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room higher up,” he said. Fortunately for this country and for mankind, the standard of Liberal Education is always rising. It is for you, gentlemen and ladies, to see that it rises higher than ever before; nor do you let your personal eagerness and hope flag or faint, as the great army presses up and on.
Far from believing that America has, or can have, any too many men or women of the very highest and most broad and careful education, we shall have reason to see that she has quite too few. Our chief danger, indeed, is that our men of education are detailed to too many duties by the ignorance or incompetence of their subordinates. It is said of General Grant, when he was approaching Vicksburg, that his officers, brave enough and willing enough, had so little military experience that his orders to them were not mere directions as to what they should do, but instruction in detail as to the manner in which it should be done. It is said that a collection of those orders would form a compendium or hand-book of the Military Art. The man of liberal training with us has always much of that experience. The sculptor in America can confide nothing to his workman. The editor often needs to know how to set type. Many a time will you have to instruct your bookbinder. Woe to you if you expect to hire a competent translator! The educated man in America is only a helpless Dominie Sampson, if he cannot harness his own horse, and on occasion shoe him. He must in a thousand exigencies paddle his own canoe. And the first danger which comes to him is that in all these side duties he will forget the great central object to which his life is consecrated. He may forget that the first object is to take Vicksburg. Because he has become interested in some town history or some bit of family genealogy, he may waste his life on what should have been the amusement of only one bivouac on the way.
Clearly, it is my business to-day to present as well as I can the moral side of the great office for which this State and your country have trained you.
I. Do not forget that there is an obligation on your part toward the country and the State. Every American should be proud of the efforts, more than princely, which this country has made for the highest and broadest liberal
education. More than princely, I say, for as yet no princes have done such things. The nation gave to the new States every thirty-second part of its domain for public education, and of this devoted one sixteenth part to the foundation of colleges. Then, by the special act to which Cornell University owes its existence, the nation gave it that immense endowment of Western lands, which makes so large a part of the fund in the hands of its Trustees. No prince ever gave, few princes could give, such gifts to a University. When you hear it said that the American people loves the dollar and is not faithful to the Idea, ask in reply what prince or people but the American people ever gave up so large a part of its appanage for the education of its people.
In mere gratitude to such a nation and such a State, you owe, your lives long, something to their service, in dragging their people from the Serbonian bog, and in lifting them to the noblest and highest life.
II. For this purpose, however, as I have intimated, if we were to be satisfied by any count of numbers, we are quite too few. We should be lost in the host, as the handful of Richard's horsemen in the crusades were once and again lost in the hordes of Saracens around them. To recur to this year's statistics. At the outside, six or seven thousand educated Americans are added this summer to this little army of Red-cross Knights; and, in the same year, five hundred thousand men, women, and children will be poured in on this land from Europe, unable, perhaps, to speak the language of the land, careless of its traditions, ignorant of its laws and customs---pushed by the bayonet or beckoned by distant love to emigrate they know not whither--and landing all unorganized upon a strange shore. Just to imagine the proportions of the forces, let me suppose that these men were divided into colonies of eight hundred each; and one young graduate of this year from an American college sent with tliem, to instruct them in our laws, to show them how to meet our climate, to teach them our history, nay, our language. That alone would use all this year's graduates. One would say that here only was work enough of the very highest range for the graduates of this year. But one sees at once that, in that subdivision of our force, nobody
would be left from our newly commissioned officers to care for the needs, the highest needs, of the fifty million people who are already here upon the ground. Yet you must take the places of us old men who are passing off the stage; and, as I am now to try to show, there are duties pressing upon you which we never knew in our time.
The leaven of the Highest Education must leaven the whole lump of American life.
III. One is fairly tempted to wish that some Lethe might sink the remembrance of our old discussions and partisanships for a few months, that we might all consider, as it deserves, the great subject of our duty to the next half-century, and who shall say how much longer? What shall this people do with its enormous wealth? The old struggle, when starving colonists gnawed so close the bone, is over. The wealth of the country is increasing with such strides that no statistics announce it. As we never know the rapid drift of the raft or ice-floe on which we go and come, we are not ourselves aware, at the moment, of our gains; and we do not carefully enough study the duties which belong to them. Everybody is richer in the real elements of wealth. Now comes the question which Bulwer puts into the title of one of his best novels, What will he do with it? What will this prodigal, folded in his Father's arms, and sharing the infinite bounties of infinite love, do with the lavish gifts which from that Father he receives?
