Home > Amherst > History > A History of Amherst College (1894) > Table of Contents >
Chapter 8
from A History of Amherst College by William S. Tyler 1830

The Presidency of Dr. Stearns --- Scholarships and Prizes --- New Buildings --- The College Church --- The Beginning of the System for Physical Education --- The Walker and Other Professorships --- Optional Courses.

[William A. Stearns.]President William Augustus Stearns was born in Bedford, Mass., March 17, 1805.  His father, Rev. Samuel Stearns of Bedford, and both his grandfathers, were ministers of the gospel.  His brothers are well known as distinguished teachers and preachers.  He was prepared for college at Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated with honor at Cambridge, in 1827, with such classmates as Professor Felton and Rev. Dr. Sweetser.  He went through the full course of theological study at Andover, in the same class with Dr. Brainerd of Philadelphia, Dr. Joseph S. Clark, President Labaree, Professor Owen, and Professor Park---the class of '31.  After teaching a short time at Duxbury, he was ordained December 14, 1831, pastor of the church at Cambridgeport, where he remained almost twenty-three years, honored and beloved by all his people as an able preacher and wise pastor, identified with the public schools of Cambridge, and greatly interested in Harvard University, and sustaining influential relations to the cause of education and religion in Boston and vicinity.

This brief general statement will suffice to show how different President Stearns's antecedents were from those of either of his predecessors, and how these, together with the breadth and balance of his character and his culture, qualified him to supplement and complete their work.

The inauguration of President Stearns, of which we have already given an account, took place on Wednesday, the 22d of November, 1854.  After some graceful allusions to the origin and early history, the founders and former presidents of Amherst College, of which he expressed the highest appreciation though he himself was not an alumnus, and of which he asked to be accepted as a true son though by adoption, the inaugural address proceeds to define the end or aim of education, which is to produce in the person educated "the highest style of man," and then to discuss the most essential ways and means, physical, intellectual, moral, and religious, by which that end is to be accomplished.  We shall see further on how not a few of the ideas which the president thus developed in his inaugural were realized under his administration.  The key-note of the address is contained in the concluding sentences:  "Young gentlemen, your highest attainment is the attainment of right relations toward God, and a concordance with the other harmonies of the universe.  There is one great Central Life whose pulsations are beating through all created worlds.  When in addition to a profound and brilliant scholarship, attended with high moral and social excellence, and wise physical self-control, you come into sympathy with this great Life, so that your spirit answers to that Spirit, as the pulsations of the wrist keep time with those that are throbbing in your heart, then will you be truly educated, then will you have reached the highest order of man."

In the evening after the inauguration the students expressed their good will to the new president and their expectation of a prosperous and happy presidency by an illumination of the college edifices.  "Welcome to President Stearns" was blazoned in letters of brilliant light across the entire front of Middle (now North) and South Colleges, and as he stood in front of Woods Cabinet, admiring the brilliant spectacle, they gathered spontaneously around him, extemporized an address of welcome through a member of the senior class, and drew from him a ready and hearty response.

It will be remembered that one pleasant incident of the exercises of inauguration day was the announcement of a liberal donation from the estate of Hon. Samuel Appleton, for the erection of a zoölogical and ichnological museum.  President Hitchcock had made the request a year previous, and had given up all expectation that it would be granted.  There is reason to believe that confidence in the wisdom of the new president conspired with admiration for the genius and science of his predecessor in securing the donation.  However that may be, the time of the announcement was not accidental, and the donation, while it formed a brilliant and appropriate finale to the retiring administration, furnished also an auspicious omen for the incoming presidency.  Nor did the omen prove fallacious.  The Appleton gift was only the beginning of a succession of donations and bequests, which amount in the aggregate to nearly eight hundred thousand dollars, and which mark the presidency of Dr. Stearns beyond even that of Dr. Hitchcock, as the period of large and liberal foundations.

Even the Legislature turned a comparatively willing ear to our petitions, and twice more opened, though not very wide and apparently for the last time, the treasury of the Commonwealth to supply the wants of Amherst College.  The aid from the state in 1859 was granted the more readily doubtless because other institutions shared in it, and some of them more largely than Amherst College.  The bill which became a law April 2, 1859, provided, that after a certain sum had been received into the state treasury from the sale of the Back Bay lands in Boston, one-half of the proceeds of subsequent sales should be added to the Massachusetts school fund, and the other half appropriated in certain proportions, as it accrued, to five institutions of learning in the Commonwealth, until the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy should have received an amount not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars; Tufts College, fifty thousand dollars; and Williams College, Amherst College, and the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbrabam, twenty-five thousand dollars each.  No part of these appropriations was to be paid, however, until satisfactory evidence had been furnished by each institution that it had raised an equal sum by subscription, or otherwise, from some other source.  It was further provided in the bill, that each of the three colleges should establish three free scholarships.  These conditions were promptly complied with on the part of Amherst College, and the first instalment of six thousand dollars and a little more was paid over in September, 1861, and the remainder of the twenty-five thousand dollars in September, 1863.  On the 27th of April, 1863, after repeated solicitations by Dr. Hitchcock in person, the Legislature made another special grant of two thousand five hundred dollars to the department of natural history.  Here ends the history of grants from the state in aid of Amherst College.  Two appropriations of twenty-five thousand dollars each and one of two thousand five hundred dollars---scarcely a third part of what the state has granted to Williams, and not a tithe of its donations to Harvard!

Of all the donations and bequests that have ever come to Amherst College those of Dr. W. J. Walker were the most surprising, because they came from so unforeseen and unexpected a source.  A graduate of Harvard, and a resident of one of those cities in the vicinity of Cambridge whose property seems to be almost the birthright and inheritance of that university, Dr. Walker wished and intended to endow the medical department of his alma mater.  Not finding her sufficiently facile and pliant to his wishes, he turned his attention to other colleges, and began to give to them with a liberality which was fitted and doubtless intended to show the authorities at Cambridge how much they had lost.  One of these colleges was soon dropped from the list of his beneficiaries for a similar reason.  President Stearns had the discernment to see the substantial excellence of Dr. Walker's ideas, and he had the wisdom to humor and guide his plans, instead of opposing or questioning them, and thus to enlist him more and more zealously in the service of the college.  The result was that he gave Amherst at different times and for different purposes one hundred thousand dollars in his life-time, drew in forty thousand dollars from other sources by making that the condition of his own donations, and left in his will a legacy, the annual income of which has averaged more than six thousand dollars.  The condition just alluded to seemed at the time not only unfortunate, but impracticable and appalling.  But thanks to the wisdom of President Stearns and the benevolence of the friends, chiefly old and tried friends of the college, the forty thousand dollars was raised.  Messrs. Samuel Williston, Samuel A. Hitchcock, and James Smith, of Philadelphia, gave ten thousand dollars apiece, and Messrs. Alpheus Hardy, Henry Edwards, Ebenezer Alden, Moses H. Baldwin, and others made up the remaining ten thousand dollars, thus exhibiting a generosity the more praiseworthy and thankworthy, because their charities were to be merged in a "Walker Building Fund," and their own preferences were sacrificed for so great an interest of the institution.

