DELIVERED AT OAKLAND, NOV. 7th, 1872
It is an academic usage, in our land at least, that on occasions like this the incoming officer should express his views upon the Higher Education; and the usage can not well be disregarded when one who is almost a stranger first enters a community of experienced teachers and aspiring scholars like that which is here assembled. My theme will therefore be the Building of the University.
The Epoch in which we are BuildingDuring the last few years great changes have been made in the higher educational systems of this and other lands. New institutions have been built; old institutions have been rebuilt. Better halls, more varied programmes, larger staffs of teachers, wiser methods of instruction, closer adaptation to the wants of society, are among the improvements rendered actual by advancing scholarship and increasing funds.
Since the University of California was organized by the State, several leading colleges have witnessed ceremonies like these in which we are now engaged, and so there have been ample and fresh discussions of some of the questions which most interest us. At Cambridge, New Haven, and [page 4] Princeton, those historic seats of learning where traditions and usages both help and fetter--at Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, in newer, freer, and hardier circumstances--and likewise in other places, which are neither old nor new, here the voice of Experience, and there the voice of Hope, has been heard in the eulogy of learning and culture, and in earnest plea for progress and support.
Whoever reviews these various utterances, and compares them with those of five-and-twenty years ago, will see that the line of discussion has been changed, that great advances have been made, and that great results are not far off. If then he turns to the venerable shrines at Oxford and Cambridge, before which every scholar loves to bow, and traces their progress since the Parliamentary Commissions began their inquiries, he will find reasons for surprise and congratulation that the doors have been opened to modern science as a teacher, and to non-conformists as pupils. If his eye looks toward the continent, he may see scholastic Germany--the Uniteed States of the Old World--now engaged in the foundation of a new university at Strassbourg, as the greatest boon which can be given by a triumphant nation to a recovered province; a university which, in its comprehensive faculties, its liberal structure, its probable power, approaches the University of Berlin, and may well serve as an example to those in California who desire completeness, and who want it quickly.
Side by side with the university foundations, sometimes a part of them, oftener apart from them, the modern schools of science and technology are springing up, as at Zurich, Aachen, Carlsruge and Vienna; at many places in the newborn kingdom of Italy; and, under the beneficent action of the Congressional grant, or under the generous gifts of Sheffield, Cornell, Stevens, and their peers, in every State of the American Union.
Everywhere among enlightened people, universities in their most comprehensive scope are in this year of grace receiving impulses which are as creditable to the spirit of [page 5] the age as they are hopeful for the ages yet to come. Our state and National Governments see that questions of the higher education must be met in the public councils, and in many places are vying with one another to devise wise schemes of educational development; the builder's hammer is heard in many seats of learning--at Harvard, at Yale, at Amherst, at Princeton, at Ithaca, at Philadelphia--constructing the walls which shall furnish homes to successive generations of pupils; collections of books, maps, and charts, and works of art, museums of geology and natural history and archaeology, laboratories for chemical, physical, botanical, and zoological researches, are multiplying with a marvelous rapidity; lenses are made for the microscope and the telescope surpassing any which the physicist and astronomer have hitherto possessed; prizes and scholarships have been endowed, and fellowships sometimes providing for continued residence at the college, and sometimes for residence in foreign Universities; (1) to the traditional schools of philology, of history, of the fine arts, of chemistry, engineering, agriculture, and mines--devices and arrangements to allure young men to higher attainments, and to aid them in their onward steps. Underlying all this, supporting all this, indispensable to all this, have been the prolific gifts of men of wealth, far-sighted and generous benefactors, whose names a grateful posterity will cherish forever as the true nobility of the republic, the lords and gentlemen of the American State. Such is the hopeful aspect of university education elsewhere.
Now comes the turn of this new "Empire State." California, queen of the Pacific, is to speak from her golden throne, and decree the future of her University. California, the land of wonders, riches, and delights; whose hills teem with ore; whose valleys are decked with purple and gold, the luscious vine and life-giving corn; whose climate revives [page 6] the invalid and upholds the strong; whose harbors are the long-sought doorways to the Indies; whose central city is cosmopolite like Constantinople of old; whose pioneers were bold, strong, and generous; whose institutions were molded by far-sighted men, bringing hither the best ideas of many different societies as the foundation of a modern Christian State; whose citizens are renowned for enterprise, patriotism, and vigor; whose future no seer can foretell:--California, thus endowed by Nature, and thus organized by man, IS TO BUILD A UNIVERSITY. What shall it be? Time alone can tell, but forethought and faith may be factors in the problem.
What is to be Built?Two things are settled by the charter of this institution, and are embodied in the very name it bears.
