been spent in the school and I am proud
of it. And now as I am going toward the sunset of life, I am constrained
to look backward and review the scenes in which I have been a partici-
pant. I go back to the wild prairie, beautiful in its summer suns; I see
the billows of flame roll over its surface as the fire licks up the dry grass;
I see the works of man covering the surface of the country; the growing
crops and trees; the houses dropping down and taking on the cozy look
of the New England homes; th little community transforming itself into
a village and then into a small city, connected with other cities by nerves
of wire and bands of steel, and all these signs of thrift and comfort gath-
ered around the college and largely its product; then, too, I see a long
procession of young people coming up from all parts of the land, that
they may drink deeply of the waters of the Pierian spring and go forth
to all quarters of the earth to give to others what they have received
here. The vision is an inspiring one and a satisfactory one. I wish you
could all see what I now see as I close my eyes and dream of the past
of Knox College. May its future be as bright as the wishes of its found-
ers and builders ever desired it to be.
The Chairman: Knox has sons and daughters now, almost a
thousand, young and old, and she is fond and proud of them. For this
great family of children, children some of them with gray heads, one of
them, beloved of the mother and kept near her, will speak to-day, the
Rev. C. W. Leffingwell, D. D., Rector of St. Mary's School, Knoxville, 111.,
and editor of The Living Church.
"THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF KNOX."
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Like every good mother, our Alma Mater when she celebrates her
birthday, remembers her children, and it is because they are loyal and
20 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
true that she is able to keep this day with rejoicing. Old Mother Knox
has many sons and daughters, aye, and grandchildren too, who are wish-
ing her many happy returns of the day.
We are not ashamed of the Knox family wherever found, and they
are found in almost every part of the civilized world and in Florida.
These true, earnest, helpful men and women are at work, and have been
for half a century, in places of trust, in Christian schools and homes, in
all the enterprises with which a prosperous nation abounds. They have
filled places of honor and of danger, not hesitating to respond to the call
of country in the hour of peril. Among the graves that are gratefully
visited on Decoration Day there are none more worthy of honor than
those where sleep the soldier boys of Knox.
The roll call of the Alumni-ae (if I may coin a word to include the
graduates of both sides of the park), would suggest a record of noble ser-
vice and good report, of which any college might be proud. It is not,
however, upon the record of a few exceptionally brilliant careers that we
congratulate Knox College to-day, but upon the honorable and useful
lives which she has helped so many hundreds to live, yea, upon the
thousands who have gone forth bearing good seed and using the intellect-
ual and moral powers which were trained here for the benefit of man-
So it seems right and good that Alma Mater, when she looks back
over her many years of honorable service, should remember the sons
and daughters whom God hath given her as the crown and glory of her
work, and they upon their part, should remember what they owe to
their scholastic mother, "Like mother, like child." Let the mother have
credit and praise. She desires to honor her children to-day by calling
out, as I have feebly voiced it, some witness to their worth and work.
This worth and work are largely the result of her training and influence,
the product of what scientists call "environment." There may be some
here who can bear witness as to what this has been from the beginning,
who can tell us under what auspices of faith, hope and love the college
was founded and what it owes to the noble ideals of its founder, whose
good stewardship we commemorate today. My own observation extends
over one generation. It is nearly thirty years since I entered the senior
class of the college. There was then as there is now, a faculty of devoted
and learned men and women deeply interested in the progress and wel-
fare of the students. We knew each other in those days. I hope that
Knox will never be so large and lofty that she cannot reach down and
KKOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 21
take her children by the hand. The inspiration that comes to youth by
association with great men is of more value than any study of books.
Thirty-three years ago! and shall I tell you what sort of men I
found in the college at that time? They were, for the most part, earn-
est, hard-working students, high-minded and serious, as facing the great
issues of life. Those were the days of the war, when old men seldom
smiled, and young men checked their laughter. But there were many
hours of pleasant companionship and quiet enjoyment in the old barracks,
which were known as "The Bricks," and sometimes the banquet table was
spread, with peanuts in the shell and cider out of a tin cup. That was all
the carousing I ever heard of in those days. There was very little need
of discipline. Sometimes a boy was sent up to the president for play-
ing some foolish prank, but there were no "bummers," no loafers in col-
lege or academy; no "lewd fellows of the baser sort" to annoy and dis-
grace the mother who was giving them shelter and training. When I
read of the outrages committed in some institutions, it seems to me it
would be well to add to the litany for use in colleges, "From all roughs
and toughs, good Lord deliver us!"
We sons and daughters of Knox College, upon this Founders' Day
and on many other days, should not only recall the old scenes of our
life and work here; we should also try to realize what fruit that life and
work have borne in our subsequent career. The young man who goes
"so smug upon the mart" with his diploma in hand, with his college bills
paid, may think that he owes no man anything; indeed, may fancy that
he has conferred a favor upon the college by giving it his "patronage."
The time will come, however, when he will realize to some extent what
the college has done for him; that without its training and influence he
would have been handicapped all through the race of life; that he would
have lived and moved, and had his intellectual being on a lower plane;
that he would have failed of the accomplishment of things which are his
chief honor and pride; that he would have been poor in that which he
counts his most enjoyable and durable earthly riches the treasures of a
cultivated mind. All these advantages have come to him, and could
have come to him only through the organic life and specialized functions
of the institution of which, for a time, he was a member. It is a gospel
truth: "No man liveth to himself." In another phase: "No
man groweth by himself." Institutions, schools, colleges, church-
es, nations, the individual inherits. He does not make them or re-
turn value received when he pays his bills; he only shares in some in-
22 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
cidental expenses. The foundation on which he builds was laid long
ago; and some of the far-sighted founders we commemorate today; the
walls and roof and furnishings and endowments, have been the result of
generations of wise benefactors. Therefore, with grateful recognition
of benefits received, should every son and daughter of Knox recall the
founders and benefactors of an institution which has done so much for
them and for the world.
As one of the sons I am glad to bring my tribute of appreciation
and gratitude, and I believe that I voice the feelings and convictions of
thousands in all that I have said. The Alumni of Knox have done some-
thing from time to time to express their appreciation in more substantial
form than words. They will do more that way, I trust. But in one di-
rection they have "exceeded the sum of all accounts;" they have furnished
the college from their ranks a president who has the distinguished honor
of being the youngest man who has ever been placed at the head of an
American college of high rank. Let them now use their influence to
sustain him in carrying forward the work in which some of the foremost
educators in the country have preceded him, among whom, facile prin-
ceps, is Newton Bateman, Doctor of Laws, for more than a generation
the most conspicuous among the leaders of education in Illinois, and
for nearly twenty years the loved and honored president of Knox Col-
lege. The sons and daughters of Knox thank God for the benediction
of his presence, and for the splendid example of a long life devoted to
the true, the beautiful, and the good. Serus in cmlum redeat.
When I note that, to-day, in active service, there are two instructors
in the college, to whose lectures of more than thirty years ago I owe so
much, to whom then I looked up as to men of advanced years and learn-
ing, I begin to feel young again. There is Professor Kurd, my ideal of a
live teacher; I can never think of him as growing old; and Professor Corn-
stock, whose ability to calculate an eclipse filled me with admiring won-
der when I was an undergraduate, still going on as serenely as the moon;
and Professor Churchill, the sturdy veteran who has stood by the Acad-
emy all these years, but I must not speak of the fathers. The sons and
daughters of Knox! Speaking for them of Alma Mater, I am sure that
they all join me in saying that we honor her past, we admire her present,
we glory in her future. Her real endowment is not in bonds and real
estate, but in the consecration of noble lives to her service. In promot-
ing her interest we honor ourselves, we honor our country, we strengthen
the foundations of an institution which has long been a power for good,
PROFESSOR IN NESS GRANT.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS 1 DAY. 23
The Chairman: And Knox has sisters, too, many and good
sisters. There is one who is especially dear to her because she has
given to us him who is universally beloved by the students of Knox Col-
lege and our townspeople, and respected all up and down this state, Dr.
Newton Bateman. We are honored today by the presence of the hus-
band of that sister, President Bradley, of Illinois College. I have great
pleasure in introducing him to you.
" SISTERS OF KNOX. "
Mr. Chairman, ladies and Gentlemen:
We always consider it to a man's credit if he thinks a good deal of
his brothers and sisters. If he is so self-centered as to take no interest
in those who stand in close relationship to him we wonder if he realizes
how much he is losing. Colleges are like men and I have been glad to
see of late some quickening of these family ties among the colleges of
this state. We had a better family reunion, it is said, at Springfield in
December than had ever been held before. And soon after that Knox
College showed her sisterly affection for Illinois College by sending one
of her most honored and beloved instructors, Professor Hurd, to assist
us in carrying on our Bible Institute.
And so I am glad to bring you the greeting of Illinois College on
this happy occasion. Few institutions have better grounds for sisterly
affection than Knox College and her staid elder sister Illinois. I cannot
forget that after distinguished services in the cause of education in this
state and throughout the country, an honored son of Illinois became
president of Knox College, guiding her growth during a critical period
and, at length, amid universal regret resigning the office upon which he
had conferred such honor. Nor can I forget that another son of Il-
linois, who for more than a quarter of a century ranked perhaps, as Chi-
cago's most eminent divine has long adorned your board of trustees,
Rev. Dr. R. W. Patterson; nor that another trustee of Knox is a gradu-
ate of Illinois and a son of its illustrious president, Dr. Sturtevant.
But interesting and precious as are these ties of relationship we
have far deeper and more significant reasons for mutual interest.
The establishment of American colleges by the pioneer settlers of
this country is one of the most remarkable facts of American history.
