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Apply this principle to our venerated Alma Mater, and what shall be the measure of the honors which shall justly ascend and be accumulated upon her head! Why, my friends, if Harvard had done nothing for the country and for the world but educate the men of the present moment, so many of whom I see around me; if she had done nothing but send forth such historians as her Prescott aud Bancroft and Motley, such jurists as her Shaw and her Curtis, such a scholar and orator as her Everett, such writers, thinkers, teachers, counsellors, pastors, statesmen, honorable merchants, useful citizens, as come thronging and crowding to my mind, and to my lips, and to my sight, in numbers that defy all attempt to name them; if she could show, as the result of her training, only such a complete and rounded life as that of our elder QUINCY,- I might have said our elder Cato, -exercised in almost every variety of public service, State, national, and municipal, legal, literary, and academic, - exercised and tried in all, and nowhere found wanting, everywhere found efficient and excellent; — if these, I repeat, were all the jewels to which Harvard could point this day, she might well be content with the coronet which adorns her brow.
But as we run our eyes back over the long catalogue of her great and good in other times as well as in this,- as we follow down the significant abbreviations and capitals, and the still more significant italics, which diversify and illuminate the record of her two hundred and fifteen classes in the new Triennial, we reflect on the host of laborers who have here been trained up and sent forth into every field and vineyard of Church and of State, of Theology and Medicine and Law and Literature and Science and Philosophy and Commerce and Legislation and Philanthropy and Patriotism, as we run our eyes back over that long and brilliant bead-roll of her Saints and Prophets, her Apostles and Martyrs, — all common forms and phrases of acknowledgment and exultation become poor and cold, and nothing seems to satisfy the emotions of our souls but some of those triumphant salutations of the old Roman poet, -“ Salve, magna Parens, '' “ Felix prole virum," “ Læta Deum partu.”
And now, brethren, in gratefully and proudly remembering what the College has done for the community, and what it has
done for each one of ourselves, it becomes us to reflect and to inquire seriously, What have we done for the College? How have the Alumni ever signalized their sense of her noble career, and their gratitude for her fostering care ? I do not forget how much has been done by some of them in the way both of personal service and of pecuniary contribution. I do not forget the laurels which so many of them have brought to lay upon her altar, and to decorate her shrines. And doubtless no greater honor can be rendered her than by the worthy and honorable lives and labors of her sons.
But where as yet is the monument of a single united effort of all her children to relieve her wants, to supply her deficiencies, and to build her up to greater and greater heights of prosperity and usefulness?
Tell me not that she has no wants, immediate and pressing. On both sides of our Academic grounds, as we have passed along this morning, might be seen the most impressive memorials, not only of what has been nobly done, but of what remains to be nobly done. Here, on one side, is a spacious Library Building erected by the munificence of a distinguished Alumnus, whose image, I rejoice to say, will not be much longer wanted to its alcoves,— CHRISTOPHER GORE.
But our assiduous and faithful librarian will tell you of the lamentable deficiencies of that library in almost every department of ancient and modern literature and learning. Not a copy of the Statutes of the United States, nor a tolerably good modern Atlas! Not a copy of the lives of Channing or Story, or of the works of Jonathan Edwards or Daniel Webster?
This was a part of the mortifying record six months ago. And though by the bequests of the learned and lamented Gray, and of the amiable and accomplished Wales, and by the generosity of some of its living friends, large and valuable accessions have since been received, - yet nothing but the systematic efforts of the whole body of the Alumni can furnish an adequate remedy for that beggarly account of empty shelves which has too long been witnessed in what ought to be our American Bodleian.
There, on the other side, — just rising to add fresh lustre to the name of one of our most liberal and large-hearted benefactors, Samuel Appleton,- is a noble chapel, where the voices of prayer and praise, we trust, will be heard by our children and our children's children through a hundred generations, and which we all might well desire should be consecrated exclusively to the sacred uses for which it was designed ; — into which no sounds of mirth and levity, no cheers and crowdings and scrapings and stampings and jests and flirtations, should ever be suffered to enter;- but which should stand as a Sanctuary of Faith, a Temple of Devotion, a memorial of things unseen and eternal, symbolizing to the eye of youth and of age the legend of our College seal - Christo et Ecclesiae — for ever. But how is this to be accomplished, unless from some source or other shall be speedily forthcoming the means for building up an ample and commodious hall for the secular services and festivals of the University ?
I cannot help hoping, brethren, that this idea —not originating with myself alone — may, before all others, commend itself to acceptance and adoption somewhere. I envy the individual name which shall be inscribed on such a building, erected with such a view. But I have sometimes ventured to cherish the hope that the Alumni, as an Association, might be willing and able to undertake the work, and that even before another Triennial Festival shall come round, a stately and commodious hall, like the Senate House at Old Cambridge, or the Theatre at Oxford, might be seen standing on some appropriate spot of the college grounds, bearing on its front — “ The Alumni of Harvard to their Alma Mater - where the exhibitions and Class days and Commencements of the University might find worthy accomodations ; where the living Alumni might hold their Anniversary Festivals, and their annual or occasional meetings; and where, perhaps, the memorials of the distinguished dead, now crowded upon these narrow walls, might find a fit gallery for their display.*
I need not tell you, brethren, that Alumni Associations and
* A day or two after this first public suggestion of "a Hall of the Alumni,” I received a note from the late Charles Sanders, Esq., offering five thousand dollars towards the object. By his Will, he has given ten times that amount; and the generous contributions of the Alumni and the public, with a view to doing honor to the memory of the noble sons of Harvard who fell in the cause of the Union, have left no doubt that the Building will soon be erected.
Harvard Clubs are worth but little, if their only aim and their only accomplishment is painfully to keep themselves alive. We need the cementing and the quickening influence of common effort and of common achievement for the welfare of this common object of our gratitude and love, in order to bind us together and impel us onward, until the Alumni of Harvard shall become a power in the college, if not a power in the community.
Pardon me, my friends, for any thing so practical at a dinner table. Pardon me for thus venturing to sow a little seed by the wayside, which, after all, may never be destined to bear fruit. And unite with me, without further delay, in the sentiment with which I hasten to conclude:
OUR ALMA MATER - May she be ever more and more the honored instrument in dispensing a sound, classical Scholarship and a true Christian education, and may she want no good thing which it is in the power of grateful children to bestow upon her! “ Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces ! For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee !"
CENTRAL CHARITY BUREAU.
A MEMORIAL ADDRESSED TO THE CITY COUNCIL OF BOSTON, OCTOBER 8, 1857.*
TO THE HONORABLE CITY COUNCIL OF BOSTON, - The undersigned, Officers of the BOSTON PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION, by order and in behalf of the managers of that Association, respectfully invite the early and favorable attention of the City Government to the following suggestions, and to the petition growing out of them :
The Boston Provident Association has now been in active and successful operation during six successive years. Organized for the twofold purpose of visiting and relieving the deserving poor, and of detecting and exposing the vagabond impostors who throng the streets of every large city, this Association has supplied a deficiency in our system of public charity, which had long been perceived and deplored. Its operations may be estimated by the following figures, which are as nearly exact as the nature of such returns may allow :
The returns for the year just closing are not yet wholly made up; but the operations and expenditures of the Association have been materially larger than during any previous year of its existence.
* As this paper contains the original proposal and plan of an Institution which is at length about to be erected under the sanction of the City Government, it has been thought not unworthy of a place in this volume.