Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/72

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affairs, would disarrange nice customs, dishevel sound old proprieties, and step absentmindedly over the college halls. These, however, would be apprehensions hardly worthy of men prepared to stand to their own prerogatives and duties. If Mr. Roosevelt could lend signal aid in education he would hardly dispute that such a task would have its education for himself. And if students delight in his sturdy manhood, it would be a pity that the race of teachers should shudder at his somewhat carnivorous quality and taste for the jungle.

There is, to be sure, a delicacy of tone, a fine and deep cultivation of spirit, a sense of esthetic rectitude in things of detail, that one would gladly see set before "our young barbarians, all at play," in the chief person of their community. The fiery furnace of American public life is hardly the place to foster and finish such a product. Indeed this fine fleur—for the truth must be told—does not at present flourish abundantly in American life at all. Our scholarship has largely gone for training to Germany, custodian of the letter rather than of the spirit of culture; and there is something raw in the air at home. But in Mr. Roosevelt's passion for knowledge and for achievement, in the range of a certain information he has in science, history and letters, in the interest and respect he has always shown for the personalities of the men who advance these studies, there is much to contribute toward the first things needful, the foundation of university life.

It is obviously a grave consideration on the other hand that he has had no direct experience, except as a student, of educational affairs. This, however, as it happens, is bound up with the essential qualifications we have been considering. Senator Hoar remarks in his "Autobiography":

Making all the allowance for the point of view, and that I was then a youth looking at my elders who had become famous, and that I am now looking as an old man at young men, I still think there can be no comparison between the college administrators of fifty years ago and those of to-day. It was then the policy of the college to call into its service great men who had achieved eminent distinction in the world without. It is now its policy to select for its service promising youth, in the hope that they will become great. Perhaps the last method is the best where it succeeds. [And Mr. Hoar notes the distinguished success of President Eliot.] But the effect of failure is most mischievous. Presidents Quincy, Everett, Walker and Sparks administered in succession the office of President during my connection with the Academic Department and the Law School [of Harvard], although Dr. Walker's inauguration was not until later. Each of them in his own way was among the first men of his time. Quincy had been an eminent statesman, a famous orator, and a most successful mayor of Boston. Edward Everett had been in his early youth one of the most famous pulpit orators of the country, afterward a distinguished Member of Congress, Governor of the Commonwealth, Minister to England, and Senator of the United States. He was a consummate orator, on whose lips thousands and thousands of his countrymen had hung entranced.