The presidency of Dr. Stearns is emphatically the period of scholarships and prizes.  Aside from the distribution of the income of the charity fund, which really constituted so many ministerial scholarships and is now actually called by that name, there was not a single scholarship in existence at the beginning of his administration.  Eleazar Porter, Esq., of Hadley, has the honor of having established the first scholarship in Amherst College.  This was in 1857.  Before the close of the administration there were more than fifty scholarships over and above those from the charity fund in the gift of the college, varying in annual income from forty to three hundred dollars each, and distributing each year over four thousand dollars among the students.

The only prizes that existed prior to the administration of President Stearns were those for elocution, and these had usually been merely nominal, and were paid out of the college treasury.  The first regular prizes given by an individual for successive years were given by J. H. Sweetser, Esq., a former resident of Amherst then residing in New York city.  These were given under the presidency of Dr. Hitchcock.  In 1857 Hon. Alpheus Hardy of Boston established the Hardy prizes for improvement in extemporaneous speaking; and now we have some two thousand dollars distributed every year as prizes for excellence in nearly all of the several departments.

Of the twelve college edifices that stood on College Hill at the time of his death, six were added during the presidency of Dr. Stearns.  And the style and character of these, as compared with the earlier buildings, is more remarkable than their number.  The last three were built of stone, the Pelham or Monson granite, and the last two, at least, in a plan and style of architecture worthy of a material that is at once so rich and so enduring.  The new college church alone cost as much as the whole five edifices that came down from previous administrations; and Walker Hall cost as much as all the other buildings on College Hill together, exclusive of the college church.  It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that President Stearns found the college brick, and left it granite.

The first building erected after the accession of President Stearns was the [Appleton Cabinet.]Appleton Cabinet.  This was built in 1855.  The building committee consisted of Prof. Edward Hitchcock, Mr. Samuel Williston, and Prof. William S. Clark, and Mr. H. A. Sykes was the arcbitect---the same under whose direction the Woods Cabinet and the library had been built.  It was the preference of Dr. Hitchcock that this edifice should be placed on the west side of the Woods Cabinet, where the danger from fire would have been less, and where it would have been in convenient contiguity with the geological specimens.  The building committee acceded to his views and wishes, and at first located it there, but their opinion was overruled by that of the Prudential Committee, on the ground that the appearance would be unsightly.  Mr. Luke Sweetser, who for many years has been a resident member of the prudential committee, remonstrated with special earnestness against that location, and, in order to remove the chief argument in its favor, volunteered to put up a lecture-room as an appendage to the Woods Cabinet, if it could be done for a thousand dollars.  This view prevailed, and the Appleton Cabinet was placed on the south wing of the dormitories, thus taking the place of a new South College, which had long been contemplated to balance the old North College, then on the site of Williston Hall, and the geological lecture-room was at the same time attached to the Woods Cabinet.  Mr. Sweetser declined having his name affixed to it.

In 1857 the Woods Cabinet received another appendage in the Nineveh Gallery, which was erected by Enos Dickinson, Esq., of South Amherst, on "the site of the old church, where for thirty years he had attended meeting, where he was baptized and made a profession of religion," and of which be remarked to Dr. Hitchcock, "that if he should desire to leave his name anywhere on earth, that would be the spot."  The building cost five hundred and sixty-seven dollars.  It is a small room, but it is probably as large as that in the palace of Nimroud from which the sculptured slabs were taken.  The contents cost some six hundred dollars.  Their money value is at least as many thousands, and their value to the college as educators and as memorials is beyond calculation.  The sculptured slabs, six in number, some of which now adorn the entrance to the college library, came from the palace of Sardanapalus; the seals, cylinders, and bricks from Nineveh and Babylon; the coins of gold, silver, and copper, a thousand in number, mostly ancient, and commencing with those of Alexander the Great, were all procured and sent at great labor and expense by Dr. Henry Lobdell, missionary to Assyria, of the class of '49, who, in December, 1854, made his sixth visit to Nimroud in order to dispatch the sculptures, and who died at Mosul, the site of ancient Nineveh, on the 25th day of March, 1855.  For the gallery and its contents the college is indebted ultimately and entirely to the agency of Dr. Hitchcock, who encouraged Dr. Lobdell to send the specimens, raised the money to pay all the expenses, superintended the whole business, and in short manifested scarcely less interest in these footprints of former generations of men, than in the ichnolites of the pre-Adamic earth in his own cabinet.

The next public buildings were the result of a calamity which, as not unfrequently happens, proved a blessing in disguise.  One cold and stormy night in the winter of 1857, when the northwest wind blew almost a hurricane and the thermometer was many degrees below zero, the old North College caught fire in a student's room.  The occupants of the room and nearly all the occupants of the building were in attendance on the meetings of the literary societies in the Middle and South Colleges.  Before they could give or get the alarm, the fire had progressed so far as to forbid even the attempt to extinguish it.  All efforts were directed toward saving the other buildings.  Had the wind been in the north or northeast, this would have been impossible.  Being in the northwest the flames and burning fragments were for the most part driven to the eastward; otherwise, in spite of all exertions, Middle College must have taken fire, and to all human appearance the chapel, South College, and the newly-erected Appleton Cabinet would all have been swept away by the conflagration.  By midnight or a little later, North College with no small portion of its contents---the furniture and books of students---had gone up in a whirlwind of flame or had been reduced to ashes.  Such was the uproar of the elements that night that the writer in his own house in the edge of the village, not half a mile away, heard no alarm and knew nothing of the calamity till, early the next morning, he was summoned to a faculty meeting called for consultation in the emergency.  When he arrived on the ground, nothing remained but the blackened brick walls enclosing a heap of smoking ruins.  The fire was an undoubted blessing in that it enlisted the sympathy of friends and ere long gave us two better buildings in its stead.  The appeal of the faculty in behalf of the students, some of whom had lost everything but what they had on their persons, met with so prompt and hearty a response that ere long we issued a card saying that no more was needed.  And scarcely had the ruins ceased to smoke, when, with characteristic promptness as well as generosity, Mr. Williston, that unfailing friend of the college, volunteered to erect on the site [Williston Hall.]a new edifice containing a chemical laboratory, rooms for the libraries and the meetings of the two literary societies, and an alumni hall, if the trustees would engage, with the insurance and additional subscriptions, to replace the lost dormitory on another site.  This condition, which, like Dr. Walker's in regard to Walker Hall, was, of course, intended only to double the benefaction, was accepted by the trustees, and the new buildings were both erected in 1857, the same year in which the old dormitory was burnt.  Both edifices were built under the general direction of Mr. Williston, Mr. Charles E. Parkes of Boston being the architect, and Professor Clark and Mr. Luke Sweetser being associated with the former as building committee in the erection of East College.  Thus, to express in Dr. Stearns' own language the "great blessing" which resulted from the "great catastrophe," "two new buildings sprang up from the ashes of the old, one of them Williston Hall, so comely in appearance, so convenient in arrangement, so generously bestowed, and so full of invitation to the returning graduate as he comes up from the village to the college grounds; the other, East College, which the prophets represented as destined to be taken down and rebuilt, or moved bodily to another spot."

