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Title: Advice to young men and boys: A series of addresses delivered by B. B. Comegys to the pupils of Girard College
Author: Comegys, B. B.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Advice to young men and boys: A series of addresses delivered by B. B. Comegys to the pupils of Girard College" ***
BOYS ***

                          YOUNG MEN AND BOYS

                   [Illustration: _Stephen Girard._]

                          YOUNG MEN AND BOYS

                        _A SERIES OF ADDRESSES_

                      DELIVERED BY B. B. COMEGYS


                           ILLUSTRATED WITH
                  Six Photogravure Portraits on Steel

                       GEBBIE & CO., Publishers

                        Copyright by
                             GEBBIE & CO.,


In January, 1882, I was appointed by the Judges of the Courts of Common
Pleas of Philadelphia to the Board of Directors of City Trusts, which
has charge of Girard College, having for some years previously, by the
kind partiality of President Allen, been on the staff of speakers in
the Chapel on Sundays. My interest in the Pupils was of course at once
increased, and ever since I have given much time and thought to the
moral instruction of the boys.

From the many Addresses made to them I have selected the following
as fair specimens of the instruction I have sought to impart. Some
repetitions of thought and language may be accounted for by the lapse
of time between the giving of the Addresses, not forgetting the
well-known Hebrew proverb, “Line upon line――precept upon precept――here
a little――there a little.”

The word “Orphans” as used in the will of Mr. Girard has been defined
by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to mean boys who are fatherless.

The book is published in the hope that it may be the means of helping
some boys and young men other than those to whom the Addresses were

    4205 WALNUT ST.,
        _November, 1889._



 HOW TO WIN SUCCESS                                   “  25


 ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM WELSH                        “  51

 BAD ASSOCIATES                                       “  59

 ON THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT GARFIELD                   “  69


 WILLIAM PENN                                         “  99

 OUR CONSTITUTION                                     “ 113

 JAMES LAWRENCE CLAGHORN                              “ 129

 THE LEAF TURNED OVER                                 “ 143

 THANKSGIVING DAY. (November 29, 1888)                “ 155

 ON THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT ALLEN                      “ 169

 A YOUNG MAN’S MESSAGE TO BOYS                        “ 179

 A TRUTHFUL CHARACTER                                 “ 188


 STEPHEN GIRARD      _Frontispiece._

 B. B. COMEGYS                  PAGE 25

 WILLIAM WELSH                    “  51

 JAMES A. GARFIELD                “  69


 PROFESSOR W. H. ALLEN            “ 169



[A] This introduction is taken by permission from “The Life and
Character of Stephen Girard, by Henry Atlee Ingram, LL. B.”

Stephen Girard, who calls himself in his will “mariner and merchant,”
was born near the city of Bordeaux, France, on May 20, 1750. At the age
of twenty-six he settled in Philadelphia, having his counting-house
on Water street, above Market. He was a man of great industry and
frugality, and lived comfortably, as the merchants of that day lived,
in the dwelling of which his counting-house formed a part. He was
married and had one child, but the death of his wife was followed
soon by the death of his child, and he never married again. He lived
to the age of eighty-one and accumulated what was considered at the
time of his death a vast estate, more than seven millions of dollars.
One hundred and forty thousand dollars of this was bequeathed to
members of his family, sixty-five thousand as a principal sum for
the payment of annuities to certain friends and former employés, one
hundred and sixteen thousand to various Philadelphia charities, five
hundred thousand to the city of Philadelphia for the improvement of
its water front on the Delaware, three hundred thousand to the State
of Pennsylvania for the prosecution of internal improvements, and an
indefinite sum in various legacies to his apprentices, to sea-captains
who should bring his vessels in their charge safely to port, and to his
house servants. The remainder of his estate he devised in trust to the
city of Philadelphia for the following purposes: (1) To erect, improve
and maintain a college for poor white orphan boys; (2) to establish a
better police system, and (3) to improve the city of Philadelphia and
diminish taxation.

The sum of two millions of dollars was set apart by his will for
the construction of the college, and as soon as was practicable the
executors appropriated certain securities for the purpose, the actual
outlay for erection and finishing of the edifice being one million nine
hundred and thirty-three thousand eight hundred and twenty-one dollars
and seventy-eight cents ($1,933,821.78). Excavation was commenced May
6, 1833, the corner-stone being laid with ceremonies on the Fourth
of July following, and the completed buildings were transferred to
the Board of Directors on the 13th of November, 1847. There was thus
occupied in construction a period of fourteen years and six months, the
work being somewhat delayed by reason of suits brought by the heirs of
Girard against the city of Philadelphia to recover the estate. The
design adopted was substantially that furnished by Thomas U. Walters,
an architect elected by the Board of Directors. Some modifications were
rendered advisable by the change of site directed in the second codicil
of Girard’s will, the original purpose having been to occupy the square
bounded by Eleventh, Chestnut, Twelfth and Market streets, in the heart
of the city of Philadelphia. But Girard having, subsequently to the
first draft of his will, purchased for thirty-five thousand dollars the
William Parker farm of forty-five acres, on the Ridge Road, known as
the “Peel Hall Estate,” he directed that the site of his college should
be transferred to that place, and commenced the erection of stores and
dwellings upon the former plot of ground, which dwellings and stores
form part of his residuary estate.

The college proper closely resembles in design a Greek temple. It is
built of marble, which was chiefly obtained from quarries in Montgomery
and Chester counties, Pennsylvania, and at Egremont, Massachusetts.

The building is three stories in height, the first and second being
twenty-five feet from floor to floor, and the third thirty feet in the
clear to the eye of the dome, the doors of entrance being in the north
and south fronts and measuring sixteen feet in width and thirty-two
in height. The walls of the cella are four feet in thickness, and are
pierced on each flank by twenty windows. At each end of the building
is a vestibule, extending across the whole width of the cella, the
ceilings of which are supported on each floor by eight columns, whose
shafts are composed of a single stone. Those on the first floor are
Ionic, after the temple on the Ilissus, at Athens; on the second, a
modified Corinthian, after the Tower of Andronicus Cyrrhestes, also at
Athens; and on the third, a similar modification of the Corinthian,
somewhat lighter and more ornate.

The auxiliary buildings include a chapel of white marble, dormitories,
offices and laundries. A new refectory, containing improved ranges
and steam cooking apparatus, has recently been added, the dining-hall
of which will seat with ease more than one thousand persons. Two
bathing-pools are in the western portion of the grounds, and others
in basements of buildings. The houses are heated by steam and lighted
by gas obtained from the city works. Thirty-five electric lights from
seven towers one hundred and twenty-five feet high illuminate the
grounds and the neighboring streets. A wall sixteen inches in thickness
and ten feet in height, strengthened by spur piers on the inside and
capped with marble coping, surrounds the whole estate, its length
being six thousand eight hundred and forty-three feet, or somewhat
more than one and one-quarter miles. It is pierced on the southern
side, immediately facing the south front of the main building, for the
chief entrance, this last being flanked by two octagonal white marble
lodges, between which stretches an ornamental wrought-iron grille, with
wrought-iron gates, the whole forming an approach in keeping with the
large simplicity of the college itself.

The site upon which the college is erected corresponds well with
its splendor and importance. It is elevated considerably above the
general level of the surrounding buildings and forms a conspicuous
object, not only from the higher windows and roofs in every part of
Philadelphia, but from the Delaware river many miles below the city and
from eminences far out in the country. From the lofty marble roof the
view is also exceedingly beautiful, embracing the city and its environs
for many miles around and the course, to their confluence, eight miles
below, of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.

The history of the institution commences shortly after the decease of
Girard, when the Councils of Philadelphia, acting as his trustees,
elected a Board of Directors, which organized on the 18th of February,
1833, with Nicholas Biddle as chairman. A Building Committee was also
appointed by the City Councils on the 21st of the following March, in
whom was vested the immediate supervision of the construction of the
college, an office in which they continued without intermission until
the final completion of the structure.

On the 19th of July, 1836, the former body, having previously been
authorized by the Councils so to do, proceeded to elect Alexander
Dallas Bache president of the college, and instructed him to visit
various similar institutions in Europe, and purchase the necessary
books and apparatus for the school, both of which he did, making an
exhaustive report upon his return in 1838. It was then attempted to
establish schools without awaiting the completion of the main building,
but competent legal advice being unfavorable to the organization
of the institution prior to that time, the idea was abandoned, and
difficulties having meanwhile arisen between the Councils and the Board
of Directors, the ordinances creating the board and authorizing the
election of the president were repealed.

In June, 1847, a new board was appointed, to whom the building was
transferred, and on December 15, 1847, the officers of the institution
were elected, the Hon. Joel Jones, President Judge of the District
Court for the City and County of Philadelphia, being chosen as
president. On January 1, 1848, the college was opened with a class of
one hundred orphans, previously admitted, the occasion being signalized
by appropriate ceremonies. On October 1 of the same year one hundred
more were admitted, and on April 1, 1849, an additional one hundred,
since when others have been admitted as vacancies have occurred or to
swell the number as facilities have increased. The college now (1889)
contains thirteen hundred and seventy-five pupils.

On June 1, 1849, Judge Jones resigned the office of president of the
college, and on the 23d of the following November William H. Allen, LL.
D., Professor of Mental Philosophy and English Literature in Dickinson
College, was elected to fill the vacancy. He was installed January 1,
1850, but resigned December 1, 1862, and Major Richard Somers Smith, of
the United States army, was chosen to fill his place. Major Smith was
inaugurated June 24, 1863, and resigned in September, 1867, Dr. Allen
being immediately re-elected and continuing in office until his death,
on the 29th of August, 1882.

The present incumbent, Adam H. Fetterolf, Ph.D., LL. D., was elected
December 27, 1882, by the Board of City Trusts. This Board is composed
of fifteen members, three of whom――the Mayor and the Presidents of
Councils――are _ex officio_, and twelve are appointed by the Judges
of the Court of Common Pleas. Its meetings are held on the second
Wednesday of each month.

It has been determined by the courts of Pennsylvania that any child
having lost its father is properly denominated an orphan, irrespective
of whether the mother be living or not. This construction has been
adopted by the college, the requirements for admission to the
institution being prescribed by Mr. Girard’s will as follows: (1) The
orphan must be a poor white boy, between six and ten years of age, no
application for admission being received before the former age, nor
can he be admitted into the college after passing his tenth birthday,
even though the application has been made previously; (2) the mother
or next friend is required to produce the marriage certificate of the
child’s parents (or, in its absence, some other satisfactory evidence
of such marriage), and also the certificate of the physician setting
forth the time and place of birth; (3) a form of application looking to
the establishment of the child’s identity, physical condition, morals,
previous education and means of support, must be filled in, signed
and vouched for by respectable citizens. Applications are made at the
office, No. 19 South Twelfth street, Philadelphia.

A preference is given under Girard’s will to (_a_) orphans born in
the city of Philadelphia; (_b_) those born in any other part of
Pennsylvania; (_c_) those born in the city of New York; (_d_) those
born in the city of New Orleans. The preference to the orphans born
in the city of Philadelphia is defined to be strictly limited to the
old city proper, the districts subsequently consolidated into the city
having no rights in this respect over any other portion of the State.

Orphans are admitted, in the above order, strictly according to
priority of application, the mother or next friend executing an
indenture binding the orphan to the city of Philadelphia, as trustee
under Girard’s will, as an orphan to be educated and provided for by
the college. The seventh item of the will reads as follows:

“The orphans admitted into the college shall be there fed with
plain but wholesome food, clothed with plain but decent apparel (no
distinctive dress ever to be worn), and lodged in a plain but safe
manner. Due regard shall be paid to their health, and to this end their
persons and clothes shall be kept clean, and they shall have suitable
and rational exercise and recreation. They shall be instructed in the
various branches of a sound education, comprehending reading, writing,
grammar, arithmetic, geography, navigation, surveying, practical
mathematics, astronomy, natural, chemical, and experimental philosophy,
the French and Spanish languages (I do not forbid, but I do not
recommend the Greek and Latin languages), and such other learning and
science as the capacities of the several scholars may merit or warrant.
I would have them taught facts and things, rather than words or signs.
And especially, I desire, that by every proper means a pure attachment
to our republican institutions, and to the sacred rights of conscience,
as guaranteed by our happy constitutions, shall be formed and fostered
in the minds of the scholars.”

Although the orphans reside permanently in the college, they are, at
stated times, allowed to visit their friends at their houses and
to receive visits from their friends at the college. The household
is under the care of a matron, an assistant matron, prefects and
governesses, who superintend the moral and social training of the
orphans and administer the discipline of the institution when the
scholars are not in the school-rooms. The pupils are divided into
sections, for the purposes of discipline, having distinct officers,
buildings and playgrounds.

The schools are taught chiefly in the main college building, five
professors and forty eight teachers being employed in the duties of
instruction; and the course comprises a thorough English commercial
education, to which has been latterly added special schools of
technical instruction in the mechanical arts. As a large proportion of
the orphans admitted into the college have had little or no preparatory
education, the instruction commences with the alphabet.

The order of daily exercises is as follows: the pupils rise at six
o’clock; take breakfast at half-past six. Recreation until half-past
seven; then assemble in the section rooms at that hour and proceed to
the chapel for morning worship at eight. The chapel exercises consist
of singing a hymn, reading a chapter from the Old or New Testament, and
prayer, after the conclusion of which the pupils proceed to the various
school-rooms, where they remain, with a recess of fifteen minutes,
until twelve. From twelve until the dinner-hour, which is half-past
twelve, they are on the play-ground, returning there after finishing
that meal until two o’clock, the afternoon school-hour, when they
resume the school exercises, remaining without intermission until four
o’clock. At four the afternoon service in the chapel is held, after
which they are on the play-ground until six, at which hour supper is
served. The evening study hour lasts from seven to eight, or half-past
eight, varying with the age of the pupils, the same difference being
observed in their bedtimes, which are from half-past seven for the
youngest until a quarter before nine for the older boys.

On Sunday the pupils assemble in their section rooms at nine o’clock
in the morning and at two in the afternoon for reading and religious
instruction, and at half-past ten o’clock in the morning and at three
in the afternoon they attend divine worship in the chapel. Here the
exercises are similar to those held on week days, with the important
addition of an appropriate discourse adapted to the comprehension
of the pupils. The services in the chapel, whether on Sundays or on
week days, are invariably conducted by the president or other layman,
the will of the founder forbidding the entrance of clergymen of any
denomination whatsoever within the boundaries of the institution.

The discipline of the college is administered through admonition,
deprivation of recreation, and seclusion; but in extreme cases corporal
punishment may be inflicted by order of the president and in his
presence. If by reason of misconduct a pupil becomes an unfit companion
for the rest, the Will says he shall not be permitted to remain in the

The annual cost per capita of maintaining, clothing and educating each
pupil, including current repairs to buildings and furniture and the
maintenance of the grounds, is about three hundred dollars. Between the
age of fourteen and eighteen years the scholars may be indentured by
the institution, on behalf of “the city of Philadelphia,” to learn some
“art, trade, or mystery,” until their twenty-first year, consulting,
as far as is judicious, the inclination and preference of the scholar.
The master to whom an apprentice is bound agrees to furnish him with
sufficient meat, drink, apparel, washing and lodging at his own
place of residence (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties to the
indenture and so indorsed upon it); to use his best endeavors to teach
and instruct the apprentice in his “art, trade, or mystery,” and at
the expiration of the apprenticeship to furnish him with at least two
complete suits of clothes, one of which shall be new. Should, however,
a scholar not be apprenticed by the institution, he must leave the
college upon attaining the age of eighteen years. In case of death
his friends have the privilege of removing his body for interment,
otherwise his remains are placed in the college burial lot at Laurel
Hill Cemetery, near Philadelphia.

Citizens and strangers provided with a permit are allowed to visit the
college on the afternoon of every week day. Permits can be obtained
from the Mayor of Philadelphia, at his office; from a Director; at
the office of the Board of City Trusts, No. 19 South Twelfth street,
Philadelphia, or at the office of the _Public Ledger_ newspaper.
Especial courtesy is shown all foreign visitors, and particularly those
interested in educational matters.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In December, 1831, Mr. Girard was attacked by influenza, which was then
epidemic in the city. The violence of the disease greatly prostrated
him, and, pneumonia supervening, it became at once apparent that he
could not live. He had no fear of death. About a month before this
attack he had said: “When Death comes for me he will find me busy,
unless I am asleep in bed. If I thought I was going to die to-morrow I
should plant a tree, nevertheless, to-day.”

He died in the back room of his Water street mansion on December 26th,
aged eighty-one years (or nearly), and four days after he was buried in
the churchyard at the northwest corner of Sixth and Spruce streets.

For twenty years the remains reposed undisturbed where they had been
laid in the churchyard of the Holy Trinity Church; when, the Girard
College having been completed, it was resolved that the remains of the
donor should be transferred to the marble sarcophagus provided in its
vestibule. This was done with appropriate ceremonies on September 30,

Girard’s great ambition was, first, success; and this attained, the
longing of mankind to leave a shining memory merged his purpose in the
establishment of what was to him that fairest of Utopias――the simple
tradition of a citizen. A citizen whose public duties ended not with
the State, and whose benefactions were not limited to the rescue or
advancement of its interests alone, but whose charities broadened
beyond the limits of duty or the boundaries of an individual life, to
stretch over long reaches of the future, enriching thousands of poor
children in his beloved city yet unborn. His life shows clearly why he
worked, as his death showed clearly the fixed object of his labor in
acquisition. While he was forward with an apparent disregard of self,
to expose his life in behalf of others in the midst of pestilence,
to aid the internal improvements of the country, and to promote its
commercial prosperity by all the means within his power, he yet had
more ambitious designs. He wished to hand himself down to immortality
by the only mode that was practicable for a man in his position, and
he accomplished precisely that which was the grand aim of his life. He
wrote his epitaph in those extensive and magnificent blocks and squares
which adorn the streets of his adopted city, in the public works and
eleemosynary establishments of his adopted State, and erected his own
monument and embodied his own principles in a marble-roofed palace.
Yet, splendid as is the structure which stands above his remains, the
most perfect model of architecture in the New World, it yields in
beauty to the moral monument. The benefactor sleeps among the orphan
poor whom his bounty is constantly educating.

“Thus, forever present, unseen but felt, he daily stretches forth
his invisible hands to lead some friendless child from ignorance to
usefulness. And when, in the fullness of time, many homes have been
made happy, many orphans have been fed, clothed and educated, and many
men made useful to their country and themselves, each happy home or
rescued child or useful citizen will be a living monument to perpetuate
the name and embalm the memory of the ‘Mariner and Merchant.’”

                          BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                             CITY TRUSTS,

                    W. HEYWARD DRAYTON, _President,
            Ex-Officio Member of all Standing Committees_.

                    LOUIS WAGNER, _Vice-President_.

                         ALEXANDER BIDDLE,
                         JAMES CAMPBELL,
                         JOSEPH L. CAVEN,
                         BENJAMIN B. COMEGYS,
                         JOHN H. CONVERSE,
                         WILLIAM L. ELKINS,
                         WILLIAM B. MANN,
                         JOHN H. MICHENER,
                         GEORGE H. STUART,
                         RICHARD VAUX.

                  MEMBERS OF THE BOARD “EX OFFICIO:”

                       EDWIN H. FITLER, _Mayor_.
              JAMES R. GATES, _President Select Council_.
             WILLIAM M. SMITH, _President Common Council_.

                   *       *       *       *       *

    F. CARROLL BREWSTER, _Solicitor_.
        FRANK M. HIGHLEY, _Secretary_.
            JOHN S. BOYD, M.D., _Supt. Admission and Indentures_.

                   [Illustration: _B. B. Comegys._]

                          HOW TO WIN SUCCESS.

                             May 27, 1888.

I wish to speak to you to-day about some of the plainest duties of
life――of what you must be, of what you must do, if you would be good
men and succeed.

It would be strange if one who has lived as long as I have should not
have learned something worth knowing and worth telling to those who are
younger and less experienced. I have had much to do with young people
here and elsewhere, and I have seen many failures, much disappointment,
many wrecks of character, and have learned many things; and I speak to
you to-day in the hope that I may say such things as will help some
boy, at least one, to determine, while he is here this morning, to do
the best he can, each for himself, as well as for others. My remarks
are particularly appropriate to those just about to leave the college.

It is convenient for me to consider the whole subject――

    1. As to health.
    2. As to improvement of the mind.
    3. As to business or work of any kind.
    4. As to your duties to other people.
    5. As to your duty to God.

As to health. You cannot be happy without good health, and
you cannot expect to have good health unless you observe certain
conditions. You must keep your person cleanly by bathing, when that is
within reach, or by other simple methods (such as a common brush) which
are always within your reach. Be as much in the open air as possible.
This is, of course, to those whose work is within doors and sedentary,
such as that of a clerk in any shop or office. Pure, fresh air is
Nature’s own provision for the well-being of all her creatures, and is
the best of all tonics.

Be careful of your diet; for it is not good to eat food that is too
highly seasoned or too rich. Don’t be afraid of fruit in season and
when it is ripe. But don’t eat much late at night. Late hot suppers are
apt to do great harm. The plain, wholesome food provided here, accounts
for the extraordinarily good health which almost all of you enjoy.

Have nothing whatever to do with intoxicating drinks. And the only
way to be absolutely safe is not to drink even a little, or once in a
while. Don’t drink at all.

Be sure you get plenty of sleep. Be in bed not later than eleven
o’clock, and, better still, at ten. A young fellow who goes to work
at seven o’clock in the morning can’t afford to keep late hours.
Young people need more sleep than older ones, and you cannot safely
disregard this hint. Late hours are always more or less injurious,
especially when you are away from home or in the streets. Beware of the
temptations of the streets and at the theatres.

As to public entertainments or recreations in the evening, go to no
place of seeing or hearing where you would not be willing to take your
mother or sister. If you keep to this rule you are not likely to be
hurt. If you play games, avoid billiard saloons, and gambling houses,
or parties. You cannot be too careful about your recreations; let them
be simple and healthful as to mind and body, and cheap.

Have no personal habits, such as smoking, or chewing, or spitting, or
swearing, or others that are injurious to yourselves or disagreeable
to other people. All these are either injurious or disagreeable. Have
clean hands and clean clothes, not while you are at work――this is not
always possible――but when going and coming to and from work.

Always give place to women in the streets, in street-cars, or in
other places. Do not rush into street-cars first to get seats. A true
gentleman will wait until women get in before he goes. Do not sit in
street-cars, while women are standing, unless you are very, very tired.
Here is a temptation before you every day almost in our city. Hardly
anything is more trying than to see sturdy boys sitting in cars while
women are standing and holding on to straps. And yet I see this every
day. What is a boy good for, that will not stand for a few minutes, if
he can give a woman or an old man a seat?

If you are so favored as to have a few days or two weeks holiday in
summer, go to the country or to the sea-shore, if your means will
allow. The country air or sea air is better for you than almost any
other change.

Do not be extravagant in dress; but be well dressed――not, however, at
your tailor’s expense. It is the duty of all to be well dressed, but
don’t spend all your money on dress, and especially don’t buy clothing
on credit. It is particularly trying to pay for clothing when it is
nearly or quite worn out. By all means keep out of debt, for your
personal or family expenses, unless you are sure beyond any doubt that
you can very soon repay your dealer the money you owe. The difference
between ease and comfort, and distress, in money matters, is whether
you spend a little more than you make, or a little less than you make.
Don’t forget the “rainy day” that is pretty sure to come, and you must
lay up something for that day.

