To Commemorate the
50th Anniversary of the Founding of
Oberlin Colony and
PRELUDE TO THE JUBILEE
REMARKS OF PROF. JUDSON SMITH, ON THE 19TH OF APRIL
To-day we begin to rehearse the story of Oberlin. Fifty years ago to-day this story began to be made, and the materials already accumulated are abundant and varied and rich. We who are personally concerned may properly be proud of the record we retrace, and we may fairly ask the more general public to consider the memorial which we erect.
It is in no boastful spirit, with no purpose of ostentation, that we recite the history of Oberlin and make mention of her deeds. It is only what reason requires, what a due regard to the facts in the case demands. We are moved to these reminiscences by the respect due to the heroic men and women who laid the foundations here in much labor and love, and by a reverent regard of the Divine Presence that both inspired and directed the beginning and through a continuous course of fifty years, has been the strength of the College and town. To record and dwell on these things must quicken gratitude and devotion, must awaken a new sense of the wisdom and unselfish zeal of the fathers, must stir a deeper sense of responsibility in all who now conduct this work, must make our inheritance seem vastly greater and more precious than before. For pride and vain glory and narrow conceit, there would be neither occasion nor room.
It is but the beginnings of the story that can he told. It is no complete and finished story we trace; it is no funeral oration we propose to utter. It is simply the prelude to something much greater and broader and richer than all that we yet have seen. Oberlin has only begun to render the service to the world of which she is capable, for which she was built. Fifty years is a large section of one human life; it is but an honor in the early dawn of a College's great day. And we confidently forecast for our College a long and glorious future, of still increasing fruits of culture and peace to her pupils and to the nations. Her mission, as it lay in the hearts and thoughts of her founders, as it still stretches before Our eyes, will not be accomplished until knowledge and the arts of life and righteousness shall fill the nations and brood over the world. What we record, the fair pages of history we begin to peruse, the grand achievements of these fifty years, are the pledge and promise of the fruits she shall yield through all coming generations .
No contrast could be greater than that which lies between the solitary family entering the unbroken forest here, half a century since, and the six hundred families , the thousand students, the busy shops, the shaded streets and beautiful homes of this prosperous town to-day. It must have required great faith and devotion to have faced the uncertain an rugged future of that infant enterprise. It has been faithful and grand work which has brought this vigorous, fruitful plant out of that tough and untouched soil. But the Secret is an open one. The colonists and leaders were of the best New England stock, and they brought the best results of 200 years of life in New England to this enterprise. It was a goodly stock to transplant, and the transplantation was successful and complete. The culture and piety of New England came to this new centre, to take new root and fill the new West with the best civilization the world had produced. It was but a repetition of what Roman Monks did for heathen and barbarous England, of what English Monks did for heathen and barbarous Germany, what the Pilgrim Fathers did for this New World. The beginning was weak, the issues are grand.
"0, small beginnings, ye are great and strong,
Based on a faithful heart and tireless brain. -
Ye build the future fair, ye conquer wrung, Ye earn the crown and wear it not in vain."
It is ours, as the stirring scenes of those early days are reviewed, as the deeds and spirit of the fathers are rehearsed, to dedicate ourselves afresh to the work they so grandly began, from their examples to take renewed devotion to the great aim of the Christian College, the wider spread of learning and religion in the earth, and to strengthen our hold on God whose presence inspired the founders, sustained the fathers, and is still the glory and strength of all our work.
BY PROF. W. G. BALLANTINE
First Church, Friday Evening, June 29th
We begin to-night to celebrate the completion of the first fifty years of the life of Oberlin Village and College.
Our first word is a word of welcome. For years we whose privilege it is to stay in the old homestead have anticipated this happy reunion and have prepared for it as best we could. We welcome all- fathers, brethren and friends.
We welcome the survivors of the band whose sturdy arms felled here the giant beeches and oaks of the primeval forest and built Christian homes where the bear had reared her cubs.
We welcome old teachers who brought the choicest culture of New England and planted it among the stumps of the clearing. We welcome all the venerable men and women who shared in those early labors and privations and victories- whose prayers and tears, and devotion to truth and to humanity and to God, made Oberlin.
We welcome the theologians of "Slab Hall," the "felons" of the Cleveland Jail, the soldiers of "Company C," and of all the loyal companies that followed. We welcome the missionaries of Jamaica and of Africa, of our own Western Wilds and Southern States.
And what shall I more say? for time would fail me to enumerate all the Gideons and Baraks who through faith have subdued kingdoms and wrought righteousness.
Welcome to the Friends of Oberlin whose counsels and prayers and gifts have sustained the work here, and who have blessed thousands unknown to you by face or name.
Welcome to every citizen and student of early or of later years, to every friend of education, to every believer in the dignity and high calling of woman, to every believer in the brotherhood of man, to every laborer for political reform, to every foe of whiskey-drinking and drunkard-making.
Welcome to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity!
Strangers may ask why the affections of so many thousands turn to this little spot with a strength so much beyond that which commonly springs from the memory of school-days or even of an early home. Here is a love like that which the Jews of old felt for Jerusalem. The answer is simple. The name Oberlin means more than a school and more than a home. It stands for an effort to hasten the coming of the kingdom of Christ upon the earth. This spot was chosen that from it a most living and potent influence might go forth upon the nation, the church, the school, the family, the individual-the influence of the gospel of Christ.
The foresight and breadth of view which characterized the founders, their practical wisdom and unselfish devotion, were remarkable. But their wisdom appears most conspicuously in this: that they made no single point of Christian life or work or belief fundamental. The purpose of this village and college was and is as wide as that of the gospel. Upon so broad a foundation alone could so grand, so complex, and so fruitful a result have arisen. Whatever has promised good to men Oberlin has been ready to do. Thus within her first two years she threw open her hospitality to the fleeing slaves at her doors; thus within the last two, she has reached round the globe to give the bread of life to thirty millions of the Antipodes.
Oberlin was founded not on the pattern of any older place, but to meet the immediate wants of the church and of the world as they might appear. Hence a marvelous adaptability.
It has appeared inexplicable to some that the supposed staunch fanatics of the underground rail road should have founded a great school of classical music. But such critics forget that it was the sweet psalmist and harper of Israel who slew the lion and the bear and smote the Philistine of Gath. Samson was not the man after God's own heart, but David.
At this meeting of theological alumni we may congratulate ourselves, brethren, upon the simple, natural, free and yet stable, theological position, which this seminary holds. No investigator of truth here is harassed by the apprehension of possible confessional or legal responsibilities. No painful days or nights are spent here in fixing the precise lines of human creeds. The fathers as they pass away commit the work to those whom they believe faithful men, trusting that the Holy Spirit will guide the church when they are gone. And these men receive it in deep humility, and with a profound sense of their responsibility to the Great Head of the Church. No pledge of yesterday binds the Oberlin of to-day. Yet this freedom does not mean a readiness to doubt the doctrines upon which the church has stood for eighteen centuries . The most Baconian scientist feels sure that Plymouth Rock cannot be proved to be a sand heap. And so we, while free as air to accept any new light that may come, have no expectation of evidence to prove that the histories of the Old Testament are cunningly devised fables, or that it will be well with the wicked in the world to come.
But highly as we must applaud the wisdom and modesty of the founders of this village and this institution, the chief praise belongs not to them. No human power or prudence could have selected and brought together into the enterprise so large a number of men and women pre-eminent in natural endowments and in Christian graces. No human contrivance could have produced the harmonious co-working of so many events and circumstances. In the sight of what has been accomplished we must reverently uncover our heads and exclaim, "What hath God wrought!" We have come together not to praise Oberlin, but to thank God.
A shade of sadness must fall upon the brightness of all earthly reunions. Many of those whom we should most delight to see and to honor have passed to their rest. The blessed tradition of their piety remains with the place and meets the incoming students like a benediction. It will be good for us to recall their names and recount their virtues.
But we are gathered not not only to look back ward, but also to look forward. We have not gathered to close up anything. Nothing ends this year but a half century of time. The wants of the Mississippi valley are as great as they were fifty years ago, and the wants of the great new West have been added. Africa and Asia cry louder than ever, "Come over and help us." Political and social and educational and religious questions affecting the welfare of millions demand for their settlement Christian statesmanship and Christian science, and a scientific and statesmanlike Christianity.
We invite you, dear friends, to talk over the present and future work of Oberlin. We believe it to be a work which no Institution can do with out the cordial and unflagging support of a vast, a united, a prayerful, and a liberal constituency.
Once more, fathers and brethren, welcome.
THE REVIVAL WAVE OF FIFTY YEARS AGO
BY PRESIDENT FAIRCHILD
The young men and women that were gathered at Oberlin, at the first opening of the school, had been strongly impressed by the great revival movement of the time. They were moved to the pursuit of a higher education, not merely by the ordinary motives which address all young people, but by an earnest purpose to devote their lives to the promotion of religion in the land as preachers and teachers and Christian workers in the various walks of life. Very few of them comparatively were sent by their parents to acquire an education. They came self-moved, or rather moved by the spirit of Christian enterprise which was abroad In the land.
It was essentially the same impulse that inspired the founders of Oberlin and the early colonists to come into the primeval forest and lay the foundations of the town and the school. It was not merely the common and laudable idea of settling the new country, of establishing a town and a college that should be a center of educational influences for Northern Ohio. This would have been a proper and worthy aim. But the purpose of these earnest men was to establish an advanced post of Christian effort and influence, to extend the gospel to the regions beyond.
This idea or impulse did not characterize simply those who gathered here. It was the spirit of the time. A great quickening of religious zeal and activity had spread over the land. There was a prevailing impression that great things were to be looked for, in that day and generation, in the advancement of the kingdom of Christ. It was not a rare thing in church conferences and prayer meetings to hear the thought expressed that the dawn of the millennium was just upon us, and that some then living would perhaps be permitted to behold its opening glory.
Those who were thus impressed were not in general inclined to fall back upon the divine sovereignty which determines times and seasons, but were ready to accept their share of responsibility. The revival influence had been extended from town to town through Northern Ohio, not merely or chiefly by prominent preachers or evangelists going from place to place, although work of this kind was done. But two or three neighboring churches would come together and hold meetings a part of the day, and send out visitors, two and two, through all the streets and neighborhoods for religious conversation and prayer in every family, and to hold neighborhood meetings when evening came.
I was myself but a child at that time, but I recall the fact that my father, a farmer, with a neighbor, a farmer or, some times went twelve or fifteen or even twenty miles to spend a day or two, or perhaps a Sabbath in a neighborhood not favored with religious privileges.
The religious awakening seemed to be almost as spontaneous as on the day of Pentecost, and the people were impressed as by a supernatural influence. Oberlin was a product of this religious movement.
THE OBERLIN OF TODAY
BY AN ALUMNUS
What is Oberlin to the boy or girl who comes there for an education in 1883? Well, old alumnus, as you are here be fore the crowd, let us step around and see for ourselves.
