Founder's Day in War Time
|←Front matter||Founder's Day in War Time (1917)
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED ON 23rd MARCH, 1917, AT A
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MEMBERS OF MANCHESTER
UNIVERSITY WHO HAVE FALLEN IN THE WAR
SIR ADOLPHUS WILLIAM WARD
Master of Peterhouse, formerly Principal of the Owens College
and Vice-Chancellor of the University
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONGMANS, GREEN & CO.
LONDON, NEW YORK, BOMBAY, &c.
FOUNDERS' DAY IN WAR TIME
IN the most ancient College of the seat of learning between which and the University of Manchester my feelings of academic—and not only academic—piety and affection are consciously divided, it had become my annual duty to take part in a service commemorating our Founders and Benefactors, and giving hearty thanks to God for the nourishment imparted to us through them for the purposes of our collegiate life. In the last two years of high endeavour and grievous suffering, we, and doubtless other bodies in the same position as our own, have preferred that these annual gatherings for remembrance and praise should merge in the religious services held by our University as a whole in memory of those of her sons who, in what we believe to be the righteous war Great Britain is waging, have proved the greatness of their love by laying down their lives for the land that bore them. It was, therefore, in no ordinary sense of the word, gratifying to me to learn that a similar thought had suggested itself to those in authority within these walls, and that they would be glad if, as long and at one time intimately connected with this place of education and learning, I could take part in a memorial solemnity of twofold significance. Twofold—but not bipartite; for in a chartered College, and how much more in a national University, the functions of learning to work and learning to live are not separate; rather, the one comprehends the other: we serve our generation, our country, and the better future of a better world, by what our lives and this training have made us—of which our knowledge, our skill, our very aspirations are only part. And when, as in the present days of direct and personal appeal, the supreme test is both applied and satisfied within our own academic body, those members of it whose duty is but to witness and record, may bow their heads in thankfulness. It is on such occasions that the lessons of life and the thoughts of the responsibility laid upon us all—of the account which both young and old must give, if only to their own consciences, of the use they have made of life—clothe themselves most readily in the form of one or more of the parables by which the Divine Teacher chose to convey some of His profoundest lessons. The associations which these parables present with different sides or aspects of human nature or human life are many and various; but their inmost significance, from the very nature of this form of speech, reaches far beyond, and soars high above, its immediate purport. Thus, what parable could come home more naturally to the business and bosoms of a population strenuously engaged in the accumulation of wealth and management of its uses, than that of the talents; and which other could, at the same time, be more fittingly applied to that educational life to whose results our attention is necessarily directed to-day? For education can assuredly not be better defined than as the drawing out, and bringing to a beneficent growth and increase, what has been implanted by nature, aided by circumstance. It is not merely the accumulation of knowledge, or the perfecting of technical ability; but the improvement and development of all the powers of a human being—moral as well as mental and physical—by the application of those powers to life, its claims and its duties—till (to use the figure of the other parable which in St. Matthew's Gospel precedes and, in a manner supplements that of the talents) the lamp burns in bright readiness for the day of fulfilment. The burning lamp, says the old commentator, is the talent given for use; the extinct lamp is the talent that lies idle and hidden in the earth. The lesson brought home to us with so special a force on an occasion like the present is, that the talent, or the two talents, or the five talents, entrusted to the student on his entrance into academic life, consists not only of the foundations, more or less deep, which he or she may have already laid of sound learning, not only of the heaven-sent gifts of quick apprehension or clear judgment or imaginative power, not only of the healthy mind in the healthy body that fits their fortunate possessor for work—work, the lot and the blessing in store for every man and woman prepared to claim them. It consists, also, of the purity, dignity and strength of soul that time and its trials can alone verify, as they alone can, within human limits, bring these qualities to perfection. For the student, of all ages and stages, those trials are quotidian and diverse, and Heaven forbid that we should think them, even in days of peace and quiet, restricted to the spheres of the examination-hall, the scientific arena or the literary market. And, as we have seen now and are seeing daily, they may take the tragic shape of demands not to be met, by either the bravest or the brightest of learners and teachers in our University, or by the flower of our country's youth, except in the full and unstinted spirit of absolute and entire self-sacrifice. We know that it has been so met by many of our graduates and undergraduates—comrades of many of you in your studies and sports, colleagues of some of you in your work of teaching or research, members of that academic body to which nearly all of us belong and which forms no inconsiderable element in the population of this great city and county. We know that it has been so met by them to whom were committed, in much the larger number of instances only a short while—alas, how short a while—ago, the talents of youth, ardour and lofty purpose; and that they have held high, in the fatal struggle of the battlefield or in the protracted agony of the hospital death-bed, the lamp they had, in the language of the sister parable, trimmed and in readiness. Together with these heroes, of land, sea or air, we commemorate those officers and soldiers of our King whose hard fate it is, we trust not for long, to be prisoners in the hands of the foe. And, at the same time, we thank those whom, though stricken to the ground in the fight, we have, by the mercy of God, been allowed to welcome home, recovered or recovering from their wounds or sickness, or whom we may hope thus to welcome—besides some at present missing from the roll, but not unreckoned by the Divine Providence which controls the lives and deaths of all men. Many of those who have served their King and country in the field, including perhaps some who are returning thither, undismayed and undepressed, in the true spirit of patriotic perseverance, to resume their interrupted service, have been honoured by military and other distinctions, which are gained by few, prized by all, and envied by none. We have ourselves no laurels of this kind to add for them and for their comrades, unless they will count as such the tributes of affection from kith and kin and from the commilitium of the piping days of peace, which their valour may, we pray God, help to bring back.
