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Role Of The Universities In Politics
by [?]

The question of the manner of doing this came up incidentally at Harvard the other day, at the dedication of the great hall erected in memory of the graduates of the university who died in the war. The hall is to be used for general college purposes, for examinations, and some of the ceremonial of commencement, as well as for dinner, and a portion of the walls is covered with tablets bearing the names of those to whose memory it is dedicated. The question whether the building would keep alive the remembrance of the civil war in any way in which it is inexpedient to keep it alive, or in any way which would tend to keep Southern students away from the university, has been often asked, and by some answered in the affirmative. General Devens, who presided at the alumni dinner, gave full and sufficient answer to those who find fault with the rendering of honor on the Northern side to those who fell in its cause; but General Bartlett–who perhaps more than any man living is qualified to speak for those who died in the war–uttered, in a burst of unpremeditated eloquence, at the close of the proceedings, the real reason why no Southern man need, and we hope will never, feel hurt by Northern memorials of the valor and constancy of Northern soldiers. It is not altogether the cause which ennobles fighting; it is the spirit in which men fight; and no horror of the objects of the Southern insurrection need prevent anybody from admiring or lamenting the gallant men who honestly, loyally, and from a sense of duty perished in its service. It is not given to the wisest and best man to choose the right side; but the simplest and humblest knows whether it is his conscience which bids him lay down his life. And this test may be applied by each side to all the victims of the late conflict without diminishing by one particle its faith in the justice of its own cause. Moreover, as General Bartlett suggested, the view of the nature of the struggle which is sure to gain ground all over the country as the years roll on is that it was a fierce and passionate but inevitable attempt to settle at any cost a controversy which could be settled in no other way; and that all who shared in it, victors or vanquished, helped to save the country and establish its government on sure and lasting foundations. This feeling cannot grow without bringing forcibly to mind the fact that the country was saved through the war that virtue might increase, that freedom might spread and endure, and that knowledge might rule, and not that politicians might have a treasury to plunder and marble halls to exchange their vituperation in; thus uniting the best elements of Northern and Southern society by the bonds of honest indignation as well as of noble hopes.