Harvard College was founded within six years after the planting of the
Massachusetts Bay Colony. Scarcely four thousand settlers were scattered
along the Massachusetts coast. No adequate provision had yet been made
for their bodily comfort or their spiritual wants. But no limitations of
24 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
outward circumstances could blind their eyes to the importance of intelli-
gent and upright leadership. They feared, we are told, the influence of
an ignorant clergy. They resolved that the new nation should rest upon
the foundations of Christian learning. Their lofty enterprise rose above
the sordid greed of gold. And so they founded a college and voted to
give four hundred pounds from their meager funds for its endowment,
and they wrote upon its corner stone the noble motto which still stands
upon the seal of that honored institution: " Christo et Ecclesiae"
Yale College was a child of a like purpose. Ten ministers met at
Branford to plan for the establishment of a college for the education of
Christian pastors. Each brought a few books and as he laid them on
the table he said: "I give these books to found a Christian College."
And so of the fair sisterhood of colleges all over the land. They
were established to promote and perpetuate a Christian education. They
illustrate the foresight and consecration of their noble founders. Pre-
eminently true is this of the early colleges of the west. The founders of
Knox and Beloit and Iowa and Illinois looked forward to the develop-
ment of the great west and calmly planned for a national destiny of
which few had then conceived. There is no fairer page in American
history than that which records the formation of the famous Yale band
of 1829 and their consecrated enterprise in the planting of Illinois Col-
lege. It was their courage and sagacity with that of men of like spirit
in other places which saved Illinois and all this fair region from the
curse of slavery and disseminated the spirit of the New England fathers
all over this land of promise.
Knox and Illinois then are sisters not merely in that each is seeking
to promote in its own sphere the cause of higher education and sound
learning, but pre-eminently because of their identity in spirit and origin,
because the gifts of their founders and benefactors, the life and
devotion of their officers and instructors have been inwrought into their
history and their present power for good. And so we do well to-day to
honor the memory and the consecration of the founders of Knox. And
we do well to hope that their spirit will long be shared by men of wealth
and foresight all over our land.
In bringing you, then, to-day the greetings of Illinois College, I but
express the sentiment and the spirit which have ruled from the first in
all this fair circle of colleges. May the good Providence which guided
their planting grant them a continuous and vigorous growth; may the
vast population so soon to flourish here, flowing in upon these prairies in
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 25
refluent waves, find that science and religion, truth and the fear of God
are fostered and maintained by these pioneer institutions of Christian
Continuing, President Bradley alluded to the fact that there are re-
lationships within colleges as well as among them, and as Knox had re-
cently taken to herself a vigorous young husband, the sister colleges
wished them much happiness and prosperity in the new union and hoped
all Alumni and friends of Knox College would help its young president
in the great and trying work of enlarging its financial resources. In this
as in all worthy efforts the sister colleges bid Knox College godspeed.
Mrs. Frederick J. Bentley, of Galesburg, a great-great-grand daugh-
ter of General Henry Knox, whose name the college bears, added
greatly to the enjoyment and interest of the exercises by singing "Ave
Maria" (by Faure), accompanied by Prof. W. F. Bentley and Mr. War-
The Chairman: We have neighbors, too, as well as relatives,
and one of our nearest neighbors is Rock Island. It is a great pleasure
to have with us to-day a good representative of that city, and of our
neighbors in general, the Rev. W. S. Marquis, who will speak to
"THE MISSION OF THE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE IN
Ladies and Gentlemen:
When the revered Dr. Hopkins took the President's Chair at Wil :
Hams in 1836, he said in his inaugural address: "I have no ambition to
build up here what would be called a great institution, but I do desire
and shall labor that this may be a safe college that here may be health
and cheerful study, and kind feelings and pure morals; and that in the
memory of future students college life may be made a still more verdant
spot." And no man ever redeemed a promise more nobly. Char-
acter was the thing he aimed at; development of mind and morals
and manners together into strong and symmetrical manhood. His
students were moulded by his own strong Christian character,
and the devout simplicity and confidence with which he taught
all truth from .the stand of Christian theism. Not as a sectarian,
not as a religious enthusiast, such as Dr. Griffin, his predecessor, had
been, but with a sweet reasonableness and a magnetism never surpassed,
26 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY,
he presented belief in God as the true philosophy of life and of ihe
world. This, we are told, was the secret of his wonderful character-
"The question is not," writes President Porter, of Yale, "whether
the college shall or shall not teach theology, but what theology shall it
teach theology according to Corate and Spencer, or according to Bacon
and Christ? Theology according to Moses and Paul or according to
Buckle and Draper? For a college to hesitate to teach theism and
Christianity is practically to proclaim that in the opinions of its guard-
ians the evidence for and against is so evenly balanced that it would be
unfair for them to throw the weight of their influence on either side and
is in fact to throw it on the side of materialism, fatalism and atheism."
Here is the reason why we, as Christians, demand institutions of
higher learning dominated by Christian truth. Not to do so is to sur-
render our youth to materialism and agnosticism.
"The end of education," says Jean Paul Richter, "is to elevate
above the spirit of the age." Commenting on this President Payne, of
the Ohio Wesleyan, remarks:
"Richter says, 'The end of education is to elevate above the spirit of
the age. ' That is a great truth which, amid the clamor about an educa-
tion of the times and for the times, we do well to heed. We must have
a culture which ennobles, enlarges and enriches the mind and lifts it out
of the materialistic atmosphere of the age. Hence the necessity of a
judicious attention to the classics, ancient and modern, to literature, to
history and philosophy and kindred studies.
"We cannot afford to strike at genuine culture or at Christian faith,
and become the abettors of a demoralizing materialism, in order to make
our educational work conform to the demands of a false public senti-
What the world wants to-day above all other wants is men and
women of lofty type and genuine character and masterful power, men
and women whose souls as well as brains have been quickened, who
perceive that intellectual good is empty and worthless, a positive curse
to the world, unless underneath it there be a good heart, who perceive
that culture, apart from faith in God and devotion to man, have a ten-
dency to produce an artificial and unsympathetic character and who
therefore have the Man of Galilee for their ideal.
It is asserted in some quarters that the spirit of materialism and ra-
tionalism which characterizes the age has entered even our Christian col-
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 27
leges and universities. It startles us to read in Mr. Thwing's Treatise
on American colleges the statement: "The American college has
ceased to be in its government and organization and instruction a distinct
ively religious force. "
Dr. J. W. Mendenhall in the Christian Advocate (June 6, 1889) de.
dares with a startling array of substantiating facts, that as in Germany,
France, Holland, England, so here rationalism has its headquarters in
the colleges. He specifically charges that Yale is the center of Ameri-
can rationalism and Harvard intensely rationalistic. If this is indeed
true it is a lamentable departure from the original intention of the
founders of those institutions. Harvard bears the name of a Congrega-
tional minister and carries on its seal the motto " Christo et Ecclesice. "
Yale was planted to be the foundation of even a stricter orthodoxy
than was taught at Harvard.
I am constrained to receive these statements with some allowance.
The statistics show that whereas there was but one Christian student in
ten at Harvard in 1853, in 1890 the proportion was one in five. Oth-
er Christian colleges show the same improvement. Mr. Thwing himself
says that about one-half of the students in our colleges are professing
Christians. Dr. Dorchester also calls attention to the encouraging fact
that religious revivals are of more frequent occurrence and that almost
every institution now has a Y. M. C. A. organization within its ranks.
Yet we must not be blind to facts. The spirit of the age is materi-
alistic. The magic word of the day is science, and " science, " says Prof.
Diman, "discusses force and method but says nothing of God, freedom
and immortality. She leads us, therefore, to the tree of knowledge
but not to the tree of life." "When history is .reduced to the rigid and
inexorable laws of physical science, as it is by Buckle and Goldwin
Smith, and moral philosophy is based on molecular movements, as it is
in substance by Spencer and Bain; when the data of ethics must be
searched for only among the rubbish of matter, with its necessitarian
laws, these studies lose their inspiring and ennobling power. It would
be perilous to turn our American youth into these sterile pastures to
herd with the cattle and to feed on that which perishes alike with them-
These words remind us of the question Bishop Spaulding asks in his
address on Ideals: " Is the material progress of the nineteenth century
a cradle or a grave? Are we to continue to dig and delve and peer into
28 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
matter until God and the soul fade from our view and we become like
the things we work in?"
Against such a degradation of the glory of our age; against such a
prostitution of science, which DuBois Raymond declares owes its origin
to Christianity; against such a humiliation and destruction of the soul
of man, it is the mission of the Christian colleges of America to contend.
And this they can only do by making the colleges a center of moral
power and Christian influence. John Calet placed the image of the
Child Jesus over the master's chair in the German school beside St.
Paul's, London, and engraved beneath it the words, " Hear Ye Him."
The same ideal and the same motto should be found in all our institu-
tions of learning. Jesus Christ furnishes us not only the picture of a
complete and perfect character, but his unfolding youth furnishes us
with the ideal of character development. We find it compressed into
one verse: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor
with God and man." Here are the four lines along which there must
be growth if the youth is to receive a symmetrical and well-balanced de-
velopment. "In stature" a physical development; "in wisdom" a
mental training and discipline which shall draw out (educo) the faculties
of the mind and give the young the power to grapple with the problems
of life; in "the favor of God" spiritual development through that
communion of the soul with the Infinite Spirit which quickens all the
spiritual forces within, irradiating character with the "beauty of the Lord"
and clothing it with a power that is not born of earth; finally, growth in
favor of man or social development the knowledge of the world, of
human nature, of the requirements of social intercourse; the refinement
of manners and address in meeting men which constitutes such an inval-
uable addition to the character of the young man or woman when they
step forth into the world.