First, it is a "University," and not a high-school, nor a college, nor an academy of sciences, nor an industrial-school, which we are charged to build. Some of these features may, indeed, be included in or developed with the University; but the University means more than any or all of them. The University is the most comprehensive term which can be employed to indicate a foundation for the promotion at diffusion of knowledge--a group of agencies organized to advance the arts and sciences of every sort, and to train young men as scholars for all the intellectual callings of life. Universities differ widely in their internal structure. The older institutions are mostly complex, including a great variety of faculties, colleges, chairs, halls, scholarships, and collections, more or less closely bound together as one establishment, endowed with investments, privileges, and immunities, and regarded as indispensable both to the moral and material progress of the community, or, in other words, as essential both to Church and State. In this country, the name is often misapplied to a simple college, probably with the faith which is "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." [page 7] We must beware lest we, too, have the name without the reality. Around the nucleus of traditional college which has been well maintained since the earliest days of this State, we must build the schools of advanced and liberal culture in all the great departments of learning, just as fast as may be possible, and we must at least begin to recognize the various sciences by chairs which may each be the nucleus of a school or department.
Second, the charter and the name declare that this is the "University of California." It is not the University of Berlin nor of New Haven which we are to copy; it is not the University of Oakland nor of San Francisco which we are to create; but it is the University of this State. It must be adapted to this people, to their public and private schools, to their peculiar geographical position, to the requirements of their new society and their undeveloped resources. It is not the foundation of an ecclesiastical body nor of private individuals. It is "of the people and for the people"--not in any low or unworthy sense, but in the highest and noblest relations to their intellectual and moral well-being.
Bearing, then, in mind that this is to be a University, and that is to be the University of California, our next inquiry is this, "What have to build upon?"
What is there to Build upon?You may be supposed to know much better than I what reply to make to this inquiry; but some of the features which have arrested the eye of a new-comer may be of interest.
I observe that you have a good charter, not perfect--and what instrument is perfect--but carefully drawn, on the basis of good models, with strict reference to this community, and with a perception of the needs of this age. It opens the door of superior education TO ALL, WITHOUT PRICE. This charter is administered by an earnest Board of Regents, who mean that the University shall be a success, and who will not be disheartened by such perplexities and difficulties [page 8] as beset all new and great undertakings. You have inherited from the College of California a good name, good books, good collections, and good-will. Honor to those who founded it, and honor to those who enlarged it! Those pioneers, who in the earliest days of this State established a college, where worthy children of the pioneers of the Atlantic, who founded a college at Cambridge when the country was still a wilderness. Here the task was no less difficult than there. The lack of funds, the lack of an organized society, the pressure of material wants--in short, the struggle for life--was so great, that the wonder is the college lived at all. It was the harbinger of good not yet fully realized or appreciated, perhaps not fully foreseen or designed; but be sure that a hundred years hence, when the centennial of the University is celebrated, as it surely will be, gratefully homage will be rendered to the foresight, the vigilance, and the self-denial of those who founded and cherished the College of California.
"The hand that founded Peter's dome,You have inherited, also, a good site at Berkeley. When I first stood at Berkeley, and looked at the mountains and the bay, the town and the distant glimpses of the open sea, I recalled an hour under the elms at New Haven, more than two years ago, when I listened to the story of how this spot was chosen, of the rides and walks which were directed by an observing eye over the hills and into the valleys of this charming region, with a prophetic anticipation of the coming day when the college germ, already planted, would require a site worthy of its growth. The services of that enthusiastic scholar, whom California would gladly have kept, if Connecticut would have spared him, are honorably in your early college annals, and are not forgotten [page 9] by those who labored with him; but I can not forbear to repeat this time the name of one of those whose encouragement my presence here is due: the name of Horace Bushnell, of Hartford.
Among those things which are required to make a university, an ancient writer places, first, "a good and pleasant site, where there is a wholesome and temperate constitution of the air; composed with waters, springs or wells, woods and pleasant fields; which, being obtained, those commodities are enough to invite students to stay and abide there." All this, and much more, is included in your site. You have a good system of popular instruction, of which the University is to be the crown; you dwell in a community largely composed of educated men, and are under a State Government which, like a generous parent, has made to the University a generous commencement gift.
Besides, we must not fail to note that a vast amount of scientific and literary work, of a very high order, has been performed in California--good, not only in itself, but as the seed-corn of future harvests. The work of the United States Coast Survey on the Pacific, for example, in its careful study of the hydrography, its accurate delineations of the harbors, its investigation of the tides and currents, its solution of astronomical and geodetic problems, has gained renown for California science, not in our country only, but in Europe, and has helped prepare the way for a complete triangulation of the national territory. Kindred services have been rendered by the engineers of the Army. There is the Geological Survey of the State, which surpasses in thoroughness and completeness any like undertaking in the country, and is the delight and pride of all men of science who take an interest in the accurate and careful investigation of the natural characteristics of the land, either for its own sake, or regarded as a basis for social and political growth. Growing out of this work, though beyond the limits of the State, and under the national authority, are the surveys of the Fortieth Parallel, by a party of civilians [page 10] attached to the corps of army engineers. Binding all the men of science together as a brotherhood of scholars, is the Academy of Sciences, whose publications and collections are already of great value. A young society which has done so well will be an important supporter of the young University.