Very much of the crime that is committed every day (and you cannot open
a paper without seeing an account of some one who has gone wrong) is
because people will live beyond their means; will spend more than they
earn. They hope for an increase of pay, or that they will make money in
some way or other, and then when that good time does not come, and as
they can’t afford to wait for it, they take something, only borrowing
it as they say, but they take it and spend it, or pay some pressing
debt with it, and then, and then――they are caught, and sent to court,
and tried and sent to――well, you know without my telling you.

As to the mind.

You have fine opportunities for education here, but they will soon be
over, and if you leave this college without having a good knowledge
of the practical branches of study pursued here, and which Mr.
Girard especially enjoined should be taught, you will be at a great
disadvantage with other boys who are well educated. I had a letter in
my pocket a few days ago written by a Girard boy, and dated in the
Moyamensing Prison, full of bad spelling and bad grammar; and next to
the horror of knowing he was in prison, I felt ashamed, that a boy so
ignorant of the very commonest branches of English education should
have ever been within the walls of this college.

I think I have told you before of a man who employs a large number of
men, whose business amounts to perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars
in a year, who is entirely ignorant of accounts, and who a few years
ago was robbed and almost ruined by his book-keeper, and who would now
give half of what he is worth, and that is a good deal, if he could
understand book-keeping; for he is entirely dependent upon other people
to keep his accounts.

As to books, be careful what you read. How it grieves me to see errand
boys in street-cars, and sometimes as they walk in the streets, reading
such stuff as is found in the dime novels. Not merely a waste of time,
though that is bad enough, but a positive injury to the mind, filling
it with the most improbable stories, and often, also, with that which
is positively vicious. Read something better than this. Do not confine
yourselves to newspapers, and do not read police reports. Attractive
as this class of reading is, it is for the most part hurtful to the
young mind. There is an abundance of cheap and good reading, magazines
and periodicals; and books and books, good, bad, indifferent; and you
will hardly know which to choose unless you ask others who are older
than you, and who know books. Most boys read little but novels; and
there are many thoroughly good novels, humorous, and pathetic, and
historical. Don’t buy books unless you have plenty of money; for you
can get everything you want out of the public libraries; and this was
not so, or at least to this extent, when I was a boy.

As to work or business.

Set out with the determination that you will be faithful in everything.
Only last week a Girard boy called on me to help him get employment.
I asked him some questions, and he told me that he had been out of
the college five or six years, and had five or six situations. Do you
think he had been faithful in anything? If he had been, he would not
have lost place after place. When you get a place, and I hope every
one of you will have a place provided for you before you leave here,
be among the first to arrive in the morning, and be among the last to
leave at the end of the day’s work. Do not let any fascination of base
ball or anything else lead you to forget that your first duty is to
your employer. Be quick to answer every call. Don’t say to yourself,
“It is not my place to answer that call, it is the other boy’s place,”
but go yourself, if the other fellow is slow, and let it be seen that
you are ready for any work. And be very prompt to answer. Do whatever
you are told. Say “yes, sir,” “no, sir” with hearty good-will, and say
“good-morning” as if you meant it. In short, do not be slovenly in
anything you have to do; be alive, and remember all the time that no
labor is degrading.

Be sure to treat your employers with unfailing respect, and your
fellow-clerks or workers, whether superiors, inferiors or equals, with
hearty good-will.

Do not tell lies directly or indirectly, for even if your employer do
so, he will despise you for doing so. No matter if he is untruthful,
he will respect you if you tell the truth always. Do not indulge in
or listen to impure talk. No real gentleman does this, and you can
be a real gentleman even if you are poor, for you will be educated.
Make yourself indispensable to your employer; this, too, is quite
possible, and it will almost certainly insure success. Be ambitious in
the highest sense. Remember, that if not now, you will hereafter have
others dependent upon you for support or help. It is a splendid thing
for a boy to go out from this college with the determination to support
his mother; and some that I know and you know are doing this, and many
others will do it.

I pause here to say that, so far, my words have been spoken as to your
duties to the world, to yourselves. I have supposed that you boys would
rather be bosses than journeymen, that you would rather own teams than
drive them for other people, that you would rather be a contractor than
carry the pick and shovel, that you would rather be a bricklayer than
carry the hod, that you would rather be a house-builder than a shoveler
of coal into the house-builder’s cellar. Is it not so?

Now, I say that if you should do everything I tell you, and avoid
everything I have warned you against, you cannot succeed in the best
sense, you cannot become true men, such men as the city has a right to
expect you to be, unless you seek the blessing of God; for he holds all
things in his hands. “The silver and the gold are mine, and the cattle
upon a thousand hills.” If God be for us, who can be against us?

In these closing words, then, I would speak to you as to your duty to

What shall I say about this? I can hardly tell you anything that you do
not already know, so often have you been talked to about this subject.
But nothing is so important for you to be reminded of, though I fear
that to some of you hardly anything is so uninteresting. Naturally the
heart is disinclined to think of God and our duty to him. But we cannot
do without him, though many people think they can, or they act as if
they thought so. Such people are not wise; they are very foolish.

He made us, he preserves us, he cares for us with infinite love and
care, he has appointed the time for our departure from this life, and
he has prepared a better life than this for those who love him here. We
cannot afford to disregard such a being as this, for all things are in
his hands. If you will think of it, some of the best men and women you
know are believers in God, and are trying to serve him. Do you think
you can do without him?

Cultivate, then, the companionship, the friendship of those who love
and fear God, both men and women. You are safe with such; you are not
quite so sure of safety in the society of those who openly say they
can do without God. When I speak of those who fear God, I do not mean
merely professors of religion, not merely members of meeting or members
of church, but I mean people who live such lives as people ought to
live, who fear God and keep his commandments. You know there are such,
you have met with them, you will meet many more of them, and you will
meet also those who call themselves Christians, but whose lives show
that they have no true knowledge of God, who are mere formalists, mere

Become acquainted with your Bible. I mean, read it, a little of it at
least, every day. You need not read much, it is well sometimes that you
read but a little; but read it with a purpose――that is, to understand
it. The literature of the Bible as you grow older will abundantly repay
your careful and constant reading even before you reach its spiritual
treasuries. In reading a few days ago the argument of Horace Binney,
Esq., in the Girard will case, I was surprised to see how familiar Mr.
Binney was with the Bible, and he was one of the ablest lawyers that
has ever lived in our own or any other country. Yet Mr. Binney thought
it quite worth his while to read and study the Bible. Don’t you think
it is worth your while also?

Be a regular attendant at some church. I do not say what church it
shall be. That must be left to yourselves to determine, and many
circumstances will arise to aid you in your choice. But let it be
some church, and, when you become more interested in the subject than
you are now, join that church, whatever it may be, and so connect
yourselves with people who believe in and love God. If there be a
Bible class there, connect yourselves with it, and so learn to study
the Scriptures systematically.

Do not be ashamed to kneel at your bedside every night and every
morning and pray to God. You are not so likely to be ashamed if you
have a room to yourself; but you must not be ashamed to do this even if
there are others in the room with you, as will be the case with many of
you. This is a severe test, I know, but he who bears it faithfully will
already have gained a victory.

Commit to memory the fifteenth verse of the twelfth chapter of the
Gospel according to St. Luke: “Take heed and beware of covetousness,
for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he

On last Monday, Founder’s Day, there were gathered here many men,
a great company, who were trained in this college, and who, after
graduation, went out into the world to seek their fortune. It is always
a most interesting time, not only for them but for the teachers and
officers who have had charge of them.

Some of them are successful men in the highest and best sense, and have
made themselves a name and a place in the world. Bright young lawyers,
clerks, mechanics, railroad men――men representing almost all kinds of
business and occupations――came here in great numbers to celebrate the
anniversary of the birth of the Founder of this great school. It was
a grand sight. Hardly anything impresses me more. I do not know their
names; for many of them had left before I began to come here; but
from certain expressions that fell from the lips of some of them I am
persuaded that they, at least, are walking in the truth.

It would be very interesting if we could know their thoughts, and see
with what feelings they look back on their school-life. I wonder if
any of them regret that they did not make a better use of their time
while here. I wonder if any feel that they would like to become boys
again and go to school over again, being sure that, with their present
experience of life, they would set a higher value on the education of
the schools. I wonder if any feel that they would have reached higher
positions and secured a larger influence if they had been more diligent
at school. I wonder if there are any who can trace evil habits of
thought to the companions they had here. I wonder if any are aware of
evil impressions which they made on their classmates and so cast a
stain and a dark shadow on other young lives, stains never obliterated,
shadows never wholly lifted. I wonder if there are any among them who
regret that the opportunity of seeking God and finding God in their
school-days was neglected, and who have never had so favorable an
opportunity since. “If some who come back here on these commemoration
days were to tell you all their thoughts on such subjects, they would
be eloquent with a peculiar eloquence.”

I wish I could persuade you, especially you larger boys, to give most
earnest attention to the duties which lie before you every day. You
will not misunderstand me, nor be so unjust to me as to suppose that
I would interfere in the least degree with the pleasures which belong
to your time of life. I would not lessen them in the least; on the
contrary, I would encourage you, and help you in all proper recreation,
in all sports and plays. The boy who does not enjoy play is not a happy
boy, and is not very likely to make a happy man, or a useful man. But
it is quite possible, as some of you know, to enjoy in the highest
degree all healthful sports, and at the same time to be industrious
and conscientious in your studies. I am deeply concerned that the boys
in this college shall be boys of the best, the highest type; that they
“shall walk in the truth.” There are, alas, many boys who have gone
through this college, and fully equipped (as well as their teachers
could equip them), have been launched out into life and come to naught.
I do not know their names nor do you, probably, though you do not doubt
the fact.

Whatever others say, who speak to you here, I want to discharge my duty
to you as faithfully as I can. I know some of the difficulties of life,
for they have been in my path. I know some of the fierce temptations
to which boys and young men are exposed, for I have felt these assaults
in my own person. I know what it is to sin against God, for I am a
sinner; so, with my sympathies quick towards you, I come with these
plain, earnest words, and I urge you to look up to God, and ask him to
help you. He can help you, and he will, if you ask him.


                            March 12, 1885.

I propose to speak to you now of some plain and practical duties which
await you in life; and, as there are many boys here who are anxiously
looking for the time when they will leave the college to make their way
in the world, some of whom will probably have left the college before
I come again, I speak more especially to them. And my first words are
words of congratulation, and for these reasons:

1. _Because you are young._ And this means very much. You have an
enormous advantage over people that are your seniors. Other things
being equal, you will live longer, and I assume that “life is worth
living.” Then you have the advantage of profiting by the mistakes
committed by those who precede you, and if you are not blind, you can
avail yourselves of the successes they have achieved.

You have the freshness, the zest of youth. You are full of courage and
endurance. You can grapple with difficult subjects and with a strong
hand. And if you blunder, you have time to recover yourselves and
start anew. In short, life is before you, and you look forward with the
inspiration of hope, and it may be, also, of determination.

2. I congratulate you also _because you are poor_. You have your own
way to make in the world. You know already that if you achieve success,
it must be because you exert yourselves to the very utmost. Indeed, you
must depend upon yourselves, and this means that you must do everything
in your power that is right to do, to help yourselves.

You must understand that there is no royal road to _success_, any more
than there is to _learning_, and that there is no time to trifle.
If you were rich men’s sons, these remarks would have no special
pertinence, or importance.

My congratulations are quite in order also because very many, if not
_most_ of the high places in our country, are held by those who once
were poor lads.

Should you turn upon me and say, “Why, then, if one is to be
congratulated on his poverty, do fathers toil early and late, denying
themselves needed recreation, not ceasing when they have accumulated
a good estate, almost selling their souls to become millionaires――why
do they so much dread to leave their sons to struggle for a living?”
More than one answer might be given to these questions. Some fathers
have so little faith in God’s providence that they forget his goodness,
which _now_ takes care of their families through the instrumentality
of parents; and who can continue that care through other means, just
as well, when the parents are gone; but high authority says that “they
who will be rich, fall into temptations and snares,” one of which is
that the race for riches unfits the racer for all other pursuits and
amusements, and he can’t stop his course, he can’t change his habits,
he has no other mental resources――he must work or perish.

Do not, then, let the fact that you are _poor_ discourage you in the
least――it is rather an advantage.

3. But again I congratulate you, because _your lot is cast in America_.
Do not smile at this. I am not on the point of flying the American
eagle, nor of raising the stars and stripes. It _is_, however, a good
thing to have been born in this country. For in all important respects
it is the most favored of all lands. It is the fashion with certain
people to disparage our government and its institutions; and one must
admit that in some particulars there might be improvement, and will
be some day; but, notwithstanding these defects, it is unquestionably
true that it is the best government on earth. Is there any country
where a poor young man has opportunities as good as he has here, to
get on in life? Is there any obstacle or hindrance whatever, outside
of himself, in the way of his success? If a young man has good health
of mind and body, and a fair English education and good manners, and
will be honest and industrious, is he not much more certain to attain
success, in one way or another, in this country than anywhere else?
You know he is. Why? Because of our equal rights under the law. There
is no caste here, that curse of monarchies. There is no aristocracy in
sentiment or in power, no House of Lords, no established church, no law
of primogeniture. One man is as good as another under the law as long
as he behaves himself.

If you want further evidence, only look for a moment at the condition
of the seething, surging masses of Europe, and the continual
apprehensions of a general war. Before this year 1885 has run its
course the United States may be almost the only country among the great
powers that is not involved in war.

And if still further illustration were needed, let me point to that
most extraordinary scene enacted in Washington some weeks ago.

A great political party, which has held control of this government
nearly a quarter of a century, and which has exercised almost unlimited
power, yields most quietly and gracefully all high places, all dignity,
all honor and patronage, to the will of the people who have chosen a
new administration. And everybody regards it as a matter of course.

Was such a thing ever known before? And could such a thing occur
anywhere else among the nations?

Once more, I congratulate you _because you live in Philadelphia_. Ah,
now we come to a most interesting point. Most of you were born here,
and you come to this by inheritance. This is the best of all large
cities. More to be desired as a place to live in than Washington, the
seat of government, the most beautiful of all American cities, or New
York, with its vast commerce and enormous wealth, or Boston, with its
boasted intellectual society.

They may call us the “_Quaker City_,” or the “_worst paved city_,” or
the “_slow city_,” or the “city of rows of houses exactly alike;” but
these houses are the homes of separate families, and in a very large
degree are occupied by their owners, and you cannot say as much of any
other city in the world. Although there are doubtless many instances
in the oldest part of the city, and among the improvident poor, where
more than one family will be found in the same house, yet these are
the exceptions and not the rule; and so far as I know there is not one
“tenement house” in this great city that was built for the purpose of
accommodating several families at the same time. I need not point you
to New York and Boston, where the great apartment houses, with their
twelve and fourteen stories of flats for rich and well-to-do people
prevail, utterly destroying that most cherished domestic life of which
we have been so proud, and introducing the life of European cities,
with its demoralizing associations and results; nor shall I describe
the awful tenement houses in those two cities, where the poor are
crowded like animals in a cattle-train, suffering as the poor dumb
creatures do, for want of air, and water, and space, and everything
else that makes life desirable.

Of all cities on the face of the earth, Philadelphia is the most
desirable for the young man who must make his own way in the world....

And having shown you how favorable are the conditions which are
about you, the next point is, What will you do when you set out for

All of you are _expecting_ when you leave school to be employed by
somebody, or engaged in some business. And I suppose you may be looking
to me to give you some hints how to take care of yourselves, or how to
behave in such relations.

I will try to do so plainly and faithfully.

I cannot absolutely promise you success. Indeed, it would be necessary
first to define the word. And there are several definitions that might
be given. One of the shortest and best would be in these words, “A life
well spent.” That’s success. And this definition shall be my model.

Work hard, then, at your lessons. Let your ambition be, not to get
through quickly, not to go over much ground in text-books, but to
master thoroughly everything before you. If you knew how little
thorough instruction there is, you would thank me for this. There are
so many half-educated people from schools and colleges that one cannot
help believing that the terms of graduation are very easy. There have
been, and are now, graduates of colleges who cannot add up a long
column of figures correctly, nor do an example in simple proportion,
nor write a letter of four pages of note paper without mistakes of
grammar and spelling and punctuation, to say nothing of perspicuity and
unity and general good taste.

It is quite surprising to find how helpless some young men are in the
simple matter of writing letters; an art with which, in these days of
cheap postage and cheap stationery, almost everybody has something
to do. If you doubt this let me ask you to try to-morrow to write a
note of twenty lines on any subject whatever, off-hand, and submit it
for criticism to your teacher. Do you wonder, then, that an employer
calling one of his young men, and directing him to write a letter to
one of his correspondents, saying such and such things, and bring it to
him for his signature, is surprised and grieved to see that the letter
is in such shape that he cannot sign it and let it go out of his office?

It is very true that letter-writing is not the chief business of life,
not the only thing of importance in a counting-house, but it is an
elegant accomplishment, and most desirable of attainment.

Let me say some words about shorthand writing. In this day of push and
drive and hurry, when so many things must be done at once, there is
an increasing demand for shorthand writers. In fact, business as now
conducted cannot afford to do without this help. It often occurs that
a principal in a business house cannot take the time to write long
letters. Why should he? It does not pay to have one that is occupied in
governing and controlling great interests, or in the receipt of a large
salary, tied to a desk writing letters, or reports, or statements of
any kind. He must _talk off_ these things; and he must be an educated
man, whose mind is so disciplined to terse and accurate expression
that his dictation may almost be taken to be final. He wants a clerk
who can take down his words with literal accuracy, and who will be
able to correct any errors that may have been spoken, and submit the
complete paper to his chief for his signature. The demand for this
kind of service is increasing every day, and some of you now listening
to me will be so employed. See that you are ready for it when your
opportunity comes.

If you get to be a clerk in a railroad office, or in an insurance
company, or in a store, or in a bank, devote yourself to your
particular duties, whatever they may be. And don’t be too particular as
to what kind of work it is that falls to your lot. It may be work that
you think belongs to the porter; no matter if it is, do it, and do it
as well as the porter can, or even better.

Let none of you, therefore, think that anything you are likely to be
called upon to do is beneath you. Do it, and do it in the best manner,
and you may not have to do it for a long time.

Make yourself indispensable to your employer. You can do that; it
is quite within your power, and it may be that you may get to be an
employer yourself; indeed it is more than probable; but you must work
for it.

If you get to be a book-keeper in any counting-house or public
institution, remember that you are in a position of trust and
responsibility. When you make errors do not erase the error; draw faint
red or black lines through it and write correct characters over the
error. Do not hide your errors of any kind. Do not misstate anything
in language or figures. Everybody makes errors at some time or other,
but everybody does not admit and apologize for them. The honest man is
he who _does_ admit and apologize, and does so without waiting to be

There have been of late some deplorable instances of betrayal of trust
in our city. I may as well call it by its right name, stealing. The
culprits are now suffering in prison the penalty for their crimes.
While I am speaking to you there are men, young and _not_ young, in our
city who are _now_ stealing, and who are falsifying their books in the
vain hope that it may be kept secret; who are dreading the day when
they will be caught; who cannot afford to take a holiday; who cannot
afford to be sick, lest absence for a single day may disclose their
guilt. What a horrible state of mind! They will go to their desks or
their offices to-morrow morning, not knowing but it may be their last
day in that place.

And the day will come, most surely, when _you_ will be tempted as
these wretched ones have been tempted. In what shape the temptation
may come, or when, no human being knows. The suggestion will be made,
that by the use of a little money you may make a good deal; that the
venture is perfectly safe; some one tells you so, and points to this
one or that one who has tried it and made money. It is only a little
thing; you can’t lose much; you _may_ make enough to pay for the cost
of your summer holiday, or for your cigar bill, or your beer bill; or
you will be able to smoke better cigars or drink better beer, or buy a
gold watch, or a diamond ring, or anything else; _you can’t lose much_.
You have no money of your own, it is true, but what is needed will not
be missed if you take it out of the drawer. Shall you do it? No! Let
nothing induce you to take the first dollar not your own. It is the
_first_ step that counts.

But suppose you don’t care for this warning, or forget it. Suppose the
time comes when you find that you _have_ taken something that was not
yours, and that it is lost, and that you cannot repay it, what then?
Why, go at once to your employer; tell him the whole story; keep back
nothing; throw yourself upon his mercy, and ask forgiveness. Better now
than later. You will assuredly be caught. There is no possibility of
continuous concealment. Tell it now before you are detected, and, if
you must be disgraced, the sooner the better.

Am I too earnest about this? Am I saying too much? Oh, boys, young
men, if you knew the frightful danger that you may be in some day, the
subtle temptations that will beset you, the many instances of weakness
about you, the shipwrecks of character, the utter ruin that comes to
sisters and to innocent wives and children by the crimes of brothers,
husbands and fathers, as we who are older know, you would not wonder
that I speak as I do.

Every case of breach of trust, every defalcation, weakens confidence
in human character. For every such instance of wrong-doing is a stab
at _your_ integrity if you are in a position of trust. Men of the
fairest reputation, men who are trusted implicitly by their employers,
men who are hedged about by the sacredness of domestic ties, on whom
the happiness of helpless wives and innocent children depend, men who
claim to be religious, go astray, step by step, little by little;
they defraud, steal, lie, try to cover up their tracks, cannot do it
long, are caught, tried, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned. Then
the question may be asked about you or me: “How do we know that Mr.
So-and-So is any better than those who have fallen?” Don’t you see
that these culprits are enemies of the public confidence, enemies of
society, _your_ enemies and _mine_?

If the names of those who are now serving out their sentences in
the public prisons for stealing, not petty theft, but stealing and
defrauding in larger sums, could be published in to-morrow morning’s
papers, what a sad record it would be of dishonored names and blighted
lives and ruined homes, and how the memory would recall some whom we
knew in early youth, the pride of their parents, or the idol of fond
wives and lovely children; and we should turn away with sickening
horror from the record! But, if there should appear in the same papers
the names of those who are _now engaged in stealing and defrauding_
and _falsifying entries_, who are not yet caught, but who may, before
this year is out, be caught and convicted and punished, what a horrible
revelation _that_ would be!

                   *       *       *       *       *

I close abruptly, for I cannot keep you longer.

But do not think that it is for your future in _this_ life only that
I am concerned. Life does not end here, though it may seem to do so.
Our life in this world is a mere _beginning_ of existence. It is the
_future_, the _endless_ life before us, that we should prepare for; and
no preparation is worth the name except that of a pure, an upright and
honorable life, that depends for its support on the love and the fear
of God. You must accept him as your Father, you must honor him and obey
him, and so consecrating your young lives to his service, trust him to
care for you with his infinite love and care.

                   [Illustration: _William Welsh._]

                    ON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM WELSH,
            _First President of the Board of City Trusts_.

                          February 22, 1878.

