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Amherst College, Amherst, Mass., Oct. 20, 1870. 






I'd Rev. William A. Stearns, President of Amherst College. 

Deak Sir: 

At a meeting of the T ustets f A iih tst College, held in Amherst, 
Oct, za, 1870, the following vote wa-! mam ii3u Ij passed: — 

" Voted, That the thanks of the Trustees be tendered to President Stearns 
for his soiiiid and able Address, pronou ired t dij on the occasion of the opening 
of Walker Hall ; and that he be requested to furnish a copy of the same for 

Attest: E. S. DWIGHT, SECRErARY of the Board. 

To the Reverend and Honorable the Trustees of Amherst College. 


Herewitli I forward a manuscript of the Address. I am gratified 
that the views it expresses seem to have been so heartily approved by you ; and 
all the more, as, in my judgment, if Amherst College should adopt a policy of 
education essentially different from them, the demand for its existence would 
cease, and its mission be ended. 

Respectfully and truly, 

Your obedient servant, 




Opening of Walker Hall. 

The day selected for the opening ofWalker Hall proved, in 
experience, a day of mark for the season. It was not charac- 
terized by the usual October beauties of our second summer, 
but by a first-class earthquake in the morning, and the clouds of 
a grand downpouring in the afternoon. The Springfield band 
endeavored to perform its duty ; but the great rain prevented 
the time-honored procession, and left the audience, which was 
larger than would have been expected under the circumstances, 
to collect together in the best way it could. The Address was 
delivered in College Hall ; after which, under more favorable 
skies, the assembly passed over to Walker Hall for the 'inspec- 
tion of the building, the opening prayer, and for statements 
and brief speeches. The concluding part of the programme 
was cut short by darkening clouds and premature evening. 
But the appropriate and beautiful remarks of Prof Roswell D, 
Hitchcock of the Union Theological Seminary were sufficient ; 
and further speech-making seemed unnecessary. 

The order of exercises was as follows : — 


opening of Walker Hall. 



2. Introductory Prayer hy Rev. Mk. Dwigiit 

3. Address by Phesident Stearns. 

4. Commencement Hymn: — 

Let children hear the mighty deeds 

Which God performed of old ; 
Which ill our younger years we saw. 

And which our fathers told. 
He bids us make his glories known. 

His works of powei* and grace ; 
And we'll convey his wonders down 

Through every rising race. 
Our lips shall tell ihem to our sons ; 

And they, again, to (heirs; 
That generations yet unborn 

May teach them to their heirs. 
Thus they shall learn in God alone 

Theii* hope securely stands ; 
That they may ne'er forget his works, 

But practise his commands. 

I. Music BY THE Band 
3, Statement B"i W A DickiNaoN, Esq. 

3. Prayer or the Opening, by Key. Dr. Paine of 

4. Statement by Professor "^nell, 

5. Speeches by Members of the Board of Tkusie 

Gentlemen from Abroad 

6. Old Hundred, by the Audience : — 

From all that dwell below the skies 

Let the Creator's praise arise ; 

Let the Redeemer's name be sung, 

In every land, by every tongue. 

Eternal are thy mercies, Lord ; 

Eternal truth attends thy word : 

Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore 

Tin Euna shall rise and set no more. 


ning of Walker Hall. 


We have assembled for a public opening of our new tem- 
ple of science, — Walker Hall. I had no intention, till quite 
recently, of presenting any remarks on this occasion ; but 
having failed in all hopes of an address from other quarters, 
and thinking it not quite becoming that so great an event in 
our college-life as the completion and first occupation of such 
an edifice should be passed over without attention, I have con- 
cluded to occupy a few moments on some of the subjects con- 
nected with collegiate education, which are now agitating 
the minds of all liberally-educated and most other intelligent 
men. They are subjects on which I have long reflected, but 
for the complete presentation of which I have now but too little 
time. A few preliminary statements would seem to be required 
by the circumstances under which we meet. The origin of 
our building, the munificent spirit in which its funds were con- 
tributed, the uses and special kinds of learning for which it 
was constructed, the division of its apartments, the order and 
methods, of its architecture, with notices commemorative of the 
principal donor, and of the noble gentlemen by whom he was 
generously seconded, — all have been sufficiently set forth in a 
pamphlet entitled " Exercises at.the Laying of the Corner-Stone 
of Walker Hall, June lo, 1868." 

The principal design of Dr, Walker, in his contrrbutions to 
Amherst College, was to promote the education of young 
men, particularly in the departments of pure and applied math- 


8 Opening of Walker Hall. 

ematics, including the sciences which are based upon them. 
A passage in his last will — and which is in accordance with his 
correspondence and conversations — expresses the substance 
of his views on the subject in question: "By the term 'math- 
ematical sciences,' I wish to be understood as meaning an ac- 
curate and critical study of elementary mathematics ; every 
branch of the pure mathematics ; also such studies as are 
kindred to and founded on mathematics as applied to astron- 
omy, mechanics, natural philosophy, and all kindred objects, 
speaking in a liberal and comprehensive manner." I add 
here a few noble words which immediately follow, and which, 
though not so directly bearing on the subject in hand, ex- 
press something of that appreciative sentiment, largeness of 
view, and strong good sense, which generally characterized 
Dr. Walker's dealings with our college: " Finally, I request 
the recipients of the above-bequeathed property to realize 
that no inconsiderable portion thereof has been gathered as the 
fruits of a laborious vocation, exercised through anxious days 
and sleepless nights ; that it is given to them, in trust, never- 
theless, to be expended so as to enure to the greatest ad- 
vancement of sound education in the department as above 
specified, an'd the public good. I request that its investment 
may be safely guarded ; that its expenditure may be subject 
to the strictest economy ; yet that it may be appropriated 
liberally, where the objects aimed at justify an open hand, 
and cannot be afforded the cause of education and the public 
good at less expense." 

As both the motive to the erection of the building, and the 
large bequest which followed, contemplated advantages for 
improvement in the same studies, it became a question to 


opening of Walker Hall. g 

what extent the modern as well as the more ancient sciences 
should be comprehended under the general term mathematical. 

What are the sciences ? What is science ? 

Literally, science is knowledge ; but knowledge is not neces- 
sarily science. A person may have an immense knowledge, 
or, as Coleridge says, " knowledges," when he has almost no 
science ; though a very little science involves a large amount 
of knowledge. These facts are of the gravest consequence, 
to be remembered in all efforts to teach science. Undisciplined 
minds are often the treasure-houses, or rather ware-houses, 
of vast accumulations of unsorted facts and truths ; while they 
possess but few principles, and most of these without orderly 
arrangement. The well-trained scholar, on the other hand, 
with a much smaller number of facts, will reach a much 
broader comprehension. By knowing a few things of a kind, 
he perceives many things of the same kind ; and, having learned 
the methods of their application, he comes to understand de- 
tails before he has collected them. With an ignorant man, 
facts and principles are nearly of the same value ; while the 
educated desire nothing so much, next to the discovery of 
truth, as the power to classify its parts, and comprehend it in 
its classes, and, if possible, in its first principles,. Science may 
be defined, then, as generic and foundation thoughts, com- 
pletely developed in logical connections. The science of a 
subject consists of the principles, relations, results (orderly 
arranged), which belong to it. They are phenomena, facts, 
axioms, truths, resemblances, contrarieties, causes, conse- 
quences, applications, some obvious, some hidden, some un- 
discoverable. When the knowable has been separated from 
what cannot be known, and the former has been arranged. 


lo Opening of Walker Hall. 

classified, collected into piles, bound in bundles, and from 
them generalizations have been made and foundation -princi- 
ples reached, and the unity from which the multifariousness 
proceeds has been discovered, we have something which 
approaches a perfect science. Beginning with unity, and 
descending, we have the subject, its grand divisions, its sub- 
divisions, its details, all in their places ; we have the subject 
in its relations to other subjects, and to some higher subject, 
(if there be such) of which it is a branch ; we have the sub- 
ject, with the physics {if it is concerned with phenomena) and 
the metaphysics, the applications and the principles, which 
belong to it. A science may exist in itself, with all its depart- 
ments and connections, before the analysis or comprehension 
of any man has mastered or approached it. In this state it 
is not properly science as we now understand the word, but 
only the subject of science. It may be grasped and partially 
comprehended by some person, and so far forth it has become 
a science to that person. It may be generally understood, 
orderly arranged, written out in a book, or otherwise ex- 
pressed, and, through all this, stand out as a science in the 
presence of the student who desires a knowledge of it. In this 
respect, we have our sciences ; and with text-books, lectures, 
specimens, diagrams, &c., we study them. 

But in this high and comprehensive definition of science 
have we left any place for- philosophy.'' Philosophy and 
science, in the older usage of the terms, are often almost 
identical. Philosophy, perhaps, is the more generic word. It 
has been not badly defined as " the universal and absolute 
science," dealing most with " real as distinguished from phe- 
nomenal existence." Aristotle called it the "art of arts" and 


opening of Walker Hall. 1 1 

" the science of sciences ; " Kant, " the science of the relations 
of all knowledge to the necessary ends of human reason ; " 
Morell, "the science of first principles," According to more 
recent usage, however, the distinction between science and phi- 
losophy, without being accurately defined, is, in a popular way, 
sufficiently obvious. 

Mathematics is always regarded as a science ; though nothing 
comes to us more perfectly as the dictates of human reason than 
the abstract, absolute, eternal truths of the pure mathematics. 
The branches of knowledge which are based on mathematics 
are properly sciences, not philosophies. Mixed mathematics, 
or mathematical principles, applied to actual forms and mo- 
tions, to the correlation, equation, antagonism, and co-working 
of forces, ^- in other words, mathematics as apphed to as- 
tronomy, to mechanics and civil engineering, to what is usually 
called natural philosophy, and to physics generally, — all these 
departments come under the head of science and of mathe- 
matical science. If, a century ago, one had undertaken to 
describe the mathematical sciences, he would have gone but 
little beyond the exhibition here presented. What are now 
known as the modern sciences, if not entirely new discoveries, 
are the prodigious developments of the last half-century. 
Within this period, chemistry, which early attracted attention, 
has burst forth from its old contracted and fanciful boundaries 
to a growth which astonishes the world. That chemistry is 
based on the principles of mathematics, none but a tyro would 
question. Mineralogy, especially in the department of crys- 
tallography, involving so much as it does of chemistry and so 
much of geometrical law, is certainly mathematical. I cannot 
but think that geology deserves the same designation ; and 


12 Opening of Walker Hall. 

that, when this wonderful subject is more perfectly understood, 
its mathematical basis will be universally conceded. What ia 
there, indeed, of forces, whether gentle or of terrific power, 
what is there of forms, proportions, motions, time-measures, 
which is not involved in it ? As mere history, i!a&?Mcz^?,^\Qn, 
progression, and varieties of life, whether written ages ago 
on the great tables of rock which the Almighty constructed 
and imprinted for our after-learning, or. as seen in existing 
species, there is nothing, so far as we know, that is obviously 
mathematical ; but when we come to the structural laws of 
animals and plants, whether fossil or living, the question 
undergoes a change. 