Moreover, the literature of this coast possesses, like the fruits here growing, a richness and flavor of its own, so that some have even said that California alone of all parts of the land has made quite new and original contributions to American letters. The humor, the wit, and the poetry of the Sierras are fresh as the breezes of the hill-tops, and as spicy as the groves of pine. Oratory has here spoken with a patriotic voice, the echoes of which are still floating in the air. To foster your literature, there is a journal whose fame has gone over land and over seas as well, the encourager, the suggester, and the producer of much that is choice and enduring.
When such science and such literature flourish, the day of the University has certainly dawned.
Who are to be the BuildersCan we now, like master-workmen, distribute the parts of the building among all the orders of the craft, so that the various toilers will recognize their tasks? Let us, at any rate, make the attempt.
It is on the Faculty more than on any other body that the building of a university depends. They give their lives to the work. It is not the site, nor the apparatus, nor the halls, nor the library, nor the Board of Regents, which draws the scholars--it is a body of living teachers, skilled in their specialties, eminent in their calling, loving to teach. Such a body of teachers will make a university anywhere. Agassiz, wherever he goes, is surrounded by a company of disciples; Whitney would have his class in language at Berlin or Benares. Such men will draw not pupils only, but the books and the collections they require, as naturally [page 11] as of old Orpheus drew the rocks and beasts. The genius loci, the spirit of the place, will be the spirit of the Faculty. If trust and culture are their aim, truth and culture will flourish in the college where they toil. If sordid motives or unworthy jealousies spring up among them, the trust they bear will be in peril. A university requires more than anything else a large and vigorous staff, so that the various sciences and languages may have their devotees, young men of different tastes and characters may find fit guides, and the idiosyncrasies of one school or chair may be modified and counterbalanced by the qualities of another. It is now difficult, both in Europe and this country, to secure enough teachers of eminence, for other callings are better paid and are helped in equal honor; let then no opportunity be lost to enlist strong men of attainment or of promise.
The Regents or Trustees of a college have the great responsibility of appointing the body of teachers and of providing the funds. They are the power behind the throne, unseen in the daily work of the college, but never for a moment unfelt. Upon their wise choice of instructors, their careful guardianship of moneys, their construction of buildings, their development of new departments and schools, their mode of presenting the University to the public, will depend the confidence and liberality of the community. On them the shafts of criticism may be often inconsiderately hurled, but in the long run they will add the gratitude of the State to their own consciousness of fidelity and self-sacrifice in behalf of learning and the country.
The State authorities, executive and legislative, have also a great part to perform in the support of this University, not by over-much legislation, nor by hasty action in respect to its development, but by steady, munificent, and confiding support. "Quick to help and slow to interfere" should be their watchword.
None of the higher educational establishments in this country have flourished without the support of the [page 12] ministers of religion. Their counsels, and those of the other educated professions are continually sought by parents and young men; they are interested in all that promotes intelligence and truth ;they have been from the earliest colonial days the founders, guardians, and teachers of our best institutions. I trust this University will always merit their support, for if worthy it will surely win it.
The Press is another social power on whose help we must count. It can quicken or retard the establishment of a complete university by its favoring or censorious attitude. Its criticism by the University should not fear; its cordial support the University should desire. Powerful everywhere, the Press in a free country is a force which all must appreciate; let us hope that its assistance will here be generously accorded in the advocacy of the higher education, and in guiding the opinions of those who read.
On the men of wealth in this community I greatly rely. It is true that State has been, and is likely to be, liberal in its appropriations; but a great University requires almost unlimited means for its support. The library alone could well employ in the purchase of books, and the payment of salaries, the income of half a million of dollars. A school of science would not be liberally endowed with a capital of that amount. Funds to that extent of several thousand dollars might be annually employed in scholarships and prizes. Homes or halls will soon be needed in some form for the occupation of the students when the University goes to Berkeley. Professorships representing studies which are not taught to undergraduate students, but which should be cherished in the University, must also be founded. I trust the day will come when the spire which silently points heavenward will mark our place of worships. But for all these things we can not expect the public treasury to be opened. Relying upon that for the most essential things, we must look to men of wealth to provide the richer and more complete endowments which will place our University by the side of her older sisters at the East. The [page 13] rich Californians, who have made this wilderness rejoice and blossom like a rose, who have built these banks and warehouses, these railroads and steamships--the men who by their enterprise have made a University desirable and possible, and who now need it for their children--must make it actual by their munificence. In the face for the encouragement of knowledge and the education of the young, the Occident must not be distanced.