When I spoke to you last from this desk I tried to persuade you to
adopt the thought so aptly set forth by one of the old Hebrew kings,
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. I little
thought then that Mr. Welsh, who was one of the most conspicuous
examples of working with all his might, and so much of whose work was
done for you, whom you so often saw standing where I now stand, I
little thought that his work on earth was so nearly done. Last Sunday
he addressed you here. One, two, three services he conducted for the
boys of this college, one in the infirmary, one in the refectory
for the new boys, and one in this chapel. I venture to say from my
knowledge of his method of doing things that these services were all
conducted in the best manner possible to him; that he did not spare
his strength; that there was nothing weak or undecided in his acts or
speech, but that he took hold of his subject with a firm grasp, and
did not let go until the service was finished. It is very natural
that we should desire to know as much as we can about a life that
has come so close to us as the life of Mr. Welsh, and to learn, if
we may, what it was that made him the man that he was. The thousands
of people that gathered in and about St. Luke’s Church on the day of
the funeral, as many of you saw; the very large number of citizens
of the highest distinction who united in the solemn services; the
profound interest manifested everywhere among all classes of society;
the closing of places of business at the hour of these services; the
flags at half-mast, all these circumstances, so unusual, so impressive,
assured us that no common man had gone from among us. What was it that
made him no common man? What was there in his life and character that
lifted him above the ordinarily successful merchant? In other places,
and by those most competent to speak, will the complete picture of
his life be drawn, but what was there in his life which particularly
interests you college boys? It will surprise you probably when I tell
you that his early education――the education of the schools――was very
limited. He was not a college-bred man. At a very early age (as early
as fourteen, I believe) he left school and went into his father’s
store. You know that he could not have had much education at that age.
And he went into the store, not to be a gentleman clerk to sit in the
counting-house and copy letters and invoices, and do the bank business
and lounge about in fine clothing, but he went to do anything that
came to hand, rough and smooth, hard and easy, dirty and clean, for
in those days the duties of a junior clerk differed from those of a
porter only in this, that the young clerk’s work was not so heavy as
the robust porter’s. And even when he grew older and stronger he would
go down into the hold of a vessel and vie with the strong stevedore in
the shifting and placing of cargoes. And the days were long then: there
were no office hours from nine to three o’clock, but merchants and
their clerks dined near the middle of the day, and were back at their
stores, their warehouses, in the afternoon and stayed and worked until
the day was done. So this young clerk worked all day, and went home at
night tired and hungry, to rest, to sleep and to go through the next
day and the next in the same manner. But not only to rest and sleep.
The body was tired enough with the long day’s work, but the mind was
not tired. He early knew the importance of mental discipline, of mental
cultivation. He knew that a half-educated man is no match for one
thoroughly equipped, and so he set himself to the task of making up,
as far as he could, for that deficiency of systematic education which
his early withdrawal from school made him regret so much. What definite
means or methods he resorted to to accomplish this I cannot tell you,
for I have not learned; but the fact that he did very largely overcome
this most serious disadvantage is apparent to all who have ever met
him. He was a cultivated gentleman, thoroughly at ease in circles where
men must be well informed or be very uncomfortable. As the President
of this Board of Trustees, having for his associates gentlemen of the
highest professional and general culture, he was quite equal to any
exigency which ever arose. All this you must know was the result of
education, not that which was imparted to him in the schools, but that
which he acquired himself after his school life. He was careful about
his associates. Then, as now, the streets were alive with boys and
young men of more than questionable character. And the thought which
has come up in many a boy’s mind after his day’s work was done, must
have come up in his mind: “Why should I not stroll about the streets
with companions of my own age and have a good time? Why should I be
so strict while others have more freedom and enjoy themselves so much
more?” I have no doubt that he had his enjoyments, and that he was a
free, hearty boy in them all, but I cannot suppose, for his after life
gave no evidence of it, his general good health, his muscular wiry
frame forbade the thought, I cannot suppose his youthful pleasures
passed beyond that line which separates the good from the bad, the pure
from the impure. Few evils are so great as that of evil companions.

William Welsh was not afraid of work. I mean by that he was not lazy.
A large part of the failures in life are attributable to the love of
ease. We choose the soft things; we turn away from those which are
hard. We are deterred by the abstruse, the obscure; we are attracted
by the simple, the plain. A really strong character will grapple
with any subject; a weak one shrinks from a struggle. A character
naturally weak may be developed by culture and discipline into one of
real strength, but the process is very slow and very discouraging. A
life that is worth anything at all, that impresses itself on other
lives, on society, must have these struggles, this training. I do not
know minutely the characteristics of Mr. Welsh’s early life in this
particular, but I infer most emphatically that his strong character was
formed by continuous, laborious, exacting self-application.

I would now speak of that quality which is so valuable (I will not say
so rare), so conspicuously and so immeasurably important, personal
integrity. Mr. Welsh possessed this in the highest degree. He was most
emphatically an honest man. No thought of anything other than this
could ever have entered into the mind of any one who knew him. All
men knew that public or private trusts committed to him were safe.
Mistakes in judgment all are liable to, but of conscious deflection
from the right path in this respect he was incapable. His high position
as President of the Board of City Trusts, which includes, among other
large properties, the great estate left by Mr. Girard to the city of
Philadelphia, proves the confidence this community had in his personal
character. His private fortune was used as if he were a trustee. He
recognized the hand of God in his grand success as a merchant, and he
felt himself accountable to God for a proper expenditure. If he enjoyed
a generous mode of living for himself and his family――a manner of life
required by his position in the community――he more than equalized it by
his gifts to objects of benevolence. He was conscientious and liberal
(rare combination) in his benefactions, for he felt that he held his
personal property in trust.

Such are a few of the traits in the character of the man whose life
on earth was so suddenly closed on Monday last. Under Providence, by
which I mean the blessing of God, that blessing which is just as much
within your reach as his, these are some of the conditions of his
extraordinary success. His self-culture, the choice of his companions
his persistent industry, his integrity, his religion, made the man what
he was. I cannot here speak of his work in that church which he loved
so much. I do not speak with absolute certainty, but I have reason to
believe that, next to his own family, his affections were placed on
you. He could never look into your faces without having his feelings
stirred to their profoundest depths. He loved you――in the best, the
truest sense, he loved you. He was willing to give any amount of his
time, his thought, his care, to you. The time he spent in the chapel
was a very small part of the time he gave to his work for you. You were
upon his heart constantly. I do not know――no one can know――but if it be
possible for the spirits of just men made perfect to revisit the scenes
of earth――to come back and look upon those they loved so much when in
the flesh――I am sure his spirit is here to-day――this, his first Sabbath
in Heaven――looking into your faces, as he often did when he went in and
out among you, and wishing that all of you may make such use of your
grand opportunity here as will insure your success in the life which
is before you when you leave these college walls, and especially as
will insure your entering into the everlasting life. Such was his life,
full of activity, generosity, self-denial, eminently religious, in
the best sense successful. He was never at rest; his heart was always
open to human sympathy; he denied nothing except to himself. He wanted
everybody to be religious. He died in the harness; no time to take it
off; no wish to take it off. But in the front, on the advance, not in
retreat. He never turned his back on anything that was right. His eye
was not dim; his natural force was not abated. Death came so swiftly
that it seemed only stepping from one room in his Father’s house to
another. We are reminded of the beautiful words in which Mr. Thackeray
describes the death of Colonel Newcome in the hospital of the Charter
House School, after a life spent in fighting the enemies of his country
abroad, and the enemies of the good in society at home. “At the usual
evening hour the chapel bell began to toll and Thomas Newcome’s hands
outside the bed feebly beat time. And just as the last bell struck,
a peculiar sweet smile shone over his face. He lifted up his head a
little and quickly said _Adsum_, and fell back. It was the word they
used at school when names were called, and lo, he, whose heart was
as that of a little child, had answered to his name and stood in the
presence of ‘The Master.’”

                            BAD ASSOCIATES.

                          November 11, 1888.

I wish to speak to you to-day about the danger of evil company, a
danger to which you will necessarily be exposed when you go out from
this college to make your way in life.

The desire for companionship sometimes leads people, and especially
young people, into bad company. A boy finds himself associated with a
schoolmate, a fellow-apprentice or fellow-clerk, who is attractive in
manners, full of fun, but who is not what he ought to be in character.

No one is entirely bad; almost all persons old or young have some
points that are not repulsive, and sometimes the very bad are
attractive in some respects. A comparatively innocent boy is thrown
into such company, and, at first, he sees nothing in the conduct of his
new friends which is particularly out of the way. The conversation is
somewhat guarded, the jokes and stories are not specially bad, and, for
a time, nothing occurs to shock his feelings; but, after a while, the
mask is thrown off and the true character is revealed. Then very soon
the mind of the pure, innocent boy receives impressions that corrupt
and defile it. All that is polluting in talk and story and song is
poured out. Books and papers, so vile that it is a breach of law to
sell them, are read and quoted without bringing a blush to the cheek,
and, before his parents are aware of the danger, the mind and heart of
their son are so polluted and depraved that no human power can save him.

I very well remember a boy older than myself who, early in life, gave
himself up to vile company and vile books and vile habits, and who,
long ago――almost as soon as he reached an early manhood――sunk, under
the weight of his sinful habits, into a dishonored grave, but not until
he had defiled and depraved many a boy who came under his influence.
Better would it have been for his companions if their daily walks and
playgrounds had been infested with venomous serpents, to bite and sting
their bare feet, than to associate with a boy whose heart was full of
all uncleanness.

It is dangerous to make such friendships. Circumstances may throw us
among them; the providence of God may send us there, but we ought never
to _seek_ such company, except for good purposes. What I mean is that
we ought not to seek such associates, however agreeable they may be in
other respects, and not to remain among them except for their good.

There are wicked people in every community, of all ages. We cannot
altogether avoid contact with them. We find them among our schoolmates
and in the walks of business.

Many a young man, many a boy, has been forever ruined by evil
companions. A corrupt literature is bad enough, but evil companions are
more numerous and, if possible, more fatal. Bad books and papers have
slain their thousands; bad companions have slain their ten thousands. I
can recall the names of many who were led away, step by step, down the
broad road that leads to destruction, by companions genial, attractive,
but corrupt.

There are some companions from whom you cannot separate yourselves.
They are with you continually; at home and abroad, in school or at
play, by day and by night, asleep and awake, they are always with you.
There is no solitude so deep that they cannot find you, no crowd so
great that they will ever lose you. No matter who else is with you,
they will not――cannot――be kept away. I mean _your own thoughts_, your
bosom companions. Shall they be EVIL companions or GOOD? Ah! you know
who, and who only, can answer this question.

I once went through a monastery in the old city of Florence, in Italy.
It was a retreat for men who were tired of the world, or who felt so
unequal to the strife and conflict of life in the world that they
believed peace could be found only in retirement. The house was of the
order of St. Francis. One of the monks took me into his cell, and I
sat down and talked with him. It was a very small room――one door, one
window, bare walls, a small table, two wooden chairs, a few books, a
crucifix, a washstand, and some pieces of crockery; and that was all.
In this room he lived, never to leave it except to go to the chapel,
just across the corridor, and to walk in the cloisters for exercise;
here he expected to die. It seemed very dreary and lonely to me. But
I thought, if this were a certain and sure way of escaping from evil
thoughts, and the only way, men may well submit to the confinement, the
solitude, the monotony, the dreariness of this way of life. But, alas!
it is not so. No close and narrow cell, no iron doors, no bolts and
bars, can shut out our thoughts, for they are a part of ourselves: they
_are_ ourselves; for, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Some years ago a country lad left his home to seek his fortune in
the city. His mother was dead and his father broken in health and in
fortune. The boy reached the city full of high hopes, promising his
father that he would do his best to succeed in whatever fell to his
lot to do. He was tall, strong and good-looking. A place was soon
found for him, and until he was better able to support himself he
found a home with some friends. He was a boy of good mind but with a
very imperfect education, and he seemed inclined to make up for this
in part by reading during his leisure hours. The situation found for
him was in a large commercial house, where everything was conducted
in the best manner and on the highest principles. Here he made rapid
progress and was soon able to contribute to the support of those he had
left at home in the country. He became interested in serious things,
united with the Sunday-school, and after a while made a profession of
religion. Everything went well with him for several years, until he
fell in with some boys near his own age, who had been brought up under
very different circumstances. Two or three of these were inclined
towards skepticism in religious things, and their reading was quite
unlike that to which this boy had been accustomed. Some fascination
of manner about them attracted the lad to their society, and he grew
less and less fond of his truest and best friends. He became irregular
in his attendance at the Sunday-school, and when remonstrated with
by his teacher and friends had no candid and manly answer for them.
After a while he ceased going to church entirely, spending his time
at his lodgings reading profane and immoral books or in the society
of his new companions. Then he found his way with these friends (so
he called them, but they were really his greatest enemies) to taverns
and even to worse places, reading a corrupt literature and thinking he
was strengthening his mind and broadening his views. A little further
on and his habits grew worse, and became the subject of observation
and remark. His early friends interposed, talked kindly with him and
received his promise to turn away from his evil associates (who had
well-nigh ruined him) and to lead a better life. He promised well,
and for a time things with him were better. But after a while he fell
away again into his old ways and with his old tempters, and before his
friends were aware of it he disappeared and went abroad. Then letters
were received from him. He was without means; he found it hard to get
employment; he had no references, and the people among whom he found
himself were distrustful of strangers.

One of his friends to whom he wrote for a letter of recommendation
replied something like this:

“It is impossible for me to give you a letter of recommendation except
with qualification. If you are seeking employment it is your duty to
make a candid statement of your condition. Make a clean breast of it.
Keep nothing back. Say that you had a good situation; that you were
growing with the growth of your employers; that your salary had been
advanced twice within the year; that one of the partners was your
friend; that he had stood by you in your earlier youth; that he had
extricated you from embarrassment and would have helped you again when
needed, and that in an evil hour you forgot this, and your duty to him
and to the house which sustained you; that you left your place without
your father’s knowledge and well-nigh or quite broke his heart, and
that all this grew out of your love of bad associates and your love of
drink, and that while under this infatuation you went astray with bad
women; and that in very despair of your ability to save yourself, and
ashamed to meet your employers, you sought other scenes in the hope
that in a new field and with new associates you could reform.

“If you say this or something like this to a Christian man, little as
you affect to think of Christianity, his heart will open to you and you
can then look him frankly in the face, and have no concealments from
him. Any other course than this will only prolong your agony, and in
the end plunge you in deeper shame and disgrace. If you will take this
advice, you may yet make a man of yourself, and no one will be more
rejoiced than myself or more ready to help you. Read the parable of
the prodigal son every day; don’t think so much of your fancied mental
ability; get down off your stilts and be a man, a humble, penitent man,
and make your father’s last days cheerful, instead of blasting his life.

“You see that I am in earnest and that I feel a deep interest in you,
else I would have thrown your letter to me into the fire.”

I believe that this young man’s fall was due entirely to the influence
of his foolish, bad companions. And I know that this sad history is the
record of many others; in fact, that the same experience awaits all
who think it a light matter what company they keep, and who drift on
the current with no purpose except to find pleasure, without regard to
their duty to God. When I see, as I so often do, young men standing at
the corners of the streets, or lounging against lamp-posts, and catch a
word as I pass, very often profane or indecent, I know very well that
a work of ruin is going on there, which, if unchecked, will certainly
lead to destruction. And I wonder whether these boys and young men
have parents or sisters, who love them and who yet allow them to pass
unwarned down the road that leads to death.

But there are other companions, foolish, bad companions, besides those
that appear to us in bodily form. They confront us in the printed page.
You read a book or a pamphlet or paper which is full of dialogue. Such
books are often more attractive than a plain narrative with little
conversation. You enter fully, even if unconsciously, into the spirit
of the story. The characters are real to you. You seem to see the forms
before you; you make a picture of each in your mind, so that if you
were an artist you could paint the portrait of each one. Sometimes the
dialogue is full of profanity, and though you make no sound as you
read, you are really pronouncing each word in your mind. And every time
you say a bad word, in your mind, you defile your heart. You are in
effect listening to bad words not spoken by other people merely, but
spoken by yourself, and before you are aware of it you will be in the
habit of thinking oaths when you are afraid to speak them out. It is
even worse, if possible, when the language is obscene. Now do you ever
think that when you are reading such wretched stuff you are in effect
associating with the characters whose talk you are listening to, and
without rebuke? They are thieves, pirates, burglars, dissolute, the
very worst of society, even murderers. You may not have the courage to
rebuke those who are defiling the very air with their foul talk; you
may be too cowardly even to turn away from such company lest they sneer
at you; but what do you say of a boy who deliberately, and after being
warned, reads by stealth such stuff as I have described? Is there any
one here who would be guilty of such conduct?

These evils of which I am speaking, and I do so most reluctantly, for
these are not pleasant subjects――are not mere theories. They are sad
realities. It was my ill fortune in my boyhood to know some boys who
were essentially corrupt. Their minds were cages of unclean birds.
They were inexpressibly vile. And it is this fear of the evil that
one sinner may do among young boys that leads me to say what I do on
this most painful subject. Oh, boys, if I can persuade you to turn
away from foolish company, from bad associates, I shall feel that I am
doing indeed a blessed work. For what is the object, the purpose of
all this that is said to you? It is to make men of you and to give
you grace and strength to assert your manhood. It is to build you up
on the foundation of a substantial education, and so prepare you for
the life that is before you here and for that life which is beyond.
But the education of text-books illustrated by the best instructors is
not enough; it is not all you need for the great work of your lives.
You must be ready when you are equipped not only to take care of
yourselves, but to help those who may be dependent upon you, for you
are not to live for yourselves. And you cannot be fully equipped unless
you have the blessing of Almighty God on your work and on your life.

I want you to be successful men, and no man can be a successful man,
in the highest and best sense, unless he is a religious man. How can
one expect to make his way in life as he ought, without the blessing of
God? And how can one expect the blessing of God who does not ask God
for his blessing? Prayers in the church are not enough; the reading
of the Scriptures in the church is not enough; you must read the
Scriptures for yourselves; you must pray for yourselves and each one
for himself, as well as for others.

                 [Illustration: _James A. Garfield._]


                          September 25, 1881.

I wish to lead your thoughts to one of the strangest things――one of
the most difficult things to understand, which has ever occurred. On
the second day of July last the President of the United States, when
about to step into a railway train which was to carry him North, where
he was to attend a college commencement, at the college where he was
graduated, was shot down by an assassin.

I say it is one of the strangest things, because the President did not
know the assassin, and had never injured him nor any of his friends.
There was absolutely no motive for the hideous deed.

I say it is most difficult to understand, because we believe that
Divine Providence overrules all events, holds all power, and we wonder
why He permitted the wretch to do so deplorable a deed.

President Garfield was no ordinary man. He was emphatically a man of
the people. He was born in a log-cabin which his father had built with
his own hands. It was a very small house, twenty feet by thirty. When
James was two years old, his father died, late in the autumn, and this
boy with three other children were all dependent upon their mother for
a support. How the lone widow passed that winter we do not know; but
when the spring came there was a debt to be paid, and part of the farm
had to go to pay it. About thirty acres of the clearing were left, and
this little farm was worked by the mother and her oldest son. Only
those who have lived on a farm in the country know how hard the work
is. When James was five years old he was sent to school, a mile and a
half away, and as this was a very long walk for so young a boy, his
sister often carried the little boy on her back.

After a while the boy tried to learn the carpenter’s trade, and in
this effort he spent two years or so, going to school at intervals and
studying at spare hours at home. So he mastered grammar, arithmetic and
geography. After that he became a sort of general help and book-keeper
for a manufacturer in the neighborhood at $14 per month “and found,”
and this was to him a very great advance. But not being well treated
there, he soon left and took to chopping wood――at one time cutting
about twenty-five cords for some $7. Then having read some tales of
the sea, sailors’ stories, such as you have often read, he wanted to
be a sailor; but when he applied for a place on the great lake, he
looked so like a landsman from the country that no captain would engage
him. So he went to the canal, and found employment in leading or
driving horses or mules on the tow-path. But he was soon promoted to
be a deck-hand and steersman, and often falling into the water (once
almost being drowned) and meeting some other mishaps, he concluded that
“following the water” was not his forte, and he abandoned it. By this
time he had saved some money, and his brother Thomas lent him some
more, and with another young man and a cousin he went to a neighboring
town to the academy. These young fellows rented a room, borrowed some
simple cooking utensils, a table and some chairs, made beds and filled
them with straw, and set up house-keeping, and went to the academy.

Young Garfield spent three years at this academy, doing odd jobs of
carpenter work when he could, and so eking out a living. Then he
went to an eclectic institute, and paid his way in part by doing
the janitor’s work of sweeping the floor and making the fires. Here
he prepared himself to enter the junior class in a higher college,
and, after some delay, he entered that class in Williams College,

While pursuing his college course at Williams he filled his vacations
by teaching in district schools in the neighborhood until his
graduation, in 1856, at twenty-five years of age――quite advanced, you
see, in years for a college graduate.

Then he went back as a teacher to his eclectic institute, became a
professor of Greek and Latin, and then at twenty-eight years of age
became a Senator in the Ohio Legislature. When the war broke out
in 1861, while still a member of the State Senate, the Government
commissioned him as colonel of a regiment, and he did good service in
the State of Kentucky in driving out the rebels. In a few months he was
promoted to be brigadier-general. So he went on distinguishing himself
wherever he was placed, and, having been assigned for duty to the
Army of the Cumberland, fighting his last battle at Chickamauga, his
gallantry was so conspicuous and so successful that within a fortnight
he was made a major-general.

While in the army he was elected representative to Congress, and on
December 5, 1863, he took his seat in the House, the youngest member of

Some time after this, the war still going on, he wished to rejoin the
army, but President Lincoln would not permit it, on the ground that his
military knowledge would be invaluable to the government. After serving
seventeen years in the House of Representatives, at times Chairman of
most important committees, he was elected to the Senate, but before he
took his seat he was nominated for the Presidency, and last November
was elected by a large majority to that high office.

On the 4th of March last he was inaugurated, and four months
afterwards (July 2d) he fell by the hand of an assassin.

You know how during this long, dry, hot summer he has been lying in
Washington until the last two weeks, hanging between life and death;
and you know how tenderly and lovingly he has been nursed; how gently
he was removed to the sea, in the hope that a change of air and scene
would do what the best surgical and medical skill had failed to do;
and you know how last Monday night, while you were sleeping soundly in
your beds, the bells of our city and all over the land were tolling the
tidings of his death.

He was a good man――in many respects as well qualified to fill the
Presidential chair as any man who has ever sat in it. So I say it is
most difficult to understand why he was taken away.

Like all of you he lost his father by death at an early age; as is the
case with all of you his mother was poor. He struggled hard for an
education, and he acquired it, who knows at what a cost! He was never
satisfied with present attainments; he was always on the advance. At
an early age he gave himself to the Lord, joining the church; and
as that branch of the church does not believe in the necessity of
ordination for the ministry he preached the Gospel as a layman, as the
great Faraday preached in London and as Christian laymen preach the
same truths to you, and it was my purpose, formed when he was elected
in November last, to persuade him, some time when he might be passing
through Philadelphia, to come to this chapel and address you boys.
This, alas, now can never be.

President Garfield loved his mother. No more touching incident was ever
witnessed than that which hundreds of people saw on inauguration day,
when, after taking the oath of his high office, he turned immediately
to his dear old mother and kissed her.