Botany and zoology, -in these respects, are certainly mathe- 
matical ; and there is high authority for extending the term 
much farther. The indications now are, that the time is not 
distant when not only every flower and tree and raindrop and 
snowflake will be regarded as mathematically constructed, 
but mathematics will be discovered beautiful and profound 
in what might be deemed the least mathematical departments 
of natural history, and that they will all be reduced to the 
character of "rigid sciences,"* 

* The opinions of some leading naturalists are worthy of consideration. Prof. 
Agassiz says, in his book on the " Structure of Animal Life," " If we take the 
problem of radiation in a mathematical point of view, and present to the mathe- 
matician the question involved m the plan of radiation, it will be this : How to 
execute with the elements given, with a vertical axis a.round which are arranged 
parts of value, all the possible variations involved in that plan ? This question 
is not a mere fiction. I have presented it to one of our greatest mathematicians. 
I requested him to solve the problem, how to devise structures variously exe- 
cuted, the elements being given, without introducing any now elements. His 
answer was readily given ; and it was this, that the simplest way would be to 


Opening of Walker Hall. 13 

It is not necessary, however, that questions like these should 
be- brought to a decision. My own belief is, that wherever, 
in the entire domain of Nature, the forms and movements of 
matter are conditioned on abstract laws as applied to them, 
there the mathematical element has a place. This view would 
include arts as well as the sciences, and that, too, in both the 

represent the whole sphere :is a series of wedges placed side Ly side willi 0:10 

" And, to make this demonstration as dear as I can, I will take for illustration 
tlie melon, the ribs on the outside of which wilt give the idea of wedges combining 
to form a spheroidal body. The orange which I hold in my hand would give us 
the same idea, with one additional element, which I will consider presently. Let 
me lake first the inside of the orange. You all know it is divided into a number 
of parts, which are all equal. They are what mathematicians call spherical wedges, 
the edges of which correspond to the axis, the spherical surfaces of which are 
segments of a sphere, and the sides of which are surfaces dividing those segments 
one from the other. Now, in executing any structure upon the idea of radi- 
ation, the simplest way would lie to bring together around the axis a number of 
these spherical wedges until the whole space is occupied by them. There would 
be a larger or smaller number, according to the angle of the sides of the 

Passing from zoology to physiology. Prof Huxley, as long ago as the meeting 
of the British Association of Science in August, 1S65, addressing that able body 
of scientific men, said, "Over the door of the department of physiology ought to 
be written the words, ' Let no man enter here who does not study physics and 
chemistry.' " Dr. Bennett proceeded to observe, that biology, and physiology as 
a department of it, were not only connected with chemistry and physics, " but in- 
cluded mathematics and all the rigid sciences." If one is suspicious of Prof 
Huxley on account of his protoplastic vagaries and materialistic tendencies, it 
should be noticed that the remarks of these eminent scientists seem to have been 
received rather with approval than objection by the association. But^ without 
passing judgment on the full question here presented, whoever has examined, 
however cursorily, such works as "Thomson and Tait on Natural Philosophy," and 
"Challis on Mathematics and Physics," and observed the extent to which mathe- 
matical principles can be applied, will hesitate to affirm of any thing physical that 
it has no elements which are also mathematical. 


14 Opening of Walker Hall. 

practical and the sesthctic branches. And certainly music, 
architecture, and statuary are pre-eminently mathematical. 
But, without straining the term as usually understood, several 
of the most important modern sciences are certainly of this 
character. We say several, but not all of thera. There are 
departments of learning, ancient and recent, which are sci- 
ences, some of which could not be brought under that desig- 
nation unless by the most remote and fanciful analogies. 
In psychology, moral philosophy, social economy, civil history, 
public law, ethnology, there is almost nothing of science which 
can be called mathematical. 

I have made these remarks, partly because ,the ability of our 
college to do the best thing possible in teaching mathematical 
and Itindred sciences might be thought to depend on the 
interpretation of terms ; though, practically, the income of all 
gifts and endowments for such teaching is likely to be required 
far within the limits on which they stand conditioned. Emer- 
ging now from all relations to buildings and bequests, but re- 
membering the descriptions which have been given of science 
and the recent sciences, as the basis of remarks which may be 
made farther on, we reach the question respecting these 
sciences, — How far, and at what sacrifices, should they be 
taught in American colleges f This question, and others col- 
lateral with it, have been earnestly discussed by some of our 
ablest scholars, and are now attracting unprecedented atten- 
tion both in the Old World and the New. If but little purely 
original can be expected on themes like these, judgments can 
be formed, and convictions expressed, and something done 
towards clearing the paths of expediency in reference to the 
teaching in institutions situated like our own. 


opening of Walker Hall. 15 

To approach the subject advantageously, we must first in- 
quire into the character and design of the American college. 
It is an institution peculiar to itself, and, as such, should be 
distinguished from all other schools. Its immediate end is 
educated and completed manhood ; and, since nearly all our 
colleges were founded and have been conducted with the 
interests of Christianity in view, we may add to the epi- 
thets educated and completed, and as the highest interpreta- 
tion of them. Christian manhood. The design is, by discipline 
and culture, to make men, — the broadest, largest, wisest, 
noblest, and most useful men ; scholarly men, in distinction 
from mere scholars ; men of trained and increased capacity, 
capable of becoming scholars in general or specific directions. 
In this respect they resemble our common schools in kind, 
though advanced above them in degree. The common school 
is not a professional school, nor a school for special employ- 
ments or utilities : it is a school for the incipient culture of 
our manhood, for the improvement of our intellectual and 
moral natures, and, most of all, for obtaining dominion over 
self, and the power of intelligent self-direction; and, conse- 
quently, the means for reaching these ends are essentially the 
same in all. It is not the business of the common schools to 
educate one portion of the boys to be masons, and another mer- 
chants, and another farmers ; or to educate one class of girls to 
adorn drawing-rooms, another to toil in kitchens ; but to fit 
them all for good in themselves, and for such positions in life 
as they may be called to fill. And this is just the end intend- 
ed by the college: only the means for the attainment are far 
more extensive, and the results sought far more complete. 
But the college ditfers in kind, as well as in degree, from almost 


1 6 Opening of Walker Hall. 

all other schools except the common. It differs from scientific, 
commercial, agricultural, polytechnic schools, military schools, 
schools of mines, and all institutions of similar design. Though 
not without reference to discipline and culture, these are chiefly 
intended to furnish instruction in specific departments, and 
as preparatory to specific usefulness. The public needs demand 
them, and their exceeding importance is not to be -disputed. 
They are contributing to the advancement of the country in 
many directions. But none of them are colleges in the Ameri- 
can sense of the term, even when they bear that name. The 
American college differs also from the German gymnasium, 
with which it has. often been compared. The latter maybe 
as thorough in its instructions in the branches which it 
undertakes to teach as the former ; but in breadth and 
general culture, in paternal discipline and Christian influence, 
is far inferior to it. Much more does the American college 
differ from the German universities. These are great treasure- 
houses of information and' various teaching, by which the 
student may attain rank, if he will, in specific departments, 
and prepare himself for public offices and positions. We may 
need something of the kind in America, and, indeed, have al- 
ready an approximation to it in our professional schools ; but 
these are not colleges, and do not aim essentially at securing the 
development of completed scholarly manhood. Nor do our col- 
leges closely resemble the English universities, nor the halls and 
colleges included in them, though the founders of Harvard 
borrowed ideas and courses for their new institution from the 
old ones in which they had been educated,* Our new univer- 

* An American college, in which the insiruction is thorough and well arranged, 
offers far grealer facilities for Ihe completed culture of its students, generally, 


opening of Walker Hall. 17 

sities are still more clearly to be distinguished from our old 
colleges. The one or the other may be of most importance in 
securing the instruction of all the people ; but they are not 
the same, and do not propose the same ends, or the same 
methods in reaching them. The new university, as it stands 
up before the community and solicits patronage, seems to say, 
" Behold here a great fountain of knowledge, from which all who 
desire may come and drink ; a great centre of instruction, 
where intelligent students of every grade may be taught. Here 
you will find all departments of learning ; the ablest professors, 
instructors, lecturers, in all branches; parallel courses and 
graded courses, on which you may enter, and one or many of 
which you may complete. Wc shall keep no nierit-roll of pro- 
ficiency: our methods require no 'marking system,' which is 
troublesome to officers, annoying to students, and invidious* 
We shall hold ourselves in no measure responsible for the 
morals, the manners, the spirit and character, the Christianity, 
the manhood, of our students. If they neglect their duties, if 

than the Univcrsiiies of Oxford and Cambridge. While these institutions carry 
forward their " honor men " to a more advanced scholarship than is usual with us, 
there is reason to l^elieve that the best students of Amherst, at the end of the 
sophomore year, with a very little " cramming " in specific branches, might Cake 
with credit in England the regular degree of bachelor of arts, which is obtained 
here only at the end of the senior year. 

• To conspicuous marking, especia.lly when the scale is relative, and is ap- 
plied as a stimulus to the highest scholars, there are certainly objections ; but so 
long as there are daily recitations, and honors are awarded according to success, a 
current record of proficiency seems helpful to justice in final decisions. General 
impressions at the end of a course, without records, expose to mistakes. If fre- 
quent competitive examinations are depended on for estimating merit, we retain 
a " marking system," only making it more generic and less specific, while the evils 
of it, if there are evils, are not removed. 


1 8 Opening of Walker Hall. 

they yield to temptation, if they go to destruction, their blood 
must be upon their own heads: only they must not hinder or dis- 
turb the proper work of the institution, on penalty of dismis- 
sion from it." Beyond this the new university has Httle re- 
sponsibility, except to confer the appropriate testimonials upon 
those who succeed in their studies and have completed them. 
The new university has its advantages : it provides courses of 
knowledge for all ; and if large masses of young men can be 
kept within the bounds of public order and decency, without 
personal supervision, without much attention, to Christian prin- 
ciple, and without the necessity of daily recitation and discipline, 
it furnishes immense relief to the oificers of instruction. But 
no institution of this character comports with the idea of an 
American college. In contrast with all this, the colleges say, 
" We propose a liberal in distinction from a specific education ; 
a symmetrical, and, as far as the possibilities of a four-years 
course will allow, a complete education. We are not schools 
of knowledges and informations so much as of training and 
culture. We would make scholars for some useful end ; but 
still more would wc make, scholarly men, capable of almost any 
useful end which they may afterward select. We devote our- 
selves especially to the improvement of the intellect ; but we 
are not regardless of character, without which unprincipled 
intellect is often a curse. The whole man comes into our con- 
sideration ; for our aim is to make men. In the business of edu- 
cation, we seek to employ, not merely great intellects clear as 
ice-crystals and as cold, but great intellects which have great 
hearts, and great hearts whose warmth the student is some- 
times made to experience and enjoy." While the recent uni- 
versity contemplates large masses of young men congregated in 


opening of Walker Hall. 19 

a city or town, who como up at appointed times, and in tlieir re- 
spective divisions, to receive instruction, and then scatter them- 
selves abroad again in the surrounding population (most of 
them without homes and without care, in the midst of tempta- 
tions), the college is designed to be a great family, and, accord- 
ing to the original intention, a great Christian family, in which 
every member oP it is expected to come under the family in- 
fluence. The modern university may be doing a good work ; 
but it cannot do the peculiar work of the college, which has a 
province of its own. The college may be a department in a 
university ; but, if so, it should be the central department, and 
a college still. The moment it adopts the spirit and the meth- 
ods which characterize the foreign and the recent universities, 
it ceases to be a college, and the country suffers loss. We 
have two noble old colleges which are each the heart of a grow- 
ing university. If we read the signs aright, there is a disposi- 
tion among many to degrade the college in both of them 
nearly to a level with the professional and scientific schools 
around them, — a calamity from which we trust that public sen- 
timent and the powers of control will preserve them. Let all 
the schools connected with a college be cherished ; but let not 
the college be seduced, by the numbers in other departments, 
so to popularize its curriculum, and introduce the university 
methods and the university spirit, as to destroy itself. 

Nor should the college, whether it stands alone, or, is con- 
nected with a university, give way incautiously to the desire 
of foreign imitation. In a new country like ours, on a con- 
tinent unknown when the great mass-schools of Europe were 
founded, in the midst of a new order of population and new 
forms of religion, we ought to expect new methods of ednca- 


20 Opening of Walker Hall. 

tion. Colleges adapted to our wants should be original in 
their character, indigenous to our soil, — an American, not an 
Oriental or Old-World growth. With the lights of the past 
and the Eastern continent, our fathers had to provide for the 
necessities of the present and the Western. On this principle 
Harvard was started, and gave a first example for the wKole 
sisterhood of similar institutions. The American college is, 
to a great extent, an original production, — -the offspring of 
American circumstances and wants. It can be modified, and 
has been with changing times, and should be still further im- 
proved ; but the peculiar characteristics of its teaching and 
influence were never of more importance than now. With our 
rushing towards mere practical utilities, with our tendency to 
materialism, and the popular disregard for the assthetic and the 
moral sentiment, the colleges should stand forth as the power- 
ful conservators of what is good in the past, as the foremost 
friends of the discoveries of the present, and as the advocates 
and agents of a free, enlightened, thortjugh, and symmetrical 
Christian education. 

