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perceive, still survive.” There unfortunately existed, at that period, certain regulations of a peculiar character, not found, probably, in the printed statutes of the college, but coeval with its existence,—such as the liability of Freshmen to perform personal and menial services for members of a superior grade, and, in addition to other acts of humiliation, their subjection to the discipline of the Senior class 1 Most happily, under the auspicious sway of the illustrious Dwight, and his distinguished successor, and their justly celebrated associates, we have seen this code of feudal homage and servitude wholly abolished, and the intercourse of the students regulated by the usual courtesies of civilized society. Under the same benign influence, the system of instruction has been greatly enlarged, embracing, indeed, every branch of knowledge appropriate to a university, with numerous professorial endowments, and all the appliances and facilities requisite for the attainment of a thorough, a finished education. Instead of a solitary building and adjoining chapel, occupied by us, we behold a range of edifices, which for number, magnitude, location, and solidity, and even beauty of construction, are unsurpassed by any similar institution in our country ; with appurtenant buildings devoted to chemical experiments, to philosophical and astronomical exercises, to a mineralogical cabinet, to the preservation and exhibition of the monuments of art which have immortalized the genius of Trumbull, and lastly a spacious and superb structure for the accommodation of the libraries appertaining to the college; the whole constituting a highly ornamental appendage to this beautiful city. What privileges, denied to us, have been, and still are possessed by the more highly favored sons of our Alma Mater 1
* Hon. E. Goodrich and Hon. S. Bald
win. Wol. III. 79
We rejoice at the superior advantages afforded them, and rightfully expect in return a proportionate elevation of character for intelligence and usefulness. I have said it has been our lot to live in an age fruitful of events momentous in their bearing on the present condition and future prospects of mankind. Time will not permit me to enumerate them. Sufferme however to say, we have witnessed revolutions for good or for evil unprecedented in the annals of our race; which have shaken two continents to their center, and the effects of which will be felt by remote generations. We have not only witnessed the birth of our nation, but have been permitted to mark its growth to dimensions, which may well excite our own and the world's astonishment. We have beheld the rise and establishment of free institutions, and the evidence, which experience affords, that they are abundantly adequate to the government of an intelligent people, and in truth constitute the strength of all governments. We have seen public opinion taking high rank as an elementary principle of political science, and gradually advancing to a supremacy which, if duly enlightened and wisely directed, must ultimately spread the empire of freedom over the whole earth; a theory, however, which evidently demands the universal diffusion of both religious and intellectual cultivation. We have witnessed a great enlargement of the boundaries of human knowledge, and the introduction if not of new sciences, yet of new improvements with their nomenclatures, not a little startling at first to scholars of a former century, but eminently beneficial in their effects. We have contemplated with unmingled satisfaction the advancement of the learned professions to a superior degree of respectability; and the attainment of high judicial distinction in the national and state tribunals, contributing essentially to elevate the character of the age. We behold the useful arts carried to a degree of perfection, which utterly surpasses all former example, particularly as exhibited in the diversified and astonishing operations of steam on land and water; and in the no less wonderful process by which electricity is converted into a vehicle of intelligence We see lakes and rivers, and seas, and widely extended territories, connected by artificial streams and railways. We enter our manufactories and work-shops and perceive the successful efforts of genius in abridging the labor of man; and when there, we cast our eyes on fabrics, which are not excelled by the proudest displays of European skill ; and the thought forces itself upon our minds, how many of our sister states at the South owe, in no moderate degree, the profitable cultivation of their staple production, and main source of their wealth, to the matchless ingenuity of a northern citizen, an alumnus of this college. Finally, in addition to the scientific, literary, mechanical and other improvements of the present age, we have cheering evidence, that it is emphatically the “age of benevolence.” This heaven-born spirit has shown itself not only in sympathy for the unfortunate and a readiness to relieve them, not merely in charitable establishments (I had almost said) as numerous and diversified as human sufferings ; these offices of humanity, creditable as they unquestionably are, have nevertheless been chiefly confined to our own country, and to the bodily wants of a short life; but the spirit to which I allude has manifested its celestial origin in higher and holier efforts—in endeavors to promote the temporal and eternal
interests of every being born in the image of God, wherever he may be found. It is this broad and expansive principle, now in operation and encircling the globe, which inspires the philanthropist with new hopes, and imparts to the Christian sure evidence of the approach of that blissful period, which the eye of faith beholds with unerring certainty and unspeakable delight. My brethren, to have lived in such an age forms, of itself, no unenviable distinction ; and to have discharged with fidelity its incumbent duties must prove an unfailing source of the richest consolation. Let what remains of life to us, who are so near its close, be still devoted to the great end of our existence; let our younger brethren justly appreciate their high privileges, with a full consciousness of their corresponding obligations; let us all cherish more and more the ties which bind us to this noble Institution and to each other, in the blessed hope of being finally united with the society of glorified spirits in the presence of God and the Lamb.