The dedication of the two buildings, delayed for several reasons, took place on the 19th of May, 1858.  The trustees held a special meeting on the occasion.  Mr. Williston and Mr. Sweetser reported the results of their labors, and formally delivered the buildings into the hands of the trustees.  President Steams, on the part of the trustees, made a suitable response.  Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Vaill, and Rev. Henry Ward Beecher delivered an address, in which, as fitly as eloquently, be discoursed on institutions as a means of perpetuating influence.

[The Barrett Gymnasium.]The next building was the gymnasium, now abandoned for a more modern building.  This was commenced in the autumn of 1859, and completed in the summer of 1860.  Hon. J. B. Woods, Prof. W. S. Clark, Hon. Samuel Williston, and the president were appointed a committee, with full powers to collect funds, procure plans, select a site, and erect the building.  "Subscriptions were obtained by Prof. W. S. Clark, Prof. W. S. Tyler, and some others, to the amount of about five thousand dollars.  For the other five thousand dollars the college resorted again to borrowing."  The building was planned by the same architect as Williston Hall and East College, Mr. Charles E. Parkes of Boston.  President Hitchcock says:  "It is massive in appearance, without much architectural beauty, though in conformity with architectural rules."  To the eye of the writer, it is one of the most beautiful buildings on the college campus.  It has the beauty of fitness and the beauty, rare in our day, of a severe simplicity.  The builders had the good sense and good taste to return to the use of stone, instead of brick, in which their example has been followed in subsequent buildings, and will be followed, we trust, in all coming time.  Upon the completion of the building, the name of "Barrett Gymnasium" was given to it, from Dr. Benjamin Barrett of Northampton, who had contributed liberally toward its erection.  Dr. Barrett afterward put in at his own expense a gallery at the west end, for the convenience of spectators, and contributed more or less each year while he lived, for repairing the building, improving the apparatus, and ornamenting the grounds.  And at his death, in 1869, he left in his will a legacy of five thousand dollars, the income of which is to be annually expended for similar purposes.

The principal of the Walker building fund, one hundred thousand dollars, was filled up in 1864, and at a special meeting of the trustees in November, 1866, they appointed a building committee of their own number.  This committee consisted of President Stearns, Hon. Samuel Williston, Hon. Alpheus Hardy, Hon. Edward B. Gillett, and Samuel Bowles, Esq.  The corner-stone of the building was laid on the 10th of June, 1868; and it was not till the 20th of October, 1870, that Walker Hall was opened with appropriate ceremonies.  Thus more than six years had elapsed since the money was raised, and more than seven, almost eight, years since Dr. Walker made his first offering of twenty thousand dollars in January, 1863, before the edifice was completed and set apart for its scientific uses:  tam diu Roma condebatur.  But it was right and wise to take a long time in building a structure that was expected to endure a long while.  There was an intrinsic difficulty in uniting and harmonizing so many diverse interests.  The whole department of mathematics and astronomy, the recitations, lectures, and apparatus of the professor of natural philosophy, the Shepard Cabinet of Mineralogy, and rooms for the trustees, the president, and the treasurer, were all to be brought beneath one roof, and what seemed for a time quite impracticable, nearly all these rooms must needs be, where all the living rooms of a house in this climate ought to be, on the south side.  When these conflicting interests were all reconciled there still remained the scarcely less difficult question of a convenient and beautiful location.  The college campus, though sightly, is far from being "siteful;" and a site satisfactory to all concerned, and suitable for such a building, was found at length only by the purchase and annexation of three or four additional acres on the north side.

Several architects and landscape-gardeners were consulted in the settlement of these vexed questions.  More than one architect also presented plans for the building.  The plan which best satisfied the parties chiefly concerned, and indeed the only plan which solved the almost insoluble difficulties of the problem and united beauty with convenience, was that of George Hathorne, of New York.  This plan was adopted, and hebecame the architectof the building.  The contract for the masonry was given to Richard H. Ponsonby, and that for the carpenter work to C. W. Lessey.  The immediate oversight was entrusted to William A. Dickinson, Esq., of Amherst.  The laying of the corner-stone with due form and ceremony took place on the forenoon of Class Day, June 10, 1868.  Hon. Edward Dickinson presided and introduced the services.  Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Vaill.  The stone was placed with appropriate ceremonies by the senior class, who had desired to honor their Class Day by this act and had selected a committee of their number for the purpose.  A hymn was sung, by the college choir.  A paper was read by President Stearns, making some statements respecting the character and design of the building, together with notices of Dr. Walker and the principal donors.  After a few extemporaneous remarks by Hon. Alpheus Hardy and Professor Snell, the exercises were concluded by singing the doxology and the pronouncing of the benediction.

After an interval of two years and four months, on the 20th of October, 1870, the formal opening of Walker Hall took place.  The order of exercises was as follows:  In College Hall---Music by the orchestra; Introductory prayer by Rev. Mr. Dwight of Hadley; Address by President Stearns; Commencement hymn, "Let children hear the mighty deeds."  In Walker Hall---Music by the band; Statement by W. A. Dickinson, Esq.; Prayer by Rev. Dr. Paine of Holden; Statement by Professor Snell; Speeches by members of the board of trustees and by gentlemen from abroad; "Old Hundred," by the audience.