The Spirit with which we are to BuildI need not say much of the spirit with which we are to build. It is enough to remind you that the individual must be quite subordinate to his work--each member of the Faculty and of the Regency, to the University of which he is a member; that the present and the future are both to be cared for; that a catholic liberality should be cherished toward every branch of useful knowledge; and that a high ideal should be constantly in mind. The teachers should show themselves friends to the scholars; the latter should trust their instructors; the right hand of good-will should always be held out toward the public; and the effort should be made to "bridge over the gulf between theory and practice," or, in other words, to promote at the same time abstract science and useful knowledge.
The Outlines of the FoundationThere are peculiarities in the structure which we propose to build, arising partly from the newness of this State, and partly from its geographical position; largely also from the wants which are felt in the development of its mines, manufactures, agriculture, and commerce. In one view we may say that the new education should here have full scope; in another, we may say that there is no distinction between new and old education--there is only the wise adaptation in each generation of the experience of the past to the wants of the present.
In years long since gone by, the schools of the cloister [page 14] taught Divinity chiefly, with the scholastic subtlties of metaphysical discussion; when literature came in to the universities, after the so-called "Revival of Letters," in the form of studies in Greek, the scope of education was extended to the Humanities, but the advocates of Divinity studies were hostile to the change; when research went out into all departments of nature, the lovers of the Humanities were reading in their turn to close the door on Science, even as the door had before been closed on the study of Greek. Such barriers are no longer defensible. Science and the Humanities, nature and man, are now alike recognized as the best interpreters of Divinity. Each of these topics deserves, therefore, a few words.
This recognition of Divinity, Humanities and Science--God, Man, and Nature--gives great comprehensiveness to a modern university; indeed, there is nothing left which could be included! But practical difficulties are not avoided by such general statements. Regarding each individual scholar, regarding each programme of studies, the perplexity arises, not what branches may be, but what branches must be included in a certain course. The perplexity will never be avoided, but the practical question will always be put in some such forms as these: What is the relative importance of different branches, and what studies most deserve encouragement? [page 15] Shall literature and language, the traditional classical course of our colleges, be made first rank? or shall the place it has held be given up to science in its theoretical and practical aspects? Are the modern languages to be chosen rather than the ancient? Shall history and political science, with the study of the Roman law and theory of the State be preferred? or shall mathematics be the dominant theme? Is the acquisition of knowledge, or the acquisition of discipline, as it is called, the end of instruction? Shall general studies which may be presumed to have an equal value in all the varied callings of life, or special studies which have decided reference to a professional or technical career, be commended to the youthful student? Shall lectures, or shall recitations, or shall literary and scientific research, be the method of education? Shall universal freedom of choice and or work be permitted, or shall collegiate restrictions and controls be insisted on? These and a score of kindred questions are now under discussion in the various college of this country, and will long require our most serious attention.
A part of the difficulty disappears when we distinguish the requirements of young scholars, like those who have just left the high school and the academy, from those of advanced students, whose tastes, talents, and wants are specialized. Give the former, prescription; give the latter, freedom; but let prescription vary with the varying peculiarities of individuals--and let the freedom allowed, by the freedom which is governed and protected by law. College work for college boys implies daily guidance under prescribed rules; professional work implies voluntary, self-impelled enthusiasm in the acquisition of knowledge.
Another difficulty arises from the vast expansion of science--so vast that it is impossible for any one, were he gifted as Leibnitz, or long-lived as Humboldt, to master the details of modern researches. The average scholar, having neither the genius of the one, nor the life-assurance of the other, must be content to fill a much more restricted field. The versatile and facile American must learn to admit that there is a difference between ability to do anything and ability to do everything. Non omnes omnia possumus.
The Place of the Natural Sciences in the UniversityI take it for granted that in the State of California there is no occasion to make a plea for the study of modern sciences. The need of civil, mining, and mechanical engineers, of expert geologists and mineralogists, of devoted naturalists and physicists, of chemists and metallurgists, of geologists, topographers, and map-makers, of agriculturists, mechanics, manufacturers, and merchants, well trained for their various callings, is now so obvious, that I need not advocate [page 16] the importance of science in education. Its place is acknowledged. The question is, how to secure the best sort of instruction, the fittest sequence and relation of studies, the most eminent teachers, the most complete laboratories, and the best apparatus; and likewise how to encourage that special proficiency which is indispensable to success in modern scientific professions, with that literary culture which makes a scholar and befits a gentleman. Health, wealth, popular intelligence, and the spread of Christian civilization, are so dependent upon the discoveries of science, and the applications of these discoveries to a thousand useful arts, that a young and still undeveloped State may well afford to be liberal in the encouragement of this class of studies.