To all those graduates of our University, teachers and students, past and present, officers and employees, and members of its Governing Bodies, who have bravely confronted dangers and hardships of naval and military warfare, we would fain send word how we at home take pride in the thought, and take courage from it, that service such as theirs has been and is being rendered by members of the body to which they and we alike belong. Our message is also addressed to those members of two learned professions who, like them, wear the King's uniform in token of the services rendered by them, never more assiduously and unselfishly than during the present war, to him and to his sailors and soldiers. The physicians and surgeons who form part of the Medical Faculty of this University or hold its degrees, have given evidence at the front, and in our military and naval hospital-wards abroad and at home, of a devotion unsurpassed even in the annals of their magnanimous profession; perhaps they number among them more than one who have generously, and I hope not in vain, sought to assuage private grief for a loss inflicted early in the war by transferring their own beneficial activity to the neighbourhood of its ravages. Nor can we err in associating with the aid generously given by our medical men the efforts of those ministering women who have come forth from among their sister-students or graduates, past or present, at Manchester. They include, together with the nurses abroad and at home, the women-doctors, of whom many have bravely rendered valuable service in Serbia and more recently in southern Russia, in both military and civil hospitals; and those of our women-graduates who have undertaken temporary administrative work of various kinds in London and elsewhere. These are but a proportion of the helpers from among the women members of this University, growing in numbers with the public need for their services, in furtherance of a cause which is at once that of their University and country, and that of human sympathy with human suffering. I do not think you will consider it presumptuous in me, if I venture to say that nothing of late has made me feel so sure of the wisdom of the decision that men and women should work together in our University, than the way in which our women students, too, have proved themselves impressed by a sense of the duty resting upon us all, not to let our lamps go out and the door to be shut upon us.
And, if I say very little of that other, that sacred, profession of which many members are to be found in immediate touch with the combatants in this war, and ready to minister to them in health as well as in sickness and sufferings, and when at the last summoned to their side, often with terrible suddenness, it is not because they, of all, are labouring zealously for no earthly reward. With their brethren left behind, to keep up whose numbers and to foster whose efficiency was never more incumbent upon the Churches and the Universities, they share a responsibility greater than that cast upon any other profession in the days of sin and sorrow in which our lot is cast. For they, in particular, are called upon, to justify, not by wellmeant and ingenious sophistry, but by direct personal appeal, the ways of God to man. May they have power, may they have grace to find the words of comfort, and to administer the spiritual support of spoken or unspoken prayer!
