Long before the clocks of the many churches which surround the college yard had struck the hour of three a throng of professors, students and civilians began to crowd through the doors and fill up the seats of Saunder's Theatre. Many ladies also were present, among whom the thoughtful faces of our Annex maidens might easily be perceived, who had come forth from that sole remnant of antiquity which Cambridge can boast of-the Appian Way-to aid in applauding the unveiling of the new statue of John Harvard, the founder. Punctually at three o'clock the stage of the theatre began to be filled with those who were to take an active part in the unveiling ceremonies. Among these were President Eliot, Mr. Bridge, the donor of the statue, Daniel C. French, the sculptor, the Rev. Dr. Ellis, Edward Everett Hale and a number of the trustees and overseers. The exercises were begun by the Glee Club, which was stationed in the gallery over the stage, and which sang a glee written in Latin with much expression. After a short prayer had been offered up by Edward Everett Hale, the Rev. George E. Ellis stepped forward and delivered the address. After the president, officers, students and alumni of Harvard College were recognized, he began by thanking the donor of the statue for the valuable and thoughtful gift to the University. It was only just and suitable that Mr. Bridge should address the college at large, but as he had refused, his modesty must be the substitute for his speech. That he had traveled much and has twice encircled the globe was unnecessary to remind those present, as well as the fact that his ancestor was one of the first settlers in the town of Cambridge and the founder of the system of public schools which has made New England justly celebrated for educational facilities. Mr. Bridge had once before made the city of Cambridge his debtor by presenting it with a statue of John Bridge, the Puritan scholar, which stands on the Common, and now he must be thanked on behalf of the University for this last gift. The oldest document on the college reads as follows : "New England's first fruits in respect to the College of Cambridge in Massachusetts Bay," and is a long discourse on the first struggles and act of organization of our University. This document was written in 1642, and states that the first class of the college numbered nine students only. As soon as the pilgrims had roofs to shelter them and food to keep them alive, they turned their attention toward matters of education, and a bill was passed in 1636 by the General Court of Massachusetts to found a college. It was at this time, that it pleased God to stir up the heart of one John Harvard to leave the half of his fortune, (L1, 700) and his library for the purpose of founding a college. Others gave modest sums and finally the State supplied what little money was needed in addition. The college was to be at Cambridge and it was unanimously voted to call it Harvard College, after its most munificent donor. It must be understood that John Harvard, and not the Colony Treasury, gave the college to the state. Little or nothing is known of John Harvard and his parents. The date of his departure from England and arrival in this country are also unknown. Emmanuel College, Cambridge, gave him his two degrees and as his rank of pensioner gave him position, he must have been worth considerable property. He and his wife Anne became members of the church in Charlestown in 1638 and he was a member of a council held to frame some laws for the legislature. The site of his home is still known in Charlestown, although the building itself was destroyed in the firing of Charlestown during the battle of Bunker Hill. He was about thirty years of age when he died, and he left property in England. The date of his death is the 54th day of September, 1638. Although he left one-half of his estate to the college, the University only received one-half of the bequest, with the library. This library consisted of 302 volumes on various subjects and showed the taste and education of its owner, but in 1764 a large fire burnt all these volumes but one, which fortunately happened to be in the hands of some outside party. That John Harvard was an English Puritan minister is uncertain, as there is no proof of his being ordained, either on this side or on the other, but he is generally sup posed to be a non-conformed clergyman. Nearly 100 scholars from Oxford and Cambridge came over about the same time with him to New England, 70 of whom were from Cambridge and about a score of these from Emanuel College. While 30 years later the classes at Harvard were going on with their studies, Sir William Berkley wrote to England that he thanked God that there was no school or printing or publishing in Carolina, as such things only advanced evil and injured the people's loyalty. This shows the difference of opinion as to education in the Colonies.
It is true that the original colonists were narrow, bigoted, and possessed of many unlovely traits of character, but these traits are always possessed by those who are working in earnest and striving for enlightenment in education and morals. The chief intent of Harvard College was to provide ministers for the Colonists, but it was soon found that college-bred men were eminently fitted for high offices in both the government of the state and in commercial spheres of life. Among the latter may be ranked the governors, Joseph Dudley, Stoughton and Saltonsdall. John Harvard numbered among his friends John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, fellows and teachers in Emmanuel College, England, also Sims, who lived latterly in Charlestown. There is no portrait or description of John Harvard known to be in existence, but the present statue, the exquisite model in bronze, is an ideal image. But let it be understood that the statue, only by influencing the mind, eye and thoughts serves to call up an ideal representation of the man. It is indeed true that an ideal model is a fit one to take the place of the unattainable statue or portrait ; to flatter is not always to falsify. Besides the Latin "simulacha" does not always distinguish between real and ideal, true and false images. Were all the busts and statues in Rome, Naples and Florence portraits from life? Art may sometimes fail to represent truly even those great men whose portraits and descriptions we have. Wendell Phillips warned his descendants not to be beguiled by Boston statues. If John Winthrop could come back and see the mass of metal representing himself on Scollay Square, what would he think? Remember however, that the ideal can never transcend the real. As far as man's high gifts can supply the want of a true model, the sculptor has so far moulded the bronze figure of John Harvard. It shows us a young scholar in the academic garb of his time, gently touched by the sickness which was undermining his miniature life. He rests his hand on the open tome between his knees, and gazes for a moment into the future, so dim, so uncertain, yet so full of promise, of promise which has been more than realized. At the close of the address, after Dr. Ellis was long and loudly applauded, the Glee Club sang another Latin glee and president Eliot arose to thank the donor and receive the statue in the name of the University in a terse speech. Then all present went to the unveiling proper of the statue. When this was done three cheers apiece were given for John Harvard, Mr. Bridge and Mr. French, the sculptor, after which the ceremonies were considered over and the crowd wended its way homeward.