One word, as we pass, respecting college dormitories. They 
belong naturally to the old college, which is a family ; but are 
quite foreign to the recent university, which refuses to be 
responsible for character. The founders of Harvard had an 
opinion on the subject. The experiment of mass-universities, 
with lodgings and boardings in private houses, had been exten- 
sively tried in Europe : nevertheless, says Cotton Mather, " the 
government of New England was for having their students 
brought up in a more collegiate way of living." Hence the 
early erection of a dormitory at Cambridge, and the continuance 
of its system to this day. I cannot sympathize entirely with 


opening of Walker Hall. i\ 

those who disparage it. I rather regard with veneration those 
old plain buildings which have been associated with the best 
scholarship of the country for more than two hundred years, 
and in which. so many students have enjoyed the quintessence 
of what is called college-life. They are not out of taste ; for 
they 'present no deformity, while they make no pretensions. 
I think they would be more comfortable with some of the 
modern improvements; but, still, why should they be de- 
spised ? Why should they he stigmatized as "old monasteries," 
when they are all the time open to the world, and the world 
all the time open to them ; when within the old walls there 
is so much social enjoyment, and so many and such valua- 
ble lifelong friendships are formed ; and when one-quarter of 
every year is devoted to vacations and the delights of home ? 
What should we gain by their destruction "i What would 
England gain, and what would her scholars say, if the destruc- 
tion of ail the time-blackened and time-honored buildings of 
this class should be decreed ? It is said that they are demor- 
alizing, so many young men being crowded! together. There are 
demoralizing influences everywhere. But according to my ex- 
perience, especially in a college, where the majority have been 
brought up in Christian families, and are themselves essentially 
actuated by Christian principles, there is more of that beautiful 
charity which consists in throwing the arms of a loving solici- 
tude around a classmate in temptation than of that satanic 
spirit which would drag down others to the level of its own 
degradation. It is said that students thus situated require an 
efficient police, which always excites odium, to control them. 
I am not sure, that, in a college like our own, public sentiment, 
with the interference of authority on rare occasions, is not the 


22 Opening of Walker Hall. 

best police possible. But would not young men be better off 
scattered around in good families ? Pertiaps so. But how 
many good families are there around a large college who take 
boarders, and look after them morally? We have a few (God 
bless them ! I wish we had more) ; but how insufficient the 
number ! Is it not essentially true, that if the college does 
not provide buildings for students, and regulate them, the stu- 
dents will practically provide them for themselves, and not 
regulate them.' Besides all this, as society is now constituted, 
economy demands them. Men reason illogically when they 
draw universal conclusions from the outlook of a narrow 
e.tperience. What is important in one order of circumstances 
may be quite inexpedient in different premises and relations. 
Let the old dormitories stand, then, at least in Amherst, where 
many of the rooms are hallowed by the memories of some of 
the noblest men the world has produced. 

We are now prepared to repeat the question. Ought the 
modern sciences to be largely taught in our colleges.' They 
will, of course, be largely, and ought to be thoroughly, taught 
in scientific and kindred schools ; and there are warm friends 
of the old college who think this enough. "Let the college 
go oLi," they say, "as heretofore. There are new schools for 
new studies, and whoever will may avail themselves of them ; 
but let not the college proper yield any thing to utilitarian 

Quite different is the opinion now to be advocated. New 
stiidies should receive new attention. No graduate can be 
pronounced liberally educated who is ignorant of them. Forty 
years ago, almost nothing of these recent sciences was taught 
in the college. There was a little chemistry, but so little and 


opening of Walker Hall. 23 

so superficial, that any good high school should now be 
ashamed of it. If there was any thing in any department of 
what is now called natural history, it was hardly more than 
a schoolboy might learn out of some popular reading-book in 
the winter evenings of a week. Indeed, within fifty years, 
there has been a wonderful development, not to say an original 
starting, of numerous branches of natural science. Great 
advances have been made in the means and comforts of living, 
public and social prosperity has been promoted, and the world's 
thinking modified, by the more recent learning. Ought a 
graduate to go forth with the crown of laurel-berries on his 
brow, to enter upon professional studies or on the common 
duties of a citizen, as ignorant in one great department of 
knowledge as the average of the population with whom he 
associates ? Or can a college president stand up at this day 
without a blush, and say of his pupils, Quos scio idoneos esse ad 
gradtim primiim in arlibiis suscipiendtim, when he knows 
that there is a whole continent of knowledge which they have 
never explored ? Or can they respect the alma mater which 
declares them educated, when they find at length that they 
must now acquire under great disadvantages, and without any 
habits of true scientific study, those first principles, which 
they ought to have learned, and to some extent carried for- 
ward, in college ? 

These studies furnish a peculiar variety in the means of men- 
tal discipline, which, while important to all, is specially adapted 
to interest and improve some classes of minds. It is a disciphne 
which connects the training of the senses and the observing 
faculties with the laws of thought, to which all phenomena, 
to be understood, must be referred. It is a discipline which 


24 opening of Walker Hall. 

the poetic and resthetic temperament needs to give sobriety 
to the imagination, and which, in philosophic minds, is adapted 
to correct the tendency to live too exclusively among theories 
and abstractions. It is a discipline, if properly conducted, for 
improvement in the line of common sense; while, under, a 
skilful instructor, it is capable of exact logical methods, and, 
reverting from phenomena to principles, of tasking the think- 
ing powers to the utmost. While valuable for discipline 
generally, these sciences have charms for some minds, which 
no other branches of learning afford. They rouse the listless ; 
they fascinate the otherwise uninterested ; they make the dif- 
ference between a willing and an unwilling scholar; and, in 
some instances, create a love for study, a self-respect, and new 
courage, the benefit of which is felt in all the work of the 
college. While too exclusive attention to them would not be 
well, within wisely-assigned limits they are scarcely inferior 
ill importance to the most valuable departments of learning. 
In a college like our own, especially in view of the large and 
splendid cabinets and means of illustration which we possess, 
and the scientific prestige which men like Adams and Hitch- 
cock, to say nothing of living professors, have given u.% it 
would be shameful to neglect them. 

Besides these considerations, as nearly all our colleges were 
founded to promote Christian education (and this is pre-emi- 
nently true of Amherst), they cannot reach the ends of their 
being without these studies. Christianity now finds its most 
powerful antagonists in men who call themselves scientific. 
St. Paul warned the Christians of his day and of all ages 
against "philosophy and vain deceit," and "against profane 
and vain babblings, and the oppositions of science falsely so 


opening of Walker Halt 25 

called." Philosophy, as an engine of unbelief, has had its day, 
and has lost its power. For more than half a century, 
especially in Europe, it was rushing through the great dark 
wilderness of thought like an irresistible storm ; and the world 
was astonished by the crashing of the tall trees as it swept on, 
promising soon to reach a new heaven of intelligence in which 
dwells certainty. But, when it came out, lo ! it had gone 
round the compass, and reached the point where it went in ; 
and ever since it has been lying on the earth, panting and 
despairing, but still saying with bated breath, " We have found 
it out, — something is equal to nothing." Philosophy was 
never a formidable antagonist, as she dwelt chiefly among ab- 
stractions ; and never reached down directly to the common 
people, nor hardly to theology itself; but science, modern 
science, in the hands of the unbelieving, was and is a more 
redoubtable champion. It came like a Goliath, with " the 
profane and vain babblings and oppositions " which the apostle 
speaks of; and there were no shepherd -boys, trained to the use 
of the smooth stone and little sling, which could destroy its 
bad influence. Science lies at the foundation of almost every 
living question between mere naturalism and Christian faith. 
Her first attacks found the Christian world unprepared to 
meet them. Educated behevers, with few exceptions, knew 
almost nothing of science : it had not been taught in the 
colleges and schools of the last generation. Faith trembled. 
The true Church said, " I know that my Redeemer liveth ; " but 
she could not give scientific answers to scientific men. The 
elders in the ministry now on the stage had to resort to 
schoolboy knowledge, and learn the first principles of defence ; 
and though the Christian scholarship of the day now stands 


26 opening of Walker Hall. 

erect, and, in the name of God and good learning, defies the 
attacks of this modem infidelity, thousands on thousands of 
noble youth have been unsettled by it, and need to be re-estab- 
lished. Trepidation will never again come on the leaders 
of our hosts. Christian scholarship has studied and thought 
itself through, and now declares that contradiction between 
science properly understood and the Bible properly inter- 
.preted is impossible. We would put no restraint on investi- 
gation. Truth is truth ; and it is strong, next to the Almighty, 
No Papal decree, or Protestant prejudice, or pious trembling, 
can resist it. It has existed in the mind of the All-knowing 
from everlasting. There can be no antagonisms in it. Seem- 
ing discords are only chromatic strains in the great anthem of 
the universe, producing the absolute harmony. The works of 
God should be "sought out of all them who have pleasure 
therein." We ask the scientist to inquire of Omnipotence, 
through the study of his records on the rocks, how he con- 
structed the foundations of the earth, and what were the be- 
ginnings of his creation. We ask him to penetrate with the 
microscope into the infinitesimals of protoplasm, and go down 
with his dredging-shovel into the deepest abysses of the sea. 
We do not forbid him to express his doubts when he honestly 
disbelieves : we only demand of him that he should approach 
sacred subjects with a reverent spirit, and of our Christian 
scholars that they should be educated to follow him. The sons 
of the Church, the mother of true learning from the first, should 
be foremost in scientific discoveries, and in logical deductions 
therefrom ; but, for such a result, our young men must be 
taught at least the beginnings of science in colleges, and 
taught by men of thorough, broad, unbigoted intelligence. 


opening of Walker Hall. 27 

whose souls, not leaping with desire towards unbelief, regard 
scientific questions from tlie outlooks of an honest Christian 

But if the sciences are to be taught, and taught thoroughly, 
in colleges, must not much of the old learning give place to 
them ? Many in the American public say yes ; scholars, not a 
i^v^, say yes.; all the materialism of the day vociferates yes, 
And when it is asked, "Which department in the curriculum 
shall we strike down?" the answer generally is, "Away with the 
old Latin and Greek ! bury the dead languages in the dead past, 
and let us have the living sciences in their stead." And many 
of the boys in preparatory studies, and some in colleges, shout, 
"Away with the old grammars and lexicons! and let us go out 
among the butterflies and the birds and the flowers and the 
rocks, and we will find Latin, or its substitute, in stones, and 
Greek in the running brooks." The birds and the flowers are 
well ; let the boys and the young men study them : but they 
are not all, nor arc the natural sciences. Man does not 
live by bread alone, nor by amusement merely. His nature 
is broad, and his faculties are various ; and Providence has 
prepared for the cultivation of them. Next to reason, man's 
special distinction is speech : it is that through which he 
hears the voices of all ages and all men, and makes his 
thoughts known to his fellows, and holds them up to himself. 
Whatever study we orait, we must retain language. 

Speed) in its highest form, the living Word, is God's ex- 
pression of himself to himself, and the expression of himself to 
us. In man, it is the self-revealing mirror of his own con- 
sciousness, and the medium of his revelation of himself to 
o:hers. Of all things human, speech, next to reason, which it 


28 opening of Walker Hall. 

represents, is most divine. Wiiile it begins witli the little 
sounds and narrow vocabulary of children, lifting itself to ex- 
alted themes, it advances through strange complications and 
relations, all controlled by laws of thought, till, out from the 
deep laboratories of the heated spirit, there comes forth, multi- 
form in unity, some grand idea which moves the world. How 
mysterious that thoughts, invisible, intangible, — "airy noth- 
ings," — can be caught, grasped, clothed in words, thrown out 
to view in sentences, submitted to consideration, or handed 
down to distant generations, and be found all glowing and 
palpitating with life centuries after the authors of them have 
passed away ! Language thus presents itself as a special 
study for man. 

Language is the first school-task which Providence assigns 
to our infancy. It is adapted to the young, and is easily acquired 
by them. From small beginnings in native speech, we ad- 
vance to the study of foreign tongues. The great languages 
of men — we regard them with awe. There is the old Sanscrit, 
in which primeval Brahmins expressed their daily passions, 
and their dark musings on life and eternity ; there is the 
Hebrew, whose earliest utterance, and the earliest of any 
language on record, is a miracle among sentences, — " In the 
beginning, God created the heaven and the earth ; " and there 
is the Syriac, in which Hazael revolved his thoughts of ambi- 
tion and murder, and the Holy Child lisped the sweet syllables 
of a divine innocency and uttered the great ideas which are 
revolutionizing the world ; and modern tongues, by which na- 
tions are bound to themselves, and separated from each other. 
But, among the languages of men, there are two which have 
made a more extensive and durable impression than almost all 


opening of Walker Hall. 29 

the rest. I need not name them. The Greek, as a language, 
is a marvel. It seems to have been providentially given as the 
language of languages, by which men might learn language ; 
as the nation which spoke it is often said to have been raised 
up for a revelation of the beautiful, — to teach the world beauty. 
The Orphic bards, — flower-gardens in the wilderness of a bar- 
baric antiquity ; and then Hesiod and Homer, so extensive 
in vocabulary, so original in idiom, so flexible in application, so 
perfect in finish, that it would seem as though centuries of 
poets could scarcely have produced them ; and Plato, pouring 
out philosophy in the dialect of the heavens ; and Demos- 
thenes, the supreme model for oratory in all after-ages : 
could we afford to dispense, in high scholarly training, with 
the study of language, and of such a language as this ? And 
hardly second to it the Latin ; less original, less pliable, more 
stately, more perfectly wrought out, no less comprehensive, 
quite equal in its power of world-wide adaptation, the lan- 
guage of the greatest of the empires, the tongue of the 
learned in many following generations : would a college cur- 
riculum be perfect without it ? 