Our great sorrow is not felt by us alone. All nations mourn with us.
The Queen of Great Britain with her own hand sends messages of the
sweetest, the most touching sympathy. She, too, is a widow and her
children are fatherless. She sends flowers for Mrs. Garfield and puts
her court in mourning, a compliment never extended before except in the
case of death in a royal family. Other European and Asiatic and African
governments send their sympathy――they all feel it――they all deplore
it. Emblems of mourning are displayed in every street in our city, and
every heart is sad. The people mourn.

Boys, you may not be Presidents――probably not one here will ever be at
the head of this nation; nor is this of any moment; but remember it
was not only as President of the United States that General Garfield
was wise and good――it was in every place where he was put; whether
in school, in college, in teaching, in the army, in Congress, in the
President’s chair, in his family and on his sick and dying bed,
languishing and suffering, wasting and burning with fever, exhausted by
wounds cruel and undeserved, he was always the same brave, true, real

Some of you know with what profound and tender interest people gathered
in places of prayer that Tuesday morning to ask that the journey from
Washington to Long Branch might be safe and prosperous, and how the
hope was expressed, almost to assurance, that the Saviour would meet
his disciple by the sea. The prayer was granted. The Lord did meet his
disciple, not, as was so much desired, with gifts of healing; nothing
short of a miracle could do that, but by a more complete preparation
of the people for the final issue. It came at last. And while many of
us were sleeping quietly, telegraphic messages were flashing the sad
intelligence everywhere that, at last, he was at rest.

Now that we know that he is taken away, we stand in awe and amazement.
We cannot yet understand it.

Shall we gather a few lessons from his life? Some of the most apparent
may be mentioned very briefly.

The simplicity of his character is most interesting. Conscious as he
must have been of the possession of no ordinary mental force, he was
never obtrusive nor self-assertive. What seemed to be his duty he did,
with purpose and completeness. And his associates often placed him in
positions of high trust and responsibility.

He was an accomplished scholar. Even while engrossed in Congressional
duties, to a degree which left him little or no time for recreation,
he did not fail to keep himself fresh in classic literature. It is
said that a friend returning from Europe, and desiring to bring him
some little present, could think of nothing more acceptable than a few
volumes of the Latin poets.

When his life comes to be written by impartial hands, it will be
found that along with his great simplicity and his high culture there
will be most prominent his devotion to principle. This was his great
characteristic. I have no time, and this is not the place, to speak of
his adherence, under strong adverse influences, to his sound views on
the great currency question which has occupied so much the attention of

In a not very remote sense his death is to be attributed to his
devotion to principle. That great and most discreditable contest at
Albany might have been settled weeks before it was, although in a very
different manner, if the President could have yielded his convictions.
He did not yield, and he was slain.

The funeral services in the capitol are over and the men whom Mrs.
Garfield chose as the bearers of her husband’s coffin were not members
of the cabinet, nor senators, nor judges of the Supreme Court, any of
whom would have been honored by such a service, but they were plain
men, of names unknown to us, members of his own little church.

They are gone. They have taken his worn and wasted and mutilated form,
all that remains in this world of the strong, pure life that was not
yet fifty years old, to the beautiful city by the lake, and there
within sight and almost within sound of the waves of the great inland
sea, they will to-morrow lay him to rest until the morning of the

                   *       *       *       *       *

What use shall we make of this deplorable calamity? Shall our faith
in the prevalence of prayer be weakened? God forbid that we should so
distort his teachings. “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest
against God?”

Our prayers are answered, not as we wished, and almost insisted, but
in softening the hearts of the people and drawing them as they have
never before been drawn towards the Great Ruler of the universe, and
in uniting the people, and also in promoting a better feeling between
the different sections of our country than has been known for half a
century. And if, in addition to this, the people would only learn to
abate that passion for office which has been so fatal to peace, and
would be content to allow fitness for office to be the only rule of
appointment, then a true civil service would be a heritage for the
securing of which even the sacrifice of a President would seem not too
great a price.

    “And the archers shot at King Josiah, and the king said to his
    servants, Have me away for I am sore wounded. His servants
    therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the
    second chariot that he had, and they brought him to Jerusalem,
    and he died and was buried. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned
    for Josiah.” 2 Chron. xxxv. 23, 24.


                            March 25, 1888.

A distinguished lawyer of our city delivered an address before one of
the societies in the venerable University of Harvard on this subject:
“The Case of the Educated Unemployed.” With an intimate knowledge
of his subject, and with rare felicity of thought and expression,
he set before his audience, most of whom were either in the learned
professions or preparing to enter them, the overcrowded condition of
those professions, especially that of the law, a preparation for which
is supposed to imply a more or less thorough academic or collegiate

I have a different task; for I would show the importance of education
to the workers with the hand, whether in the mills, the shops, or
among the various trades and occupations. By education I do not mean
that of the colleges, or of the common schools merely, but also that
which is acquired sometimes without the advantage of any schools. And
I particularly desire to show that an uneducated worker, whatever be
his work, is at an immense disadvantage with one who is engaged in the
same kind of work, and who is more or less educated.

A mechanic may be well trained; may have more than his share of brains;
may be highly successful in his business; indeed, may have acquired
a large property, and have very high credit, and may hardly know how
to write his name. A man may have scores or hundreds of men in his
employment, and be conducting business on a very large scale, indeed,
and yet be so ignorant of accounts that he is entirely at the mercy of
his book-keeper, and may be so defrauded as to be on the very brink
of ruin and not know it until it is almost too late. In the course
of a long business life more than one such case has come under my
observation. A man may be partially educated, able to cast up accounts,
able to keep books by double entry (and no other kind of book-keeping
is worthy of the name), and yet not be able to write a simple agreement
in good English, nor understand clearly the meaning of such a paper
when written by another.

Very many of the business failures that occur are due to the fact that
the person or firm did not know how to keep accounts. This is not
confined to people of small business. How often after a failure are we
told “that the man was very much surprised at his condition; he thought
he was all right; he could not account for his failure, and that in
a short time he would have his books in such a shape that he would
be able to make a statement to his creditors and ask their advice.
It would require ten days or so, however, before he could tell how
he stood.” Why, if the man had been an educated business man, and an
honest man, he would have known in twenty-four hours how he stood.

The great majority of people who are employed are not educated. They
do not know how to do in the best manner, that which they have to do.
Perhaps a good definition of education, as the word is applied to a
working man, may be that he knows how to do that which he has to do, in
the very best way.

Education may be of three kinds, viz.:

That of the _schools_.


That of _trade_ or _business_.

_That of the schools._ And this is the best of all; for the whole
of one’s time is given to it; and if you are so inclined you may go
through the whole course, as provided in this school. And all this with
text-books, instruments and other appliances, absolutely free of cost.
A boy, therefore, who passes through the entire course of study here,
has superior opportunities of acquiring a most substantial education.

Certainly the education of the schools is the best; and let me urge you
with all seriousness to make the best use of your opportunities. You
can never learn as easily as now. You are young. You are not burdened
with cares. Do not relax your efforts in the least; do not yield to
weariness; do not think you know enough already; do not be impatient
lest others of your own age, who have already left school to go to
work, get ahead of you in trade or in any kind of business; if they
have the start of you, they may not be able to keep it; and depend
upon it, in the long run you will overtake and pass them, other things
being equal, if you have a better school education than they have. When
you are told that young men who are well educated are thereby unfitted
or unwilling to take the lowest places in trade or business, do not
believe it. I know the contrary. The better the school education you
have, and the more you know, the more valuable you will be to your

Another kind of education is called, but most inaccurately,
_self-education_. All that I mean by it is, that education which one
acquires without teachers. As so defined, it may be divided into two
parts, viz.: the incidental and the direct.

Let me speak first of the _incidental_.

I mean by this that education that comes to us from society.

You cannot live alone, and you ought not to if you could. You seek
companions, or other persons will seek you. Let your associates be
those whose friendship will be an instruction to you, rather than
simply a means of social enjoyment. There are young people of both
sexes who, without being vicious, are utterly weak and foolish, idle
and listless, drifting along a current, the end of which they do not
care to think of. They are living for this life only, with no thought
of the future, no ambition, mere butterflies, who float in the sunshine
when the sun is shining, but who, in a dark and cloudy day, are bored
and miserable, and utterly useless. Sometimes they are pleasant enough
to chat with for a few minutes, but to be shut up to such companionship
as this, would be intolerable. Society has a large element of this
description, and you are likely to see it in your daily life.

But this is not the worst phase of life among the young people with
whom you may be thrown. There are worse elements than this. There are
those who are depraved to a degree quite beyond their age; who have
given themselves up to work all uncleanness with greediness; who put
no restraint on their inclinations; in whose eyes nothing is pure or
sacred; who have no respect for that which is wholesome or decent;
who are the devil’s own children, and who are not ashamed of their
parentage. And to such baleful, deadly influences and associations will
you be exposed, my young friends, and you may not be apprised of their
true character until it is too late.

But there are _direct_ means of education, so called.

The first of these which I mention is the use of books. This is
unquestionably the best means. I am supposing that you have some taste
for reading; if you have not, it is hardly worth while for me to speak,
or for you to listen. I know some people who rarely read a book, and I
pity them. They seem to think that all that is necessary to read is the
daily newspaper. I do not say that such persons are necessarily very
ignorant, for very much may be learned from the daily paper. But the
newspaper does not pretend to supply all that you need, to fit you for
a life of business, either as a dealer in merchandise, a professional
man or a mechanic. No; you must read books, not only for entertainment
and recreation, but for information and culture, which you can obtain
nowhere else. If there is no public library within your reach, seek out
some kind-hearted man or woman who has books, and who will be willing
to lend them to one who is in search of knowledge. I well remember a
gentleman in my early life who did this kind office for me before I was
able to buy books, and there are such now who will do the same for you.

If you have little knowledge of books, you ought to ask the advice
of some practical friend to point out such as you may most safely
and properly read. For if left to your own judgment or taste, you
will probably waste valuable time, or be discouraged by an attempt to
read something not immediately necessary or appropriate. But do not
attempt to follow an elaborate plan of reading, such as you will find
detailed in some books, for you are very likely to be discouraged
by the greatness of the task. Such lists, I fancy, are made out by
scholars who have read almost everything, and to whom reading is no
task whatever, and who have plenty of time. Do not attempt to read
too many books, nor too much at a time, and do not be disappointed or
discouraged if you are not able to remember or put to good account all
that you read. You cannot always know what particular kind of food
has afforded you the most nourishment. You may rest assured, however,
that as every morsel of food that you take and are able to digest does
something to build up and develop your system, or repair its waste, so
every book or paper that you read, that is wholesome, does something,
you may not know how much, to strengthen or develop your mind.

There are books that you read for entertainment or recreation, and
that are written for that purpose only. You may read such; indeed, you
ought to read them, for you need, as everybody else needs, recreation
and amusement, and there is much of the purest and best of this that
you can get from books. But you must not make the mistake of supposing
that most, or even a very large proportion, of your reading can be of
this character. You would not think of making your daily meals of the
articles of food that you enjoy as the sweets of your meals. You would
not think of living on sponge-cake and ice-cream for a regular diet.
You might as well do so, as to read only the light and humorous matter
that was never intended for the mental diet of a working man. No. If
you would attain the real object of reading and study, you must read
and study books and papers that tax the full powers of your mind to
understand them. This will soon strengthen the quality of your mind,
even as the exercise of your muscles in work or play will develop a
strength of body that the idle or lazy youth knows nothing of.

If you would know how to make yourself master of any book that you
read, form the habit, if the book is your own, of making notes with
a pencil in the margin of the pages; but if the book is not your
property, or in any case, take a sheet of paper and write at the end
of every chapter questions on the matter discussed, and the answer to
such questions will probably bring out the author’s meaning so fully
that you will have _absorbed_ the book and made it your own; for, as an
eminent American author has said, “thought is the property of whoever
can entertain it.”

I said just now that the daily newspaper does not pretend to supply all
that you need to fit you for a life of business, either as a dealer
in goods, or as a mechanic or clerk. But the daily paper is a most
important means of education――so important that no one can afford to
ignore it. Now-a-days one cannot be well informed who does not read
the newspaper. The whole world is brought before us every morning and
evening, and, if we do not read the news as it comes, we shall not
know what we ought to know. It is not necessary to read everything in
a daily paper; there are some things that it will be better for you
not to read. You need not read all the editorials, brilliant as some
of them are, for sometimes they discuss subjects that are not at all
interesting nor useful to you. The newspaper from which I make the most
clippings is one which is the fullest of advertisements, but which
sometimes has nothing whatever in it that I read. But when it does
discuss a subject of interest, it is apt to leave nothing further to be

But to read with the most advantage one ought to have within easy reach
a dictionary, an atlas and, if possible, an encyclopedia. Then you can
read with profit, and the mere outlines which the newspaper gives can
be filled up by reference to books which give more or less complete

The political articles which appear in the height of a campaign are
hardly worth reading, unless you think of entering politics as a
money-making business, which I sincerely hope none of you think of
doing. And I am sure that the full accounts of crime, and especially
the details of police reports and criminal trials, you will do well to
pass by and not read. I really believe that a familiarity with these
details prepares the way, in many instances, for the commission of
crime, just as the reading of accounts of suicide sometimes leads to
the act itself.

Some of the best minds in our country, and in the world, are now
employed in writing for the periodicals and magazines. No one can be
well informed without reading something of the vast amount of matter
which is thus poured out before him. I have not named the newspapers
nor the magazines which you may read with the most profit; but your
teachers can advise you what to read. Rather is it important for you to
know what _not_ to read. Many of the most popular and the most useful
books that have been published within the last quarter of a century
have appeared first in the pages of a weekly or monthly paper. The best
thoughts of the best thinkers sometimes first see the light in such

Besides the newspaper and the literary magazine, there are scientific
periodicals, which are of essential value to a worker who wishes
to be well informed in any of the mechanical arts. The _Scientific
American_ is, perhaps, the best of this class, both in the beauty of
its illustrations and in the high quality of its contributions. The
_Popular Science Monthly_ is a periodical of a wider range and more
diversified character. These periodicals, if you are not able to
subscribe for them as individuals or in clubs, you may find in the
public library. But let me urge you to turn away from “dime novels.”
Not because they are cheap, but because they are often unwholesome
and immoral. The vile, fiery, poisonous whiskey which so many wretched
creatures drink until the coatings of the stomach are destroyed, and
the brain is on fire, is no more fatal to the health and life, than
is the immoral literature I speak of, to the mind and soul of him who
reads. There is an abundance of good literature that is cheap――do not
read the bad.

Having now spoken of the education you may get in the schools, and that
which you may acquire for yourselves, if you have the pluck to strive
for it, either in the society which you cultivate, or more directly
from books, whether read as an entertainment and recreation, or,
better still, by careful study; or through the daily newspaper, or the
periodical, whether literary or scientific; or, what is best of all,
that which is decidedly religious; I turn now to the education which
you will acquire when you work day by day at your trade or business.

Let me beg of you to consider the great value of truthfulness in all
your training. Hardly anything will help you more to reach up towards
the top. And when you are at the head of an establishment of your
own or somebody else’s (and I take it for granted you will be at the
head some day), whether it be a workshop or factory of any kind, or
a store, no matter what, a fixed habit of keeping your word, of not
promising unless you are certain of keeping your promise, will almost
insure your success if you are a good workman. How many good mechanics
have utterly failed of success because they have not cared to keep
their promises? A firm of high reputation agrees to supply certain
articles of furniture at a time fixed by them. The time comes but the
articles do not come. A call of inquiry is made and new promises are
made only to be broken. Excuses are offered and more promises given;
then incomplete articles are sent; then more delays, until, when
patience is nearly exhausted, the work is finished. Then comes the bill
and there is a mistake in it. The whole transaction is a series of
disappointments and misunderstandings. Will you ever incline to go to
that place again?

It is usual for miners of coal to place their sons, as they become ten
or twelve years of age, at the foot of the great breakers to watch
the coal as it comes rattling and broken down the great wire screens,
and catch the pieces of slate and throw them to one side and allow
only the pure coal to pass down into the huge bins, from which it is
dropped into the cars and taken to market. To an uneducated eye there
is hardly any perceptible difference between the coal and the slate.
But these little fellows soon become so quick in the education of the
eye, that they can tell in an instant the difference. When the boy
grows older he graduates to the place of a mule driver, and has his car
and mule, which he drives day by day from the mouth of the mine to the
breaker. Then when he begins to be of age he fixes his little oil lamp
in the front of his cap, and goes down into the mines with his pick
and becomes a miner of coal. It seems a dreary life to spend most of
one’s time under the ground, shut out from the sunshine and from the
pure air. And most of these men having no education, and never having
been urged to seek one, are content to spend all their days in this
manner. But occasionally there is one who feels that he is capable of
better things than this. And I know one at least, who began his work
at the foot of a coal breaker and worked his way up through all these
stages, as I have told you, and who determined to do something better
for himself. So he gave much of his leisure (and everybody has some
leisure) to study; nor was he discouraged by the difficulties in his
way. He persevered. He rose to be a boss among the men; then having
saved some money, instead of wasting it at the tavern, he bought his
teams, and then bought an interest in a coal mine, and became a miner
of his own coal, and had his men under him, and has grown to be a rich
man, and is not ashamed of his small beginnings nor of his hard work.
This is only one instance of success in rising from a low position to a
high one.

The same thing is going on all around us and we see it every day. It
would hardly be proper to give you names, but I could tell you of many
within my own knowledge who, from positions of extremely hard labor and
plain living, have risen to be the head men in shops and other places
which they entered at the lowest places. Such changes are continually
occurring. And there is no reason whatever, except your indifference,
to prevent many of you from becoming, if God gives you health, the
head men, in the places where you begin work as subordinates or in
very low positions. And I tell you what you know already, that there
is plenty of room for advancement. It is the lowest places that are
full to overflowing. Who ever heard of a strike among the _chiefs_ of
any industry? No, indeed. They have made themselves indispensable to
their employers and they don’t need to strike. And there is hardly a
youth who cannot by strict attention to business, and conscientious
devotion to the interests of his employer, make himself so invaluable
that he need not join any trades union for protection. Do the vast
army of clerks in the various corporations, or in the great commercial
houses, or in the public service, or in the army and navy――do these
people ever band themselves in any associations like the trades unions?
They know better than that; they accomplish their purposes in better
ways. If the working classes, so called, were better educated, they
would not suffer themselves to be led by the nose by people who will
not themselves work, who will not touch even with their little fingers
the burdens which are crushing the life out of the deluded ones whom
they are leading to folly. It is a true education that is needed, a
true conscience that must be cultivated, to enable men to do their own
thinking, and to determine for themselves what are their best interests.

I urge you all to seek that higher and better education which will make
you true men. You have now the great advantage of the education of the
school. I have tried very simply, but not the less earnestly, to show
you how you can fit yourselves for high places. It is for you to say
whether you will avail yourselves of these plain hints. No earthly
power can force you to do that which you will not do. You may lead a
horse to a brimming fountain of water, but if he is not thirsty, no
coaxing nor threatening nor beating can make him drink. I may show you,
to demonstration, the abundant fountain of learning, but I can’t make
you drink, or even stoop to taste the stream, if you are not thirsty.
I can’t make you study, however great the advantage to you, or however
much they who are interested in you desire that you should.

Every year this question which I have been pressing upon you becomes
more and more important. The great colleges of the country are
graduating their thousands of students, many of whom will compete
with you for the high places in the mechanic arts. So are the public
schools of the country sending out hundreds of thousands, many of them
having the same aim. Technical schools, teaching the mechanic arts, are
multiplying. Great changes have been made recently in our own city in
this respect. The Spring Garden Institute is doing a noble work in this
way. Our own college is moving in the same direction, and soon it will
be sending out its hundreds every year to compete for places in the
shops, with this great advantage, that you Girard boys have a school
education――the best that you are able to receive, and you must not let
any others go ahead of you.

Look at the poor, ignorant people from abroad who sweep our
streets――look at the stevedores who load and unload the ships――look at
the men who carry the hod of mortar or bricks up the high and steep
ladders――look at the drivers and the conductors on our street cars,
the most hard worked people among us――and are you not sure that most
of these people are _un_educated? No one wants to be at the bottom all
the time. We may have been there at the first; but those who have made
the most progress are generally those who have had the best education.
I know that education is not a sure guarantee of success; many other
things enter into the consideration of the question; but I am saying
that, other things being equal, _he who knows the most will do the
best_. There are, alas, many instances of the sons of the rich, who
have been well educated, who have everything provided for them, who
have no stimulus, no spur; who have no regular occupation, and need not
have any; many of whom sink into idleness and dissipation, and their
fine education goes for nothing. But you are not of this class. You
will have to make your way in the world by your own exertions.

I shall fail of my duty if I do not say some words about such boys
as sometimes stand at the corners of the streets in large or small
companies and amuse themselves by smoking and chewing tobacco, telling
bad stories and making remarks upon those who pass by. I am sure much
of this arises from thoughtlessness; but I wish to point out the
exceeding impropriety of this behavior. I have known ladies to cross
the street and, at much inconvenience, go quite out of their way rather
than pass within hearing of these boys and young men. What right has
any one to make the streets disagreeable to any passenger, to block
up the way or make loose or rude remarks, or defile the pavement over
which I walk?

All this most serious waste of time is probably because no one has
particularly called attention to it. The time may come when you will
recall the words of advice which you hear to-day, and you may regret
when it is too late that you turned a deaf ear to what was said.

I have now tried, in as much detail as the time will permit, to show
the importance of that education which will enable you to rise in
your trade or business, whatever it may be, to the upper places; and
I have tried to show that a true ambition leads one to strive to be
_chief_ rather than a _subordinate_, to be a _foreman_ rather than a

But, after all, everything will depend upon yourselves and upon God.
There is no royal road to education; the very meaning of the word shows
this; the mind must be drawn out, worked over, developed, rounded,
hammered, somewhat as a blacksmith puts a piece of rough iron in the
coals, keeps it there until it is red-hot, then draws it out, lays it
upon his anvil and hammers it, turning it over and over, striking it
first on this side and then on that, rounding it off; then when it
cools thrusting it among the coals again, then hammering away again
until he has brought the rough piece of iron to the size and shape
he wishes, when he allows it to cool and harden. If you are willing
to work your mind into the shape you want it, you will surely bring
yourself to the front among active, ingenious and successful men. But
this means hard work, and work all the time.

Now if you mean to avail yourselves of any of the hints which I have
given you, if you really mean to succeed, if you are not content to be
workers low down in the scale of industry, if you mean to rise rather
than to be obscure, if you intend to be well-to-do men, instead of
living from hand to mouth, you must grapple with the subject with all
your might and keep at it all the time. And you must keep out of the
streets at night, away from the taverns and from the low theatres, and
from gambling dens, and from other places which I will not name; and,
in short, you must be true Americans, for there is no truer type of
manhood in all the world than a real American; and nowhere else in all
the world has a poor boy so good an opportunity to be and do all this,
as in our own good city of Philadelphia.

                             WILLIAM PENN.

                           October 22, 1882.

In the early autumn of the year 1682, a vessel with her bow pointing
towards the west was making her way slowly across the Atlantic
ocean. She was a small craft, rigged as a ship, and crowded with
emigrants. The discomforts of a long and tiresome voyage, the very
small accommodations, the horror of sea-sickness, were in this vessel
aggravated by the breaking out of that most awful of all scourges,
the small-pox. In a very short time, out of a population of one
hundred, thirty passengers died. No record is left of the incidents
of that voyage except this; but it is easy to imagine that all the
circumstances were as deplorable as they could well be.

