572 History of Wake Forest College
the progress of human thought and with ancient and modern and what
was then contemporary English and American literature. His keen
mind had already sensed the nature and comprehensiveness of the
great revolution in science and scientific thinking, which was then
beginning but not generally realized until Darwin and Wallace
published their theories of evolution in 1858. Introducing his subject
Mr. Rodman said:
On this occasion, when some of you are just entering this scene of revolution-
happily bloodless and peaceful,9 but not less real and important-and all are standing
on the verge and lending to the results your intelligence and sympathies, I have
thought that I could not choose a theme more pertinent; that I could not interest you
more for the brief hour that we are together, than by reviewing some few of the
most prominent features of those great intellectual changes that have already
accomplished themselves, and endeavoring to note some of the points of that now in
progress and in which you are destined to participate.
Philosophy, literature, and government, the influence of the papacy,
the Reformation, the new sciences, political economy, constitutional
government, were all mentioned and briefly discussed by the speaker
with wonderful insight and discrimination. In a passing reference to
slavery he showed that he realized its blighting effects on the
development of inventive and practically scientific genius among the
people of the South. In his closing paragraph he pleaded with his
hearers-among them Matthew T. Yates, Archibald McDowell, S. B.
O'Bryan-for a tolerant spirit in these words:
You will perceive, gentlemen, that this view leads to toleration of the opinions of
others. It is time, indeed, that the reign of bigotry and fanactism were over. I do not
mean to stigmatise, by these harsh names, earnestness of belief or an ardent
attachment to our own convictions of right, which are laudable and indeed almost
inseparable from a generous and manly temperament; but that baleful distortion of
vision, which can recognize in dissent neither capacity nor
9 Probably Judge Rodman changed his mind about the revolution being
"peaceful," even though he died before the day of the Scopes Law.
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