DEDICATION OF PARDEE HALL AT LAFAYETTE COLLEGE

 

November 30, 1880

Easton, Pennsylvania

 

MR. PRESIDENT, GOVENOR HOYT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: In our country and in every republic, it is the business of Government to educate its citizens in the duty of citizenship; indeed the Government in this country is in the citizen, and it will be a good government just as in proportion as the citizens have good education. The best government under a republic will be that with the best education. Ignorant voters are powder and ball for the demagogue. Therefore, it is that from the beginning Washington and Jefferson and the Fathers all urged upon the people on every suitable occasion the importance of popular education.

 

But there is something beyond this – beyond that which is necessary merely to make good citizens. There is that higher education which can be furnished only by the college, the university, the scientific school; and those institutions our government does not in any large degree aid. The exceptional cases are West Point and the Naval Academy; but for the rest, for that higher education which every people must have that is to be really great and renowned, we must look to the benefaction and voluntary contribution of the wealthy citizens. They fortunately have the wisdom and generosity to found institutions like these. Wealthy men understand that in no way they can do such good to those who are to come after them-in no way can they build to themselves such a monument that will preserve gratefully their memories in future generations- as by endowing a college, a university, a scientific school. Therefore, my friends, we are here on this occasion to do honor to the man who has set an example. And what an example it is! He has not waited for the time of his last will and testament, and the uncertainties which my friends the Lawyers here perfectly understand. He does it while he is alive and can see that his wishes are properly carried out and the work well done.  Let us say then that you and I, and all of us, are spending our time well to-day in contributing something to honor this example, which, we hope, is often again and again to be followed in our community hereafter. I thank the President and those connected with the institution in inviting me to be present.  I am glad to be here, glad to join with you in saying “God bless Mr. Pardee.”