Externally things are certainly improved. You were here when the Ladies' Hall was completed in '65; Council Hall was added in '71; and there is the Soldiers' Monument. We call the Campus "the Park," now, and it begins to look finely. I have counted about fifty good-sized elms in it. The paved street from the depot and the neat walks and the well kept Lawns have made such changes that "Oberlin mud" hardly sustains its old reputation. People don't fling mud at us so much as they once did, either. This clay soil is said to be the cause of our surprising good health here. Perhaps the mud they used to throw at us had a wholesome effect morally. Perhaps it did. But I believe we do as well without it. Oberlin has as good a mural atmosphere as ever. Of course, with greater advantages, we ought to improve. Last year the proportion of Christian students was supposed to be greater than ever before, and we have the largest College Y. M. C. A. in the world. The old standbys are passing away, but the best people in the country are moving in to educate their families and help perpetuate the old traditions. Read Brand's Sermons from a College Pulpit, if you want to know what kind of preaching we have here.
But I want to show you the intellectual work of Oberlin at the present time. No, the expenses are not much greater in proportion than they were when you were here. You paid $1.50 for board and room and received six cents an hour for work. Your son pays $3.00 a week and earns fifteen cents an hour. The term bill is $10.00 which a little more than covers the actual expenses of care of buildings, and grounds, fuel, office work, etc., so that tuition is virtually free. The average expense for the four years with the class of '81, was $990.00, a quarter of the class earning their own way. The country is richer, and parents are able to help their children more, but a large majority help themselves more or less, and the Socratic sentiment, Ergon d' onden oneidox, work is no disgrace, will always prevail here.
Did you notice the requirements for admission to College, on the last page of the JUBILEE NOTES? Then you saw that we have not fallen behind in the standard of scholarship. And they are not paper requirements A considerable percent of applicants for admission are put in the Senior Preparatory Class, and College students are conditioned and put back every term. And our Professors are remarkable for their zeal as teachers. There isn't a newfangled notion on education that is not discussed here, and the best of it put in practice. Members of the Faculty keep up a Greek Club, and a Latin Club. and there is a Scientific Club that only lacks the name.
It will do you good to go through Council Hall and see the men and methods.
There is Professor Ballantine, a real Oberlin man who had the misfortune to graduate at Marietta and Union, sending his classes to the board with their English Bibles to write in Hebrew any verse he may call for. There is Professor G. F. Wright, author of Studies in Science and Religion, Logic of Christian Evidences, etc., lecturing on Textual Criticism. In the next room is Professor Judson Smith, the man Amherst and Andover have tried so hard to get, characterizing, with his nervous energy, old Hildebrand, or summing up the Council of Chalcedon. Yes, Professor Mead's successor is the Currier of the Monday Club Sermons. He is pouring all his rich experience and wide observations into his lectures on Pastoral Theology and Homiletics. And President Fairchild, candid, clear, full-orbed: isn't he the ideal man for Systematic Theology? If you should come at the right time you could see Chamberlain's drill in Elocution, or hear some successful pastor or distinguished specialist from abroad, talk to the Theologues.
In visiting the College let us begin with Society Hall. The Literary Societies are more prosperous than ever-no secret cliques- snake in the grass, or perhaps snake in the glass to interfere with them. Did you belong to Phi Kappa or Phi Delta? The three societies occupy one room on successive evenings. The rest of the space up-stairs is devoted to the College Library- shamefully crowded-the last shelf full three years ago- 16000 volumes well selected. Matson of '61 gives his whole time to the library, and the humblest student in the Institution has the benefit of his judgment and experience in looking up any subject. Now you may hear a class in German conversation, conducted by Professor Newton, or a division of the Senior Preps., in Virgil, reciting to Tutor Hall. Or, would you prefer to visit the Greek room? The walls are decked with busts of Grecian gods and orators, and we shall find the Seniors reading Plato at sight, or the Sophomores struggling with the tragedians. "Two plays a term, or three, with omissions," the Catalogue requires.
In French Hall we shall find Professor Churchill, genial as ever-no, be never thought of accepting that call-teaching Free Hand Drawing; or he may be in the Park showing the adjustments of the new surveying instruments. Professor Shurtleff (Yes, General Shurtleff, the same,) is telling a division of Sophomores the latest discoveries in Rome. The Latin course embraces some new authors - Pliny's Letters, Plautus, Juvenal, and Lucretius. Professor Ellis is lecturing to the Seniors upon the Sensibilities - supposed to he a peculiarly appropriate topic at that stage of the course -or patiently elucidating the principles of Political Economy. He is turning gray. Yes, Metaphysics is still the most absorbing study in the course. We have no time to-day for a look at Miss Wyett's classes in Drawing and Painting, or at Principal White's alert class in Homer's Iliad. A graduate of a German University . who visited here a few weeks ago, said in a public address that the work of our Senior Preparatory and Freshman classes in Greek come the nearest the work in the German Gymnasia of any thing he had seen in this country.
In the Old Laboratory, Mrs. Johnston is illustrating Guizot from her extensive travels, to the delight of the Fourth Years; or Miss Nertleton is teaching United States History.
But there is the bell for Thursday Lecture, and we have not nearly completed our rounds. Have you seen the Chapel since the seats were arranged in an amphitheater? Well, it is a delightful room. And such music! There is not any other place in the world where you can hear a thousand voices carrying all the parts every evening. Professor Rice has made this Conservatory an immense affair. There are three hundred students every year, who come for music alone. The chapel seats nearly a thousand, and frequently overflows. There were 1493 students here during the last year, and the higher classes are larger than ever before -202 in the Classical course, 164 in the Literary. The Classical Preparatory School is well manned, and is the largest fitting-school in the country. It is worth something to be associated with such a company of young people. They come from fifty-three states and countries. There are sixteen Colleges in the Ohio Association, and Oberlin actually brings more students from outside into the State than the other fifteen put together. The colored students once constituted eight per cent. of the whole, but recently only about five per cent. Some of them n,re among the brightest. You call that a fine-looking body of students. They are the best thing we have to show in Oberlin. A large proportion are teachers; nearly all are serious young men and women, bent upon securing the best education, and fully in sympathy with the spirit of the place.
What will the Thursday lecture be about? Something important, no doubt. These lectures are conducted for the general good of being, and embrace every subject of interest to mankind. We frequently have distinguished men from abroad, like Bronson Alcott, Secretary Strong, Secretary Hayden, Prof. Orton, Abbott of the Christian Union, Wm. M. Taylor, etc.; but really depend upon the Faculty. We have heard about the Glacial Period, Westminster Abbey, Daniel. Webster, Spelling Reform, Methods of Study, Probation, Preservation of the Classics, Electricity by Professor Elisha Gray, and I can't tell what else, and every lecture is fit for presentation any- where. Every Oberlin professor has to be able to speak in public. In fact, all but two professors, as well as most of the tutors, are Seminary graduates.
Now, you thought Oberlin was getting rich: you begin to see that while the resources are much greater than they once were, the work accomplished is also much greater. As the President said in his last report: "It would not be extravagant to say that we are trying to do the work, in quantity and quality, of a first-class university." But whatever is done, is done honestly. We don't call ourselves a university, nor do we adopt university methods with college students. There is a good range of electives, but a man can't elect to omit the most important studies in the course.
Certainly, I believe in Oberlin. I went through here myself, and I have attended and studied other schools carefully, east and west, and I believe that Oberlin has the best combination of advantages of any. But you have not vet seen her scientific departments at all. The laboratories where each student performs his own experiments, manages his own microscope , and really studies the carefully arranged cabinets, we will visit to-morrow.
BY HON. JAMES MONROE, '46
In April, 1861, I was serving in the Ohio Senate. General Cox and General Garfield, then untitled men, were members of the same body. Sumter had been fired upon and surrendered to the rebels. The nation was roused. President Lincoln had called for seventy-five thousand volunteers. My friends and myself were doing what we could to aid our excellent Chief Executive, Governor Dennison, in his efforts to place Ohio in the front rank of the patriotic States that were responding to the call. In the meantime, enlistments had promptly commenced in the southern part of the State. Several towns in that quarter had made a tender of well equipped companies to the Government. But we heard nothing from the Western Reserve. It was indeed true that but few days had elapsed; but in that period of excitement even one day seemed like a long time. Our conservative colleagues from Southern Ohio taunted us with the backwardness of our own region in volunteering: "You Abolitionists," they said, "have brought this war upon us by your extreme measures and will you now refuse to fight?" In these rather grim pleasantries, Oberlin, it may be safely assumed, did not fail to have its full share. Being a little sensitive for the good name of our constituencies, we decided that on Saturday, April 20th, we would visit our respective Counties and see what the people were doing. We were told that we should find them all too busy milking to prepare for war.
When I reached Oberlin, Saturday afternoon, I found that One patriotic meeting had al ready been held, the even- lug previous, at which earnest addresses had been delivered. An adjournment had been made to the following evening. There had been some delay in enlisting among our young men, but only such as was necessary to obtain information how to proceed, and to get advices from their parents or guardians at their homes. The last was only a duty in the case of College; students, many of whom were minors. Saturday evening we hail a large meeting in the First Church. I had brought with me some blank forms for enlistment, and I made such explanations as seemed to be required. There was no need of urgency . When it was announced that the papers were ready for signatures, young men were seen coming rapidly forward from all parts of the house and the pulpit was soon crowded. A more eloquent sermon was never preached from it. There were many tears upon the faces of spectators, but none upon those of the young men. Forty-nine names were obtained that evening. The next day, which was the Sabbath, young men came all day, at intervals, to join the growing company. I do not think it ever occurred to them or myself, that there could be anything incongruous between the spirit by which they were animated and the devotional feeling suitable for the day. The roll of names was much increased by Sunday evening, and at a meeting held in the College Chapel early on Monday morning, was further enlarged until it included a full company of one hundred men, all College students.
I may add incidentally, that at this Monday morning meeting, after Company C was completed, a desire was expressed by citizens of the town to commence the enlistment of a company from their own number, This was accordingly done and before night great progress had been made; so that when I returned to Columbus on Tuesday I was able to report that in Oberlin alone one full company was already organized and another was well under way, besides what was done in other places in my district. General Garfield and General Cox brought similar intelligence from their localities. Cleveland also had been doing its duty with enthusiasm; and after this we heard nothing more of the backwardness of the Reserve. No portion of the State did any better. The impression which was made upon my mind by the young men who enlisted in Company C is very vivid to this day. They had all been my pupils and I loved them. I am not at liberty to doubt that I did right to encourage them to enlist, and yet the feelings which were strongest in me when I saw them give themselves to their country, were those which I took most pains not to express. I remember their handsome young faces as they came to subscribe their names- "Such splendid purpose in their eyes"- their cheeks flushed with the fine fever of their high resolve. There was no levity among them. They were thoughtful but cheerful. How gentle, ingenuous and manly they appeared! Not a word was said about pay or promotion. The thought commonly expressed was that strong young men could not afford to stay at home and permit a government which was worth so much to its own people and to the world, to be destroyed. They were a Christian company and the motive which governed them was that of unselfish devotion to duty.