This is symmetrical development, physical, mental, spiritual, social;
and Jesus Christ is the ideal whom it is our privilege to set before the
youth of our land. He is the only ideal, and the master who does not
point to Him saying " Hear Ye Him" will fail of his mission, no mat-
ter how brilliant an instructor.
The vast majority of the colleges of this land have been founded as
we have seen, for the avowed purpose of exalting Christ in the culture of
our land. To Christ they must remain true or lose their power and
their glory. " Not until this republic has made a nearer approach to its
decline and fall," says President Payne, "will infidel schools or schools
REV. JONATHAN BLANCHARD, D. D.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 29
antagonistic to Christianity, rise to commanding influence." On the
contrary, the more of the teachings and spirit of the Great Teacher all our
educational institutions inculcate and stamp upon the characters of their
students, the wider will be their influence."
To live for common ends is to be common. The highest faith
makes still the highest man. For we grow like the things our souls be-
lieve, and rise or sink as we aim high or low. No mirror shows such
likeness of the face as faith we live by, of the heart and mind. We are,
in very truth, that which we love, and love, like the noblest deeds, is
born of faith.
We most sincerely hope and pray that this institution founded by
Christian faith and sustained through many a trying hour, may ever be
true to this high ideal, giving to the youth who enter her halls that sym-
metrical Christian culture which will fit them for noble life, useful citi-
zenship and the eternal blessedness of those who not through knowledge
alone, but through character, are fit for fellowship with God.
The Chairman: And now let me introduce to you another neigh-
bor, one whom we see for the first time, but whom, once heard, we shall
wish to hear again, and often, the Rev. C. W. Hiatt, pastor of the First
Congregational Church of Peoria. His theme is
"THE CHURCH AND THE COLLEGE."
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Wholly in addition to the special and agreeable mission of congratu
lation which brings me here, I am personally conscious of an interest in
this .institution, in which are commingled the elements of curiosity and
gratitude. I am curious to know what meat the oratorical Caesars of
Knox have been eating for the past few years, to make them so great
and so terrible in the eyes of college men. I am grateful, because, in-,
directly, this college has influenced my own career by calling into educa-
tional work, more than forty years ago, the great and inspiring man,
under whom it was my fortune to receive the academic tutelage. A
man, who brought to the prairies of Illinois somewhat of the granite of
his own New England hills, who never suffered a pupil to pass beyond
his care without receiving the impression of his own heroic soul, the
man who wrote your college diploma, graduating thirteen classes hore,
the second president of Knox, and the first president of Wheaton, Jon-
30 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
I think that we more than pay a tribute to the past to-day. We
gather an inspiration for ourselves. When that veracious and emotional
traveler, Mark Twain, was in Palestine, he ran across the grave of Adam.
He thereupon lifted up his voice and wept, for he recognized in him a
distant relative. It was his way of paying respects to the class of people
who are always raking over the ashes of the past, and clothing every
cindered relic with a sacred sentiment. The Innocent, however, would
scarcely have turned his ridicule upon a scene like this. If America
has anything on which to pride herself, it is the memory of those
devoted spirits, who, fifty years and more ago, at great sacrifice, planted
in the beech and oak clearings of Ohio and Michigan, and amid the
prairie grasses of Illinois and Iowa, the foundations of colleges, wherein
learning should ever be the hand-maiden of religion, and where the priv-
ileges of education should never be restricted, whether on account of
race, or sect, or sex. Such, I believe, was the genesis of the institution
whose foundation we celebrate. These men sought a perfect state of
society. They decried and discarded all patent processes of human
restoration and development. They looked for the perfect state of soci-
ety to come of perfecting its unit, the individual man. This would be
accomplished by developing what was noblest in him, the intellect and
heart, giving to him both knowledge and faith, whose highest exponents
were the college and the church. These two must work together.
It was a good philosophy. There is a natural correlation between
the institution that lifts the flambeau of truth, and the institution that
lights the torches of love. You cannot illuminate the world with either
one alone. Jesus was the "truth." God is " love" and when these two
met in Christ, who was both God and man, love and truth, he it was who
could justly and triumphantly declare "I am the light of the world."
Truth and love are weak when unrelated. Truth becomes a pale and
sickly glimmer. Love becomes a vapid sentimentalism, guilty of ab-
surdities and extremes. But when love and truth unite, the dark earth
becomes ablaze with light. Then it is that Oberlin forsakes his Stras-
burg for the mountains of the Vosges, and Mackay turns his back on
universities of Britain to hide away in the consecrated smithy of interior
Africa, and Chalmers descends from the loftiest pulpit in Christendom
to bury himself in the lowly parish of St. John's. It is when truth and
love unite that upon the iniquities of the earth there comes the expulsive
power. It is intelligent Christianity and Christianized intelligence that
will give the smile to the desert, and to the wilderness a rose. And
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 31
these are the product of the college and the church when unitedly at
work. It is a divine relation, and what God hath joined together let no
man put asunder.
But this was not a new philosophy. The Puritan, whether of the
Mayflower or later immigration, built his two cabins side by side, one
for religion and one for education. In the planting of all the noble in-
stitutions of those early times, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, The College of
William and Mary, the purpose, written or unwritten, was for " Christ
and His Church." It is a significant fact that when the 260 volumes of
John Harvard all perished in the flames but one, the title of this one was
" The Christian Warfare Against the Devil." In this connection it is
proper to inquire what is the relation of colleges and churches in our
day. It is clear enough that the churches are not contributing their pro-
duce as the fathers did, peas, corn and beans, to the support of these
institutions. For instance, in Illinois there are 304 churches in the order
to which I belong. Of this number 215 gave nothing for education last
year. And yet there is a relation between the church and college. We
observe a day of prayer for colleges once a year that is a part of the
day, and part of it, a very small portion of the day we pray for you,
brethren, but- in no part of the day do we pay for you. We send a few
of our boys and girls to school. However they do not all go to the Chris-
tian college in the vicinage. A while ago in a church of five hundred mem-
bers, I noticed that fourteen young men and maidens went out of town
to school. Of this number four traveled a thousand miles, three five
hundred miles, three went into a neighboring state, two attended the
state university, which, to say the least, did not prepare young men for
the ministry, while two of the fourteen, went forty miles to the Christian
college, which had a right to claim the entire fourteen. It was a well-
appointed institution. It was thriving excepting that it lacked pupils
and finances. All this was wrong. The church associations sometimes
send a committee to inspect the college. These visitors appear for a day,
returning with interest the vacant stare of the Greek and Latin on the
blackboards, walking wearily through the scientific halls, and spending
their last hour looking at the backs of the books in the library; and when
next the association meets they report that the college is doing well, and
recommend that it be given the same sympathy in the future as in the
Surely the relation of church and college might be closer and more
practical. For instance I do not like to have our boys going to Harvard
32 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
and our girls going to Vassar, with a noble Christian college open to both
at our very door. Speaking of Vassar reminds me of a little parody
that went the rounds when I was editor of a quite meritorious but not
financially successful college journal
"There was a young maiden of Vassar,
In drawing no one could surpass her,
She drew like Lorain a very long train,
And a check that astonished the cashier."
Some people, however, have a deep-seated prejudice against co-educa-
tional schools. A graduate of Yale once asked " Is it true that students
of co-educational colleges go out paired?" And the reply came laconi-
cally "Yes, pre-pared." The churches must sustain these Christian
schools Christian enough to educate both boys and girls.
It rests upon a reasonable proposition. The churches expect the
colleges to fill their pulpits. The colleges have a right, therefore to ask
the churches to fill their class-rooms and treasuries. I do not believe
that we shall absolve ourselves of obligation by passing around the con-
tribution boxes once a year. Often such collections only just suffice to
fill the cup of despair. But this I maintain, while we are appointing
committees to attend to the educational interests of the black man and
the red man and the yellow man and the brown man, we should also ap-
point a committee to take care of the white man who is so unfortunate
as to be born in the United States. A committee that shall not only
secure funds but also pupils for the neighboring Christian college. It is
a theory of mine that when pupils throng a school it is easier to secure
money than when financial agents throng the rich man's door. I count
it among the privileges of Christian ministry to encourage the holy
grace of intellectual discontent in young men and women until they res-
olutely set their faces for a liberal education, thus seeking to add to
their faith that knowledge which shall clothe it with all but irresistible
power. The minister is not usually oppressed with an overplus of funds.
He often laments that he may not pay the way of aspirant boys and girls,
but perhaps he has the commission only to pave the way. I have
thought that it would be good for colleges to adopt a heroic plan of giv-
ing absolutely free tuition to such young men as ministers may recomend.
For I am convinced that where the churches have their treasures there
their hearts will'also be.
Undoubtedly the battle plain of truth and error in the next one
hundred years will be this American continent and perhaps this very
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 33
Mississippi valley. The mighty agents of the truth, the pledge of victory,
will be the joint product of our churches and our schools. It therefore
behooves the church and college to co-operate. Let the pulpit lift the
clarion of inspiration. Let the pew pour out its wealth. Let the col-
lege open wide its doors!
A chorus of college boys here sang Founders' Day Song to the tune,
"John Brown's Body," the body of students joining in the last refrain.
The song was composed by Prof. L. S. Pratt.
To sing the praise of dear old Knox we bid you now prepare,
For those who love these college walls have lately been aware,
Within the last six months or so, there's something in the air
Which augurs well for Knox.
REFRAIN: Money has begun to flow,
Alumni hope is in a glow,
Students have increased, and so
All augurs well for Knox.
The history of our college home has always been our pride,
For head and heart and spirit there are cultured side by side.
Success has our alumni crowned in everything they've tried,
'Tis the history of our Knox.
