Status: Complete


fathers from the storms of Heaven and the Indian rifle.
It is well for us to stand on this mountain top and be-
hold the teeming and boundless wealth, which for
countless leagues is springing out of the earth, and see
the mighty masses of our people who are gathering it,
and call to them and bid them come up to these foun-
tains, and drink of the pure streams which the wand of
knowledge strikes from these rocks. They are more
limpid, more refreshing, than the springs which sparkle
out of the mountain side, they are more fertilizing than
the full floods of the Father of Waters. Like the dews,
they come down on our darkness, give us growth and
strength, and rise again to meet the opening glories of
the dawn of Heaven. My countrymen, to me, it seems
very meet and proper for us to be here.

There is no antiquity here. I have recited to you, in
general terms, all the history which has brought us here.
There are no monuments here marking the vestiges of
man; no pyramids of forty centuries; no fragmentary
memorials of lost civilization; no Parthenon; no Por-
tico on which dropped the honey from Plato's lips; no
Coliseum where the world's masters revelled; no grand
and solemn Cathedral where every echo resounds with
a majestic history; no purple light of romance and
chivalry; no roseate hue of art and poetry. All is new,
fresh from the forming hand of God. We are the first.
We are primeval here. Our only calendar is the annu-
lation of the oak, our only history is the bud, the leaf,
and the autumn wind. We have come to the hights of
the Sewanee to begin an Epoch. But, thanks to our
blessed Church and our liberties, we come bringing his-
tory, and gifts, and treasures, from all times and people;
we have come to inscribe apon the rolls of the vast
young empire beneath us, all that men have fought for,
prayed for, hoped for. We come to clear away the
brushwood that we may build chambers for our treas-
ure, more precious than Syrian rubies, more potent than
the Macedonian sceptre, and we open up the tree tops
that the light of Heaven may shine upon them. We
come with the richest treasures, gathered through all
time, all over the earth, and laying them here at the
feet of our countrymen, we bid them take, take, for ev-


ery jewel which is taken, like early gathered fruit,
leaves more vigor behind, every torch which is lighted,
like the crystal, flashes its flame back to its source.

If, my friends, you have gone with me thus far, I need
add nothing as to the specific scheme of culture to be
adopted at this University of the South. I need only to
point to these men to tell you what it is to be the cor-
ner stone of that culture. In our country, and it is one
of its holiest blessings, the shades of Protestant Secta-
rianism are scarcely discernible in the current affairs of
life. We all came to this new earth that we might wor-
ship God according to our own consciences, and to be
free and equal before God and man. That all, of all
names, shades and creeds of Christians might be thus,
we mingled our life-blood on a hundred battle fields, un-
til we drove mankind to acknowledge the claim. From
that blood, thus mingled, there sprung a spirit which
makes us all one in the solemn purposes and duties of
life now and forever. With this origin and this commu-
nion, I point again to our history and to these men and
say: Can they, dare they, place here other cornerstone
than this, this Christian Bible? Conscience and duty are
our substitutes for prerogative and power, and we can
found no institution save on the basis of Conscience and
Duty. Here is our Conscience, here is our Duty,
and therefore here is the corner-stone of the University
of the South--this Christian Bible. (Increased and pro-
longed applause.) Were it not only the corner-stone,
but the arch, the wall, the roof, the spire, the gilding, the
all, it would be enough. Does the proud knowledge of
Greece rise anear to this eternal wisdom, which was
thundered from Sinai? Does Homer's verse reach the
resounding harmony of David's harp? Does Plato's
sweetest reasoning drop upon the human soul with the
divine influence of Paul's holy teaching? All statesman-
ship, philosophy and science might be taught from its
sacred pages. Here, then, we place the Universal
Truth, the corner stone of all knowledge.

Now, fellow-citizens, in this Republic all power is with
the people. There is no class set apart to be instructed
to rule the rest. All are to govern. All therefore must
be taught to govern. Education must be given to all.

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page