After a weary time of head winds and calms, in about seven weeks, this
ship, the “Welcome,” came within the capes of the Delaware bay.

The most distinguished person on that little ship was William Penn.
He had left his home in England, embarking with his trusty friends in
a vessel only one-tenth the size of the ships of our American Line,
to come to Pennsylvania. He had bought the whole province from the
government of England for the sum of £16,000 sterling, which, measured
by our money, is about $80,000, and this money was due to him for
services rendered and money loaned to the government by his father, an
admiral in the English navy.

About the 24th of October the vessel reached the town of Newcastle,
where Penn landed and was cordially received by the people of that
little village. Afterwards they came farther up the river to Uplands,
now the town or city of Chester. Then, leaving the vessel here, they
came in a barge (Penn and some of his principal men) to the mouth of
Dock creek, the foot of what is now known as Dock street, where they
landed, near a little tavern called the Blue Anchor.

There was already a settlement on the shore of the Delaware river, and
the people, mostly Swedes, had built a little church somewhat farther
down the stream. The entire land between the Delaware and Schuylkill
rivers, and for a mile north and south, was owned by three brothers,
Swedes, named Swen. Penn bought this tract from them, and at once
proceeded to lay out his new city. When he bought the whole province
from the crown he desired to call it New-Wales, because it was so
hilly, but the king insisted on calling it Penn’s Sylvania, in memory
of the admiral, William’s father. But when the new city came to be
named, Penn having no one to dispute his wish, called it by that word,
of whose meaning we think so little, Philadelphia――brotherly love. Two
months after this he met the Indians, it is said, under a great elm
tree in the upper part of the city, in what we now call Kensington,
and concluded that treaty which has been said to be the only treaty
that was ever made without an oath, and that was never broken. Shortly
after this Penn proceeded to lay out the city, and, as a distinguished
English author has said, he must have taken the ancient Babylon for his
model, for this was the first modern city that was laid out with the
streets crossing each other at right angles.

The charter which Penn received from Charles the Second, King of
England (the original of which is in the capital at Harrisburg, on
three large sheets of parchment), makes him proprietary and governor,
also holding his authority under the crown. He at once therefore set
about making a code of laws as special statutes, which with the common
law of England should be the laws of the province. One of these special
laws was this: “Every one, rich or poor, was to learn a useful trade or
occupation; the poor to live on it: the rich to resort to it if they
should become poor.” And I do not know what better law he could have

When the news of Penn’s arrival and cordial reception reached England
and the continent of Europe, the effect was to arouse a spirit of
emigration. Although Penn’s first thought and purpose was to found
a colony, where he and others who held the religious views of the
Society of Friends might worship without hindrance (which liberty
was denied them in England), the people from other countries in
Europe came here in great numbers for other purposes. The population
therefore multiplied rapidly, and the people were generally such as had
determined to brave the privations of a new country, to make themselves
a home where life could be lived under better conditions than in the
old countries, under the harsh government of tyrannical kings. This
emigration was stimulated also by the very liberal terms which the
governor offered to new-comers; for to actual settlers he offered the
land at about ten dollars for a hundred acres, subject, however, to
a quit-rent of a quarter of a dollar an acre per annum forever; and
this may be the origin of that ground-rent instrument which is almost
peculiar to Pennsylvania, and which is such a favorite investment for
our rich men.

After a stay of two years Penn returned to England, where he had left
his wife and children; the care of the government having been left with
a council, of which Thomas Lloyd was president, who kept the great seal.

Not long after his return to England the king, Charles the Second,
died, and having no son he was succeeded by his brother, James Duke of
York, as James the Second. Although Penn was on the most cordial terms
with the new king, as he had been with Charles, this did not secure him
from the repeated annoyances and persecutions of those who detested his
religion. So severe was the treatment to which he was subjected, and
such was his personal danger from unprincipled men, that he escaped to
France. But not being able nor willing to bear this exile, he returned
to England, was tried for his offence against the law of the church and
was acquitted. After this he came to America again, intending to spend
the rest of his life here, but he remained only two years.

The rest of his life was spent in England, but it was a life broken by
persecutions and trials at law and other annoyances, the expenses of
which, added to the losses by the unfaithfulness of his stewards, were
so great as seriously to involve him in financial embarrassments; and
he was even compelled to mortgage his great estate in Pennsylvania to
relieve himself; but the interest annually payable on such encumbrance
was so heavy that he felt the necessity of relieving himself of the
property entirely, and he offered to sell it to the crown. While the
matter was under consideration, his health began to decline; however,
the terms were agreed upon, but while the papers were in the course of
preparation he died peacefully at Rushcombe, in Buckinghamshire, July
30, 1718, and was buried five days after in the burial ground belonging
to Jordan’s meeting house.

Such is the briefest outline of the life of the founder of this
commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and of this city of Philadelphia.

Let us see now what there was in this life which we may find it
interesting to recall and dwell upon; what there was in it which may be
useful for us to consider in its application to ourselves.

William Penn was born in the city of London on the 14th of October,
1644, in the parish of St. Catharine’s, near the Tower. His father
was an admiral and his grandfather was a captain in the English navy.
Then, as now, it was the custom of English families of good condition
to send their boys away from home to school. This boy, an only son, was
therefore sent to school near the town of Wanstead, in Essex, called
Chigwell. Here he remained until he was thirteen years old, with no
incident particularly worthy of notice, except that he was, at the age
of twelve, brought under deep religious impressions, which, however,
like many other boys, he soon threw aside. He seems to have been apt to
learn, and was fond of the childish sports belonging to his age. For
two years after leaving school, he was under private instruction at
home, until he was fifteen years old, when he entered the University
of Oxford. Here he devoted himself most diligently to his studies
and became a successful student. But this did not prevent him from
entering most heartily into the sports which were common to young
men of his quality. He was very fond of boating, fishing, shooting,
and other pleasures, and he was extremely handsome; but he avoided
dissipation of all kinds, thus proving that the keenest enjoyment of
healthful sports is quite consistent with a pure life. If the college
students of this day would believe and act upon this principle, it
would be better for them and better for the world.

With this hearty enjoyment of sports, and this diligent application to
study, he had a very tender sympathy and love for domestic animals.
Towards those that were the most helpless, he evinced a kindliness that
was almost womanly.

But he had a strong will, and it was impossible to turn him aside
from a course of duty, when he was satisfied that it was real duty.
During his school and college life there were many seasons of religious
interest in his experience, and he was at last brought (under the
preaching of a member of the Society of Friends named Thomas Loe) to
declare himself a member of that society. He therefore refused to
attend the services of the Church of England. The custom of wearing
surplices by Oxford students, which had been abolished in Cromwell’s
time, had been restored by Charles; but Penn, when he came out as a
religious man, threw off his surplice and refused to wear it. This
act was bad enough in the eyes of the authorities; but his zeal went
further than this, and, in common with some others of the same way of
thinking, he so far forgot himself as to attack other students and tear
off their surplices. This very grave offence could not be overlooked,
and, admiral’s son though he was, he was expelled from the University
of Oxford. This was a great blow to his father, who was building
the fondest hopes on the advancement of his son at college and his
career as a courtier. No persuasion, however, could induce the son to
reconsider his conduct, and his father at last flogged him and drove
him from the house. Some time after this, through the intercession of
the mother, the young man was brought back to his home; and his father,
in the hope that a change of scene and circumstances would work a
change in the lad’s feelings, sent him to Paris, and to travel on the

While in Paris he studied the French language, and read some books in
theology, and went as far as Turin, in Italy, from whence, however, he
was recalled to take charge of a part of his father’s affairs. He then
studied law for a year, which no doubt was of some help to him in the
founding of his commonwealth. Then his father sent him to take care of
his estates in Ireland, at that time under the vice-royalty of the Duke
of Ormond. He entered the army here, and did good service too; and was,
apparently, so much pleased with his new life that he suffered the only
portrait of him that was ever painted, to be taken when he was wearing
armor and in uniform. This picture, or a copy of it, may now be seen at
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Spruce street, above Eighth.

About this time he came again under the influence of the preacher Loe,
and was recalled by his father, who remonstrated with him on his new
mode of life, but with no success whatever. He would not give up his
new religion. His father tried to compromise the matter with him, and
he even went so far as to propose to his son, that if he would remove
his hat in the presence of the king and the Duke of York and his
father, as his superiors, their differences might be healed; but the
son, believing that the removal of his hat would be dishonorable to
God, absolutely refused.

His life for some time after this was stormy enough. He came out boldly
and in defiance of law as a preacher of the Society of Friends; and was
repeatedly imprisoned, sometimes in the Tower of London and sometimes
in the loathsome prison of Newgate, from which places he was released
by the intercession of the Duke of York and his father and other

Those were very rough times, not likely, let us hope, to be repeated.
Society was very corrupt at the highest sources, and religion was more
violent and aggressive in its measures then than now. The world has
grown wiser and better――there is more toleration, more of the Spirit
of the Master now than then, and in our favored land every soul can
worship God as he may choose to do.

William Penn was a _statesman_. He founded this great commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. He established a code of laws that were in advance of
his time. He stipulated that the law of primogeniture, that law which
gives the lands of the father to the _oldest_ son, with little or no
provision for younger sons, that law which is the corner-stone of the
crown of England, should have no place in this new commonwealth. The
property of a parent dying without a will should be _equally divided
among his children_. Penn was a statesman in the broadest sense of the
term. His laws were for the greatest good of the greatest number. He
treated the Indians as if they were human beings, and not as if they
were brute beasts. Indeed, he never treated the brutes as the Indians
have been treated even in our day by harsh and unscrupulous agents of
the government. Whether he was exactly just in his dealings with Lord
Baltimore, the settler of Maryland, I do not know. Perhaps he was not.
We know this misunderstanding gave him great trouble, and was indeed
the prime cause of his return to England.

Penn was a _rich man_. The inheritance left him by his father was
handsome, and he could have lived most comfortably upon it. But when
he received from the crown the charter which made him the owner of
Pennsylvania, he was the largest landholder, except sovereigns, known
in history. He did not use his wealth for personal indulgence, or for
luxurious living for himself or his family. He believed that he held
his property as a trustee, and that he had no right to waste it. He
might have lived the life of an ordinary English nobleman (for it is
said his father was offered a peerage), but such a life had no charms
for him.

Penn was a _conscientious man_. I mean by this that he followed his
inner convictions, without regard to consequences. What he wanted to
know was, whether a given thing was _right_ and according to his way
of determining what the right was; and he did it if it were a duty,
without flinching. No personal inconvenience, no consideration for the
views or wishes of other people, was allowed to stand in the way of his
duty, as he understood it. It was the custom of that time for gentlemen
to wear swords, as some gentlemen now carry canes, and with no purpose
except as an ornament or part of the dress. Some time after he joined
the Society of Friends, and while still wearing his sword, he said to
his friend George Fox, “Is it consistent with our principles and our
testimonies against war for me to wear my sword?” When Fox replied,
“Wear thy sword as usual, so long as thy conscience will permit it.”
This friendly rebuke led him to lay aside his sword never to resume it.

William Penn was a _religious man_. He was called by the Holy Spirit
at the early age of twelve years, as I have already said. He resisted
that call and many others, until under faithful preaching he could
resist no longer, when he yielded himself to the divine call and became
an open professor of the principles of the Society of Friends. This
was a very different thing, so far as personal comfort was concerned,
from professing religion in the ordinary forms; for this was to join
a hated sect, and bear all the contempt and persecution that belonged
to a profession of religion in the early days of Christianity, when
men, women and children perilled their lives in the service of the
great Master. But Penn cared not for the cost; he was ready to go to
prison, and to death if necessary, for his opinions. He _did_ go to
prison over and over again, and bore right manfully all that was put
upon him. He was not idle, however, in the prison. He preached to
his fellow-prisoners; he wrote pamphlets; he did everything in his
power to make known to others the good tidings of salvation that had
come to him. He wrote a great many letters, and they were all full
of the spirit of religion. He wrote treatises on religious truth,
that might have been written by a systematic theologian; but among
the most practical things he wrote was the address to his children,
that it would be well if all people would read, and which, with a few
exceptions, is as appropriate for the people of to-day as it was for
those who lived two hundred years ago.

If Penn had not been a religious man, his life had not been worth
recording. He would have lived the life that was lived by almost all
men of his class at that time, a life of unrestrained worldliness and
luxury. The Almighty, who had great purposes in store for the New
World, to be wrought out by the instrumentality of man, could have
chosen another man, but he chose Penn.

Such is the story of the life of a man who was one of the world’s
heroes. His name will never die. There is a large literature on the
subject of his life, some of which you will find in your own library,
if you choose to look further into it. This is all that I feel it
proper to say to you to-day about it.

Boys, it is a great thing to have been born in Pennsylvania, as all
of you were. And this could hardly be said of any other congregation
in this city to-day. This is a great commonwealth. As to its size, it
is (leaving out Wales) nearly as large as the whole of England. As to
great rivers and mountains and mines and metals, as to forests and
fields, we are far in advance of anything of the kind in England. No
valleys on earth are more beautiful or more productive than the valleys
of our own Pennsylvania.

It is a great thing, boys, to have been born in the city of
Philadelphia, as most of you were. It was founded by a great and good
man. There are, in the civilized world, but three cities that are
larger than ours. There is no city, except London, that has so many
dwelling-houses, and there is none anywhere in all the world where the
poor man who works for his living can live so happily and so well.

In this State, in this city, your lot is cast. You will soon many of
you take your place among the citizens, and have your share in choosing
the men who make and execute the laws. Some of you _will be_ the men
who make and execute the laws. William Penn founded this commonwealth,
not only to provide a peaceable home for the persecuted members of his
own society, but to afford an asylum for the good and oppressed of
every nation; and he founded an empire where the pure and peaceable
principles of Christianity might be carried out in practice. When you
come to take your part in the duties of public life, see to it that you
forget not his wise and noble purpose.

                           OUR CONSTITUTION.

                            October, 1887.

I am about to do what I have never done――what has probably never been
done by any other person in this chapel. I propose to give you a
political speech, but not a partisan speech; indeed, I hardly think you
will be able to guess, from anything I say, to which of the two great
political parties I belong.

I do not go to the Bible for a text――though there are many passages in
the holy Scriptures which would answer my purpose very well――but I take
for my text the following passage from the will of Mr. Girard:


A few weeks ago our city was filled to overflowing with strangers.
They came from all parts of the land, and some from distant parts of
the world. Our railways and steamboats were crowded to their utmost
capacity. Our streets were thronged; our hotels and many private
dwellings were full. It was said that there were half a million of
strangers here. The President of the United States, the members
of the Cabinet, many members of the national Senate and House of
Representatives, the general of the army and many other generals, the
highest navy officers, judges of the Supreme Court of the United States
and of the State courts, the governors of most of the States――each
with his staff――soldiers and sailors of the United States, and many
regiments of State troops (the Girard College cadets among them)――a
military and naval display of twenty-five thousand men――representatives
of foreign states, an exhibition of the industrial and mechanic arts,
in a procession miles in extent, such as was never seen in all the
world before; receptions and banquets, public and private; a general
suspension of most kinds of business――all this occurred in the streets
of our city, only a few weeks ago. What did it mean?

It was the One Hundredth Anniversary of the adoption of the
Constitution of the United States, and it was considered to be an
event of such importance that it was well worth while to pause in our
daily work; to give holiday to our schools; to still the busy hum
of industry; to stop the wheels of commerce; to close our places of

One hundred years ago the Constitution of the United States of America
was adopted in this city.

What had been our government before this time? Up to July, 1776, there
had been thirteen colonies, all under the government of Great Britain.
In the lapse of time, the people of these colonies, owing allegiance to
the king of England, and subjected to certain taxes which they had no
voice in considering and imposing, because they had no representation
in the Parliament which laid the taxes, became discontented and
rebellious, and in a convention which sat in our own city of
Philadelphia, on the 4th of July, 1776, they united in a DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE of Great Britain, and announced the thirteen colonies as
Free, Sovereign and Independent States.

This, however, was only a DECLARATION; and it took seven long years of
exhausting and terrible war (which would have been longer still but for
the timely aid of the French nation) to secure that independence and
have it acknowledged by the governments of Europe.

Before the DECLARATION, each of the colonies had a State government and
a written constitution for the regulation of its internal affairs. Now
these colonies had become States, with the necessity upon them (not at
first admitted by all) of a general compact or agreement, by which the
States, while maintaining their independence in many things, should
become a confederated or general government.

More than a year passed before the Constitution, which the Convention
agreed upon, was adopted by a sufficient number of the States to make
it binding on all the thirteen; and I am glad to know and to say that
my own little State of Delaware was the first to adopt it.

Now, WHAT IS THE CONSTITUTION? How does it differ from the _laws_ which
the Congress enacts every winter in Washington?

First, let me speak of other nations. There are two kinds of government
in the world――monarchical and republican. And there are two kinds of
monarchies――absolute and limited. An absolute monarch, whether he be
called emperor or king, rules by his personal will――HIS WILL IS THE
LAW. One of the most perfect illustrations of absolute or personal
government is seen on board any ship, where the will of the chief
officer, whether admiral or captain, or whatever his rank, is, and must
be, the law. From his orders, his decisions, there is no appeal until
the ship reaches the shore, when he himself comes under the law. This
is a very ancient form of government, now known in very few countries
calling themselves civilized.

The other kind of monarchy is limited by a constitution, _un_written,
as in Great Britain, or _written_, as in some other nations of Europe.
In these countries the sovereigns are under a constitution; in some
instances with hardly as much power as our President. They are not a
law unto themselves, but are under the common law.

The other kind of government is republican, democratic or representative.
It is, as was happily said on the field of Gettysburg, long after the
battle, by President Lincoln, “a government _of_ the people, _by_ the
people, _for_ the people.” These few plain words are well worth
remembering――“of,” “by,” “for” the people. These are the traits which
distinguish our government from all kinds of monarchies, whether
absolute or limited, hereditary or elective.

After the war between Germany and France, in 1870, the German kingdoms
of Prussia, Hanover, Saxony, Wurtemberg, Bavaria, with certain small
principalities, each with its hereditary sovereign, were consolidated
or confederated as the German empire, and the king of Prussia, the
present Frederick William, was crowned emperor of Germany.

France, however, after that war, having had enough of kings and
emperors, adopted the republican form of government. So that now there
are three republics in Europe, viz.: France, Switzerland, and a little
territory on the east coast of Italy, San Marino.

So that almost all of Europe, all of Asia, and all of Africa (except
Liberia), and the islands of Australia, and the northern part of North
America (except Alaska), are under the government of monarchs; while
the three countries of Europe already mentioned, and our own country,
and Mexico, and the Central American States, and all South America
except Brazil (and some small parts of the coast of South America under
British rule), are republics.[B]

[B] One of our most distinguished citizens said some years ago that he
believed the tendency of things was towards the English language, the
Christian religion, and republican government for the human race.

Now let us come back to our own government and see what is, and whether
it is better than any form of monarchy; and if so, why.

What is the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES? The first clause in it
is the best answer I can give:

“WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect
union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the
common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings
of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.”

Then follow the articles and sections setting forth the principles
on which it was proposed to build up a nation in this western world.
The thirteen States each had its constitution and its laws, but _this
instrument_ was intended to serve as the foundation of the general
government. Until these States had formed their constitutions, there
was no republican government in the world except Switzerland and San
Marino, and these lived only on the sufferance of their powerful
monarchical neighbors. All South America was under Spanish rule, and
Mexico was a monarchy.

The great principle of a republic is that people _have a right to
choose_ their own rulers, and ought to do it. The divine right of
hereditary monarchy we deny. It is often said that the English
government is as free as ours; but it is not quite true, and will
not be true until every citizen is permitted to vote for his rulers.
Whether so much liberty is perfectly safe for all people is well open
to question; but it is a FACT here, and if people would only behave
themselves properly there would be no danger whatever in it. And if
there IS danger here, it comes not from native-born citizens trained
under our free institutions. The sun does not shine on a broader,
fairer land than this; and under that divine Providence, without
whose gracious aid we could not have achieved and cannot maintain our
Constitution, we have nothing whatever to fear for the present or to
dread in the future, but the evil men among us――the Anarchists and
Socialists, the scum and off-scouring of Europe――who, with no fear of
God before their eyes, so far forget the high aims of this government
and their own obligations to it as to seek to overthrow its very

The highest and best types of monarchical governments are in Europe,
and it is with such that we seek comparison when we insist that ours is

Monarchies are hereditary. They descend from father to the oldest
son and to the oldest son of the oldest son where there are sons.
England has rejoiced in two female sovereigns at least, Elizabeth, and
Victoria, the present sovereign; but they came to the throne because
there was no son in either case to inherit. The heir-apparent, whatever
his character or want of character, MUST reign when the sovereign dies,
because, as they say, he rules by divine right. We insist on electing
our President for a term of years, and if we like him we give him
another term; if we do not like him, we drop him and try another. I
wish the term of office of the President were longer, and that he could
serve only one term. Perhaps it will come to that; and I think he would
be a more independent, a better official under this condition.

What is the difference between the Constitution and the laws?

The Constitution is the great charter under which, and within which,
the laws are made. No law that Congress may pass is worth the paper it
is printed on if it is contrary to the Constitution. Such laws have
been passed ignorantly, and have died.

A very simple illustration is at hand. The constitution of this College
is Mr. Girard’s will. This is our charter. The laws which the Directors
make must be within the provisions of the will or they will not stand.
For instance, the will directs that none but _orphans_ can be admitted
here; and the courts have decided that a child without a father is
an orphan. The directors, therefore, cannot admit the child who has
a father living. The will says that only _boys_ can be admitted;
therefore no law that the Directors can make will admit a girl. Nor
can the Directors make a law which will admit a colored boy; nor a boy
under six nor over ten years of age; nor a boy born anywhere except in
certain States of our country――Pennsylvania, New York and Louisiana. It
would be UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I think now you see the difference between
the Constitution and the laws.

Now, again, is our government better than a monarchy? and why?

Because the men of the present time make it, and are not bound by the
traditions of far-off times. There are improvements in the science of
government as in all other human inventions, as the centuries come
and go. Man is progressive; he would not be worth caring for if he
were not. If the present age has not produced a higher and better
development in all essentials, it is our own fault, and is not because
men were perfect in the past or cannot be better in the present or in
the future. Therefore when our Constitution is believed not to meet the
requirements of the present day there is a way to amend it, although
that way is so hedged up that it cannot possibly be altered without
ample time for consideration. As a matter of fact, the Constitution has
been altered or amended fifteen times since its adoption; and it will
be changed or amended as often as the needs of the people require it.

We believe our form of government to be better than any monarchy
because _the people choose their own law-makers_. The Congress is
composed of two houses or chambers: the members of the Senate, chosen
by the legislatures of the States, two from each State, to serve for
six years; the members of the House of Representatives (chosen by the
citizens), who sit for two years only, unless re-elected. The Senate is
supposed to be the more conservative body, not easily moved by popular
clamor; while the Representatives, chosen directly and recently by the
voters, are supposed to know the immediate wants of the people. The
thought of two houses grew probably from the two houses of the British

We cannot have an _hereditary legislature_ like the House of Lords in
the British parliament, whose members sit, as the sovereign rules, by
divine right, as they say, and with the same result in some instances:
for the sovereign may be a mere figure-head, or only the nominal ruler,
while the cabinet is the real government, and the House of Lords long
ago sunk far below the House of Commons in real influence. There is no
better reason for this than the fact that the people have nothing to do
with the House of Lords and the sovereign, except to depose and scatter
them when they choose to rise in their power and assert themselves.