REFRAIN: Success in church and school and state,
Knox blood has always made men great,
And so her past we celebrate,
Grand history of old Knox.
So forward is our thought to-day: we look toward coming years.
Our hopes are bright: new eras dawn: the darkness disappears.
A prospect of the future day with joy our bosom cheers,
The future of new Knox.
REFRAIN: Our past but faintly typifies
Success on-looking hope descries,
O! vision sweet to longing eyes.
Rare future! noble Knox.
And so with loving loyalty we offer heart and hand
Anew to thee to-day, dear Knox, thy stalwart student band,
And pledge to do our best for thee, whatever thy command,
Our best for thee, old Knox.
34 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
REFRAIN: Knox carissiraa! our own!
To the breeze thy banner's thrown!
Love to thee, and thee alone,
We pledge to-day, dear Knox.
Zip, rah, boom, rah, Knox, Knox, Knox!
Zip, rah, boom, rah, rocks, rocks, rocks!
Zip, rah, boom, rah, welcome, new epochs!
Boom, rah, Knox, Ifnox, KNOX!
The Chairman: We are honored in the presence this morning of
a man affectionately called by his thousands of friends up and down
this country as " Father Coffin. " He is himself a founder of a great
order and a strong ally and friend of the workingmen, especially those
whose lives are spent in the employ of the railway corporations, though
he is himself a farmer. I have the pleasure of introducing the Hon. L.
S. Coffin. The subject to which he will speak is
"THE VALUE OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION."
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Why a humble man a farmer a man who never enjoyed the in-
estimable privilege of such institutions as this whose anniversary we cele-
brate to-day should be invited to participate in these commendable festiv-
ities, I cannot conceive, unless it be upon the principle which underlies
that immortal and precious sonnet, " Home, Sweet Home." I think I
have been told that the writer of that song never knew what the joys
of home were, that he was a homeless wanderer. He knew its value by
its loss or absence. This great honor conferred upon me by being
invited to take some little part upon this platform, at this interesting
time, adds a keenness to the pang of the ever returning regret that I am
not and cannot ever be reckoned among the alumni of any college or
university. I was thoughtlessly robbed of boyhood opportunities for
education and when a young man my services were too valuable as a
worker on the farm to allow of academic privileges. When of age I
found myself so lacking in all discipline and culture that I was forced to
make some effort for an education. But the extent of my schooling
was not more than about two years in the preparatory department at
Oberlin, Ohio, whither I came drawn by the report of Its won-
derful facilities offered to young men. I am by birth and life-long
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 35
work a farmer, and my life has been one of such close confinement to toil
and public work in God's providence laid upon me, that I
have never been able to command enough time to devote to
reading, even so as to be at all at home with intelligent, cultured men.
Strange as it may seem, with all this lack of education and training, it
has been my lot in the past, thirty days to stand frequently before public
audiences, as here to-day, and all these years I have been compelled to
reap the harvest from seeds sown in early life. Being extremely sensi-
tive of my lack, I have never yet been able to rise before a public audi-
ence to speak without humiliating embarrassment. I thus humble my-
self before you to-day, and violate all rules of public speaking in thus
opening to your view my life in order to enforce what I would say to
every young man and boy, young woman and girl who has the ambition
for an education, to let no obstacle stand between you and a thorough
course of study. With the opportunities now at the hands of every
young man and woman it becomes almost the unpardonable sin not to
secure a good education.
But I am expected to speak to you a few minutes upon the subject of
a liberal education as connected with labor and the efforts of labor to
better its own condition. It is not necessary for me to say here that my
whole soul is in hearty sympathy with labor. All my life I have been a
hard working man in the manual labor of the farm. I have seen, of
course, as the years have come and gone, all the labor orders come into
existence. I do not say I have always agreed with all the movements
made, or the motives that have actuated some of these orders; still, un-
derneath or behind them all, or nearly all, is this grand motive, viz.: the
betterment of the condition of the laboring man and his family. Some
of the ways and means to this end adopted by some, I may not approve,
but it is not necessary at this time and place to dwell upon the errors of
labor. We are here to point, if possible, to avenues .that lead out, up
and away from not only the errors, but the woes, the burdens, and if I
may say it, the un-American distinctions that class one set of men as la-
borers and another as capitalists. I look with dread, and I may say sor-
row and alarm, at this increasing use of the word "class" or "classes" as ap-
plied to the American people. The intelligent, honest laboring man is
the true " American. " If there must be any distinctions made aside
from that of honest manhood as against meanness and knavery, let it be
that of intelligence as against ignorance. Any distinction based on
wealth and poverty should have no place in this land of equality. Any
36 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
distinction of this nature I hope will always be as now, based upon a
very unstable foundation. May the time never come in this land when
the son of the laborer of to-day cannot be the father of the millionaire to-
morrow. But the question is, how shall this condition of things be re-
strained by us in this land of freedom and equal rights? The answer
comes short and quick viz.: by maintaining and consecrating just such
institutions as these to the lifting up of the children of the men of toil.
Labor is impatient, is impulsive. What it wants, it thinks it wants
badly and wants it now. It does not read history, or, if it reads, it
does not always heed its lessons. God is always at the helm of the
ship that carries all humanity. A thousand years are as one day with Him.
Moses had to lead his laborers for two hundred years through the wilder-
ness ways before he gained what they struck for. They needed disci-
pline. They needed education and God gave them time to get it. Labor
must look along the years and work and wait. The fathtr laborer of to-
day may, like Moses, only see the promised land from the mountain top
and in joyful faith and anticipation see the glorious land of life his edu-
cated children are sure to have. There is not a class of men on earth
who have a greater interest at stake in the establishment, maintenance
and patronage of such schools as this and of our common public schools
than do the laboring men of this country. Here is their only hope. The
parent, who is a parent, looks not so much to his own as to his child's
good. Take the children of the average railroad man. They inherit
from the cool-headed, determined, brave, energetic, keen, discriminating,
strong-hearted man, a make-up that can be likened to a steam engine.
My observation is that these children, as a rule, are superior in many re-
spects to the ordinary child. Such children, educated, become the leaders
of men. Instead of brakemen, conductors, engineers, they become sup-
erintendents, managers, presidents, directors, capitalists, or if inclined
to other pursuits, merchants, lawyers, and influential men and
women. They go to the top. But if neglected, not educated, they
drift along in the ruts their fathers made and class labor becomes
entailed with all its degrading consequences. If I should bring any ob-
jection to these labor orders it would be that when one once enters a
brotherhood there is danger of a feeling something like this: " Well, I
am a brotherhood man now and it is a pretty good thing. I like the
boys and I will stay with them." The ambition to go up higher, I have
sometimes thought, seems in a measure smothered. All these orders
should, like the various churches, be considered not as an end, but as a
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 37
means to a higher end to develop the best there is in a man and
to unite the powers of the many in overcoming wrong and
establishing right; to draw in and lift up the weak and those in danger
and need. I have, as most know, a great interest in the Brotherhood of
Trainmen, whose headquarters are in your city, but I should feel sad to
think that any one of them should feel that once a brakeman always a
brakeman, or that once an employee always an employee. I should like
the time to come when each one of these men shall be his own employer;
have a business of his own, be his own master. But if he cannot be that
I do want him to see to it that his children shall receive the benefits
of such institutions as this, so that they may forge their way to the front,
and that, too, in time to take to their better homes and surround-
ings the parents who have made it possible, by their self-denial, for them
to get an education. I would not be too severe but I do candidly, firmly be-
lieve, that no healthy, honest, temperate, economical laboring man, with
a wife who is a helpmeet for him, can have any real excuse for not lift-
ing himself and his posterity to a higher social plane through the power
and influence that will come by the education of his children. The
great drawback, the great drain upon the wages of labor heretofore has
been the enormous drain upon these wages for drink and tobacco. Give
me the money spent yearly for these worse than useless things and I will
put through college every child of labor in America. There is no hope
for the children of the laboring man so long ?.s the saloon divides his
wages between his family and itself. This fact, thank God, the railroad
man has begun to see. If all classes of toilers would do as these rail-
road men are now doing, we should soon see these educational halls
crowded with the children from the families whose only capital at pres-
ent is brawn but which in the next generation will be both brawn and
brain. God speed the day wheu the schools like this will have to be
multiplied to meet the growing wants of labor. .
The Chairman: You know that some have read the future of the
small college in the fate that befell the seven fat kine, which, in Pha-
raoh's dream fed in the meadows of Egypt, the fate of being eaten up
by the lean and hungry universities. But I do not fear such a fate for
Knox, for you see I have invited one of the representatives of the great
university up on the lake shore into our fields. I have the honor and
pleasure of introducing him as our friend, Dr. Albion W. Small, of the
University of Chicago. He will speak of
38 KtfOK COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
" THE UNIVERSITY AND THE COLLEGE."*
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure as well as an honor to extend to Knox College
a most hearty greeting on behalf of the University of Chicago. I
rejoice that I live in a generation in which it is possible for the mem-
bers of Christian institutions to behave toward each other as gentlemen
should. The age of ungentlemanly, unchristian, deadly rivalry between
institutions of learning is happily passing if not past. We are getting
to see that the prosperity of one is the prosperity of all. We have at
Chicago the heartiest sympathy for Knox, because we are so much alike
in our situation we are both poor. Poverty is a relative matter after
all. Poverty is assets just a dollar short of liabilities. Poverty is legs
a trifle too long for the pantaloons. Coming down in the train, Presi-
dent Harper and I were looking over the University budget for next
year, and it appears that if we cannot retrench, our expenditure next year
will be forty thousand dollars more than our receipts.