I have referred incidentally, as I could hardly but refer, to those left behind, some of whom have, while others, for one reason or another, have not, been able to make what seems a full use, in this hour of effort and self-sacrifice, of the talents entrusted to them on their own behalf and on that of their academic community. But the oldest among us are not too old, and the weakest are not too weak, to warrant our giving way, with folded hands, to a feeling that the effort is for others, younger and stronger than ourselves: because this feeling would be untrue—or else we might bury our talent in the earth, and crave to lie there by its side. Least of all, is there room for indulging so senile, so effeminate a sense of disappointment in an academic community like ours, where many teachers and scholars, leaders of enquiry and research or participants in them, have learnt, or are learning, to render useful service to their country in the organisation and management of its defence, or in helping to preserve it from the more or less avertible consequences of this stupendous war upon its economic and social stability and prosperity. And, as I have spoken of those among us whose energies age has begun, or is with unwelcome speed continuing, to contract, so I may remind my younger fellow-members of this University of yet another task which it must be part of their life's duty, as it will of the rulers and members of other national Universities, to take upon themselves for the sake of their country, and for the sake of those ideals without which all University life is doomed to decay. You will not, and your sister Universities will not, be able so to "shape your old course in a country new" that you can, without changes, suit your system to the demands which new necessities, new developments, new possibilities bring with them. Sapienti sat: every University best knows its own requirements, and the more serious the necessary changes are, the more careful must be the deliberation for which they will call. Neither is the present the moment for discussing this side of our theme, nor can I refrain from deprecating the too speedy adoption of piecemeal reforms, when they involve more than the filling-up of unmistakable gaps in a system of academical studies, or the removal of palpable obstacles to its legitimate expansion. When, in due course of time, you have to consider the necessity or expediency of wider revision and developments, you will need, and will, I feel sure, under the wise guidance which I trust this University may long continue to enjoy, give proof of full confidence in its future, as well as of that loyalty to its past on which this confidence must always be largely founded.
It is for this reason, and not only from a profound sense of the special claims of to-day's gathering upon our sympathies, that we welcome this beginning of a series of commemorations of our Founders and Benefactors, which will, we hope, reach far into happier times and long continue to weave a wreath of generous traditions and inspiring memories round a still golden sun. May I, before we part, touch on a few among those traditions and memories—for how could I rehearse them all, from that of the good and great Queen who gave our University, with her own royal name, its first three Charters, to that of the youngest graduate who has piously deposited on our library shelves the first copy of his earliest literary product or research? The names we pass by are, like those we mention, built into these walls; and for this, at least, we may thank our later academic origin, that no name calling for the pious remembrance of later generations will be forgotten because our chronicles are dumb. Already the contemporaries of the Founder of our College, of whom a few were known to some of us, have gone to their rest with him; already those who may be called the Founders of our University have for the most part followed. But what it would hardly be a forced figure to call their handiwork still surrounds us; and it is as if in their presence that I remind you of part of what we owe to them and their fellows.
Paradoxically enough, as you well know, the idea of the University of Manchester was of earlier origin than that of Owens College. Henry Fairfax, who, in the year before that of the outbreak of the Great Civil War, petitioned the Long Parliament for the establishment of a northern University, was himself a Yorkshireman; but had been educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. One of his contemporaries and friends there was George Herbert, who was more of a courtier than of an academic, but who, though he moved among fancies and forms, exercised his spirit in thoughts of the high and holy. Like all men of quick intelligence and broad sympathy, Henry Fairfax largely reflected the ideas and aspirations of his age. We are all more like our age than we are like our very parents, or they like their parents before them; and the University idea was characteristic of the earlier half of the seventeenth century in more European countries than one, for reasons into which I cannot now enquire. The Northern petition, which designated Manchester as the fittest place for the foundation of a new English University, noted, as the chief reason for this choice, that here was the centre of these northern parts; and it mentioned, as an additional argument, the convenience of the college already built at Manchester—in other words of Hugh Oldham's Grammar School. How well-judged was the generation of which I am speaking in their estimate of the right relations between our Grammar School and our University! In the days of the actual foundation of the Victoria University, it was not shortsightedness, but historical circumstances, which for a time made these relations uncertain and but for the goodwill of the authorities on both sides, would have made them uneasy; those days are long past, and the cooperation of our great secondary school has become one of the essential conditions of the University's usefulness and prosperity. As you know, neither Manchester nor York, which, in or about 1641, sent up a rival petition, was successful on this occasion, and Cromwell contented himself with founding the University of Durham, for which the sequestered revenues of Dean and Chapter fell convenient, but whose history was to suffer a long interruption. The promoters of the earliest attempt to found, not a University, but a College whose teaching should be of the University type, were less intent upon the bearing of the academical interests of the nation on its public life in state and church than had been the contemporaries of Fairfax and Cromwell.