The company was mustered into the service, April 30 at Camp Taylor, in Cleveland. Early in May it was ordered to report at Camp Dennison in the Southern part of the State and stopped a night at Columbus on the way. In that city the men h ad some difficulty about accommodations. I found sleeping places for a portion of them in the Senate Chamber. The rest I escorted to the basement of the Capitol which the appliances for heating the building had made at least warm and dry. I remember the cheerfulness with which they called to each other from different parts of this huge vault, and wrapping their blankets about them and using their knapsacks for pillows, laid, down upon the cemented floors or upon the brick furnaces for their night's sleep.
Toward the close of May I visited them at Camp Dennison, taking with me supplies, letters and messages from Oberlin. I found them it of only practicing the manual of arms, but holding weekly prayer-meetings in the street between their barracks and morning and evening worship in each of the messes into which the comp any was divided. This practice of family worship was maintained to the end of the war. The company expressed some desire to have, General Cox, who was in command of Camp Dennison, and myself address them. We all repaired to a grassy hillside near the camp and there this meeting, so affecting to me and I presume to others, was held. I suppose that General Cox and myself presented some reasons for their entering the three years service. They did not, however, require much exhortation and, within a few days, I heard that a full company had volunteered for the desired period.
From this time, their movements became a portion of the history of the war. Leaving out of the account skirmishes and slight engagements, they bore a part on at least a dozen well-known battle-fields. On some of these, they were, placed in the most exposed situations and suffered terribly. At Cross Lanes, after they had maintained an unequal contest, upon a little, eminence on which they had formed, until all the companies about them had fled, several of their number were, left severely wounded upon the field, twenty-nine, including their Captain and five other officers, were taken prisoners and the rest of the company were temporarily dispersed. The company was soon again in the field and fought bravely and with heavy loss at Winchester and Fort Republic. From the severe fighting at Cedar Mountain only four of them escaped unhurt. At Ringgold, Colonel Creighton shouted to their regiment, "Boys, we are, ordered to take that hill. I want to see you walk right up it." They did so and took it. Fourteen of the twenty men of Company C was-lie were in this action, were struck down, six killed and eight wounded. When they were mustered Out of the service in 1864, thirty-one of their number bud lost their lives by battle, seven by diseases, one by drowning, and the great majority of all had been wounded. So far as I know they all did themselves credit throughout the service and most of them left it with an established reputation for steady and even obstinate valor. The spirit with which they fought was well expressed by Kingsbury in his remark to a comrade just be fore the battle of Port Republic where a shell passed through his body, "If I die,," he said, "tell my friends I died a soldier and a Christian." Several members of Company C, transferred, during the war, to other regiments, were promoted to the rank of Captain, Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel. Among these were Sheldon, Cheney, Andrews, Cross, Grabill and Cooper. Prof. Shurtleff, who was made Captain of Company C at its organization, after his exchange as a prisoner of war was effected, reentered the service as an officer in the Staff of General Wilcox, in which capacity he fought at Fredericksburg. Subsequently, commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel, he was engaged in the series of battles before Petersburg. For gallantry in the charge upon New Market, where he was wounded in the hand and thigh, he was promoted to the the rank of Colonel. Near the close of the war he was nominated and con firmed as Brevet Brigadier General. Col. Marvin, of Akron, himself a very competent officer, once said to me, "General Shurtleff was the best officer of his grade that I ever knew."
The spirit with which the members of Company C gave their lives for the country, is precious. Oberlin has produced nothing better. The world has produced nothing better. It was the very spirit of Christian heroism of the noblest type. They did their work in the same temper of mind with which Paul said, "Neither count I my life, dear unto me"; with which Huss, although threatened with the stake, refused to re- tract; with which Latimer called out to his comrade in suffering, "Play the man, Master Ridley." - The spirit of consecration to the service, of God in its varied manifestations is always the same. It is precious, immutable, imperishable. We should recall the example of our young heroes with affectionate admiration, with noble emulation, but not with any feeling of humiliation or discouragement. The opportunities for Christian self-denial will never be wanting, nor, I trust, will the hearts for it be wanting. We are still living in heroic times. If some new danger should threaten the life of the country to-day, there would still be found in Oberlin to-morrow, a hundred young men who would offer their lives to preserve it.
BY AN ALUMNUS
He would be a bold man, trusted by few but himself, who should claim that he comprehended in its completeness the Oberlin of to-day. What shall we say of the man who proposes to forecast her future?
A school of learning is the most enduring of human institutions, lasting, as in Egypt and Greece, long after the political organizations have ceased to hold their first rank. Like every enduring growth, its maturity comes late, and fifty years is too brief a time to represent fairly the first of its seven ages of development. It is too short a base line with which to triangulate with any show of accuracy, tie coast lines of an unrevealed future. Indeed, mathematics and statistics and precedents are as unsafe guides in assuring one of the size and fashion of an educational force as in telling the de tails of the future of a growing child. The mother's methods of measurement are the best. If last year's jackets and pants are greatly shortened at the extremities, and the ceremonies close at meal time from lack of food rather than lack of appetite, one can feel reasonably sure of a future full of joyous vitality and adapted to every new necessity.
Does then the Oberlin of to-day have some of these characteristics of a healthy, growing child, or do last year's garments still hang loose and ample about the limbs? Let us ask Principal White. "Why, two or three years ago," he says, "I used to have four recitation rooms in the old Union School building, but now the department of chemistry has the whole lower story, and Prof. Wright with his cabinet and microscopes and work shops, has the rest of the building, and I am entirely driven out. I am obliged to take what recitation rooms I can get when others are through with them, at very inconvenient hours and to the disarrangement of the studies of students and the proper assignment of teachers." So we cross slowly over to this old Union School building - now known as Cabinet Hall - feeling that perhaps Prof. Jewett has been a little greedy in providing for laboratory facilities. You open the door when, whew! what suffocating smells! As soon as your eves can penetrate a little the murky atmosphere the room seems packed with students, each with vials of fuming acids. You feel that you would wish your boy or girl to have a few cubic inches for fresh air. Even the Private Laboratory has students in it and crucibles, retorts, etc., are packed so closely on every side that your lady friend gathers her skirts closely about her to make her way through the room. You steal out without a word, fearing that Prof. Jewett will suggest plans for a future laboratory to add to your confusion . Up stairs the Cabinet is certainly crowded in every cranny, while in the work room are piles of ominously heavy boxes not yet unpacked. Surely it would be rare good fortune if the Union School would vacate another building for these departments, if the College must depend upon such a source of supply.
Next is Prof. Morgan's old home with a sign upon it "Conservatory of Music." There always used to seem to be room for anything in that ample, large-hearted home. But Prof. Rice does not wait to be asked before he tells about the new building he wants, with its lecture rooms and lesson rooms and practice rooms and library room and rehearsal room. You are bewildered. He says that music is not simply an art, but an important branch of human culture; that under the favoring influences of religion and co-education and the traditions of the place Oberlin presents unusual advantages; that he has over three hundred pupils and he feels that the Conservatory should be reckoned as a coordinate department of the Institution. He says, too, that he has just bought an organ, though he has no place to put it, because he needed it so much and this one was just what he wanted, and he could get it so cheap; and now he wants the south side of the Chapel opened out and an addition built on, very much as a careful mother enlarges a waistband. He says every one wants this done and some additional stair-cases built in at the same time, but no one vet sees where to get the money.
And now comes Professor Ballantine in Faculty meeting and says there must be a building at once to provide at least eight recitation rooms for College classes. He does not seem to care much how cheap it is or how plain it is- the necessity over-shadows everything- and he starts the subscription on the spot.
These are samples of many outward tokens. Let us go to the Treasurer's office a moment whence the larder is supplied. We tell Professor Shurtleff, who now presides over this department, how scant the garments seem. He says that is all true but no special attention should be called to that now. The great need is a larger and more nutritious supply of food. He has to beg now $5,000 every year of his neighbors to keep up the present meagre bill of fare. What could he do if two or three more who are greatly needed should be asked to help at the work and sit at the table? The Professor's face looks as tired and worn as any poor mother's who cannot conceive how she is to provide for her great growing boy. But who ever knew the boy to stop growing?
These are healthy symptoms as far as they go. How have the older institutions fared who have a little passed this trying stage of existence? Fifty-five years, ago Harvard had but little more than half the amount of property that Oberlin has to-day. Thirty-five years ago she had less than three hundred under graduates and but sixteen professors. Now she has four times as many students and professors and many millions of property. Yale College, when President Porter graduated in 1831, had but $20,000 endowment. Princeton has more than doubled its endowments, building and number of teachers since Pres't McCosh has been there. Oberlin is happily located on the great highway between the East and West. Within an hour's ride is one of the most intelligent and prosperous cities of the land. The clouds of prejudice are lifting. The world is beginning to feel the bravery, the vital force, may not one say the wisdom shown in the past. Her own children are be- ginning now to enter somewhat into successful- business pursuits and will not forget to honor her. This is a solid basis for hope. One can safely predict growth; healthful, natural, abundant. The form and fashion of it can only be revealed year by year.
OBERLIN AND WOMAN
BY MRS. LUCY STONE, '47
Oberlin is proud of her founders, of their poverty, of their faith, of their perseverance. Their story will be told as long as one stone of all they builded remains upon another. Oberlin is proud of her theology, of her free thought, of her classical acquirements, of her anti-slavery record, of her temperance record, of her plain living and high thinking; but her highest glory in history, the crowning achievement of her founders, will be that Oberlin was the pioneer in establishing the co-education of men and women. The time was opportune. William Lloyd Garrison and the brave band of Abolitionists he led had startled and aroused the nation by their demand for the freedom of the slaves. The idea of equal rights was in the air. The wail of the slave, his clanking fetters, his utter need, appealed to everybody for help. Women heard it. In obedience to His command who said, "Remember those in bonds as bound with them," Sarah and Angelina Grimke and Abby Kelly, three Quaker women, went out to speak for the slave. Such a thing had never been heard of. An earthquake shock could hardly have startled the community more. Some of the Abolitionists forgot the slave in their efforts to silence the women. The Anti-Slavery Society rent itself in twain over the subject. The church was moved to its very foundation in opposition. The "pastoral letter" of the Congregational ministers "of Massachusetts warned the world of the wide spread and permanent injury that threatened the female character." The press, many-tongued, sur passed itself in reproaches upon these women who had so far departed from their sphere as to speak in public. But with anointed lips and a consecration which put even life itself at stake, these peerless women pursued the even tenor of their way, saying only to their opponents, " Woe is me if I preach not this gospel of freedom to the slave." Over all came the soothing melody of Whittier,- "Where here woman's heart is bleeding, Shall woman's voice be hushed?"
