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Ralph Waldo Emerson (search for this): chapter 4
tion that he was unable to attend to his classes. Some years later he enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing his candidate, Theodore Lyman, nominated and elected. Emerson once delivered a lecture in Boston on university life in which he made the rather bold statement that in the course of twenty years the rank-list is likely to bed this lecture for a theme, and against the sentence above quoted the Professor wrote: A statement frequently made, but what is the fact? I do not think he liked Emerson quite so well after this, and he can hardly be blamed for feeling so. It was not only a disparagement of good scholarship but like a personal slight upon himself. That Emerson graduated near the foot of his class ought not to prove that an idle college life is a sign of genius. Professor Child talked freely in regard to the meetings of the college faculty, for he believed that graduates had a right to know about them. He quoted some amusing anecdotes of a certain professor who led the
Through his interest in fine acting, he became one of the best judges of oratory, and it was always interesting to listen to him on that subject. He considered Wendell Phillips the perfection of form and delivery, and sometimes very brilliant, but much too rash in his statements. Everett was also good, but lacked warmth and earnestness. Choate was purely a legal pleader, and outside of the court-room not very effective. He thought Webster one of the greatest of orators, fully equal to Cicero; but they both lacked the poetical element. Sumner's sentences were florid and his delivery rather mechanical, but he made a strong impression owing to the evident purity of his motives. The general public, however, had become suspicious of oratory, so that it was no longer as serviceable as formerly. After all, he would say, the main point for a speaker is to have a good cause. Then, if he is thoroughly in earnest, we enjoy hearing him. He once illustrated his subject by the story of
Andrew Johnson (search for this): chapter 4
, he wrote to him: I congratulate you on the success of your statement, which I have read with very great interest. John Brown was like a star and still shines in the firmament. We could not have done without him. He considered Governor Andrew's approbation of John Brown as more important than anything that would be written about him in the future. He did not trouble himself much in regard to Lincoln's second election, for he saw that it was a foregone conclusion; but after Andrew Johnson's treachery in 1866, he felt there was a need of unusual exertion. When the November elections arrived, he told his classes: Next Tuesday I shall have to serve my country and there will be no recitations. When Tuesday came we found him on the sidewalk distributing Republican ballots and soliciting votes; and there he remained until the polls closed in the afternoon. He had little patience with educated men who neglected their political duties. Why are you discouraged? he would ask.
Wendell Phillips Garrison (search for this): chapter 4
face the enemy in an honest argument, he was not often on the ground to do so. Now that the most potent cause of political agitation resides in the far-off problem of the Philippine Islands it is difficult to realize the popular excitement of those times, when both parties believed that the very existence of the nation depended on the result of the elections. Professor Child was not the least of an alarmist, and deprecated all unnecessary controversy. In 1861 he even cautioned Wendell Phillips Garrison against introducing too strong an appeal for emancipation in his commencement address; but he was as firm as a granite rock on any question of principle, and when he considered a protest in order he was certain to make one. He did not trust party newspapers for his information, but obtained it from persons who were in a position to know, and his facts were so well supported by the quick sallies of his wit that those who interfered with him once rarely attempted it again. Moreove
nd. He gave some excellent advice to a young lady who was about visiting Europe for the first time, who doubted if she could properly appreciate the works of art and other fine things that she would be called upon to admire. Don't be afraid of that, said Professor Child; you will probably like best just those sights which you do not expect to; but if you do not like them, say so, and let that be the end of it. Now, I am so unfortunate as not to appreciate Michel Angelo. His great horned Moses is nothing more to me than a Silenus in a garden. The fact does not trouble me much, for I find enough to interest me as it is, and I can enjoy life without the Moses. After mentioning a number of desirable expeditions, he added: You will go to Dresden, of course, to see Raphael's Madonna and Titian's Tribute Money ; and then there are the Green Vaults. I have known the Green Vaults to have an excellent effect on some ladies of my acquaintance. They did not care one-quarter as much for