Science, though yet you have built no shrine for her worship, was the mother of California. It was her researches, her summings-up of the experience of the world, her studies of nature, which have made possible and fruitful the work of practical men. Science stands ready to do far more for the community than ever yet, if only you will encourage her wholesome efficiency. Science is but accurate knowledge, systematically arranged and philosophically discussed. She surveys your harbors, marks the path of the mountain railroad, discovers the relations of the strata of the rocks, teaches the laws of climate, maps out the sierras, reclaims the waste lands, suggests improvements in agriculture, annihilates with the telegraph the vast area of space which separates you from London and New York. She interprets nature, and gathers up all which "the practical" workers have found out. Unfolding the plan of an immutable Creator, she will yet be recognized as the handmaid of religion.
At an early day, I hope to have an opportunity of discussing more fully the recent progress of scientific and technical instruction with reference to the wants of this State. We shall find it worth while to note the experience of the Lawrence and Sheffield Scientific Schools, of the [page 17] Renssalaer Institute, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of West Point and Annapolis, and of the various Colleges of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts which the Congressional grant has created. We may learn in some respects even more from the experience of France, Switzerland, and Germany.
With all this experience before us, intelligent men will be likely to admit that among the first wants of California are distinct, complete, and well-organized schools of science and technology, such as your organic laws contemplate, in which men of eminence shall have the means and the leisure to make researches in all the departments of investigation; to whom young men shall resort for training in those studies which are closely related to the development of mines, agriculture, manufactures, and means of transportation; and from whom the public at large, by the press, by the lecture, by the informal consultation, may be instructed in the characteristics of this remarkable country, and the mode in which its resources can be made most serviceable to mankind. My chief anxiety is, whether the people of this coast are yet ready to pay for the luxury and the advantage of such serviceable institutions. It will require a great many teachers, costly laboratories, large funds--more, I fear, than the University, with all the claims upon its treasury, is yet able to command. Perhaps some individual, whose experience has taught him the value of such knowledge, and who has an honorable ambition to leave a name among the benefactors of the State, will for this special purpose supplement the resources of the University with a generous private gift, like those which have done so much for the culture of Eastern youth, and the improvement of the Atlantic States. He will be sure of a monument more enduring than gold.
The Place of History and the Social ScienceBut while nature and its laws in all their various aspects and applications are thus engrossing, Man and all his [page 18] experience and achievements are likewise of transcendent importance. Above all matter is Man; above both matter and man, is the "Divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will." So that the individual or the institution that regards only the natural forces of this globe, without observing likewise the intellectual and spiritual forces which are also at work, sees only half the world.
Give us more and not less science; encourage the most thorough and prolonged search for the truth which is to be found in the rocks, the sea, the soil, the air, the sun, and the stars; in light and heat, and magnetic forces; in plants and animals, and in the human frame; but let us also learn the lessons which are embodied in language and literature, in laws and institutions, in doctrines and opinions, in historical progress and international relations. Let language, history and literature, oratory, poetry and art, still form a chief part of liberal culture, while mathematical, physical, and natural sciences are admitted to the rank from which they have long been excluded.
In California, it seems to me, there are special reasons for such a plea. This is still a young State; it is most advanced and prosperous of a group of young States, the power of which in this Union no one can exaggerate. The young men who are to go out from this University are to be the law-makers, the guides of public education, the men of influence and capital, the administrative authorities, the journalists, the orators, the formers of public opinion, not only in California, but over this vast new area of the continent, where the State is still in infancy. Such young men, even more than the educated in older republics, should be, no matter what their daily occupations are, well grounded in the principles of governmental and social science. They should also be familiar with the usages of the most civilized and enlightened communities, and with the opinions of the most trustworthy of statesmen, jurists, and philosophers. It is important, for their own culture and for the public good, that they should have a clear notion [page 19] of what constitutes the State, in its best form. Whether merchants, manufacturers, farmers, or miners, they are quite as likely as lawyers, and much more likely than physicians and clergymen, to be called to the councils of legislation, and to pronounce opinions there on difficult questions pertaining to human society, law, finance, property, education, crime, pauperism, and the policy of the national, State, and local governments.
But California is not only the central of a group of young States. It is the State through which distant nations are becoming acquainted with American institutions. Its influence in the organization and regeneration of lands beyond the sea is unquestionably but just begun.
Therefore, I say that the study of history--not as dry annals, but as the record of living forces and human experience--the study of political economy, of social science, of civil liberty, and of public law, should be made attractive by the voices of original and profound teachers, who know how to gather up the wisdom of the old and apply it to the requirements of the new generations.