The opening of Walker Hall removed the last vestige of scientific instruction from the old chapel building, where all the departments dwelt together for so many years, and left literature and philosophy the sole occupants.  Two things are illustrated by this part of our history, first the progress of division of labor in the college, and secondly the growth of the institution in all its departments.

[The College Church.]The original donation of thirty thousand dollars for the college church was made in 1864.  Seven or eight years elapsed before the edifice was finished.  The delay was partly to give time for the increase of the building fund, and partly owing to the difficulty of fixing the location, but chiefly, as in the case of Walker Hall, with the intention of building well rather than building quickly.

The question of location long occasioned much perplexity, and opinions differed widely on the subject.  The unanimous verdict of the most distinguished architects decided the question in favor of the present site, just in the rear of East College, but necessitating at some time the removal of that building.  "It might seem," says President Stearns in his address at the laying of the corner-stone---" it might seem to our old graduates and to others who have not studied the case, an unexpected and singular movement, to pass over, as we have done, into what was regarded heretofore as the back-yard of our college grounds, and crowd the new edifice into the very mouth of the dormitory which has for some years crowned the knoll.  But looking from East College, destined some time or other to be removed, let me say to each one who doubts the propriety of the location, Circumspice.  Think of a pleasant Sabbath morning as our young men and families of many generations of the future throng to the house of prayer and see the beauty of the Lord spread over the mountains and the intervale before us and the quiet homes nestling within it, and tell me, will not nature furnish inspirations to praise?  If we need further reason, it may be expressed in the brief words of Mr. Williston, who has often surprised me with the breadth and wisdom of his views on such subjects.  When the advice of the best architectural and gardening skill in the country had been obtained, and reasons set forth, and the final question was put to that gentleman, Shall we plan the building for present convenience or for a hundred years to come? his immediate response was, 'Five hundred years to come!'"  The committee to whom by vote of the trustees in 1869 the whole subject was referred, consisted of President Stearns, William F. Stearns, Esq., Messrs. Williston, Hardy, and Gillett, and Mr. W. A. Dickinson.  William A. Potter, Esq., of New York, was the architect.  The church was erected under the personal oversight and direct superintendence of President Stearns, to whose watchful eye and excellent taste, scarcely less than to the art and science of the architect, the building owes its perfection.

The corner-stone was laid on the 22d of September, 1870, with the following order of exercises:  Preliminary Statement by the President; Introductory prayer by Prof. W. S. Tyler; Address by Rev. Christopher Cushing, of Boston; Placing of the stone by the senior class (Class of '71); Hymn, "Christ is our Corner-Stone;" Prayer by Rev. J. L. Jenkins, of Amherst; Doxology; Benediction.

The following passages from the president's preliminary statement should be put on record as showing his views and those of the donor, William F. Stearns, Esq., in regard to this edifice:  "We have assembled to place the corner-stone of an edifice, which, in accordance with the great idea of the college, 'the highest education and all for Christ,' is to be, when completed and dedicated, the college church.  In pursuing this principle which has always actuated some of us, a desire has long existed, since we have public worship together, to hold the religious services of the Sabbath, as other churches do, in a retired, consecrated Sabbath home, from which all the studies and distractions of the week should be excluded, and where the suggestions of the place should assist us to gather in our thoughts, and in the enjoyment of sacred silence to confer with God.

"Some of the views of the donor in furnishing the means for the college church were thus expressed to the trustees at the time they were given, and in the same spirit they were gratefully accepted by them.  1. The church is to be used by the college for strictly religious observances, especially for Christian worship and preaching, and for no other purpose.  2. The preacher shall always profess his full and earnest belief in the religion of the Old and New Testaments as a supernatural revelation from God, and in Jesus Christ as the divine and only Saviour, 'who was crucified for our sins and raised again for our justification,' and generally for substance of doctrine in the evangelical system or gospel of Christ as understood by the projectors and founders of the college.  3. The preacher in the pulpit, and in all the exercises of this church, shall exhibit that sobriety, dignity, and reverence of manner and expression which becomes the sacredness of the place, and is in keeping with those solemn emotions which true Christians are supposed to experience."

The college church, not less than Walker Hall, embodies an idea and a department.  A new department, as we shall see further on, was founded the same year in which funds were set apart for building the church.  The college church represents this department, gives it as it were a body and a form, and expresses the idea, not only of a place set apart expressly for the Sabbath worship and service, but also of a professorship whose undivided energies should be sacredly devoted to the religious welfare of the college.  Combining in its architectural plan and style the beautiful and the useful of successive ages, it represents the religion of the college as uniting all that is true and good in the past history of the church with whatsoever things are pure and lovely in our own age; and being unquestionably the brightest architectural jewel on the brow of College Hill, it fitly expresses the paramount excellence and importance of the religion of Christ in college education.

After the close of the war, several unsuccessful efforts were made to secure a suitable memorial for those students who had sacrificed their lives for their country.  A public hall adorned with relics and trophies of the war, a lecture room and professorship of history, a monument on the grounds, a monumental group of statues and tablets within doors,---all these were contemplated, some of them voted by the alumni and attempted, but all, for different reasons, proved unsatisfactory, or at least unsuccessful.  This difficult question found at length an unexpected and most satisfactory solution in connection with the college church.  A chime of bells of unsurpassed excellence, placed in the tower by George Howe, Esq., of Boston, whose own son, a graduate of Amherst, fell a sacrifice to the war, answers the double purpose, to use the language of President Stearns, of "throwing out upon the breezes the sweet invitation of Christian psalmody to worship on the Lord's day, and of commemorating in patriotic and soothing melodies, on appropriate occasions, the nobleness of our sons and brothers who honored the college, while they shed their blood for Christ and dear native land."

Before any provision was made or expected for a new church, the rooms in the old chapel building had become so deformed and dilapidated that thorough repairs were absolutely necessary.  These repairs were made gradually, under the superintendence of W. A. Dickinson, Esq.  They cost nearly as much as the original building.  But they gave us possession of rooms far surpassing the original ones in convenience and elegance.  The form of the rooms underwent little or no change.  But they were entirely refitted, frescoed, and furnished, and the recitation roorns, beginning with the Greek room, and extending gradually to the others, being adorned with maps and charts, photographs and engravings, bronzes and marbles illustrative of Greek and Roman art and antiquities, became teachers, no longer of rudeness and slovenliness, but of order, truth, and beauty.  While the chapel proper was undergoing repairs, the present Art room, in Williston Hall, served as our place of worship.