We can have no _orders of nobility_ under our Constitution. There can
be no privileged class. All men are equal under the law. I do not mean
that all persons are equal in all respects. Divine Providence has
made us unequal. Some are endowed naturally with the highest mental
and physical gifts and distinctions; some are strong and others weak.
This has always been so and always will be so. Some have inherited or
acquired riches, while others have to labor diligently to make a bare
living. Some have inherited their high culture and gentle manners and
noble instincts, which, in a general sense, we sometimes call culture;
and others have to acquire all this for themselves――and it is not very
easy to get it. So there is no such thing as absolute equality, and
cannot be; but before the law, in the enjoyment of our rights and in
the undisturbed possession of what we have, we are all equal, as we
could not be under a monarchy. Here there is no legal bar to success;
all places are open to all.

There can be no law of _primogeniture_ under our Constitution. By this
law, which still prevails in England, the eldest son inherits the
titles and estates of the father, while the younger sons and all the
daughters must be provided for in other ways. Some of the sons are put
in the church, in the army or the navy, or in the professions, such as
law and medicine; but it is very rare indeed that any son of a noble
house is willing to engage in any kind of business or trade, for they
are not so well thought of if they become tradesmen.

There can be no _state church_, no _establishment_, under our
Constitution. In England the Episcopal Church, and in Scotland the
Presbyterian Church, are established by law; and until within the
last seventeen years the Church of England was by law established in
Ireland; and it is now established in Wales; and in other countries
of Europe the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church and the
Greek Church are established by law. In countries where there is a
national church, it derives more or less of its support from taxing the
people, many of whom do not belong to it; but in this land there is no
established church; and there never can be, let us hope and believe.

Under our form of government we need no _standing army_. We owe this
partly to the fact that we are so isolated geographically that we do
not need to keep an army. I heard the general of our army say, a short
time ago, that the regular army of the United States is a fiction――only
25,000 men. (You saw as many troops a few weeks ago in one day as are
in all our army.) “The real army,” he added, “is composed of every
able-bodied citizen; for all are ready to volunteer in the face of a
common enemy.” Our territory is immensely large already, and it will
probably be larger, but it will not again be enlarged as the result
of war. When we look at the nations of Europe, and see the immense
numbers of men in their standing armies, we can’t help thanking God
that we are separated from them by the wide Atlantic, and that we
have a republican government, and have no temptation to seek other
territory, and are not likely to be attacked for any cause. In the
armies of Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy, Turkey, are
more than ten millions of men withdrawn from the cultivation of the
soil and from the pursuits of commerce and manufactures. In Italy alone
the standing army is said to be 750,000 men! The withdrawal of so many
men from peaceful occupations makes it necessary to employ women to do
work which in our country women are never asked to do. I have seen a
woman drawing a boat on a canal, and a man sitting on the deck of that
boat smoking his pipe and steering the boat. I have seen a woman with
a huge load of fresh hay upon her head and a man walking by her side
and carrying his scythe. I have seen women yoked with dogs to carts,
carrying the loads that here would be put in a cart and drawn by a
horse. I have seen women carrying the hod for masons on their _heads_,
filled with stone and mortar. I have seen women carrying huge baskets
of manure on their backs to the field, and young girls breaking stone
on the highway. Did you ever hear of such things here? See what a
difference! The men in the army eat up the substance which the women
produce from the soil.

But nowhere else in the world is the _dignity of labor_ recognized as
here. They do not know the meaning of the words. For in most other
countries it is considered undignified, if not ungenteel, to be engaged
in labor of any kind. A man who is not able to live without work is
hardly considered a gentleman. To work with the hands is degrading;
is what ought to be done by common people only, and by people who are
not fit to associate with gentlemen and ladies. It is not so in this
country. Here, a man who is well educated and well behaved, and upright
and honorable in his dealings with men, who cultivates his mind by
reading and observation, and is careful of the usages of good society,
is fit company for any one. He may rise to any place within the gift of
his fellow-citizens, and adorn it. This is not so elsewhere. And think
of a young girl hardly out of her teens, with no special preparation
for such a distinction, but educated and accomplished, becoming the
wife of the President of the United States, and proving herself
entirely worthy of that high position! Could any other country match

Now what is the effect of all this freedom of thought and action on the
people? Well, it is not to be denied that there are some disadvantages.
There is danger that we may over-estimate the individual in his
personal rights, and not give due weight to the people as a community.
There is danger of selfishness, especially among young people. There
is not as much respect and reverence for age, and for those above us,
and for the other sex, as there ought to be. Young people are very
rude at times, when they should always be polite to their superiors
in age or position. At a little city in Bavaria the boys coming out
of school one day all lifted their hats to me, a stranger! That would
be an astounding thing in a Philadelphia street! In riding in the
neighborhood of the city here, if I speak civilly to a boy by the
roadside, I am just as likely as not to get an impudent answer.

But in spite of these defects, which we hope will never be seen
in a Girard College boy, the true effect of training under our
republican institutions is to make men. There is a wider, freer,
fuller development of what is in man than is known elsewhere. Man is
much more likely to become self-reliant, self-dependent, vigorous,
skillful, here――not knowing how high he may rise, and consciously or
unconsciously preparing himself for anything to which he may be called.
And for woman, too, where else does she meet the respect that belongs
to her? Where else in the world do women find occupation in government
offices, on school boards, at the head of charitable and educational
institutions? With few exceptions, such as Girton College, where are
there in any other country such colleges as Vassar or Wellesley, and
as the Woman’s Medical College, almost under the walls of our own?

I have already kept you too long. But a few words and I am done. I am
moved by the injunction of Mr. Girard in his will not only to say these
things, but by this grave consideration also. Every boy who hears me
to-day, within fifteen years, if he lives, unless he is cut off by
crime from the privilege, will be a voter. You will go to the polls to
cast your votes for those who are to have the conduct of the government
in all its parts. I want to make you feel, if I can, the high destiny
that awaits you. You are distinctive in this respect――you are all
American boys. This can be said of no other assembly as large as this
in all this broad land. You have it in your power, and I want to help
you to it, and God will if you ask him――you have it in your power to
become American gentlemen. And I believe that an _American gentleman_
is the very highest type of man.

    God, give us men. A time like this demands
    Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands:
    Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
      Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
    Men who possess opinions and a will;
      Men who have honor, men who will not lie;
    Men who can stand before a demagogue
      And scorn his treacherous flatteries without winking;
    Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
      In public duty and in private thinking.

              [Illustration: _James Lawrence Claghorn._]

                       JAMES LAWRENCE CLAGHORN.

When a man has lived a long, busy, useful and successful life it seems
proper that something more than the ordinary obituary notices in the
daily papers is due to his memory. This thought moves me to speak to
you to-day of a gentleman who died on August 25, 1884, while a Director
of the Girard College, and of whom it seems appropriate that something
may be said to you in this chapel.

Mr. James L. Claghorn was a distinguished citizen of Philadelphia. He
was born here on the 5th of July, 1817. His father, John W. Claghorn,
was a merchant of excellent standing, who in the latter years of his
life gave much time and thought to benevolent institutions. At the age
of fourteen years James left school to go into business. You boys know
how very incomplete an education at school must be which ends when the
boy is fourteen years old. But you don’t know until your own experience
proves it how hard it is for a half-educated boy to compete for the
high places in life or in business with boys of equal natural ability,
who have had the full advantage of a liberal school education. At
fourteen, then, James Claghorn turned his back on school and went to
work in earnest. For it was an auction store that he entered, and the
work there was usually harder work than in other kinds of stores. The
hours of labor were longer――earlier and later――and the holidays more
rare than in ordinary commercial houses.

There is no record of the early years of his business life; but it is
not difficult to imagine the hardships to which a young lad of that
time would be subjected. We can’t suppose that any indulgence was
allowed him because his father was one of the partners in the firm;
neither he nor his father would have permitted such distinction.

The boy must have been _industrious_; for in such a house there was no
place for an idle lounger. He was not afraid of work, for he was always
at it; he did not spare himself, else some other boy would have done
his share and got ahead of him; he must have been _faithful_, not one
who works only when his master’s eye is on him――not shirking any hard
work――not forgetting to-day what he was told yesterday――not thinking
too much of his rights or his own particular work, but doing anything
that came to hand――looking always to the interest of the firm, and
trusting the future for a recognition of his faithfulness.

And he must have been _patient_. Many rough words, many hasty and
passionate words are spoken to young boys, and must have been spoken to
this boy, and may have hurt him; but there is good reason to believe
from the character he built up that he knew how to hold his tongue and
not answer back. Not every boy has learned that useful lesson; and
hence the many outbreaks of passion and the frequent discharge of boys
who will “answer back” when they are reproved.

And I think also that he must have been of a bright and cheery
disposition and well mannered. Some young fellows who have to make
their way in the world seem not to know the importance of a good
address; in other words, politeness, good breeding. Nothing impresses
one so favorably at first meeting a stranger as good manners. A
frank, hearty greeting, a bright, cheerful face, a manly bearing, a
willingness to consider others, a desire to please for the sake of
giving pleasure, are of great importance. On the contrary, sullenness,
sluggishness, indifference, selfishness are all repulsive, and though
allowance will be made at first for the existence of such qualities,
yet they will hardly be tolerated long in a young person, and they
will certainly unfit him for a successful career. I did not know Mr.
Claghorn when he was a young lad; but I can hardly suppose that the
kindly, genial, hearty man in middle and later life could have been a
morose, sullen, sluggish, ill-mannered boy.

I have said that Mr. Claghorn left school while still a boy; but we
must not infer that he supposed his education was complete with the
end of his school life, for it is very evident that he must have
given very much of his leisure to self-improvement. We do not know
how his evenings were spent when not in the counting-house; but he
must have given a good deal of time to reading; and it is not likely
that the books which he read were such as are to be found now at any
book-stand, and in the hands of so many boys as they go to and fro on
their errands――books which are simply read without instruction, and
which sometimes treat of subjects which are unreal, extravagant, coarse
and brutalizing. Doubtless he was fond of fiction. All boys of fair
education and refined taste are more or less fond of fiction; but we
can hardly suppose that he gave too much of his time to such reading,
else he could not have become the strong business man that he was. At
a very early age he became fond of art, and gathered about him as his
means would permit engravings and pictures such as would cultivate his
taste in that direction. When he could spare the money he would buy
an engraving, if the subject or the author interested him; so that he
became, in the latter part of his life, the owner of one of the largest
collections of engravings in the whole country. Indeed, he became a
noted patron of art, and especially was he desirous of encouraging
_native_ art, so that at one period he had more than two hundred
paintings, the work of American artists; for at that time he was more
desirous of encouraging native artists, especially if they were poor,
than he was in making collections of the great masters. Many a picture
he bought to help the artist, rather than for his own gratification
as a collector. Further on in life he became deeply interested in
the Academy of the Fine Arts, which was then in Chestnut street
above Tenth. Subsequently he became its President, and very largely
through his influence and his personal means that fine building at the
southwest corner of Broad and Cherry street, which all of you ought
to visit as opportunity is afforded, was erected as a depository of
art. The splendid building of the Academy of Music at Broad and Locust
street, is also largely indebted to Mr. Claghorn for its erection.

But I am anticipating, and we must now go back to Mr. Claghorn in
his counting-house. No longer a boy――an apprentice――he has grown to
manhood, and has become a member of the firm, taking his father’s
place. Now his labors are greatly increased; the hours of business,
which were long before, are longer now; he begins very early in
the morning, before sunrise in the winter season, and is sometimes
detained late in the evening, the long day being entirely devoted to
business; and no one knows, except one who has gone through that sort
of experience, how much labor is involved in such a life; but not only
his labors――his responsibilities are greatly increased. He becomes the
financial man in the firm; he is the head of the counting-house; he
has charge of the books and the accounts. For many years no entry was
made in the huge ledgers except in his own handwriting. The credit of
the house of Myers & Claghorn becomes deservedly high. A time of great
financial excitement and distress comes on. This house, while others
are going down on the right and left like ships in a storm, stands
erect with unimpaired credit, and with opportunities of helping other
and weaker houses which so much needed help. The name of his firm was a
synonym of all that is strong and admirable in business management.

So he passed the best years of his whole life in earnest attention to
business, snatching all the leisure he could for the gratification
of his passion, it may be called, for art, until the time came when,
having acquired what was at that time supposed to be an abundant
competency, he determined to retire from business. Now he appears to
contemplate a long rest in a visit to other countries, and was making
arrangements looking to a long holiday of great enjoyment, when the
country became involved in the Great Rebellion. None of you, except
as you read it in history, know what a convulsion passed over the
country when the first gun was fired upon the flag at Fort Sumter.
Mr. Claghorn, full of love for his country and unwilling to do what
seemed to him almost like a desertion in her time of trial, gave up
his contemplated foreign tour, and applied himself most diligently and
earnestly to the duties of a true, loyal citizen in the support of the
government. He was one of the earliest members of the Union League,
and was largely interested in collecting money for the raising and
equipping of regiments to be sent to the front. Three or four years of
his life were spent in this laudable work, and in company with those
of like mind he was largely instrumental in accomplishing great good.
The war, however, came to an end――was fought out to its final and
inevitable issue.

Now the desire to visit foreign countries returned with increased
interest. His business affairs, although they had not been as
profitable as they would have been if he had looked closer to them
and had given less thought to public matters during the war, were so
satisfactory that he could afford to put them in other hands for a
while, and in company with his wife he embarked for Europe. It was
to be a long holiday such as he had never known before. He intended
to make an extended tour――he was not to be hurried. He went through
England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy,
Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Austria, Russia, Germany, Holland
and Belgium. In this way he saw and enjoyed all the most famous
picture-galleries of the old world; and his long study of art in its
various phases and schools gave him special advantages for the highest
enjoyment of the great collections, public and private, of the old
masters as well as of those of modern times.

The interest of his extended tour was not, however, limited to
galleries and collections of paintings and statuary. He was an observer
of men and things. His practical American mind observed and digested
everything that came within his reach. The government of the great
cities――the condition of the masses of the people gathered in them――the
common people outside of the cities, their customs and costumes; their
way of living――in short, everything that was unlike what we see at
home――he observed and remembered to enjoy in the retrospect of after

It was hardly to be expected that Mr. Claghorn, having lived the busy
life that he had lived before he went abroad, should have been content
on his return to sit down in the enjoyment of his well-earned leisure;
and accordingly, shortly after his return, he became the President of
the Commercial National Bank, one of the oldest financial institutions
in our city. For several years previously he had been a Director in
the Philadelphia National Bank (as his father had before him), so
that he had had proper training for the duties of his new position.
He became also a Manager in the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, the
oldest and the largest saving fund in our city. With most commendable
diligence and industry he at once set about building up the bank so as
to make it profitable to its stockholders. Not forgetting, however,
the attractions of art, he covered the walls of his bank parlor with
beautiful specimens of the choicest engravings, so that even the daily
routine of business life might be enlivened by glimpses into the
attractive world of art.

In the year 1869, when the Board of City Trusts was created by act of
Legislature (to which board is committed the vast estate left by Mr.
Girard, as well as of the other trusts of the city of Philadelphia),
Mr. Claghorn was appointed one of the original board of twelve, and
from that date until his death he gave much time and thought to the
duties thus devolved upon him. He became chairman of the finance
committee, which place he held until the end of his life. Although he
was not so well known to the boys of the college as some other members
of this board, because his duties did not require very frequent visits
to the college, he nevertheless gave himself to the duties of the
committee of which he was chairman with great interest and fidelity;
and the time which he gave to this great work is not to be measured by
visits to the college, but by the time spent in the city office and in
his own place of business, where his committee met him on their stated
meetings. As I have reason to know, he had a deep personal interest in
all the affairs of this college, and of the other trusts committed to
our charge.

Although the condition of his health in the latter part of his life
made close attention to business very trying to him, so far as I
know he never permitted his health to interfere with his business

In this brief and fragmentary way I have tried to set before you
some features of the life of one of our most distinguished citizens.
In the limits of a single discourse as brief as this must be it is
not possible to make this more than an outline sketch. In the little
time that remains let me refer again for the purpose of emphasis to
some traits in the character of Mr. Claghorn which will justly bear

A very large proportion of the merchants of any city fail in business.
The proportion is much larger than is generally known, and larger than
young people are willing to believe.

In an experience of more than forty years of business life, during
which I have had much to do with merchants, I have known so many
failures, have seen so many wrecks of commercial houses, that I am
compelled to regard a merchant who has maintained high credit for a
long term of years and finally retired from business with a handsome
estate as one who is entitled to the respect and confidence of his
fellow-citizens. Some men grow rich as junior partners in successful
business, the good management having been due to the ability and tact
of their seniors; but this can hardly be said in the present case. The
merchant whose life we are considering was an active and influential

Let me say, however, that true success in business is not to be
measured by the amount of money one accumulates. A man may be rich
in the riches acquired by his own activity and shrewdness who is in
no high sense a successful business man. These things are necessary:
He should be a just man, an upright, honorable man, a man of breadth
and solidity of character, who gathers about him some of the ablest
and best of his fellow-citizens in labors for the good of others and
the welfare of society. In such sense was Mr. Claghorn a successful
business man.

His early love of art in its various forms, the substantial aid and
encouragement he gave to young students in their beginnings, his deep
sympathy with persons who in literature and art were striving for a
living, his generous hospitality to artists, and his public spirit――all
these had their influence in the growth and development of his
character, and made his name to be loved and honored by many who shared
in his generous sympathies.

Mr. Claghorn’s love of country, which we call patriotism, was signally
disclosed at the outbreak of the war in 1861. When we remember his
long and busy life as a merchant――broken by few or no vacations such
as most other men enjoyed――when we remember that his self-culture had
been of such a nature as to prepare him most admirably well for a
tour in foreign countries, especially such countries as had produced
the ablest, the most distinguished artists――we can have some idea of
what it cost him to forego the much needed rest――to deny himself the
well-earned pleasure of a visit to the picture galleries of Europe,
where are gathered the treasures of the highest art in all the world.
Many men in like circumstances would have felt that one man, whose age
and sedentary habits unfitted him for active service in the field,
would hardly be missed from among the loyal citizens of the North――but
he did not think so; and therefore he put aside all his personal plans,
and in the city where he was born he remained and devoted himself
as one of her true, loyal citizens in raising money and men for the
defence of the government. There could be no truer heroism than this,
and right bravely and successfully he carried his purpose to the end.

“I am permitted,” said the clergyman who spoke at his funeral, and with
his words I close these remarks, “I am permitted to address to you
in the presence of the solemnity of death some few reflections that
occur to me in memory of one whom we shall know no more in life. A
few Saturday evenings ago I was walking along by a lake at a seashore
home when a great and wondrous beauty spread itself beneath my eye.
It was one of those inimitable pictures that rarely come to one. In
the foreground there lay a lake with no ripple on its surface. It was
a calm and sleeping thing. A shining glory was in the western sky. The
sun had gone, but where he disappeared were indications of beauty――one
of the most beautiful afterglows I have ever seen. It was not one of
the ordinary things, and as I looked at it there came many reflections.
Here is one of them. It seems quite applicable this morning. That which
caused the quiet glory of the lake, that which caused the radiation of
beauty, had gone. Its day’s work was done. That quiet lake and streaked
sky were the type of a picture of a busy, useful, successful life that
had been accomplished. It was a complete thing. The day was done. The
activity had passed away. It was finished just as this life. What had
made it beautiful had gone, but he flung back monuments of beauty
that made the scene as beautiful as good words and noble deeds make
the memory of man. There were six of these rays. Young men, brethren
of this community, you will do well to remember that anywhere and
everywhere, without patience and industry, nothing great can be done.
The life departed was a busy one――one of busy usefulness. The cry that
came from him was, ‘I must work; I must be busy.’ Live as this man
did, that your life may be one that can be held up as an example and a
light to young men of the coming generations. One ray of beauty was
his sterling truthfulness. It is a splendid thing to be trusted by your
fellows. Another ray was his prudent foresight. It was characteristic
of him, and it is a splendid thing to have. Another ray that welled out
of him was his striking humanity. There was one continual trait in his
character. I would call it manhoodness. There was another feature――his
deep humility.”

Such were some of the traits of character of a man who lived a long
life in the city where he was born. If no distinctive monument has been
erected to his memory, there are the “Union League,” “The Academy of
the Fine Arts,” and “The Academy of Music,” with which his name will
always be associated; and, what is better still, there are many hearts
that throb with grateful memories of an unselfish man, who in time
of sore need stretched out his hand to help, and that hand was never
empty. And you will remember, you Girard boys, that this man who did so
much for his native city and for his fellow-citizens was not nearly so
well educated at the age of fourteen when he left school as many of you
are now. See what he did; see what some of you may do!

                         THE LEAF TURNED OVER.

                           January 1, 1888.

Some weeks ago I gave you two lectures on “Turning Over a New Leaf.”
One of the directors of this college to whom I sent a printed copy said
I ought to follow those with another on this subject: “The Leaf Turned
Over.” I at once accepted this suggestion and shall now try to follow
his advice.

Most thoughtful people as they approach the end of a year are apt to
ask themselves some plain questions――as to their manner of life, their
habits of thought, their amusements, their studies, their business,
their home, their families, their companions, their plans for the
future, their duty to their fellow-men, their duty to God; in short,
whether the year about to close has been a happy one; whether they have
been successful or otherwise in what they have attempted to do.

The merchant, manufacturer or man of business of any kind who keeps
books, and whose accounts are properly kept, looks with great interest
at his account book at such a time, to see whether his business has
been profitable or otherwise, whether he has lost or made money,
whether his capital is larger or smaller than it was at the beginning
of the year, whether he is solvent or insolvent, whether he is able to
pay his debts or is bankrupt.

And to very many persons engaged in business for themselves, this is
a time of great anxiety, for one can hardly tell exactly whether he
is getting on favorably until his account books are posted and the
balances are struck. If one’s capital is small and the result of the
year’s business is a loss, that means a reduction of capital, and
raises the question whether this can go on for some years without
failure and bankruptcy. Many and many a business man looks with great
anxiety to the month of December, and especially to the end of it,
to learn whether he shall be able to go on in his business, however
humble. And, alas! there are many whose books of account are so badly
kept, and whose balances are so rarely struck, or who keep no account
books at all, that they never know how they stand, but are always under
the apprehension that any day they may fail to meet their obligations
and so fail and become bankrupt. They were insolvent long before, but
they did not know it; and they have gone on from bad to worse until
they are ruined. Others, again, are afraid to look closely into their
account books――afraid to have the balances struck, lest they should
be convinced that their affairs are in a hopeless condition. Unhappy
cowards they are, for if insolvent the sooner they know it the better,
that they may make the best settlement they can with their creditors,
if the business is worth following at all, and begin again, “turning
over a new leaf.”

