570 History of Wake Forest College
reasoning, that for cogency and exactness approaches mathematical demonstration:
who will rise to a topic which weaker minds have hacknied until it has almost
nauseated the public taste; will first state the question with a precision and clearness
so remarkable, that nine to one, the hearer will perceive that he never before
understood what it really was: will then start with a proposition as plain as an axiom
of Geometry; will then make a deduction so obvious that belief is compelled; will
pile deduction upon deduction, each a sequence of the preceding; will find new
harmonies in trains of thought apparently the most diverse; will strengthen his
positions with arguments and illustrations from other subjects, between which and
the topic in hand no connection has heretofore been seen; jumping to no
conclusions, but building his mental fabric like the architect piling stone upon stone,
rearing arch upon arch; whose arguments resemble the Homeric Chain of Gold,
resting upon earth and terminating in heaven: of a genius so towering that it has
been deemed by superficial thinkers unfit for practical business, as if the iron scythe
were fitter for the harvest than if possessing the temper of the Damascus Blade; of a
temperament as ardent as his own Southern clime, yet-with a head as clear and cool
as the crystal fountains of these hills: an intellectual giant, striding as it were from
mountain top to mountain top, overstepping the little rills of mind in which the
political pigmies of the hour disport themselves in all the conceit of imaginary
greatness; a statesman, who enthroned in his own mental and moral elevation may
well regard all office as beneath him. In closer allusion necessary to point our mean-
ing? Can it be necessary to pronounce the name of-John C. Calhoun?"
The address before the Societies in June, 1845, was by Calvin H.
Wiley, who at that time was an attorney at Oxford. His subject was
"The Injurious Effects of too Great Zeal for Political Distinction, with
Suggestions of Appropriate Tendencies." It was well received and
most highly praised. A correspondent of the Biblical Recorder of June
28, 1845, says that for appropriateness of subject, chasteness and
beauty of composition, and eloquence of delivery he had never heard
it excelled. The Milton Chronicle praised the high moral tone of the
address and its stimulating effect on the young men "to be useful in
the advancement of the arts and sciences, and not to give in to the
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