The first suggestion that I will urge with reference to the college is
that its mission is not primarily literary culture; it is the maturing and
strengthening of character, in which the training and finish of mind is
only one element. You remember the story of Count Von Moltke, Prus-
sia's great field-marshal in the Franco-Prussian war. When his aide
entered his room at night, and said, " War is declared," the old field-
marshal simply pointed to the second portfolio on the shelf. The war
was already fought in anticipation. It is a proud career to be able to
stand before young students and to help them anticipate the battle of life.
The first mission of the college, the fundamental mission, is the matur-
ing of character. Between fourteen and twenty is the period when
ambitions are formed, and it is in that period that the college has its
first function of instructing manhood. The man whose teaching I
enjoyed most in college, left upon me this one impression, which I can
remember definitely I happened to fall in with him one day walking
down College Street. He commenced talking to me, and this is the one
remark which remained with me: "It is best not to let one moment of
time go to waste." He suggested that when I was waiting for my din-
ner at my boarding house, I should have something light to read which
I did not care to take up more valuable time for, and it was during the
* Dr. Small wax not able to reproduce his remarhx in full and they are publislied from
partial stenographic notes taken by a gentleman in the audience.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' 1 DAY. 39
few moments each day while waiting for dinner, that I read whatever I
have of Dickens. From my fifth to my fourteenth year I was in a Sun-
day School in which through all that time there was one superintendent.
The only words from that man's lips that I can remember to-day are
words which he uttered one Saturday afternoon when I was blacking a
pair of boots, and he said to me: " Do you always black the heels as
well as you do the toes?" That was all he said, but I thought of his
remarks afterwards, and his words stayed with me. The keenest dis-
appointment of my life was in 1876, when I made application for a posi-
tion as instructor at Knox College, and received a reply from the presi-
dent that if my application had been received twenty-four hours earlier
it would probably have obtained a favorable answer. Up to date it is
actually the keenest disappointment I have ever suffered. The disap-
pointment of that day in 1876 has been revived during this hour when I
have learned more than I knew before of what Knox College actually
was and is for the education of a boy. I would give more for the
ideals, the purposes of the men and women whose lives have gone into
the structure of this college than for all the libraries that wealth can
The second mission of the college, and after all it is the second
mission, not the first, is the distribution to students of the sum of knowl-
edge acquired up to date. The college is to the university the station
on the pipe line, of which the university may be called the main. It is
the work of the specialist to learn the last returns from the front. The
business of the college is to put into the minds of the students the latest
contents of the book of nature that any one has reported. It is often
spoken of as a misfortune if a boy or girl is obliged to get a college
education in a small college. I have had experience both in small col-
leges and in great universities, and it seems to me exactly the reverse.
The best opportunities for the maturing of character during these form-
ing years are not in connection with the great universities; they are in
the comparative seclusion of the small college, where the students meet
intimately and freely the men who are above them in intellect. The
small college is the place to get the foundation of knowledge. The
association of the small college is the world in which the work of the
public school is best continued. I think we are never so sure of enter-
taining angels unawares as when we harbor in a town a body of young
men engaged in the pursuits of education. Reference has been made to
the rationalism of our American and European universities. The differ-
40 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
ence between the typical university man and the typical college man is
the difference between the outlook in the bow, and the passenger resting
securely in the cabin below. The business of the university is this gen-
eral rationalism which does not cut away from faith any more than
Columbus cut away from the theory of gravitation when he sailed from
Palos. The best diviners of truth are not those people who frown upon
scepticism. The place for the foundation work, the safe place, the
right place, is not with the sceptic. Hence the atmosphere of the col-
lege, rather than the university, is preferable for the young student.
But it is not right of those who want this work done to denounce the
reasonable sceptics, i. e. the scientific searchers for new truth. They are
sceptics with faith in their heart, with new" discoveries and imaginations
before their eyes.
You know the old story of the school master in England who
has a monument in Westminster Abbey. , The facts are these
as related by tradition: It was the custom of the teacher to wear
his cap when teaching the school. One day the king entered, but the
master did not remove his hat. When the pupils went out, the teacher
uncovered his head. The king asked, " Why do you take off your cap
now?" The pedagogue replied: "Because it would not do for the boys
to know that there is any greater man in England than the master."
The growth of universities has not diminished but rather increased the
responsibility of colleges. It is the right of any college which, like
Knox, is fulfilling its proper function, to claim a dignity which makes it
essentially the peer of any educational institution of any grade.
The Chairman: We have heard much of the past of Knox Col-
lege and now we shall hear before closing these interesting exercises a
brief forecast of the future, and our prophet is one who has helped as
much as any one person to make the past and the present of this college
to build an enduring foundation for a great future. I introduce him who
needs no introduction, the teacher of thousands in the forty-three
years of his connection with Knox College, Professor Albert Hurd.
THE FUTURE OF KNOX COLLEGE.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but perhaps I can
make good the prediction just uttered by President Finley that the last
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 41
speech will be a short one. When a single Professor of Divinity with
three learned companions left the Monastery of Croyland for Cambridge
in England, and hired a barn in which to receive the young men who
came to them to receive instruction, they could not look very far into
the future. They were called of God to do a noble work; in faith they
obeyed the call and entered upon their mission. Centuries have rolled
away since that time and we can now see the result, but the founders of
the great university could not foresee the coming Chaucer and Mil-
ton, and Bacon, and Macaulay. In like manner when a few learned
men commenced a course of lectures at Oxford, the future greatness of
their school was not discerned; even the eye of faith must have fallen
far short of revealing the glorious history concealed by the veil of years
yet to come. Wickliffe and Wolsey, Wesley and Whitefield, Lyell and
Gladstone, with their commanding influence upon human affairs and hu-
man destiny, could not have been anticipated. And so it cannot now be
seen what mighty and influential minds are hereafter to be discovered
and trained within the walls of Knox College; what perennial streams of
fertility and gladness are to flow for many centuries from this infant
seat of learning. Her self-sacrificing founders came to these prairies in
the same spirit which moved Abraham to leave his Mesopotamian home.
They came here scarcely knowing whither they came, dwelling in taber-
nacles and looking for a city of which God should be the builder.
They organized a Christian college and planted a Christian church.
Fifty years have come and gone and from the results we may form some
conception of what the future has in store. Knox college has already
furnished at least six college presidents, twenty college professors, a
hundred ministers of the gospel and missionaries, eighty lawyers, forty
physicians and twenty journalists and editors. Our graduates are found
as judges in our higher and lower courts; they are an army of superin-
tendents and teachers in our public schools; they are successful business
men and farmers; and many not included in these lists are doing valua-
ble work for the country and for humanity. Where has their work been
done? They are in our own cities and villages from the Atlantic to the
Pacific; they have gone to Europe and to Africa, to Australia and to
Japan, and everywhere are doing noble service for God and for the
highest interests of their fellowmen. Knox College has given these men
and women the opportunity and the means of preparing themselves for
the work of life, and by the efficient work they have performed has made
good her right to a continued existence, What Knox College has done
42 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
in the past day of small things she will certainly do on a much larger
scale in the near future, if only it be possible to place the great boon of
a liberal education within the reach of the constantly increasing num-
ber of enterprising and ambitious youth who may come here for guid-
ance and instruction. As Galesburg enlarges and improves; as the
country develops, our college must increase her endowment and her
ability to give a thorough and complete education or her day of useful-
ness will be ehort. In many directions enlargement is needed, but in
none is a radical change more imperative than in the department of nat-
ural science, and it is to be earnestly desired that the means of erecting
a science hall and of equipping it for such work in science as the times
demand, will soon be provided. Should the present attempt to raise
$200,000 be crowned with success and should Dr. Pearsons' gift of $50,-
000 be secured, a new era of prosperity will surely come, vindicating the
wisdom and realizing the hopes of the founders of Knox College, whose
memory we to-day so auspiciously celebrate.
After this address all joined in singing " Founders' Day Hymn,"
composed by Prof. L. S. Pratt, and sung to the tune of "America":
Our Fathers' God! to-day
Grateful to Thee we pray,
Before Thee bow:
As Thou hast led of old,
With mercies manifold,
Still by Thy love enfold
Thy children now.
By Thine own spirit fired,
By heavenly love inspired,
Our fathers came
Into this prairie land:
O, toil with heart and hand!
O, gain of harvests grand!
In God's great name.
Guide Thou this college still!
May we the hopes fulfil
Of founders true.
O, keep us in Thy fear!
May truth be ever dear,
And God's love shine more clear
Each year anew.
The benediction was then pronounced by the Rev. E. G. Smith, of
Princeton, 111., a member of the first class, 1846.
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 43
PRESIDENT FINLKY: I have the pleasure and the honor of intro-
ducing as the chairman of the evening our distinguished townsman,
whom we are all glad to welcome back to Galesburg, after his years of
honorable service abroad, and whom the College is especially glad to
have in its council again, the Honorable Clark E. Carr, our recent Min-
ister to Denmark.
BY THE HON. CLARK B. CARR.
The orator who is to address us this evening is bound to the people
of Galesburg by bands of steel. When (after a line for the great Santa
Fe railroad ten miles away from our city had been nearly settled upon)
I went to Topeka and called upon him and other general officers of tne
company, I found in him a friend who favored us, and he had great in-
fluence in having the line finally established through this city.
It is a frequent expression with him that he loves to talk to old
soldiers and to young men. He is fond of speaking to old soldiers for
they are his comrades. In his early youth he was a brave and faithful
Union soldier. When the war was over he chose the profession of the
law, to which he has steadfastly devoted himself, and which he would
not abandon for a seat in the United States Senate, which was offered
him. Notwithstanding the exactions of his profession, he has found
time for literary pursuits outside of it, communion with the great
and the wise and the learned. It is his opinion that men in every pro-
fession and trade and occupation, however humble, may bask in the
sunshine of intellectual culture, and he therefore loves to speak to young
men of the splendors that are open before them, and the felicities to
which they may attain.