About this time, too, an increasing interest in foreign missions began to be felt. There was an earnest call for missionaries, for educated young men to send to far-distant fields. Societies to educate poor but earnest young men sprang up all over the North. Little sewing-circles were formed, where rich and poor women met to sew, either for a fair to raise money or for garments to be given directly to the young men whom the education societies aided. " Help educate young men! Help educate young men for ministers and for missionaries!" was the constant appeal made to women. Was it a wonder that as young women drew the needle they also drew the conclusion that if education was so necessary for men who were to go to the heathen, it must be valuable for women who were to stay at home ?
About this time, too, Miss Mary Lyon began a movement to establish Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. The men who were to go as missionaries must have educated wives. It was tacitly understood and openly expressed that Mount Holyoke Seminary was to meet this demand. But whatever the reason, the idea was born that women could and should be educated. It lifted a mountain-load from women. It shattered the idea that they were incapable of education, and would he less womanly, less everything desirable, if they had it.
About the same time, far away at the West, the little hamlet of Oberlin appeared. Its light gleamed up in the horizon, and over all the distance, clear as a bell, sounded the proclamation of Father Shipherd; and this was it:
"The grand objects of the Oberlin Institute are: to give the most useful education at the least expense of health, time and money, to extend the benefit of such education to both sexes and to all classes of the community as far as its means will allow. . . . The prominent objects of this seminary are the thorough qualification of Christian teachers, both for the pulpit and the schools, and the elevation of female character by bringing within the reach of the misjudged and neglected sex all the instructive privileges which have hitherto unreasonably distinguished the leading sex from theirs."
These were the words of Father Shipherd, which, if not heard in form, were heard in fact as wide as the world.
"Get but the truth once uttered, and 'tis like
A star new-born that drops into its place, And
which, once circling in its placid
round, Not all the tumult of the earth can shake."
Like a new-born star were these brave words of Father Shipherd's. They are to shine on, all down the ages. How like a benediction they came to women, who had found the doors of knowledge closed against them! As hungry herds look from their parched and barren fields to green pastures and living streams, so began women to look to Oberlin . Those who had sewed and spent time, strength, and money to help educate young men, dropped the needle and that toil, and said, "Let these men with broader shoulders and stronger arms earn their own education, while we use our scantier opportunities to educate ourselves." Poor women and the daughters of well-to-do men had to earn their own way to and through college. Even their own fathers did not know it was wise and safe to educate women. Good fathers, with pathetic earnestness, still clinging to the old way, said to their daughters, "Your mother can read and write and reckon all the accounts she will ever be called to settle. This was good enough for her, and it is enough for you." They quoted, "If a woman would know anything, let her ask her husband at home." But they did not provide for the situation when she had no husband, or if she had one when he could not tell her.
The women of fifty years ago had no choice. There were no educational societies to help young women. They must help themselves. Men came to Oberlin for various reasons; women because they had nowhere else to go. But the women who came, like the men who came, had to bend themselves to toil, but under different circum stances. It was good for them. As the little tree on the mountain-side, beaten by the wind and grappled by the storm, roots itself and is all the more of a tree for its fierce encounter, so these young women gathered strength by the storms of opposition and the obstacles that beset their way.
True, it cut to the core when the man who taught school no more and no better received $30 a month for his teaching, while his sister received only $4 for hers. Did they weakly surrender when that pittance came to hand; give up the con test for themselves, and go back to sew to help to educate young men? Oh no; not one of them. They stopped only to enter their indignant protest, and then bent to double toil for half pay. What need to despond or to despair? Oberlin was at the West. There was our star of hope. There our Mecca. It opened wide its doors to women and to negroes on the same terms with white men. So without bating a jot of heart or hope, we accepted, to conquer it, every obstacle that lay between us and this golden gate. How thankful we were! with what abounding hope we came! with what courage we took up the task of earning our way through college! It is true, some of us worked for three cents an hour and boarded ourselves. Some took in washing at 37 1/2 cents per dozen. One, whose rich father would give her no money, but provided her with ample store of clothes, sold the silk that was for dresses and used the money to clothe her mind. But downright work was honored in Oberlin, and it was shared by everybody. Future governors of the State, members of Congress, generals of armies, were part of the working brigade of Oberlin. Gen. Cox, with paper cap on his head, with apron and sleeves rolled up, made the crackers which on Sunday mornings, with crust coffee, made the breakfast. Rev. Antoinette L. Brown Blackwell washed the dishes and I swept the parlor. But toil and privation were counted as small dust in the balance in comparison with the treasures of knowledge which had been opened to us here.
But Oberlin had not quite measured the meaning, nor was it quite ready for the full application, of Father Shipherd's words that "the neglected and misjudged sex should have all the instructive privileges which have unreasonably distinguished the leading sex from theirs." Custom, which held women to silence in public places, sat with the Faculty and with the Ladies' Board, and shook its minatory finger at the daring girls who wanted the discipline of rhetorical exercises and discussions, and to read their own essays at Commencement. But time has altered all this and settled it right.
Neither had Oberlin dreamed that women would ever want to study theology. In 1847 Antoinette Brown and Lettice Smith entered the theological department, but Oberlin still reserves to some future day the honor it will yet claim and receive of being the first to admit women as regular students in its theological department in direct preparation for the gospel 'ministry. The Oberlin catalogue has never yet honored itself by putting in the names of these women as theological students. They should be there now, before the good time comes when the world will have learned that the ministry of women will win and hold men to goodness, and is as necessary to do it as the ministry of men which has filled the churches with women.
And what is the result of this example of Oberlin of fifty years of co-education? It is true Dr. Dix still holds his straw up against Niagara. Harvard keeps its hand on its door-knob; but the "annex" is there, and all around behold more than half the colleges of the land wide open to women. Boston University, Cornell, the State Universities of Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, with all their departments, are open to women, as are other colleges almost innumerable. Colleges for women alone, Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith, have been opened. Some of them send to Oberlin for women to act as professors. The London University and those of Cambridge and Oxford in England give their examinations to women. Even India, breaking its triple bondage of women, sends to us her daughters to study medicine, while a young East India woman endeavors to impart to her government and to her countrywomen an idea of the need of education of women.
In ten thousand homes all round us are educated mothers who bring to the grave duty of rearing sons and daughters well stored and well disciplined minds, and here is the centre of our national safety. The State summons woman to deal with some of its most difficult problems. The feminine thought, the feminine judgment and view are being called for and added to the masculine thought; judgment, and view, in the great questions which involve human interests and which need the wisdom of all for the good of all. Oberlin dropped its pebble in the great ocean, and the widening wavelets have touched every shore. But
"New occasions teach new duties;
Time makes ancient good uncouth,
They must upward still, and onward,
Who would keep abreast of truth."
The work for women is not done.
I should be no true daughter of Oberlin, still less should I be true to myself, if here to-day I failed to ask this younger Oberlin to take another and the next step in the great movement for the political equality of women.
"Our fathers to their graves have gone;
Their fight is fought, their battle won.
But sterner trials wait the race
That rises in their honored place-
A moral warfare with the crime
And folly of an evil time."
That crime and that folly are the withholding from women the opportunity of giving consent to the laws they are required to obey. It was for this principle that our fathers contended in the war of the Revolution. They sought to wrench from George III their right to govern themselves, the right not to be taxed and governed without their consent, as women are to-day. At that time they held up, radiant with God's own sunlight, His great self-evident truth that governments de rive their just powers from the consent of the governed-the consent of the governed women not less than the consent of the governed men.
To withhold a right is as much a crime as to withhold a purse-far more, for you may find your purse or replenish it; but he who keeps back my right keeps back that which not enriches him but wrongs me, and wrongs whoever has the right withheld.
Oberlin is proud that it reached down its hand to help the slaves to their liberty. Oberlin is proud that it reached out its hand to the "misjudged and neglected sex," and said, "The leaves of the tree of knowledge are for you as for us." Another deed waits for Oberlin to add to its crown of honor, and that is, to affirm the principle of the consent of the governed in its application to women. As I sat here I looked up to your torn and tattered flag. It marks the battle-fields where your soldiers carried it for freedom. But I remember that other flags with their stars and bars are floating on our hilltops everywhere, and they float over twenty millions of women who are taxed without representation and governed with out their consent. When the war was ended and the Government asked in its reconstruction, "What shall we do with the negroes?" the answer was, "These men have fought our battle and carried our flag. Now let them have the ballot." And they got it. And then it asked, "What shall be done with the rebels?" and with one voice the people said, "Let them have amnesty and universal suffrage. And they got it. And then it was asked, "What shall we do with Jefferson Davis- the man who had been the greatest traitor to his country?" And the nation, looking over all its borders to find the worst punishment it could inflict upon him, did not put him in prison for life, did not set him to hard labor, did not load him with chains that should clank in human ears, but it took away his right to vote. It made him the political peer of every woman in the land. When the women who had in camp and on the field nursed the soldiers, who had turned night into day to raise supplies for the Sanitary Commission and to help the brave boys in blue-when these women went to Washington and asked, "In the reconstruction of the Government, what will you do with us?" the Government left us all the peers of Jefferson Davis.
Now it is to save women from this wrong and shame that Oberlin should take its next step. So to-day, standing here and seeing what Oberlin has done for women, pardon me for appealing, as one of twenty millons who may be taxed and fined, and imprisoned, and hung, and have never a word to say about it, as one whom the law touches at every point, reaching its hand into my cradle and deciding all about my baby, what shall be its relation to me and mine to it, that touches the dollar I earn, the deed I have to sign, the property I own, and plunges me into the weal or woe of the great Commonwealth of States, and leaves me no voice about it-in behalf of twenty millions of women, on this good day I stand here in Oberlin begging pardon for going beyond the limit of my subject to say, O men who have been so wise, so kind, and so just to women, take one step more and help lift us from peerage with Jefferson Davis.
By Hon. RALPH PLUMB
The old Cuyahoga County Jail was built to confine burglars, murderers and other criminals, but about twenty four years a go it was used by the U. S. Government to imprison a large number of the citizens of Oberlin and its vicinity. The last quarter of a century has wrought such a change in the Nation and in public sentiment, that a brief reference to incidents relating to this imprisonment may be interesting to the public.
John Price, a Kentucky slave, escaped to Oberlin, his city of refuge, and thither the slave hunters tracked him and by means of bribery and falsehood, beguiled their victim to a by-road outside the village, where they kidnapped and gagged him, and took liim thence to Wellington where the officers of the Fugitive Slave Act took possession of the trembling fugitive.
The news spread rapidly, and five hundred men from Oberlin, Pittsfield and the Village of Wellington, had in a short time filled the public square and the Hotel where John was held, and without violence he was hustled off.