It is said truly that a single living man, Corliss of Providence, by a single invention of one generation has added one third to the physical working power of the world. Such is the magic of our day. Scott sang of Roderick that
“One blast upon his bugle-horn
and that figure is taken from the old legend in the romance of Roncesvalles. But what legend or magic tells you of such a bugle-horn as starts into existence, I do not say the men, but the giants, whose noiseless toil mines, weaves, spins, pumps, forges, stamps, pushes, and pulls for you, so that you may go home the earlier from your workshop, or fare more bountifully, or sleep the longer?
No statistics can announce the worth of that one miracle. But this is sure, that Cadmus might sow his dragons' teeth again, and call into being a hundred million armed men.
“Now nodding plumes appear, and shining crests;
Now the broad shoulders and the rising breasts;
and, if they were put, on any possible arena, in competition with the petty addition made by this one invention of Corliss to our modern forces since most of us were born, they would wilt like summer weeds in the rivalry before such antagonism.
Now, here is the result of only one of the physical improvements of our time, made by one man. Remember the crowd of similar improvements. Remember, for instance, Ezra Cornell, to be ranked among the first of the men to whom we are so indebted. Remember the Stephensons, the electricians, Brunel, Ericsson, and the steamboat men; count in Edison, Brush, Siemens, and that set; look at the reapers, mowers, and planters; think of shipbuilding, canal-building, the opening of rivers, and the extension of roads; and then go out and look over the land, see men harvesting, by irrigation, fifty bushels of wheat to an acre on the Great American Desert of the geographies of twenty years ago; see ingots of silver lying on the platforms of railroad stations, safe from robbery because they are too heavy for men to “lift” without observation : devote yourself a few hours to such examination, and you will have some faint idea of what is meant by the enlargement in wealth of this end of the Nineteenth century.
Perhaps you will then devote yourselves with some seriousness to the question which, as I hold, is the real question of our time, What will they do with it?
Why, to take one little instance, I have heard old men say that the mere easy use of friction matches saves every day for each active man and woman ten minutes of life. I think that is true. You are not old enough to remember the adventures of the boy called out of his bed in the morning to go and fetch a pan of coals from the next
neighbor's. The lad tumbles into his clothes, ploughs through the snow, finds that Mrs. Smith's luck has been better than his mother's, and the careful ashes of her hearth have preserved the vestal fire. A glowing brand is given him in his warming-pan, and he returns in triumph home. The alternative would have been to strike flint against steel, not to say against knuckles, till a reluctant spark fell on tinder equally reluctant, till this was fanned by careful breath till it would light a match which would light a candle. The journey to Mrs. Smith's was, on the whole, light in comparison. Does one trivial invention save twenty minutes a day in each household, ten minutes to the man, ten minutes to the woman? That is a saving for this nation of more than twice the amount of work which Cheops put upon his pyramid, and so much addition to the real resource of the world is made by that one invention.
What will the world do with it? What will the nation do?
Will she build pyramids like Cheops ?
Will she spend it in fashion of dress, in purple and crimson and gold lace and embroidery?
Here is her treasure. What will she do with it?
That question is the question of to-day. It is the question for every graduating class of this year.
Here is the Cadmus, who sees the host of millions of these giants, ready to work for him, rising every hour from the seed which the fathers have been sowing. They will turn against each other as they did in the old fable, if you gentlemen and ladies, and others like you, do not lead them, as in the fable Cadmus led them. Where will you lead? How will you lead? Simply and seriously, what are you for?
IV. Clearly enough, your service is not so much needed in the creation of more wealth, of more resource, but in the direction of what we have for the noblest and the best. If your education here has been what I believe it has been, this is what it has been for. That is, it has been a liberal education rather than what the Germans call a bread-andbutter education. So much the better for you and for the