13th anniversary OF THE national Deaf Mute College, Washington, D.C.
Ladies and gentlemen: I shall not mar the interest of this occasion by undertaking to fulfill the promises of this order of exercises. I thank my friend, Dr. Gallandet, that he did not warn me that my name was to be upon this bill. If he had it would have deprived me of two reasons for feeling satisfied with this afternoon—one was that I escaped by leaving the other end of the city, and the other, what I gained by enjoying with you this pleasant occasion. And really this is a gratifying and interesting thing.
It is an occasion for congratulation, for gratitude. Three young gentlemen have appeared before us and spoken of oratory, mythology and botany. We are accustomed to hear these topics discussed at college commencements and exhibitions, and here we have three young gentlemen with but the four senses doing it so satisfactorily, so well. I am told that those orations that we have listened to are criticized—are corrected in no other way than is usual with such essays by professors at our schools and colleges, and yet we would not detect I am sure, they were not written by young men with all the five senses. And how completely they exhibited the characteristics of the young men. You and I are strangers to them, but we now know that the first thinks with oratory as one with hearing—as a scholar might think—as accurately, as correctly.
He measures it, seems to know that it means, as if he had enjoyed it—practiced it. Indeed, he did practice it before us; and the one who spoke of mythology, that fondness for the poetical, the imaginative—all noticed the peculiar bent of his mind and studies. And botany the same. And now have I not done all I promised?