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ment of wise liberality, and large public spirit,-a trophy of the victory of knowledge over ignorance, and of goodness, order and progress over grovelling views, dissociated effort, and a blind adherence to the past, a temple where young and ingenuous minds shall inquire after truth, and be inspired with the love, not merely of excelling, but of excellence,-a shrine, at whose altar-fire many hearts will be kindled with that cheerful piety which shall light up your beautiful homes with unfading smiles,-a fountain of living waters, but poorly symbolized in the stream which the “Man of Ross” bade to flow,

6 - clear and artless, pouring through the plain,

Health to the sick, and solace to the swain," -those healing waters seen in the vision of the prophet, which springing from beneath the threshold of the temple, flowed out into the wilderness, widening and deepening into a majestic stream, and nourishing all along its banks, trees, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.

MR. ELBRIDGE Smith,* Principal of the Free Academy.

Mr. President :-My official relation to the institution which we this day inaugurate, may seem to justify and perhaps even require me to give some brief expression of thought and feeling in reference to it on this occasion. But in attempting this I labor under a great embarrassment-not that I have nothing to say, but that I have so much to saynot from any feeling of indifference in respect to the occasion which has called us together, but from a conviction that to do any thing like justice to it, far transcends my humble ability.

The circumstances under which we are convened, are of far more than ordinary interest. Whatever may be the ultimate fate of this institution, whether it be destined to a career of prosperity and success, or whether it be destined to adversity and early decay, in either case, sir, we must concede this day to be one of signal importance. The success of the “Norwich Free Academy” will, I believe, most favorably affect the interests of education in this state, and indeed in the adjoining states. Its failure will be no less operative in its influence. You will pardon me, sir, for speaking of its failure. I speak of this not as an event probable but as an event possible-not as a result to be permitted, and yet as one which must be duly contemplated, that it may be the more effectually avoided. We place ourselves to-day, sir, in a kind of moral Thermopylæ. We take a position which we may and which we can hold with immortal honor, but from which we can not retire without something more than the mortification of deleat. In inviting our friends and the riends of education from distant cities and from other states, to be with us on this occasion of joyful and yet of solemn consecration, we make them witnesses of the sacred covenant which we this day make for the higher and better education of the youth in this community. In invoking the higher sanctions of religion by the lips of her ministers, we not only make our solemn appeal to Heaven for that aid without which we can never prosper, but we express our deliberate vows that we will be true

* The following suggestions were not delivered, on account of the lateness of the hour, but have been written out at the request of the Editor.


to the holy cause to which this temple has been reared. The act of dedication which we this day perform, is not a mere formality We have not been summoned here to an unmeaning and heartless ceremony.

The establishment of an endowed school upon a liberal foundation is one of the most significant events that can occur in the history of the community in which the school is situated. I say of an endowed school; but I do not know that I ought to make this limitation The establishment of any school which answers the great ends for which schools exist, is one of the most interesting events that can occur in the progress of society. We enter to-day, sir, upon no untried and doubtful experiment. In our own country, and more especially in that from which we are proud to derive our origin, the establishment of endowed schools has worked important eras, not only in intellectuat, but in social and even in political history. And I can not resist the temptation which this day presents to the mind, as we stand at the source of a stream which is to flow on through succeeding generations, and affect them in their highest relations and dearest interests, to trace some of the more prominent features of its future course. We should not forget that the "Norwich Free Academy” already has a history. It has a local history; and more than this it has a genealogical history. Not more truly do we trace our lineage to our Anglo-Saxon progenitors, than does this Academy derive its origin from the same hardy and exalted source. From the character of its ancestors let us endeavor to conjecture something of what its own will be. Let me go back for a moment to a period one hundred and twenty-five years prior to the discovery of this continent, and find in William of Wykeham, who founded the oldest of the Grammar Schools of England, a worthy representative of yourself, sir, and those who are associated with you in this enterprise of expensive and disinterested benevolence. The Grammar School of Winchester was founded in 1373, and its imposing architecture at the present day stands as a monument of the liberality and artistic skill of its founder. And this is the school which has given to England and to the civilized world in the present century, one of the noblest men which the century has produced. In the succeeding century, the example of William of Wykeham was imitated by Henry Vi., in the establishment of Eton school, and these two foundations in subsequent reigns, gave rise to those numerous charitable foundations, both collegiate and academic, in which the stern Anglo-Saxon character was nurtured and developed, and which became the foster parents of the great Puritan leaders, the Miltons, the Cromwells, the Pyms, and the Iretons. And is it rash, sir, to cherish the belief that from this foundation may go forth an influeice not unlike that which has gone forth from Winchester and Etonthat these ample halls may resound with the voices of those who will give new direction to human thought, and higher energy to human action? Could William of Wykeham have foreseen the career of glory which his charity would run-the heroes, the statesmen, the scholarsand the divines who have been reared upon his foundation, would he not have felt more than compensated for his toil and his sacrifice ? Or could Henry the VI. have seen in a kind of prophetic vision, the illustri