Only those fully appreciate him who know him well enough to meet
him socially, when he is able to throw off the cares of his profession
and admit them to partake of the bounties of the rich stores of knowl-
edge he has garnered, and to revel with him in the eloquence and poetry
and art of all the ages. He will this evening give us glimpses of the
Kingdom of Light in which he lives.
I have the honor of presenting to you Colonel George R. Peck,
General Solicitor of the Santa Fe Railway Company.
44 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
BY THE HON. GEORGE K. PECK.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I appreciate most highly the kind expressions of Colonel Carr in
presenting me to you, although T realize that they are prompted rather
by the friendly relations which have existed between us for many years,
than by any merit of my own.
My subject for to-night, as has been announced, is
THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT.
Somewhere in the depths of every heart there is a spring which
answers to the touch of memory. A strain of music that you heard in
childhood has a peculiar indefinable sweetness which others do not per-
ceive. And days have their significance; for each and all have chron-
icled births and deaths, and have been filled with the joys and sorrows that
make up human life. In Kinglake's " Invasion of the Crimea" there is
a beautiful chapter on the mystery of holy shrines, which tells how out
of sentiment of love for the holy sepulchre, and of rivalry for the pos-
session of that sacred place, great nations drifted into war, and armies
sailed to far-off lands, making days that had teen common, memorable
forevermore, and consecrating new shrines for future pilgrimages. It is
not, I think, a mere instinct of worldly wisdom that inspires the reverence
which men feel for historic days and places. It is human nature reach-
ing out unconsciously, and with a wisdom which it does not compre-
hend, for that which is ideally good and beautiful. The birthday of
Abraham Lincoln is, by the laws of Illinois, a legal holiday. But it was
something higher than a state legislature which set it apart and made
it a day for joy and pride, for high resolves and for a new faith in the
United States of America. Knox College counts this as its birthday;
and 1 think it was an extremely happy thought which prompted the au-
thorities to give it the place of dignity in the calendar of its history. It
is no longer young, and, I doubt not, it is already beginning to feel the
influence which is, perhaps, the best part of the life of an educational
institution the unseen, silent power of the accumulated years. I do not
wonder that students of Oxford and Cambridge, of Harvard, Yale and
Princeton feel a thrill of pride when the great names in their annals are
spoken; and this college does a wise thing when it gives itself a voice to
tell of what it has done aud what, if it please God, it will do, A life
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 4&
that has no romance in it is hardly worth the living, and a college which
contains nothing in its history that appeals to the imagination is, to say
the least, lacking in a most essential element of usefulness. But you have
it to overflowing. I know of no story more full of romantic interest than
that of the founding of Knox College. I do not speak of the official
or legislative organization, for that was merely the formal record of what
had already been thought out. February 15 is Founders' Day, because on
that day the act of incorporation was passed. But there was a foundation
under the foundation, even as DeQuincey speaks of the depths that are
below the depths. Before the Legislature made Knox College a body
corporate, its walls had been reared in the mind of its founder. What
dreams of the future came to him in those early days before the colonists
set their faces to the west, we know not! But the college with all its
possibilities was already upbuilded, massive, permanent and beautiful,
before hammer or trowel had rung, or the silence had been broken by
the voice of the artisan. It seems like that wonderful vision of Cole-
"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree."
I should like to know what hint it was, what suggestion or thought
came into the mind of George W. Gale and inspired him to the enter-
prise that to-day counts as its accomplished result this great college and
this beautiful city. It must have looked quixotic, a wild, impossible
scheme, to plant a college in the wilderness and to expect the city to
grow up around it. But it did. The college and the city have lovingly
walked hand in hand, each counting the other the apple of its eye.
To-night you are thinking of the past. You are glad and proud, too,
for what Knox College has done. It has seen good and evil days; pros-
perity and adversity have entered its doors, but this birthday is a happy
one and the omens point joyously to the future. But I must remind you
that self-congratulation, while it has its uses, cannot keep an educational
institution prosperous. The patrons and friends, the officers and faculty
of the college, would be worthless if results did not come to the full
measure of their effort. No college ever amounted to anything that was
kept alive just for the sake of being called a college. It must do. There
is nothing of value in it if it cannot point to higher character, to truer
lives, to better things made possible by its effort.
It is a fortunate thing for this institution that it is located in a re-
gion to which Nature has given her kindliest smiles; a land of meadows
46 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
and of gardens and of goodly people living in goodly homes. I cannot
help' thinking that the subtle law of heredity has played a powerful part
in the success which has hitherto attended the w6rk of Knox College.
The parental type is transmitted from generation to generation, and
the iron which was in the blood of the pioneers gives tone and vigor to the
students of to-day. What Knox College will do in the future depends
upon the character of the teachers and instructors who fill the chairs;
but after .all, the students themselves must set the mark of the insti-
tution. The most skillful baker fails when the flour is poor. If stu-
dents ask what a college can do for them the true answer is: It can do
for them only what they do for it in its good name and character as an
institution of learning. A college and its students are trustees for each
other. They give and take and each is richer by the process. I cannot
recall truer words than those once spoken by a great president of Har-
vard who said to his students: "It is a superficial view of things which
leads to the distinction between education and self-education. In point
of fact all education is self-education, the only difference being that edu-
cation in churches and schools and colleges, and amidst librairies, muse-
ums and laboratories, is self-education under the best advantages." To
the learners, and not to the teachers, I feel that what I have to say ought
to be directed.
A man of mature years can find no happier occasion than that which
permits him to stand face to face with young and ardent searchers after
knowledge. The student is always an object of interest. His presence
is an inspiration, and his face an open book on which are written a hope
and a prophecy. This occasion, young ladies and gentlemen, commem-
orative of the great work of the founder of this college, is a fitting time
for laying the foundation of a noble career. The scholar, if he be wor-
thy to wear the name, hears every day a call to be consecrated, feels in
every hour the baptism of a higher life.
It would, perhaps, be more in harmony with the times, if I should
speak to you on some theme of immediate and pressing importance.
Such themes there are; and I beg of you to believe it is not because J
underestimate them that I have chosen to ask you to rest for a little
while in a serener air. The hungry problems of to-day will have their
hearing without asking permission of you or me. The age is restless;
it is self-assertive; it is pleased with the sound of its own voice and con-
fident in the strength of its own arm. And yet in its heart there is a
profound sorrow. When men turn their minds persistently to social and
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 47
economic questions; when labor is dissatisfied and capital alarmed; when
the prices of food and the mystery of supply and demand occupy their
thoughts by night and by day, we may be sure that something is out of
place in the machinery we call civilization.
But of these things it is not my purpose to speak. I allude to them
because, as it seems to me, every true heart must be deeply sensible of
their importance and must constantly feel how dark a shadow they cast
on sad and discontented lives. But this hour is dedicated to the young,
the ambitious, the joyous and the generous; and so I shall ask you to an-
other field, where, perhaps, we can gather some hints, which shall also
be helps, for the journey upon which you have entered.
You do not, I presume, call yourselves philosophers, but you are
probably aware that every man of my age thinks he is one. It is this
opinion which gives to old men that air of condescension, that tone of
gentle patronage, as if to say, " See how much I know about life
and its duties!" But I have noticed on youthful faces at such times a
painful look of inquiry, as if they would ask, "Well, if you know so much
why have you so little to show for it? " Ah! that is the question. How
many centuries is it since Plato was writing those immortal dialogues
which have bewitched the minds of men from his age to ours, but have
left us still struggling to make knowledge and conduct go hand in
hand, and wisdom and character true reflections of each other. Nothing
is so easy as to state sound ethical doctrines, and nothing so hard as
to live up to them. I suppose that more than one-half the literature
of the world consists of good advice; the rest is the story of its suc-
cess or failure. Innumerable hands have traced the roads that lead
to happiness and peace, but how few there be who have not missed the
I shall summon you to-night to a course of living which is filled with
inspiring promises; but when I think of the mistakes you will probably
make, and of those I have certainly made, my lips almost refuse to speak
and I can only stammer as did George Eliot's Theophrastus Such, when he
said to his hearers, " Dear blunderers, I am one of you." Some of you
will, perhaps, never be wiser than you are now. I wish I could be sure
you would never be less wise. It is one of the truths I implicitly be-
lieve, that the saddest mistake men make is not by failing to learn, but by
foolishly thinking they must wrclearn; by giving up the truer charts and
guides, the clearer stars by which, they sailed in youth.
48 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
It is not for me to enter the domain of religion nor to trench upon
that ground which is occupied by better men who have been specially
called to the work. I speak only of the life that now is. And this is
the lesson I give you: Dwell in the kingdom of light. And where is
that'kingdom? Where are its boundaries? What cities are builded
within it? What hills and plains and mountain slopes gladden the eyes
of its possessors? Be patient my young enthusiast. Do not hasten to
search for it. It is here. The kingdom of light, like the kingdom of
Heaven^is within you.
And what do I mean by the kingdom of light? I mean that realm
of which a quaint old poet sang those quaint old lines:
"My mind to me a kingdom is,
Such perfect joy therein I find."
I mean that invisible commonwealth which outlives the storms of
ages; that empire more ancient than the east; that state whose arma-
ments are thoughts; whose weapons are ideas; whose trophies are the
pages of the world's great masters. The kingdom of light is the king-
dom of the intellect, of the imagination, of the heart, of the spirit and
the things of the spirit. And why, perhaps you will ask, do you make
this appeal to us, who as students, as members of the fraternity of let-
ters, are already dedicated to high purposes, and enrolled among those
who stand for the nobler and better side of human life? Take it not
amiss if I tell you frankly, I do not feel sure that you are; and besides,
if you will pardon my plainness of speech, I must remind you that not
all who stand in the ranks to-day will be found there a dozen years hence;
not all who start with the column follow the colors through the after-
noon of the march.