Slavery then ruled in every department of the general government hut every where in the public mind the irrepressible conflict was raging. Douglas with his plea of squatter sovereignty had broken down the Missouri Compromise, but the Free Constitution of Topeka had secured a triumph over the Slave Constitution of Lecompton, after a bloody struggle. Closely following the Kansas struggle came the rescue of John Price, and the slave power, with a sagacity that does it great credit, concluded that safety to the peculiar Institution required that the "Saints at Oberlin" should be taught to yield obedience to its demands. So it came to pass that thirty-seven citizens of Lorain County were indicted and arrest ed. All gave personal recognizance to appear for trial. Two, Simeon Bushnell and C. H. Langston, were tried, found guilty and sentenced, and twenty-two of the remaining felons were ordered to jail and the Court was adjourned until July 6th, with the expectation on the part of the Government counsel that this violent usage would make the prisoners willing to give bail and thus terminate the excitement and agitation that every day rose higher and higher; but the minions of the slave power understood neither the pluck of their victims nor the strength of public sentiment that sustained them.
On the 24th of May, ten thousand stalwart, anti-slavery men met in Convention on the public square in Cleveland, speeches were made and letters written by such men as Chase, Giddings, Dennison, Wade and Cassius M. Clay, all of which showed that the spirit of freedom was thoroughly aroused on the Western Reserve; in fact, but a word from the prisoners requesting it, and not one stone would have been left upon another of Cleveland jail. The prisoners, however, desired that no violence should be employed, and none was attempted. Thousands of women in Northern Ohio, by beautiful flowers and luscious fruits in their season and by delicacies and attentions such as they know so well how to bestow, helped to make even prison life a pleasure in such a cause. As I write the memories of those days come trooping back with a thrilling interest, such as none but an actual "jail-bird" might feel, and if space permitted, I should delight to dwell on such incidents as daily occurred among us. Sometimes all were cheerful and sometimes sad as our plans for baffling the slave power seemed to succeed or fail, but never for a moment did one of us waver in our purpose not to give bail. But I cannot enlarge except to speak of the lamented Simeon Bushnell who bore his trial and sentence so grandly, and of C. H. Langston whose speech to the Court giving reasons why he should not be sentenced, ought to be read by all; of Prof. Peck whose thoughtful activity never flagged, and of that noble, unselfish and wide awake Christian man, James M. Fitch. Family worship, as we called it, was observed every morn , and on Sundays, preaching by Prof. Peck. Many of the rescuers were mechanics, who sent for their tools and plied their vocation in jail. Mr. Fitch being a printer, sent for his case and with his own hands set the type for the Rescuer, 5000 copies of which we published from the jail, edited by Prof. Peck and myself.
But I must hasten to the end of these reminiscences. After waiting in vain for the prisoners to give bail and surrender, the time to which the Court had ad adjourned was at hand and the Kentucky slave hunters had reached Grafton, in Lorain County, en route for Cleveland, when two of their number having been indicted by the Grand Jury of that County for kidnapping, were arrested and taken to Elyria for trial. There their Attorney read over carefully the statute and informed his clients that if the case went to a jury they would go to the Ohio Penitentiary. Suddenly the slave catchers became wiser and sadder men. Anxious for deliverance they hastened to enter the plea of nolle pros. in all of our cases, and with the promise never again to hunt fugitives in Northern Ohio, were permitted to return to Kentucky. On the 6th of July, 1859, the twenty-two remaining "felons" were escorted from the jail to the cars with music and banners amid the booming of artillery, and at Oberlin were welcomed as only Oberlin can welcome those who are near her heart.
A Letter from Ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes
My Dear Sir:
I have been so anxious to attend the Semi-Centennial of Oberlin, that I have delayed a reply, hoping to arrange my engagements so as to be present. It will be most convenient for me to spend Friday and some part of Saturday at Oberlin.
The efficiency of Oberlin during the last fifty years in the work of education has been great and is generally acknowledged by all well informed friends of the cause. But as the Pioneer in two vital questions she has been preeminent. At Oberlin colored and and white students, and young men and young women have been educated successfully together.
No history of the most memorable conflict of this age, will be complete, which does not yield ample space and accord matchless honor to Oberlin. She bore the flag in the hottest of the battle and must forever wear the laurels which crown the victor.
With best wishes for the success of your Celebration, and the prosperity of the College, I am sincerely,
ADDRESS OF EX-PRESIDENT R. B. HAYES,
At the close of the Commencement Exercises of the Theological
Saturday, June 30.
MR. PRESIDENT: Professor Ellis announced last evening that the audience on this occasion might hear "a word'' from President Hayes. I understood, of course, that the phrase "a word" was capable of large expansion. And yet I had a feeling of relief when Professor Wright, in presenting me to this audience, removed all limitation upon the observations I may submit to you.
These Jubilee days belong peculiarly, and almost exclusively, to the sons and daughters of Oberlin. They can say with enthusiasm, and with warmest attachment and gratitude, whatever it is fitting to say in behalf of this college. Speaking for the outsiders, I may, I trust, without the least embarrassment , ask you to listen for a moment to one who has not the good fortune to belong to the Oberlin family circle.
I cannot undertake to consider in detail so large a topic as the work and the ideas of Oberlin. But to speak briefly one's mind about this college and the debt our whole country owes to it for what it has done during the last fifty years, needs little preparation. Among the distinctive and valuable Oberlin ideas I will mention only a few. After the masterly and powerful address of Prof. Barbour, last evening, on the Theology of Oberlin and in view of the satisfactory and creditable graduating speeches on the same general subject, by the young gentlemen who have so well entertained us this morning-I will touch only upon secular topics.
One of the ideas of this college, especially important in our times and in our Country, is the demonstration it has given that sound scholarship and that training which leads to the best manhood and womanhood, can be had without large endowment or extravagant expenditure. Oberlin is not munificently endowed, but every dollar bestowed has been made to count at its full value. No where else has the money given or expended gone so far or yielded so large a return as here at Oberlin.
Again, Oberlin has practically proved that young men and young women can be educated together by the same instructors, and in the same classes, up to the highest standard of collegiate learning, not me rely without harm to habits and character, but with an added strength to those sentiments and virtues which are essential to the welfare of society and the happiness of the home.
Oberlin is the pioneer college to teach that young people, white and colored, can be educated under the same roof, on terms of perfect equality, with no loss of self-respect or dignity, but with that increase of both which always follows hearty acceptance of the teachings and example of the Divine Master.
Oberlin has been something more and some thing better than an institution of learning. It has been a school of patriotism, and a school which has stood steadfastly, in peace and in war, in the front rank of those who were fighting for the brotherhood of man. In every campaign, in every battle, and in every forward march of the great conflict with slavery, this college was always at the bead of the column. Oberlin carried the flag in the time that tried men's souls; now, in the hour of victory, let Oberlin wear the crown.
I shalt never forget the affecting scene when, for the first time, I and the young Soldiers who were with me, met a number of Union soldiers, who had been wounded and made prisoners in one of the disastrous engagements in the early part of the war. The men we met were from Oberlin. They had been wounded and captured at Cross Lanes, in Virginia. We heard nothing from those men that was not worthy of Oberlin. They were pale and weak and suffering, but they uttered no word which their dearest friends at home- which Oberlin would not be glad and proud to hear them speak. Their unshaken faith, in the midst of fearful disasters and discouragements , that the good Cause would finally triumph, and their heroic willingness to die for it, were the fruit of their Oberlin life. God bless Oberlin!
BY REV. JOHN M. WILLIAMS, '42
I CAME to Oberlin September, 1833, three months before the first class met there for its first recitation. I found but two on the ground who came as students- J. J. Warren and William Hoysington. The former has crossed the river, so you see before you, with a single exception, the oldest student of Oberlin.
I was graduated from this college, with Seven teen other young men-half of whom have passed away-in 1839, forty-four years ago, and from the Theological Department, after a residence here of nine years, in 1842, forty-one years ago.
I say this with hesitation, lest some one in this great assembly should be so illogical as to infer that I am an old man. This would be a non sequitur and a great mistake. I am not old; I am young; more than a thousand years younger than St. Paul, and he, you know, was born out of due time. I cannot perceive in myself any particular indications of decay as yet. I am, so far as appears, capable of just as big blunders as forty-one years ago.
But an half-century, I admit, is a long time. The Child born the day I reached this place, is down in the afternoon of life now, and the snows are probably beginning to gather on his temples; but with me it has passed like some rapid but not unpleasant dream. A song from some unseen singer has been singing in my ear all the way, and its notes, I think, have been growing richer, and its diapason broader, as the years have passed, and I think it will never cease singing. Would I live my live over again? I hesitate to say yes, chiefly from fear that a second trial would prove a greater failure than the first.
During these forty-one years, I have been a very infrequent visitor of Oberlin, not because I have lost my interest in this school. I have ever felt the deepest interest in it. I have rejoiced in its prosperity, and been proud of its triumphs. I have dreamed about it more frequently than about any other one thing. You would think me exaggerating were I to tell you how often, in the mysteries of sleep, I have been back here, treading these halls, recitation rooms, and mingling with the dear fellows whom I had learned to love long ago, and how uniformly I have seemed to myself to be delinquent in every duty, and unworthy a place among you.
I have read everything I have seen in the papers about this school and its officers. I have kept myself pretty well informed, and maintained a kind of fatherly watch over it. I have read, too, very much of the literature which has emanated from this centre of thought. And here I wish to thank President Fairchild, whom I see before me, for his edition of "Finney's Theology." I had regarded Finney's style as lacking in scholarly finish; but this work, as it now appears, though I understand every word in it is from the pen of the author himself, strikes me as a model of our English tongue. There is nothing in our language more clear, terse, and classical. I regard it as the great theological work of the century. The man who has mastered it is a theological scholar. It is moulding the science of theology, and is destined to a greater and greater influence on the thinking of the world.
The younger portion of my hearers can hardly conceive of the prejudice against this school at the time I left. It had many friends, but in the estimation of the great public, an Abolitionist, a "nigger," and an Oberlin man belonged to the same category. Its students were accounted heretics by the American Home Missionary Society, the A. B. C., and the American Education Society, and many of the pulpits were closed against them. "I would go," said a clergyman (now a very warm friend of this school), "fifty miles and back to shut the doors of one of our churches against an Oberlin man." Rev. Dr. Lion, of Erie, Pa., said, in my hearing, before the Synod of Western Pennsylvania:
"I have not had a conversion in my church in three years, but I have kept Oberlinism out of it." Yet, though my lot was cast in the dense prejudice of Hyper-Calvinistic Presbyterianism- I say it not boastingly- I have never Shrunk, on any suitable occasion, from confessing myself an Oberlin man, in full sympathy with Oberlin theology and reform. I do not know that I have ever suffered to any extent from this prejudice. I have always had so much to do, I have not had time to even feel bad; hut I have felt, when 1 have heard Oberlin traduced, very much as young Oliver Twist did when the big boy told him his mother was a bad woman. Indeed Oberlin, during my boyhood and early manhood, was my mother- the only one I had on earth-and I have loved her as such, and loved her other children, too, and the latchstring has always been on the outside when one of them chanced to come along.
Fifty years ago I came from my home, under the shadow of the Green Mountains, eight hundred miles away, to this consecrated spot, hidden there in the centre of an almost interminable forest.
