Page images


[ocr errors]

REDERICK WILLIAM FARRAR, a distinguished English church dig.

of an Anglican clergyman, was born in Bombay, India, August 7, 1831. He was educated at King William's Col. lege, Isle of Man, King's College, London, and Trinity College, Cambridge University, ordained deacon in the English church in 1854 and advanced to the priesthood in 1857. He was an assistant master at Harrow, 1855-71, and headmaster of Marlborough College, 1871-76. In the latter year he was appointed canon in Westminster Abbey and rector of St. Margaret's Church, and archdeacon of Westminster in 1883, becoming dean of Canterbury in 1895. He has several times been select preacher at each of the universities, delivering the Hulsean lectures at Cambridge in 1870, and the Bampton lectures at Oxford in 1885. From 1869 to 1873 he was honorary chaplain to the Queen and subsequently one of her chaplains-in-ordinary. He has taken an active part in the cause of temperance and other reforms, but is especially noted for his liberal utterances on the subject of eternal punishment. His religious works, which have been widely popular in England and America and have in some cases been translated into a number of languages, include Seekers After God” (1869); “ The Witnesses of History to Christ” (1871); “In the Days of Thy Youth" (1877); The Life of Christ," a work which has had a wide reading (1874); “Life of St. Paul ” (1879); * Early Days of Christianity” (1882); “ Eternal Hope” (1880); Darkness and Dawn," “ The Lord's Prayer,' “ Life of Christ in Art,"

The Voice of Sinai, " " The Young Man, Master of Himself (1897); Bible, Its Meaning and Supremacy (1897); The Herods (1897); Life of Lives" (1899); “ Texts Explained " (1899). Farrar has also written three popular books for boys, “ Eric" (1858); "Julian Home ” (1859); "St. Winifred's, or the World of School” (1863). Still other works by him are “ The Origin of Language (1860); Chapters on Language (1865); “ Greek Syntax " (1866);

“ Families of Speech (1870); “ Language and Languages (1878); “ Temperance Reform" (1899).

[ocr errors]

• The " The


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[The following eloquent address was delivered by Archdeacon Farrar at the impressive memorial service, held in Westminster Abbey August 4, 1885, as an expression of England's sympathy for the loss sustained by the United States in the death of General Grant.)


IGHT years have not passed since the Dean of West

minster, whom Americans so much loved and

honored, was walking round this Abbey with General Grant and explaining to him its wealth of great memorials. Neither of them had attained the allotted span of human life, and for both we might have hoped that many years would elapse before they went down to the grave full of years and honors. But this is already the fourth summer since the Dean “ fell on sleep,” and to-day we are assembled for the obsequies of the great soldier whose sun has set while it yet was day, and at whose funeral service in America tens of thousands are assembled at this moment to mourn with his weeping family and friends.

Life at the best is but as a vapor that passeth away.

The glories of our birth and state

Are shadows, not substantial things."

When death comes, what nobler epitaph can any man have than this — that “having served his generation, by the will of God he fell on sleep!'

Little can the living do for the dead. The voices of praise cannot delight the closed ear, nor the violence of censure vex it. I would desire to speak simply and directly, and, if with generous appreciation, yet with no idle flattery, of him whose death has made a nation mourn. His private life, the faults and failings of his character, whatever they may have been, belong in no sense to the world. We touch only on his public actions and services - the record of his strength, his magnanimity, his self-control, his generous deeds.

His life falls into four marked divisions, of which each has its own lesson for us. He touched on them himself in part when he said, “ Bury me either at West Point, where I was trained as a youth; or in Illinois, which gave me my first commission; or at New York, which sympathized with me in my misfortunes.”

