Page images

sity of departments in which he may successively engage. Who then can foretell what knowledges he may require to guide him, and what will prove useless to him.

We do not mean to deny all differences in the practical values of knowledge, but we count that the most valuable which most stimulates and exercises the intellect. General principles are of more value than particular facts, and knowledge knit to practical appli. cations arouses and interests more than analytical statements.

The main difficulty, however, which assails the University from this direction is the demand that one or another theorist will make, that studies which are favorites with them shall be admitted to prominent place, and studies which they dislike shall be scouted. It is fashionable with such men, in this age, to scoff at all linguistic studies, save some very simple study of the mother tongue. All attention given to foreign languages, and especially to ancient languages, is a waste of time. They would have our youths study things and facts, not mere words, forgetting that the mind admits nothing within it bal ideas, and that words may express ideas as well, and often more elearly than things; and forgetting, likewise, that, while the study of things may train the eye to perception the study of words is necessary to train the tongue to expression; and, finally, that lan guages and books must forever remain to us the chief avenue of knowledge, that in thes art and science are constantly repositing and putting forth all their treasures of fact ani thought.

But a more serious objection lies against these sticklers for their so-called usefu knowledges. They are not the only parties to be consulted in the case. The young me who come here for education will have opinions of tbeir own as to what they wish to study Many of them will be men grown, and the youngest will have reached that period opening manhood when the shadows of coming destinies and duties will have fallen upo them; and they will have begun to cherish aspirations and aims for themselves and t value studies in proportion as they regard them useful to their purposes. By what rigt shall any of us step in between these young men and their choice and say to them ya shall not study this, or, you shall study that. The homely old saw might be found tru here,

“One man can lead a horse to the pond, but ten men can not make him drink. While we justly revolt against the old tyranny which compelled every seeker of liber learning to study the classics, let us pot establish a counter tyranny to decree that I one shall study the classics. Let our University offer to the ardent and aspiring your men of the State a full table spread with every form of human knowledge, and bid the freely to the feast. Courses of studies should be offered but as hints and guides to t undecided and inexperienced. The student who has clearly discerned his wants, al settled his course, ought to be left free to pursue his own chosen paths of learning.

And the success of our special courses will be best secured by such a plan. Years m elapse before the love of agriculture and other arts, or the faith in agricultural scier will induce any large number of earnest and aspiring young men to resort hither for 1 purpose of studying for industrial pursuits, but let us open freely to them all the for taids of learning, and we may tinge these fountains as we will with industrial science si sentiments.

And it is but just to agriculture itself and to the indastrial arts, that their stude should be aided by all that refines or strengthens the mind, and that their educa representatives shall be the peers of the most soundly cultured men, in the scope : value of their learning. We have an ambition to send forth to the great industries the world, pot men who are puffed up by some little smatterings of science, but cle headed, broad-breasted scholars, men of fully developed minds-fit leaders of those gr productive arts by which the world's civilization is fed and furnished.

Time forbids the mention of all the forms of false opinion which lie across the pat! our progress. Our best answer to them will be our success in the plans we have adopt If these succeed, no opposition can harm us. If we fail, no silence of enemy or critic help us.

Nor shall I detain you to notice now all the hindrances from popular zeal, which will demand fruit ere our tree can be grown; or popular distrust, which will ask us to prove oor power before it will allow us any of its sons to educate; from partisan or sectarian bostility or prejudices; from the old-time pride which will recoil from the very name of an industrial school; and from the apathy which applauds but continues to neglect what it applauds. If our difficulties are confessedly great, our triumphs, when won, will be correspondingly great and momentous. A brief glance at the results which must follow car success will help to arm us for the fray and inspire us for our task.

ist. We shall effect the more formal and more perfect union of labor and learning. These two will be married in indissoluble bonds at our altars. The skilled band and the thinking brain will be found compatible members of the same body. Science, leaving its seat in the clouds and coming down to work with men in shop and field, will find not only a new stimulus for its studies, but better and clearer light for its investigations and surer tests for its truths. And labor, growo scientific, will mount to richer products as well as easier processes. Thus, these two, Thought and Work, which God designed to go together, will no longer remain assunder.

ed. Labor itself will be elevated to honor. Lifted from under degradation and redeemed from unnecessary drudgery; lighted by science to its useful triumphs, and grown artistic in its tastes and power, it will no longer remain the mere mindless forth-putting of muscular morement, but mount to the higher ideal of human activities, over-mastering brute matter, and compelling it to give up of its beauty, uses and strength for the comfort of the family of man.

