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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (June 12, 1889)
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Tho doath of Wondoll PhilllpH Is ho comprtrutlvoly rocont that tho
animosities und bitterness that ho provoked havo not entirely
passed away. Partisan spirit survives the Ihhuo that gave It birth.
Mon hatod him, becaiiBO ho ran counter to tholr prejudlcon, and
Bhatterod their idols. But In Bpltoof their sarcasm, tho bitterness,
Vtie vlndlctlvoneHS of his oxprossloiiB, tho truth, of which ho waH tho
shining and torrlblo expouont, has humanized ua nil. When ho hus
beou dond long ouough to give students of hlatory sulllciont per
Hpeottvo to ofltlmato his groatnosH, compared to tho other men of tho
ago, thoy will do Justice to IiIh memory.
Ho lnhorlted a strong Intellect which was developed and strongth
onod by college training. Acute in his moral fcellugii, ho was tho
true "child of six gonoratkms of Puritans," KaruostuoHS and con
fldonco wore his distinguishing traltH an u speaker. So firm wore his
convictions, no plain to him tho truth, that he never shifted his posi
tion. If tho fodoral constitution countenanced slavery, ho condemned
tho constitution. In ono of his speeches, he said, "Whonllook
upon thoso crowdod thousands and see them trample on tholr con
sciences, and tho rights of tholr fellow mon at tho bidding of a piece
of parchment, I nay, 'my cur so bo upon tho Constitution of tho
United St at os.' " It wounds needed probing ho unlllnchlugly probed
No selfish motive Impolled Phillips to tho career of a public speaker.
Tho murder of Elijah Love joy furnished tho occasion. After the
speech of tho Attorney General of Massachusetts, lu Fanoull Hull, In
defense of slovery, 1'hllllpB, then a young man of twenty-Blx, sprang
to his feet, and sternly aud eloquently rebuked tho recroant Ameri
can, tho slanderer of tho dead. From that moment ho was famous
as tho eloquent, fearless, uncompromising advocate of "Immediate
emancipation." At a tlmo when tho cry of "fanatic" was the
mildest kind of an opproblous epithet, when the State of Georgia
offered $ 5,000 for Onrrlson's heart, whon gag-rulo was Introduced Into
tho Congress of tho United States, it took no little courage to cham
pion tho caiiBo of tho slave. Hut his Inborn lovo of Justice would per
mit nothing less. Ho was a Now Engl under to tho core-without
fear and without reproach. When a Ilostou mob, with tho mayor
nt its head, broke up a anti-slavery meeting, and attempted to
frighten hhn Into silence, Phillips, with scathing words, held up tho
participants in tho affair to public execration. Ity all that was
sacred to him In the past, or In tho present, ho felt called upon to
defend freedom of speech.
Cold conventionality frowned upon him as It frowned upon Kmer-
son, but It could not frown down his message. Ho declared," I mean
o protest-claim my rights, and denounce thoso who assail thorn,
whothor they listen or not." "Agltntw" was his watchword. He
asserted, " Tho ago of bullets Is over, the ago of thinking men lias
come. With tho help of God, I will set every man, woman aud child
thinking on this subject." Thoso that spoke in whispers of slavery
us tho " peculiar Institution," aud refused to lay hands upon It,
turned white at tho words. Only through silence could slavery
lib allowed to exist. More than any other one man, Phillips dared
to break that silence. ;
His oratory was a mean botweon Webster's and Choato's. Web
ster was pondorous in stylo ati In argument. Choato was polished
and ornate and considered the form of expression, rather than tho
thought expressed. Phillips was eumost, natural, intent only on
driving homo ills urgumonts. His wus a confidence springing from
a clear conscience, and an earnestness born of tho truth, Direct
address, severity, biting sarcasm, were the means ho employed. The
man himself wus forgotten In tho truth ho sot forth. There was
no escaping his well directed shafts. When he wished to bring their
Inhumanity homo to Christians, he said, "I will not have for inliio
the Christianity of this laud, with Its negro pow In the corner of
every church and Its negro hate In tho corner of every heart."
Ills severity of language, as lie himself said, resulted from his
position. Tho mass of the people could not bo made to see tho truth.