His wish has been respected, and on the bluff overlooking the Hudson his monument will stand to recall to the memory of future generations those dark pages of a nation's history which he did so much to close. First came the long early years of growth and training, of poverty and obscurity, of struggle and self-denial. Poor and humbly born, he had to make his own way in the world. God's unseen providence, which men nickname chance, directed his boyhood. A cadetship was given him at the military academy at West Point, and after a brief period of service in the Mexican war, in which he was three times mentioned in despatches, seeing no opening for a soldier in what seemed likely to be days of unbroken peace, he settled down to humble trades in provincial districts. Citizens of St. Louis still remember the rough backwoodsman who sold cord-wood from door to door. He afterward entered the leather trade in the obscure town of Galena.

Men who knew him in those days have said that if any one had predicted that the silent, unprosperous, unambitious man, whose chief aim was to get a plank road from his shop to the railway depot, would become twice President of the United States and one of the foremost men of his day, the prophecy would have seemed extravagantly ridiculous.

But such careers are the glory of the American continent. They show that the people have a sovereign insight into intrinsic force. If Rome told with pride how her dictators came from the plough-tail, America too may record the answer of the President, who, on being asked what would be his coat of arms, answered, proudly mindful of his early struggles, “ A pair of shirt sleeves.”

The answer showed a noble sense of the dignity of labor, a noble superiority to the vanities of feudalism, a strong conviction that men are to be honored simply as men, not for the prizes of accident and birth. You have of late years had two martyr Presidents. Both were sons of the people. One was the homely man who at the age of seven was a farm-lad, at nineteen a rail-splitter, at twenty a boatman on the Mississippi, and who in manhood proved to be one of the strongest, most honest, and most God-fearing of modern rulers. The other grew up from a shoeless child in a log hut on the prairies, round which the wolves howled in the winter snow, to be a humble teacher in Hiram Institute. With these Presidents America need not blush to name also the leather-seller of Galena.

Every true man derives his patent of nobleness direct from God. Did not God choose David from the sheepfolds to make him ruler of his people Israel? Was not the “Lord of life and all the worlds” for thirty years a carpenter at Nazareth? Do not such careers illustrate the prophecy of Solomon, “Seest thou the man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings.” When Abraham Lincoln sat, book in hand, day after day, under the tree, moving round it as the shadow moved, absorbed in mastering his task; when James Garfield rang the bell at Hiram Institute, day after day, on the very stroke of the hour, and swept the schoolroom as faithfully as he mastered the Greek lesson; when Ulysses Grant, sent with his team to meet some men who were to load the cart with logs, and finding no men there, loaded the cart with his own boy strength — they showed in conscientious duty and thoroughness the qualities which were to raise them to rule the destinies of men.

But the youth was not destined to die in that deep valley of obscurity and toil in which it is the lot — perhaps the happy lot — of many of us to spend our little lives. The hour came; the man was needed.

In 1861 there broke out the most terrible war of modern days. Grant received a commission as colonel of volunteers, and in four years the struggling toiler had risen to the chief command of a vaster army than has ever been handled by any mortal man. Who could have imagined that four years could make that stupendous difference? But it is often so. The great men needed for some tremendous crisis have often stepped as it were through a door in the wall which no one had noticed, and unannounced, unheralded, without prestige, have made their way silently and single-handed to the front.

And there was no luck in it. He rose, it has been said, by the upward gravitation of natural fitness. It was the work of inflexible faithfulness, of indomitable resolution, of sleepless energy, of iron purpose, of persistent tenacity. In battle after battle, in siege after siege, whatever Grant had to do he did it with his might. He undertook, as General Sherman said, what no one else would have adventured, till his very soldiers began to reflect some of his own indomitable determination. With a patience which nothing could tire, with a firmness which no obstacle could daunt, with a military genius which embraced the vastest plans, yet attended to the smallest minutiæ, he defeated one after another every great general of the Confederates except General Stonewall Jackson.

Grant had not only to defeat armies, but to "annihilate resources” — to leave no choice but destruction or submission. He saw that the brief ravage of the hurricane is infinitely less ruinous than the interminable malignity of the pestilence, and that in that colossal struggle victory swift, decisive, overwhelming, at all costs — was the truest mercy. In silence, in determination, in clearness of insight, he was

« PreviousContinue »