3d. Labor will be made more productive. Not only will learning aid it to new invenriods and teach it more productive processes, but educated leaders of labor will go forth from these balls to organize its scattered and wasted forces, and to teach it the great secret of co-operative power. And thus, though we can educate but a few of the great Dumbers of the industrial class, these few will scatter the benefits of the University to all. The West Point for the working world, its trained cadets will lead the bannered march of the millious as they climb the ascents of honor, wealth and higher life. The bard and upskillful toil of the world is thrice as much as is needed to produce its present results. Give this toil fit leaders and guides, and it may be greatly diminished in smount and yet doubled in product.

4th. Our national power and perpetuity will be greatly promoted. How often in the late war were we told that, “in national conflicts, the longest purse wins."

And certainly that nation will be richest which has the most of skilled labor among its people. The toil of the ignorant slave is as poor in product as in price.

But the influence of educated labor on the perpetuity of national life may not be so obrious. History shows that the sure sign of national decadence and the certain prelude to national destruction is the growth of a spirit of idleness and luxury which relegates its labor to slases and hirelings, and learns too late that muscular decay is the sure forerander to mental imbecility. Nor need we go to effete or extinct nations to learn this serious troth. Among ourselves there is a constant revolution in progress. Individuals and families, energized and enriched by toil, are steadily rising from the lower ranks of teciety to take the place of those whose active brains, having exhausted the unrenewed muscular vigor of the stock, sink into effeminacy and so go down again to the bottom. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread,” is as true of nations as of individuals, and the nation that permits the industries to fall into contempt is next door to the ruin i deserres. A nobler and stronger nation will soon come to claim its place.

5th. But there remains a grander and broader triumph than all these. If we succeed, ** sball demonstrate the practicability and point out the path of universal education. By the stern necessities of life, the great majorities of mankind must forever be found among the industrial classes. These constitute the great army corps—the heavy columnsthe millions of the race. If now, labor is necessarily a drudgery and a degradation, it, * some economists of a Satanic school have affirmed, the elevation and ennobling of a


few will be at the expense of the many who must be content to remain in humble subor. dination, then the education of the masses is an idle dream. For to teach them simply to read and write is not education. Those whom labor perpetually degrades, learning can never successfully lift up. Our sohools can only now and then stimulate one to escape at once from ignorance and from industry that he may attain education and idle.

“These must have perished, or I myself must bave been lost,” said an old Greek philosopher, as he gazed upon the ruined fields which he bad neglected for the sake of his mind. “I myself am saved, and, therefore, these can not perish," will be the reply of the educated farmer. Let us but demonstrate that the highest culture is compatible with the active pursuit of industry, and that the richest learning will pay in a corn field or a carpenter's shop, and we have made universal education not only a possible possession, but a fated necessity of the race. Prove that education, in its highest form, will “pay” and you have made for it the market of the world. The light which has here. tofore fallen through occasional rifts, and on scatterred bill tops, will benceforward flood field and valley with the splendors of a noontime sun, and the quickened intellect of the race will bloom with new beauty and burst into a richer fruitage of industrial arts.

Sucb, gentlemen, are the prospects that should cheer us. Such are the ends for which we labor. Let the University you to-day inaugurate but fulfill its office, and the State itself will feel the benigo influence of its work.

The choir and the audience then joined in singing “America," and the Rev. Mr. Riley, of Urbana, pronounced the benediction.

After the close of the exercises most of the audience repaired to the University dining hall below, where a plentiful and elegant repast had been provided by the ladies of Champaign and Urbana. The dinner was succeeded by toasts, sentiments and speeches, and the assemblage dispersed in great good humor.







« PreviousContinue »