But, if we study languages, why not living languages instead 
of dead ones ? Is the Greek a dead language, when spoken, 
with slight modifications, by a whole nation of descendants at 
this day .' Is the Latin dead, when we have the daughters of 
that great-mother-tongue, — Italian, Spanish, French ? — when 
it has been the language of the educated world till long since 
the Reformation, and is much spoken in Europe among the 
learned even now.' Do you call the Greek a dead language, 
when, beneath the beautiful costume of words, all thought, all 
passions, all actions of men, are throbbing with life ? The 


30 Opening of Walker Hall. 

men are dead, and so are our best English authors ; but, to 
the true scholar, the Antigone, the Iliad, tlie Orations of 
Cicero, are no more dead than the Tragedies of Shakspeare, 
the Epics of Milton, or the Speeches of Pitt. 

Wky not select a living language ? Because, again, there is 
no living language, unless our vanity would except the Eng- 
lish, which is equal to them. But do we not need the modern 
languages for the sake of the modem literatures, and of the 
sciences, and of travel? We need them: let us study them. 
But the old languages are time-saving lights in the acquisition 
of the new ; and a short residence in Germany, France, or Spain, 
to a young man who has studied the old, and taken short col- 
lege-courses in the new, is worth more than years of mere 
reading in books. But ought we not to give more time to the 
English, which is familiar and of daily use, instead } We ought 
to give more time to English, but not instead. For the very 
reason that it is familiar and daily used, the indolent will not, 
and the undiscipHned cannot, linger and dwell upon it, per- 
ceive constructions and relations, and shades of meaning, as 
when the words are new ; and the thoughts must be understood 
before the language can be fully interpreted. 

It is significant now, on the question in hand, that the Latin 
and the Greek languages have been the forming-powers and 
training-agencies in the scholarship of the world for two thou- 
sand years ; and no utihtarian times have been able to displace 
them. It is also significant that the Greek and Latin authors 
brought into Europe in the fifteenth century, and the revived 
study of them, were powerfully influential in rousing the world 
from the darkness and sleep of mediasval ages, and ushering 
in the Reformation. It is significant, again, that the greatest 


opening of Walker Hall. 31 

statesmen and churchmen of England, both of the past and the 
present, have nearly all been specially trained in the discipline 
of these ancient tongues. It is significant, further, that so 
many distinguished Americans involved in the dry principles 
and technicalities of the law, and in the almost vulgar strifes of 
poUtics, — men like Choate and Webster and the Adamses, — 
in the ripest days of their influence were accustomed to resort 
to the old classic masters for inspiration before debate, and for 
healing and repose after conflict was over. And that there 
is in them a power of mental excitement and uplifting, and 
preparation for public speaking and writing, second only to 
that which the Christian derives from the Scriptures, no true 
scholar of the classics will deny. 

There are times and studies in which students are more 
conscious of inward quickening and improvement than in 
others. If you will pardon a personal allusion, I know of 
memories connected with the closing part of the first book 
of the Georgics, the second and sixth books of the jEneid, 
the CEdipus of Sophocles, and the Lyrics of Pindar, in the 
study of which the sense of growing gave an exhilaration of 
spirit never afterwards forgotten. Something of this remem- 
bered consciousness may be associated with other depart- 
ments ; but, among minds of Eesthetic susceptibility, with none 
■more impressively than with these old classics. A portion of 
the pleasure derived from such memories may indeed depend 
on old associations, and that romance of college-life which the 
graduate never gets over; but all this only strengthens the 
reason why these studies should not be excluded. But pleasure 
is not the only benefit of such memories : they are powerfully 
educational in all the student's after-life, as often as he recurs 


$2 Opening of Walker Hall. 

to them. I once asked my old friend and classmate, the late 
President Felton, as we were waJliing over the college campus 
at Cambridge together, for what he would exchange such recol- 
lections. His prompt answer was, "Nothing which any 
amount of money can buy." When in still hours the old col- 
lege-life comes up again, and I call back some of those brilliant, 
gifted minds which have passed from earth, and true men still 
performing life's duties, as well as some of the less fortunate 
who struggled in unequal combat with temptation, and think 
of them as they were in the hilarities of the playground and 
the competitions of the class-room, I seem to be sailing with 
the mariner who hears sounds of bells and melodies and 
voices coming up from cities buried in the sea as he floats by 
moonlight over them. And are not such consciousnesses 
produced by such remembrances soul-expanding ? 

But, returning from the land of dreams, there is one thing 
more practical, which must not be passed over. The errors 
of young men arise greatly from mistakes of judgment. Is 
there any thing, except bitter experience, which is better 
adapted to correct this fault, than that habit of comparing 
reasons, of looking carefully after all the elements which affect 
interpretations, and of coming calmly, like a judge before his 
jury, to results, which is going on every moment in the lesson- 
getting of the classics ? And is any training more helpful 
than this towards that power of balancing probabilities by 
which just conclusions are formed from evidence, the practical 
affairs of life are managed, and that high quality of character 
known as wisdom is obtained .' 

If language is to be retained in its fulness, shall wc omit 
philosophy to make room for science ? All scholars answer. 


opening of Walker Hall. t,^ 

No! The student must be taught the laws of thought and 
the processes of thinking. There must be an opening of the 
mental vision, by which he can perceive ultimate principles, 
and grasp abstractions, and reason upon them. The lamp of 
introspection must be given him; and he must be conducted 
down into the depths of his being, and round through all its 
intricate chambers, and discover its hidden laboratories, and 
observe their workings. He must be taught to think, and to 
think independently. Cotton Mather said of Harvard in his 
day, that it had always been the glory of that institution, 
" Libere philosophari et in nullius jurare verba magistri." 
Shall we curtail the English department? Everybody says, 
No ! Keep out modern languages ? Our new learning as well 
as the old repels the idea. Mathematics ? To say nothing of 
its abstractions, and those great . principles on which the 
universe of matter is constructed ; to say nothing of the dis- 
ciplinary power of its exact reasonings, — since so many of the 
modern sciences are based upon it, what can we do without 

How, then, shall we find time for the new studies ? Not by 
displacing the old, but by condensation and improvement in 
teaching. The preparatory studies should be more extensive 
and thorough. Is it too much to ask — what the old Puritans 
of Harvard at the beginning and through the first century 
required of candidates for admission to college — "an ability 
to read any Latin author into English, readily make and speak 
true Latin, and write it in verse as well as prose," and thus, 
while in college, to speak, as they did, in no language but 
Latin, except in declamations ? If this cannot be expected, 
considering the extent of requirements in other branches, 


34 Opening of Walker Hall. 

might we not insist on such a groundwork in beginnings, that 
the business of the college-professor would be worthy of his 
attainments, and the course of the students in the great litera- 
tures of antiquity full of delights ? If time could be saved 
here, something more might be secured in preparatory mathe- 
matics, and in the amount of attention given to this subject 
afterward. Let there be more of it before entering, or less 
of it, so far as required of all, in the college-course. It is a 
common notion, that some persons are incapable of mathe- 
matics; and it is a true notion, that some students in college, 
with their existing attainments, can no more master thoroughly 
the assigned lessons in some branches of this science than 
a common house-carpenter could construct a cathedral, or a 
weak man ascend a ladder when the rounds are broken out 
beyond the abihty of the feet or even the hands to reach 
them. But the difficulty is not that young men generally are 
incapable of mathematics. I have heard children, hundreds 
and even thousands of them, foreign and native, in the pri- 
mary schools of Cambridge, go through with the complicated 
problems of the famous Article B in ."Colburn's First Les- 
sons," and almost without a failure, because they had ascended 
through all the steps of preparatory attainment, and could not 
be admitted to the higher schools without it. All have not 
the same aptitudes for this science, nor .have they for other 
sciences or for languages ; but all can learn the former, in 
appropriate circumstances, almost as generally as the latter. 
As matter of fact, however, multitudes of students come to 
our colleges so miserably deficient in preparatory knowledge, 
not always through any great fault of their own, that they 
enter on their work without the faith of success, proceed with 


opening of Walker Hall. 35 

it despairingly, and soon advance with it to an almost total neg- 
lect and disgust. In this state they are subject to daily mortifi- 
cations : they get on, if they get on at all, by memorizing a little, 
using deceptive artifices a great deal, with loss of self-respect, 
and moral injury to the whole man. And here I must speak 
strongly, whoever may approve or otherwise, because I speak 
from a deep and long-felt conviction, and say, that, in my 
judgment, it is a mistake and a sin, unless we could gready 
improve the preparation, which at present seems impossible, to 
insist on lesson-getting in branches of mathematics wholly 
beyond the student's capacity to master them, or on any thing 
more than is necessary as a basis for physics and modern 
sciences. While we carry forward those who are capable of 
it, and desire it, into those high regions of study where so many 
of the abstract prtiiciples of creation are comprehended, and 
the true mathematician exults in the atmosphere of eternal 
law, more than half of every class, and often some of the best 
scholars in it, might be employed on the more easily under- 
stood but no less important sciences for which we seek room. 
And I am happy to add, that the required course in Amherst 
College has already reached and now rests upon this basis, 
while special facilities for higher attainment in mathematical 
knowledge are enjoyed. 

Moreover, in the latter part of a college curriculum, when 
the foundations of intellectual manhood have been broadly laid, 
optional courses, carefully arranged, and adapted to the mental 
needs and aptitudes of students, and capable of such combina- 
tions as would allow of long-continued attention to special 
branches, might secure to many still further scientific oppor- 
tunities; while others would enjoy special advantages In the 


36 opening of Walker HalL 

remaining departments. I say optional courses, instead of 
random choices in heterogeneous studies. In this way, dis- 
cipline and training would go on, and preparation for profes- 
sional schools be secured ; while the joy of successful study 
would be increased, and the first steps in the direction of some 
life-long scholarship would be taken. 

But the greatest saving for the sciences must be found in 
the methods of studying them. And this brings us fuUy to 
the question. How and how far should they be taught ? 

They should not be taught in a fragmentary, desultory, 
superficial way, but in a thorough, scholarly, disciplinary man- 
ner ; not as disconnected facts and curious phenomena, but 
as sciences according to the idea of science presented in 
the early part of our discussion. One may begin with details, 
and ascend to principles ; or commence with principles, and 
descend to minute illustrations. The former method may be 
best for the inexperienced, the latter for the advanced. But, 
in the effort to comprehend a science as such, regard must be 
had both to unity and multiplicity, and then to completeness. 
Perfection in the attainment of any science cannot be reached : 
it would require more lives than a score of students have to 
bestow. But a skilful teacher may have the ideal before him, 
and make progress towards it. Unity, diversity, relations, 
wholeness, — in proportion as one advances towards the com- 
prehension of the one in the many, and the many from the one, 
in that proportion has he made progress in a true scientific 
attainment. Some may doubt the practicability of such teach- 
ing ; but I am sure that the method is right, and believe that 
success in it is possible. 

To what extent, then, should the sciences be taught in 


opening of Walker Hall. 37 

college? While they may be taught in the optional courses 
more largely, to the mass of students they should be taught 
in fair proportion to other branches. Every strident should 
learn, first of all, what science is, — science in distinction from 
" knowledges ; " next to this, descriptively, what the leading 
sciences are, the meaning of each, its history, progress, con- 
dition, importance, prospects. This could be done by a brief 
course in text-hook or lectures. What the student would thus 
gain, to be sure, would be chiefly information ; but it is infor- 
mation preparatory to more organic study : and it would also 
be disgraceful for students to graduate without it. Next to this, 
let one, two, or three special sciences be selected, and one, at the 
very least, be in a good measure mastered. The student will 
thus learn the nature of scientific research, and will know 
ever afterwards how to prosecute it. He is not now a thor- 
ough scientist ; but he has acquired a scientific faculty, and has 
achieved a thorough preparation for after-study. lie has 
been up to the Temple of Sciences, and beheld the magnificent 
exterior. From some high priest of its mysteries he has 
heard a description of the interior apartments. He has entered 
one or more of its side-chapels, and has beheld, examined, 
and wondered ; and a desire, life-long if not sooner grati- 
fied, has been created within him, to explore the building, 
and behold its glory. So much can be done, ought to be 
done ; and no college can stand abreast of the education 
of the day, or deserves to be called progressive, which fails 
to do it. 