[College Hall.]When the village church had completed their new and costly church edifice on Main Street in 1867, the trustees purchased the old edifice in which they already owned a share, in consideration of its annual use for commencements, thoroughly remodelled and repaired it externally and internally, thus divesting it in a great measure of its "astonishing" ugliness, and so acquired College Hall, one of the most convenient and useful buildings on the college grounds.

While the college had thus been erecting or acquiring these convenient and beautiful buildings, a corresponding improvement had been going on pari passu in the college grounds.  Mr. Williston, Dr, Barrett, Mr. Hayden, and others made donations for this purpose.  Appropriations were voted from time to time from the college treasury.  Early under the presidency of Dr. Stearns, the ground south of the grove was carefully prepared for cricket and base-ball.  The annexation of a part of the Boltwood farm, and the grading about Walker Hall and the college church, involved great changes in the college grounds and became the occasion of the greatest improvement that has been made in them, by providing new drives and walks, furnishing more convenient access and entrance, and opening to visitors more inviting views of the buildings, with charming vistas of the eastern hills in the background.

In 1868, Leavitt Hallock, Esq., having purchased, together with the farm of which it was a part, the grove formerly known as Baker's Grove, between Pratt and Blake fields, and near which the students for a time had a ball ground, and having adorned it with drives and walks, gave it in trust to the college on the single condition that the trustees should preserve, improve, and keep it forever as a public park.  The trustees gratefully accepted the donation and gave it the name of Hallock Park.  It contains some seven acres of ancient and venerable oaks and pines, such as can scarcely be found anywhere else in western Massachusetts.

If now we turn our attention to the departments of instruction, we shall find that they kept even pace with these improvements in the buildings and grounds.  During the presidency of Dr. Stearns, three new departments were established, represented severally by the three then most recent buildings, viz.:  the department of hygiene and physical education, by the Barrett Gymnasium; that of mathematics and astronomy by Walker Hall; and that of Biblical history and interpretation and the pastoral care, by the college church.

Physical education was a prominent topic in the inaugural address of President Stearns.  After insisting on the natural connection between bodily disarrangement on the one hand and intellectual inferiority as well as moral perversity on the other, and contrasting the perfection of physical form, health, and strength developed by the paloestra and the gymnasiurn in ancient systems of education with the partial deformity, the languid step, stooping shoulders, cadaverous countenances, and physical degeneracy induced by neglect of bodily training in modern times, he says:  "Physical education is not the leading business of college life, though were I able, like Alfred or Charlemagne, to plan an educational system anew, I would seriously consider the expediency of introducing regular drills in gymnastic and calisthenic exercises."  The idea, thus early conceived and expressed, grew in the president's mind with every year's experience, till it became a new department.  In each successive annual report to the trustees he called their attention with increasing earnestness to the failing health and waning strength and in some instances the premature death of students, especially in the spring of the year, as in his opinion wholly unnecessary.  In his report for 1859, he says:  "If a moderate amount of physical exercise could be secured as a general thing to every student daily, I have a deep conviction, founded on close observation and experience, that not only would lives and health be preserved, but animation and cheerfulness and a higher order of efficient study and intellectual life would be secured.  It will be for the consideration of this board, whether, for the encouragement of this sort of exercise, the time has not come when efficient measures should be taken for the erection of a gymnasium, and the procuring of its proper appointments."  The trustees accordingly chose a committee, consisting of the president, Dr. Nathan Allen, Henry Edwards, Esq., and Hon. Alexander H. Bullock, who reported at once in favor of an immediate effort for erecting a gymnasium.  The building was completed, as we have seen, in 1860.  At the same time, the trustees, at their annual meeting, in August, 1860, voted to establish a department of physical culture in the college, and elected John W. Hooker, M.D., of New Haven, Conn., the first professor in the department.  Dr. Hooker was an excellent gymnast and did much to inaugurate the new system and inspire the students with interest in it.  But owing to ill-health and other causes his connection with the college ceased after a few months.  During the interregnum in the spring of 1861, taking advantage of the excitement which preceded the war, Col. Luke Lyman of Northampton was employed to give instruction and training to students in military tactics and exercises.

At the annual meeting of the trustees, in August, 1861, Dr. Edward Hitchcock, Jr., a graduate of the college, and of the Medical School of Harvard University, was appointed professor in this department.  And to his science, skill, patience, and rare tact in managing students, under the wise and efficient direction and coöperation of President Stearns, we are indebted for the remarkable success in Amherst College of a department which almost everywhere else has proved a failure.  The characteristic and essential features to which it owes its success are two:  In the first place, the gymnasium is only part and parcel, or, if you please, the head and front, of a department of anatomy, physiology, and physical culture, which is committed to an educated physician and man of science, who is specially charged with the health of the students, as other professors are charged with the several branches of mental education.  In the second place, unless excused by the professor for special reasons, every student is required to exercise under the professor in the gymnasium half an hour daily for four days in the week, just as much as he is required to attend the recitations and lectures in any other department.  One other characteristic has contributed largely to the popularity and success of Dr. Hitchcock's management of gymnastic exercises.  He knows how to intermingle recreation and amusement with the severer drill of the gymnasium, maintaining military order and discipline during a portion of each half-hour, and then allowing them to break up into sections or squads, and take such exercise and recreation as they choose, so that the classes come to the gymnasium with much of the same relish and zest with which they go to the ball ground, and go through a part of their exercises, as well as leave them, often with laughter and shouts.

The attractiveness of the exercises in the gymnasium to the public was and still is seen in the number of visitors.  "From September, 1866, to the close of the college year in July, 1867, there were present at these exercises five thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight persons as visitors, and from September, 1867, to July 10, 1868, the number was four thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight, more than one-fourth of whom were ladies; and the average number of visitors present at each exercise was over ten for both years."  In his report for 1869-70, the professor reckons the yearly average of visitors as four thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven.  It is probable that the number is still larger now.  The prize exhibitions, which occur once or twice a year, always draw crowds of spectators.

In summing up the results of the experiment in 1869, Dr. Allen, to whose professional knowledge and constant supervision as one of the trustees this department owes more than to any one else, except President Stearns and Professor Hitchcock, testifies to a decided improvement in the countenances and general physique of the students, in the use of their limbs and physical movements generally, in their cheerfulness and buoyancy of spirits, in their sanitary condition and in their vital statistics, besides many incidental advantages, such as elevating the standard of scholarship, preventing vicious and irregular habits, and aiding the government and discipline of the institution.