I was first introduced into the family of Deacon Pease- a good man, whose Countenance seemed a benediction-living in a small log-house, on the Southwest corner of what is now the College Square. I remember retiring at night in the loft of that shanty-fourteen of us in one bed. The next day was Sunday, and I remember attending public worship-about fifty present-in the same shanty. Father Shipherd, as we then called the founder of this school, preached a good sermon, I presume; but my attention was occupied taking the dimensions of the only other lad of my age present- William Hoysington- and debating the important question, whether I could lick him, or he me. As athletic contests were not then a part of the college curriculum, that question has never been settled, and we are both getting so far down the declivity of life, I apprehend it will have to take its place among the unsolved problems of this world, and perhaps, of the next, too.
The next day I commenced boarding in the family of Father Shiperd, and working on Attic Hall, the only framed building in the place, at five cents an hour. How well I remember my hostess, Mother Shipherd- with her pale, patient, loving face, and I have a very vivid recollection of her excellent apple dumplings, too. That patient, self sacrificing woman was the right hand of her husband in this great work, and is deserving of equal renown. We need a day of judgment to reveal what the early mothers of Oberlin did for this school. God bless them!
How well I remember that heroic band who spent the winter of 1833-4, in the seven-by-nine rooms of Attic Hall. I have often heard President Fairchild claim to be one of the early students of Oberlin. I wish to correct any such impression. He never attained unto this honor. Oberlin was born and baptized, the morning stars had sung together, and the sons of God had shouted for joy. It had been on its course, like a ship launched on the sea, for weeks and months before he ever saw Oberlin, or Oberlin him. Why, we were old settlers when he came. I say this in the interest of truth, not to injure the reputation of one who is so much a stranger here as our honored President. I do not charge him, you will observe, with intentional misrepresentation. It is an error of the bead, not of the heart. I remember among that company Gerrish, and Adams, and Knight- known then by the more classic name of Nox- the irrepressible Mayo G. Smith, Middleton Reed, Miles St. John, and others, some of whom are alive and remain, others have fallen asleep. Dear fellows: we shall meet again, I trust, where death bath no sting.
And the girls, too, occupying another part of the building, I remember well. There was one whose name I can hardly trust my self to speak-Mary Williams-so gentle, loving-one who gave indubitable evidence at three years of age of loving Christ-one who prayed with me and besought me to give my heart to Christ when we were little children - one who was never heard to speak an angry or harsh word in her life. Another beautiful girl, Mary Ann Adams, who occupied for years so responsible a place in this school. Both are gone. "Nor sink such stars in empty night." And there was another dear one; I will call her "Melva," for over that name, she has, with her pen, probably done more to sweeten and purify our homes than any other lady who has gone out from Oberlin. God bless her! I wonder if Oberlin has any such girls now. Many others I could mention whom 1 hope to meet when the day of life is fled.
How well I remember Oberlin's first grave, dug for my room-mate - St. John. No one knew what that patient man suffered during that memorable winter. But Oberlin had kind hearts then, as now, and tenderly was the stranger cared for.
I also remember well the "colonists" as we called the first settlers. I think I knew them all-Deacons Pease, and Turner, and Hosford, Pelton, Hopkins, the Ingersolls and Penfields, Crosby and James, and others-sturdy, consecrated men of New England stock.
These remarks may seem trivial. They certainly would be, had the events to which I have referred occurred yesterday. But distance lends enchantment to the view. Seen through the vista of fifty years, they are not trivial. Events magnify as we recede from them. These trifling things, the idle word of to-day, will by-and-by loom up in amazing significance.
Fifty years; but what years! How eventful! Fifty years ago there were fourteen millions of people in our country. Now there are four times that number. Fifty years ago there was one short railroad connecting Troy and Schenectady; now there are one hundred thousand miles, costing five thousand million dollars. Fifty years ago Oberlin was on the distant Western frontier. Chicago was a far-off, almost unheard-of military post among the Indians, and the Mississippi was the outmost boundary known to civilization on the West-the ne plus ultra. W hat a change! What cities and empires have risen since! Fifty years ago there were two and a half million slaves crouching beneath the lash of their tyrant masters, with almost no friend but God. Now they are transformed into four million men and women, free as their mountain streams.
But one of the mightiest achievements of the half century, is the planting and rearing up this colossal school. The work already accomplished, no arithmetic can compute. It was the first to open the higher fields of learning to woman, and make her the peer of her brother in college halls. Now, where is the school which has not followed, or is not about to follow, her example?
Fifty years ago the admission of a colored student would have broken up almost any school in the land. Oberlin believed "a man was a man for a' that," and opened her doors to men and women of every race and complexion, bringing upon her self a storm of hisses and curses. But God was well pleased, and afforded the world a new illustration of the fact: "them that honor me I will honor."
The accession from Lane Seminary made Oberlin the hot-bed of Abolitionism. From this fountain streams of anti-slavery influence began at once to flow. Pamphlets, papers, letters, lecturers and preachers, and school teachers, some five hundred each winter, went forth everywhere preaching the anti-slavery word. It was the influence emanating from this school that saved our country in its great hour of peril. There were thousands of other co-operating influences, but had that which went out from Oberlin been subtracted, there can hardly remain a doubt that freedom would have foundered in the storm. Indeed it is doubtful whether there would have been any storm. The nation probably would have meekly yielded to the dominion of the slave power, and the Western Hemisphere would have become a den of tyrants and slaves. As it was, we were scarcely saved.
A work of immeasurable value, too, has been wrought in the field of theology. For forty years this ground was hallowed by the presence of the great preacher and thinker of the century. The system he wrought out and embodied in his great work, will be the theology of the Millennium, for it is the theology of reason, and of the Word of God.
What I want to say, as I was asked to talk about "the beginning," is, all this was here in the beginning. All there is and has been here is the legitimate fruitage of seed sown in the early infancy of this colony and school. All here has come of evolution and development. In the principles brought here by Shipherd and Stewart and Deacon Pease were the promise and potency of every quality and form of life that has grown upon this soil. This is holy ground on which we tread. Every inch of its soil and particle of dust are hallowed by tears and prayer. The conduct of this school, at its inception, was committed to God, and accepted by Him ; hence its success and greatness. The highest possibilities to a school or a man are reached under the Divine directing. May this school continue in the future, as in the past, to follow the pillar of cloud and fire, and may the hand which shall write its history for the next great jubilee trace it in brighter lines, and tell of more wonderful achievements.
BY MRS. SARAH C. LITTLE, '59,
WHEN, in 1833, the foundations of Oberlin College were laid "according to the pattern shown in the mount," there was no school west of the Hudson, and but few east of it, in which young women could attain an education better than that afforded by the common schools. Both Church and State had long recognized the need of scholastic training for young men, and numerous colleges had been founded for them; but that young ladies either needed or desired any other than ornamental accomplishment was a comparatively new idea. In New England, Joseph Emerson had taken the "high Christian ground" that woman was in tended to be "neither the slave nor the pet, but the companion of man;" and that, as she was to be the principal educator of the race, she should be prepared to do this work well.
Miss Grant, and her younger associate Miss Lyon, had appreciated the need of a higher culture for women, and especially of a better training for teachers, and were beginning to urge this need upon public attention. The thought of Mount Holyoke had been conceived, but the work of establishing the seminary upon its firm foundation was not completed until several years later.
It was reserved for Oberlin, in the heart of the forest, almost at the western limit of Civilization, to be the pioneer in this work, and to first provide young women with an opportunity to acquire a wide and deep culture. The first circular issued respecting the new enterprise, declared its "grand object" to be the "diffusion of useful science, sound morality and pure religion among the growing multitudes of the Mississippi Valley," and named, as means to this end, "primarily, the thorough education of ministers and pious school-teachers; secondly, the elevation of women; and thirdly, the education of the common people with the higher classes in such a manner as suits the nature of republican institutions." It was also stated that the young ladies would receive instruction in the useful branches taught in the best seminaries for women, and that the higher classes would enjoy the privilege of the professorships in the Teachers', Collegiate, and Theological Departments.
In what is apparently a memorandum of the first address given to the young ladies by Mrs. Alice W. Cowles, who was appointed Principal of the Ladies' Department in 1836, this passage occurs: "Our elder sisters were taught that a woman's education was completed if she could guide the house and wield the shuttle with dexterity. Those parents who wished to see their daughters accomplished ladies, would send them to a boarding-school for one or two terms, where they would embroider a flower-basket, paint a coat-of-arms, and return home with their education finished. Happily for us, a different state of things exists at the present time. It is admitted that the fields of knowledge lie open to women, and those who wish may enter and enrich their minds. If we look at the different stations a woman is de signed to fin, we shall see that a very high degree of mental improvement and all the various graces of the heart are indispensable to that completeness of character so beautifully delineated in Proverbs."
It would seem, therefore, that this innovation was proposed, not because it was thought that any radical change in the nature and responsibilities of women was expected or wished, but because a truer appreciation of the noble and dignified nature of their responsibilities and duties recognized the need of disciplined and well-furnished minds and hearts.
That the new school met a felt want is evident. We have been told that the young women of that day as "they cheerfully denied themselves luxuries and made other efforts to aid their brothers in acquiring a liberal education, could not always refrain from sighing and saying to themselves, as did Mary Lyon, "Oh! there is no college for girls to go to!" But now that a door was opened for them, their readiness to enter it was certified by the presence at the opening of the school of a goodly percentage of young women, earnest, serious, intent upon making the most of the powers with which they had been endowed. The story told by Mrs. Martha Haskins Pierce in the May "Jubilee Notes,"" of her brother's hastening to her with the tidings of this new opening for acquiring an education, of her father's reluctant consent that she should go with her brother, of her eagerness that was not checked by those who told her of the "giants in the land," of her courage and endurance as she met the hardships of the way, wading the mud in her brother's boots, could be duplicated by many another brave-hearted woman.
New as was the thought of a higher education for women, the idea that it was either best or safe to educate them in the same schools with young men, was newer still. It was regarded as a "hazardous experiment " - hazardous to both the men and the women. In the earlier documents so little is said in reference to the considerations which led to opening the doors of the college wide enough for a sister to enter by her brother's side, that we are led to infer that, recognizing the fact that God had given the girl a mind worthy of culture, and had laid upon her the obligation of using it in His service, it was confidently expected that He would give His aid in laying the right plans, and carrying them to a successful issue.
Doubtless the knowledge of the large interests at stake served to induce caution, but unaided human foresight would not have been always so wise. Certainly no other theory than that of a guiding Providence can account for the safe and fruitful results of this "hazardous experiment."
While young women have, from the beginning, recited in the same classes with young men, it seems not to have been anticipated that they would desire a full college course ; but when the desire was expressed their wish was cheerfully granted. In 1841, three ladies were graduated from the full classical course, being the first ladies in the world to receive a literary degree from any college. Two of them, Mrs. Caroline Rudd Allen, wife of Prof. George N. Allen, and Mrs. Mary Hosford Fisher, wife of Rev. Caleb E. Fisher, after busy lives of usefulness and honor, are, I suppose, in Oberlin to-day, having outlived their husbands, but happy in the strong health and high culture of their children, and the growing promise of their grandchildren, who have in no wise deteriorated from the parent stock.