Why do you become students? Why are you members of these so-
cieties that cultivate art and eloquence and keep your hearts fresh with
the dew of the humanities? Some there are, I fear, who look upon edu-
cation simply as a weapon that will give them an advantage in what we
call the battle of life. If this be your motive, you are not in the King-
dom. For, while knowledge is a tremendous force, and gives its possess-
or a great advantage over his unskilled adversary, yet it is more than
this; it must be more, or it is hardly worth having. Its true value is that
it is a stimulus to your own betterment, an incentive; and, believe me, it
is also a reward. We must learn to pitch our lives to that grand key-
note in one of Matthew Arnold's sonnets:
"The aids to noble life are all within."
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 49
There is another reason why I make this appeal to you. In the in-
tellectual as well as the theological world, there is a tendency to back-
sliding; that fatal weakness which turns the feet backward and down-
ward to the lowlands of gloom and despair. The young are almost al-
ways heroic. But the blood grows thin with age, and the resolute heart
timid and fearful. At twenty you gaze upon the planets in the upper
sky; but at forty, perhaps, you will be groping wearily along by some
pallid light your own weak hands have kindled. The tempter marches
side by side with the every human soul. And this ordeal which comes
to all will come to you. In your ear there will be whisperings of a ca-
reer; of a life not troubled by youthful traditions; of an existence which
takes no thought to separate the things that are God's from the things
that are Mammon's. Whoever the tempter may be, he is your enemy.
He is your enemy because he has told you what is not true, and what,
thank Heaven! never can be true. Human life, if it is to be better than
that of the brutes, must be consecrated to something higher than itself.
I have appealed to you for what I have called the intellectual life.
By the intellectual life I mean that course of living which recognizes al-
ways and without ceasing, the infinite value of the mind; which gives to
its cultivation a constant and enthusiastic devotion; which in good and
evil days clings to it with growing and abiding love. I beg of you not
to suppose that it is based upon a college diploma, or that it is con-
fined to what is known as the learned professions law, medicine ani
theology; for it is sadly true that many who are enrolled in their ranks
have not the slightest kinship with an intellectual life.
The Kingdom of Light is open to all who seek the light. This may
seem a mere truism, since everyone admits the superiority of the mental
over the physical nature. But that is where the danger lies. All admit
it, and how very few act upon it. How many men and women do you
know, who, after they have, as the phrase goes, finished their education,
ever give it another serious thought? They have no time; no time to
live, but only to exist. Do not misunderstand me: I do not expect, nor
do I think it possible, that the great majority of people can make intel-
lectual improvement their first and only aim. God's wisdom has made
the law that we must dig and delve, must work with the hands and bend
the back to the burden that is laid upon it. We must have bread; but
'how inexpressibly foolish it is to suppose that we can live by bread
alone. Granting all that can be claimed for lack of time; for the food
and clothing to be bought, and the debts to be paid, the truth remains
50 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS'
and I beg you to remember it the person who allows his mental and
spiritual nature to stagnate and decay, does so, not for want of time, but
for want of inclination. The farm, the shop and the office are not such
hard masters as we imagine. We yield too easily to their sway, and set
them up as rulers when they ought to be servants. There is no voca-
tion, absolutely none, that cuts off entirely the opportunities for intel-
lectual development. For my part I would rather have been Charles
Lamb than the Duke of Wellington, and his influence in the world is in-
calculably the greater of the two. And yet he was but a clerk in the
India House, poor in pocket, but rich beyond measure in his very pover-
ty, whose jewels are not in the goldsmith's list. The problem of life is
to rightly adjust the prose to the poetry; the sordid to the spiritual; the
common and selfish to the high and benificent, forgetting not that these
last are incomparably the more precious.
Modern life is a startling contradiction. Never were colleges so
numerous, so prosperous, so richly endowed as now. Never were public
schools so well conducted, or so largely patronized. But yet, wkat
Carlyle calls " the mechanical spirit of the age " is upon us. The com-
mercial spirit too, is with us, holding its head so high that timid souls
are frightened at its pretensions. It is the scholar's dutv to set his face
resolutely against both.
I can never be the apostle of despair. The colors in the morning
and the evening sky are brilliant yet. But I fear the scholar is not the
force he once was, and will again be when the nineteenth century, or the
next one, gets through its carnival of invention and construction. We
have culture; what we need is the love of culture. We have knowledge;
but our prayer should be: Give us the love of knowledge. I may be
wrong, but I sometimes wish Nature would be more stingy of her secrets.
She has given them out with so lavish a hand that some men think the
greatest thing in the world is to persuade her to work in some newly in-
vented harness. Edison and the other wizards of science have almost
succeeded in making life automatic. Its chord is set to a minor key.
Plain living and high thinking, that once went together, are transformed
into high living and very plain thinking. The old-time simplicity of
manners, the modest tastes of our fathers, have given way to the clang
and clash, the noise and turbulence that characterize the age. We know
too much; and too little. We know evolution; but who can tell us when,
or how, or why, it came to be the law? We accept it as a great scien-
tific truth, and as such it should be welcomed. But life has lost some-
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
thing of its zest, some of the glory that used to be in it, since we were
told though I do not believe it that mind is only an emanation of
matter, a force or principle mechanically produced by molecular motion
within the brain. When the telephone burst upon us a few years ago,
the world was delighted and amazed. And yet we were not needing
telephones half as much so we were needing men; men, who, by living
above the common level, should exalt and dignify human life. I some-
times think it wise to close the patent office in Washington, and to say
to the tired brains of the inventors, "Rest and be refreshed." We hurry
on to new devices which shall be ears to the deaf, and eyes to the blind,
and feet to the halt; but meantime the poems are unwritten, and hearts
that are longing for one strain of the music they used to hear are told to
be satisfied with the great achievements of the nineteenth century. The
wisest of the Greeks taught that the ideal is the only true real; and Em-
erson, our American seer, who sent forth from Concord his inspiring
oracles, taught the same. I may be wrong, but I cannot help thinking
that neither hereafter, nor here, does salvation lie in wheat, or corn, or
Again I must plead that you will take my words as I mean them.
I do not mean to preach a gospel of mere sentiment, nor of an inane im-
practicable dilettanteism. The Lord put it in my way to learn, long ago,
that we cannot eat poetry, or art and sunbeams. And yet I hold it
true, now and always, that life without these things is shorn of more
than half its value. The ox and his master differ little in dignity, if
neither rises above the level of the stomach and the manger.
The highest use of the mind is not mere logic, the almost mechani-
cal function of drawing conclusions from facts. Even lawyers do that;
and so also, to some extent as naturalists tell us, do the horse and the
dog. The human intellect is best used when its possessor suffers it to
reach out beyond its own environment into the realm where God has
placed truth and beauty and the influences that make for righteousness.
There is no such thing as a common or humdrum life unless we make it
so ourselves. The rainbow and the rose give their colors to all alike. The
sense of beauty that is born in every soul pleads for permission to remain
there. Cast it out, and not all the skill of Edison can replace it.
It is the imagination, or perhaps I should say the imaginative faculty,
that most largely separates man from the lower animals, and which also
divides the higher from the lower order of men. We all respect the
multiplication table, and find in it about the only platform upon which
52 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
we can agree to stand; but he would be a curiously incomplete man to
whose soul it could bring the rapture that comes from reading " Hamlet"
or " In Memoriam." The thoughts that console and elevate are not
those the world calls practical. Even in the higher walks of science,
where the mind enlarges to the scope of Newton's and Kepler's great
discoveries, the demonstrated truth is not the whole truth, nor the best
truth. As Prof. Everett, of Harvard, has finely said in a recent work,
" science only gives us hints of what, by a higher method, we come to
know. The astronomer tells us he has swept the heavens with his tele-
scope and found no God." But " the eye of the soul " outsweeps the tel-
escope, and finds, not only in the heavens but everywhere, the presence
that is eternal. The reverent soul seeking for the power that makes for
righteousness, will not find it set down in scientific formula. I hold it
to be the true office of education to stimulate the higher intellectual fac-
ulties; to give the mind something of that perfection which is found in
finely tuned instruments that need only to be touched to give back noble
and responsive melody. There is a music that has never been named;
and yet so deep a meaning has it that the very stars keep time to its ce-
" There's not the smallest orb which thou beholds't,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim;
Such harmony is in immortal souls."
I do not claim that scholarship, as it is commonly understood, schol-
arship merely as such, can, or does, open the gates of the invisible world,
or open your hearts to the beauty that is everywhere. But I do claim
that in so far as it falls short of this, in so far as it hinders or obstructs,
or diverts you from it, it has failed of its purpose. This college which
you rightly love and cherish; this college and the other institutions of
learning throughout the country, do a good work when they teach you
facts, and how to apply them; but they do a greater and better work
when they fill the hearts of their students with a consuming love for the
things that cannot be computed, nor reckoned nor measured. In the
daily papers you may read the last quotations of stocks and bonds; but
once upon a time a little band of listeners heard the words, "Are not two
sparrows sold for a farthing?" and went away with a lesson whose
meaning Wall street has yet to learn.