No. 8.-[VOL. III., No. 1.]–14

ous names that throng in the catalogue of Eton, the Boyles, the Walpoles, the Chathams, the Grays, the Porsons, the Grenvilles, the Cannings, and the Windhams, would he not have felt a far higher satisfaction than in any, or all of his royal successors? Yes, might he not have exclaimed, in the language of that great poet who was educated upon his foundation,

“ Visions of glory spare my aching sight,
Ye unborn ages crowd not on my soul,
No more our long lost Arthur we bewail,

All hail! yo genuine kings, Britannia's issue hail!" And may not you, sir, on this day which marks the successful completion of the first period of the history of this institution, in the erection of which you have engaged with all the wisdom of mature age, and with all the devotion and ardor of early manhood, with these promising re. cipients of your bounty before you, who begin this very week to drink of the streams which your benevolence and labors, and those associated with you, have caused to flow, may not you venture to look down the vista of coming years, and see springing from the foundation which has here been laid, with profound wisdom and princely liberality, a long race of virtuous men arising to bless your memories, and to honor your bounty-may not you, sir, in the light of the history of similar institutions, behold with cheerful confidence, your native hills and streams thronging with those who will “unfold new properties of matter, new forces of the elements, new applications of the mechanical powers, which may change the condition of things;" yes, and with those too who will rule in the realms of abstract thought, who will push moral and metaphysical investigation beyond the limits to which it has been carried by Wayland, will take up Greek culture where our own Woolsey shall leave it, and strike hands with the successors of our Sillimans, our Danas, our Websters and our Barnards, in new and still more brilliant achievements in their respective fields of inquiry?

But, sir, it is time for me to dissolve these bright visions of the fancy, glad as I should be to dwell still longer upon so inviting a theme,to point out with some distinctness the points of resemblance and contrast between our own institution and its great English prototypes-to place, as it were, side by side, the cloistered halls and the scholastic studies, the trivia and the quadrivia of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the far more genial and simple structures with their whole encyclopædias of study which characterize this nineteenth century; to take Winchester and Eton, or Rugby and Harrow, as they stand to-day, (modified it is true in some features by Time, that greatest of reformers,) with the hoary vestments of four or five centuries upon them,

“Rich as they are in names that can not die,
And youthful hearts already beating high,
To emulate the glories won of yore;
That days to come may still the past outvie,
And their bright rolls be lengthened more and

Of statesmen, bard and sage, well versed in noblest lore,” and show what greater elements of power have been gathered by advancing civilization for the work which we have this day commenced.