like such primitive verses much better than the Pike County Ballads, a mixture of sentiment and profanity. Then he went on to say: I want my children, when they grow up, to read the classics. My boy will go to college, of course; and he will translate Homer and Virgil, and Horace,--I think very highly of Horace; but the literal meaning is a different thing from understanding the poetry. Then my daughters will learn French and German, and I shall expect them to read Schiller and Goethe, Moliere and Racine, as well as Shakespeare and Milton. After that they can read what they like, but they will have a standard by which to judge other authors. He was afraid that the students wasted too much time in painting play-bills and other similar exercises of ingenuity, which lead to nothing in the end. He gave some excellent advice to a young lady who was about visiting Europe for the first time, who doubted if she could properly appreciate the works of art and other fine things that s
John Brown (search for this): chapter 4
l see now, he had the right on his side. He was proud of having voted twice for Abraham Lincoln. What he thought of John Brown, at the time of the Harper's Ferry raid, is uncertain; but many years later, when one of his friends published a small book in vindication of Brown against the attack of Lincoln's two secretaries, he wrote to him: I congratulate you on the success of your statement, which I have read with very great interest. John Brown was like a star and still shines in theJohn Brown was like a star and still shines in the firmament. We could not have done without him. He considered Governor Andrew's approbation of John Brown as more important than anything that would be written about him in the future. He did not trouble himself much in regard to Lincoln's secJohn Brown as more important than anything that would be written about him in the future. He did not trouble himself much in regard to Lincoln's second election, for he saw that it was a foregone conclusion; but after Andrew Johnson's treachery in 1866, he felt there was a need of unusual exertion. When the November elections arrived, he told his classes: Next Tuesday I shall have to serve my c
Theodore Lyman (search for this): chapter 4
manufacturer, a worthy man but very ignorant, who afterwards became governor of the State, was renominated; and when it was proposed to make the nomination unanimous Professor Child called out such an emphatic No that it seemed to shake the whole assembly. Not content with this he entered a protest next day in the Boston Advertiser. He was so much used up by the exertion that he was unable to attend to his classes. Some years later he enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing his candidate, Theodore Lyman, nominated and elected. Emerson once delivered a lecture in Boston on university life in which he made the rather bold statement that in the course of twenty years the rank-list is likely to become inverted. One of Professor Child's class paraphrased this lecture for a theme, and against the sentence above quoted the Professor wrote: A statement frequently made, but what is the fact? I do not think he liked Emerson quite so well after this, and he can hardly be blamed for feeling s
Abraham Lincoln (search for this): chapter 4
unt of hazing, and to endure a kind of social ostracism throughout the course. For many years before the election of Lincoln, Professors Child, Lowell, and Jennison were the only pronounced anti-slavery members of the faculty; and this left Franpted it again. Moreover, as we all see now, he had the right on his side. He was proud of having voted twice for Abraham Lincoln. What he thought of John Brown, at the time of the Harper's Ferry raid, is uncertain; but many years later, when one of his friends published a small book in vindication of Brown against the attack of Lincoln's two secretaries, he wrote to him: I congratulate you on the success of your statement, which I have read with very great interest. John Brown was e important than anything that would be written about him in the future. He did not trouble himself much in regard to Lincoln's second election, for he saw that it was a foregone conclusion; but after Andrew Johnson's treachery in 1866, he felt t
d said determinedly, Wendell Phillips is as good an orator as either of them! He was chagrined, however, at Phillips's later public course,--his support of Socialism and General Butler. Neither did he like Phillips's Phi Beta Kappa oration, in which he advocated the dagger and dynamite for tyrants. A tyrant, said Professor Child, is what anyone chooses to imagine. My hired man may consider me a tyrant and blow me up according to Mr. Phillips' s principle. The assassins of Garfield and McKinley evidently supposed that they were ridding the earth of two of the worst tyrants that ever existed. Professor Child was exceptionally liberal. He even supported Woman Suffrage for a time, but he held Socialism in a kind of holy horror, --such as one feels of a person who is always making blunders. In 1878 Professor Child and some other political reformers were elected to a Congressional convention and went with the hope of securing a candidate who would represent the educated classes,--
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