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the words of the Grecian hero-king: "These are the walls of Sparta and every man's a brick.”
Standing in this splendid presence tonight, clothed in the enthusiasm which comes up from the greatest assembly of college-bred men and women ever gathered together in the southwest, I almost feel as did the Hebrew prophets of old, when the veil of the future was rent in twain, and in spirit they saw the deeds to be done in the flesh. In my imagination I see a lofty hill crowned with innumerable majestic buildings; I see mighty telescopes sweeping the heavens from lofty domes in search of unknown worlds; I see anthropologists revealing to the world the pre-historic civilizations of New Mexico and Arizona, and tracing the footsteps of vanished races; I see geologists and mineralogists exploring the waste places and unearthing every mine of hidden wealth; and above all things, I see ten thousand Texas boys and girls bearing each year to ten thousand Texas homes the atmosphere of higher education and lofty ideals; and I can almost see, above the countless domes and minarets and towers the spirits of the mighty dead lifting their hands in benediction above the consummation of their most cherished ideals. This is my conception of a university of the first class.
If the enthusiasm of this day shall live; if the spirit of this hour is not cast aside like an outer garment, but taken to your homes to become a part of your daily life, then this dream shall see its realization within the life limit of some who sit at this board tonight.
[Speech of Clarence H. Miller, LL. B., '86, at the Alumni Banquet at Dallas, University Day, October 21, 1899.]
Were I left to my own inclinations this evening, I should look neither backwards nor forwards, but Epicurus-like, yield myself entirely to the all-absorbing present. I should prefer to listen to others outlining in gay colors the bright visions of their imaginations; to contemplate, rather than discourse upon, the beautiful things about us; silently to enjoy, in the sight of the bright smiles and within the sound of happy repartee, the dainties and delicacies
of the banquet board. The impalpable feeling of mirth and good cheer that hangs like a golden web about this brilliant scene, shutting out the glories of the past, the dreams of the future and even the care and discontent of the world of today, impresses me with the desire to confine my thoughts wholly within this charmed circle. But for the unavoidable absence of my friend, the Honorable Albert Sidney Burleson, I would indulge this feeling. Until a few days ago he expected to attend this celebration and respond to the toast just announced. When he could not come, and requested me to be his substitute, I suggested there was little time to prepare for addressing such an audience. His reply was, “You need no preparation to talk to the boys about Texas!"
The exalted State pride and devoted patriotism that gave birth to this exclamation have ever been among the most striking characteristics of the people of this State. And truly, no people have better grounds for such lofty sentiments. In the brief sixty years' history of Texas are recorded undying deeds of valor, and unexampled triumphs of peace and progress. The noble memories and rich inspirations that arise as a sweet incense from the fields of San Jacinto and the walls of the Alamo, will forever keep alive the patriotism of Texans. And while men love dauntless courage in
. behalf of liberty and the right, the names of Austin, Crockett and Houston will not fail to arouse proud and glorious sentiments. Assuredly we, the beneficiaries of the empire founded by the toilsome struggles of these heroes and their little band of followers, in an unbroken wilderness and in the face of hostile savages, will ever reverence their sacred memories and gratefully appreciate our magnificent inheritance.
Nor can we forget the wisdom of the Texas fathers in times of peace. It is by the amount of protection, says Victor Hugo, with which the women and the child are surrounded, that the degree of civilization is to be measured. By this standard, Texas ranks high among the nations. She was the first State of our Union to throw about the family circle the protecting shield of an inviolable homestead law, and was one of a few States to recognize, a half century ago, the wife as an equal partner of the marital union by adopting the civil law doctrine of community property. It was in this young, western State, too, that the principle of co-education was most completely adopted in theory, and is being most thoroughly realized in practice; a beneficent principle that means for future generations the purest, the strongest and most symmetrically developed race the world will have ever known.
But not less than the Texas of the past do we love the Texas of today. We love her because of her inspiring present and her radiantly pregnant future. We love her because she is vigorous in her youth, confident in her hopefulness and unconquerable in her enthusiasm; because she is great, beautiful and benignant; because she is unfettered by precedents, independent in thought and fearless in convictions. We are proud of her variety of products, her wonderful fertility, her marvelous resources; her leagues of seacoast, her magnificent distances and her imperial domains. We admire her beautiful flowers, her sunny climate, her splendid skies, her waving forests, her winding rivers and her boundless prairies. Never had man a better environment than here for the harmonious development of all his faculties, and nowhere has there grown up a more sturdy and independent race than on the plains of Texas and in the Texas towns. This people have more intelligence, independence and virtue and less prejudices, blind customs and false ideals; among them is more universal thrift and industry, and fewer idle, rich and cultured parasites than among any other people of this age; and beyond all others they have been less enervated by concentrated and colossal wealth in the hands of a few, and less degraded by corresponding pauperism, ignorance and crime among the masses.