And now you are asking, " Do you expect us to earn money by fol-
lowing these shadowy and intangible sentiments, which, however noble,
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 53
are not yet current at the store and market? We must eat though po-
etry and art and music perish from the earth." Yes, so it would seem,
but only seem. I cannot tell you why, but I am sure that he who remem-
bers that something divine in him is mixed with the clay, shall find the
way opened for both the divine and the earthly. You will not starve for
following the Light. But I beg of you to remember that this is not a
question of incomes or profits. The things I plead for are not set down
in ledgers. How hard to think of the unselfish and the ultimate, in-
stead of the personal and immediate! Even unto Jesus they came and
inquired, "Who is first in the Kingdom of Heaven?" It is not strange
then that we do not willingly give up personal advantages here. But in
the Kingdom of Light, in the life I am asking you to lead, nothing can
be taken from you that can be compared with what you will receive. It
is quite likely you may be poor, though I am afraid you will not be, for
in the nineteenth century, no man is safe from sudden wealth; but a
worse calamity could befall you than poverty. St. Francis of Assisi, as
Renan has said, was, next to Jesus, the sweetest soul that ever walked
this earth, and he condemned himself to hunger and rags. I do not ad-
vise you to follow him through the lonely forest, and into the shaded
glen where the birds used to welcome him to be their friend and compan-
ion; but I do most assuredly think it better to live as he did, on bread
and water and the cresses that grew by the mountain spring, than to
give up the glory and the joy of the higher life. In the Kingdom of
Light there are friendships of inestimable value; friendships that are rest
unto the body and solace to the soul that is troubled. When Socrates
was condemned, how promptly and how proudly his spirit rose to meet
the decree of the judges, as he told them of the felicity he should find
in the change that would give him the opportunity of listening to the
enchanting converse of Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer.
Such compansionship is ours through the instrumentality of books.
Here, even in this western land, the worthies of every age will come to
your firesides; will travel with you on the distant journey; will abide
with you wherever your lot may be cast. And the smaller the orbit in
which you move, the more contracted the scale of your personal relation,
the more valuable and the more needful are those sweet relationships
which James Martineau so aptly calls " the friendships of history." In
a strain of unrivaled elevation of thought and purity of language, he says:
"He that cannot leave his workshop or his village, let him have his
passport to other centuries, and find communion in a distant age; it will
54 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
enable him to look up into those silent faces that cannot deceive, and
take the hand of solemn guidance that will never mislead or betray.
The ground-plot of a man's own destiny may be closely shut in, and the
cottage of his rest small; but if the story of this Old World be not quite
strange to^him if he can find his way through its vanished cities to hear
the pleadings of justice or watch the worship of the gods; if he can visit
the battlefields where the infant life of nations has been baptized in
blood; if he can steal into the prisons where the lonely martyrs have
waited for their death; if he can walk in the garden or beneath the porch
where the lovers of wisdom discourse, or be a guest at the banquet where
the wine of their high converse passes around; if the experience of his
own country and the struggles that consecrate the very soil beneath his
feetpre no secret to him, and he can listen to Latimer at Paul's Cross,
and tend the wounded Hampden in the woods of Chalgrove, and gaze,
as upon familiar faces, at the portraits of More and Bacon, of Vane and
Cromwell, of Owen, Fox and Baxter he consciously belongs to a grander
life than could be given by territorial possession; he venerates an ances-
try auguster than a race of kings; and is richer in the sources of charac-
ter than many a merchant prince or railway monarch. Hence the ad-
vantage which human studies possess over every other form of science;
the sympathy with man over the knowledge of nature."
Some there are, no doubt, who believe that intellectual culture does
not make men better or happier, and that the conscience and moral fac-
ulties are set apart from merely mental attributes. But surely you have
not accepted such a false and narrow view. Unless colleges are a fool-
ish and expensive luxury; unless civilization is worthless; unless the cen-
turies that have witnessed the upward stride of humanity have been
wasted; unless the savage, chattering incantations to his fetich, is a nobler
product of the race than a Milton, a Wilberforce, an Emerson or a Low-
ell, then heart and mind, morality and education do go together in true
and loyal companionship. The trouble of to-day, as I have tried to show,
is not that we have too much culture, but too much bending of the knee
to purely material results; too much worship of the big and not enough
of the great. I live in hope that the students of Knox College will help
to correct this evil. I must, however, confess that when I see young
men and women going out from their college life into that other and far
different one that awaits them, I always feel a little twinge of pain, a
premonition of danger, a fear that in spite of all their high resolves, the
demon of the nineteenth century will lead them captive. And that is
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 55
what I meant when I spoke of backsliding. The Kingdom of Light is
not as populous as it would be if all who once set their faces thither-
ward had pressed forward without turning.
It will be the fate of most of you to work with hand and brain;
but do not forget that even in this short life a successfully conducted
bank, or a bridge that you have built, or a lawsuit you have won, have
in themselves little of special significance or value. Very common
men have done all these things. When I hear the glorification of the
last twenty years, of the fields subdued, the roads built, the fortunes
accumulated, the factories started, I say to myself, all these are good,
but not good enough that we should make ourselves hoarse with huz-
zas, or that we should suppose for a moment they belong to the high-
er order of achievements. Sometimes, too, when I hear the noisy
clamor over some great difficulty that has been conquered, I think of
James Wolfe under the walls of Quebec, repeating sadly those solemn
lines of Gray's Elegy:
"The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
And I think also how he turned to his officers with that pathetic
prevision of the death that was to come to-morrow on the Heights of
Abraham, and said, " I would rather have written *that poem than to
take Quebec." And he was right.
Indeed, if we but knew it, the citadel that crowns the mountain's
brow, nay, the mountains themselves, ancient, rugged, motionless, are
but toys compared with the silent, invisible, but eternal structure of
God's greatest handiwork, the mind.
I pray you remember there is, if you will search for it, something
ennobling in every vocation; in every enterprise which engages the ef-
forts of man. Do you think Michael Angelo reared the dome and
painted those immortal frescoes simply because he had a contract to do
so? Was the old soldier who died at Marathon or Gettysburg thinking
of the wages the state had promised him? Be assured, young ladies
and gentlemen, that whatever fate is to befall you, nothing so bad can
come as to sink into that wretched existence where everything is for-
gotten but the profit of the hour: the food, the raiment, the handful of
silver, the ribbon to wear on the coat. It is but an old story I am
telling you; but I console myself with the reflection that it cannot be
56 KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY.
told too often, and only by telling is it kept fresh in the memory and
in the heart. I wish I knew the secret of words. Then would I make
you see the surpassing value of the life I have tried to portray. I wish
I knew the secret of art. Then would I paint a picture that should be
the image of joy and beauty, and behind the canvas, not seen, but known
by the subtle intuitions of the mind, there should throb the living heart
of an ideal life. Then would I ask you to be true to that ideal, know-
ing that it can never be false to you. The world will go on buying
and selling, hoping and fearing, loving and hating, and you will be in
the throng; but in God's name turn not away from the light, nor from
the kingdom that is in the midst of the light.
You are young, you have faith; but I dare not ask you how much.
For faith, however strong it may be, has its tides; and many a gallant
bark has gone down in sight of the coast that seemed to beckon with
its welcoming smiles. I consider that life wrecked, though it can count
its millions and has built cities and removed mountains, if it has lost
sight of the upper lights. You think no such fate can come to you;
but so has thought every high-souled youth from the age of Pericles to
In every street shadows are walking who were once like you, young,
hopeful and confident. Nay! they are not shadows; but ghosts, dead,
years ago, in everything but the mere physical portion of existence.
They go through the regular operations of trade and traffic, the office
and the court; but they are not living men. They are but bones and
skeletons rattling along in a melancholy routine, which has in it neither
life nor the spirit of life. It is a sad picture, but saddest because it is
true. They knew what happy days were, when like you, they walked
in pleasant paths and felt in their hearts the freshness of the spring. But
contact with the world was too much for them. Hesitation and doubt
drove out loyalty and faith. They listened to the voice of worldly wis-
dom as Othello listened to lago, and the end of the story is:
"Put out the light, and then, put out the light."
I appeal to the students of Knox College to be worthy of its great
founder. You have, by your enrollment here, been called and num-
bered with the elect. You are hostages to art and letters; to high
aims and noble destinies. You may be false, but if some are not faith-
ful, truth and liberty and the best of civilization will be lost, or in
danger of being lost. In every ship that sails there must be some to
KNOX COLLEGE FOUNDERS' DAY. 57
stay by the craft; some to speak the word of cheer; some to soothe the
fears of the timorous and affrighted. When Paul was journeying to
Italy on that memorable voyage which changed the destinies of the
world, the mariners were frightened as the storm came on, and were
casting the boats over to seek safety they knew not whither; but Paul
said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Except these abide ir the
ship ye cannot be saved."
I call upon the students of Knox College to stay by the ship. It
is because I believe so strongly in the saving power of the intellectual
life upon the institutions of society, and upon the welfare of individu-
als, that I have urged you so earnestly to be loyal to it. The for-
tunes of science, art, literature and government are indissolubly linked
with it. The center and shrine of the most potent influences are not
the seats of commerce and capital. The village of Concord, where Em-
erson, Hawthorne, Alcott and Thoreau lived, was in their day, and will
long continue to be, a greater force in this nation than New York:,and
Chicago added to each other. . You must rest in the assured faith that
whoever may seem to rule, the thinker is, and always will be, the mas-
ter. He can well afford to let the man of affairs enjoy his dream of
dominion, for the law of the universe is that all things must serve the
silent but imperious power of thought.
Those of you who have read Auerbach's great novel remember the
motto from Goethe on the title page:
"On every height there lies repose."
Rest! how eagerly we seek it! How sweet it is when we are tired
of the fret and worry of life. But remember, I pray you, that it dwells
above the level in the serene element that reaches to the infinities. Only
there is heard the music of the choir invisible; only there can you truly
know the rest, the peace and joy of those who dwell in the Kingdom of