As the subjects which we have now considered are under- 
going public discussion, I am anxious that the doctrine of 
this discourse may not be misapprehended. It goes for the 


38 opening of Walker Hall. 

old college, with all possible improvements which are improve- 
ments ; especially for the more thorough, and, for a portion of 
the students, more extensive courses in the modern sciences : 
but it would leave it the old college, the American college, 
still, without being Europeanized on the one hand, or de- 
graded into an inorganic mass-school of " knowledges " on 
the other. It takes no ground against universities, historic 
or recent, but would confound none of them with the college as 
the word has been understood for two hundred years. It 
approves of professional schools when circumstances will 
allow of them, scientific and other schools, round about the 
college, organic with it, if you please, giving life to it, and 
receiving life from it, in the oneness of a many-membered 
university. It would leave Amherst College the centre of 
an inland educational community, with an Agricultural College, 
a Williston Seminary, a Holyoke Seminary, and a Ladies' 
College soon to be established (though at present in separate 
organizations) round about it, capable itself of being developed 
irx the direction of as many professional and other collateral 
schools as the needs of the public may demand, and the 
munificence of the public will endow ; but itself the old 
college still, with its teaching professors, its daily recita- 
tions, its square-block, red-brick, time-honored dormitories 
(though improved), and its parental careful supervision and 
mora! influences,— the same old college for that broad, high, 
round-about culture which has made so many scholars, 
wo rid -teachers, and Christian noblemen, for God and man- 
kind. It would leave out, as far as possible, whatever may he 
obsolete or defective in its methods and courses ; but one 
thing, in conclusion, it would not leave out. 


opening of Walker Hall. 39 

Whatever changes or revolutions the college may accept, 
moral supervision and Christian influence should never be left 
out of it, or degraded to a secondary position in it. Herein is 
the special danger, — the outcry for great universities and im- 
mense numbers, without Christian teaching, or responsibility 
for character. Cotton Mather represents, that, in the Academy 
of Tubingen, there were once more than four thousand mas- 
ters ; in Paris, twenty, yea, thirty thousand students ; in Prague, 
forty-four thousand foreigners engaged in study, besides native 
Bohemians. Kxtravagant as these numbers may seem, no 
doubt in some of the mediasval universities there have been 
confused masses of children and youth, in incredible numbers, 
congregated for instruction ; as if all the high-school, and many 
of the grammar-school a.nd even primary-school children of 
Massachusetts, with large numbers of collegiate and profes- 
sional students, should all be educated in one place together, 
away from their homes, with no other supervision than that of 
a civil police. Is it extraordinary, then, that Bcza should call 
some of these universities flabella Satan<E ; and Luther 
should call them cathedras pestilentim and antichristi lumi- 
naria ; and another should style them synagogas perditionis 
et piiteos Abyssif We think, perhaps, that we may safely 
imitate the present great iiniversities of Prussia, that mighty 
nation which is making the world tremble before its intelli- 
gence and arms ; but, besides the story of youthful dissipa- 
tions and crimes which comes to us from those institutions, 
are we willing to submit to Prussian despotism for the sake 
of Prussian education ? In a free country, when the moral 
and the Christian influence is gone, we are ail gone. 

Our old colleges were founded for Christian education, man- 


40 Opening of Walker Hall. 

hood, and usefulness. Even the mottoes and devices of the col- 
lege-seals bear witness to the fact. The first and temporary 
seal of Harvard contained three open Bibles, with a syllable of 
the word Veritas upon each of them ; its second temporary seal, 
the sareie three Bibles, with the words Tn Chrtsti gloriam : the 
words which characterize its permanent and present seal are 
Christo et ecdesi(B. Yale has one open Bible, with the Hebrew 
words of the high priest's breastplate, Urim and Thummim, 
inscribed in Hebrew letters upon it, and the Latin words. 
Lux et Veritas, around it, signifying, probably, that light and 
truth are to be obtained by inquiring of the Lord. Brown 
University has a red cross on a white field between four open 
books, illuminated by a sun rising amid clouds, bearing the 
motto. In Deo speramus. Dartmouth, established originally 
on the frontiers of our civilization, partly to educate converted 
natives, bears among other emblems the open book, the 
cross, a forest of Indians bending towards a college-building, 
with the words, Vox clamantis in deserts. Our own college ex- 
hibits on its seal an open Bible, with a full-orbed, unclouded 
sun pouring down upon its pages, and the words beneath it. 
Terras irradient. Such was the design of nearly all our Ameri- 
can colleges, and such ought to be their mission. They set 
themselves up as the world's teachers : let them take care, lest, 
by moral unsoundness or neglect, they become the world's de- 
stroyers. Before the great war, through the hurry of our secu- 
larism and the powerful tendency of our materialism, we were 
fast becoming a nation of atheists. Then the Almighty thun- 
dered, and the people acknowledged his providence, and wor- 
shipped. Let it not be the fault of the colleges if that awful 
lesson should need to be repeated. They ought to be not only 


Opening of Walker Hall. 41 

the guides of the people in all practical affairs, but lighthouses 
for them on the shores of time, throwing out a light far into 
that dark sea of immortality which is always surging within 
our hearing. We do not ask that the college shall be a mere 
school of theology ; though most of our colleges were founded 
with special regard to an educated ministry. The Church 
calls out, and never louder than now, for Christian ministers 
of superior training and attainment to fill positions of influ- 
ence, to translate the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures into all 
strange languages, to defend and enforce the gospel with a 
winning and powerful eloquence. But we need, also, men of 
wisdom and character, educated to their highest power of influ- 
ence, in all departments of life. We only insist that the educa- 
tion shall be moral and Christian henceforth, as from the 
beginning. By cultivating the intellect alone, you may make 
what the apostle calls principalities and powers, and insure 
spiritual wickedness in high places ; but you will not make what 
the world most needs, ^ — true men and Christian scholars. 
One of the first lessons my father impressed upon me at 
the beginning of my academic course was this, — "A learned 
sinner is a kind of monster ; " and the many years of experi- 
ence which have since passed away have only deepened my 
conviction of the fearful truth. There are examples of splen- 
did talents, of accomplished scholarship, of polished manners, 
with dispositions vilely sensual and fiendish. Education is 
not enough. An educated devil will be a devil still, and will 
remain a devil till his nature is renewed. As to Amherst 
College, if the moral and the Christian should ever desert it, 
and its spu-it become antagonistic to its seal, may the Al- 


42 opening of Walker Hall. 

mighty send his thunderbolts and destroy it ! This is my 
prayer. No : He who founded it will preserve it, and the 
long procession of its sons, for many centuries to come, with 
the open Bible, and the light shining full from heaven upon it, 
shall powerfully help to irradiate the world. 


opening of Walker Hall. 


[Note. — The building has been sufficiently described in " The Exer- 
cises at the Laying of the Corner- Stone." The building-committee con- 
sisted of the president, Hon. Samuel Williston, Hon. Alplieus Hardy, 
Hon. Edward B. Gillett, iind Samuel Bowles, Esq. The architect was 
George Hathorne of New York ; the contractor for the masonry, Richard 
H. Ponsonby ; for the carpenter- work, C. W. Lessey, Tlie immediate 
oversight was intrusted to William A. Dicliinson, Esq., wliose faitliful- 
ness, good taste, and erergy Imve greatly contributed to malte the under- 

It is three years since the trustees of the college, at their 
October meeting, authorized a committee from their own num- 
ber to contract for the erection of this building. The matter 
had already been before them for several yeais previous, but 
assumed no definite form. The money was pledged ; but it 
was too large a sum to be trifled with, or to permit of experi- 
ments. Accustomed to the idea of the old chapel-roof cov- 
ering all the departments of the college, church included, 
even those for whom the larger and finer accommodations 
were to be provided could not easily bring themselves up 
to so sumptuous a change ; indeed, seemed to be more per- 
plexed to decide how to appropriate such wealth of opportunity 
than in managing as they had within their old and narrower 

One architect after another was consulted, but without 


44 Opening of Walker Hall. 

avail, because l:here was no one to tell him definitely enough 
what was wanted of him. 

When, however, after long study, it was settled that the 
trustees' room, always made a point of by Dr. Walker, 
witli'the president's office and lecture-room, and Prof. Snell's 
lecture and apparatus rooms, should use one floor, and that 
floor the second ; and that these rooms must be allowed about 
so much space ; and that the trustees' room should be located 
central and front,, — that is, south ; that the president's of&ce 
must necessarily connect directly with this, and his lecture- 
room with that ; and that Prof. Snell's lecture-room must also 
be upon the south side, and that his apparatus-room must 
connect directly with this, — then the problem was made up. 
The rest of the building could be brought to this, and we 
were ready then for an architect. But it was found not so 
simple a matter, even by an architect, to reconcile so conflict- 
ing requirements : and it was even pronounced at one time idle 
to insist upon the conditions prescribed ; impossible to con- 
struct a fairly-balanced building architecturally, with five 
rooms of such sizes on one floor, with such connections, too, 
as we must have, and four of them on the south side. The 
result, however, proved the difficulties not insuperable ; for we 
at length received a plan from Mr. Hathorne of New York, 
covering all the points. The'second floor had the required 
five rooms, the required connections, — four of them facing 
the south, — and with this a design for the exterior which 
might be taken for a photograph of the building as it stands 
to-day, so closely has it been followed. 

The rest was easily accomplished. The upper floor, to be 
devoted to the mineralogical cabinet and a lecture-room in 


opening of Walker Hall. 45 

the department of natuml history, was susceptible of any 
variety of treatment ; and so the lower floor, on which were 
to be the treasurer's office and recitation and division rooms. 

Mr. Hathorne's plan, then, heartily accepted by the profess- 
ors and committee, was afterwards adopted by the trustees, 
upon one condition; namely, that it could he built complete, 
all fixtures and furniture included, and including all cost of 
grading, for a sum not exceeding one hundred and twenty-flve 
thousand dollars. And, with this condition most stringently 
pressed upon them, the building committee, or rather a sub- 
committee of the building-committee, were let loose. 

They make t,o-day their first and their final report, and at 
the same time offer their work for inspection. It has been 
their aim to build well and durably; to supply every conve^ 
nience in each of the departments to be represented here ; to 
leave nothing undone that it seemed desirable should be done. 
Many things have been added or modified, as the building has 
progressed, to render the various appointments more per- 
fect. Great pains have been taken in the matters of heating and 
ventilation ; the plan adopted for these having been previously 
examined and indorsed by what we considered best authority^ 
And so, in precautions against fire, it is believed such care 
has been used, that it is impossible any harm should occur to 
it from this cause, except as the result of deliberate purpose. 

If apology is due that the building has not been sooner made 
ready for use, we trust it may be found in the greater thorough- 
ness of its construction, and in the finer completeness of all 
its internal arrangements, beyond those at first contemplated. 

Improvements will suggest themselves in the most carefully- 
planned buildings, as the imaginary lines become real ; cs- 


46 Opening of Walker Hall. 

pecially would this be expected in one so new in its character 
as this : and we have meant to lose the advantages of no one 
of these for the sake of saying we have built quicker. 

We account the building to be now substantially finished 
from foundation-stone to vane ; and as such we offer it to-day 
for comparison with the description, read by Dr. Stearns at 
the laying of its corner-stone, of what it was to be. 'It has 
cost entire, grading about it included, and furnished through- 
out, just within the hundred and twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars ; and so the single condition upon which the trustees 
would adopt the design is fulfilled. 

In its imposing yet attractive outlines it will stand a monu- 
ment to science, to the noble generosity of him whose name it 
bears ; no less to those who, perhaps, have more disinterest- 
edly, because silently, joined him to make available his large 
offer to the college ; and a monument, also, to the wisdom, 
address, and unflagging zeal, of President Stearns, to whom, 
more than to all others, is the college indebted for the pos- 
session of its Walker Hall ; as would say every one of the 
donors to the fund from which it was bviilt. 