It would not be too much to say that our starting point is far in advance of that which they have now reached-that with the best elements of their culture, we combine others of perhaps equal power, and with a freedom in our charter to profit by all the improvements and discoveries that may be made in the great science of education. But these are thoughts and reveries in which you, sir, may properly indulge-you may give yourself up to these visions, and feel that they are rightfully yours. For me there is a view less fanciful. With you, sir, this is a day of triumph. You can look back to the day when with some anxiety, yet without grudging, you launched this enterprise, with the generous subscription of $7,500, and feel that your part of the work is in a measure completed. You can review the seasons of perplexity and embarrassment and delay through which you and your coadjutors have passed, and feel to-day, by the blessing of Heaven, that you have achieved a triumphant success. It is at this point that my labor begins. These massive walls, these spacious apartments, these ample and delightful acres, this noble library, this beautiful and efficient apparatus, you commit to my care as the means for performing the great work to which you have called me. As I gird on my professional panoply, to enter this new field of action, permit me to assure you, in all sincerity, how deeply I feel the greatness of the trust which I have presumed to accept at your hands. Should I be able, in some humble degree, to realize the hopes which the founders of this school have cherished, and organize and instruct a school which shall be in some measure in harmony with these princely accommodations, I shall feel that something has been done towards advancing the interests of education beyond the limits of this immediate community. The magnitude of the work is, I confess, at times almost appalling. And yet there is something inviting in the very greatness of the work which I see before me. To attempt the solution of the problem which you have committed to my hands—to determine whether it is feasible to educate human beings in perfect harmony with their varied and exalted powers-to present to the young and plastic mind, the nutriment that it craves-to surround it with the influences which will elevate and refine, and yet not enervate nor bewilder it-to cherish every noble aspiration, and restrain the first motions of unhallowed ambition-to stimulate inquiry, and yet not encourage a restless and vague curiosity-to develop the mind and not neglect the health of the body-to strengthen the intellect, and still purify the heart-to regard constantly the interests of this present fleeting life, and not overlook for one moment the future and eternal life-to guard, in short, with the strictest care, all the interests of the rational mind and immortal soul, and endeavor in God's strength to repair the ruins of our fallen nature, and produce an intelligent, vigorous and virtuous manhood, reflecting, in some degree, at least, the glory of the great Original-to attempt all this, and as far as possible ascertain the conditions of its successful accomplishment, combines elements not of solicitude only, but of hope and attraction as well.

This occasion must not pass without a brief notice, at least, of those who are to reap the benefits of this beautiful building, and its ample

endowment. It is to me, sir, a matter of the deepest interest, that this day brings together the founders of this academy and those who are to share immediately in its advantages. I see before me the representatives of two generations--one that has acted the greater part of its share in the great drama of life, the other, as it were, but just rehearsing, preparatory to entering upon the great stage of action--the one thoughtful and grave, with lines of care impressed upon brows which have buffeted the storms of two and threescore years; the other elastic and joyous, and as yet inexperienced in the real warfare of life. It is a rare felicity, my young friends, which you this day enjoy, of meeting your benefactors face to face, and of receiving directly from their hands the sacred trust which you are to transmit as well as enjoy. Your position is one of responsibility, as well as of privilege. The trust which you this day receive, will hardly pass from your hands to your successors, in the same condition as you receive it. As you convey these blessings down through every rising race, see to it that they suffer no diminution in your hands. Let me exhort you to rise to a full apprehension of the nature of the position which you now occupy. Look upon these ample halls that are thrown open to you to-day; behold this lovely landscape, arrayed as it were, in all its festal drapery; these groves that have put on their autumnal robes of gold and scarlet; the heavens above you smiling as if in approbation and sympathy with this scene; behold the benefactors who bid you more than welcome; remember the parents who have brought you hither, with all those anxieties, yearnings and aspirations, too vast for words, too deep for tears, which parents alone can know; look down the vale of coming years and see the shadowy forms of future generations, who are waiting to occupy your places, rising and with clasped hands imploring you to be true to your duty; survey this whole field of noble incentive, and as you take your places as scholars in these rooms, let your fidelity testify that you are the worthy recipients of these signal advantages.

Mr. President, permit me in conclusion to congratulate you upon the consummation which you are permitted to realize this day-that you are permitted to behold the completion of a work which has occupied so large a portion of your time and attention, for the last three years. You enjoy a happiness this day which seldom falls to the lot, because it so seldom coincides with the desires of any man. In the serene evening of a virtuous, an earnest and a useful life, with your eye undimmed, and your natural force unabated, regardless of the clamor of political strife, you are permitted to lay the foundations of an intellectual empire which we hope will live and flourish when all the rage of party and faction shall have ceased.

"The good begun by you shall onward flow,
In many a branching stream, and wider grow;
The seeds that in these few and fleeting hours,
Your hands unsparing and unwearied sow,
Shall deck your grave with amaranthine flowers,

And yield you fruits divine in heaven's immortal bowers."

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