I do not suppose that many of you boys have ever thought much on these
subjects; for you are not in business as principals or as clerks, you
have no merchandise or produce or money to handle, you have no account
books for yourselves or for other people to keep, to post, to balance,
and you may think you have no interest in these remarks; but I hope to
be able to show you that these things are not matters of indifference
to you.

The year 1887, which closed last night, was just as much _your_ year as
it was that of any man, even the busiest man of affairs. When it came,
365 days ago, it found you (most of you) at school here: it left all of
you here. And the question naturally arises, what have you done with
this time, all these days and nights? Every page in the account books
of certain kinds of business represents a day of business, and either
the figures on both the debit and the credit side are added up and
carried forward, or the balance of the two sides of the page is struck
and carried over leaf to the next page.

So every day of the past year represents a page in the history of your
lives: for every life, even the plainest and most humble, has its own
peculiar history. Your lives here are uneventful; no very startling
things occur to break the monotony of school life, but each day has
its own duties and makes its own record. Three hundred and sixty-five
pages of the book of the history of every young life here were duly
filled by the records of all the things done or neglected, of the words
spoken or unspoken, of the thoughts indulged or stifled; these pages
with their records, sad or joyful, glad or shameful, were turned over,
and are now numbered with the things that are past and gone. When an
accountant or book-keeper discovers, after the books of the year are
closed and the balances struck, that errors had crept in which have
disturbed the accuracy of his work, he cannot go back with a knife and
erase the errors and write in the correct figures; neither can he blot
them out, nor rub them out as you do examples from a slate or from
the blackboard; he must correct his mistakes; he must counteract his
blunders by new entries on a new page.

It is somewhat so with us, with you. Last night at midnight the last
page of the leaves of the book of the old year was filled with its
record, whatever it was, and this morning “the leaf is turned over.”
What do we see? What does every one of you see? A fair, white page.
And each one of you holds a pen in his hand and the inkstand is within
reach; you dip your pen in the ink, you bend over the page, the
thoughts come thick and fast, much faster indeed than any pen, even
that of the quickest shorthand writer can put them on the page. There
are stenographers who can take the language of the most rapid speakers,
but no stenographer has ever yet appeared who can put his own thoughts
on paper as rapidly as they come into his mind. But while there is but
one mind in all the universe that can have knowledge of what is passing
in your mind and retain it all――THE INFINITE MIND; and while no one
page of any book, however large, even if it be what book-makers call
elephant folio, can possibly hold the record of what any boy here says
and thinks in a single day, you may, and you do, all of you, write
words good or bad on the page before you.

Let me take one of these boys not far from the desk, a boy of sixteen
or seventeen years of age, who is now waiting, pen in hand, to write
the thoughts now passing in his mind. What are these thoughts? No one
knows but himself. Shall I tell you what I think he ought to write? It
is something like this:

“I have been here many years. When I came I was young and ignorant. I
found myself among many boys of my own age, hardly any of whom I ever
saw before, who cared no more for me than I cared for them. I felt
very strange; the first few days and nights I was very unhappy, for I
missed very much my mother and the others whom I had left at home. But
very soon these feelings passed away. I was put to school at once, and
in the school-room and the play-ground I soon forgot the things and
the people about my other home. Years passed. I was promoted from one
school to another, from one section to another; I grew rapidly in size;
my classmates were no longer little boys; we were all looking up and
looking forward to the school promotions, and I became a big boy. The
lessons were hard, and I studied hard, for I began to understand at
last why I was sent here, and to ask myself the question, what might
reasonably be expected of me? Sometimes when quite alone this question
would force itself upon me, what use am I making of my fine advantages,
or am I making the best use of them? And what manner of man shall I
be? For I know full well that all well-educated boys do not succeed in
life――do not become successful men in the highest and best sense. How
do I know that I shall do well? Is my conduct here such as to justify
the authorities in commending me as a thoroughly manly, trustworthy
boy? Have I succeeded while going through the course of school studies
in building up a character that is worthy of me, worthy of this great
school? Can those who know me best place the most confidence in me? If
I am looking forward to a place in a machine shop, or in a store, or
in a lawyer’s office, or to the study of medicine, or to a place in a
railroad office or a bank, am I really trying to fit myself for such a
place, or am I simply drifting along from day to day, doing only what I
am compelled to do and cultivating no true ambition to rise above the
dull average of my companions? And then, as I look at the difficulties
in the way of every young fellow who has his way to make in the world,
has it not occurred to me to look beyond the present and the persons
and things that surround me now, and look to a higher and better Helper
than is to be found in this world? Have I not at times heard words of
good counsel in this chapel, from the lips of those who come to give me
and my companions wholesome advice? What attention have I given to such
advice? I have been told, and I do not doubt it, that the great God
stoops from heaven and speaks to my soul, and offers his Divine help,
and even holds out his hand, though I cannot see it, and will take my
hand in his, and help me over all hard places, and will never let me
go, if I cling to him, and will assure me success in everything that is
right and good. I have heard all this over and over again; I know it is
true, but I have not accepted it as if I believed it; I have not acted
accordingly; in fact, I have treated the whole matter as if it were
unreal, or as if it referred to somebody else rather than to me.

“And now I have come probably to my last year in this school. Before
another New Year’s day some other boy will have my desk in the
school-room, my bed in the dormitory, my place at the table, my seat
in the chapel. These long years, oh! how long they have seemed, have
nearly all passed; I shall soon go away; if some place is not found
for me I must find one for myself――oh! what will become of me? Since
last New Year’s day two boys who were educated here have been sent
convicted criminals to the Eastern Penitentiary. What are they thinking
about on this New Year’s morning? They sat on these seats, they sang
our hymns, they heard the same good words of advice which I have heard,
they had all the good opportunities which all of us have; what led them
astray? Did they believe that the good God stooped from heaven to say
good words to them, holding out his strong hand to help them? I wonder
if they thought they were strong enough to take care of themselves?
I wonder if they thought they could get along without his help? Do I
think I can?”

Some such thoughts as these may be passing in the mind of the boy now
looking at me and sitting not far from the desk, the boy whom I had
in my mind as I began to speak. He is holding his pen full of ink. He
has written nothing yet; he has been listening with some curiosity to
hear what the speaker will say, what he can possibly know of a boy’s

I can tell that boy what _I_ would write if I were at his age, in this
college, and surrounded by these circumstances, listening to these
serious, earnest words. I would take my pen and write on the first page
of this year’s book, this Sunday morning, this New Year’s day, these
words: “_The leaf is turned over!_ God help me to lead a better life.
God forgive all the past, all my wrong doings, all my neglect, all
my forgetfulness. God keep me in right ways. God keep me from wicked
thoughts which defile the soul; keep me from wicked words which defile
the souls of others.”

“But this is a prayer,” you say; “do you want me to begin my journal by
writing a prayer?”

Yes; but this is not all. Write again.

1. _I will not willingly break any of the rules which are adopted for
the government of our school._

Some of the rules may _seem_ hard to obey, and even unreasonable, but
they were made for my good by those who are wiser than I am. I _can_
obey them; I _will_.

2. _I will work harder over my lessons than ever before, and I will
recite them more accurately._

This means hard work, but it is my duty; I shall be the better for it;
it will not be long, for I am going soon; I _can_, I _will_.

3. _I will watch my thoughts and my talk more carefully than I have
ever done before._

If I have hurt others by evil talk I will do so no more. It is a common
fault; many of us boys have fallen into the habit of it; but for one, I
will do so no more; I _can_ stop it, I _will_.

4. _I will be more careful in my daily life here, to set a good example
in all things, than I have ever been before._

The younger boys look to the older boys and imitate them closely. They
watch us, our words, our ways, our behavior in all things. If any young
fellows have been misled by me, it shall be so no more. I will behave
so that no one shall be the worse for doing as I do. This is quite
within my control; I _can_, I _will_.

5. _I will look to God to help me to do these things._

For I have tried to do something like this before and failed; it must
be because I depended on my own strength. Now I will look away from
myself and depend upon “God, without whom nothing is strong, nothing
is holy.” He _can_ help me; he surely will, if I throw myself on his
mercy, and by daily prayer and reading the Scriptures, even if only for
a moment or two each day, I shall see light and find peace.

These are the things that I would write, my boy, if I were just as you

Shall I stop now? May I not go a little farther and say some words to
others here?

Teachers, prefects, governesses: these boys are all under your charge,
and every day. The same good Providence that brought them here for
education and support, brought you here also to teach them and care
for them. Your work is exacting, laborious, unremitting. Some of these
young boys are trying to your patience, your temper, your forbearance,
almost beyond endurance. Sometimes you are discouraged by what seems
to be the almost hopeless nature of your work, the untidiness, the
rough manners, the ill temper, the stupidity of some of these young
boys. But remember that all this is inevitable; that from the nature of
the case it must be so; and remember, too, that to reduce such material
to good order, to train and educate these young lives so that they
shall be well educated, well informed, well mannered, polite, gentle,
considerate, so they may be fairly well assured of a successful future,
is a great and noble work, worthy of the ambition of the highest
intelligence. This is exactly what the great founder had in his mind
when he established this college and provided so munificently for its
endowment. This is what his trustees most earnestly desire, and the
hope of which rewards them for the many hours they give every week to
the care of this great estate. We depend upon you to carry out the plan
of instruction here, not only in the schools, but in the section rooms
and on the play-grounds. Be to these older boys their big brothers,
their best friends. Be kind to them always, even when compelled to
reprove them for their many faults.

And to those of you who have the care of the younger boys, let me
say: remember, they have no mothers here; they are very young to send
from home; they are homesick at times; they hardly know how to behave
themselves; they shock your sense of delicacy; they worry and vex you
almost to distraction; but bear with them, help them, encourage them,
love them, for if _you_ do not, who will? And what will become of them?
And remember what a glorious work it is to lift such a young life out
of its rudeness, its ignorance, its untidiness, and make a real man of
it. Oh! friends, suffer these words of exhortation, for they come from
one who has a deep sympathy with you in your arduous, self-denying work.

    And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it from
    whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was
    found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great,
    stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book
    was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged
    out of those things which were written in the books, according
    to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it;
    and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them;
    and they were judged every man according to his works――Rev. xx.

                           THANKSGIVING DAY.

                          November 29, 1888.

The President of the United States, in a proclamation which you have
just heard, has set apart this 29th day of November for a day of
thanksgiving and prayer, for the great mercies which the Almighty has
given to the people of our country, and for a continuance of these
mercies. His example has been followed by the governors of Pennsylvania
and many, if not all, of the States, and we may therefore believe that
all over the land, from Maine to Alaska, and from the great lakes to
the Gulf of Mexico, the people in large numbers are now gathered or
gathering in their places of worship, in obedience to this proper
recommendation. The directors of this college, in full sympathy with
the thoughts of our rulers, have closed your schools to-day, released
you from the duty of study, gathered you in this chapel, and asked you
to unite with the people generally in giving thanks to God for the
past, and imploring his mercies for the future. For you are a part of
the people, and although not yet able, from your minority, to take an
active part in the government, are yet being rapidly prepared for this
great right of citizenship. It is the high privilege of an American
boy, to know that when he becomes a man he will have just as clear a
right as any other man, to exercise all the functions of a freeman,
in choosing the men who are to be intrusted with the responsibilities
of government. What are some of the things that give us cause for
thankfulness to Almighty God? Very briefly such as these:

1. _This is a Christian country._ Although there is not, and cannot
be, any part or branch of the church established by law, there is
assured liberty for every citizen to worship God by himself, or with
others in congregations, as he or they may choose, in such forms of
worship as may be preferred, with none to molest or make afraid. Here
is absolute freedom of worship. And even if it be that the name of God
is not in our Constitution, nevertheless no president or governor or
public officer can be inducted or inaugurated in high office except by
taking oath on the book of God, and as in his presence, that he will
faithfully discharge the duties of his office. If there were nothing
else, this public acknowledgment of the being of Almighty God and our
accountability to him gives us an unquestioned right to call ourselves
a Christian people.

2. _This is a free government_, free in the sense that the people
choose their own rulers, whether of towns, cities, States, or the
nation. There is no hereditary rule here, and cannot be. We not
only _choose_ our own rulers, but when we are dissatisfied with them
for whatever cause, we dismiss them. And the minority accept the
decision when it is ascertained, without doubt, without a question of
its righteousness; they only want to know whether the majority have
actually chosen this or that candidate, and they accept frankly, if not
cheerfully. We have had a splendid illustration of this within this
present month. The great party that has administered the government
for four years past, on the verdict of the majority, are preparing to
retire and will retire on the fourth of March next, and give up the
government to the other great party, its victorious rival. Nowhere
else in the world can such a revolution be accomplished on so grand
a scale, by so many people, with so little friction. This government
then is better than _any monarchy_, no matter how carefully guarded
by constitutional restrictions and safeguards. The best monarchical
governments are in Europe: the best of all in England; but the
governments of Europe have many and great concessions to make to the
people, before they can stand side by side with the United States in
strong, healthy, considerate management of the people. It has been said
that the best machinery is that which has the least friction, and as
the time passes, we may hope that our machinery of government will be
so smooth that the people will hardly know that they are governed at
all; in fact, they will be their own governors. This time is coming as
sure as Christmas, though not so close at hand, and you boys can hasten
it by your own upright, manly bearing when you come to be men. Never
forget that this is a government of the majority, and you must see to
it that the majority be true men.

3. _We are separated by wide oceans from the rest of the world._ The
Atlantic separates us from Europe on the east; the Gulf of Mexico from
South America on the south, and the great Pacific ocean washes our
western shores. We are a continent to ourselves, with the exception of
Mexico, a sister republic on the south, with whom we are not likely to
quarrel again, and the Dominion of Canada on the north, which, if never
to become a part of ourselves, will at least at some day, and probably
not a very distant day, become independent of the mother country as we
did, though not at the great cost at which we obtained our freedom.
Our distance from Europe relieves us entirely from the consideration
of subjects which occupy most of the time of their statesmen, and
which very often thrill the rest of the world in the apprehension of
a general war in Europe. We are under no necessity of annexing other
territory. We are not afraid of what is called “the balance of power;”
we have no army that is worthy of the name, because we don’t need one,
and we can make one if we should need it; and we have no navy to speak
of, though I think we ought to have for the protection of our commerce,
when our commerce shall be further encouraged. We have no entanglements
with other nations; the great father of his country in his Farewell
Address warned the people against this danger.

4. _Our country is very large._ You school-boys can tell me as well as
I can tell you what degrees of latitude and longitude we reach, and how
many millions of square miles we count. Europeans say we brag too much
about the great extent of our country; but I do not refer to it now for
boasting, but as a matter of thankfulness to God for giving it to us.
It means that our territory, reaching from the Arctic to the tropics,
gives us every variety of climate and almost every variety of product
that the earth produces; and I am sure that the time will come when,
under a higher agricultural cultivation than we have yet reached, our
soil will produce everything that grows anywhere else in the world. The
corn harvest now being gathered in our country will reach _two thousand
millions of bushels_. The mind staggers under such ponderous figures
and quantities. Our wheat fields are hardly less productive; our
potatoes and rice and oats and barley and grass, the products of our
cattle and sheep, and, in short, everything that our soil above ground
yields; and the enormous yield of our coal mines, our oil wells, our
natural gas, our metals, our railroads, spanning the entire continent
and binding the people together with bands of steel――all these, and
many others, which time will not permit me even to mention, give some
faint idea of what a splendid country it is that the Almighty God has
given to the American people. And do we not well therefore, when we
come together on a day like this, to make our acknowledgments to Him?

5. _The general education of the people_ is another reason for
thankfulness to God. The system is not yet universal, but it will be at
no distant day. You boys will live to see the day when every man, woman
and child born in the United States (except those who are too young or
feeble-minded) will be able to read and write and cipher. It is sure to
come. Then, under the blessing of God, when people learn to do their
own reading and thinking, we shall not fear anarchists and atheists and
the many other fools who, under one name or another, are now trying to
make this people discontented with their lot. There is no need for such
people here, and no place for them; they have made a mistake in coming
to this free land, as some of them found to their cost on the gallows
at Chicago.

6. _We have no war in our country, no famine, and with the exception of
poor Jacksonville, Florida, no pestilence._ Famine we have never known,
and with such an extent of country we have little need to dread such a
scourge as that. No one need suffer for food in our country, and this
is the only country in the world of which this can be said; for labor
of some kind can always be found, and food is so cheap, plain kinds of
food, that none but the utterly dissipated and worthless need starve;
and in fact none do starve; for if they are so wretchedly improvident,
the guardians of the poor will save them from suffering not only, but
actually provide them with a home, that for real comfort is not known
elsewhere in the world.

Some of us have seen war in its most dreadful proportions, but even
then the alleviations furnished by the Christian Commission greatly
relieved some of its most horrid features; and we are not likely to see
war again, for there will be hereafter nothing to quarrel and fight
about. Our political differences will never again lead to the taking up
of arms in deadly strife.

Such are some of the occasions of thankfulness which led the President
of the United States to ask the people, by public proclamation, to turn
aside for one day from their business, their farms, their workshops,
their counting-houses, to close the schools, and assemble in their
places of worship and thank God, the giver of every good and perfect

But I don’t think the President of the United States knew what special
reasons the Girard College boys have to keep a thanksgiving day. And I
shall try in what I have yet to say to point out some of them.

1. This foundation is under the control of the Board of City
Trusts. When Mr. Girard left the bulk of his great estate for this
noble purpose, he gave it to the “mayor, aldermen and citizens of
Philadelphia,” as his trustees. The city of Philadelphia could act
only through its legislative body, the select and common councils,
bodies elected by the people, and consequently more or less under the
influence of one or the other of the great political parties. Nearly
twenty years ago, owing largely to Mr. William Welsh, who became
the first President of the Board of City Trusts, the legislature of
Pennsylvania took from the control of councils all the charitable
trusts of the city and committed them to this board. If any political
influences were ever unworthily exerted in the former board it ceased
when the judges of the city of Philadelphia and the judges of the
Supreme Court named the first directors of the City Trusts. These
directors are all your friends; they give much thought, much labor,
much anxiety to your well-being, desiring to do the best things that
are possible to be done for your welfare, and to do them in the best
way. Many of them have been successful in finding desirable situations
for such of your number as were prepared to accept such places. I am
glad to say that I have three college boys associated with me in my
business; Mr. Stuart had two; Mr. Michener has two; General Wagner
has two, and Mr. Rawle has had one, and probably other members of the
board have also, so you see our interest in you is not limited to the
time which we spend here and in the office on South Twelfth street,
but we are ever on the lookout for things which we hope may be to your

2. This splendid estate, which you enjoy; these beautiful buildings,
which were erected for your use; these grounds, which are so well kept
and which are so attractive to you and to the thousands of visitors
that come here; these school-rooms, which we determine shall lack
nothing that is desirable to make them what they ought to be; the
text-books which you use in school, the best that can be found; the
teachers, the most accomplished and skilful that can be procured; the
prefects and governesses chosen from among many applicants, and because
they are supposed to be the best, all your care-takers; all who have
to do with you here are chosen because they are supposed to be well
qualified to discharge their duties most successfully. The arrangements
for your lodging in the dormitories, the furniture and food of your
tables, the well-equipped infirmary for the sick, are such as, in the
judgment of the trustees, the great founder himself would approve if he
could be consulted. Truly, this gives occasion for special thanksgiving
on this Thanksgiving Day.

3. _You all have a birthright._

What that meant in the earliest times we do not fully know; but it
meant at least to be the head or father of the family, a sort of
domestic priesthood, the chief of the tribe, or the head of a great
nation. In our own times, in Great Britain the first-born son has by
right of birth the headship of the family, inheriting the principal
part of the property, and he is the representative of the estate. They
call it there the _law of primogeniture_, or the law of the first-born.
In our country there is no birthright in families, and we have no law
to make the eldest born in any respect more favored than the other and
younger children.

But you Girard boys have a birthright which means a great deal. The
founder of this great school left the bulk of his large estate to
the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of adopting and educating
a certain class of boys, very particularly described, to which you
belong. The provision he made for you was most liberal. Everything that
his trustees consider necessary for your careful support and thorough
education is to be provided. Nothing is to be wanting which money
wisely expended can supply. _This is your birthright._ No earthly power
can take it from you without your consent. No commercial distress, no
financial panic, no change of political rulers, no combination of party
politics can interfere with the purpose of the founder. Nothing but the
loss of health or life, or your own misconduct, can deprive you of this
great birthright. Do you boys fully appreciate this?

Now, is it to be supposed that there is a boy here who is willing to
_sell_ this birthright as Esau did?

Is there a boy here who is corrupt in heart, so profane and foul in
speech, so vicious in character, so wicked in behavior, as to be an
unfit companion for his schoolmates, and who cannot be permitted to
remain among them? Is there a boy here who, for the gratification
of a vicious appetite, will _sell_ that privilege of support and
education so abundantly provided here? So guarded is this trust, so
sacred almost, that no human being can take it away from you: will
you deliberately _throw it away_? The wretched Esau, in the old
Jewish history, under the pressure of hunger and faintness, sold his
birthright with all its invaluable privileges; will you, with no such
temptation as tried him, with no temptation but the perverseness of
your own will and your love of self-indulgence, will you _sell your
birthright_? Bitterly did Esau regret his folly; earnestly did he try
to recover what he had lost, but it was too late; he never did recover
his lost birthright, though he sought it carefully and with tears. And
he had no one to warn him beforehand as I am warning you.

Boys, if you pass through this college course not making the best use
of your time, or if you allow yourselves to fall into such evil habits
as will make it necessary to send you away from the college――and this
after all the kind words that have been spoken to you and the faithful
warnings that have been given you――you will lose that which can never
be restored to you, which can never be made up to you in any other way
elsewhere. You will prove yourselves more foolish, more wicked than
Esau, for you will lose more than he did, and you will do it against
kinder remonstrances than he had.

4. There is another feature of the management here which gives especial
satisfaction. When a boy leaves the college to go to a place which has
been chosen for him, or which he has found by his own exertions, he
is looked after until he reaches the age of twenty-one, by an officer
especially appointed, and as we believe well adapted to that service.
And many a boy who has found himself in unfavorable circumstances and
under hard task-masters, with people who have no sympathy with his
youth and inexperience, many such have been visited and encouraged,
helped and so assisted towards true success.

5. But what is there to make each particular boy thankful to-day? Why
you are all in good health; and if you would know how much that means
go to the infirmary and see the sick boys there, who are not able to
be in the chapel to-day, not able to be in the play-grounds, who are
looking out of the windows with wistful eyes, very much desiring to be
with you and enjoying your plays but cannot. God bless them.

You are all comfortably clothed; those of you who are less robust have
warmer clothing, and all of you are shielded and guarded as well as the
trustees know how to care for you, so that you may be trained to be
strong men.

You are all having a holiday; no school to-day; no shop-work to-day;
no paying marks to-day; no punishments of any kind to-day. Why? It is
Thanksgiving Day and everything that is disagreeable is put out of
sight and ought to be put out of mind.

You are all to have a good dinner. Even now, while we are here in the
chapel and while some of you are growing impatient at my speech, think
of the good dinner that is now cooking for you. Think of the roast
turkey, the cranberry sauce, the piping-hot potatoes, the gravy, the
dressing, the mince pies, the apples afterwards, and all the other good
things which make your mouths water, and make my mouth water even to
mention the names. Then after dinner you go to your homes, and you have
a good time there.