For reasons inscrutable to the young women pursuing the classical course in the "middle period," it had not vet been deemed proper to allow them to read their own essays on any public occasions, the rule applying to Monthly Rhetoricals as well as to Commencement exercises. We were told that "consistency was a jewel," and that it was "inconsistent" for young ladies to read their essays on the same day that the young men delivered their orations, and when the exercise was presided over by a man. But, oh! how very juvenile the average girl's essay sounded when read in his best style by Professor Monroe! Class after class petitioned for what they thought to be a proper privilege, and were denied. There seemed to be a haunting fear that the young women who preferred to read their own essays were in danger of bringing "reproach" upon them selves or the college. But at last, after denying the request of a quiet, modest, conservative Quaker girl, the only lady of her class (Mrs. Mary Raley Cravath, of '58), who manifested as earnest a wish for the coveted privilege as the most "strong- minded" of all, permission was given, and during the following year the young women responded to their own names at the Monthly Rhetoricals, and, in 1859, the five who graduated from the classical course read their own essays.
This is not the place, nor the time, to discuss the subject of co-education; but, perhaps, it is proper to consider very briefly how well the result of fifty years experience here has justified the hopes of its friends, or the forebodings of its enemies.
Have young women proved intellectually capable for the work assigned them? President Fairchild has said, "Where there has been the same preparatory training, we find no difference in ability to maintain themselves in the recitation-room." The eminent fitness for their work of Miss Eugenia Morgan, Professor of Mental Science and Moral Philosophy in Wellesley College; Miss Helen Shafer, Professor of Mathematics in the same college; Miss Ruth Hoppin, of Smith College, and scores of others to-day occupying responsible positions in our higher institutions of learning, abundantly corroborates this statement.
Have they been physically able to endure close study? Statistics, and the amount of work performed in many a family, school and community by Oberlin women, disprove thoroughly the prevalent notion that, although they may live through and graduate, girls who attempt a college course are in serious danger of permanent invalidism. You may see with us to-day many representatives of the early classes, who, after bringing up large families and enduring pioneer hardships, still maintain, as they near "three-score years and ten," full vigor of mind and body.
Are the young women rendered unfit or unwilling to assume the precious responsibilities of home? The number of names of ladies that are followed by another name in significant italics in the Semi Centennial Register shows that the education acquired here has not been of the sort to weaken their confidence in the Divine declaration that "it is not good for man to be alone," nor to remove from their minds the "benevolent intention" to regard the "good of man," not to unfit them to be helpsmeet for man. And if some have chosen, or have been providentially called to bear life's burdens alone, have they not, as a rule, proved capable, efficient servants of God and their fellow-men?
Have either the young men or the young women deteriorated in character? Again the answer is an emphatic "no." And why should they? We sow oats and wheat side by side, in soil ploughed and harrowed alike, watered by the same rain and warmed by the same sun, trusting confidently in the ability of the seed and growing plants to appropriate just the nourishment that is best suited to the development of each, with never a fear that the wheat may endeavor to imitate the oats, or that the oats may emulate the wheat and strive to form compact heads of bearded grain instead of its own graceful panicles.
Eastern people have not yet laid aside all anxiety as to this system; but in the west, while there are a few separate schools, the accepted conclusion is that it is safe to trust in a large degree to the native instincts of propriety; hence we have not only colleges on essentially the Oberlin plan by the score all through the West, but also State universities and normal schools in which there is much less supervision of the habits of either young men or young women, and individuals are left to follow, in the main, their own choice as to social life. Unquestionably this lack of supervision entails serious loss on the formation of character, and sometimes interferes with the best attainments in scholarship; but no one anticipates or finds such dire evils resulting as were formerly believed in separable from co-education, however conducted.
Oberlin has been blessed in a wonderful degree in those who earliest and longest have been charged with this duty of supervising the young women. First, Mrs. Dascomb gave this work one year in the prime of her early womanhood. Then came Mrs. Cowles, for whom, after a few years, the burden became too heavy, and who has for forty years looked upon the fruitage of that early planting from the standpoint of the heavenly heights. Of the characteristics which fitted her for the work one connected with the college at that time, writes to me as follows: " Besides her experience in Connecticut district schools, she had been at Wethersfield under that pioneer, Joseph Emerson, but, more than all, she was fitted for her new and untried post by her remarkable calmness, wisdom, suavity, and purity. By the presence of these eminent and indispensable qualities she might be fairly regarded as well fitted for her post; but this is not all. There was what I might call a negative fitness; there was nothing that hindered. She did not obtrude herself, she did not seek to build up her own consequence, she was not fitful, she was not passionate, she was not neglectful of any. She had the qualities that fitted her, and was free from the qualities that would have unfitted her for her work. She would commonly have been said to have excelled in administrativeness; but I have chosen to explain how well the epithet applies to her, and I think my own judgment must correspond with that of the early members of the faculty and with that of the Oberlin community."
Mrs. Dascomb must have been known and her influence-at least that of her beneficent presence- felt in some degree by every young woman here from the beginning, until her death four years ago, a period of forty-five years.
A rare and true woman, who could, after the age of forty, keep her sympathies with young people warm and active; who could, until sixty, keep pace with the advancement of a college of such marvelous growth as Oberlin has had, enlarging her ideas with its enlargement, who could be firm without harshness, prompt without haste, cautious without timidity, conservative in a good sense of the word, while acting constantly on ideas considered as dangerously radical by the prevailing opinion, and with all her strength of character maintaining the grace and sweetness of the highest type of a lady. Such was Mrs. Dascomb, and such the personal influence under which the ideals Of the young women of this college for nearly half a century were moulded into strength and womanly beauty and grace.
Recalling, as we all can, the sweet calm peace that uniformly rested upon her face, can we not read there 'the secret of it all? She had "committed her way unto the Lord, and trusted also in Him, that He should bring it to pass."
While Oberlin has not labored alone, she has had a large share in producing the great changes which the last fifty years have wrought in public opinion respecting the capacities of women and the nature and amount of the best education for them. She has been not only the pioneer, but Constantly a powerful agent, increasing her influence as the years have multiplied the number who have felt the impulse of her principles and example.
Woman are now recognized as intellectual and moral factors in society, and their aid is confidently sought in carrying on the benevolent work of the world. No serious obstacle stands in the way of their entering any field of usefulness for which they are qualified. As temperance workers, as foreign missionaries, as laborers among the "despised races" in our own land, as physicians in reformatory institutions, on State Boards of Charities, and in all grades of educational work, from the Kindergarten to the University, women are found, faithfully doing work for the Master. In their Boards of Foreign Missions they have shown such capacity, zeal, and endurance, that our other societies desire to utilize the immense reserve force that still remains unused among the women of the churches, and they will not be disappointed.
The record of Oberlin's first half-century is closed, and we have in our hands the history of those years, written by the only adequate pen. The fair white page of the future is before us- what shall there be written? The coming years will soon bring a necessity for enlarged accommodations for the young women. The new society building will provide for their immediate wants. But certainly by the time Tappan Hall has been replaced, an enlargement of the present one, or a new ladies' hall, will be an imperative necessity. Before that time the Conservatory of Music, which has been such a refining and educating force for both the young women and the young men, will have been established in its new building, and, let us hope, have a permanent endowment.
With that spirit of fairness and truth which has always characterized her, Oberlin has reserved her academic degrees for those who have earned them by completing that course of study which is coordinate with those of other colleges of high grade. With her greatly increased numbers and larger facilities she probably must soon add new courses of study which shall give ampler freedom to individual taste and ability: and new degrees which shall accurately measure the quality and quantity of the work will then be required.
Oberlin was long counted peculiar- yes, and she was "peculiar," and in this was her glory and her power. She was "peculiar" in her anti-slavery opinions, " peculiar" in her temperance principles, "peculiar" in her theology and philosophy, "peculiar" in giving young women an equal chance with their brothers. She is no longer very peculiar in any of these ways, not be cause she has changed, but so much of the best thought of the world has come into sympathy with her way of thinking and doing as to remove much of the singularity. But there are still ethical problems in the working out of the fundamental principle of her philosophy, "the greatest good of the greatest number," which, if faithfully and bravely solved, will still render her liable to the epithet "peculiar."
Let Oberlin be still and for ever known as the school where the common people may be educated with the high classes in such a manner as suits the nature of Republican institutions;" where the spirit of caste, so utterly foreign from the spirit of Christ, shall not dare to manifest itself; where neither young men nor young women shall be valued by the size of their balance at the bank, or the beauty or cost of their raiment; where both the necessary and voluntary expenses of college life shall be kept within such limits as shall enable the " common people," the sturdy yeomanry of the land, the bone and sinew of the nation, to avail themselves of its advantages; where simple living for God shall be taught by precept and example; and where the ambition for fine scholarship and high culture shall be awakened, not by the desire to excel one's classmates. but rather by the worthier motive, to be qualified for fulfilling life's highest duties.
As a family of children might count themselves richer in inheriting from their parents a genius for work and a passion for self-sacrificing and generous giving and doing for the "good of being," than if millions had been bequeathed to them, so the Oberlin children may count themselves rich in that they have inherited the spirit of faithful service and sacrifice that inspired the Oberlin fathers. May they continue to make good use of their inheritance, and living lives "hid with Christ in God," be filled with the power of godliness.
BY REV. WM. H. RYDER, '66
THERE is no characteristic of Oberlin life and Oberlin teaching which has been more faithfully cultivated and more steadfastly inculcated than the spirit of entire frankness and truthfulness. Since Mr. Shipherd and Mr. Stewart began to confer with one another upon this great enterprise to which they had laid their hands until this fiftieth anniversary, every resident and every student and every professor has encouraged all who have come under his influence to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No superiority in age or attainment, in learning or in character, has freed the wisest and the oldest from the plain and simple criticism of the youngest and the simplest.
Carrying out this spirit, following the instruction which I received in the school, I am compelled to begin by revealing a fault in one of my most esteemed instructors. I have no doubt that Professor Ellis, like all the great men who have been connected with this school. believes in "The Simplicity of Moral Action," and teaches the doctrine; and yet I have found in some of his acts during these last few weeks some measure of complexity, which I must explain to you. In a Communication received from him some weeks since, I was asked if I would speak upon the subject which now stands opposite my name; and this letter intimated that the whole broad field would be open to me. I have since learned, however, that under Professor Ellis' potent influence, President Fair child was at that very time writing a book of nearly four hundred pages upon my subject. You have all read that book. I come here to find my thunder stolen, my occupation gone! "For what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already done."
