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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (July 5, 1885)
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hnd been lnid away with appropriate ceremonies the toast
master, Hon, H. II. Wilson '77, arose and "made a few re
marks." The several responses were all in good taste and
were received with attention and frequent npplnusc. The
The Gorham minstrels furnished music at intervals in the
programme and were listened to with much pleasure on the
part of the assemblage. At an early hour, early in the morn
ing the company broke up and left with praise for the execu
tive committee, the Gorham management, the banquet and
toast makers ; 1 0 say that the Alumni banquet was a success is
putting it mildly.
The regvdar sessions of the Hoard of Regents held during
the Commencement were not remarkable for anything except
a wild yearning for funds and an equally wild and incompre
hensible lack of the same. It seems that a careful estimate of
the present resources of the University hnd not been made,
and resting easy under the thought that liberal legislation
had provided ample wealth for the expenses of the year the
Hoard made appropriations with more than their usual gene
rosity. Toward the close of the last sitting it was discovered
that the amounts to be expended exceeded the available funds
by several thousand dollars, and a shade several degrees darker
than the Univcis'.ty black-boards fell over the gathering.
With heavy hearts the guardians of the strong box went back
over their work cutting down appropriations until they looked
as thin as boarders at a college eating club. The present fac
ulty is retained entire, with salaries as fixed by Legislature.
Provision was made for a thorough overhauling of the old
building, including steam heating and all contemplated im
provements. Arrangements were also made for building up
the Museum. Prof. Hicks being given the title of Curator of
the same, and C. G. McMillan was designated to act as his
assistant in that work. Other important business was also
transacted, which The Hesperian will not mention at the
The fourteenth annual Commencement is now numbered
among the events of the past, and all who were present at the
exercises in which the class of '85 bade good-bye to the Alma
Mater will unite in saying that they were as enjoyable as any
that has yet taken place in the University. The regular exer
cises of the day opened at an early hour. At about six
o'clock, Wednesday morning the masculine portion of the
class of '86 fell into line and made a tour of the senior's resi
dences where the customary boot-blacking, face-washing and
speech-criticizing was gone through with to the delight of '86
and the sorrow of '85. A recess was taken until half-past
nine when the gallant captains of the Cadet corps proceeded
out in front of the University building and shouted in stento
rian and simultaneous tones, "fall in!!" At this command the
dawdling students and loafing professors braced up and
formed in the procession. The dazzling array of mental
giants then moved slowly down nth street to the martial
strains discoursed by the Cadet Band. The Opera House
was finally reached and the procession slowly poured up the
stairs, flowed in through the big open doors and distributed
itself over the greater part of the parquet and dress-circle.
After the audience had quieted down to a languid rustic of
palm leaf fans and an air of waiting expectancy the Italian
landscape in front of the stage vanished heavenward and
revealed the Chancellor, Faculty and Regents seated in a
semi-circle along the garden scenery that faced the audience.
After a short, but impressive, invocation had been offered by
Rev. C. C. Pierce the Chancellor announced the first speaker,
Edmcnd J. Churchill, subject John C. Calhoun. Mr.
Churchill did not appear at so good an advantage as some,
owing to a slight diffidence and lack of confidence. That the
oration itself, apart from the trifling faults cf delivery, was
most excellent, was quickly made evident to every listener.
Crisp, short sentences, incisive periods, sparkling style clothed
strong and well-ordered thoughts. The substance of the ora
tion was as follows: Calhoun served his Etate alone. In the
early days of our national history there was no stronger feder
al than Calhoun. But when the federal government inter
fered with vhe prosperity of his state he changed his creed.
State rights and human slaveVy became supreme in his mind.
From the state hatred of the tariff arose his doctrine of nullifi
cation. His aggression on the central power was even-paced
with the attacks on slavery. South Carolina cornmnmlecl him
to scorn it. It was the key note of nis life to obey his state
without a question.
Calhoun strove to protect slavery but failed to beat back its
foes. Abolitionism and the north were outgrowing slavery and
the south. In a few years both would be deprived of power.
Calhoun perceived the possible necessity of secession, but
had the necessity presented itself during his life time none
would have deplored it more deeply than he. He loved the
Union as he had conceived it. But was it a union of freedom
and slavery. The north was nourished by free labor. Immi
gration and business were rapidly enriching it. Education
was for the masses. The people were the ruling power. In
the south slave labor was the motive force. A few rich men
owned and controlled all things. Railroads were almost un
known. A hundred years could not measure the difference
between the two sections. Yet Calhoun strove to bind them
together. His efforts were useless. His union must fall for
the single reason that freedom and slavery arc forever incom
patible. Calhoun based his hopes too firmly on the venality
of northern politicians. He forgot that their anccstois with
his had fought for a principle, and that they would be sure to
follow these noble guides.
Calhoun was the soul of the slavocracy. He suggested se
cession as the last resort. His followers seized upon it at the
first opportunity. To brand him a secessionist is nn insult to
his honest love for the union. But his union was buildcd on
slavery. Popular opinion forced the south to secede or yield
up slavery. When the war had been ended Calhoun's union
had passed away. The new union is no longer two sections
but one nation.
The entire history of Calhoun is a painful dream to the
present generation. Despite his honesty he died without leaving
a single beneficent trace of his handiwork behind. His mission
was to uphold what the entire world condemned. No Ameri
can loved his .country better than Calhoun; none struck
deadlier blows against its very existence.
A burst of applause and a procession of three juniors and
three diminutive cadets loaded down with flowers followed
the speaker as he left the stage. The audience indulged in
an involuntary sigh as the posies vanished behind the flies,
made their usuallcarncd and whispered criticisms on the cut
of hair and fit of clothes of the orator, and settled down as the
next speaker, H. C. Eddy, came forward to tell them some
thing on "culture." Mr. Eddy was at home on the stage and
felt that he had no reason to be ashamed of his production,
which, indeed, was a showy one.
Culture is forming a society of intellects. Books arc our
best companions and from these we draw our highest and
There is a power somewhere that tends to draw the intel
lects of the past and present together. Men turn to literature
for here it is that mind may commune with mind and where the
treasures of culture are deposited.
Each age and nation was perfected by the genius of
former whether in poetry, philosophy science or arts.
Culture is opposed to those barriers which ignorance and
superstition have reared and spurns narrowmindedness which
confines its regards to any one class. .
Chaucer had studied the various dialects of his native island,
had drawn inspiration from beyond the seas. His acquain
tance with letters, with men and manners enabled him to rise
above sectional differences and though more than four cen
turies have passed he stands so far above the level of his age
as to rank second among all the makers of English and Amer
What Chaucer did for England Dante had done for Italy.
He trusted to the minds and hearts of his people for recogni
tion and gratitude. Ignorance and prejudice drove him from
the land he loved and did so much to honor. Italy long since
would have been proud to claim him as her own, but he belongs
not to her only. He is the common heritage of the world.
The struggle between science and religion Tias been long.
Three of the greatest facts known to science have been de
veloped by these men, considered to be atheists. The more
ignorant of theologians have rejected these facts of science
from fear that they might uproot their doctrines. A higher
culture has scattered to the winds hundreds of theories both
religious and scientific. The day is not far distant when the