PRESIDENT ELIOT'S RECEPTION
Great Crowd Greeted Him in Union.--Alumni Address and Portrait Plan.
The reception to President Eliot yesterday afternoon in the Union in honor of his seventieth birthday was attended by undergraduates, the Faculty, and old graduates in such numbers as to overflow the Living Room. From 4 until 5 o'clock President Eliot received and shook hands with members of the University and with graduates. At 5 o'clock, after leading a cheer for President and Mrs. Eliot, J. A. Burgess '04 spoke briefly, expressing the gratitude of the undergraduates for all that President Eliot has done for them, and conveying the request or both graduates and undergraduates to be allowed to place a the Union a portrait of the President which should always be before Harvard men as a token of esteem and appreciation of his work for the University. The necessary funds have already been raised and the portrait will be painted by an artist and at sittings to be chosen by the President.
Mr. Thomas Nelson Perkins '91 then presented the President with a book containing an address signed by more than nine thousand three hundred Harvard graduates. The book is in two volumes, each twelve inches by fifteen inches and three inches thick, bound in crimson levant with a doublure of white levant stamped with the University seal in gold.
The address was prepared and the signatures gathered by a committee of six graduates headed by Theodore Roosevelt '08. The first volume only, containing the address and forty-seven hundred names, was presented, as signatures are still being sent to the committee and the second volume is consequently not yet complete. In presenting the volume, Mr. Perkins after telling of the inception of the plan and the manner of collecting the signatures by means of a circular letter read the address as follows: March 20, 1904.
Dear Mr. President:
As With undiminished power you pass the age of seventy, we greet you.
Thirty-five years ago you were called to be President of Harvard College. At the age thirty-five you became the head of an institution whose history was long, whose traditions were firm, and whose loading counsellors were of twice your age. With prophetic insight you anticipated the movements of thought and life: your face was toward the coming day. In your imagination the College was already the University.
You have upheld the old studies and uplifted the new. You have given a new definition to a liberal education. The University has become the expression of the highest intellectual forces of the present as well as the past.
You have held firm from the first that teacher and student alike grow strong through freedom. Working eagerly with you and for you are men whose beliefs, whether in education or in religion, differ widely from your own, yet who know that in speaking out their beliefs they are not more loyal to themselves than to you. By your faith in a young man's use of intellectual and spiritual freedom you have given new dignity to the life of the College student.
The Universities and the colleges throughout the land, though some are slow to accept you principles and adopt your methods, all feel your power and recognize with gratitude your stimulating influence and your leadership.
Through you the American people have begun to see that a University is not a cloister for the recluse, but an expression of all that is best in the Nation's thought and character. From, Harvard University men go into every part of our national life. To Harvard University come from the common schools, through paths that have been broadened by your work, the youth who have the capacity and the will to profit by her teaching Your influence is felt in the councils of the teachers and in the education of the youngest child.
As a son of New England you have sustained the traditions of her patriots and scholars. By precept and example you have taught that the first duty of every citizen is to his country. In public life you have been independent and out spoken: in private life you have stood for simplicity. In the great and bewildering conflict of economic and social questions you have with clear head and firm voice spoken for the fundamental principles of democracy and the liberties of the people.
More gracious to the sons of Harvard than your services as educator or citizen is your character. Your outward reserve has concealed a heart more tender than you have trusted yourself to reveal. Defeat of your cherished plans has disclosed your patience and magnanimity and your willingnes to bide your time.
Fearless, just, and wise, of deep and simple faith, serene in affliction, self-restrained in success, unsuspected by any man of self-interest, you command the admiration of all men and the gratitude and loyalty of the sons of Harvard.
Charles William Eliot, LL.D.
After the address, everyone joined in singing "Fair Harvard." President Eliot then expressed his appreciation in the following words:
"Mr. President, Brethren:
"I have had two very happy days. This is a good climax. As my classmate Hill said in the CRIMSON this morning, I have been a shy and reserved person,' and like a real New Englander, somewhat inexpressive, I fear. In the first twenty years of my service here I was generally conscious of speaking to men who, to say the least, did not agree with me. That was the case not only in the Faculties of the University, but also in the Board of Overseers and in such educational assemblies as I addressed. But for the last fifteen years the atmosphere has seemed to me to grow gradually different, and now yesterday, the day before and today. I have been overwhelmed with the multitudinous expressions of confidence and affection.
"If I were to pick out a single phrase or sentence among all the phrases and expressions of affection that I have received. I think I should pick out the words at the end of the inscription on the loving cup that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences gave to me, because those words express what seems to me to be the absolute ideal of American society. They said that I had done something for justice, for progress, and for truth. Are not those the real Harvard ideals,--the ideals of us all? Is there any progress, political or social, that is not founded upon justice? We all believe that. We are all going to try to live that, for ourselves and for our country. And what is the object of justice but to win more and more of truth? That short sentence sums up the Harvard idea of social work, of serviceable influence and power.
"Last night I chanced to open the door of my house to a ring. I was close to the door, and a young man handed in a note. Characteristically, I did not know him. That is, I did not recognize him, although I had dined with him the night before and had talked with him many times within the last month. But it was rather dark in the door and I did not recognize him. But when I opened the note and read a statement made on behalf of the Senior class I perceived that the messenger at the door was President Burgess.
"Now that note touched me very much. It expressed the youth's feeling at the sight of the veteran in a conflict into which the youth is going,--where the veteran has long been. That note is one of the most precious of the testimonies that I have received. And yesterday, at a family gathering, a lady handed to me a note which she said that a lady in Boston had asked her to deliver. I opened it and there was not a word in it,--not one,--only a leaf. But that leaf was laurel."