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At the recent dinner of the New York Harvard Club the chief speeches were made by C. C. Beaman, president of the club; by President Eliot, William M. Evarts, Dr. Peabody and Carl Schurz.
President Eliot, though avoiding the matter directly, spoke of the predicament in which the university was placed by being compelled to give to Governor Butler the honorary title of LL. D. "We are always prosperous at Cambridge," said President Eliot. "Years differ a little in regard to numbers and in regard to pecuniary gains, but we are always growing, and always gaining; and if we did not we should still be prosperous and happy. For, after all, it is with institutions very much as it is with individual men; happiness comes from the free, natural, useful play of noble faculties; and that is what we get at Cambridge. The university, as an institution, enjoys that supreme happiness." Reference was then made to the valuable work done by the ten Harvard clubs in various cities of the country. The recent establishment of scholarships in the college by the New York Club was alluded to and its action praised. "But," continued President Eliot, "there are certain dangers about pecuniary aid. The nation is going into the business, I see, of pecuniary aid to indigent States. Now, I have learned from my slight experience in a single place of education that it is very easy, by injudicious aid, to pauperize a man, even though he be a pretty fair man on the whole. By an injudicious use of beneficial endowments you may do a fundamental injury to the character." The clerical profession was instanced as a case where excessive endowments had worked injury. "What an individual or what a community may best do for the superior education of this country is to create a high type of it. It is not news to you, gentlemen, that there is not now one single adequate American university. We know that our beloved institution has made progress, great progress, during the last fifteen years, but still she is far from the institution that is needed in this country. And whatever we can do to make her more worthy of our nation we do also for every other institution of superior education. You can see how it has been in this city with regard to the work of Harvard men in education here. When a small group of the younger men have established in this city good preparatory schools, they redound to the credit not only of Harvard, but of every other college which is fed by them. And when we establish in Cambridge a true American university, when by your loving help that shall be at last created, for our children, if not for ourselves, you will have rendered a service not only to the institution we all love, but to all other institutions which, in a common spirit and with a common hope, seek to advance the honor and the glory of our beloved country."
President Eliot was followed by Mr. Evarts. "I am confirmed," he said, "in an opinion which, as a Yale man, I early formed in regard to Harvard - that there was no college in the country whose graduates improved so much after leaving college. We have a right to be proud of Yale, since the great compliment which Lord Bacon, in a familiar passage, prophetically paid us. Lord Bacon, as you all know, says: 'Eating makes the full man, drinking the ready man, but to have been educated at Yale College, a wise man.' Now, at Cambridge, they attempt the impossible. At Yale they aim at and achieve all that is possible. The motto of Cambridge rejects the common sense of the classic maxim and pretends that omnia possumus omnes - that we can be scholars, and learned and wise and witty, and be oarsmen and runners and blacksmiths, and all that sort of thing."
Dr. Peabody followed: "There were less snobbishness and conceit in Harvard men," he claimed, "than in men from other colleges, because the poor students were never looked down upon at Harvard."
A poem written for the occasion by W. W. Story, the artist, was read, as was also a sonnet by Hon. Thedore Lyman and a travestied translation of Horace by Dr. John O. Sargent. Speeches followed by the Hon. Carl Schurz, Judge Addison Brown, Francis M. Weld, Prof. J. M. Pierce, Mayor A. A. Low, of Brooklyn, and others.
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