Such is Texas of the past and of the present. What her future will be depends in no small degree upon ourselves. Of those of her children who have wandered in academic groves,
“In search of deep philosophy, wit, eloquence and poesy," Texas can justly expect much. She expects the University to mirror her highest moral and intellectual life. It is there, where her young men and women seek to unravel the deeper mysteries of truth, that their principles, opinions and conduct should be under the noblest influences. We, fellow students, are indeed of the chosen few upon whom press grave responsibilities. Texas does not expect us all to achieve a success that will dazzle the minds of men and excite their envy, nor to strike from our brains those celestial sparks that light mankind to grander triumphs; but she does expect each of us to put forth his best efforts towards "mitigating the miseries and multiplying the blessings” of her less favored children. She calls to each courageously to combat error and vice in whatever form disguised, and to endeavor strenuously to replace them in the hearts of her people with just and true ideals. We owe this effort not only to the heroic past of our State and the priceless heritage we are now enjoying, not only to our alma mater and to ourselves, but we owe it to the dawning future—the coming civilization of fraternal love and Christian charity.
I propose, Mr. Toastmaster, the Lone Star of Texas, with the prayer that it may and the prophecy that it will in the twentieth century be the brightest symbol of love, justice and equality in the firmament of nations.
(Speech of James C. Wilson, LL. B., '96, at the Alumni Banquet at Dallas, University Day, October 21, 1899.]
Ladies and gentlemen, as you have heard from those preceding me, this is a magnificent day for the University of Texas. We are never fond of the memory of those things or people we have injured, or that have injured us. On the other hand, our love for institutions and organizations with which we have been connected, is measured by the good they have derived from us and by the consequent good we have derived from them. I am sure then that on this occasion the hearts of us all are boiling up with love for our University and are overflowing with grateful pride, because of the far-reaching and incalculable blessings to flow to it by virtue of such a day and such a splendid demonstration of its popularity and progress. We can safely say that this day counts for more than any one day in its history. It is good to be here, to be born again into the college spirit; to receive renewed and lasting inspiration from the reports and appearances of success among our fellowstudents; to have fanned to flame within our bosoms that “one for all and all for one” spirit of brotherhood, and to have welded together and around us in fraternity those bands of steel that should bind us together and make us as one, an invincible and powerful influence within our great State.
My fellow students, I will make no apologies for being personal tonight, as I must speak to the toast, “College Memories," and when my mind turns to college memories, I think of many things better not told for your sake, not mine. No one, sound in body and mind, can attend the University without having some thrilling experiences that would be highly entertaining and amusing, but many constitute "tales in school," a precious kind of rubbish we are not inclined to dispense to the general public.
I suppose the most of you have experienced the anything but delightful sensation that seizes a country yap when, with light purse and heavy heart, he kisses his mother Goodbye at the front gate and turns his face toward the University. This eventful day came to me in '94. To be frank with you, there were some things I had not seen then and some things I did not know, and one of the things I had never seen, but for a knowledge of which my soul had fairly yearned for years, I found in the depot at Taylor, as I was going down to the University. In wisdom, it outstrips a freshman of the Academic Department, yea Lycurgus or Solon. As a lawgiver it would make Moses and Napoleon blush for ignorance and curse themselves for having burdened the earth with their poor codes; it has an absolute corner on legal law, and each year tears the tail out of the American eagle and drinks dry the fountains of learning. Could you guess what it was? I judged it to be a Junior Law, and upon introducing myself, found I was correct. There were two of them; one a good-hearted sheeny, who hailed from the Free State of Van Zandt; the other, an Absalom-haired youth who came from the silver water of the Bosque, down about Meridian, and whose flaxen hair was so much in abundance that, one day afterward when he was being guyed about it in the classroom, he volunteered the statement that the size of his hat was seven and one-eighth-seven for the head and one-eighth for the hair. But the mighty and unanimous voice that went up from the class was, "No, no, seven for the hair and one-eighth for the head.”
I looked upon these beings, filled with wonder, as if they were little gods. They had a kind of fascination for me. I knew that within a few brief hours I was to become a part and parcel of that shining aggregation of learning and wisdom, the Junior Law class, 80 I commenced to shine immediately from inspiration, but that borrowed shine did not last long, as in the manner of my landing