This, and the beautiful church, the walls of which are rising 
higher every day, on the eastern slope, will long attest his 
taste and foresight, and his devotion to the wants and interests 
of the college ; determining and controlling, as they must, by 
their presence and influence, the character and scope of all 
future improvements upon College Hill. 


of Walker Hall. 


Soon after Amherst College was opened for the reception 
of students, in September, 1821, a few second-hand articles 
of English apparatus were purchased of Dr. Prince of Salera. 
These were, a set of simple machines, a small air-pump, an 
electrical machine, a compound microscope, a solar micro- 
scope, a magic- Ian tern, and a limited number of small articles 
to accompany them. There was also a pair of globes, and a 
small Gregorian telescope. The collection had probably done 
long service elsewhere ; and some of the articles were much 
worn. The air-pump was especially infirm, and would gen- 
erally fail before a lecture was closed, — unable to draw 
another breath. 

When the north college was erected, in 1823, the southern 
half of the fourth story was devoted to public uses. The 
space now occupied by the entry and corner-rooms was used 
for a chapel. The back middle-room contained the college 
library ; and the front middle, the apparatus both in natural 
philosophy and chemistry : and lectures in both of these 
departments, indeed on all subjects, were given in the chapel, 
the simple pulpit at the west end serving as a lecturing-desk. 

Prof. Olds, the first incumbent of the chair of natural 
philosophy, and Prof. Jacob Abbott, his successor, had only 
the meagre collection already described with which to 


48 opening of Walker Hall. 

illustrate the principles of the science. In 1S31, Prof. Hovey, 
the successor of Prof Abbott, visited Europe for his health ; 
and the opportunity was seized upon by the friends of the 
college to solicit contributions, and to commission the pro- 
fessor to purchase books for the library, and apparatus for the 
scientific departments. I think, about four thousand dollars 
were raised for these purposes. The principal part of the 
philosophical cabinet was procured of Pixii of Paris, and cost 
somewhat less than two thousand dollars. 

The chapel-building which had been erected in 1826, 
between the north and south colleges, had a room appropri- 
ated to the uses of the philosophical apparatus ; and the few 
articles first purchased of Dr. Prince had been placed in it. 
Previous to the purchases made by Prof Hovey, all the 
instruments belonging to the department were accommodated 
on one wide shelf extending half round that room. After the 
new apparatus had arrived, and before Prof. Hove/s return, 
the whole was unpacked, and the parts put together at my 
own house, where it stood in two unoccupied rooms till cases 
could be erected for it in the room of the chapel -building. 
From 1827 to 1S70, a period of forty-three years, this collec- 
tion of instruments has been kept in the same room, new 
cases having been repeatedly added as they were needed ; 
but for the last eight or ten years the cases have become so 
crowded, that, when a new article was wanted, the first ques- 
tion to be answered was, "Is there any room for it?" And 
this want of space for the safe and convenient accommoda- 
tion of new instruments has of late been a serious difliculty 
in the way of increasing the collection. In quantity, and, 
as I think, in real utility, it is now just about double of 


opening of Walker Hall. 49 

what it was immediately after the pm-chases were made in 

It may not be improper for me to state in wiiat way this 
increase has been made. But let me premise, that, for a few 
years after Prof. Hovey's purchases, the philosophical apparatus 
of Amherst College had a high reputation. It was extensive 
for that day ; and the articles, mostly of French construction, 
were very neat and beautiful when compared with the old and 
heavy English instruments which were to be found in most of 
the colleges. Professors from several institutions came to ex- 
amine it ; and the establishment of Pixii received not a few 
large orders from the United States in consequence of the 
example set by this college. 

Every department of knowledge, however, is progressive. 
Whatever completeness the appliances for giving instruction 
may possess this year, they will be found deficient the next. 
Hence Ivery soon found it necessary to furnish myself with 
additional pieces, either for the illustration of newly-dis- 
covered facts and principles, or for the more perfect presen- 
tation of those already known. But how should this be 
done ? The college was poor, and the money already ex- 
pended had been begged from friends who supposed, they had 
set her up for a lifetime. It would not do to apply to them 
again so soon. Of course, the college must appropriate a 
little to the several departments in order to keep things in 
repair. The problem was, how with that little {which for this 
department did not, for a considerable time, exceed twenty- 
five dollars a year), how with that small sum, to preserve the 
apparatus in a decent condition in spite of wear and accident, 
and also to make occasional additions and improvements. 


50 Opening of Walker Hall. 

With all my want of qualifications for my position, of which 
none can be so fully aware as myself, I found one thing 
greatly in my favor. I was born a Yankee, and from child- 
,hood had been fond of whittling. The department of natural 
philosophy gave me the opportunity of indulging in this kind 
of recreation. Before I could afford to buy tools, or fit up a 
shop, I begged the use of both from my worthy friend Mr. 
David Parsons, who is a most skilful mechanic himself, and 
who gave me gratuitously a multitude of valuable hints. The 
old gentleman is to this day very fond of calling me his 
apprentice. The department of natural philosophy in Amherst 
College owes not a little, both directly and indirectly, to the 
skill and kindness of Mr. Parsons. By slow degrees I pro- 
cured tools for myself, and at length set up shop in the rear 
part of ray house, where, during each of the last thirty years, 
I have done more or less of mechanical work. I have re- 
paired instruments which needed repair ; a considerable num- 
ber I improved, so that they serve their purpose better, or else 
answer another purpose beside that for which they were origi- 
nally designed ; and not a few I have wholly made, either 
from published descriptions, or from designs of my own. 

The most valuable article which my private work-shop now 
contains is not my own, but belongs to the college. It is an 
engine latke, turned by the foot ; and was given by James T. 
Ames, Esq., of Chicopee, for the benefit of the department. 

The average appropriation to the department of natural 
philosophy from 1828 to 1869 has been about sixty-five dollars 
per year, — a sum which could hardly be expected to do more 
than keep the apparatus in tolerable repair. And yet, as I 
have already said, this annual allowance has served to double 
the value of the collection. 


opening of Walker Hall. 51 

But it will be readily perceived that the apparatus increased 
in this manner cannot retain its beauty of appearance. Presi- 
dent Hitchcock, in his " Reminiscences of Amherst College," 
paid me a compliment wholly undeserved (and I told him so) 
when he stated that the visitor would hardly be able to dis- 
tinguish the articles which I had made from those manufac- 
tured in London or Paris. I have not even attempted, 
much less attained to, any such niceness of finish ; for this rea- 
son, if for no other, — that it would cost too much time. And in 
many instances, where a French instrument would be hand- 
somely wrought in brass, I have used wood, or other cheap 
material ; so that its appearance is comparatively rnde and 

Now that the collection is to occupy a spacious and hand- 
some apartment, I trust the Walker funds will avail to re- 
place many cheap-looking instruments by more comely and 
fitting ones, as well as to add a number of others which I 
have for some time wished to procure, but which the former 
room was not large enough to accommodate, nor the resources 
of the department sufficient to purchase. 


opening of Walker Hall. 


[Note. — As Prof. Hitchcocli's remarks were unwritten, the following 
outline of tlieinlias been reported from memory by one of the professors.] 

Being introduced by the Hon. Edward B. Gillett, who 
happily presided on this occasion, as the youngest or most 
recently-appointed of the trustees, Rev.* Prof. Roswell D. 
Hitchcock of New York said, — 

He wished to declare himself at the outset as strongly in 
favor of the old system of college education, with its essen- 
-tial principles intact and entire. He liked new means, new 
facilities, new buildings, — especially such perfect edifices as 
Walker Hall, so well planned and finished, and devoted to 
■mathematics and the kindred sciences ; but he insisted on 
adhering to the old system, with mental discipline and culture 
as its fundamental principles. And in this connection he 
indorsed with all his heart the address to which we had just 
been listening (that of President Stearns) ; a thoughtful and 
carefully-considered address, though written under the press- 
ure of manifold duties; a well-balanced and matured address, 
the result, manifestly, of many years of reflection, observation, 
and experience ; as true as the book, and as wise and judicious 
as it was true, recognizing the discipline and culture of the 
mind, by substantially the old means and methods, in the old 
classical and mathematical studies, as the true basis of collc- 


opening of Walker Hall. 53 

giate education. Mathematics and languages ■ were tlie two 
corner-stones of the system ; and he defied the ingenuity of 
man to discover any substitute or any equivalent for them as 
the means of mental discipline. "God geometrizes," said the 
old Greeks ; and man should do Hkewise. 

The object of education is chiefly twofold, i. Mental 
power, which, like physical strength, can be used for aiiy de- 
sired purpose ; and this can come only by exercise, the in- 
tense exertion, and thus the strong and fine development, of 
the fibre oi the brain, — just as muscular strength comes only 
by -muscular exertion. 2. Method, ^ not so much knowledge 
of particular subjects and sciences as a right method ; so 
that this mental power may be rightly directed, and so be 
made effective. This must come from study of the best 
methods, and practice in view of the most perfect models; 
and these arc to be found in the mathematics and ancient 

There arc two great subjects of human thought and inquiry, 
— God and man ; and there are two great studies, sciences, or 
classes of sciences, corresponding to these two great subjects : 
I. Theology, the science of sciences, at once supreme over all, 
and, in a sense, comprehensive of all. 2. The humanities, in- 
cluding philosophy, history, public economy, art, literature ; in 
short, reason and speech as they have been developed and 
cultivated in the progress of our race. And with emphasis it 
may be said in education, and pre-eminently in college-educa- 
tion, that "the proper study of mankind is man." 

In conclusion, the speaker exhorted the students of the col- 
lege, his younger brothers, to expect power, influence, true 
success, in the world ; not as the product of genius or native 


54 Opening of Walker Hall. 

talent, or some happy accident, but only as the reward of toil 
and effort. Daniel Webster had said that he knew of no other 
genius but a genius for hard work ; and if they would be any 
thing, or do any thing for themselves, or for their Alma Mater, 
who looked to her alumni as her ornament and her support, 
they must achieve it by severe discipline, hard work, and 




Laying of the Corner-Stone, 

JUNE 10, 1868. 



opening of Walker Hall. 


[Note. — To make the ^ccoimt of Walker Hall more complete, the e?:- 
ercises which were connected with the placing of the corner-stone, on the 
loth of June, t858, are appended,] 

The corner-stone of the new scientific building, to be called 
Walker IJall, was placed in its position at the north-west cor- 
ner of the projection of the building, with informal cere- 
monials appropriate to the occasion, on the forenoon of Class 
Day at Amherst, June lo, 1868. A procession of students 
and visitors, being formed on the green west of Williston 
Hall, marched across the grounds to the library, conducted by 
the Mendelssohn Band, where they received the trustees, offi- 
cers of the college, and guests who were present, and thence 
passed over to the site of the building. 

The assembly was called to order by Hon, Edward Dickin- 
son, chairman of the day. Introducing the services, Mr. 
Dickinson said, " We, have met this morning to witness and 
assist in laying the corner-stone of a building so long needed, 
so long desired, and the erection of which has been so long 
delayed, that the faith of many wavered, and the subject of 
ever having it came to be regarded more as a matter of fancy 
than of fact. But faith is now exchanged for sight ; fancy 


SS Opening of iValkcr Hall. 

yields to reality. We now stand on solid rock, and are to-day 
to place on its foundation the corner-stone of an edifice beau- 
tiful in design, tasteful in its proportions, ample in its dimen- 
sions, appropriate in all its appointments, and to be the future 
permanent repository of a portion of those unrivalled and in- 
valuable collections in the departments of natural history 
which adorn the college ; and, when the top-stone shall be 
laid with rejoicing, may we meet again in this beautiful spot, 
and dedicate the , building, to the cause, and inscribe upon it 
in letters of gold the name of the Temple of -Science ! " 

Afler music by the band, an appropriate and fervent prayer 
was offered by Rev. Joseph Vail), D.D., a long-tried friend of 
the college, who has served it In various relations, especially 
as one of its trustees, for about fifty years. 

After prayer, the corner-stone was placed, with appropriate 
ceremonies, by the senior class, who had desired to honor 
their Class Day by this act, and had selected a committee of 
their number for the purpose. 

The following hymn was sung by the college-choir. It Is the 
eleven hundred and fifteenth hymn of "The Sabbath Hyran- 
Book," altered and adapted to the occasion : — 

" O God ! beneatli thy guiding hand 
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea ; 
And, when [hey trod the wintry stmnd, 
With prayer atid psalm they worshipped thee. 