It was necessary to make them feel It through tho "lilrien of their
Idola," His perception of political, social, anil economic trnth was
almost prophetic. Gradually tho nation is coming to see the truth
as ho saw it. Tho slave hus been emancipated. National and state
legislatures, at overy session, enact laws for securing the rights of
tho laboring cliwscs. The question how best to abate tho evils of
tho liquor trufltc hus been oxalted Into a national Issue.
Tho political rights of woman are being recognized. In most of
the states and territories, women vote mi some questions, aud will
yo; voto on all. These reforms wero avocated by Phillips at a tlmo
when ho had to advocate them alone. Tlmo Is bringing his vindication.
Miss Clark spoko slowly, clearly, nnd distinctly, giving
overy word its duo force. Her voico und appearanco
were perfectly natural and full of personality. Sho wore
a black lace dress, inado in tho empire stylo. A bunch of
dark red roses was the only touch of color in tho costume.
After a selection by tho cadet band, Acting-chancellor
Bossoy proceeded to confer tho degrees. Tho class formed
quito an imposing array. Miss Edna Bullock woro a
dress of cream sorgo, mndo in the directoire stylo, with
surah saBh and cream silk mitts. Pink flowers wero
worn. Miss Laura Haggard was attired in white mullf
empiro style, with surah sash, and sho wore white roses.
Miss Jennie Bonnoll woro a dress of black laco over black
silk, empiro stylo, with pink sash and pink roses. Mjbs
May Tower was dressed in whito India linen, and wore
pink flowers. Tho gentlemen woro the class suit black
princo albert and dark trousers. Tho degree of B. L. was
conferred on T. S. Allen, G. II. Bnughman, Miss Jennie
Bonnell, Miss Edna Bullock, O.W. Filer, Miss Myra Clark,
Miss May Tower, W. N. Fletcher, D. D. Forsyth, C. M.
French, C. W. Bigolow, Alfred Pizoy. Tho degree of I). S
was received by Miss Helen Aughoy, M. I. Bigelow, E. U.
Tingley, 11. J. Webber, T. A. Williams. Tho degree" of A.
B. was conferred on F. W. Collins, G. W. Gerwig, Miss
Laura Haggard, and W. L. Stephens. Tho degreo of B.
C. E. was received b.y E. G. Eagleson and F. A. Mauley,
Two of tho members of tho clnss, It. D. Church aud A. E.
Wagner, havo not quito comploted their work, but will
probably receive thoir degreo soon.
Governor John M. Thayer presented, on behalf of the
state, commissions aw ofllcors in tho University cadets, to
tho following: Captains, G. II. Bnughman, W. N. Floteher.
G. W. Gerwig, and II. J. Webber; 1st Lieutenants, E. G,
Eagleson, C. B. Newcomor, W. L. .Stephens, and 0. W.
Fifer; 2d Lieutenant, F. W. Collins.
Tho orchestra then rendered a " Fantasia Ein Maor
chon," and benediction was pronounced. As tho audience
dispersed, tho cadot band played a " Grand March." So
closed a successful and onjoyablo Commencement.
Eagleson denies point blank that ho fainted in the
hack after the Pulludiau program.
Tho class of '80 has kept up its organization hotter
than any other chihs over graduating.
I). 1). Forsyth will combine tho occuaptions of book
store clerk and law studont nt Koarnoy, this summer.
Tho Senior invitations wero fine, but they cost money.
It was amusing to see the Seniors try to scrapo up $2(50
to got them from the express ofllco.
Tho Univorsity must now wait to see what kind of a
Senior class '1)0 will make. They havo boon rather kept
down by tho enterprising '81)ors this year.
Considerable artistic and poetic ability, iu tho persons
of Mr. Mnnley, Miss Tower, and Miss Bullock, leaves tho
University witli '80. Who will stop into thoir places?
Tho delivory of all tho Seniors was marked by tho de
sire to say what thoy had to say, with no bombast or
extended flights of elocution. This is duo to tho training
of Prof. Hunt in tho department of Euglish. It is a tilth
ory of delivory rathor original with tho University,' and,
forms a pleasing contrast to tho usuul spread-eoglo
'stylo. ' '" -
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