Those acquainted with English educational history in the eighteenth century, and in its latter half in particular, are aware with how large a grain of salt the common assertion is to be taken, that this was a period of stagnation in the educational, or for that matter in the religious, life of the country. It is true, with regard to higher education in particular, that our old Universities moved slowly when they moved at all, and that the era of universal examinations had as yet only very partially set in either west or east; it is also true that the efforts to recast on an undenominational basis those nonconformist academies which in the previous period had done much to preserve the love of learning and to enlarge its boundaries were, speaking generally, not crowned with success. But they did much by adhering to and improving on their inherited tradition of breadth of curriculum, and by defying the inevitable charges of shallowness of purpose and dissipation of energy when fostering the study, on the one hand, of history and literature and, on the other, of applied science. Such a scheme was that set on foot, in 1783, by Dr. Thomas Barnes, with the support of the newly established Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester—a society whose history was at a later date to be so intimately and productively connected with our own—for establishing a Manchester Academy, on University lines, to furnish, together with a systematic course of divinity, a preparatory instruction for the other learned professions. But the time was not yet; and the educational history of Manchester during the earlier half of the nineteenth century comprises, not one movement, but a succession of movements aiming at the same result. The consummation in view was, in 1836, described by James Heywood—afterwards one of the original trustees under John Owens' will and both in and out of parliament a broad-minded reformer to whose exertions University education in its old as well as in its new seats is deeply indebted—as "not only wanted, but actually called for, in Manchester." The University of London had then been recently founded, and the University of Durham refounded; and the age was one full of new aspirations for light and freedom and progress in every field and in every aspect of the national life.
It was under such influences, which I must not linger to trace, that our Founder, John Owens, and his friend—so far as his College was concerned, his alter ego—George Faulkner—attained to manhood. They seem to have belonged, at least in their earlier days, to different religious bodies; but it is sufficient for us that they were, both of them, men of their time, who knew its needs and knew their own minds. We have little to say about our actual Founder—either personally or as to the details of his character and career. But, as we gladly accept the features which look down upon us from the College wall—instead of his holding, like other Founders, a miniature edifice in his hand, since his trustees did not begin by building—so we may well rest content with the biographical facts noted by the historian of the College and the University—himself long a pillar of both. What we can confidently say of John Owens is, that he had an open mind as well as an open hand, and that, besides a generous disposition and ready intelligence, there had fallen to his lot at least one other academic gift—the gift of friendship. For nowhere does that twice-blest growth take root so naturally and bear fruit so abundantly as in collegiate and university life, where we learn much that is of value and at times some things which we might better have left unlearnt, but where we learn nothing so easily at once and so completely as the priceless art or science—call it which you will—of friendship. In what does it truly consist but in loving and hating the same thing—in loving what in the eager days of youth seems to hover near our eyes with the divine mark of the ideal; in hating what in old age we would we might claim to have never failed to spurn with our feet, that which is base and mean. The friendship of the classroom or the playing-ground may or may not settle solidly down into the joint labours, or expand into a common share in the great achievements, of maturity; they may even, as they have in these latter days, suddenly ripen into the comradeship of the camp and the battlefield; but happy they who have enjoyed them at least in the May time of life, since "summer's lease hath all too short a date."
The friendship of John Owens and George Faulkner dated from their schooldays and found its fullest expression in the well-known circumstances of the revised bequest to the College, of which one of the pair was to become eponymous. They were both Manchester men—the one born and both bred—and the legendary fragments of their talk warrant a belief that their converse, whatever adventitious graces it lacked, had in it some pith. Although the age to which they belonged was awaking to the claims of physical science, of Faulkner at least we know that he was specially desirous to encourage the critical study of sacred literature; while to his fellow-trustees the most suitable acknowlegment of his free gift of the land and buildings first occupied by the College seemed the endowment of a chair of political economy—the chair afterwards held by Stanley Jevons, to whose teaching the highest British statesmanship lent a ready ear. Neither the conception of the Founders, as I may call them, of Owens College nor the system carried out from the first by its administrators, involved or implied any thought of confining the instruction given there to professional teaching or, again of allowing its balance to lean unduly either to the Faculty of Arts or to that of Science. (Are not, by the way, these Faculties alike ill-named, though the Middle Ages are responsible for the undue expansion of the former and the nineteenth century is for the improper restriction of the latter appellation?) The Owens College, and the University of which it was the nursing mother, have always been true to the full significance of the University idea. The inscription on the tablet to the memory of John Owens, erected by George Faulkner in St. John's Church, Deansgate, records with special emphasis, his comprehensive benevolence; the first President of the extended Owens College and first Vice-Chancellor of the Victoria University was the seventh Duke of Devonshire, among whose many qualifications were his distinction as a mathematician, and his interest, befitting his descent from a great chemist, in the application of science to metallurgical and chemical industries; his successors were great statesmen, and our present Chancellor is in addition one of the foremost of living English men of letters.