Laws, freedom, truth, and faith in God, 

Came with those exiles o'er the waves ; 
And, where their pilgrim feet have trod, 

The God they trusted guards and saves. 


opening of Walker Hall. 59 

Temples they built, and schools endowed, 

To foQLid a nation powei-fal, free : 
So, down before thy footstool bowed. 

We consecrate these walls to thee. 

And here thy name, O God of love ! 

Our children's children shall adore. 
Till these eternal hills remove. 

And spring adorns the earth no more." 

After the singing, a paper was read by ttie president, mak- 
ing some statements respecting the character and design of 
the contemplated building, with notices of the principal do- 
nors, especially of Dr. Walker, the leading contributor towards 
it, and whose name it is to bear. 

Hon. Alpheus Hardy was then called upon by the chair- 
man of the day to take the place of another gentleman from 
whom the committee of arrangements had solicited an address 
for the occasion. Mr. Hardy consented to make a few off- 
hand remarks, though he declined to be considered as making 
a speech. We have been unable to obtain any copy or out- 
line of his remarks, but take the Uberty to say, that, though 
extemporaneous, they were highly interesting, and were much 
applauded. After complimenting the generosity of Dr. Walker, 
notwithstanding his faults, from which he drew impressive les- 
sons for young men, and dwelling at some length upon the 
advantages which had already resulted to the college from the 
munificence of this eminent donor, and the encouragement 
thus given to other friends to contribute towards the perfect- 
ing of an institution so firmly founded, he spoke pleasantly 
of the president and officers of the college, and closed with a 


6o Opening of Walker Hall. 

beautiful tribute of commendation to a " gentleman across the 
river," who was, after all, the special benefactor of the college ; 
who took it up years ago in its feebleness, when, for want of 
pecuniary strength, it was ready to perish, and, by his far-seeing 
wisdom and munificence, breached into it the breath of hfe. 
Back of all others, and whoever may come after, the college 
will never forget the early generosity and continued favors of 
Samuel Williston. 

Prof Snell was also called upon for remarks ; who said that- 
he would make no other speech than to state a fact ; viz., "that 
he had already performed his part by drawing off with his 
air-pump tkegas from-the- box which contained documents in- 
tended for posterity;; as, if we wish to preserve any thing in 
the shape of Uterature, it is important to take the gas out. 

When these exercises were concluded, the audience, as- 
sisted by the band, joined in singing, 

" Praise God, frou. whom all blessings flow." 

The benediction was pronounced by Dr. Vail!. 

The morning was very beautiful. The large audience of la- 
dies and gentlemen, pleasantly shaded from the sun by the 
college-grove, under whose branches they had assembled, 
seemed to participate in the gladness of the day, and freely 
congratulated each other upon the prospect of adding such a 
magnificent building to the means of education in Amherst. 


opening of Walker Hall. 


We have assembled to place the corner-stone of a new 
Temple of Science in Amherst College. It is intended for 
the promotion of thorough instruetion in important branches 
of academic discipline. It is to be located, as yon see, just 
north of the grove, partly on land purchased for the purpose 
from Mr. Boltwood. Its dimensions are to be a hundred 
and twenty feet in length from east to west, and sixty-five feet 
in its greatest breadth, not including porches. On opposite 
sides of this main edifice there will be two spacious stone 
porches, with ascending steps thirty feet in breadth. These 
designate and protect the main entrances ; the one on the 
south facing the college-grounds, and that on the north the 
boundary-avenue. The building is to be three stories high 
above the basement, the height of each story being fifteen 
feet. In the centre of the building, and approached through 
the porches and connecting vestibules, is the main hall, about 
thirty feet square, from which, on the different floors, the 
rooms and offices will be entered. This hall contains the 
main stairway, surrounded by a series of arches, forming on 
each landing an arcade gallery, with columns and carved capi- 
tals rising one above the other to the top of the building. 
The light is received from the ceiling through an ample sky- 
light; the whole height of the hall, from the first 'floor to the 
sky-light, being fifty feet. 


62 opening of Walker Hall. 

The exterior of the building will be simple in its detail, and 
imposing in its mass and outline. The style is tliat kntiwri 
as the revised mediseval. 

The material for the work is Monson granite, the substan- 
tial evidences of which we see scattered and piled on all sides 
around us. It is generously furnished by William N. Flynt, 
Esq., from his quarry in Monson, without other expense to 
the college than the cost of transportation. To this solid 
granite will be added dark sandstone in bands, tracery, and 
capitals, occasionally used for contrast and relief At the 
east and west ends, also on the north side, are small towers, 
rising slightly above the roof, relieved by a central tower sur- 
mounting the entire mass, and rising to the height of a hun- 
dred and twenty feet from the ground. 

On the first floor there will be recitation-rooms, division 
and study rooms for mathematical and astronomical purposes, 
and a treasurer's office and vault. The second floor will con- 
tain the president's lecture-room and private office on the 
west and south, the trustees' room in the centre, a philosophi- 
cal, lecture, and recitation room on the east and south, and 
connecting with this, on the north, a fine apparatus-room 
fifty-four feet long by twenty wide, with chemical and work 
rooms for the special . accommodation of the professor of 
natural philosophy and his classes. The third story will be 
devoted to a lecture-room in the department of natural history, 
and for the accpmmbdation of cabinets, especially that splen- 
did collection of minerals gathered by Prof. Shepard, which 
constitutes one of the most brilliant ornaments of the college. 
The building, when completed, will be known as Walker Hall. 
If present designs are carried out, it will be the largest, most 


opening of Walker Hall. 63 

convenient, most expensive, most princely edifice on our 

The architect is George Hathorne, Esq., of New York, 
whose designs, as well as his genius and reputation, are a 
guaranty that his work, when completed, will praise him. 
Richard H. Ponsonby, Esq., is the contractor for the 
masonry; and C. W. Lessey, Esq., is the contractor for the 
carpenter's work, — both of them gentlemen of experience and 
character in the arts which they profess. It will cost, if com- 
pleted according to the contracts, something over a hun- 
dred thousand dollars. 

It has been thought desirable that I should make some 
statements respecting the principal donors of this building, 
and of their views in contributing to its construction. As 
Dr. Walker, whose name it bears, furnished more than half 
the means necessary to its projected cost, and as he is the 
only one of these donors who has already passed from earth, 
(long may the noble survivors remain among us !) and as Dr. 
Walker has been but recently, and still is very partially, 
known to the friends of Amherst, it may be proper that I 
should speak of him and his interest in us with more freedom 
than delicacy would justify if he were still in the midst of us. 
In gathering some items, especially concerning his earlier 
history and his standing as a physician, I am aided by a 
manuscript notice of him, which was prepared and read before 
the Medical Society by Dr. Morrill Wyman of Cambridge, 
who was a pupil of Dr. Walker, and enjoyed his confidence, I 
believe, to the last. 

The name of our generous donor was WiUiam Johnson 
Walker. He was born in Charlcstown, Mass., March 15, 1790 ; 


64 Opening of Walker Hall. 

and died in Newport, R.I., April 2, 1865 ; being a little ovei 
seventy-five years of age. His father was Major Timothy 
Walker of Charlestown, Mass. His mother, from whom he 
received the name of Johnson, was a lineal descendant of 
Capt. Edward Johnson of Woburn, Mass., author of that 
quaint old Puritan history^ en.titlfed " Wonder-working Provi- 
dence of Zion's Saviour in New England." Of this line of 
ancestry he was specially fond of speaking in ray intercourse 
with him ; and, as the president of your college happened to 
claim descent from the sa,me original Johnson stock, this little 
bond of connection, though reraote, is believed to have been 
helpful, sometimes, in securing the Continued favor which Dr, 
Walker was pleased to accord to us. His early education was 
received in the public schools of his native town. He fitted 
for college in Phillips' Academy, Andover ; entered the Uni- 
versity at Carhbridge in 1806, and was graduated in course 
in 1810. He was specially interested in the study of Latin, 
and his conversation in after-life abounded in apt quotations 
from it ; also in geometry, -in which he continued to take great 
pleasure through life. The first strong impulse which he had 
for thoi-ough study, the first time that he perceived any real 
meaning in the mathematics, or experienced any love for them, 
as he repeatedly told me, was in connection with the efforts 
of one of his college instructors, who called him to his private 
room, and explained to him with great patience the relations 
contained in the problem which had been assigned to him. 

He studied medicine in Charlestown, and afterwards in 
Medford, under the direction of John Brooks, who was some 
years later appointed Governor of the Commonwealth. For 
this gentleman as his medical instructor, especially for the 


opening of Walker Hall. 65 

precision and thoroughness of his teaching, he often ex- 
pressed the profoundest regard. " The study of his profes- 
sion " (I here quote from Dr. Wyman) "was perfectly con- 
genial to his tastes ; and he pursued it, especially the branches 
of anatomy and physiology, with great industry and siiccess. 
While yet a student, he competed successfully for the prize on 
the subject of hydrocephalus, offered by the Boylston Medical 
Committee of Harvard University, in 1813." Soon after 
obtaining his medical degree, " war at the time existing be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, he sailed for 
France, on a privateer fitted out from Boston to prey upon 
the English commerce. In Paris he devoted himself assidu- 
ously to his profession. The number of French students 
being greatly diminished by the conscription of Napoleon, the 
hospitals were mainly served by medicai students from 
abroad." Of the unusual opportunities thus offered, under 
the best medical instructors of the time. Dr. Walker availed 
himself most faithfully. " Soon after the abdication of Napo- 
leon, he went to London, and became a pupil of Sir Astley 
Cooper ; and, having spent six months in the prosecution of 
his studies in Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, he returned 
to the United States, and immediately commenced the prac- 
tice of his profession in his native town." 

"Byliis devotion and kindness to his patients," says Dr. 
Wyman, " and his consideration of those less favored by for- 
tune, he became beloved and popular ; by his knowledge of 
his profession, by the readiness and clearness with which he 
communicated that knowledge to his juniors, his affable man- 
ners towards tliem, and his scrupulous care of their reputation, 
he became with them a favorite consulting physician and sur- 


66 Opening of Walker Hall. 

geon. The older members of the profession, though they did 
not always find him as agreeable in the consultation -room as 
they might wish, conld never deny the accuracy of his obser- 
vation, nor the acuteness of his diagnosis. He was appointed 
physician and surgeon of the Massachusetts State Prison, 
which office he held for several years, and also consulting 
surgeon to the Massachusetts General Hospital. After having 
practised his profession about thirty years, and having per- 
formed successfully nearly all the capital operations in sur- 
gery, he relinquished it, and removed to Boston. He then 
turned his attention to the various public improvements in 
progress, especially in manufactures and railroads. The men- 
tal qualities which made him eminent in his profession did not 
fail him in his new walk, and he soon amassed a large fortune. 
But it was no sooner acquired than he set about distributing 

As Dr. Wyman prepared his manuscript for the medical 
society in which Dr. Walker was well known, it may be of 
interest if I add some things from my own knowledge for the 
information of the friends of Amherst, among whom he has 
been, except from the fame of his munificence, but little 
known. Though I had long heard of him as a physician of 
peculiar qualities and great abilities, I had had no personal 
acquaintance with him till about the year 1861, when I re- 
ceived a note from him in which he proposed to contribute 
something for education in Amherst College and WilUams 
College. As the result of conferences and correspondence, 
he donated real estate to Williams College, Tufts College, and 
Amherst College, which was to be held for a number of years 
in trust, and then be used for objects which he designated. 


opening of Walker Hall. 67 

We have but recently received the last instalment from that 
gift. The portion assigned to Amherst, which was intended 
as the foundation of a professorship of mathematics and as- 
tronomy, including a part of the interest which had accrued, 
amounts to about twenty-five thousand dollars, and is regarded 
as a permanent endowment of that professorship. Fie also 
gave large sums during his lifetime, and afterwards by will, to 
the Natural-History Society in Boston, to the Institute of 
Technology, and to Tufts College. But I shall speak here 
only of his benefactions to Amherst. His second donation 
to Amherst was ten thousand dollars for special instruction in 
mathematics, the income to be paid as salary to some recent 
graduate of superior mathematical abilities and aspirations, 
who should teach select divisions of students of the sopho- 
more and freshman classes, by a special drill, under the 
general direction of the head of the department who was to 
oversee these special students, while he gave thorough in- 
struction also to the remainder of the class. He afterwards 
gave us two thousand dollars, the income of which was to be 
expended in prizes, as testimonials of the high proficiency 
which he hoped some few at least in every class would be 
able to reach In matiematical science. Meanwhile, he had 
also given several hundred dollars as a temporary provision 
for the advancement of this braii_ch of education. 

