Status: Complete


of manhood in the cloisters of Oxford. If not a graduate of one
University, nevertheless, in a high and noble sense, Shakspeare {sic}
was a graduate of all the Universities of all preceding time. They
all aided in preparing his sphere; they all aided in preparing him
to fill it. The air which the great poet of human nature must
breathe is that ethereal beauty of the spirit, which is the bright exha-
lation of the broadest, deepest culture; and this never could be. {sic}
but for long, long centuries of laborious thought upon material
things, and upon the soul of man; and the retired cloisters of
Universities developed such thoughts, they were sanctuaries of
the mind, in ages of strife; until the ripe intellectual harvest of
centuries, “the bright, consummate flower” whose roots lay far
back, in the distant past, expanded in the glorious mind of Shaks- {sic}
peare. The great poet, though “warbling his native wood-notes
wild,” was a graduate of the vast University of History and Time.

Shakspeare, {sic} indeed, poured forth myriads of “thoughts that
breathe, and words that burn;” but, centuries of reflection on man
and nature, worlds visible and invisible, the inborn powers of the
soul, the mysteries of time past, present and to come, the shadows
of eternity; all these ages were needed to develop that spiritual
atmosphere, which thoughts can breathe, that eternal fuel of the
sould which words can burn. And he wh utters them must feel
how they can breathe and burn, or they will not so affect the
minds of others. And this condition of things: was it not owing
greatly to the culture of two thousand years—to go no further
back—of the Universities of modern Europe, the schools of ancient
Greece, Rome, Egypt and the East? Yes, we will claim Shaks- {sic}
peare as a University-scholar. Nor will that name be denied to
those, whether the recipients of diplomas or not who have reached
their intellectual heights by ladders of the mind, made and placed
by the labors of sons of Universities.

The instruction directly imparted is, then, no measure of the in-
fluence of a University. It is a fountain for the world. Streams
flowing in far distant places may yet be traced back to the full and
gushing spring. The University is the banyan-tree of the intellect-
ual forest, which spreads branches far and wide, from which de-
scend other branches to the ground, that themselves take root, and
grow, and thus extend the sheltering shade. A great University
is, in the highest and best sense, the most Democratic institution
which man can build; for it alone is that sure basis of general in-
telligence, without which, Democratic structures of government


rest on sand, liable to fall before the first political tornado. A
great central University is a support to all other institutions of
learning, great and small. It supplies thoroughly trained men
for offices of instruction. All schools are raised in character by a
University demanding high qualifications and supplying the means
of high attainments. The more a community is educated, the more
it desires to be educated. The desire of learning and the way of
learning grow each with the growth of the other. There is never
a reason to fear that too much will be done for the human mind.
All men become more comprehensive in thought from the presence
of a University. It is a momentous truth, that a University is the
centre of a circle with an infinite circumference. The ten States
represented in the establishment of the University of the South
cannot confine its rays. They reach beyond space and time.
They are as immortal as the soul. The buildings may crumble to
the dust; and, the antiquity of the future may strive in vain to
find their trace; but the University, as a power, must live forever.
Build , then let me urge it, build, conscious that you build for eternity.

The proposed University has a claim upon public support, inde-
pendently of its province as a place of instruction. It can be the
centre of a noble literature. American literature has not kept
pace with American advancement in the practical arts of life.
Here, indeed, will be supplied the means of enlarged information,
as regards all those studies which develop wisely the material re-
sources of the land. The University will comprehend, it its circle
of studies, engineering, surveying, the application of Science to
agricultural, mining, mechanics, manufactures, commerce, political
economy, and every kind of instruction, on which the most rigid
utilitarian can insist, as of importance in a country like this, of re-
sources of incalculable value, yet needing, for their true use and
improvement, deep skill and wide knowledge. All departments of
science, whether as modes of refined investigation, or as applica-
tions to human need and to the growth of the land, will here be
cultivated. But also, those studies which refine the soul, and
crown all practical labors with the halo of intellectual grace, will
here nerve ambition to excel in the noble fields of Christian litera-
ture. This is one of the highest aims, as its accomplishment will
be one of the highest victories of the University. “Man shall not
live by bread alone,” says the inspired Word. The practical civili-
zation of America, commendable as it is, cannot satisfy the de-

Notes and Questions

Please sign in to write a note for this page


In several places on page 158, we see an alternate spelling of the name of Shakespeare as "Shakspeare." According to a Shakespearean scholar of my acquaintance, there have been several alternate spellings of that name over the centuries, even during the Bard's own lifetime.


The second paragraph on page 159 suggests that the fields of study to be encompassed by the University will include such practical matters as engineering, commerce, and similar subjects. It is ironic that those who today are protesting against the establishment of new professional programs within the College (such as an MBA program), base their opposition on their perception that Sewanee was from its inception intended to be a "pure" liberal arts college with no plebeian courses of study. There were in fact several professional programs at Sewanee in the late 19th century that were eventually eliminated.