Nor is George Faulkner's the only name to be specially called to remembrance among the Trustees nominated in the will of the Founder of the College. To one of them, indeed, Samuel Fletcher, Faulkner is said, in his turn, to have owed the first inspiration of the thought of the foundation in Manchester of a College whose teaching should be on University lines; and there can be no doubt that he was a man of much breadth of view as well as practical beneficence. But who, as I have already hinted, shall trace the genesis of such ideas to their very fountain-head; or, rather, who shall not acknowledge that the clearest title to having originated them belongs, not to an individual, but to a generation or age as the soil on which has fallen the celestial seed of a longing for religion and learning, light and liberty? Two others I should like to mention, both for their own sake and for that of their sons, of whose long labours on behalf of the College and of this community at large I was myself a witness, and who now have also passed away the one, Mark Philips, the first member for Manchester, and the father of Herbert Philips, in whom his fellow-citizens recognised a man who laboured with incessant care in the cause of humankindness; the other Alderman William Neild, the second (and very nearly the first) Mayor of this city, in whose history he in strenuous days bore a conspicuous part, and the father of Alfred Neild, Chairman of the Trustees at the time of the extension of the College and for many years afterwards its Treasurer and the Chairman of its Council. Many are here who could bear testimony alike to the integrity of his character, to the high-mindedness of his purpose, and to his genuine love of learning, both human and divine. Of James Heywood I have already spoken; the good old name had a good sound in the walls of College and University, accustomed to the silver-tongued eloquence and generous sympathy of the Oliver Heywood of our own days. Alfred Neild was succeeded in the Treasurer's chair by Joseph Thompson, the loss of whom City and University have suffered more recently, and whose name I have already recalled as that of the historian of the institution to which he gave the unstinted and unforgotten services of many years. A still later treasurer was Edward John Broadfield, never weary of self-sacrificing service, least of all on behalf of the College and University for which he, like other members of his family, cherished so warm an affection.
In Alderman Thompson's lucid pages will be found the names of those of the Founder's Trustees who for various reasons did not act; they include the great name of Richard Cobden, whose house was the first home of the College and, thanks to the munificence already noted, remained such for the better part of a generation, and that of Dr. William Herbert, the first Dean of Manchester, distinguished both as a literary and a scientific writer, whose successor has most kindly taken part in our service to-day. Time also fails me to recite the memorable list of Trustees subsequently appointed, of whom some passed over into the Governing body of the Owens College after its extension into an institution with new endowments, new opportunities and a new future before it, while a large proportion of them were among the Benefactors whose generosity made this extension possible. Among these not a few held leading positions in this community from whose political, commercial and social history, in the middle and later years of the nineteenth century and after, such names as Hardcastle and Gladstone, Houldsworth and Cheetham, to mention only a few, belonging to different periods, are inseparable. And there are two others which I fain would add—the one that of Robert Dukinfield Darbishire, because the very process of the Extension recalls the ingenious intellect which suggested it, and because none of its administrators or agents served the College with greater fidelity of purpose or in a spirit truer to the ends for which knowledge is worth seeking on earth. The other name is that of John Edward Taylor, whose mind was steeped in the love of what is beautiful and choice, but most of whose life was spent in the control of a great organ of public opinion, established to offer clear and responsible guidance to the most active portion of an active people in the questions on which the common weal depends. On his generous and munificent encouragement of the work of College and University I can hardly trust myself to dwell; but, speaking impersonally as well as personally, I may assert that, without the goodwill and support of powerful and independent organs of public opinion, it is impossible in our times for a great national undertaking to be successful—I had perhaps better have said, it is impossible for a great undertaking to become national.