After making many inquiries respecting the condition and 
wants of the college, he was led to propose the construction 
of a building for mathematical and other scientific purposes, 
which might also enclose important rooms for some of the 
prominent needs of the college. His first proposition was, 
that he would give twenty thousand dollars for this object, 


68 Opening of Walker Hall. 

provided the friends of the college would contrihute an equal 
amount, — a condition almost universally received as at that 
time impracticable. Many solicitations for assistance in the 
attempt proposed were made, and many of them signally 
failed. A few gentlemen, however, when the subject had 
been fully presented to them, came to be of a different mind. 
First, our old and long-tried benefactor, Hon. Samuel Willis- 
ton, was able to comprehend the full breadth of the impor- 
tance, present and prospective, of complying at once with 
what might seem to be the hard conditions of this proposed 
gift. Without consulting his own inclinations or his own con- 
venience, which might at that time have prompted a different 
result, he decided to contribute five thousand dollars to the 
object. This act of Mr. Williston gave courage for further 
attempts. I have been accustomed to look upon it, under all 
circumstances, as one of the most broad-minded and disinter- 
ested of that gentleman's many generous donations to the 
college. Samuel Hitchcock, Esq., of Brimfield, the gentle- 
man whose name is attached to the Hitchcock Professorship 
of Natural Theology and Geology ; whose scholarships, known 
as the " Hitchcock Scholarships," have gladdened the hearts 
of a large number of students who wer« faltering for want of 
pecuniary means in their course, and have helped to secure 
superior talents and acquisitions to the world, — this gentleman 
responded with cheerfulness to the appeal, and, urging the 
collection of the whole sum required as soon as possible, sub- 
scribed, as Mr. Williston had done, five thousand dollars. 
James Smith, Esq., a New-Englander by birth, but a resident 
in Philadelphia, his adopted city, in which he has devoted 
generous sums for the promotion of those great objects which 


opening of Walker Hall. 69 

the true New-Englander holds dear, — education, freedom, and 
religion,- — and who had been in thehabit of regarding Amherst 
College as a bulwark of intelligence and faith, very kindly 
and very nobly, on solicitation, added a third five thousand 
dollars to the sum. With all this encouragement, it now 
seemed impossible to obtain the balance. But we were too 
near the goal willingly to yield the prize. Our friends in 
Boston and vicinity, including our own trustees, came to the 
rescue. Among them, Hon. Alpheus Hardy, who had fre- 
quently conferred with Dr. Walker on the subject, and had 
greatly assisted to secure the continuance of his patience and 
good-will, was the largest contributor. The venerable Dr. 
Alden, who has been unwearied in his devotion to the college, 
as a member of the board of trustees, for many years, and 
other gentlemen, gave liberally ; and the forty thousand dollars 
was secured. This, however, was no sooner accomplished 
than Dr. Walker perceived, what some had siispected before, 
that a building such as he contemplated could not he erected 
for any such sum. A new proposition was made by Dr. 
Walker; viz., that he would give twenty thousand dollars 
more, on condition that the friends of the college would add 
another equal amount. This proposition was received with 
surprise (I trust also with gratitude), but at the same time with 
consternation approaching despair of success. Many said, 
"The raising of such another sum is impossible." But more 
was depending than appeared. The doctor also was pleased 
very soon to put forward the suggestion, that, if his wishes 
should be complied with, the amount would probably be made 
up to a hundred thousand dollars without further tax upon 
the college or its friends. I have only time to mention the 


70 Opening of Walker Hall. 

final result ; which was, in general, that Messrs. Williston, 
Hitchcock, and Smith consented to double their subscriptions ; 
and J. C. Baldwin, Esq., of New York, himself a generous 
donor of the college in another direction, kindly permitted 
that a legacy bequeathed to the college by his brother, M. H. 
Baldwin, Esq., and of which the surviving brother had the 
right of specific appropriation, should go to make up the sum. 

When this sum had been fully secured, and the friends of 
the college had begun to take breath, Dr. Walker, who was 
becoming more and more interested in our aifairs, seeing that 
what the college now specially needed was the endowment 
of some existing professorships and the support of the general 
treasury, proposed to give the college fifty thousand dollars, 
provided a hundred thousand , dollars more should be sub- 
scribed by the other friends of the institution. Half this 
sura had been conditionally though prospectively pledged ; 
and there seemed to be a fair prospect that the whole might 
be raised, or that Dr. Walker would pay over his subscription, 
without insisting upon the full amount on which it had been 
conditioned, when his sudden death intervened, and thus the 
whole project came to the ground. Our hope of relief to the 
general treasury, and ability to pay adequate salaries to pro- 
fessors, meet general expenses, arid make necessary improve- 
ments, was thus doomed to disappointment. 

Dr. Walker's kindly feelings towards lis continued to the 
last. March 31, 1865, he writes, — 

" For the last several weeks I have suffered excruciating 
pains ; been confined mostly to my bed ; and am in great 
danger of passing off without completing the business in 


opening of Walker Hall. yi 

hand with your college. Should things be so, I wish to 
complete all my worldly affairs while I am able so to do. 
What will be the desires of the college after they receive 
the hundred and fifty ? 

" P. S. — Details must be attended to at once." 

This letter, written on Friday, came to hand on Saturday 
night. The next day, which was sabbath, he suddenly expired. 
His disease was a disease of the heart. He had often told 
me that he was a "minute man." The event proved that 
he understood his condition. 

Dr. Walker left a great property. After making; such pro- 
vision for his family as he thought proper, and devising sev- 
eral bequests, he gave the balance, by will, to the Natural- 
History Society of Boston, to Tufts College, to the Institute 
of Technology, and to Amherst College, to be divided among 
them, in equal parts, as his residuary legatees. In the settle- 
ment of the estate, these several institutions, yielding to the 
dictates of expediency, — to say nothing of justice, — consent- 
ed to surrender three hundred thousand dollars of their joint 
claim to the family of Dr. Walker, with whom he had not 
resided for several years, and for whom, if he had provided 
according to his own rigid ideas of economy, he had not 
made provision in accordance with the expectations which his 
great property might naturally excite. I take no pleasure in 
adding, that, after this liberal arrangement, a suit was unex- 
pectedly commenced, and a question in law is still pending, 
between the widow of the deceased and the executors, for fifty 
thousand dollars more. Our college has already received, 
under the will, a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. 


72 opening of Walker Hall. 

which, added to preceding donations, amounts to something 
over two himdred thousand dollars ; and something, thotigh 
not a great sura, more may be expected. 

The friends of Amherst who do not Icnow will naturally ask, 
"What sort of man was this Dr. Wallser?" He was a pe- 
culiar man. He was a powerful man. He was a self-relying 
man. He was a passionate man. He was a large-hearted 
man. He loved and would protect those whom he considered 
his friends, at all hazards. To be his enemy and have much 
to do with him, to say the least, was not comfortable. " No 
man," says Dr. Wyman ; " was ever a truer friend ; and those 
whom he considered his enemies were never in doubt as to his 
relations to them. His temperament was ardent, which some- 
times betrayed him into a course of action in which there was 
much to regret, and little to defend." 

He had resided in Newport for several years in a highly re- 
spectable family boarding-house, where he lived very plainly 
and economically, though not grudgingly ; entertaining his 
friends liberally when they called ; contented when his wishes 
were not thwarted and his few wants were supplied ; grateful 
for sympathy accorded to him in his isolation and infirmities, 
and especially for the attentions bestowed upon him by the 
venerable ladies under whose roof he dwelt, and whose quiet 
kindness he rewarded by a handsome legacy to insure the 
comforts of their declining years. 

His conversation abounded in anecdote, early memories, 
apt quotations. He was often humorous, never uninteresting. 
Neglect, disrespect, strong opposition, concealment, and in- 
direction in dealing with him, would rouse the lion which was 
sleeping within him. Those who once lost his confidence 


opening of Walker Hall. 73 

wei'e not likely to regain it. Sucli men always have enemies. 
"All my friends," he once said to me sadly, "turn against me 
after a while." 

He often spoke regretfully, sometimes indignantly, of what 
he considered neglects in his eariy education, particulariy of 
a want of thoroughness and faithfulness on the part of some 

of his instructors. " If I had gone right to ," said 

he, " instead of going where I did, I should have been a 
different man from what I am. That early neglect has been 
the bane of my life." "You plead hard," said he in a letter, 
"for the dull members of classes, when you say they are 
some of them destined to fit boys to enter our colleges, and 
therefore should be thoroughly drilled. I had just such in- 
structors. I want no more of them. Would to God ray 
lines had fallen under skilful and accurate masters ! Can the 
blind lead the blind ? I trow not." 

In my personal intercourse with him, he was uniformly 
courteous, respectful, gentle, and kindly ; but I saw enough 
to satisfy me that his nature was imperious, his purposes 
persistent, and his will indomitable. He was not a man to 
be advised. He would hsten to reasons till his mind was 
made up : from that moment he was impatient of adverse 
or even kindly suggestion. You had your choice, — to accept 
his propositions, or take your hat and retire as gracefully as 
you could, but with the understanding that you retired for- 
ever. He did, however, sometimes change his views; but this 
change was exceptional, and did not usually occur till time 
had had its influence, and the reasons for it had become his 
own. When he had formed his plans, he pushed them with 
all the energy of his great nature. In meeting the conditions 


74 Opening of Walk^ Hall. 

of his proposed gifts, he could scarcely see any difficulties in 
the way; wondering at the hesitation of the college, not to 
say asking impossibilities. In looking over the correspond- 
ence, I find not unfrequently some such expressions as these: 
"You MUST" (underscored by a threefold emphasis) "get 
the whole twenty thousand dollars." " Can you not push it 
to completion now ? " " Nihil sine labored " Nil ardiium est 
mortalibusr " Do your people want my money ? " " You 
see I am giving away my property, and I wish to complete the 
business with your college as soon as possible." When hard 
pressed to obtain the required funds, I had once written, " It 
is impossible to hurry such matters beyond certain limits ; 
but, Deo volente, if I live^ the ftill amount will be obtained" 
He responded with delight, " Dear sir, I am gratified with 
your late communication. When you say ' I will do it,' I call 
to mind the veritable blood of Edward Johnson. Possimt 
quia posse videittur." The next time I met him, and with the 
subscription completed, he said, " When a Johnson crooks his 
elbow, and says 'I will^ the thing goes," ^ an assertion which 
was true of one man, or it was no fault of William Johnson 

But I shall not quite meet the views of the friends of Am- 
herst unless I answer a question always uppermost in their 
minds, " What was his religions character "i " He early told me 
that his religious views were his own, and that he had never 
disclosed them, except, in part, to one person. " They call 
me," he said, " an Ishmaelite ; " by which he meant, I suppose, 
that he did not agree with anybody, — a position which one 
would not naturally deny. He wrote to me in my afflictions 
during the war more than once, tenderly, and almost reli- 


opening of Walker Hall. 75 

giously. He attended the dying-bed of an aged member of 
the household with whom he resided in Newport, reading to 
her daily in the New Testament, and suggesting Christian 
consolations. Of her he wrote me, "The elder sister of my 
household (seventy-eight years of age) is near her exit from 
this world. I admire to witness the placid, peaceful, happy 
termination of a well-spent, useful life, when the fruit is ripe, 
and the prospect of everlasting joy as reliable and hopeful as 
in the case of my friend." Towards the last, when he had 
reminded me in a letter that he was nearly through, I framed 
an answer with the intention of drawing out his religious 
feelings {if he should be disposed to communicate them), that 
I might, if possible, afford him some Christian sympathy and 
assistance. He responded kindly ; said that he had been in- 
tending to write me a long letter, but his failing strength would 
not allow of it. His views in the appropriation of his prop- 
erty indicated generosity, hberal ideas, and an intelligent ap- 
preciation of the value of sound learning. " I have made 
most of ray property," he said, " since I retired from the 
world ; and almost ray only object in doing it has been that I 
may contribute to education." " More than once," he said, 
" I have made arrangements for my family in my will, ■ — - as 
much as I think necessary for them ; as much as they and 
others seem to think is necessary ; all the rest I intend shall 
go to promote education." When he made his first donation 
to Amherst, he accompanied it with these words : " It is my 
desire to contribute in such manner as I can to the promotion 
of practical knowledge and sound mental discipline in the 
young men of our commonwealth and nation. The means 
within ray power which appear to me most suitable for the