The Place of LanguageIn the study of humanity and history, language is the master-key which unlocks all doors. Time is wasted in questioning whether ancient or modern languages are most important. In the University, both groups must be taught; the more any individual has, the richer will be his life. Certainly, the study of English, which every one of us employees as the instrument by which we think, and by which we community our thoughts to others, should be carefully promoted. In these days, when so much that is new and important first appears in German and French, no system of education can be called liberal, as it has well been said, which does not include those tongues. Greek and Latin are not only of value for the literature and history they embody, but for their important relations to more modern tongues. On this coast, there are special linguistic requirements. [page 20] Spanish certainly should be taught in the University. It is a praiseworthy forethought on the part of one of the Regents (2) which has led him to provide among us for the study of Chinese and Japanese. his presence here can not restrain me from now rendering a public tribute of gratitude for this wise and timely munificence. Let us hope that his generous purposes will, ere long, be realized. To complete the instructions in Oriental tongues, at least two other chairs will be needed--one to be for Hebrew and the Semitic languages, which, perhaps, some other citizen will be glad to establish; and one for Sanskrit and the comparative philology of indo-European tongues--the group to which the chief languages of Europe belong. The world of letters would also rejoice, if, ere the last of the Indian races disappears before the progress of civilization, encouragement could here be given to some scholar to gather up and perpetuate the knowledge of their speech. In all our linguistic study, we need to get beyond and above mere grammatical drill, and to think of speech as one of the chief endowments of human nature, and "of every language as a concrete result of the working-out of that capacity, and institution of gradual historic growth, a part of the culture of the race to which it belongs, and handed down by tradition from teacher to learner, like every other part of culture; and hence, that the study of language is a historical science, to be pursued by historical methods." (3)
In the teaching of both history and language, as well as of science, the University may well be guided by "the comparative method," which has yielded already such good results. It is thus characterized by an able historian. "The comparative method in philology and mythology--let me add, in politics and history, and the whole range of human thought--marks a stage in the progress of the human mind at least as great and memorable as the revival of Greek and Latin learning. It has put the language and the history of [page 21] the so-called 'classical' world into their true position in the general history of the world. By making them no longer the objects of an exclusive idolatry, it has made them the objects of a worthier because a more reasonable worship. It has broken down the middle wall of partition between kindred races and kindred studies; it has swept away barriers which fenced off certain times and languages as 'dead' and 'ancient;' it has taught us that there is no such thing as 'dead' and 'living' languages, or 'ancient and 'modern' history; it has taught us that the study of language is one study, that the study of history is one study. As man in the same in all ages, the history of man is one in all ages." (4)
The Place of Religion in the UniversityThe recognition which should be given to religion in a State university involves considerations which are not to be encountered in colleges founded by church authorities or by private corporations. The old English colleges, whose traditions New England has gratefully accepted, were the children of the church, and though their doors are no longer shut to non-conformists, their ecclesiastical character is still decided. Harvard College, the mother of all our higher institutions, still bears upon its escutcheon "Christo et ecclesioe," the motto of its founders. Yale College went back to the Old Testament for a symbolic watchword, and bears upon its seal, the open oracles inscribed with Hebrew characters. At Nassau Hall, we are told that "in regard to religious trust, there will be no uncertain sound." At Cornell University a generous gift has been accepted for a chapel, with a foundation, if I am rightly informed, which will secure the services of eminent preachers, and with a plan for daily religious worship. But none of these institutions is a State University, though all of them were fostered in their infancy by the kindly nourishment of the public treasury. We are on the contrary to guardians [page 22] and friends of a State University, established in the midst of a community more varied than almost any in the land. Here are still seen the traces of the Spanish pioneers who brought to these shores so long ago, with the symbol of the cross, the emblematic keys of the Roman pontiff; nearly all the various forms of Christian faith which the Episcopal and non-Episcopal churches of the Reformation have professed, find here their advocates; there are many among us, likewise, who look for a Messiah yet to come; and crowding into these harbors behold the children of Confucius and the worshipers of the unknown gods.
The State, as a body-politic, protects the assemblies and the worship of all these bodies; it favors none. how shall it be with the University and the public school, which perform the service of the State in the education of the young? Shall religious teaching be excluded from the University, or shall it have a cover and an apologetic place--shall it be an organized force, or a silent and all-pervading influence? Shall its spirit be narrow and sectarian, or shall it be catholic and free? The difficulty is not felt in California alone. It is involved in the toleration of the modern Christian State toward all forms of religious belief, and in its generous provisions for the promotion of education.
In meeting the difficulty, it may be well to bear in mind that religion includes four different elements--Worship, [page 23] Doctrines, Precepts, and Spirit. A religious spirit no one objects to; it is the spirit which looks "outward and not inward, upward and not downward, forward and not backward, and which lends a hand;" it is the spirit which "loves justice, shows mercy, and walks humbly before the Lord;" it is the spirit of truth, of faith, of hope, and of charity; it is the spirit of "peace on earth, good will to men." We may say, as we say of science, the more we have of the genuine the better for mankind. Whatever Precepts will tend to cherish this inward spirit and the outward uprightness and unselfishness which proceed from it, all good men will endorse. When we begin to formulate Doctrines into creeds and symbols, then come controversy and difference--the right wing against the left wing, the conservative against the liberal, so that an attempted to enforce the doctrines of this or that ecclesiastical body will be sure to come to brief. The University is no place for sectarian controversy or denominational zeal. It is a school of learning. But as a school of learning it must teach the history of opinion and belief, it must teach the rise and growth and decay of institutions, it must show how Christian civilization has overcome pagan practices and belief, and has purified the home, the State, and the relations of nations, modifying laws, usages, manners, and language, establishing charities, reforming prisons, securing honesty, virtue, and justice. All this should be taught by scholars, and not by partisans. If the body of teachers and students, imbued by this spirit of truth and charity, will daily assemble of their own accord to acknowledge their dependence upon Divine wisdom, to chant the Psalms of David, and to join in the prayer which the Master taught his disciples--who can doubt that such communion of Worship will elevate the character of all who engage in it, and of the institution to which they belong? So far as this I would have our University go, forcing none to attend upon such religious worship, drawing all to it by their own consciousness of its value.