The Extension of the Owens College marks the beginning of the second stage of its history, of which the foundation of the University was, as I have said, the natural sequence. To the earlier of these historic processes, accordingly, belong the chief among the honours due to those who took a foremost part in them, who made the new era possible or who gave it reality—though very often they were able to fulfil both functions at the same time. Such was, indubitably, the case with the friend whom alas! we are not forbidden to commemorate today, Sir Henry Roscoe. Fortunate in many things, though never unequal to his opportunities, he was specially fortunate in this, that the study of physical, and more especially chemical, science was, when he stood on the threshold of his career, advancing, through the endeavours of eminent men, among whom was included his predecessor here, to a position in education such as it had not held before in modern experience, and very especially not in that of our own country. The stimulus supplied to the study of his science by the original work, here in Manchester, of Dalton, the aid given to his prosecution of it by the sympathetic support of Dr. Henry Edward Schunck, a chief benefactor of our University, and by the unwearied cooperation of Schorlemmer, the advantage derived from of the labours in a great cognate science of Joule and, later, of Balfour Stewart, remembered both as a thinker and as a writer, and in these and other sciences of eminent veteran and younger colleagues — were, one and all, in his and our favour. But it was his personal power, his undesigned and gladly acknowledged ascendancy over all with whom or for whom he worked, which was the true secret of the success that, as was ungrudgingly confessed by all, seemed to attend on every movement with which he identified himself. Many distinguished men of science worked here with him and after him; but it was the early renown of his chemical laboratory which was the primary cause of the twofold advance of the College to national importance and to national recognition. Yet, how kindly an illustration it is of the happy relations which in our University have always existed between widely different branches of research, that a highly-prized benefaction bestowed upon us by our great Chemical teacher should have taken the form of an endowment of historical study—a field of learning in which he had at one time hoped that his son might live to follow in ancestral footsteps.
Of the Extension movement, on Roscoe's invitation, Thomas Ashton assumed the guidance and control—a man born to lead, of great strength of will and greater nobility of purpose—one of that rare type on which Lancashire and England have never ceased to rely when in the face of important tasks and distressful crises. The buildings around us are the best monument of his extraordinary energy, seconded by the never-failing resource of our architect and the architect of our sister Universities of the North, Alfred Waterhouse. Nor would it be possible, on an occasion like this, to pass by the services, told and untold, rendered during many years—onward from the time of trial, when the numbers of the College were small and the hearts of many of its friends were faint—by Joseph Gouge Greenwood, who, on taking over an uncompleted task from his gifted predecessor, made it the absorbing work and the unselfish ambition of his life, labouring in thought and act , with the unfaltering steadfastness which faith alone can sustain and carry through to achievement. And, together with his services, you will, I know, be mindful of those of Richard Copley Christie, who had been Greenwood's colleague from the very earliest chapter of our annals onwards, who continued, in various ways, to advance the interests of the College after he had resigned, in succession, the chairs which he had filled in it, and whose gift of his books, which he loved as only scholars of his enthusiasm and refinement can love the best of good company, and of their domicile the Christie Library, secures him a place among our chief benefactors. With this munificence we cannot fail to associate (as indeed Christie was one of its joint conducting channels) that perpetuated in name by the hall where we are assembled, and again recalled in another of these buildings, the Engineering Laboratories, the generous gift of Sir Joseph Whitworth conjointly with other administrators and friends of the College, and more especially of Charles Frederick Beyer, Sir William Fairbairn and John Robinson. The first holder of the Manchester Chair of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Osborne Osborne Reynolds, the loss of whom some of us still mourn very tenderly, was a scientific man of rare original genius. If, on the present occasion, I am obliged to place a limit on the mention of individual benefactors, colleagues, and friends, whose names are, as I might say, upon my lips, it is not because, in their connexion with the various branches of our academic work, they are likely to be forgotten by anyone who has, in any capacity or at any time, taken part in it. But, standing as I do actually in the face of a great organised University as a whole, it would be an omission I could not forgive myself, were I not to remind you of two men to whom its initial organisation was largely due—for it is difficult to imagine how our University could have first taken shape and form, and have thus been enabled to overcome the countless difficulties of its earlier days, without the guidance of Robert Adamson's philosophic mind and the impulse of Arthur Milnes Marshall's genius for action.
Among the men and women whose judicious beneficence or cordial interest in the work of College and University entitle them to a gratitude which will never find adequate expression, there have been many distinguished in public life; many Governors and Councillors who have left their impress upon our methods of academic rule and progress; many who, trained at this College or University, have since had an active share in the work of its administration or instruction; many who, impelled by an inherited or strenuously trained love of letters or of science, have encouraged that work by precious gifts, and by a sympathy which is the life's breath of intellectual effort. Like the companions of our youth, those who felt with us, thought with us, worked with us in the noontide of life, are, for us at least, beyond the reach of oblivion; these walls seem full of their presence, and this hall of their voices—may their spirits be for ever with us and with our successors!