The department of mathematics and astronomy, including the professorship, the instructorships and the prize scholarships, was not only founded by Dr. Walker, but shaped to meet his views, and carefully defined in the terms and conditions of the several endowments.  The documents in which the founder defines his views and wishes, and which constitute the statutes of the foundation, are spread out at length on the records of the trustees, where they fill twelve entire, closely written folio pages.  The first document which accompanied the endowment of the Walker professorship of mathematics and astronomy contains a minute description of the ends for which, and the ways in which, in the opinion of the founder, mathematics should be taught, under the heads of arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and trigonometry.

In accordance with these views, William C. Esty, of the class of '60, was chosen instructor in 1862, and in 1863 professor of mathematics and astronomy.  His trial for the professorship was the calculation of the orbits of the satellites of Jupiter---a work which had never before been done, and which occupied him for two years.  The examination was by Professor Pierce, of Harvard College, by whom also the subject had been assigned or rather suggested for the choice of Mr. Esty.

The Walker instructorship was founded in 1863.  It provides for the appointment by the trustees of some recent graduate of superior scholarship and promise, as a special instructor or tutor, to give instruction to select divisions of the sophomore and freshman classes.  The characteristic features of this foundation are:  1. Small divisions, each consisting of not more than ten or twelve students; 2. No instructor to be employed longer than three years, but another to be chosen to take his place from those graduates who have availed themselves of the benefits of this provision and are esteemed by the trustees of the college as most deserving.

The same year in which the funds were given for the College Church, 1864, another gentleman, without any knowledge of that donation, offered to the trustees, in a letter to the president, the sum of twenty thousand dollars as a foundation for a professorship of the pastoral care.  The same gentleman had previously had some correspondence with Dr. Hitchcock as well as with Dr. Stearns on the same subject.  At their annual meeting in July, 1864, the trustees gratefully accepted the foundation and appointed the president and Dr. Vaill a committee to confer with the donor, and prepare proper statutes and plans for the pastorate.  At a special meeting of the board in November, 1866, the statutes, as approved by the donor, were reported and adopted by the trustees.  They provide that the professor shall be designated as the "Samuel Green Professor of Biblical History and Interpretation and of the Pastoral Care," and that he shall be the pastor or associate pastor of the college church.  His duties shall be to preach on the Sabbath such portion of the time as the trustees may think most conducive to the well-being of the college; to be responsible in connection with and under the direction of the president for the proper conducting of all other religious meetings in the college, provided, however, that in the management of this work as well as in the preaching on the Sabbath, such assistance may be expected from other professors as shall help to secure the wisest and most powerful Christian influence upon the whole institution; to organize and conduct, or superintend the conducting of, Bible classes; to seek out young men as they come to college, and exert a personal religious influence of Christian friendship upon them; and to give such instruction in Biblical history and interpretation as the trustees may direct.

During his life, the founder of this professorship was not willing to have his name mentioned.  But since his decease there is no objection to the announcement that the founder was that life-long friend of Amherst College and of every good cause, John Tappan, Esq., of Boston.  And he named the foundation the Samuel Green Professorship in memory of his beloved pastor, the first pastor of the Union Church, Essex Street, Boston, and afterwards one of the honored secretaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

While new departments of instruction were thus springing up in the college, the old departments were not stationary.  All the branches of the physical sciences were not only supported now on the Walker foundations, but derived fresh life and strength from the new and rich soil into which they were transplanted.

In 1869, the trustees voted that Professor Snell have liberty to draw on the Walker Legacy Fund for an amount not exceeding three thousand dollars, to be expended within two years for the purchase of apparatus.  Thus after many long years of hope deferred and personal toil and skill to make apparatus out of nothing, and with no place to put it in when it was made, be enjoyed the satisfaction, not only of having a beautiful and convenient room with suitable shelves and cases for the deposit of the old apparatus, but also of seeing new and choice instruments, works of art as well as illustrations of science, frequently arriving wherewith to exhibit his new and beautiful experiments.

The department of chemistry, like the department of mathematics and physics, migrated during the presidency of Dr. Stearns, leaving the basement of the old Chapel, which in 1827 seemed so ample and magnificent and was in fact in advance of the laboratories in other and older colleges, and finding new quarters on the first floor of Williston Hall, fitted and furnished by the wealth and liberality of Mr. Williston, to satisfy the demands of Professor Clark, young, ambitious, and fresh from the laboratories of Europe.  Provided with an excellent working as well as lecturing laboratory, conducted by scientific and enthusiastic professors, with the coöperation sometimes of able assistants and the constant sympathy of an appreciating and progressive president, this department expanded with its accommodations and appliances, was allowed more time and opportunity under the presidency of Dr. Stearns than was afforded it even under his scientific predecessor, gave increasing attention to analytic and organic chemistry and work in the laboratory, and, in short, endeavored not without success to keep pace with the rapid progress of chemistry and the kindred sciences.  From 1854 to 1856 Professor Clark was aided in analytic and applied chemistry by the rare talents, taste, and science of Dr. John W. Mallet, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and of the University of Göttingen.  Dr. Newton S. Manross, another of Mr. Clark's fellow-students in Professor Wöhler's laboratory at Göttingen and a doctor of philosophy of that university, gave excellent instruction here in this and the related sciences in 1861-62, the first year in which Professor Clark was absent as an officer in the War of the Rebellion, and, following his beloved professor to the war, lost his life in the battle at Antietam.  In 1867 Professor Clark resigned his professorship in order to accept the presidency of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and after a year's interregnum, in which Mr. J. H. Eaton, of the class of '65, lectured with marked success, in 1868 Prof. E. P. Harris of the class of '55, then professor at Beloit College, was appointed in his place.  In 1869, this department, at the same time with that of physics, struck its roots into the Walker Legacy Fund, and Professor Harris was authorized, with the advice and approbation of the prudential committee, to expend a sum not exceeding fifteen hundred dollars in refitting and refurnishing the laboratory.  And thereafter not only whole classes were faithfully instructed in the general principles of the science by his able lectures, but under his inspiring guidance the laboratory proper has been filled to its utmost capacity with enthusiastic elective students engaged in analytic experiments.

Botany has continued to be taught, as in former years, by the professor of chemistry.  Indeed Professor Clark bore the title of "Professor of Chemistry, Botany, and Zoölogy" from 1854 till 1858.  In 1858, Professor Tuckerman was appointed professor of botany.  Only a few classes, however, enjoyed his instructions in this science, in consequence of an increasing difficulty of hearing, which rendered it inconvenient and disagreeable for him to teach classes.  For the same reason, however, he only devoted himself with less interruption and more enthusiasm to one branch of botanical science, viz., the lichens, in which he long reigned almost sole monarch among American savants and published to the world the results of his long and patient microscopic studies of specimens which he gathered in person or by proxy from all the mountains and glens of the western continent.  "Tuckerman Glen" in the White Mountains was discovered by him in these explorations, and will be a lasting monument of his devotion to this science.

