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Francis Bowen.

Minutes Regarding Professor Bowen, Voted by the Faculty of Harvard College, Jan. 28, 1890.


"In recording the close of the long life of Francis Bowen, Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity, Emeritus, the faculty of Harvard college desire also to record their sense of the large services rendered by him to the university and the country.

For fifty years he was connected with the college: for thirty-six years he was Alford professor. The number of his pupils was, therefore, exceptionally large. The vivid impression made upon them by his fidelity, learning, and devoutness, was heightened by his attenuated frame, the marked individuality of his character, his definite opinions and his positive utterance. On all who studied under him, he exercised a weighty influence. Whether they agreed with him or dissented, they soon shared his belief, that the subject taught connected itself with their higher interests. Urged on as they were by his stringent demands, his students felt his kindness, and enjoyed his lucid and ingenious speech. In him were combined the enthusiasm which rouses the sense of duty which ennobles, the wit which brightens, and the oddity which endears.

Through his many writings, Professor Bowen extended his influence beyond his class room, and brought additional credit to himself and the university. His literary style, shaped by early and long continued practice, attained a remarkable vigor of direct and effective exposition. The variety of the topics which he treated-logic, ethics, metaphysics, the history of Philosophy, the history of the United States, political economy, theology, The Bible, Latin, poetry, mathematics-attests his belief in the unity of knowledge and in the value of all its parts for personal culture. He was a humanist, not a specialist. The nature of man was his central interest, but he prized all studies as illuminating this, and as showing the relation of finite man to an infinite personality.

The members of this Board knew Professor Bowen as a man of strong convictions and of eager temper, sometimes hasty of word in controversy, but as one who kept an abiding sense of justice. He habitually spoke his inmost thought. He could calmly defend an unpopular cause and he never hesitated to encounter the criticism that attends independent action."

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