And, if today we commemorate our Founders and Benefactors in this wider, as well as in the stricter, sense of the terms, so neither should we omit to call to mind those of other institutions of professional, technical, and general education indigenous to this city or county, which the wise and enlightened policy of their authorities has, in successive epochs of our College and University history, grafted on our own growth or closely connected with its educational endeavours. If, without adhering to chronological order—for the consummation of the union was, as some of us remember, a work of many years and of long and anxious deliberation—I mention first among these what has now long been the flourishing Medical School of our University, and of late a ready participant in her loyal contribution to the national efforts for carrying the present tremendous struggle to an abiding issue, I feel sure of the assent of the members of all the sister Faculties. So far back as 1856—in the distant days not long before the close of the Crimean War—it had been felt that such a union must sooner or later be brought about, if the value and usefulness of the College were not to lack an essential element, and if the training in this part of the country for the great healing profession were not to remain dissociated from the highest scientific instruction. But it had been judged that the time was not yet ripe, and that so great a further responsibility would too heavily weight the College in what still seemed a struggle for existence. Within sixteen years, the aspect of things had changed, and a benefaction as opportune as it was generous (Miss Brackenbury's) eased the way to the blending of Thomas Turner's foundation, the Pine Street School of Medicine, with the Owens College. Yet another three years had scarcely passed, when a University Charter was being sought by the College and the claims of its large and rapidly increasing Medical School were, especially by one of its leading teachers, Dr. John Morgan, urged as one of the strongest claims of the united institution to the desired national recognition. But, once more, there were to be delays: nor was it till 1883, three years after the grant of the Victoria University Charter, that a Supplemental Charter assured to the University the right of conferring degrees in Medicine and Surgery. Not till that date did the new British University at last stand forth in her academic panoply.
If, among Collegiate foundations intimately associated with our own foundation and now furnishing in conjunction with it the training required for divines, I first mention the Lancashire Independent College, it is partly because, earlier in the present year, their friends have been holding their hundredth annual meeting; though it was not till a generation later that it was resolved to transfer the institution in which it began from Blackburn to this city. When Owens College was opened, the Lancashire College sent to it their students who desired instruction in Arts, and this practice has now for many years been resumed, with happy results to which many here present would be ready to bear personal testimony. Similar arrangements have been, from time to time, made with other denominational Colleges; and, to many of us, it is a cause of special satisfaction to take note of the more recent developments of the efforts which first bore fruit in the Schola Episcopi of the learned and broad-minded Bishop Moorhouse—the Egerton Hall for graduates studying Church of England theology, especially for our Manchester Divinity degrees, and St. Anselm's Hostel for undergraduates intending to enter later into Holy Orders. Not long after I came here, half a century ago, one of the first pieces of work I did outside my classroom was to arrange Bishop Lee's in some ways unique library bequeathed by him to the College; after that, I had my share, for which I am thankful, of the constant goodwill shown to our University and College by his several successors, beginning with the beloved Bishop Fraser. May this ever be so; and, while the highest of all studies continues to form, as happily it has formed from the first, an organic part of our academic system of teaching and research, may Cathedral and University come together, as they have today, to praise the Lord and, in times both of trouble and of prosperity, to show the people of His doings!
From the very early days of the College onwards, the process of blending its own activities with those of other educational or learned bodies has continued to expand and raise the scope of its labours. Under this head, I may call to mind, in particular, the absorption in our Evening Courses of the Working Man's College, whose designation recalls the strenuous days of the struggle against ignorance and prejudice by Maurice and his disciples; the transfer to the College of the collections of the Natural History and Geological Societies and their housing and arrangement, under the most capable expert direction, in our own Museum, thenceforth the centre of a wide field of scientific research as well as of popular interest, nowhere stronger than in Lancashire, in the studies which it illustrates. I may further refer to the merging of the work of the Association for the Higher Education of Women, in a happy hour for the great cause it had at heart, in our own class system—the first Women's class held within these walls was that of my dear friend Augustus Wilkins, as fine a scholar as was ever bred on the banks of Cam—and to the subsequent admission of women students to their rightful share in higher education and its endowments, as well as in University degrees and distinctions. Nor would you wish me to refrain from recalling the great service rendered to our national education at large, as well as to the interests of our University, by those who conceived and carried out the organic union with it of the Manchester and Salford Day Training College, whose work still continues and has entered into a wider and a more comprehensive phase in our newly born Faculty of Education. The wise foresight of its founders, is, we may feel sure, destined to bear fruit more abundantly than ever, as the vital importance of the efficiency of our entire system of education is more widely and clearly recognised. Nor can I pass by the intimate alliance between the Manchester Art Museum and the University Settlement, which has domesticated in ancient walls noble modern conceptions of the services which Art and Learning can render to the people, or other aspects of popular service suggested by our active share in the University Extension movement, and its recent fruitful development in the Workers' Educational Association. Nor, again, can I omit mentioning the intimate association with College and University of the Royal School of Music, destined from the first to flourish in this community as "native and imbued " into its own element. Of still later date are the timely extension and systematisation of a most important side of our academical work by the establishment of the Faculty of Commerce and the inclusion in the University of the Manchester Municipal School of Technology as the Faculty of Technology, in pursuit of an academic policy which experience has already vindicated and which the requirements of the national future will more and more amply justify.