On retiring from the presidency, Dr. Hitchcock expressed to the trustees his willingness to retain the professorship of natural theology and geology, giving at least twenty lectures, and from twenty-five to thirty recitations in geology; twenty-five lectures and ten or twelve recitations in anatomy and physiology; twenty-five recitations in Butler's Analogy; and from ten to twenty lectures in natural theology; being released from the government and police of the college and from attending faculty meetings; preaching and officiating at prayers in his turn with the other professors; and receiving as his salary six hundred dollars---one-half the sum received by the other professors.  This proposition was thankfully accepted by the trustees, and Professor Hitchcock returned with the freshness of a first love to his lectures and recitations, to geological excursions, explorations, and naming of mountains, to the collection and classification of specimens and the development and perfection especially of his favorite branches, ichnology and natural theology.  It was with enthusiastic delight that be saw the Appleton Cabinet completed, and the first floor filled with classified and labeled foot-marks in which the eye of his science and imagination could see the gigantic birds, saurians, and batrachians of the primeval world marching down the geologic ages, and the second floor filling with shells of mollusks, casts of the megatherium, skeletons and skins of the gorilla and other animals, and stuffed or preserved specimens of the animal creation in regular gradation from the lowest to the highest orders of the animal kingdom.  In 1858, Mr. Charles H. Hitchcock, of the class of '56, was appointed lecturer on zoölogy and curator of the cabinet.  In 1860, as Dr. Hitchcock's health declined, an addition was made to his salary that he might employ such assistance as he might think needful and expedient, and from that time, his son relieved him by performing more and more of his duties until his death in 1864.  In 1870 Mr. Benjamin K. Emerson, a graduate of the class of '65 and a doctor of philosophy of the University of Göttingen, was appointed instructor in geology, and at a meeting of the trustees in Boston, February 7, 1872, the title of the Hitchcock Professorship was changed from that of Geology and Natural Theology to that of Geology and Zoölogy; and Benjamin K. Emerson was elected to the professorship.  Meanwhile natural theology was provided for by ample instructions from the president and the professor of the able and popular lectures of Dr. Burr on this special subject.

Mathematics and the ancient languages have both been compelled to yield, these last few years, to the demands of the age and give up some of the time which they formerly occupied to the physical sciences and the modern languages.  Yet there never has been a time when the major part of each successive class has been more enthusiastic and successful as students of the classics, nor when we have been able to make a few so good classical scholars.  While insisting as strenuously as ever on a thorough drill and mastery of the grammar and lexicography of the languages by the freshmen, we have been able, with the admirable helps that now exist, to study both ancient and modern languages more in the light of comparative philology, and at the same time to read the classics more in their relations to history and philosophy and as a means of higher culture in what are justly called "the humanities."

Two changes have been introduced which affect especially this department, and which, without question, have been both marks and means of progress.  They were introduced by the Greek professor.  The one is the introduction into the recitation rooms, not only of maps and charts, but of photographs, engravings, casts, models of ancient edifices, copies of ancient statuary in marble, bronze, and terra cotta, busts of authors and the great men of antiquity---in short, all such sensible illustrations as will lend to classical studies something of the reality and vividness which specimens and experiments give to the physical sciences, and will help students to reproduce men and things as they were in olden times.  The other sign and means of progress is a higher grade of instruction in the lower classes secured by more permanence and more division of labor among the instructors of those classes.  Formerly in this as in other colleges, the two lower classes were taught almost entirely by tutors.  For many years now the instruction in Greek and Latin has all been given by professors.

Subject to change as other departments, the department of rhetoric had three different incumbents during the presidency of Dr. Stearns.  Rev. Thomas P. Field, of the class of '34, was chosen professor in this department at a special meeting of the trustees held in Amherst, November 21, 1853, just a year previous to the ordination and inauguration of President Stearns, and in the spring of 1856 he resigned the professorship, having held it only a little over two vears.  His rare good sense and genial spirit, his refinement of taste and manners, his extensive and thorough acquaintance with English literature and his high and just appreciation of the old English classics, qualified him well for a professorship in college, and especially for the professorship of rhetoric and English literature.

Mr. James G. Vose, a graduate of Yale of the class of '51, was chosen professor in this department at the annual meeting of the trustees in August, 1856, and his resignation was accepted by the board at a special meeting in Boston in March, 1865.  With many of the same qualifications for the office as his predecessor, and continuing to hold it between eight and nine years---longer than any who had preceded him except Professor Worcester and Professor Warner---Professor Vose grew every year in the respect and affection of the students, endeared himself greatly to his colleagues in the faculty, and was impressing himself more and more on the style of thinking and writing in the college.  No one can look carefully and discriminately over the schedules of Commencements and exhibitions without seeing his influence in the choice of subjects and the expression of the titles of the pieces while he occupied this important chair.  Ordained as an evangelist not long after he became professor, by a council convened by invitation of the college church, he preached with increasing frequency and interest in other churches, and feeling more and more the infelicities of college life and the attractions of the ministry and the pastoral office, he yielded at length to this growing preference, and the college lost a good professor, but Providence and Rhode Island gained perhaps a better bishop whose wisdom and spirit and influence in the churches prove him to be in the true apostolical succession.

At the same special meeting in Boston, March 8, 1865, at which they accepted the resignation of Professor Vose, the trustees "made unanimous choice of Rev. L. Clark Seelye as Williston Professor of Rhetoric," whereby Springfield lost a Congregational bishop greatly honored and beloved, but the college gained a professor of rhetoric and oratory and English literature who, although he came with the avowed expectation of staying only a few years and then resuming the ministry, proved himself more and more the right man in the right place, until in 1873, he accepted a place for which he was perhaps still better adapted, the presidency of Smith College in Northampton.

With the trifling exception of a choice between French and German in the third term of sophomore year, there were no optional studies prior to the presidency of Dr. Stearns.  In 1859-60, "annuals" having now taken the place of the "senior examination" on the whole course, "elective studies in the several departments" took the place of reviews preparatory to that examination in the third term of senior year.  Since that time they have been introduced gradually into the studies of the junior year.  They are still confined for the most part to the last two years of the course.  There is no disposition in any of the present faculty to make the college an American university (sit venia verbo!) or to sacrifice any of the humanities or the disciplinary studies which constitute the essential characteristics of the American college.