But many would go further than this. Many parents, many religious teachers, many churches, desire and insist that youth at the critical period of college life shall be surrounded by positive, outspoken, and persuasive religious influences. They are afraid of a State University, and long for an ecclesiastical college. Hence come the many attempts to promote the higher education, when one united effort would hardly be adequate. But it seems to me that the end in view might be secured by better methods. Why may not any religious body or association, or private individual, desirous of protecting the young men from temptation, and encouraging them in the higher life, establish, [page 24] in connection with the University, a home, or hall, or college, which should be controlled according to the founder's views, should be a privileged residence, should be endowed perhaps with prizes and purses. I can imagine on the slopes at Berkeley, a group of students' houses, bearing honorable names, and made attractive by the convenience of their arrangements, the good-fellowships within their walls, the privileges of the foundation. I should hope they would not be barracks, or dormitories--but homes, with rooms of common assembly and private study. I should hope the bath-room and the dining-hall would be included in the structure; and if any would go so far as to have a place of light amusement and recreation, I for one should not object. Within such college halls, the love of learning would reign, bad morals and ill-manners would be excluded, and priceless associations would be cherished like those of Harvard and Yale, Cambridge and Oxford. Here, under right guidance, the best of moral and religious influences might be promoted. What church, what association, or what generous individual, will be the first to establish such a hall?
In these convictions, which are the result of anxious thought and familiar conference with many of the most liberal and the most conservative leaders of education and opinion, I am strengthened by the utterances of the President of Princeton College (the Rev. Dr. McCosh), who has studied, in Great Britain and Ireland, a kindred difficulty. He suggests in his inaugural the question, "how is religion to be grafted on State colleges, open to all, whatever their religious profession;" and he answers it by the clear declaration, confirmed by examples: "Let the State provide the secular instruction, and the churches provide the religious training in the homes in which the students reside."
The Example of a Good BuilderI hail it as a omen of good, both for religion and learning, that the site of this University bears the name of Berkeley, the scholar and the divine. It is not yet a century and a [page 25] half since that romantic voyage which brought to Newport, Rhode Island, an English prelate, who would found a college in the Bermudas--the Sandwich Islands of the Atlantic--for the good of the American aborigines. He failed in seeing his enthusiastic purpose accomplished. He could not do as he would; he therefore did as he could. He gave the Puritan College, in New Haven, a library and his farm, and endowed in it prizes and scholarships which still incite to the learning of Latin. There, his memory is "ever kept green." His name is given to a School of Divinity, in the neighboring city of Middletown. It is honored in Dublin and Oxford, and in Edinburgh, where his memoirs have just been written. His fame has crossed the continent, which then seemed hardly more than a seaboard of the Atlantic; and now, at the very ends of the earth, near the Golden Gate, the name of Berkeley is to be a household word. Let us emulate his example. In the catholic love of learning, if we can not do what we would, let us do what we can. Let us labor and pray that his well-known vision may be true:
"Westward the course of empire takes its way;
What is all this Building for?Busy though we be as the Builders of this University, the hours of rest will follow on the hours of toil; doubtless, also, disappointment and embarrassment, those unwelcome thieves, will haunt us with their presence. In these hours of repose and doubt, we shall often ask ourselves, What is all this building for, why do we spend our money for that which is not bread, our labor for that which satisfieth not, why all this eagerness for books and teachers and funds, why all these anxious thoughts about education, and culture, and University progress? You, sir, my honored predecessor, about to throw [page 26] off the academic gown; you, my colleagues in the Faculty; you, gentlemen of the Board of Regents, already know that ours is no easy undertaking. With what philosophy can we fit ourselves for a long and weary task? Not we alone are to ask this question. The State, before renewing its endowments, the national government before repeating its grant, the men of wealth before founding new professorships, and the fathers before sending us their boys, will often ask, "WHAT FOR?" Let us have our answer ready. Let us trace the influences which have proceeded from Athens, where Socrates and Plato taught--teachers whose words still nurture our statesmen and theologians; from Bologna and Paris, where students dwelt by thousands; from Oxford and Cambridge, where so many of the foremost leaders of Anglican literature, politics, and science were fitted for their career; from the seats of learning in Germany, now surpassing in number of teachers and students the universities of every other State; from the colleges of New England and the Atlantic sea-board;--let us study such examples, and say with courage and hope that the University of California shall be a place where all the experience of past generations, so far as it is of record, and all that is known of the laws of nature, shall be at command for the benefit of this generation and those who come after us; that here shall be heard the voice of the wisest thinkers, and here shall be seen the examples of the most diligent students in every department of science. Let us say, that here high-minded youth, while they train their powers as in a gymnasium, may also fit themselves with armor for the battle of life, and may study examples of noble activity. Let us see to it that here are brought together the books of every nation and those who can read them; the collections from all the kingdoms of nature, and those who can interpret them; the instruments of research and analysis, and those who can employ them; and let us be sure that the larger the capital we thus invest, the greater will be the dividend.