All these passages in our academic history mark so many steps towards unity of endeavour, so many advances towards the strength which unity, and diversity in unity, supply; nor need we harbour any doubts as to whether the Founders and Benefactors of these kindred institutions would have felt satisfied, had they been able to foresee this way of accomplishing their high-minded purposes. And there is one other institution of comparatively recent date belonging to our University whose rapid growth many besides myself have watched with a very special interest, and to whose Founders, if I may say so in the presence of some of them, a very real debt is due—I mean the Manchester University Press. I venture to repeat here what, with the same conviction, I have more than once said of kindred institutions elsewhere. The share of our Universities in the guidance of the national mind, as well as in the formation of the national character, depends not only on their teaching; it depends also in the productivity which it is the purpose, as it is the pride, of our University Presses to encourage and to maintain on a level worthy of the Universities themselves. And never was the need of the advancement of this side of academical activity more manifest, than it is certain to be in the era of new intellectual life which will form one of the happiest accompaniments of an abiding peace.
It lies outside my commission, although it would not be alien from my thoughts, today, to ask you to remember with gratitude the Founders of institutions and bodies whose history, while not organically connected with that of our University, is closely bound up with it by personal ties. Such—to instance but one variety among them—are the great libraries of this city, the laboratories of historical and literary researches and studies which have always been cherished by Manchester and Lancashire— and "herein in particular," besides our great Free Library, the Library founded by Humphrey Chetham, whose revered name will, I trust, long continue to inspire the labours of the learned Society that bears it, and the princely Rylands Library, the magnificent foundation of a chief Benefactress of our own, Henriquetta Rylands, which is now stretching forth an assuaging hand to the desolation of Louvain.
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I have done—or rather I have not done, for I have but touched the fringe of my subject, while seeking, as it was incumbent on me, to recall to you the wise judgment and noble liberality of the Founders and Benefactors who have gone before us, and whose names are so many links of the inviolable chain binding us to the past of our beloved University. Yet, in speaking of the past, I have also spoken of the present, some part of whose sacrifices and achievements, engraved for ever upon our hearts as they will some day be inscribed upon these walls, may, without presumptuousness or mere conventionality, be traced to the inspiring influences of our common academical life and its traditions. In return, these very sacrifices and achievements are themselves already to be numbered among the most generous and enduring incentives to the exertions of the future, the pledges of a promise which, with the blessing of Heaven, some of us may live to see redeemed in full. It would not become me to dwell on that future, and, least of all, to say aught as to what new lessons it may have to teach our University, what new tasks it may have to prescribe to her, what new efforts it may have to demand from her to aid in producing and gathering in the noblest fruits of the restored peace of the world. But there is a word of "good counsel" with which I would fain end. It is not mine, though I have a half-conscious feeling of having before now, in speaking to the Masters and Scholars of this University, cited the simple but solemn adjuration of the kindliest of our great poets: "Loke up on hye, and thankè God of alle." Today, in this hour of thoughts both grateful and sorrowful, it is as if we must invert these twin admonitions. Let us, as we were bid in the words which we have heard this morning and which have so often risen from grateful hearts, thank God for those who have been honoured in their generation and left a name behind them, and by whom the Divine Hand has wrought what good things this University has achieved and what great things it may be destined to accomplish in the future. And let us offer our thanks, in particular, for those whose early manhood has earned for them at once the firstfruits and the full guerdon of their efforts—the noblest of deaths and the peace which passeth all understanding. But let not our thanks be the end of our hopes. Before our University lie, with the arduous heights, the sunny plains of the future. In the world of science and in the world of letters, and in the vast range of studies concerned with one or the other of the ever multiplying spheres of knowledge, no boundary is set prohibitive of the student's use of his birthright, the honest search after truth. Over us, and in us, are those moral laws which are eternal. May our University continue to aspire, and may it also continue to trust! Look up on high, not only in anxious quest of the power which springs from knowledge and makes for freedom, but also in perfect assurance of the Wisdom and the Love which are Divine!
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.
The author died in 1924, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.