Conservative and at the same time progressive in his ideas of the college curriculum, President Stearns presided in the Board of Trustees and the faculty and administered the government of the institution with the same even balance, uniting dignity with unfailing courtesy and kindness, tempering justice and firmness with gentleness and parental love, calm however stormy the elements might be around him, yet alive to every breath of feeling, impulse, or aspiration in young men, ruling in the hearts of all connected with the college, and guiding its affairs with a wisdom that seldom erred, and a patience and faith that never failed.

As "Professor of Moral and Christian Science," President Stearns, during the greater part of his presidency, taught the senior class Butler's Analogy, and lectured on the Hebrew theocracy and its records, with particular reference to the arguments and objections of modern skeptics.  Having become professor also of Biblical history and interpretation, he adopted a more modern text-book, and by way of supplementing its defects and imperfections, extended the range of his oral and written lectures.  For a few years, be also instructed the seniors in constitutional law.  With this exception, his teaching was confined to a single term---the second term of the senior year.  This is less instruction than was given by any of his predecessors---very much less than used to be given by President Moore and President Humphrey, or any of the earlier presidents of New England colleges.  But we have only to look at the other work which he did in raising funds and erecting buildings, in administering the discipline, and looking after the necessities of poor students, in the pastoral care and the representation of the college before the public---in all the countless and endless details of business that now devolve on the president of any great and growing college---and we see not only a justification of this undesirable fact, but a necessity for it.  And in the success and perfection, with which all this work was done; in the rare felicity, free from outbreaks and almost from friction, with which the internal government and discipline (never before so fully conducted by the president and never before conducted so well) was administered; in the steadily increasing number of students (since the war) till it had reached at the semi-centennial a larger aggregate than at any former period; and in the general growth, prosperity, and reputation of the institution---in all these we see a proof of the wisdom and excellence of the administration.

[The Common, Looking Toward Amherst College.]On Thursday, June 8, 1876, Dr. Stearns died, still in office (the only president of Amherst College that has died in office except the first), having held the office a greater number of years than any other except the second, who was president about the same length of time.  The closing scenes of his life are narrated in the following extracts from the commemorative discourse by the author of this history.  The last year was doubtless the most fruitful.year of his long and useful life.  The last spring term saw his prayers answered and his labors blessed in what be considered, and we also felt, to be the greatest and best of all the revivals that had crowned his college work, if not the greatest and best in the whole history of the college.  The last Sunday that he officiated and at the last sacrament which he administered, he received to the communion the largest number of young men that he had ever admitted at one time to the college church, the richest harvest of new-born souls that he had gathered into the garner of the Lord.  The last time that he met the students was at morning prayers where he had so often interceded for them with their Heavenly Father, like Abraham, the friend of God, like Israel, the prince of God, and in much of the spirit as well as in the name and for the sake of the Son of God Himself.  This time, however, as he rose to offer prayer he grew faint and fell into the arms of his colleagues, but soon recovering, be walked to his home, supported on either side by some of the students.  His family felt no immediate alarm.  His friends who called in the course of the day saw no signs of speedy death.  He kept about the house through the day, suffering some pretty sharp pains at times in his back and shoulders, but talking with his usual cheerfulness and playfulness, listening to the reading of a book, reading himself in the newspaper, and apparently apprehending no immediate danger.  He was walking about the room five minutes before his death; he had just taken up a newspaper when suddenly he laid it down, remarking that he felt a strange sinking, dropped upon the sofa, and before the family could gather about him, he was gone.  He had lived so near the heavenly gates it is no wonder that at a single step he entered and was with the shining ones.  It was an ideal death to crown an almost ideal life.  All who knew him could but exclaim, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."  He himself had often expressed a wish, if agreeable to the will of God, thus to die.  It was not a death, it was only a departure from the line of battle to the trophy, from the contest to the crown.  Nay, call it rather a translation.  He walked with God and was not, for God took him.  Nothing else was wanted to round out to the full so beautiful, useful, honored, and happy a life.  True, he had other thoughts and plans.  He had written his resignation of the presidency---it was to be contemporaneous with the graduation of his youngest son---and he was to retain for the present the pastorate and the Samuel Green professorship of Biblical interpretation.  But he had lived more than his three-score years and ten and filled them full with sound and heroic service, and the Master gave him a full and free discharge, bidding him rest from his labors and enter at once upon his honors and rewards, saying with almost audible voice:

"Servant of God, well done!
     Rest from thy loved employ;
The battle fought, the victory won,
     Enter thy Master's joy."

On Tuesday of the next week the funeral service was held in the College Church.  Only one week from the next Sabbath was the beginning of Commencement week.  With characteristic promptness---and yet may we not believe by a special providence?---he had finished the preparation of his baccalaureate sermon on his birthday, the 17th of March, and presented it to Mrs. Stearns as a surprise gift and birthday present.  At the request of the faculty and family this was read by President Seelye of Smith College.  The text was in Deut. xxviii. 1, 115.  It was a centennial discourse (1876) and a strong appeal addressed to the reason, the consciences, and the hearts of the young men, especially the graduating class, and urging them with more than usual fervor and power to the faithful discharge of their civil, social, and political, as well as religious, duties.  Eloquent and impressive in itself, under these circumstances it was a voice from the grave and the spirit world, nay, a voice from heaven and God, which those who heard it, and especially the members of the graduating class, will never forget.  The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the afternoon of the same day, when the graduating class commune with their pastor, with each other, and with their Christian brothers for the last time, was a season of rare sacredness and solemnity and made still more interesting by the admission to the church of converts of the recent revival.  Commencement week seemed more like a prolonged funeral than like the usual festival.  The president's chair stood vacant and wreathed in mourning; a dirge introduced the exercises, and oh, how we missed his voice in the opening and closing prayers, his presence in all the exercises!  The richest legacy which he has left to his family, the college, and the community, is his character and life---a character which was confessed by all who knew him to be a more convincing argument for Christianity than whole volumes of "evidences," a life which was felt by all who saw it to be more winning and persuasive than the most eloquent sermon, and a memory at once more precious and more imperishable than foundations or buildings of marble and granite.  Amherst College will be rich and sure to accomplish its mission so long as men like President Stearns and Professor Snell continue to be its presidents and professors, and so long as trustees, faculty, and students cherish their memory and feel, as they cannot but feel, their hallowed influence.


Next chapter...

Back to the table of contents of A History of Amherst College...

Page last updated: 16 August 1999
©1998-2000, Richard J. Yanco