The last thing I mention which you ought to be thankful for is having a
short speech.

               [Illustration: _Professor W. H. Allen._]


                          September 24, 1882.

                  “_Remember how He spake unto you._”

These are the words of an angel. They were spoken in the early morning
while it was yet dark, to frightened and sorrowful women, who had
gone to the sepulchre of Christ with spices and ointments to embalm
his body. These women fully expected to find the body of their Lord;
for as they went they said, “Who shall roll us away the stone from
the sepulchre?” When they reached the place, they found the stone was
rolled away and the grave was empty. And one of them ran back to the
disciples to tell them that the grave was open and the body gone. Those
that remained went into the sepulchre and saw two men in glittering
garments, who, seeing that the women were perplexed and afraid,
standing with bowed heads and startled looks, said, with a shade of
reproof in their tone, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is
not here, he is risen.” And, perhaps, seeing that the women could
hardly believe this, it was added, “Remember how he spake unto you when
he was yet in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of man must be delivered into
the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise

The words that are quoted as having been spoken by Jesus to his
disciples were spoken in Galilee six months or more before this, and as
they were not clearly understood at the time, it is not so very strange
that they should have been forgotten.

It had been well if these sorrowing women, as well as the other
disciples of the Lord, had remembered other words, and all the words
that the Lord spake to them, not only while in Galilee, but in all
other places. The world would be better to-day if those gracious words
had been more carefully laid to heart.

I hope the words of my text will bear, without too much accommodation,
the use which I shall make of them.

Almost three-quarters of a century ago, a boy was born in the family of
a New England farmer. It was in the then territory of Maine, and near
the little city of Augusta. The family were plain, poor people, and
the child grew up, as many other farmers’ children grew up, accustomed
to plain living and such work as children could properly be set to
do. In the winter he went to school, as well as at other times when
the farm work was not pressing. It would be very interesting to know,
if we _could_ know, whether there was anything peculiar in the early
disposition and habits of this boy, or whether he grew up with nothing
to distinguish him from his playmates. If we could only know what
children would grow up to be distinguished men, we should, I think, be
very careful to observe and record any little traits and peculiarities
of their early childhood. The boy of whom I am speaking, and whom you
know to be William Henry Allen, seems to have been prepared at the
academy for college, which he entered at the advanced age of twenty-one
years. Four years after, he was graduated, and at once he set out to
teach the classics in a little town in the interior of the State of New
York. While engaged in that seminary, he was called to a professorship
in Dickinson College, at Carlisle, in our own State of Pennsylvania.
In Dickinson College he held successively the chairs of chemistry
and the natural sciences, and that of English literature, until his
resignation, in 1850, to accept the presidency of Girard College.

From this time until his death, except during an interval of five
years, his life was spent here. For twenty-seven years he gave himself
to the work of organizing and directing the internal affairs of this
college, with an interest and efficiency which, until within the last
year, never flagged. It is not possible at this day for any of us to
appreciate the difficulties he had to encounter in the early days of
the college, but we do know that he did the work well.

See how he was prepared for the work he did. He was a lover of study.
When only eight years old he had learned the English grammar so well
that his teacher said he could not teach him anything further in that
study. There was an old family Bible that was very highly prized by all
the family, and his father told him that if he would read that Bible
through by the time he was ten years old, it should be his property.
The boy did so, and claimed and received his reward. That book is now
in the possession of his daughter (Mrs. Sheldon). This early reading
of the Bible will, perhaps, account for President Allen’s unusual
familiarity with the Scriptures, as evinced in the richness of his
prayers in this school chapel.

The school to which he went in his early youth was three miles from
his father’s house; and in all kinds of weather, through the heats of
summer and the deep snows of winter, he plodded his way.

I have said that his parents were not rich; and this young man pushed
his way through college by teaching, thus earning the money necessary
for his support. This may account for the fact that he entered college
at the age when most young men are leaving it, viz., twenty-one years.
It did not seem to him that it was a great misfortune to be poor; but
it was an additional inducement to call forth all his powers to insure
success. He knew that he must depend upon himself if he would succeed
in life. And so he was not satisfied with qualifying himself for one
chair in a college, but, as at Dickinson, he held two or three chairs.
He could teach the classics or mathematics or general literature,
or chemistry or natural sciences. Not many men had qualities so
diversified, or knew so well how to put them to good account. You know
very well that this liberal culture was not acquired without hard work.
And this hard work he must have done in early life, before cares and
duties crowded him, as they will absorb all of us the older we grow.

“Remember how He spake unto you.” I would give these words a two-fold
meaning――remember _what_ he said and _how_ he said it.

Twenty-seven years is a long time in the life of any man, even if he
has lived more than three-score years and ten. In all these years
President Allen was going in and out before the college boys, saying
good and kind words to them.

How often he spoke to you in the chapel! It was _your church_, and the
only church that you could attend, except on holidays. His purpose was
that this chapel service should be worthy of you, and worthy of the
day. So important did he consider it, that when his turn came to speak
to you here, he prepared himself carefully. He always wrote his little
discourses, and the best thoughts of his mind and heart he put into
them. He thought that nothing that he or any other speaker could bring
was too good for you.

And then the tones of his voice, the manner of his instruction; how
gentle, kind, conciliating. He remembered the injunction of Scripture,
“The servant of the Lord must not strive.” You will never know in this
life how much he bore from you, how long he bore with your waywardness,
your thoughtlessness; how much he loved you. He always called you “his
boys.” No matter though some of you are almost men, he always called
you “his boys,” much as the apostle John in his later years called his
disciples his “little children.” For President Allen felt that in a
certain sense he was a father to you all.

For some time past you knew that his health was declining. You saw his
bowed form and his feeble, hesitating steps. In the chapel his voice
was tremulous and feeble. The boys on the back benches could not always
understand his words distinctly. But you knew that he was in earnest in
all that he did say. And for many months he was not able to speak at
all in the chapel. On the last Founder’s Day he was seated in a chair,
with some of his family about him, looking at the battalion boys as
they were drilled, but the fatigue was too great for him. And as the
summer advanced into August, and the people in his native State were
gathering their harvests, he, too, was gathered, as a shock of corn
fully ripe.

When Tom Brown heard of the death of his old master, Arnold of Rugby,
he was fishing in Scotland. It was read to him from a newspaper. He
at once dropped everything and started for the old school. He was
overwhelmed with distress. “When he reached the station he went at once
to the school. At the gates he made a dead pause; there was not a soul
in the quadrangle, all was lonely and silent and sad; so with another
effort he strode through the quadrangle, and into the school-house
offices. He found the little matron in her room, in deep mourning;
shook her hand, tried to talk, and moved nervously about. She was
evidently thinking of the same subject as he, but he couldn’t begin
talking. Then he went to find the old verger, who was sitting in his
little den, as of old.

“‘Where is he buried, Thomas?’

“‘Under the altar in the chapel, sir,’ answered Thomas. ‘You’d like to
have the key, I dare say.’

“‘Thank you, Thomas; yes, I should, very much.’

“‘Then,’ said Thomas, ‘perhaps you’d like to go by yourself, sir?’”

“So he walked to the chapel door and unlocked it, fancying himself the
only mourner in all the broad land, and feeding on his own selfish

“He passed through the vestibule and then paused a moment to glance
over the empty benches. His heart was still proud and high, and he
walked up to the seat which he had last occupied as a sixth-form boy,
and sat down there to collect his thoughts. The memories of eight
years were all dancing through his brain, while his heart was throbbing
with a dull sense of a great loss that could never be made up to him.
The rays of the evening sun came solemnly through the painted windows
over his head and fell in gorgeous colors on the opposite wall, and the
perfect stillness soothed his spirit. And he turned to the pulpit and
looked at it; and then leaning forward, with his head on his hands,
groaned aloud. ‘If he could have only seen the doctor for one five
minutes, have told him all that was in his heart, what he owed him,
how he loved and reverenced him, and would, by God’s help, follow his
steps in life and death, he could have borne it all without a murmur.
But that he should have gone away forever, without knowing it all,
was too much to bear.’ ‘But am I sure that he does not know it all?’
The thought made him start. ‘May he not even now be near me in this

And with some such feelings as these I suppose many a boy will
come back to the college and stand in this chapel, and recall the
impressions he has received from President Allen here. But his voice
will never be heard here again. Nothing remains but to “remember how he
spake unto you.”

I am sure you will never forget the day he lay in his coffin in the
chapel, and you all looked on his face for the last time. What could
be more impressive than the funeral? The crowded house, the waiting
people, the bowed heads, the solemn strains of the organ, the sweet
voices of children singing their beautiful hymns, the open coffin, the
appropriate address given by one of his own college boys, the thousand
and more boys standing in open ranks for the procession to pass through
to the college gates, the burial at Laurel Hill cemetery, where many
of his pupils already lie, and where many more will follow him in the
coming years――all these thoughts make that funeral day one long to be

Let us accept this as the will of Providence. There is nothing to
regret for him; but for us, the void left by his withdrawal. He is
leading a better life now than ever before. He has just begun to live,
and the best words I can say to you are, “remember how he spake unto

                   *       *       *       *       *

    “But when the warrior dieth,
      His comrades in the war
    With arms reversed and muffled drums
      Follow the funeral car.
    They show the banners taken,
      They tell his battles won,
    And after him lead his masterless steed,
      While peals the minute gun.

    “Amid the noblest of the land
      Men lay the _sage_ to rest,
    And give the _bard_ an honored place,
      With costly marble drest,
    In the great Minster transept
      Where lights like glories fall,
    And the choir sings and the organ rings
      Along the emblazoned wall.”

                    A YOUNG MAN’S MESSAGE TO BOYS.

                           December 7, 1884.

When I came here in April last I brought with me some friends, among
whom was my son. And I said to him that some day I should wish _him_ to
speak to you. He had so recently been a college boy himself, graduating
at the University of Pennsylvania, and he was so fond of the games
and plays of boys, and withal was so deeply interested in boys and
young men, that I thought he might be able to say something that would
interest you, and perhaps do you good.

At a recent meeting of the proper committee his name was added to the
list of persons who may be invited to speak to you. The last time I was
at the college President Fetterolf asked me when my son could come to
address you, and I replied that he was sick.

That sickness was far more serious than any of us supposed; there was
no favorable change, and at the end of twelve days he passed away.

My suggestion that he might be invited to speak here led him to
prepare a short address, which was found among his papers, and has,
within a few days, been handed to me. It was written with lead pencil,
apparently hastily; and certainly lacking the final revision, which in
copying for delivery he would have given it.

I have thought it would be well for me to read to you this address; but
I did not feel that I had any right to revise it, or to make any change
in it whatever; so I give it precisely as he wrote it, adding only a
word here and there which was omitted in the hurried writing.

    He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that
    ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.――Proverbs xvi.

I want you to look with me at the latter part of each of these
sentences, and see if we can’t understand a little better what Solomon
meant by such words “_the mighty_” and “_he that taketh a city_.”

Do you remember the wonderful dream that came to Solomon just after
he had been made king over Israel? How God came to him while he was
sleeping and said to him, “Ask what I shall give thee,” and how
Solomon, without any hesitation, asked for wisdom. And God gave him
wisdom, so that he became famous far and wide, and people from nations
far off came to see him and learn of him.

If I were to ask you now who was the wisest man that ever lived, you
would say “Solomon.” Often you have heard one person say of another,
“he is as wise as Solomon.” I cannot stop here to tell you of the way
in which Solomon showed this wonderful gift. But his knowledge was
not that of books, because there were not a great many books then for
him to read. It was the knowledge which showed him how to do _right_,
and how to be a _good ruler_ over his people. And because he chose
such wisdom, the very best gift of God, God gave him besides, riches
and everything that he could possibly desire. His horses and chariots
were the most beautiful and the strongest; his armies were famous
everywhere for their splendid arms and armor. He had vast numbers of
servants to wait upon him, and to do his slightest wish. Presents, most
magnificent, were sent to him by the kings of all the nations round
about him. No king of Israel before or after him was so great and so
powerful. And, greatest honor of all, God permitted him to build a
temple for him――what his father David had so longed to do and was not
allowed, God directed Solomon to do. David’s greatest desire before
he died was to build a house for God. The ark of God had never had
a house to rest in, and David was not satisfied to have a splendid
palace to live in himself, and to have nothing but a _tent_ in which
to keep God’s ark. But God would not suffer him to do that, although
he was the king whom he loved so much. No, that must be kept for his
son Solomon to do. David had been too great a fighter all his life; he
had been at war; he had driven back his enemies on all sides, and had
made God’s people a nation to be feared by all their foes. So David was
a “mighty man,” and while Solomon was growing up he must have heard
every one talking of the wonderful things his father had done from his
youth up――the adventures he had had when he was only a poor shepherd
lad keeping his flocks on the hills about Bethlehem. And how often
must he have been told that splendid story, which we never grow tired
of hearing, of his fight with the giant Goliath; and when he was shown
the huge pieces of armor, and the great sword and spear, he surely knew
what it was for a man to be “mighty” and “great.” And when his old
father withdrew from the throne and made him king, he found himself
surrounded on all sides with the results of his father’s wars and
conquests, and soon knew that he also was “a mighty man.”

There is not a boy here who does not want to be “great.” Every one
of you wants to make a name for himself, or have something, or do
something, that will be remembered long after he is dead.

If I should ask you what that something is, I suppose almost all of you
would say, “I want to be rich, so rich that I can do whatever I like;
that I need not do any work; that I can go where I please.” Some of
you would say, “I would travel all over the world and write about what
I see, so that long after I am dead people will read my books and say,
‘what a great man he was!’” Some of you would say, “I would build great
houses, and fill them with all the richest and most beautiful goods. I
would have whole fleets of ships, sailing to all parts of the world,
bringing back wonderful things from strange countries; and when I would
meet people in the street they would stand aside to let me pass, saying
to one another, ‘there goes a great man; he is our richest merchant;
how I should like to be as great as he.’”

And still another would say: “I don’t care anything about books or
beautiful merchandise. No, I’ll go into foreign countries and become a
great fighter, and I shall conquer whole nations, so that my enemies
shall be afraid of me, and I shall ride at the head of great armies,
and when I come home again the people will give me a grand reception;
will make arches across the street, and cover their houses with flags,
and as I ride along the street the air will be filled with cheers for
the great general.”

And so each one of you would tell me of some way in which he would like
to be great. I should think very little of the boy who had no ambition,
one who would be entirely content to just get along somehow, and never
care for any great success so long as he had enough to eat and drink
and to clothe himself with, and who would never look ahead to set
his mind on obtaining some great object. It is perfectly right and
proper to be ambitious, to try and make as much as possible of every
opportunity that is presented. No one can read that parable of the
master who called his servants to account for the talents he had given
them, and not see that God gives us all the blessings and advantages
that we have, in order that we may have an opportunity to put them to
such good use, that He may say to us as the master in the parable said
to his servants, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

So it is right for you to want to be great, and I want to try and tell
you how to accomplish it. If you were sure that I could tell you the
real secret of success you would listen very carefully to what I had
to say, wouldn’t you? Some of you would even write down what I said.
Then write _this_ down in your hearts; for, following this, you will
be greater than “the mighty:” “He that is slow to anger is better than
the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.”
Are some of you disappointed? do you say, “_Is that all?_ I thought he
was about to tell us how we could make lots of money.” Ah, if you would
only believe it, and follow such advice, such a plan were to be far
richer than the man who can count his wealth by millions. But look at
it in another way. What sort of a boy do you choose for the captain of
a base-ball nine or a foot-ball team? What sort of a _man_ is chosen
for a high position? Is he one who loses all control over himself when
something happens to vex him, and flies into a terrible passion when
some one happens to oppose him? No; the one you would select for any
place of great responsibility is he who can keep his head clear, who
will not permit himself to get angry at any little vexation, who rules
his own spirit――and can there be anything harder to do? I tell you “no.”

So, I have told you how to be successful, and at the same time I tell
you, there is nothing harder to do; and now I go on still further, and
say you can’t follow such advice by yourself, you must have some help.
Is it hard to get? No, it is offered to you freely; you are urged to
ask for it, and you are assured that it is certain to come to all who
want it. Will such help be sufficient? Much more than sufficient, for
He who shall help you is abundantly able to give you more than you ask
or think. It is God who tells you to come to him, and he shall make
you more than “the mighty,” greater than he which taketh the city;
yes, for the greatness he shall bestow upon those who come to him is
far above all earthly greatness. He shall be with you when you are
ready to fly into a furious temper, when you lift your hand to strike,
when you would _kill_ if you were not afraid; but when the wish is in
your heart, yes, then, even then, He is beside you. He looks upon you
in divine mercy, and if you will only let him, will rebuke the foul
spirit and command him to come out of you, and your whole soul shall
be filled with peace. Why won’t you listen to his pleading voice, and
let him quiet the dreadful storm of anger? And when the hot words fly
to your lips, remember his soft answer that turns away wrath. Then
will you have won a greater battle than any ever fought; for you will
have conquered your own wicked spirit, and by God’s grace you are a
conqueror. And the reward for a life of such self-conquest shall be a
crown of life that fadeth not away. Won’t you accept _such_ greatness?

                   *       *       *       *       *

Such are the words he would have spoken to you had his life been
spared; and he would have spoken them with the great advantage of a
_young man_ speaking to _young men_. Now they seem like a message
from the heavenly world. It is more than probable that in copying for
delivery he would have expanded some of the thoughts and have made the
little address more complete. Perhaps it would be better for me to stop
here; ... but there are a few words which I would like to say, and it
may be that they can be better said now than at any other time.

I want to say again, what I have so often said, that a boy may be fond
of all innocent games and plays and yet be a Christian. Some of you
may doubt this. You may believe and say, that religion interferes with
amusements and makes life gloomy. Here is an example of the contrary;
for I do not see how there _could_ be a happier life than my son’s
(there never was a shadow upon it), and no one could be more fond of
base-ball and foot-ball and cricket and tennis than he was; and yet he
was a simple-hearted Christian boy and young man. And with all this
love of innocent pleasure and fun he neglected no business obligations,
nor did he fail in any of the duties of social or family life. In
short, I can wish no better thing for you boys than that your lives may
be as happy and as beautiful as his was.

                         A TRUTHFUL CHARACTER.

                             April, 1889.

Can anything be more important to a young life than truthfulness? Is
character worth anything at all if it is not founded on truth? And are
not the temptations to untruthfulness in heart and life constantly in
your path?

It is most interesting to think that every life here is an individual
life, having its own history, and in many respects unlike every other
life. When I see you passing through these grounds, going in procession
to and from your school-rooms, your dining halls and your play-grounds,
the question often arises in my thoughts, how many of these boys are
walking in the truth?

If I were looking for a boy to fill any position within my gift, or
within the reach of my influence, and should seek such a boy among
you, I should ask most carefully of those who know you best, whether
such and such a boy were truthful; and not in speech merely (that is,
does he answer questions truthfully), but is he open and frank in his
life? Does he cheat in his lessons or in his games? Does he shirk any
duty that is required of him in the shops? When he fails to recite his
lessons accurately, is he very ready with his excuses trying to justify
himself for his failure, or does he admit candidly that he did not do
his best, and does he promise sincerely to do better in the future?
And is he one who may be depended upon to give a fair account of any
incident that may come up for investigation? Sometimes there are wrong
things done here, done from thoughtlessness often; may such a boy as
I am looking for be depended upon to say what he knows about it, in a
manly way, so as to screen the innocent, and, if necessary, expose the
guilty? In other words, is he trustworthy, worthy of trust, can he be
depended on?

It may not be easy for one at my time of life to say just what a boy
ought to be, if he is to make much of a man. But we who think much
of this subject have an idea of what we would like the boys to be,
in whom we are especially interested. And if I borrow from another
a description of what I mean, it is because this author has said it
better than I can.

“A real boy should be generous, courteous among his friends and among
his school-fellows; respectful to his superiors, well-mannered. He
must avoid loud talk and rough ways; must govern his tongue and his
temper; must listen to advice and reproof with humility. He must be a
gentleman. He must not be a sneak or a bully; he must neither cringe
to the strong nor tyrannize over the weak. To his teachers he must be
obedient, for they have a right to require obedience of him; he must
be respectful, because the true gentleman always respects those who
are wiser, more experienced, better informed than himself. He must
apply himself to his lessons with a single aim, seeking knowledge for
its own sake, and earnestly striving to make the best possible use of
such faculties as God has given him. He must do his best to store his
mind with high thoughts by a careful study of all that is beautiful
and pure. In his sports and plays he must seek to excel, if excellence
can be obtained by a moderate amount of time and energy; but he must
remember, that though it is a fine thing to have a healthy body and
a healthy mind, it is neither necessary nor admirable to develop a
muscular system like that of an athlete or a giant. Whatever falls to
his hands to do, he must do it with his might, assured that God loves
not the idle or dishonest worker. He must remember that life has its
duties and responsibilities as well as its pleasures; that these begin
in boyhood, and that they cannot be evaded without injury to heart and
mind and soul. He must train himself in all good habits, in order that
these may accompany him easily in later life; in habits of method and
order, of industry and perseverance and patience. He must not forget
that every victory over himself smooths the way for future victories
of the same kind; and the precious fruit of each moral virtue is to set
us on higher and better ground for conquests of principle in all time
to come. He must resolutely shut his ears and his heart to every foul
word and every improper suggestion, every profane utterance; guarding
himself against the first approaches of sin, which are always the most
insidiously made. He must not think it a brave or plucky thing to
break wholesome rules, to defy authority, to ridicule age or poverty
or feebleness, to pamper the appetite, to imitate the ‘fast,’ to throw
away valuable time; to neglect precious opportunities. He must love
truth with a deep and passionate love, abhorring even the shadow of a
lie, even the possibility of a falsehood. True in word, true in deed,
he shall walk in the truth.”

I say then to you boys, do your best; be honest and diligent; be
resolute to live a pure and honorable life; speak the truth like boys
who hope to be gentlemen; be merry if you will, for it is good to be
merry and wise; be loving and dutiful sons, be affectionate brothers,
be loyal-hearted friends, and when you come to be men you will look
back to these boyish days without regret and without shame.

Something like this is my ideal of a boy. I am very desirous that your
future shall be bright and useful and successful, and I, and others who
are interested in your welfare, will hope to hear nothing but good of
you; but we can have no greater joy than to hear that you are walking
in the truth. Some of you may become rich men; some may become very
prominent in public affairs; you may reach high places; you may fill
a large space in the public estimation; you may be able and brilliant
men; but there is nothing in your life that will give us so much joy as
to hear that “you are walking in the truth.”

Truth is the foundation of all the virtues, and without it character
is absolutely worthless. No gentleness of disposition, no willingness
to help other people, no habits of industry, no freedom from vicious
practices, can make up for want of truthfulness of heart and life.
Some persons think that if they work long and hard and deny themselves
for the good of others, and do many generous and noble acts and have
a good reputation, they can even tell lies sometimes and not be much
blamed. But they forget that reputation is not character; that one may
have a very good reputation and a very bad character; they forget that
the reputation is the outside, what we see of each other, while the
character is what we are in the heart.

                   *       *       *       *       *

 Transcriber’s Notes:

 ――Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

 ――Printer’s, punctuation, and spelling inaccuracies were silently

 ――Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

 ――Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

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