Page:The Whitney Memorial Meeting.djvu/22
THE WHITNEY MEMORIAL MEETING.
and down in Ganges-land, teaching and preaching. And now he is about to die. Flowers fall from the sky and heavenly quires are heard to sing his praise. "But not by all this," he answers,—"but not by all this, O Ananda, is the Teacher honored; but the disciple who shall fulfil all the greater and lesser duties,—by him is the Teacher honored." It is fitting, then, that we pause, not merely to praise the departed, but also to consider the significance of a noble life, and the duties and responsibilities which so great an example urges upon us,—in short, the lesson of a life of service.
It would be vain to endeavor, within the narrow limits which the present occasion imposes, to rehearse or to characterize with any completeness the achievements that make up this remarkable life. Many accounts of it have been given of late in the public prints. Permit me rather to lay before you, by way of selection merely, a few facts concerning Mr. Whitney which may serve to illustrate certain essential features of his character and fundamental motives of his life.
And indubitably first in importance no less than in natural order is the great fact of his heredity. William Dwight Whitney was born, in 1827, at Northampton, Massachusetts, and in his veins flowed the best blood of a typical New England community, of the Dwights and the Hawleys,—heroes of the heroic age of Hampshire. His stock was remarkable for sturdy vigor, both of body and of intellect, and was in fact that genuine aristocracy which, if it be true to its traditions, will remain
- Most notable among them is the one by Professor Seymour of Yale, in the "American Journal of Philology," vol. 15.