Three Phi Beta Kappa Addresses


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Three Phi Beta Kappa Addresses



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Excerpt from Three Phi Beta Kappa Addresses: A College Fetich, 1883; "Shall Cromwell Have a Statue?," 1902; Some Modern College Tendencies, 1906
The reason of this republication at the present time is sufficiently explained in the beginning of the third of the addresses (pp. 101-3). It is in the nature of a record. Fifty years after graduation from Harvard, I am closing a term of service on its Board of Overseers extending over half that period. The first of the three Phi Beta Kappa addresses, - A College Fetich, - when delivered at Cambridge nearly a quarter of a century ago, excited active discussion; and, when the third address, that entitled Some Modern College Tendencies, was delivered in New York in June last, it appeared that the earlier effort had not yet been altogether forgotten. Long out of print, the recollection of it was decidedly vague; and, both in the comments of the press and in private, it was assumed that between the two addresses there was a wide divergence of view, - the opinions entertained in 1883 were referred to as distinctly at variance with those expressed in 1906.
Had I during those intervening years seen any reason for a change of view, I should not for a moment have hesitated in giving utterance to the later and more matured beliefs; for consistency in these matters is apt to be indicative of little else than either an inability or an unwillingness to observe and to learn. In those three and twenty years, also, a great many things happened. It so chances, however, that in this particular case there was no inconsistency between the two utterances, no change or modification of view.
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