I have thought that I might in part escape this embarrassment by a free interpretation of my subject, confining my thought to the colony and village as distinct from the College. But I have met in that effort with even a more serious embarrassment; for there never was a colony, there never has been a village, here distinct from the College. If a man were called to speak upon the town of Cambridge and of its relations with Harvard College, upon the town of New Haven and the connection which it holds with Yale College, upon the city of Ann Arbor and the connection between that and Michigan University, he would have a theme at once. In such case the town has a life distinct from that of the school and precedinging it. If there has been no conflict between town and gown, there has been a plain line of demarkation , so that one could say, "There is the town, and there is the college." But this has never been true here. When, on the 19th of April, 1833, Deacon Pease unyoked his oxen under yonder elm the college had come. Nothing else ever has come in all these years. No man ever came here except because the college was here. What else has attracted men? Have they come to build docks on the banks of Plum Creek? Have they come to invest capital in the development and use of the water-power of this classic stream? Has commerce attempted to make this a place for distributing supplies over the country? Have men come here to retire from business and breathe this cool, salubrious air, and gaze upon the magnificent scenery? No. Every man has come because the college was here, and has come to take part in the college work. Why, even those who have come to plant what you call here "drug stores" have come for that very reason; and it is possible that it is the classic influence of the college which has given them here this euphonious name.
We have often marked parallels between the founders of Oberlin and the Pilgrim Fathers. They were men of the same devotion, men of the same underlying principles, the same simplicity and humility and courage and devoted self-denial. In minuter matters we might find parallels . Each of them had its covenant, and each found it necessary soon to put that covenant in the background. The Pilgrim Fathers came through sea and flood; the fathers of Oberlin came through water and mire.
We might ask, with the poet, of these Oberlin fathers: "What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas, the spoil of war?"
But we could not answer as the poet answers concerning the Pilgrim Fathers. They did not come here to find "a faith's pure shrine." They had that already. Mr. Shipherd was the beloved pastor of a useful church, and left it with the regret of his people. He had the same freedom in Elyria which he had in these forests. Deacon Pease could worship with as much freedom in Brownhelm as he could under yonder classic elm. They came simply to found a college, and as a community to minister to its interests.
The college was Oberlin, and Oberlin was the college. Deacon Pease and Deacon Turner, with handsaw and jackplane, were as important to the college as Dr. Dascomb with his retort and blow- pipe. Deacon Hamilton and Deacon Crosby and Deacon Wheat, with axe and plow, were as essential to the school as Professor Waldo and Professor Hudson, delving among Greek roots and teaching the young ideas how to shoot. A log chain was as important to the college as the chain of logic; and the "sincere milk and strong meat of the word" would never have done good if there had not been other meat and other milk furnished those who gathered here. Deacon Burrill, with his meat wagon traversing these streets, and the men who pastured and milked the cows upon this campus, were serving the college just as faithfully as those who preached in the churches and taught in the class-rooms. Mr. Stewart's and Brewster Petlon's boarding-houses filled their place in college work. These good men, the colonists, were part and parcel of the school. Their hearts and hands were in it. Their names do not all appear in our Triennial Catalogue, but their life flowed in here. They made the school what it is. It could not have been without them. It could never have been what it is to-day if they had not been what they were-devout, heroic, self-denying, conscientious men and women. They were not all learned men. None of them, perhaps, were geniuses as the world reckons genius. But they were faithful to their calling, able to appreciate sound learning and conserve it.
These pioneers have been followed in regular apostolic succession-there has never been a break in that succession-by men and women of the same spirit and the same purpose. The glorious company of farmers and mechanics and tradesmen; the blessed succession of boarding-house keepers, men and women. Their boarders rise up and call them blessed! I do not say that their steaks were always tender and juicy. They fed "men of full age," and gave them sometimes the "strong meat." Their tea may sometimes have been too white and their milk too blue. They may not have distributing covered how to set a table as we expect to find it at a summer watering-place, at fifty cents a week. But they made Oberlin College a possibility. They made Oberlin College the great success which it has been. I think Mr. Stewart succeeded in his effort to discover the least that a man can eat and continue to live and work and study. But he did not discover the way by which men can study without eating anything. He had no ambition in that direction. There never was a spark of that asceticism which despises the body. They said in their covenant that they would eat plain food, but it was to be wholesome food. They were to dress simply, but they were to dress comfortably. They were to live in plain houses, but not in dirty houses. Their self-control-you may call it asceticism if you please-was not from con tempt of the body; it was from respect for it as the temple of the Holy Ghost. If any erred in the extreme of sacrificing bodily wants, it was from a mistake in the use of means; it was not from a false idea of the unworthiness of the flesh. or its distributing harmony with spiritual demands. "The sound mind in the sound body" was their motto. It is remarkable that in those days, when belief in the duty of fasting was universal, there was no extreme in this respect.
The daughter of Deacon Pease informs me that upon the door of the first cabin that was built in the shade of that historic elm, these words were written: " Present your bodies a living sacrifice." Not a dead, but a living sacrifice-that was the principle.
Mr. Finney used to rebuke his congregation sometimes for eating too much dinner. I have heard him on a hot summer afternoon, his eagle eye dimmed with tears and his trumpet voice choked with sobs, exhort in this way: "Oh, brethren, how can I preach the gospel to you, how can the Holy Spirit work in your hearts when you come here at half-past 2 o'clock, and nod over your pudding and milk?" It is easy to see how that eye would have flashed in stern indignation, and that voice thundered in reproof, if, from ascetic notions, the people had gathered there without eating any dinner.
With this necessity recognized and accepted, we must acknowledge the work of the colonists and villagers as only a part of the work of the college. They all belonged to the school. They were all pupils in the school. The class rooms, we are told, were crowded with residents in those early days. The interest in philosophy and theology pervaded the whole colony. The colonists were members of the literary societies. They were all taught in the churches, not only because the professors preached, but because they preached philosophy and theology. There were no weak exhortations without foundation in these churches. Mature men grew wise under that kind of teaching. President Mahan, Professor Finney, and Professor Morgan did not discourse to a company of callow youths and thoughtless boys and girls. They spoke to men and women of New England training, of sinewy mind, wrestling with what was then the new theology. They
Of providence, foreknowledge, will and fate-
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute."
They were all teachers, too-Deacon Pease, Deacon Burrill, and all the rest of the deacons, (They were all deacons, I believe.) They were not, to be sure, enrolled as professors, but, after all, they were teachers in the school.
God has cast my lot in these later days in the shadow of another great school in this boundless West-a school of marvelous growth and almost unlimited influence. Some of us who are interested in that school, recognizing this power, feel that there ought to be a new professorship endowed by Christian churches in that university. Its incumbent might be called, for short, the Professor of Religion in Michigan University. That is, his province should he to lecture upon the fundamental truths of religion-to give instructions in the languages, literature, history and principles of criticism of the Christian Scriptures; a man of superior power, the acknowledged peer of any other man in the university. Ideas grow fast in the fertile soil of Michigan, and we may have such a man there soon.
President Fairchild says in his book upon my subject, that sinners began to come here very early. But the colonists without exception, and the great mass of those who have followed them even to this day, have been professors of religion. By that I do not mean that they professed to be religious simply, but that they taught religion- that they came here for that purpose. They have not drawn any salary; they have never asked that their names might be enrolled in the catalogues, but they have been prosecuting that work here.
That heresy, as false to sound learning as it is to true religion, that education consists simply in the mastery of a certain modicum of knowledge, and of a certain dexterity of thinking and speaking, had never cast its shadow over the minds of these colonists. They believed that education pertained to the whole man, and that it pertained especially to the heart and soul and character- that an educated man was a complete man. They never believed in building an arch and leaving out the keystone. With that conception of religion, each man felt it his duty to illustrate religion, to teach its principles. They did not organize an army in which all were to he captains, quite, but they did organize a school, a town-a village school-a college town, in which all were to be students and all professors.
That is the ideal of Oberlin. That is the mission of Oberlin. If Oberlin is true to that conception of the founders, to that vision seen in the mount, then Oberlin has a future as well as a past. Not a more glorious future, perhaps; that may not be possible. The glory of the Apostles will never be outshone in the history of the Christian Church. There never will be more illustrious citizens of this land than those who laid its foundations on Plymouth Rock; there never will be more glorious men in Oberlin than John Shipherd, Philo Stewart, Peter Pease, Asa Mahan, Charles Finney, and John Morgan. But if Oberlin will be true to its past it shall have a future worthy of the past. Its borders will be enlarged, its streets and its homes will grow more beautiful, its public buildings more numerous and spacious and elegant, its faculties will be larger, their learning broader, and more profound, and increasing troops of young men and maidens will gather here to sit under the instructions, and imbibe the spirit of the place. The light of truth shall shine from this place, and the joy of salvation shall flow to the ends of the earth. Not only will the wise men of the earth look here for increase of wisdom, hut better still the poor, the ignorant, the tempted of our whole land, and of every land, will continue to turn their eyes here for light and hope and salvation.
And now, my good friends, my former neighhors and townsmen-for I speak to you and in your behalf to-day - I think that I have proved my proposition, not only that my subject was taken from me, but that no subject was ever given me; that a theme which seems to imply that there was ever a colony or a town here as distinct from a college-that there were ever colonists or citizens who were neither students nor teachers in the college-is an empty and unmeaning phrase. This has been true for fifty years. It depends on you to say whether it shall be true in the future, or whether there shall be two Oberlins of diverging or conflicting interests. Recognize your duty and magnify your office, and the God of the fathers will be your God, and the glorious past will prove to be but the early dawning of a brighter and more blessed future.
LETTER FROM MR. THEODORE D. WELD
HYDE PARK, Mass.
June 26, 1883.
DEAR FRIENDS: My heartiest thanks! You invite me to Oberlin's half-century jubilee. A grand jubilee to me it would be, could I be there. Yet, though bodily fast tied here, I shall still hear your jubilee trump as it rings out the old half-century, and in the same key rings in the new.
Before Oberlin was, I well knew its founders, and the sacred purpose to live for others that fired their souls. That purpose founded Oberlin, and baptized it with the Spirit of Him who washed his disciples' feet. When it was hardly two years old, not yet quite out of its forest bivouac, I was there awhile. Teachers, pupils, and villagers, in all perhaps three hundred, were hand, heart and soul Abolitionists and teetotalers to a man (I need not say to a woman.)
The thrill of that great heart-beat that I felt through Oberlin then has pulsated far and wide through millions since.
It swung wide open its doors, and with heartiest welcome beckoned into its halls, irrespective of sex or color.
Blessings on Oberlin! that so long ago broke the path and led the way for feeble feet to follow, and through those long years, which tried men's souls, steered first and alone through night and storm.
May the Oberlin of the future wear worthily the mantle of its memorable past.
All honor to the first and bravest educational pioneer out of the darkness into light.
I am, dear friends, with kind salutations,
THEODORE D. WELD.
To Messrs. SMITH, FROST, and MARCH, and Mrs. JOHNSTON, committee for the Oberlin Semi-Centennial.