[page 27] What is the University for? It is to fit young men for high and noble careers, satisfactory to themselves, and useful to mankind; it is to bring before the society of to-day, the failures and the successes of societies in the past; it is to discover and make known how the forces of nature may be subservient to mankind; it is to hand down to the generations which come after us, the torch of experience by which we have been enlightened.
It is wisdom that the University promotes; wisdom, for individuals and nations, for this life and the future; a power to distinguish the useful, the false, and the fragile, from the good, the true, and the lasting. There was a wise man of olden time who figured its value as well as any of the writers of to-day, when he said: "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding, for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold;" and his estimate of post-graduate instruction deserves our assent: "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will get wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
The Future Before Us A single word in conclusion. The possible relations of the University to the new civilization of the Pacific Coast, and to the enlightenment of Asiatic nations, give a special interest to its work, for it is obvious that California is not only granary, treasury, and mart for the American States which are growing up on this long coast, but it is the portal through which the Occident and Orient must exchange their products and their thoughts. China and Japan, Australia and the Islands of the Sea, are the neighbors and the customers of the Golden State. Shall they not also look here for instruction in the arts and sciences, and for an example of a well-organized and well-educated community? The endowment of a professorship, which shall be devoted to the study of Chinese and Japanese, indicates an early recognition of this intimate relationship. We can [page 28] not be too quick to prepare for the possible future which may open upon us. It is not yet determined in what way the Chinese and Japanese indemnity funds shall be employed, but public discussion tends to their devotion to the promotion of education, either in this country or in the Orient, for the benefit of those from whom the funds were received. Would it not be fit that in this vicinity, near to, if not in connection with, this University, a high seminary should be founded with these funds, having the double purpose of enlightening Americans in respect to the languages, literature, and history of the East, and of instructing the Chinese and Japanese in modern languages and sciences of Europe and American?
A new epoch of history seems opening before us. The early nations, with what has been called their fresh-water civilization, flourished on the Nile and by the reivers of Babylon; at a later day the Mediterranean became the centre of successive empires--monarchs of a land-locked sea. Modern civilization has bordered the Atlantic. Now, face to face, with the great, peaceful ocean itervening, are the oldest and the youngest forms of human society. Steam already shortens the space, and the electro-magnet will soon annihilate the time which separates eastern Asia and western America.
Toward the good which may follow in commercial intercourse, in mutual good-fellowship, and in the promotion of a higher civilization, the University of California must stand ready to do its part.
As I look forward to what is opening, beyond the mists which rest upon the harbor, I feel like quoting, with a single syllable of adaptation, the prophetic dream which a gifted English scholar uttered in regard to his western outlook. (5) Uttered in Europe, his words are still more fitly spoken here:
"I am turning my eyes toward a hundred years to come, and I dimly see the land I am gazing on become the road [page 29] of passage and union between two hemispheres, and the centre of the world. I see its inhabitants rival Belgium in populousness, France in vigor, and Spain in enthusiasm.
"The capital of that prosperous and hopeful land is situate in a beautiful bay and near a romantic region; and in it I see a flourishing University, which, for a while, had to struggle with fortune, but which, when its first founders and servants were dead and gone, had successes far exceeding their anxieties. Thither, as to a sacred soil, the home of their fathers, and the foundtain-head of their Christianity, students are flocking from east, west, and south, from America, and Australia, and India, from Egypt and Asia Minor, with the ease and rapidity of a locomotion not yet discovered, and last, though not least, from England--all speaking one tongue, all owning one faith, all eager for one true wisdom; and thence, when their stay is over, going back again to carry over all the earth 'peace to men of goodwill.'"
1. Like the Kirkland scholarship, at Cambridge, just given by the historian Bancroft.
2. Hon. Edward Tompkins.
3. Prof. W.D. Whitney.
4. E. A. Freeman, in his recent Rede Lecture at Cambridge, England.
5. John Henry Newman.